Constand Viljoen is heading for an unenviable choice of destinies: to be branded a traitor by accepting a deal that may never get file rightwing its volkstaat, or to enter a bloody conflict whose outcome is as uncertain.
As cries of “Now!” Now!” resounded in Hall J at the Pretoria showgrounds last Saturday, it seemed that the latter choice might be forced upon him. Moments ealier Viljoen told close on 20 000 rightwingers that the only way a volkstaat can be achieved is by force.
To the hordes of the AWB at the front of the hall, this was sweet music. His proposal of a “strategic alternative – a yet-to-be detailed way in which rightwingers may gain statutory representation did not go down well.
To Viljoen and other “moderates”, this alternative may mean a foot in the door, but to the AWB it smacked of treason. The movement has stated that the volkstaat‘s borders will be drawn by battle lines. But most observers agree that a war emanating solely from these quarters will be brief, if brutal.
This week’s bomb explosions at offices of the National Union of Mineworkers and the destruction of railway lines in the Western Transvaal were not so much an overture to the main battle as a sneak preview of how it may end.
But when Viljoen mentioned that 10 000 men can be pushed into the field, he was not referring to the AWB so much as the ordinary rightwinger who has been urged to join SADF commando structures. This is where the real military strength the rightwing lies.
But it remains to be seen how many of these people – with property; farmers with prospects of a good season — will go to war. It is the general himself who seems the least eager.
In the end, his hope may lie among those ordinary people who sat at the back of Hall J. Although not as vociferous as the AWB there were more of them, and if there is still reason to be found, it is there that Viljoen may chance upon it.