South Africa's top law enforcement official sharply criticized a group opposed to apartheid yesterday, accusing it of "promoting a climate of revolution."
The Associated Press reported that Minister of Law and Order Louis Le Grange told the Transvaal Province Congress of the ruling National Party that the 13-month-old United Democratic Front was promoting the banned African National Congress.
The ANC is the largest guerrilla group fighting the white-led government of South Africa. It has claimed responsibility for various bombings and attacks on police stations.
Le Grange's remarks could mean the government is considering banning the United Democratic Front or its leaders, who deny links to the ANC. Some of its leaders already are imprisoned without charge. When a person is banned, the government decides with whom he can speak and where he can live.
South Africa previously has used its banning law to declare illegal those organizations that appeared to be gaining support among opponents of the country's racial policies. LeGrange did not specifically mention banning.
In Washington yesterday, The Rev. Allan A. Boesak, one of the founders of the United Democratic Front, said that banning the organization or its leaders would "lead to a growing cycle of violence" and would not end the movement.
["If I were banned, the South African government would have to throw me in jail. I have accepted that," Boesak in an interview. "My work as a minister and as a spokesman for the UDF would make it impossible to obey a banning order."]
Boesak, the leader of the 700,000-member Colored (mixed race) branch of the Dutch Reformed Church, says the multiracial coalition he helped found in the summer of 1983 now has about 3 million members belonging to 700 local labor unions, community groups, student organizations and political parties across South Africa.