During this debate the Prime Minister outlined South Africa's involvement in the Angolan War. He stated clearly that South Africa participated in the war as a result of Russian and Cuban aggression in Angola. Adv. Vorster also referred to the progress made in extending relations with states in Africa. He also emphasised, however, that there were differences between South Africa and the rest of Africa. In conclusion the Prime Minister referred to 1976 as a watershed year. However, it would also be a year of hope and confidence since South Africa had a task to fulfil in Africa.
To satisfy the curiosity of my hon. friend on the opposite side, the candidate who will bear the standard of the National Party will be the hon. Senator Denis Worrall. Let me say that I find him an eminently suitable candidate, a man in whom I have the fullest confidence, and I take this opportunity to recommend him to the constituents of Durban North. As far as I am concerned he has my best wishes . . .
Mr. B. W. B. Page: He is going to need them.
Yes. I know that. I have been in politics too long to deny that he will need them. I do not for one moment say that he will win, but I maintain that he will fare better than my hon. friend in Middelburg . . . [Interjections] . . . and what is more certain, he will fare better than my hon. friend did in Bryanston.
To conclude this part of my speech, let me say that no matter what anybody says, the fact remains - nobody can dispute it - that our people are growing together in this country, and hon. members on the other side know it. Our people are more and more finding a common basis on which to stand, and they will find it; they must find it.
I come now to the Angolan situation. I have seen fit, in respect of this matter, to get away from the stereotyped amendment which one moves in this regard. Because I am in earnest about this matter, because it is the case for South Africa, I want to say to the hon. members: Let us stop this nonsense of arguing in this House about who trusts whom. Surely we know what the position is. Let us pass a motion which will let South Africa speak and which will speak for South Africa. For that reason I move as an amendment:
To omit all the words after "That" and to substitute:
(1) this House expresses its grave concern at the Communist aggression committed in Angola by Russia and Cuba with a view to imposing a Marxist state on the unwilling inhabitants for force of arms;
(2) it is obvious to this House that it is a further object of the aggression similarly to subject other territories and states, inter alia South West Africa and South Africa;
(3) this House takes note of the steps already taken to halt the aggression;
(4) this House directs the Government, in view of these objects and threats, to take all reasonable steps to foil this aggression and to safeguard our country as well as the territories and borders for which we are responsible; and
(5) this House in conclusion conveys its sincere thanks and appreciation to the Defence Force and all officers and men for the courageous and heroic manner in which they have acquitted themselves of their task in the operational area and expresses its deep sympathy with those who have lost loved ones in the struggle.
I do not think there is any member in this House who will not be able to support this amendment. I am giving notice of my amendment in good time so that hon. members may consider it, and cast a considered vote.
Before dealing with the actual Angolan situation itself I believe it is necessary to pause for a moment to consider the total strategy of the communists. There is no doubt at all that the strategy of the communists is world domination, and that this will continue to remain their strategy. They can achieve world domination in three ways. They can achieve it firstly by infiltration and subversion, by propaganda and terrorism. Consequently they give preference to these methods at all times. They also know more about these methods than any person in any Western country can ever know or will ever know, for they excel in the softening up and subversion not only of the country itself but also of the morale and the values in which the free world believes, and in the exploitation of grievances. History has proved this throughout the world. When it comes to terrorism and murder there is no one comparable to them. If this does not succeed the second alternative is conventional warfare in all its nakedness and reality. The third alternative is nuclear warfare.
As they are experts in the first sphere, namely that of infiltration and subversion, I am apprehensive, as far as the second and third alternatives are concerned, when I look around me at the world that the Russians have succeeded with their propaganda in causing the free world to be obsessed with the prospect of a nuclear war while they, on the other hand, are applying themselves to conventional warfare. They are causing the world to be obsessed with nuclear weapons while they know - I firmly believe this - that the next war will not be a nuclear war, just as the last war was not a poison gas and germ war. The nations recoiled from this, and I think that all the great powers, Russia included, will recoil from a nuclear war. They are causing the world to be obsessed with this, and in the meantime they are preparing themselves thoroughly in the sphere of conventional warfare. When it comes to warships, tanks and other heavy weapons, they are definitely leaving the West far behind in the race to produce such conventional weapons. In my opinion this is the danger in store for the Western world. It is good for a country to prepare itself for a nuclear war. It is good that the countries which have the means are prepared for it, but if the West should make the mistake of dismantling its conventional war machinery, it would be ploughed under by the communists in the years which lie ahead.
