HL Deb 14 December 1988 vol 502 cc943-79

3.4 p.m.

Lord Hatch of Lusby rose to call attention to the situation in southern Africa; and to move for Papers.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I believe that the whole House will welcome the Brazzaville Protocol that was signed yesterday in the capital of the Congo. Before we become too euphoric about what may be an historic event, I believe that it is important that we note the grave dangers which accompanied the negotiations which have led to the signing of the protocol. It may be, as it has been widely reported, that it is the result of joint pressure from both the United States and the Soviet Union. If it is, then I warn the House that the ordering of regional affairs by the two great super powers can bring grave dangers to the inhabitants of those regions.

As regards this protocol, nothing has been said as to what is to happen to the organisation known as UNITA led by Jonas Savimbi. So far as we know, United States' policy remains unchanged and it will continue to supply UNITA and Savimbi with arms, resources and finance. If that is so, the danger to the integrity of Angola continues.

Within the protocol there is an arrangement for the Cuban forces in Angola to be withdrawn. If those forces are all withdrawn, Angola itself will become vulnerable. I remind the House that Angola is a sovereign state exercising its full rights in asking for help from another sovereign state—namely, Cuba—when it was, and only when it was, invaded by South African forces. The talk about the Cubans being foreign forces on African soil really does not add up when one considers the number of the French forces that have remained on African soil for the past 20 years.

The second danger in this protocol is the danger to Namibia, which is not a party to the protocol. We have talked many times in this House about Resolution 435 of the United Nations guaranteeing that Namibia will become independent under United Nations' auspices. That has now been overtaken because Resolution No. 435 is no longer enough. The fact that Namibia is given constitutional independence is worthless unless that independence is totally guaranteed by the Security Council. We have seen that South African forces are able to penetrate and invade Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Resolution 435 must be guaranteed and the integrity and independence of Nambia must be guaranteed by the Security Council if that new state is to be safe in the future.

I have no doubt that the Government will argue, as they have already done, that the arrangements and negotiations that have taken place have been the result of their policy of dialogue rather than sanctions. That is not the case. The South Africans have been forced to come to the negotiating table, first, because of their defeat in Angola last May when they lost control of the air and had to withdraw and, secondly, because of the very high cost of the Angolan and Namibian campaigns. It was a high cost taken at a time of economic crisis. It will be argued by the Government that they have helped to arrange this protocol and these negotiations. That is not the case. If anything, the United Kingdom has hindered them. The United Kingdom was a member of the Contact Group for eight years, but what did it do? What did it do about United Nations' resolutions? What did it do about the Eminent Persons' Group report? A Member of this House was one of that group.

What has the United Kingdom done about the purchase of uranium from Namibia and about giving resources to the South Africans and to the Namibians in breach of resolutions of the United Nations? The Government have said to me consistently that they do not recognise Decree No. 1 of the United Nations regarding Namibia. What they have not set out—and they could not answer this point when I met the Minister in July—is their attitude to the Security Council resolution, which is binding and mandatory on all members of the United Nations. The Security Council asked the International Court of Justice for a verdict on the position of Namibia and the position of member states of the United Nations regarding Namibia. That advisory opinion was given in 1971. It said that states members of the United Nations were obliged to, recognise the illegality of South Africa's presence in Namibia and the invalidity of its acts on behalf of or concerning Namibia". Member states were also obliged to, refrain from any acts and in particular any dealings with the Government of South Africa implying recognition of the legality of, or lending support or assistance to, such presence and administration".

What have the Government done since 1971 to follow that verdict? The Government say that they do not recognise the International Court of Justice. But in the same year the Security Council passed Resolution 301 stating its agreement with the opinion of the international court and reaffirming United Nations' responsibility in promoting Namibian independence. That was a Security Council resolution. It is mandatory but it has not been carried out by any British Government since 1971.

We must ask whether this protocol will improve the security of the southern African region. My answer is no. The whole core of insecurity in that region lies in South Africa. It lies not in the commonly used word "apartheid" but in the determination and religious belief of the Afrikaner nation over the past 100 years that white supremacy is all-important to the future of South Africa. It is that white supremacy which is untouched. We welcome, and I pay tribute to, the efforts made by this Government to save the Sharpeville Six from the gallows, but long sentences were passed simply because the Sharpeville Six were members of a crowd. What is more, the day after the Sharpeville Six were reprieved five other Africans were executed.

