HC Deb 26 June 1991 vol 193 cc978-9
3. Mr. Hain

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if when he visits South Africa, he will discuss policy on sanctions and boycotts with representatives of the African National Congress.

Mr. Hurd

I hope to discuss many matters with the South African Government and with representatives of all the main parties in South Africa, including the ANC.

Mr. Hain

Does the Foreign Secretary agree with South African political and sports leaders who say that sanctions have been the main pressure for change, but that the negotiations that are going on risk being jeopardised? There is still no commitment by President de Klerk to one person, one vote. The sports negotiations, although they have made a far greater advance, still have some way to go. I know from personal experience that whites change only when there is no alternative. The Foreign Secretary's premature call for sanctions to be lifted risks jeopardising progress and reversing the momentum for change. Does he really think that he knows better than Nelson Mandela?

Mr. Hurd

The hon. Gentleman is hopelessly out of date. The ANC representatives who came to see me a few weeks ago said that 29 June—in a few days' time—will see the foundation of one non-racial united cricket board for South Africa. The ANC said, "Please do your best to ensure that the International Cricket Council readmits South Africa to international cricket when it meets next month." I hope that the hon. Gentleman will back the ANC in that respect.

Mr. John Carlisle

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the last person to whom the House should listen on the subject of the abolition of apartheid is the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), who has done more to delay the process than probably any other individual inside or outside South Africa? Will my right hon. Friend send a message to the International Cricket Council and to Mr. Colin Cowdrey, its chairman, when it meets in London next month, that the British Government are totally satisfied with the moves by the South African cricket authorities and Government and with the fact that cricket there is now fully integrated? Does he further agree that we should resume test matches against South Africa immediately?

Mr. Hurd

My hon. Friend is well placed to modernise the education of the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) in these matters. Surely it is sensible that, as South African sport becomes integrated sport by sport, those sports should be readmitted to the international family. That is what is about to happen with cricket. I hope that the whole House will support—and will urge the Caribbean countries and India to support—South Africa's readmission to international cricket.

Mr. Winnick

When one examines the tragedy that befell South Africa from 1948 onwards, is not it clear that it is precisely the people who fought that tyranny—first and foremost people in South Africa, but also those outside who urged sanctions and boycotts—who have helped to bring about the present situation? Is not it a fact that time and again Tory Members, such as the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle), have defended in every possible way the tyranny that is now being disbanded in South Africa?

Mr. Hurd

I do not think that that is true of my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle). It is certainly not in any way true of the Government. Whatever the past arguments, sanctions are now out of date. We have now dealt with sport. On investment, I believe that the more investment that is made in South Africa now, the better the chances for building the new South African nation after apartheid.

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