As far as South Africa is concerned it is, as a result of its strategic situation 1 and its industrial and mineral potential, 2 a key factor in the conventional war which Russia is planning. Surely it is self-evident that that country which controls South Africa has a powerful advantage over other countries in a conventional war, namely the resources, the sea route and everything that goes with it. If one reflects for a moment and begins to fit the pieces in the puzzle together, it is very clear that the communist strategy for South Africa is to cause South Africa to fight simultaneously or as much as possible on three fronts, namely on the Mozambique, Rhodesian and Angolan front. In addition to that they have relied and are still relying on the fourth front, namely the defeatists and the "joiners" within South Africa itself. One is grateful that owing to level-headed action, nothing came of the planning on the Mozambique front. I shall return to this matter again when I reply to what hon. members said. The communists expected us to interfere in Mozambique, and they were disappointed when we did not do so. I am not saying this merely for the sake of talking about this matter, or on the basis of hearsay: I have had personal experience, from talks I held in Africa, that this was indeed what was thought.
Thanks to our African initiative - I am still grateful that I said what I did in the Senate on 23 October - we were able to prevent an escalation on the Rhodesian front. You can imagine this for yourself. And the people who speak so easily of war - people like Albert Hertzog and others...
Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Sea Point spoke - not on this issue, but on the Angolan issue - I asked myself at times whether it was Colin Marais speaking, or Jaap Eglin. This is just by the way.
If we had been compelled to fight on three fronts you could imagine - and this is just what Albert Hertzog would have liked, and what he and his people are now reproaching us for - what this would have meant. It would have meant total mobilization; it would have meant the large-scale conversion of factories to the manufacture of armaments; it would have meant a tremendous increase in the defence budget and the disruption and halting of the country's economy.
The Government was mindful of all these things. We did not flee our destiny. I want to state here - should people perhaps think that we are afraid or that we do not see our way clear to doing so - that we shall fight on three fronts if it should become necessary, that we shall have to fight on three fronts if there is no alternative. I believe, moreover, that we shall be able to repulse any such attack, and if it is forced upon us, this is what we shall do. I have confidence in our people; I have confidence in our ability to defend ourselves, and I have confidence in the strength of our economy. It goes without saying that the damage to the economy will be great and that the mortality rate will similarly be high, but I feel instinctively every time I speak to our people about this matter, that our people are prepared to defend the soil of South Africa at all costs. For that I am very grateful.
Since I am now going to deal with the Angolan matter I want to tell you in this regard that I have full confidence in my colleague, the hon. the Minister of Defence, 3 and in his handling of this matter. I was with him all the way in this matter. I also have confidence in the leaders of the Defence Force and in the officers and the men of the Permanent Force and the Citizen Force; I have confidence in the young men who are receiving training, and I have confidence in the young people of South Africa.
I am not speaking now as a person who has not yet had any experience of these matters. My own son was 18 years old when he had to patrol the Zambesi border with a machine-gun for months on end. I heard very little from him because there was no communication with him. I received no report from him other than his letters. I never made inquiries about him or abused my position in that regard. He had to endure it as all the other men did. I know how this pulls at one's heartstrings. I know what feelings arose in me when he walked in unexpectedly at the door one fine evening. So I know what it means. One is not indifferent to these things, but thank God, our children - and I am saying this with all the conviction at my command - are tougher than we think, they are more mature than we think, and they are more courageous than we think.
Sir, before I proceed to deal with the Angolan situation itself it is worthwhile asking oneself- for we must see it against that background - where we now stand with Africa, after everything that has happened. That question was asked repeatedly in this debate, and outside this House as well. In earlier years it was simply the case that Africa, just because it was South Africa, took up a position against, and voted against South Africa whatever the merits of the question. As far as South Africa was concerned, there was simply no place for it. It was not of Africa; it was an intruder, a colonialist; it was an exploiter that had to be expelled from this part of the world. That situation has changed; that situation has changed noticeably during the past 18 months. We have come a long way in that time: further, in fact, than I ever expected we would have come in such a short time. Naturally one cannot, if one knows what troubled waters have passed under the bridge, expect matters to change overnight. If one knows how people have committed themselves, what standpoints they have adopted and what decisions they have taken, one can understand that matters must proceed slowly. Africa was indeed closed to us. And now? The fact of the matter is that we are paying visits and receiving visitors on a reasonable scale. In spite of the fact that African states decided at Dar-es-Salaam in April last year that there should be no talks with South Africa 4 and that South Africa should not be received, we are receiving one another and we are exchanging visits with one another on all levels. Our aircraft may land in certain African states, and have in fact done so. Our people may hold meetings in certain African states, and have in fact done so. We have open lines of communication with many African countries. Trade between African states and our country is increasingly becoming a reality. Our technical assistance is being requested and given. We are exchanging missions and representatives on an official and non-official level, admittedly more often on a non-official level than on an official level, but that does not matter. The fact is. Sir, as I have stated on a previous occasion, that the trend of the graph is an upward one. I am aware that there will be hon. members who will laugh cynically at this, who will ridicule this, and who will dismiss it as being of little or no significance. They would be making a mistake if they did so. In particular they would be making a mistake if they dismissed it because they were afraid to give the Government any credit for it. Unfortunately it is true that there are people - and some of them are sitting in this House - who cannot distinguish between South Africa and the Government, and who think that, if one deals South Africa a blow, one is harming the Government. A demonstration of this was the sardonic smile on the face of the hon. member for Hillbrow, among others, when my hon. colleagues were discussing the economy.