In South Africa an average of 100 Africans are executed every year. As noble Lords will know, there has been a determined, oppressive and brutal campaign by the South African Government, described by Mr. Dukakis as "the terrorist state", against all opponents of apartheid or white supremacy. I have no doubt that the Government will claim, as they have already claimed, that it has been their policy of dialogue rather than sanctions that has led to the minor modifications of apartheid over the past few years. I contest that and do so by looking at the historical facts.

Despite British obstacles to sanctions, they have been applied and have worked. The Government have consistently argued that economic development will undermine apartheid, but the answer is that it never has. When South Africa was most prosperous in the 1950s and 1960s apartheid was applied with the utmost severity. Only when sanctions have begun to bite into that economy have any alterations, even minor alterations, been made. From 1985 onwards the United States and its banks called in their loans as a protest against apartheid. In October 1986 the anti-apartheid law was passed in the United States and sanctions were imposed. A ban was imposed on new investment and new hank loans. Exports to the South African police and military forces and certain imports from South Africa were banned.

It is estimated that 10 billion dollars of capital have left South Africa since 1985. The rand has fallen by more than 21 per cent. this year alone. Inflation is now running at 13.5 per cent. a year. Coal exports have fallen by 15 per cent. Steel has been blocked by Western Europe and by Japan. When the Government say that sanctions will hurt the Africans I should point out that more than 100 municipalities have reacted to the redundancies that have been caused by sanctions by removing racial restrictions on blacks doing business in central business districts. When the South African economy was under the greatest pressure the pass laws were scrapped—we all applaud that—and property rights were granted to black South Africans. Yes, sanctions do work and are working, although with residential segregation and compulsory racial registration, white supremacy itself has never yet been dented. It is still dominant and the British are protecting and assisting it through the expansion of their trade with South Africa, through their investment in South Africa and through the kindness of the Prime Minister to President Botha and by her opposition to sanctions.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls

My Lords, as the noble Lord said that all governments since 1971 have been guilty of the omissions to which he referred, is he saying that the Labour Government, who were there for quite a number of years, followed precisely the policy that is being followed now? What is the complaint from a Cross-Bench point of view?

Lord Hatch of Lusby

I am saying precisely that, my Lords. I do not excuse the Labour Government for what they did. This Government have expanded what was done. There was a great deal of argument within the Labour Government, as is shown by the references I have made previously in the House to Barbara Castle's diaries, as to whether uranium should have continued to be imported from Namibia. I do not see any such argument within the present Government.

Finally, I agree with the Government's consistent case that sanctions must damage the interests of the front line states just as they will damage the economic interests of certain black Africans in South Africa. The front line states and the black Africans have said that they are suffering already but that their suffering will be reduced in length by the application of sanctions. What are the Government doing in regard to the front line states? What are they doing to help Angola? What aid do they give to Angola? It is pitiful compared with what they give to other countries. How are they preparing Namibians to take control of an independent Namibia? Above all, what is their attitude to Zambia, which is also in the front line?

Why did the Prime Minister make that petty gesture of missing out Zambia in her tour of southern Africa? Is it because of the treatment of Sir Geoffrey Howe? Sir Geoffrey Howe was representing the EC. His visit immediately followed the report of the Eminent Persons Group. Yet the British Government were opposed to those specific recommendations.

Is it not the case that the Government are refusing to give Zambia programme aid until Zambia comes to agreement with the IMF—an agreement which at the beginning of the year immediately led to food riots because of the abolition of subsidies? Further, is it not the case that the British Government are trying to influence other European governments to refuse aid to Zambia until such agreement is made with the IMF?

Over the last month Zambia has devalued its currency by 25 per cent. and reduced its subsidies. It is taking measures, severe measures, which damage the interests of the people because of the great difficulties which Zambia has been labouring under as the copper price has dropped and as the cost of essential imports has increased.

As regards Zambia, I should like to ask the Minister who will be winding up the debate a specific question. Is it not a fact that when Mrs. Lynda Chalker, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was invited to Zambia during her recent tour the invitation was refused because it was felt by the Government that she should not meet with members of the African National Congress who are based in Lusaka—who are called terrorists by the Prime Minister—and because she would have been embarrassed by having to announce in that country that the British Government were not prepared to give any further programme aid until agreement was reached with the IMF?

Finally, and very briefly, I must draw the attention of the House to the fact that South Africa is now a nuclear power. We went through this matter only last week. I asked the Minister then why the British Government support the continued membership of South Africa of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He did not answer the question. He did not say why they support it. He gave various reasons as to why those who oppose it were not putting forward a good case. I want to know why the Government continue to support membership of an organisation that is providing South Africa with technical and scientific knowledge that is assisting that country in what is has boasted it can now do, which is to build atomic weapons.

