Volkstaat

Volkstaat (Afrikaans for "People's state") is a proposal for the establishment of a homeland for Afrikaners. Outside a possible use of force, the South African Constitution and International Legislation present certain possibilities for the establishment of such a state. The South African regime declared that they would not support a Volkstaat, but "would do everything they could to ensure the protection of the Afrikaner language and culture". What a fine job they are doing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Interview With Volkstaat Council Chair Johann Wingard

Afrikaner Independence (2): Interview With Volkstaat Council Chair Johann Wingard David Storobin, Esq. - 5/27/2005

During negotiations between South Africa's White Afrikaners and ANC, as well as other Black groups, some of the Afrikaners demanded the right to self-determination. Nelson Mandela's team promised to discuss the issue further and even included it in the new Constitution. The organization that was set up to make recommendations on the issue was the Volkstaat Council (People's State Council). Johann Wingard was chosen to be the Chairman of the Council. Today, he is discussing with us the Council's work and South Africa after apartheid.

Q: What was the mandate of the Volkstaat Council and how did it come into existence?

A: The peaceful handover of power of 1994 was achieved after lengthy negotiations by the ruling party, the National Party and the ANC/Communist party alliance. The Conservative Party, which was the parliamentary opposition, was simply sidelined during those negotiations. Gen. Constand Viljoen, representing the 'conservative' grouping, agreed with Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma of the ANC, that the unfinished business with ethnic Afrikaners needed to be addressed constitutionally. The Volkstaat Council was to be a constitutional instrument that would make a peaceful election possible. After the elections, the newly formed Freedom Front, lead by Gen. Viljoen, nominated the 20 council members after consultation with the different factions of that grouping. About half the councillors were not members of Viljoen's party. The Council was constituted on the 16th of June, 1994 in the Old Raadsaal on Church Square, Pretoria, the historic seat of Paul Krugers' South African Republic. Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, delivered the address at the time.

The Volkstaat Council was established in terms of Section 184A(2) of the interim Constitution for the following purpose:

"...make recommendations and advise the government, the Constitutional Assembly, the Commission on Provincial Government (CPG) and other bodies concerned, regarding self-determination in general and the attainment thereof of a Volkstaat for the Afrikaner."

"The council shall serve as a constitutiuonal mechanism to enable proponents of the idea of a Volkstaat to Constitutionally pursue the establishment of such a Volkstaat."

The clear objective was an effort to tie the so-called right wing Afrikaners, into the new dispensation and to defuse an otherwise explosive situation.

Q: Who made up the Council? Tell us a little about yourself and other key members.

A: Twenty members were elected from all walks of life. Anna Boshoff, wife of Prof. Carel Boshoff and daughter of the late Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd, was the only woman. Her son Carel iv also served. Other members were the scientist Dr. Wally Grant, formerly head of Pelindaba, our uranium enrichment facility, Attorney Chris de Jager, now a judge and Professor Hercules Booysen who is an internationally renowned jurist. Other members were Gen. Ernest Pienaar, formerly head of logistical planning of the SA Defence force, Dr. Natie Luyt, Dr. Piet Liebenberg, Dr. Chris Jooste, and Prof. Pikkie Robbertze - four academics; Mr. Koos Reyneke, an architect, Mr. Dirk Viljoen a town planner, Commandant Douw Steyn, a senior member of the civil defence system, Mr. Herman Vercueil an agricultural leader, Gen. Kobus Visser, formerly head of the CID, Mr. Mars de Klerk, an attorney, Flip Buys, a Trade Union executive, Duncan du Bois, a politician, Riaan Visagie, a teacher, and myself. I am a retired industrialist. You can find my biographical details in the Marquis' Who's Who in the World (1996, 13th edition) As can be seen, the members were not political animals, but men of standing in their own professions. There were only four or five full time members - the rest were scattered all over the country and assembled from time to time to attend committee or council meetings.

Q: What were the recommendations of the Council?

A: The Council produced several interim reports as well as a voluminous final report, which summarized the large number of individual monographs and specialist committee reports that were presented to the government from 1994 though 1999. A golden thread was the concept of internal self-determination, which was proposed as a proven device to ensure the support of ethnic minority groups -- so essential for political stability and economic development. Their three key points were:

- Areas where Afrikaners form a natural majority, should enjoy territorial self-determination at second and third tier government levels. These were demarcated. The Northwestern Cape was also mentioned as a potential area. Another was around Pretoria where more than four hundred thousand Afrikaners are living in the northern, eastern and southern Pretoria district and contiguous areas. An independent national state was not envisioned, but a province or federal state was recommended.