One should be realistic and not consider only the progress which has been made with Africa in the sphere of relations. One should also be level-headed and realistic and consider where Africa differs with us. Africa differs with us on South West Africa. It differs sharply with us, but I can assure hon. members that it differs less sharply with us now than 18 months ago. Why does Africa differ with us? It differs with us because it is committed to recognizing SWAPO 5 as the only organization which represents South West Africa, and to recognizing Sam Nujoma 6 as the only leader to whom South West Africa can be handed over. This is again becoming evident now, and I want to reaffirm emphatically here today that one cannot draw a distinction between SWAPO within and SWAPO outside South West Africa. The hon. member for Yeoville made a good and a moderate speech, on which I want to congratulate him, with the exception of what he said about SWAPO. I do not think the hon. member knows the circumstances, for then he would not have said what he did. One SWAPO faction poses as being moderate because it is inside South West Africa. But have you ever heard it once it is outside South West Africa? One cannot draw a distinction, for as an organization SWAPO in its entirety was conceived and born in communist sin here in Cape Town in 1957 when it was established by two Whites, Messrs. Simons and Turok. 7
Mr. H. H. Schwarz: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. the Prime Minister whether this is not the same as in Rhodesia. There one also has one organization, the ANC. But talks are now being held with one of its leaders, the one who is prepared to talk, while the others find themselves outside the country.
The one organization is in fact a myth. ZANU 8 and ZAPU 9 have never amalgamated. They have merely acquired an umbrella organization. They differed with one another from the first day. There have been rifts with ZAPU and ZANU. I want to go further and say that in this connection I cannot care less about what is happening in other countries. I have no reason to believe that Nkomo 10 is a communist. There is nothing in Nkomo's early history which proves that he was a communist. But I am telling you that Sam Nujoma is a communist, and that SWAPO was established by White communists in Cape Town in the late fifties under the original name of the Owambo People's Organization. Unfortunately owing to the UN decision, Africa has over the years accepted SWAPO and Nujoma. We have argued about this a great deal, and we shall argue about this a great deal more. However, I am not prepared, as far as this matter is concerned, to change my standpoint in any respect. Africa rejects our homeland policy. They see South Africa - and they say that they are forced to see it in this way for many understandable reasons - as a unitary state, and they desire "one man, one vote" for Blacks and Whites in the whole of South Africa. They reject the policy of the Progrefs; 11 they do not accept it, unless the policy of that party is a camouflaged policy which will lead to "one man, one vote". If only they would tell us what their policy is we would be able to pass judgment on it. The fact of the matter is, and hon. members must know this and face up to it, that there are good African states that do not believe that the leaders of the Black people in South Africa are Mantanzima, 12 Mangope, 13 Buthelezi," Phatudi 15 and others. They believe that the only two leaders of the Black people in South Africa are Mandela 16 and Sobukwe. 17 One will first have to clear up and argue out the matter with them. Take the present problem I am experiencing with President Tolbert of Liberia. He addressed a request to me to allow Sobukwe to visit him as his guest of honour at his swearing in as President for the next term. I was unable to do so, for Sobukwe is not the leader of the Black people in South Africa.
Mrs. H. Suzman: He is not a communist though.
Let me say at once, since the hon. member has made an interjection, that I know who made the recommendation that Sobukwe should attend. [Interjections.] I was unable to let Sobukwe go, owing to the things he had been guilty of. I need not go into that. It would have been a slap in the face to the actual, the elected and natural leaders of the Black people in South Africa if I had done so. The strategy was - and I am not accusing President Tolbert of this, but the people behind it -that I was to have been accused at a later stage of having rejected the Black leaders of South Africa and of having elevated Sobukwe to the position of the actual leader of the Black people in South Africa. I am not that stupid. Unfortunately they have committed themselves in respect of Sobukwe, and they have committed themselves in respect of Mandela. One need only read their documents, for unfortunately it is a fact that not only the world at large, but Africa as well is being fed with false propaganda, propaganda which emanates from South Africa. Let me give you an example. I make no apology for quoting you an example, for - and I have read widely on this subject - I have never seen a more effective exposition of South Africa's position than the one I read in the Natal Daily News of 25 September. This was a report from Ken Owen. He is known to us all. He is not a friend of this Government, and I very often doubt whether he is a friend of South Africa. This is what he wrote:
"South Africa is the most readily available cause for a liberal American with time on his hands and an unwillingness to examine the conditions of his own society. Powerful vested interests are at work. There are people who have made careers out of fighting apartheid from a distance, there are lawyers living entirely on foundation grants, academics whose reputations absolutely require a bloodbath in South Africa, churchmen who have made a profession of their indignation. To these vested interests, the prospect of a peaceful and evolutionary solution to South African race problems represents a dire threat."
