Growing U.S. government pressure for radical changes in South Africa's racial policies is creating a right-wing white backlash that is complicating the very reform process it is attempting to stimulate, according to Afrikaner moderates.
The groundswell reaction has become so strong that even the Afrikaner verligte (liberal) wing of the ruling National Party is being forced rightward to take up white South Africa's defense against American demands for black majority rule.
The right-wing backlash comes at a delicate time in National Party politics. The party's verligte wing is attempting to persuade the majority verkrampte (narrow) faction to abandon the policy of apartheid, or strict racial segregation, and to accept the establishment of a confederation in which all races would share in decision-making at the national level.
"The strategy of the United States can be counterproductive, warned Cas de Villiers, director of the Foreign Affairs Association, an organizations of the moderate wing of the South African government. "If America really wants change it should heed to a delicate balance between the carrot and stick."
So far, he indicated, it has been all stick, and neither the United States nor any other country has given South Africa any public credit for even the few changes that have been introduced. Because of this, the verligtes , or moderates, of the ruling party are hard pressed to show any dividends for their proposed policies.
A similar warning, couched in slightly more diplomatie language, came from Sports and Education Minister Piet J. Koornhof, who is presently leading the Afrikaner moderates' drive to scrap apartheid and establish the ethnically based confederation in South Africa.
In an interview in Cape Town last week, Koornhof pointed to his own experience in sports. His efforts to integrate matches and teams have resulted so far only in the increased isolation of South Africa from international competition.
While the few steps Koornhof has managed to take in desegregating sports here seem insignificant abroad, they are still much criticized and opposed by conservative Afrikaners, who see such concessions as the beginning of the end of apartheid. Koornhof is thus in a delicate position at home, with practically no international results to show for his efforts. tr add pickup [TEXT OMMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Signs of the white backlash against the United States adn any further "concessions" are becoming increasingly apparent in the media and elsewhere. An article in the moderate Afrikaans-language Die Vaderland on Friday said there was a growing feeling among Afrikaner whites of "halt now" since concessions were getting South Africa nowhere.
"Why should parks, theaters and everything else be shared if ultimately we are not gaining anything for doing this?" the newspaper quoted whites as asking.
The right-wing English-language morning newspaper, The Citizen, ran a 10-part series entitled "Secret U.S. War against SA," (South Africa), in which the locally well-known writer, Aida Parker, alleges that the "Liberal international wing" of the State Department and the CIA are waging a well-financed campaign to overthrow white rule here.
"The war now being waged is to insure that the end of white rule, and the substitution of black majority rule, is achieved as speedily as possible - and that when the blacks take over, the U.S. will have a special and friendly relationship with them, whether they are pro- or anti- Marxist," said Parker.
The Citizen is not as widely read as the liberal English-language Rand Daily Mail, but the theme of Parker's article has obviously hit raw nerves among whites and is being repeated in moderate quarters as well.
For example, the highly influential verligte editor of the Afrikaans-language Die Tranveler, William de Klerk, who has just returned from a three-week tour of the United States, wrote last week that white South Afrika had to take a firm stand against American pressure for black majority rule and a total open society.
The Afrikaner editor said it would also be "humiliating and spineless weakness" for white South Africa to give in to the American demand. He urged a policy of meeting American threats with counter-threats and American intransigence with counter-intransigence.
The white backlash against American pressure is taking other forms: The U.S. Information Service office in Johannesburg has gotten a few "hate calls" as a result of The Citizen series, and on Monday anti-American slogans - "We Hate Americans" and "Yankee Firms Get Out" - appeared for the first time along the higway to the airport.
Although there is no hard evidence, there is a feeling among some outside observers here that the anti-American campaign may have the quiet backing of verkrampt elements in the government who are now digging in their heels against any further changes.
In any case, Afrikaner liberals feel the Carter administration has blundered badly in its campaign to accelerate change inside white South Africa by its public demands for majority rule and one-man, one-vote.
"Vice President Mondale followed the wrong strategy by beginning with what we regard as the 'non-negotiables,'" De Villiers said of Mondale's meeting with Prime Minister John Vorster in Vienna last month. "He could have been highly critical of what is going on here, but why did he touch on the most sensitive issue first?
"It would have been better if the Mondale-Vorster meeting had not taken place. It was counter-productive to bringing about change here."