- The Government was requested to urgently attend to the establishment of a representative Afrikaner Council, which would be an advisory body acting as the constitutional instrument through which Afrikaners would have some corporate input into state affairs, especially on matters that affect them intimately. Representation in parliament, where numerical power is all that mattered, was not seen as a democratic system for minorities.

- The Government was requested to enact the necessary legislation as soon as possible to implement those recommendations. The council drafted the legislation for the establishment of an Afrikaner Council.

Q: How did the ANC government treat the Council when it existed? How was the Council disbanded?

The Government was never serious about the Council's work. At government official level we were regarded as fellow civil servants, merely doing a job. For serious negotiations, we were palmed off to strange facilitators. One such person being a German financial broker, another one being an emiritus professor of theology and arch liberalist. During a meeting with Pres. Nelson Mandela in the company of Genl Viljoen, I handed the Council's First Interim Report to Mandela. I wanted to discuss the contents, but Mandela was only concerned about agricultural projects for Mozambique and Tanzania, which he discussed with Viljoen. The media cameras were waiting outside. With myself and Viljoen at his side, he assured the world that Afrikaners were not such bad people after all and that he received the Council's report. He promised that the ANC would seriously consider the question of a Volkstaat! One big public relations exercise! That's it!

At other official encounters between the Council and the Government, we usually discussed administrative procedures, with Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairman of the Constitutional Council, who was co-ordinating the drafting of the final constitution. The only time that the ANC showed any interest in our work was at an encounter with a constitutional committee headed by Essop Pahad (now Minister of the Presidency). At that encounter we tabled an interim report and proposed that a tenth province be created where Afrikaners would be in a natural majority. Storming out of the committee room, he accused the Freedom Front of negotiating in bad faith. The press were waiting in the media briefing room, where he delivered a tirade of anti-Afrikaner clich├Ęs and rejected out of hand the concept of territorial self-determination as a return to apartheid.

The ANC regarded the Volkstaat Council as a 'sick joke', to paraphrase one of the leading black intellectuals during his address to the Council. Instead of defusing a constitutional deadlock, they deceived ethnic Afrikaners with empty promises of self-determination. The council's budget was simply terminated, but the Council was never formally disbanded. Not a single action resulting from the Volkstaat Council's reports emanated from the ANC government. I doubt if any government official ever opened any of our reports to read them. Thousands of high quality manhours were spent, but the ANC unashamedly reneged on the accord they made with General Viljoen to make a peaceful transition of power possible.

Q: What were/are the views of the Democratic Alliance [liberal representing mostly non-Afrikaner whites], New National Party [came out of the National Party, but became much more liberal and represented liberal white Afrikaners], Conservative Party [represented conservative Afrikaners until it joined Freedom Front], Freedom Front [slightly more moderate than the Conservative Party], AWB [extremist Afrikaner Resistence Movement], Inkatha [represents the Zulu tribe], PAC [represents radical Blacks who are usually hostile to Whites] and other parties on the Council and its recommendation? Who was most supportive and most hostile?

A: Naturally the FF was the most supportive, but, when it mattered most, they failed to provide a solid political platform for the Council's recommendations for self determination in the Pretoria area. The National Party was silent, but supported the concept of corporate self-determination via a representative council for Afrikaners. The CP accused the Council members as traitors to the cause of Afrikaners and warned that nothing could emerge from the Council's endeavours as the ANC were hell bent on a centralised phylosophy of Africanization. The AWB were not a factor. Inkatha was very sympathetic and I had useful discussions with [Zulu and Inkatha leader] Dr. Buthelezi in Cape Town. The Democratic Party [which later merged with the Federal Alliance to form the Democratic Alliance party], as it was at the time, did not support the Council's 'ethnic' approach as they were the great protagonists of the liberal dream, where the individual is placed above group interests. However, for tactical reasons, they were not vehemently outspoken.

In short, the Council was short-changed on political support and subsequently allowed to peter out.

Q: Do you have any hopes of any significant recommendations being implemented?

A: No. Afrikaners will have to shed blood for any form of self-determination, as elsewhere in the world. They were sold a pup with that constitutional mechanism. The African psyche only respects credible power. Having dismantled all the Afrikaners' power structures over ten years, they do not fear him anymore and need not consider him as anything but a useful tax base.

Q: Are you hopeful about Afrikaners gaining independence or autonomy in any part of the RSA?