Then he concludes, and this causes misgivings in all of us:
"Then there are elements in South African politics who have long nurtured alliances with overseas liberals, have fed them information and shaped their opinions. To them any mitigation of foreign hostility represents a victory for the Nationalist Party. "That is what Mr. Ken Owen had to say. If you would just consider the Dar-es-Salaam declaration 18 of last year, you would see that it contained certain specific words. The facts are false. They wrote as follows:
"Between 30 % and 40 % of the African children do not go to school at all. When they do, their education by law has to be carried on through the medium of the tribal language. Even the few Africans who get to universities, are taught at least partly in the tribal language. Both the curriculum and the syllabus have been deliberately designed by the Government to fit the children only for unskilled occupations."
When I discuss this matter with leaders in Africa, for we have discussed it on various occasions, they ask me: "But why do your own people say this, that and the other?" The hon. the Deputy Minister has dealt with the speech made by the hon. member for Pinelands. They are going to cast his speech in my teeth, because it agrees in certain respects with the Dar-es-Salaam declaration, and it is not true.
Hon. Members: Scandalous!
This is what they say, while there are 9 062 Black people in South Africa who are at present studying at universities and while, of the 28 % of the total Bantu population that is of school-going age, 21 % is already attending school. This is an achievement which does not exist in other African countries, an achievement which is unique to Black people in South Africa alone. But we receive no credit for this. All we receive are reproaches of this kind mentioned above. In respect of all these matters, we find this kind of wild talk, but it is a different matter when one is confronted with the facts. Take the main source of revenue of the Progressive Party, Mr. Harry Oppenheimer. When he is confronted with the facts on Black trade unions, this is what he has to say, according to an edition of Optima published towards the end of 1975:
"An important point to be kept in mind is that the Black worker will need the goodwill of the White worker. We must, therefore, in consultation with the established White trade unions, make sure that the organization of the Blacks will not be carried through at the expense of the security or established standards of the Whites."
Hon. Members: What is wrong with that?
When we do this, we are condemned and arraigned by the outside world, but when the businessman, Mr. Harry Oppenheimer, is confronted with the reality, he writes as he did in Optima and states his point in this manner.
I come now to the essence of the Angolan matter, and I want to say at once that hon. members will understand that it is an exceptionally delicate matter. Even on this occasion there are things which I simply dare not say. South Africa's involvement was not an isolated involvement; others were also involved. I am not going to mention their names. It is not for me to do so. Everyone must speak for himself on this matter. I am only prepared to say what I said at Stellenbosch, i.e. that I am prepared to stand up and be counted in regard to this matter. It goes without saying that, on the question of their involvement, those people should come forward themselves.
Let us now approach the matter from a different point of view. Let us ask ourselves what would have happened if South Africa had not become involved. Then, firstly, the MPLA, 19 with Russian and Cuban help, would have taken over the whole of Angola and would have subjugated the entire population. They would have had the harbours of Lobito, Mocamedes and other harbours at their disposal right at the outset. They would have had the Benguela railway line at their disposal. They would have created the impression in the outside world that the people of Angola wanted the MPLA and were well-disposed to the MPLA. Initially the MPLA did not disclose the presence of the Russians and the Cubans. They concealed their presence; they did not mention them, and the Russians and the Cubans did not announce their own presence there either. They tried to create the impression that it was the MPLA that was finding favour with the people of Angola and had the support of all the people in Angola. They did this although they controlled only one-third of the population and less than one-third of the territory. I maintain in all seriousness that South Africa's involvement exposed the Russian-Cuban involvement. Even if South Africa did nothing else, South Africa did do the free world a service in Africa by causing this to emerge very clearly. But what would have happened further? The OAU would have recognized the MPLA unanimously or with few dissenting votes at its conference, and South Africa would have been condemned in one morning at Addis Ababa. This did not happen.
