South Africa

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 12th February 1990.

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Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West 3:30 pm, 12th February 1990

We warmly welcome the release of Nelson Mandela. He symbolises the aspirations of millions of South Africans for a non-racial democratic South Africa.

Since Mr. de Klerk became president, he has transformed the policy of the South African Government. He has initiated a series of steps including the commitment to abolish much of the remains of so-called petty apartheid, the unbanning of political organisations and now the release of Nelson Mandela. All these steps have been demanded time and again by the British Government, by the international community and by the House. Taken together, they create a completely new climate in South Africa—a climate in which dialogue can begin about the massive task of dismantling apartheid peacefully. This new climate presents a decisive challenge to those, black and white, who wish to maintain the old orthodoxies of confrontation.

We urge the African National Congress, the Pan-Africanist Congress, the Inkatha movement, the various white parties and all other political organisations in South Africa to rise to this challenge, end violence, and enter negotiations.

It is vital to send a signal to the white community that President de Klerk's steps will find a response from the international community. That is why the British Government believe that it makes sense to stop discouraging investment and tourism in South Africa.