A: No. The only way to achieve that aim is the African way. Civil war. Africanism is as absolute as Mohammedism [Islam]. Afrikaners are regarded as the lawful prey after a fair power contest. They were overpowered "democratically" and should now keep quiet while their assets are being distributed in the name of Black empowerment, whilsts their objected-to Western culture is being desimated.

Q: What made the NP surrender Afrikaner political power, even though they were backed by nuclear weapons, as well as Africa's strongest military, intelligence services and economy?

A: After the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902, the Boer leaders were confronted by the British negotiators. The Boers had nothing to bring to the table, other than integrity and guts. Their economy was destroyed. They have lost one third of their women and children in those awful concentration camps, which were nothing other than a system of ethnic cleansing. Nearly a hundred years later, Afrikaners were a superpower in African terms. As you say, they were a nuclear power and had a world wide intelligence system that functioned well. Their negotiators had all the hardware of war and supportive stuctures as well as a well functioning economy to bring to the table. What was lacking was integrity and guts, so that they succumbed to a tattered group of terrorists who no longer had the support of a superpower called the Soviet Union.

But during the negotiations, the man who was supposed to be his team's inspiration, was committing adultery in a millionaire's yacht in the Meditteranean Sea with a Greek businessman's wife, whom he later married. His team, headed Roelf Meyer, was already so completely brainwashed by liberal American interests, that they were a pushover for the ANC. I dealt with Meyer when he was the responsible cabinet minister for the Volkstaat Council. Sorry to say, I would not have employed him to buy me a truck, let alone to negotiate the sovereignty of a proud people like the Boer-Afrikaners. The unmandated negotiators disregarded the fact that no government or group of officials can legally alienate the inherent sovereignty of a people as an accepted international law.

Pressure from the business sector is an objective factor that should not be ignored. Ethnicity is a centrifugal force that tends to separate people, causing them to compete for resources, but the economy and sport are centripetal forces which tend to unite peoples and their interests. Business therefore saw Afrikaner ethnicity as a divisive issue to be downplayed. The pressures of big business on the negotiation process should never be underestimated. Business reckoned that they would co-opt black politicians in the same manner as they co-opted white politicians in the past, So, why not change governments as expediently as possible?

Q: Tell us about the town of Orania and the progress it is making.

A: I am sorry to say that I am unable to talk positively about Orania. I believe that it is an unrealistic dream, not unlike the Dutch of Pennsylvania. Sure, there is some progress, as would have been the case with any other property development project after ten years or longer.

Q: Do you believe Orania may become autonomous in the future, or will it become a small irrelevant village, or will it even be eliminated by the South African government?

A: No, not without bloodshed. Orania is a symbol, an icon, nothing more.

Q: Radio Pretoria has been making waves in support of Afrikaner independence. Can you tell us about them and about other media fighting for this cause?

A: I can only marvel at the resillience of Radio Pretoria's management. The printed media is trying to be politically correct so as to ensure their share of government printing contracts. Apart from an isolated small newspaper, such as the AFRIKANER, no paper serves the cause of the Afrikaner nation any more. The internet is an exception.

Q: What organizations are fighting for Afrikaner self-determination, autonomy and/or independence? How strong are they? Are they well-respected or dismissed as a tiny radical fringe?

A: Afrikaner self-determination has become a curse word in many circles and regarded as a right wing notion. Intellectuals who are still active in government circles are afraid of being victimized or that their careers may be put in jeopardy if they associate openly with the concept of self-determination, due to the fact that government policy is to forge a single nation without ethnic fault lines. There are at least thirty Afrikaner organisations who are mustering energy towards self-determination for Afrikaners. They are all splinter groups. Relics from the apartheid era, such as the Broederbond (the Brotherhood - a secret society who regulated the cultural and political landscape during the apartheid era) and the FAK (Federation of Afrikaner Cultural Organisations) are trying to transform themselves to find new horizons and visions so as to survive in a world where they no longer have any relevance or function. Those organisations are all discredited. Afrikaners have withdrawn from public and political life like snails reverting to their shells. Their ambitions and political aspirations are dormant like an Etna or Vesuvius. When and how it will erupt is uncertain. But erupt it will. The ANC's notion that the Afrikaner nation has surrendered its sovereignty is erroneous and unfounded. Just as every free person is sovereign in his own circle, so is every group of persons who consider themselves to be a free people.

Q: What are your views of the ANC? Are they better or worse than you expected in 1994?