Thirdly, Angola would at that juncture have been used as a base for attacks on South West Africa, but also for a possible attack on Zaire and a possible attack on Zambia. The communists are engaged in underground activities in both countries, and I am not being wise after the event now because President Kaunda declared a state of emergency. I can refer you to statements I made in December, and prior and subsequent to that, in which I warned that this was going to be the case. I saw it coming. And that was precisely what happened, and President Kaunda was compelled to take those steps. But he was not only compelled to take those steps. You have seen how the Soviet threatened him in public and said to him: You must be careful, certain things are going to happen to you - so insolent has it become as a result of the lack of action against it from certain quarters. Tanzania, who recognized the MPLA, would have been forced to co-operate with the communists, and the final result would have been a communist belt from the Atlantic Ocean, from Luanda across to Dar-es-Salaam on the Indian Ocean. With that Africa would have been cut in two. But what is more, if we had not become involved, the defence of South West Africa would have been impeded, if not rendered impossible, by 30 000, 40 000 or more refugees which they would have driven before them into South West Africa. They would, as it were, have driven them in like a battalion of infantry to make it impossible for one to carry out a proper defence. And Swapo would have been among those refugees and among those invading troops. It is a well-known fact, Sir, that the members of Swapo carry three cards in their pockets. They carry an FNLA 20 card in their pockets when it suits them, and they carry a Unita 21 card in their pockets when that suits them, and if it is necessary, and that suits them, they pull out an Ovambo tribal card. One is therefore dealing with three-faced persons. Last year already - and I am not saying this in a spirit of reproach: I am saying this simply because I owe it to Parliament - I considered it my duty to bring this situation very strongly to the attention of the countries that should have known this, both in Africa and in the free world. I have a clear conscience in this regard, i.e. that we did everything in our power to bring this situation and its consequences to the attention of those who should have known about it. I am not going to bandy names across the floor of this House. Nor am I going to level reproaches. To do so would be of no avail to us at this stage. But I do want this House to know that I went out of my way to settle this matter. In the process I informed the hon. the Leader of the Opposition from time to time of what was happening, and I gave very serious consideration to informing the leader of the Progressive Party as well.
Hon. Members: Never!
But I decided against it because I was afraid to run the risk.
Mr. R.J. Lorimer: That is a scandalous allegation.
I was not afraid because I did not trust the hon. Member but because the hon. member and members of his party go along with people I do not trust. [Interjections.] And the hon. member need not to become angry at me now because of this.
Mr. H. H. Schwarz: Who are those people?
A time will come when I shall tell you. To mention only one thing now: The hon. member heard the hon, member for Durban Point. Did the young hon. member at the back hear when they asked him about his standpoint on the Communist Party in South Africa while he was speaking? He did not reply to them. Both of them put the questions to him. He did not reply to them. [Interjections.] My question is, why not? And if the hon. member subsequently wants to take this up with me, he is at liberty to do so. I shall gladly have a word with him in this connection. [Interjections.] In addition there is the fact that the communists are straddling the Cape sea route, and it is not only South Africa that says this. Military experts all over the world say it. The Belgian Prime Minister told us only this morning.
Sir, when reproaches are made about Angola, I think it can best be discussed by reference to a leader in The Cape Times of 20 January 1976. In that leader the editor of The Cape Times put four questions to me:
(1) Is South Africa fighting in the Angolan Civil War?; (2) If so, why have we departed from our policy of non-intervention in the affairs of our neighbours; (3) Why was the public not kept informed, and (4) What is the extent of our present commitment and what will it be in the future? These questions more or less deal with the whole Angolan situation, also the questions that were put to members on this side of the House. When the question is put to me whether South Africa is fighting in the Angolan Civil War, I say that South Africa was never a party in this civil war. South Africa did not become involved in Angola because it wanted to take part in the civil war. There must be absolute clarity about that. What is more, it must be at all times understood, because that is the situation, and hon. members know that that is so, that our involvement in Angola was not the cause of Russian and Cuban intervention. Our involvement was the effect of Russian and Cuban intervention. If they had not entered Angola, if they had not taken part in
this affair, if they had not tried to subvert the whole of Angola and to suppress its people. South Africa would never have entered Angola at all. We were not involved in the civil war. We had nothing to do with it whatsoever; it was not our affair. I therefore say that we were not a party to the civil war. My hon. colleague explained that. He went further and said that our objectives were limited and that we achieved our ends. That is so. If hon. members ask me what our objectives were, then I say:
Firstly, to chase, the MPLA and the Cubans away from the borders for which we were responsible, to chase them away from the dam, because we did not go there in the first instance to occupy the dam. 22 You will remember that my colleague explained that we went there to investigate the situation and were fired upon. That was the first time we ever went into Angola. We went in to chase Cuba and the MPLA away from the dam.
Mr. R.J . Lorimer: And now? By force, naturally. We did not merely say "Shoo, Shoo!" [Laughter].
Mr. R. J. Lorimer: My question was not "how". It was "and now?"
