Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Lest we forget

The News in Review column from the May 1960 issue of the Socialist Standard

Recent events in South Africa, which began with the shootings at Sharpeville, have brought the condemnation of Dr. Verwoerd and the Nationalist Government’s policy of apartheid from the press all over the world. The absenteeism of Africans from their work for many days afterward caused great inconvenience to the Europeans, but, more important, it has cost South African capitalists millions of pounds in lost output. Even the Chairman of the Wool Board, representing an industry dominated by Afrikaans-speaking pro-Nationalist farmers, said the Government must change its policies ". . . or else.”

The opposition (United Party) want to see a complete review of the Governments’ policy towards the Afrikans as soon as the situation simmers down, and 12 “Elders” of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa have spoken out against apartheid, saying there is no justification for it in the Scriptures, as Dr. Verwoerd claims. It seems that even sections of this Church are awakening to the fact that changes are taking place, and that apartheid is an anachronism in a developing capitalist country. But the Nationalists’ desire to keep their cheap supply of labour mainly in the country districts is, at the moment, still dominant.

Verwoerd has been for years a leading exponent of Apartheid. He is (or was) an anti-semite, and was instrumental in preventing the entry of Jewish refugees from Germany before the war. He was a staunch supporter of Nazism, was minister for Native Affairs for eight years before succeeding Strijdom as Prime Minister. He has played, a leading part in creating the nightmare that is South African politics today. He has now become a victim of this nightmare, a savage irony indeed.

Military observers in South Africa were puzzled at the purchase of the “Saracens” at a reported cost of £15,000 each. They could not at that time see the usefulness of such a heavy weapon. They have now found out.

No comments: