Back to PLO Bulletin 1 November 1978


The South African regime, despite repeated calls from the UN and other international organizations for its unconditional withdrawal from Namibia, still persists in its illegal occupation.

The South African policy of intransigence over Namibia is being bolstered by its Western backers. The West, in particular the US, has been using different manoeuvres to maintain its stranglehold over the riches of his prosperous African country. The so-called Western peace proposal for a "peaceful settlement of the Namibian question" comes within this context.

The US, Britain, West Germany, Canada and France had called for elections to be held under UN auspices which would include the South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO). It was no coincidence that this call was followed a week later, on 4 May 1978, by the biggest South African military attack across the Namibia-Angola border, when at the Cassenga refugee center alone well over 600 refugees were killed.

The intention at the time was to force the withdrawal of SWAPO from the negotiations. This would have saved the face of South Africa and its Western patrons in the face of world public opinion.

The South African and Western media presented SWAPO as being the obstacle to the achievement of peaceful elections. To their dismay, SWAPO declared that it still supports UN Resolution 285 which calls for elections to be held in Namibia.

The Pretoria regime, in the face of SWAPO's acceptance of the challenge for elections, declared contrary to UN proposals, that it wants to maintain over 1,500 troops in Namibia and that it considers Walvis Bay its territory. It also declared that it will go ahead with its own elections without the participation of SWAPO.

Logically, in accordance with the Charter o the UN, punitive measures had to be taken against South Africa for its rejectionist policy towards the UN peace move. But the hypocritical peace brokers, i.e. the Western members of the UN Security Council, rejected any action against South Africa, but instead expressed their "concern and dismay" at the move.


The Pretoria clique, as well as its partners in the West, is worried about what will happen to its interest if the African majority gets a say over its resources and destiny. Behind the diplomatic moves lies the fact that the South African regime with its grip on Namibia controls not only a sizeable portion of the world's known reserve of uranium but also other strategic minerals including 86% of platinum, 83% of chrome, 49% of gold and 55% of diamonds of the world's production.

Victims of South African Terror Raids

Victims of South African Terror Raids

Namibia being the source of all these minerals, the Pretoria government knows that the West will also want to secure its lion's share before granting any token form of "independence". In this respect the call for sanctions against the South African government is interpreted by the Pretoria clique as nothing more than verbiage.

Both the South African regime and the West agree that if elections are held without any restrictions SWAPO will emerge victorious and might demand Namibia's control over its own wealth. The alternative in their view is to regulate elections in such a way that they secure their interests in the final outcome, naturally at the expense of the Namibia people. South Africa's claim that it will sponsor its own elections in Namibia comes within this framework. To this end the Turnhalle Alliance has already been formed.


The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) was formed by the Pretoria regime to counter SWAPO. To legitimize the DTA's existence, South Africa maintains, like the West, that SWAPO represents the Owambos tribe only and that the other major tribe the Hereros are represented by the DTA. Needless to say, this is the notorious colonial policy of divide and rule once again.

The DTA is currently being "headed" by Dirk Mudge who is an active member of the ruling National Party of South Africa and since 1965 has been heading the Nationist Party's local branch in Namibia.

The DTA is sponsored by South Africa as well as Western interests. "Foreign companies are paying a large price to the DTA to block SWAPO's accession to power" ("The Guardian", 27 April 1978).

Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay: Strategic Resources
The sizeable German interest and population left over from the pre-1920 German colonial era has been mobilized by the occupation authorities behind the DTA. Those who fail to comply are severely punished.

The "Allgemeine Zeitung" editor Mr. Kurt Dahlman was sacked for pointing out that "whites may be afraid of SWAPO's Marxism but it is no threat to the have-nots", that is, the African majority.

While trying to build up the DTA, the Pretoria regime is gaining enough time by the so-called "shuttle diplomatic efforts" of Western "peace makers" to try and weaken SWAPO inside Namibia. SWAPO offices are being closed, its members detained and its sympathizers intimidated. Outside Namibia in neighbouring Angola, besides massive military raids, the Pretoria regime is also arming its former Angolan partners in UNITA to weaken SWAPO and distract its attention. "Savimbi's UNITA is now so weak, it can perform neither of the functions desired by its South African paymasters to harrass SWAPO and to create acute problems for the MPLA government" (AFRICA No. 82, June 1978).


The final jigsaw that appears, when the "proposals" and "diplomatic moves" are fitted together with what is being done on the ground, is a coordinated effort by the West and the South African regime to maintain their economic grip over Namibia. To this end they are trying to create the facade of independence by trying to put into office black chiefs, who will not only be non-representative of the African majority but will have always to depend on South Africa to maintain their rule in Namibia. This will be declared "independence", and any demand after that by the African majority could be challenged as being a "communist threat" and a "Cuban adventure".

Unfortunately, for the Pretoria regime and its Western patrons, the Namibian people under the leadership of SWAPO have vowed to confront all conspiracies, and all indications prove that they are doing so very effectively.

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