I am coming to the "now". You must first take your medicine before you come to the "now". I am busy with the "how" at the moment. Sir, we chased them away from the borders for which we were responsible. My hon. colleague over here told you about the build-up of arms on the borders of South West Africa and for what purpose. 23 And then, secondly, and I want to be very candid about this, it is rather difficult. Sir, when you chase a man away to decide when to stop. That, candidly, is a difficulty. Naturally it must be left to the people who are responsible for doing the job to decide how far they are going to chase away the man, knowing that if they chase him away a short distance he may come back. I make no bones about the fact that we chased him a very long way, and I take full responsibility for that. [Interjections.] Secondly, let us look at what happened next. Again I am only talking about my involvement and my Government's involvement, and not about the involvement of other countries of the free world. We became involved to prevent the MPLA and the Cubans from harassing the people in the traditionally Unita and FNLA areas, harassment to such an extent that they had to flee to Owambo and South West Africa in their tens of thousands. I make no apology for having done that either. Thirdly, we became involved in order to bring to the notice of the free world and of Africa the fact that an unwilling people was being driven into the communist fold at the point of a bayonet, or otherwise was being shot to pieces. We did exactly that. Because we did that, there are those who turn round and say, firstly, that we should not have done it. If I understood the hon. member for Yeoville 24 correctly, he is with me on this point, that there are some who do not hold it against us that we did it. There are those, however, who immediately turn round and say: "Why did you throw overboard your policy of non-intervention? You acted in a certain way in Mozambique but took an opposite course of action in the case of Angola." However, one cannot equate the two. They are absolutely and totally different. I was accused, first of all by Dr. Albert Hertzog, closely followed by the hon. member for Sea Point, 25 though he managed to beat the hon. member for Sea Point by a short head, or a short beard.
Let us now look at the arguments of hon. members on the other side. This was thrown at my head also by the hon. member for Bezuidenhout, 26 and he was applauded by the hon. member for Rondebosch. 27 In fact, they appeared on the same page of The Cape Times - Karperde! The hon. member for Rondebosch applauded him for the stand he took, unlike the stand taken by the hon. member for Durban Point 28 and the hon. Leader of the Opposition. 29 He congratulated the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. No wonder! They are birds of a feather. I do not often give advice to the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. However, I think it is appropirate that I do give him advice on this occasion. Let me say to him, in the popular turn of phrase: Why do you not take your seat where your mouth is? [Interjections.]
Mr. Speaker: Order!
Let me first of all deal with the hon. member for Rondebosch. Out of the mouth of the babe we heard the truth. The great cry was that they wanted information and that this "cruel" Government withheld it from them. What did the hon. member for Rondebosch say after he was informed by my hon. colleague here? He said; "I am not really interested in having more information on Angola. I am satisfied that information has been given that we were involved. Yesterday, the hon. Minister of Defence 30 emphatically stated that we were involved. One might desire more detailed information concerning the nature of our involvement, but the most important fact is that we were actually involved."
What does he want to do with that? Use it against South Africa? Why does he say that he is not interested in the other things? He only wanted this one piece of information as it suited his purpose. He only wanted to be able to say: South Africa was involved: the Minister said so himself. Surely that is not something which we previously concealed. I shall come to this again when I deal with the remark made by the hon. member for Sea Point.
Let us now consider the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout said more about this matter outside than he did inside this House, for it is easier to say things outside this House. After all, there is no one who can call you to order.
Mr. J. D. Du P. Basson: I only get a half-hour to speak. You have already been speaking for nearly two yours.
What did the hon. member say in his speech at Middelburg? He made a very serious accusation, an accusation which is now being made against us at the UN. I quote:
"Speaking at a public meeting at Middelburg, Transvaal, on Monday night, Mr. Basson said the two main pillars of the country's foreign policy - non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries and the undertaking that South West Africa would not be used as a basis for military action across the border -had been thrown overboard by South Africa's involvement."
This is the man who had no information, who did not know what the position was! Before the parliamentary session began, however, he spoke of how "involved" we were, and of how we had thrown our principles overboard.
Mr. J. D. Du P. Basson: I stated both sides of the case.
Sir, I am now referring to these facts. I shall come to the hon. member again, if I consider it worthwhile. Now I come to a real Jewel in this report, and I quote:
"Dr. SIabbert, the PRP chief defence spokesman, was accompanied on the trip to the military zone by his United Party counterpart, Mr. Vause Raw, and the chairman of the National Party's parliamentary defence group, Mr. Coetsee."
He went, and you went with him I hope that my genial friend on the other side has thanked the hon. member for Rondebosch appropriately for taking him along.
The hon. member for Bezuidenhout put a question to me in this debate about the difference between the allegation that they wish to liberate South West Africa from Angola, and the statement made by Frelimo against South Africa this week in Lourenco Marques. My reply is that there is a tremendous difference between Mozambique and Angola. Mozambique was handed over to one Government. It made no difference whether or not one likes that Government. South Africa's foreign policy is still that if there is a Government which it does like, it does not make war against it. As long as that Government leaves South Africa in peace, South Africa will leave that Government in peace. Surely we made it very clear that we were not seeking a quarrel with Mozambique, that we were not interested in who comprised that Government, just as long as there was a stable Government and that country was not used as a base for an attack on South Africa.
Mr. J. D. Du P. Basson: They say it is now going to become one.
No, Sir. Many a lie is told from hearsay. After all, there are many people who say they are going to attack us. The hon. member says that his party is going to win the by-election in Alberton, but should I worry about this now? [Interjections.]
Mr. J. D. Du P. Basson: You yourself say in your amendment that they are going to attack us!
