South Africa has signaled readiness to resume talks on a U.N. plan for Namibia's independence and expressed optimism that its black allies would be victorious in a future elections in the Pretoria-administered territory.
But the South African's hinted they wanted more time before an election is held to strengthen the authority and accomplishments of their black Namibian allies and improve their chances against the black nationalist guerrillas fighting the South African Army in the territory.
Officials here are saying that the electoral defeat of Bishop Abel Muzorewa in neighboring Zimbabwe recently was due to his failure to bring about meaningful changes rather than his moderate stance and collaboration with Rhodesian whites.
The government appears determined to give the party it is backing in Namibia an opportunity to gain greater credibility over the next months. One of the ways to do that is by transferring more power to the local Namibian authorities that are controlled by the party known as the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance.
There were discussions here about giving Namibia dominion status that would place everything but foreign and defense affairs under control of the local black leadership. Today the government announced it will transfer controls of 2,000 Namibian-born soldiers serving with the South African Army in Namibia to the Namibian authorities.
These moves are seen as an effort to give the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance new status and powers to effect social and economic changes and thereby win support of Namibia's blacks who live in the semi-desert territory. t
Pretoria's objective in this is to strengthen the party against the Southwest Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), the rebel group fighting for independence of Namibia.
Yesterday, South Africa sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim raising some procedural issues apparently in an effort to gain more time. But Foreign Minister Pik Botha said the thrust of the letter was "that we do seek ways of implementing the U.N. plan."
Analyzing the victory of rebel leader Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, South African officials said that Muzorewa's loss was due "in large part because he could not deliver the goods" while in power. One official said that Namibia's Democratic Turnhalle Alliance "ought to have learned that lesson."
Officials here also say that SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma is not as effective a leader as Mugabe and that SWAPO's appeal is restricted to the Ovambo tribe, which comprises 50 percent of the population.