We know from historical experience that no one can trust the words of the white South African leaders. We know that from the experience of the long conferences which have taken place; for example, the experiences of the Nkomati agreement with Mozambique. Their actions are based, and always have to be based, on the preservation of white supremacy.

South Africa is the fundamental challenge to the stability of the southern African region. Britain will be judged by history by the extent to which she supports South African racialism and the racialist regime there, or supports those who are fighting to create a non-racist society in South Africa and throughout southern Africa. I beg to move for Papers.

3.24 p.m.

Lord Elibank

My Lords, I should first like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, for introducing this debate on a most important subject which has particular relevance to British foreign policy. I have not had the opportunity to visit some of the southern African states which he very properly mentioned but I had the pleasure of visiting the Republic last year. It is of my experience there, the opinions that I formed and the discussions that I had that I wish to speak today.

I came away with two conclusions, neither of which is the least bit original. The first was that it is a subject of quite extraordinary difficulty; indeed, it is a very complex subject. I think that the assumption which most people of this country have is that there are two groups of people, one black and one white, who are diametrically opposed and united together in their opposition to the group of the other colour. Of course on the ground that proves not to be so at all.

There are in fact among the whites two, or arguably three, distinct groups—or fairly distinct groups,—because they overlap—and among the blacks perhaps a dozen different groups. Each of those entities has its own objectives, tactics and policies, some of which coincide but many of which do not. It is very difficult indeed when one is there on the ground to form any sort of a cohesive picture of what the various groups want. So, first impression: difficulty and complexity.

The second impression that I had was of the dangers of unemployment, which are superseded at the moment by the political evils of apartheid, but they are latent nonetheless. There is unemployment in South Africa at present but due to the practices of the South African Government it is obscured from the eye of the tourist to some considerable extent, but nonetheless it is there.

One wonders what will happen as and when black democracy takes over and black managers, who are at the moment at any rate singularly ill-prepared either by education or by training, take over the leadership of the major firms. One fears—and it is no more than a fear—that the effect on South Africa's economy may be very considerable and most detrimental. That of course is no argument for not opposing apartheid as such; but it is an argument for proceeding with a measure of caution when one comes to consider the methods which should be taken to overthrow it.

There were one or two other thoughts which I had, one of which was historical. One cannot wander in the country without reflecting on its history, and particularly of course on imperial history of the last 100 years or so. But what is more relevant is the outlook of the Afrikaners in particular, and the whites in general, to the historical background of their country.

I think that in this country it is commonly thought that the whites are in South Africa as Imperialist conquerors, much, if you like, as we were in India; whereas of course the original inhabitants— namely, the bushmen and Hottentots—have practically disappeared and in any event put up a rather token resistance to the ingression of the whites from the south and the Bantu black races from the north and east. The result was something like 100 years, or perhaps more, of fairly bloody warfare, and in the end the whites triumphed.

The Afrikaners, rightly or wrongly, look on the land as their land; they do not look upon themselves as conquerors, transient occupants or transient rulers of a native population. Whether one agrees with that or not, I think that it is a potent factor to bear in mind.

The other thought which cannot help but cross one's mind—and if it does not the white population are all too ready to discuss it—is what would happen if in the near future the whites were either removed or effectively neutered politically. I think that the assumption is that there would be a smooth, or relatively smooth, turnover to a form of black democracy, sponsored—led—by the African National Congress.

That is not the view of the whites of South Africa. Their view, which is a difficult one to oppose when one sees the conflicting forces at work in the union, is that the blacks of the major tribes—namely, the Zulus and their ethnic cousins the Xhosas—would be very likely to take over the entire peninsula. That may not be a realistic worry, but it is a cause for at least a certain caution when one presses forward as best one can with opposition to apartheid and with advice and recommendations for change. Too rapid change may result only in the black races going from the frying pan into the fire.

It is impossible to talk about South Africa without mentioning sanctions. Two preliminary points must be borne in mind. The first is the nature of the Afrikaners themselves. They are a tough, resolute, courageous lot and extremely obstinate. It has been said often enough that they have nowhere else to go. It is pretty clear that if they cannot live in their country they will die in it. The second point is the nature of the country itself. It is a fertile, prosperous, agricultural community. It has an abundance of most of the principal raw materials and it has a far from negligible arms industry. In those circumstances, what will happen if the policy of apartheid is pressed hard?