It does not stop at talk only; after all, I want to explain this now. On the one hand it is a matter of talking, and on the other hand a matter of doing. There was no build-up of an arsenal of weapons on the border between Mozambique and South Africa. What is more - the hon. member probably does not know this - we fenced off the border between South Africa and Mozambique at a time when one would have expected feelings to be at their highest pitch. I was on that border myself; we were on the one side and Frelimo on the other. We recruited labour among them, and we fenced off that border which we had not been able to fence off in the time of the Portuguese, without there even being an argument about where the border ran.
Mr. J. D. Du P. Basson: Why did you not fence off the border of South West Africa as well?
Surely no attack was planned on South Africa, and if an attack on South Africa is planned and executed, we shall repel it. I told Mozambique this at the time. In the case of Angola forces were built up on our border. After all, there are no Swapo activities in Mozambique. In the case of Angola refuge was granted to members of Swapo, and those members were allowed to enter South West Africa to commit murder there. What is more, they occupied the dam and fired on our people. We did not intervene: we acted in self-defence, and we shall at all times continue to do so.
Mr. J. D. Du P. Basson: State your case now.
But surely that is what I am doing now. I am not talking to you. You must not be so conceited as to think that I am talking only to you; I am talking to hon. members in the House. I come to the hon. member for Sea Point in this connection.
This is what the hon. member said to me (Hansard, 1976, col. 101.):
"And in this case all the evidence is that the Government has both wilfully and secretively gone outside of the clear mandate of nonintervention, the clear mandate of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries in the instance of Angola. The Government has repeatedly stated that South Africa's involvement has been limited to the protection of the waterworks at Calueque and of the hydroelectric scheme at Ruacana. In addition it says that it has been protecting the borders for which we have accepted responsibility. This has necessitated the involvement of South African forces in occasional hot pursuit of terrorist groups who have violated or threatened to violate the border. And there has been a general assertion, often used by the hon. the Prime Minister, that our cause is the cause of the free world."
Why did the hon. member lay words in my mouth which I never used? I never spoke about "the cause", nor did I say that our cause is the cause of the free world. I used the word "involvement" and "involvement" is a totally different word from the word "cause". I never disputed or denied that South Africa was involved. It is true that we did not give more information. We did not give more information because the matter was delicate and because we were not alone in our involvement in this. It worried me as it worried everybody else. However, we did not leave it at that; we explained it to the media as best we possibly could. I did so personally. I interviewed how many editors and how many journalists and explained it to them at length and my hon. colleague, the Minister of Defence, went out of his way to explain to all the editors of the newspapers what the circumstances were. It was impossible for us to go beyond the word "involvement" in this matter because too much was at stake. I accept full responsibility for that. Whilst I am on this point, let me say something in respect of which I am sure all hon. members who take it seriously will agree with me: America lost the war in Vietnam because inter alia the Press was too much involved with that war. [Interjections.] I am glad that I get a "hear hear" from the other side because that is so. One does not fight a war in order to supply news to newspapers. War is a serious matter. War is a matter of life and death and very often the wrong word in a newspaper at the wrong time can cause many deaths of people. It can also upset your strategy. It can make all your plans go wrong. It can undermine the morale inside and outside your country. We did not snub the newspapers. Why should we want to snub the newspapers? We want their co-operation and that is why we went out of our way to explain to them.
We did not depart from our policy. I want to repeat that if in the case of Angola there had been one Government to which the Portuguese had handed over, then as far as South Africa was concerned that would have been the end of the matter unless they had attacked us either through South West Africa or otherwise. My time is running out but I may say that there are other arguments which I can use to show that you cannot equate the two.
There was also a third question asked: Why was the public not kept informed? In answer to that I say that the public was informed. There was also the question: What is the extent of our present commitment and what will it be in future? I say that our present commitment is as it always has been, namely the protection of our country and the borders for which we are responsible. In the case of Angola it also refers to the Kunene scheme and whatever goes with it. We are committed and we will at all times defend our legitimate interests and those of the Owambo people.
For a reason I would not know, the hon. member for Sea Point asked about the article which Mr. Schulzberger wrote. I have not seen that article, but it is perfectly clear what happened. I more particularly discussed, as far as this question was concerned, the North. The FNLA
forces were not far from Luanda at the time and the hon. member has surely read what Holden Roberto 31 said, namely that he was out-gunned by the Russians and the Cubans, that the morale of his people was high and that they were a match for the MPLA soldiers, but that he could not fight the 120 mm rockets barehanded. Of course, I said to Mr. Schulzberger: South Africa does not have that sort of thing; so we cannot give it to them even if we wanted to. It is only the free world that can give it to them. I am sorry that the free world did not do so. I thought that, by saying that, I might have touched a spark somewhere and that these people would at least be given the equipment required for the job they had to do.
Mr. C. W. Eglin: It nevertheless revealed a very ugly situation as far as our preparedness was concerned.
