Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th May 1988.

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Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough 12:00 am, 4th May 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the consequences of his policy of non-recognition of Bophuthatswana for those who live within its boundaries.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

Bophuthatswana is part of the Republic of South Africa and we treat those who live within its boundaries accordingly.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

Why does my right hon. Friend persist in treating Bophuthatswana as an integral part of South Africa? Bearing in mind this country's historical responsibility for the absorption of Southern Botswana into South Africa, why does she refuse to assist the development of a democratic, free enterprise, multi-racial and apartheid-free society in Bophuthatswana?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

We do not refuse to help those from Bophuthatswana. They are helped by the schemes that go to all black South Africans. Bophuthatswana's claim to independence is hardly borne out by the recent coup and the South African Government's response. The words of the South African President are particularly apt. After that coup he said: We are back in charge. I mean, the President of Bophuthatswana is back in charge.

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

Does the Minister agree that the present policy, which allows discrimination against a school for deaf children in Kutlwanong and permits the students to go to the Silent Games as spectators rather than participants, is not in keeping with a caring community and the world at large?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

I regret to say that the hon. Gentleman is right, but that is part of apartheid. It was under the system of grand apartheid that the homelands were set up.

Mr. Andy Stewart:

Is my right hon. Friend aware that after five years of drought Bophuthatswana has been able to feed its population every year? With a little aid the people of Bophuthatswana could expand their irrigation system and feed the people of Mozambique, who are starving.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

Food is growing well in Mozambique, but it is part of the policy of the Government of South Africa, as they have clearly revealed, to keep Bophuthatswana part of the South African Republic. On that basis, I hope that the people of Bophuthatswana will feed themselves, but there is no question at the present time of the South African Republic sending food to Mozambique.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Will the Minister accept that we agree with her—[HON. MEMBERS: "The hon. Gentleman would."]—that any claim to Bophuthatswana being independent and sovereign has been wholly exposed and exploded by the military intervention by Pretoria? Does the right hon. Lady agree that it would be wrong to give any hint of recognition to this gerrymandered creation of President Verwoerd's Bantustan policy?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

It is clear from everything that has occurred in recent months that the South African Republic regards Bophuthatswana and the other homelands as part of its territory. Although it may not be particularly appealing to my colleagues on the Conservative Back Benches that the hon. Gentleman agrees with me, I am going on the basis of what the South African Government say, the way in which the homelands were set up and the way in which people may mix in the homelands, but those black people from the homelands do not have the same rights to mix in the Republic of South Africa outside the homelands.