The views, again, of the whites in South Africa in general are that the country can sustain a siege economy against the most savage sanctions likely to be imposed. It would result in hardship, hunger and perhaps death, but it could be sustained. A local study by the University of Cape Town estimates that 1 million of those who already have jobs would be unemployed, of whom about 16 per cent. would be whites. That would clearly have a catastrophic effect on the economy but could be sustained. If that level of unemployment can be sustained, what will happen next? There is only one last card to play, is there not? That is invasion. Who will invade? Certainly not this country. Certainly not the United States. The United Nations? We have seen the United Nations conduct some sensible, worthwhile police operations in different areas of the world, but I do not see it fighting a sustained and bloody war against powerful resistance.

The most likely eventuality is a state of siege followed by—this, I am afraid, is inevitable on the international scene—sanctions-breaking by individuals and nations who will do what is required for the money on offer. In the long run, sanctions are not the answer. What is the answer? We have only to reflect upon the type of people who influence us in our private lives. They are those who talk to us kindly and quietly and whom we trust and who we believe have our interests at heart. They do not shout at us through a megaphone from the street; they talk and give their advice persistently and in a friendly fashion. Those are the people to whom we listen and those are the people to whom nations will listen. The situation in South Africa demands patience and persistent, quiet advocacy. I believe that to be the present policy of Her Majesty's Government, and I warmly support it.

3.34 p.m.

Lord Goodman

My Lords, I should not have ventured to intervene in this important debate, for which we are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, had I not recently returned from a visit to South Africa after an interval of 10 years, previously having visited about 10 times. So far as one can, I know the country well. I cannot pretend to have the excellent knowledge of the politics of South Africa, or southern Africa generally, enjoyed by the noble Lord, Lord Hatch; but I hope that I can maintain the same moderate tone as was demonstrated by the two previous speakers. A visit to South Africa today by a person of nominal sensibility does not leave one in a moderate state. It is an abomination to a great number of people.

Perhaps I may indicate the simple demography of the matter which makes inevitable, if not an abomination, a horrible anomaly. South Africa has something under 5 million Europeans; about 28 million—at least that was the figure given in the 1984 census, which is believed by most experts to be much too low—blacks; 3 million coloureds and 800,000 Asians. That community is controlled by the 4.8 million whites. It is fair to say that, of that 4.8 million, possibly 3 million are supporters of apartheid. Something over 30 million people are condemned to a life of degradation, shame and deprivation because 3 million people so require it.

That is the simple demography of the situation. It is the ambit of the matter that must be solved. It is necessary to persuade 3 million obstinate people, who have valid reasons for apprehension—they are reasonably convinced that if the African obtains the franchise and there is a free vote by 28 million people—their way of life will be destroyed. I doubt whether that is a totally valid apprehension; but if it is, it would not be a good reason for maintaining the status quo. Merely to maintain the privileged position of 3 million people at the expense of millions of others would be wrong.

Perhaps I may demonstrate in a word how the problem impressed itself upon me during that visit. I had the misfortune to contract a rather hideous virus while I was there. I was in bed in the Mount Nelson Hotel, which is a haven of comfort, quiet and consideration, for some eight days or longer. The doctor thought that I should have nurses. I was attended by two coloured nurses. They were admirable girls. They were efficient, considerate and compassionate; they were even affectionate. No society can have a better quality of person than those people. They represented the best that one could hope to have in one's society.

There was an illustration of the problem that arises. One morning one of the nurses came in. I cannot remember her name, but she told me that she was named after a film star. I told her that she was looking tired. She said, "Oh yes, it is because I have to travel 40 kilometres to my home outside Cape Town." She said that if she could go by bus instead of train it would be more comfortable. I asked why she did not go by bus. She told me that it was because it would cost an extra 2 rands each way. Needless to say—it was not an especially generous gesture—I provided her and her colleague with the necessary additional rands to go by bus. I then asked her a foolish question, because I knew the answer before I asked it. "Why do you live 40 kilometres outside Cape Town?" She said, "I have to. I am required to live there. It is a coloured reserve to which we were moved from District 6 some years ago", when the entire population of that area was involuntarily evacuated to that area 40 kilometres away.

Does one need to say anything more to demonstrate the quality of civilisation that exists in that society? It is easy to point to the problems; it is much more difficult to point to the answers. I do not propose to engage in a discussion on sanctions, except to say that it is a mistake to believe that they are not biting. The anxiety and energy that the South African Government put into presenting reasons why sanctions should not operate is of itself conclusive proof that they are worried about them.