This had nothing whatsoever to do with our preparedness. It had to do with a situation 1 500 or more miles away from us. It had to do with a place wherein we were not involved at all. I am sorry that I have to say that the free world alone could at that time have cut off the communist and Cuban supplies through Luanda. That was not done and the result was what we have seen it to be.
Mr. Speaker, I have tired to argue and prove that we did not become involved because we wanted to be involved. South Africa has a record in this regard. We do not want to become involved, but we were involved because we had no alternative. I am grateful for the understanding shown by my friends, the hon. member for Durban Point, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, and others, in this regard. They themselves said that they did not agree with everything we were doing, but I appreciate the spirit in which they discussed matters with us, even when they reproached us.
I referred at the outset to the communist objectives. Those objectives have always remained the same. We have learned a lesson in Angola, a lesson which reminded us of what we already knew, for I am on record as having said a long time ago in this House that, when it comes to the worst. South Africa stands alone. People will have to realize this. I think our people have realized this for a long time, for the instincts of a people whose survival is at stake, are never wrong. That is why our people are moving closer together, and that is why there is the intensification of feeling among our people which one sees in these days, and which we saw more than ever before on the day of humiliation 32. One observes it is one's correspondence, and one hears it in one's conservation with people. There are difficult days for us. It is going to be a difficult year, a year of endless problems. It is a watershed year. But I believe, as I stand here before you, that it is also a year of grace. It is a year of hope and a year of faith, because we have a task which we have to accomplish. Thank God our people are prepared to accomplish that task.
Cf. P. W. Botha, "Die plek van Suid-Afrika in die Globale Internasionale Magskonstellasie", C. R. Swart lecture. No. 6, 31 August 1973, UOFS, Bloemfontein, p. 17 et seq.
According to economic observers South Africa is the 15th most important country in the world in terms of economic strength. Apart from gold and diamonds. South Africa has the world's largest deposits of chrome, vanadium and platinum, while next to Russia it is the biggest producer of medium-grade manganese ore. It has been calculated that in the next 10 years South Africa will become the biggest producer of uranium next to the USA. South Africa would then control about 15,86% of the world market.
The Honourable P. W. Botha has been Minister of Defence since 1966.
Cf. the Prime Minister's speech in the House of Assembly on 18 April 1975.
SWAPO - South West African People's Organisation.
Sam Nujoma is the Leader of the South West African People's Organisation. Cf. M. Morris, Armed Conflict in Southern Africa, Jeremy Spence, Cape Town, 1974, p. l et seq.
Cf. Assembly Debates, Part XX, 13 March - 5 May 1967, col. 4173 et seq.
ZANU - Zimbabwe African National Union.
ZAPU - Zimbabwe African People's Union.
On 12 September 1957 the Rhodesian ANC came into being with Mr. Joshua Nkomo as President. Cf. M. Morris, op. cit., p. 28 et seq,
The Progressive Reform Party.
Paramount Chief K. D. Matanzima of Transkei.
Paramount Chief L. M. Mangope of Bophuthatswana.
Paramount Chief M. G. Buthelezi of KwaZulu.
Paramount Chief C. Phatudi of Lebowa.
Nelson Mandela became Transvaal President of the ANC in 1952 and subsequently vice-president of this organisation in South Africa. Cf. H. H. W. de Villiers, Rivonia: Operation Mayibuye, Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel, Johannesburg, 1964.
Robert Sobukwe was the first president of the Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa. Cf. R. Shay and C. Vermaak, The Silent War, Galaxie Press, Salisbury, 1971, pp. 106-8.
Cf. Keesing's Contemporary Archives, 1975, p. 27115 et seq.
MPLA - Movimento Popular de Libertacao de Angola. Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola.
FNLA - Frente Nacional de Libertacao de Angola. National Front of Angolan Liberation.
UNITA - Uniao Nacional pora a Independencia Total de Angola. National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.
Cf. the Minister of Defence's speech in the House of Assembly on 26 January 1976.
Mr. H. H. Schwarz is the MP for Yeoville.
Mr. G. W. Eglin is the MP for Sea Point.
Mr. J. D. du P. Basson is the MP for Bezuidenhout.
Dr. F. van Zyl Slabbert is the MP for Rondebosch.
Mr. W. V. Raw is the MP for Durban Point.
Cf. foot-note 3.
Minister P. W. Botha, Cf. Assembly Debates, Part I, 23-30 January 1976, col. 43 et seq.
Holden Roberto is the leader of the FNLA (National Front of Angolan Liberation) in Angola. Cf. M. Morris, op. cit., p. 11 et seq.
On 7 January 1976 special services were held in South Africa to pray for the Republic's future. South Africans attended these services in large numbers. Cf. E.P. Herald, 6.1.1976; Die Burger, 6.1.1976; Pretoria News, 5.1.1976; Die Transvaler, 5.1.1976.