A: The ANC turned out to be exactly as was forecasted by the renowned anthropologist Dr. Wiets Beukes when he wrote (in Afrikaans): "South Africa under a Black Government, a prognosis against the background history of Black Africa and its Thought Processes. (1993)". Although Beukes warned of an impending danger, he was ignored in 1993-94. He predicted with uncanny accuracy that a black government with unbridled 'democratic' power would follow the same patterns as all African states before it. It is in the African psyche to do so.

The demonisation of the Afrikaner community was crucial for the policies of black empowerment to survive international legal and moral scrutiny. Black empowerment is blatant racial discrimination - even worse than under the apartheid government. So it required a platform to ameliorate its moral acceptability.

Rectifying the injustices of the past was the 'hobby horse' selected. At the time, the only injustice that existed was that some South Africans were of Western and others of African extraction. That could be seen as 'an injustice to humanity' per se as a clash of civilizations was inevitable. The ANC is now turning out to be a cynical, power-hungry group of politicians, in which the Moslem community, as well as the communists have a level of influence way beyond their numerical relevance. Members of the Xhosa tribe dominate the upper hierarchy of central government as well as in provincial government. The concept of Black Empowerment is turning out to be a way of getting super rich quickly for a handful of blacks, while the White man on the street is forced by the "guidelines" to share his little business with black partners who often is unable to contribute a bean towards the future of the enterprise. A white Afrikaner cannot buy a filling station, for example, without a black partner, whereas a Indian from London, who recently arrived in this country, may do so. The oil companies would otherwise not replenish the depot's storage tanks.

A black person from Tanzania is employed ahead of a white Afrikaner on the grounds of transformation. When I called him an immigrant, he retorted that he was an African, I, a Boer, was the immigrant.

Transformation means 'changing the colour of the demographic landscape from white to black'. That is blatant discrimination and ethnic cleansing, justified by the concept of "the injustices suffered by the black majority during colonial rule".

The concept of apartheid existed throughout the African colonies and the Afrikaners now seem to have to bear the guilt of the colonial powers who imposed the policy of racial segregation over the centuries.

Q: What future do you see for RSA? Do you see civil wars and/or expulsion of Whites, or do you believe the country will see multi-racial harmony where Blacks and Whites can live and prosper together in peace.

A: A massive reservoir of goodwill exists between South Africans of all colours and creeds. But that reservoir is getting smaller by the day. People only fight civil wars when they have nothing to lose. Due to discriminatory measures, poverty is creeping up on Afrikaners and a few thousand of them have already crossed that threshold. They will be easy meat for activists.

Afrikaners have lost all control over their culture and their schools. Strangers who do not speak their language are now deciding on the curricula of the few remaining Afrikaans schools. Prior to 1994 there were more than 2,700 such schools, while today, only eleven years later, there are less than 300 left. Unless Afrikaners soon deal with that scenario in an organised manner by means of a statutary Afrikaner Council (similar to the Jewish Board of Deputies) so as to present a coherent and credible front to the government and the international community, splinter groups wil soon emerge with catastrophic results for peace in this country. South Africa's whites are born and bred in Africa and want to stay and make the country a success. But I'm afraid that the psyche of the African is the same in the Eastern, Southern, Northern and Western parts of Africa. The decay and neglect that has already set in during the eleven years of African rule is starkly visible in every walk of life, in every town, in every government department and in business. I regret to say that I see no prospect for that process of decay to stop. The same applies to the decay in relationships between ethnic groups.

Q: What are the main problems facing Afrikaners and all other South Africans today?

A: Representivity. Participatory democracy. Unemployent. Poor economic growth. Cultural chauvinism expressed as self-assertion. But the biggest single problem is crime. Nobody is safe anymore. The liberal constitution that ensures even criminal constitutional rights sent the wrong signal that crime actually pays. The rampant replacement of professional white policement by affirmative action applicants has just about destroyed the entire police system.

Q: What have been the successes and failures of the ANC so far?

The ANC's biggest success thus far is to shed the communist economic doctrine in favor of a free market economy. Cynics, however, claim that this was inevitable - otherwise how could the twenty thousand new black millionaires keep their largesse? Their biggest failure is to win over the hearts and minds of the white community, addressing the AIDS epidemic, and combating crime.

David Storobin is a New York lawyer who received Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers University School of Law. His Master's Thesis (M.A. - Comparative Politics) deals with the historical causes for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. He is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Ibn Khaldun Center for International Research (www.centroik.ufm.edu.gt) at the University of Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. He's been interviewed on radio and cited in books as a political expert.

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