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Remarks Following Discussions With Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, Chief Minister of South Africa's KwaZulu Homeland and Leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party

June 20, 1991

The President. Let me just say that we've had a very engaging and interesting meeting with the Chief Minister Buthelezi. He and I were reminiscing, and I think this is my fifth meeting, at least, with him over the last few years. And I've found this one perhaps the most constructive in terms of getting up-to-date from him on developments in South Africa.

We talked about the sanctions question. We talked about a wide array of other questions, including the state of play in negotiations. And we have a very good feeling now. He agrees with us that dramatic progress has been made -- or we agree with him on that. We both agree that more progress must be made.

I told him of our policy. Our law is very clear that when five conditions are met, we will lift sanctions. And I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I believe the Chief Minister feels this would be the constructive approach to take in terms of jobs and investment and many other things.

So, we once again have had a very good, productive meeting where we agree on perhaps the most important questions facing relations between this country and South Africa.

Chief Minister, it's been a joy to have you here once again, sir.

The Chief Minister. Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I just want to say that I'm very honored, indeed, to be here. And I'm pleased to have once again, as the President said, the opportunity to meet with the President. We had positive and fruitful discussions about the future of South Africa.

We in the Inkatha Freedom Party and the majority, I think, of all South Africans share the fundamental values upon which this great democracy is based: individual liberty, human dignity, and a just society based on just laws.

This meeting comes at an auspicious moment as legislated apartheid has been scrapped. And South Africa now faces the great challenge of ensuring a peaceful transition to a multiparty democracy.

As we are witnessing around the world, transitions to democracy are the most delicate time in the life of nations. And those such transitions are happening at an unprecedented pace, from Eastern Europe to Africa. None, in fact, are assured of success without careful preparation of democratic structures and democratic ethos in the society.

This delicate task cannot be accomplished on the base of one or two parties alone. They cannot just be bipolar, especially in complex societies such as that of ours in South Africa. Authentic democracies have numerous voices and numerous visions, all of which must be heard. We look forward to engaging other parties in political debate, but stress that this engagement must take place in the political arena, not in the streets. Ours must be a politics of negotiation, not a politics of coercion.

We abhor the violence which has continued to rack our land because it has no place in the fashioning of democracy, and it must be rejected unequivocally by all parties. Intimidation and armed struggle must be rejected in favor of dialog and consensus. A free and democratic South Africa will face many challenges as it strives to overcome the half-century lost to the evil of apartheid.

Half of our population, ladies and gentlemen, is under the age of 15. They will need education; they will need jobs; they will need health care and the basic tools of life if there is to be the growth and stability democracy requires. There must be a redistribution of wealth brought about by the redistribution of opportunity. This means the creation of jobs and the encouragement of investment.

Africa is a desperately poor continent which is only now beginning to join the movement toward multipartyism, markets, and growth. South Africa's potential to play a supportive role in Africa can only be realized once our own future is secured.

The wide world -- worldwide, rather, trend towards freedom is our inspiration, and the role of the United States has played in this is a very great one and a very important one. We now ask that the United States help us to craft a new democracy in the same generous and evenhanded spirit it has displayed elsewhere, and that you continue to stand by our people as we strive to rebuild our nation. We have struggled and many have died to overcome apartheid so that our children may live free in the country of our forefathers and that they may learn to love peace and protect the fruit of our efforts, liberty.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 1:17 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. Prior to his remarks, the President and the Chief Minister met privately in the Oval Office and with U.S. and Inkatha officials in the Cabinet Room, and then attended a luncheon in the Old Family Dining Room.

George Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, Chief Minister of South Africa's KwaZulu Homeland and Leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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