We are told that sanctions did not bite in Rhodesia. There is only one person here who can speak on that subject with greater authority than myself. They did bite in Rhodesia. On my last visit to Rhodesia, Europeans came up to me, tugged at my coat and said, "Please get a settlement", because the sanctions almost emptied the shops of consumer goods. The reports one receives from countries many thousands of miles away need to be verified by people on the spot.

The arguments against sanctions are difficult to assess. The South African arguments are three: one is that they will greatly damage the black population. I can only say that noble Lords should see as I did the conditions of an area called Crossroads, where a quarter of million blacks are living in what can only be called hovels. They are not even shanties. They were erected in place of the shanties that had been there which had been deliberately demolished by the South African Government for the solitary purpose of ensuring that they had de-blacked the urban areas so that there was no danger of too great a black population in those areas.

In place of the shanties, there were hovels built with bits of corrugated iron, bits of cardboard, bits of plywood stretching for miles and miles. There was no sanitation, there was a bucket scheme. There was no water; there was just one tap per four houses. If people tell me that sanctions will reduce the standard of living of these poor wretches, I must say that I should need a lot of convincing that the case is valid.

The other argument against sanctions is that they will not work: so obdurate and determined are the Boers to resist any suggestion of emancipating the black population, they will never succumb to any pressure. That may be so; but it seems to me that that is equivalent to a small boy saying, "It's no use punishing me; I shall not be good, whatever happens". I think one has to continue punishing him until one kills him. That seems to me to be another argument which has no great validity.

There is a variety of other arguments. One is that sanctions will destroy the economy of South Africa. The answer to that is that the solution is in the hands of this tiny minority. The 3 million people can behave properly as they were urged to do by the great Mr. Macmillan in 1960. He assured them that if they would behave like civilised people and operate what he said were Christian values, they could be sure that there would be no economic sanctions invoked against them. That is the simple answer to people saying that sanctions will ruin the economy. I do not wish or intend to pass judgment on that difficult subject. However, it is absolutely right that the argument should be presented to this House because the House has great influence in these matters.

One thing about which I wish to warn noble Lords is that there is a near-explosive situation there; but not on the part of the blacks. I spoke to a great variety of people and it is unfair to South Africa to say that there is no liberal opinion urging changes very vigorously. However, it is a tiny minority. The great majority of people are not wicked, they are just complacent, blind and terrified. I had, and still have, many relatives in South Africa. I can assure noble Lords that they are virtuous people—they could not be members of my family if they were not! The fact remains that they are absolutely blind to what is going on. When I asked them if they had been to see the appalling area, Crossroads, they said, "Oh, no, we have not", although it is only 12 or 14 miles from Cape Town. There is a carefully devised situation where a great barrier has been built to prevent people coming from the airports seeing these shanties and the hideous conditions.

All I would say is this. I venture to differ from the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, on only one point. I do not think that the solution lies in Britain's hands. I was immensely impressed, if I may say so, by the attitude of the British consul and the British ambassador who were behaving with total propriety and were concerned to see that visitors to the country saw the townships and the worst of the horrors going on. That reflected very much credit on them, and I was most impressed by it.

I went over there as the deputy chairman of the British Council. That council does a very good job and steers an extremely subtle and professional course, treading on very thin ice. It never expresses opinions that would antagonise people; but it never expresses opinions that show approval of what is going on.

I believe that the urgent necessity is to secure that something is done before there is an explosion. The place is a time bomb. Resentment did not emerge so much on the part of the blacks; a number of them came to see me and they are well-educated, nice, kindly people. I do not think that they are on the verge of explosion. However, I would not say the same of the coloured community, who show the kind of resentment that people who find themselves in this deprived and degraded position through no fault of their own must be expected to show.

The South African Government are incredibly astute at actions to try to require people to look at the situation through rose-coloured spectacles. As regards the homelands, they are probably the most ingenious piece of constitutional chicanery that has ever been devised. The Government have exiled great numbers of people from their own homeland and attributed to them a nationality and lands that do not really exist. I do not profess to be an expert on South African affairs; but I believe that there are now four homelands. The nationality of these poor wretches is attributed to those homelands but there is no foreign office, no means of getting a passport, no taxation system. They are just areas largely of scrub where people are required to live without any possibility of earning a living. Needless to say, those people who are supposed to live there do not do so. They return to the conurbations and their homes are systematically destroyed. It is a situation which requires a masterly approach from some masterly statesman who can influence that tiny, selfish, silly community to realise that it is committing suicide.

