Another row broke out today between President Pieter W. Botha and conciliatory members of the politically dominant Afrikaner community when seven pastors of the influential Dutch Reformed Church announced plans to defy government disapproval and meet leaders of the exiled African National Congress.
Violence resumed in the black and mixed-race townships outside Cape Town. Two persons were killed in clashes with the security forces, and activists threw 150 gasoline bombs at vehicles and buildings. Four blacks were killed elsewhere.
Botha's government caused a stir in Afrikaner intellectual circles last week by seizing the passports of eight students at the community's most respected university to stop them from traveling to Zambia to meet members of the ANC youth league. Today he accused the pastors of challenging the authority of the state by planning the talks despite his disapproval of contacts with the outlawed organization.
"The government has expressed its strong viewpoint on discussions with the ANC, which is a murderous organization . . . controlled by communists who reject religion," a spokesman for the president said in Pretoria.
The pastors seem determined to go ahead with the meeting. Their leader, Nico Smith, a white missionary in the black branch of the racially segregated church, said in a television interview that they were not trying to challenge the government but felt called upon to seek reconciliation between South Africa's conflicting forces.
Earlier this year there were indications that the Botha government was itself putting out feelers for a meeting with the ANC, which is committed to overthrowing white-minority rule by guerrilla struggle. But as racial violence intensified, the government's attitude hardened.
The violence around Cape Town was mainly in the strongly Moslem Bo-Kaap district, where most of the gasoline bombings occurred and several persons were injured in clashes with the police, who used a new armored personnel carrier fitted with a rapid-fire gun using rubber bullets.
Several highways adjoining the district were closed as youths hurled gasoline bombs at passing autos. Three buildings and a number of vehicles were set on fire.
Two blacks were killed by security force gunfire in Crossroads squatter camp. A black man who allegedly attacked a policeman in a township east of Johannesburg was shot dead. Two blacks died in clashes with the police in the eastern Transvaal town of Standerton last night, and the charred body of a black man was found near Port Elizabeth this morning.
The small and relatively affluent Moslem community is made up of descendants of Malay and Javanese slaves imported by Dutch settlers in the 17th century.