Until the U.S. is certain the government of South African President F.W. de Klerk will take further steps towards breaking down Apartheid, the U.S. should not change its current policy of economic sanctions against South Africa, said U.S. Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to an Institute of Politics (IOP) Study. Group yesterday.
"Until the process is put in place, we should not change our policies," said Kerry, speaking to more than 40 participants in a jammed Lehman Hall conference room. "But we should indicate a willingness to move when South Africa legitimately moves."
A white member of the African National Congress, Geoffrey Norman, also addressed the IOP's "Current Affairs Dinner Table," saying the Bush administration is not adequately communicating with white South Africa.
"I'm not sure the administration is telling de Klerk what they expect," Norman said.
Easing up pressure on the South African government at this pivotal time following the release of Nelson Mandela would be a mistake, according to both men.
"Mandela has said armed struggle must continue and sanctions must continue," said Norman.
"While Nelson Mandela is not a captive, he's also not a free man," Kerry said. Despite Mandela's release, Kerry voiced the need for a cautious approach to de Klerk. "I think the sanctions worked, and I think it's important to keep the sanctions in place."
No Avoiding Bloodshed
As for the future, Kerry said that unless a constitution is promulgated that establishes fair, universal suffrage, "I don't see how you can avoid enormous bloodshed."
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable," said Kerry. But on an optimistic note, both Kerry and Norman said peaceful transition is still possible.
"There's got to be an adjustment process on both sides to keep it peaceful," said Kerry. He added that de Klerk must now set a timetable for talks and agree with Black leaders on deadline dates for progress on ending Apartheid.
Norman said economic inequality will be a serious source of debate in the path to a new constitution in a country where the underclass is the majority.
"There is a realization that part of the process is a confidence-building process," Norman said. "I think whites will be willing to trade political concessions for economic protection," he said.