I do not believe that sanctions will produce the result necessary, nor that the Government could dismantle apartheid. I do not think it is within their power. If they tried to do so effectively then a more Right-wing and more poisonous government would replace them. That is what I believe. However, that does not alter the fact that we have a duty to continue to urge upon these 3 million people the desperate necessity of submitting to important changes. That is our duty and it is what should take place.

I was appalled at the reaction of some of the white people towards the blacks, and the things they say about an heroic figure like Bishop Tutu. Whatever view one may take of his accent—and some might think that it is a little peculiar—the fact remains that he is one of the heroes of this age. He is living a life of great danger, the resentment against him is principally because he has the right to live in a palace in a select white area in Cape Town. What people said about him, the rancour and the viciousness of the utterances about this man, indicated the insecurity of the people concerned.

I urge upon us all the necessity to see this as an immensely serious international situation. It is necessary to use every possible means to urge upon the 3 million people—and I do not think it is more than 3 million who need to be convinced—that they are living in a world with a time bomb that will explode at any moment. That is my reaction.

I agree very much with what the two previous speakers said except that the noble Lord preceding me took the view that it was not possible to form any opinion because of the racial differentiation. It is very easy to say that because the 30 million or 40 million who are being oppressed, as far as the blacks are concerned, constitute nine different races (Asians, Indians and so forth), one can then justify the oppression and torture of them all. That is a very feeble argument indeed. We have a duty to urge and to continue to urge reasonable behaviour. I hope it may be possible for that urging to take effect before there is an explosion which will be too horrible to contemplate.

3.48 p.m

Lord Walston

My Lords, I am afraid that we are already over-running our time but I shall try to redress the balance if that is at all possible. I wish at the outset to thank the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, not only for his speech but for the opportunity he has given us to discuss this vital, burning question. I wish to a certain extent to follow the fine speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and direct the attention of noble Lords to human rights, a matter which is very much in our minds. In the subsequent short debate it will take up more of our time, I am sure to our benefit.

I do not think we realise sufficently what the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, realises full well—the total disregard of human rights that exists in South Africa. It is something on which Her Majesty's Government quite rightly lay great stress. The Prime Minister herself has made some very cogent remarks about it. I hope that she will realise that human rights are ignored and spurned not only in some of the communist and other countries but also in South Africa itself. I shall give an example of that. Some 20 years ago I was invited—that is rather a mild word, as I was very nearly ordered—by the then Prime Minister John Vorster, with whom I had a curious and somewhat close personal relationship, to visit Robben Island, and particularly to see Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela and the other political prisoners there. He invited me because there had been a great deal in the British press about the appalling conditions in which those people were kept. He wanted me to see how very well they were kept.

I spent a day there and I was shown round everything that I wanted to see. I had talks with several of the people there, including Mandela and Sobukwe. I came away with the very firm impression that the South African Government were convinced they were treating those people well—one could almost say humanely—but they did not really regard them as human beings. It reminded me very much of the kind of visits I used to pay in my youth with my father to various people who were considered modern landowners and modern farmers in those days. They used to show me their pigs. They used to tell me how well they kept their pigs. They used to say to me, "Look, they have so many cubic feet of air. They have balanced rations. A veterinary surgeon comes once a month to look after their health. They cannot be kept in better conditions." That was precisely the way in which those political prisoners were kept. They had medical inspections, they had clean concrete cells, balanced rations and so on. But they were treated as we would treat our rather valuable animals, but not as we would treat or consider treating human beings.

That is borne out by what the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, said, that the majority of at least the Afrikaners, certainly the majority of those who control policy in South Africa, simply do not regard the blacks, or indeed the coloureds, as human beings. They regard them as something entirely different who, if one is liberal minded, one treats kindly but who one does not treat as belonging to the human race. Until we accept that and until we realise that it is the denial of human rights that is at issue—I put the accent on the word "human" rather than the word "rights"—we can never understand what is going on in the Republic of South Africa at the present time.

Millions of people are denied the most fundamental of human rights—the right to enjoy life, the right to develop their own capabilities and personalities, even the right to live with their wives and children, and the right to enjoy the normal type of civilised society and intellectual pursuits that we take for granted here. That is the great denial of human rights which is going on today in South Africa, and which is being imposed on the vast majority of those 30 million people who are living there. It is no good saying that people go to that country of their own free will, that they earn good money and send it back to their families; they are not being treated as human beings.

I now wish to draw very briefly to the attention of noble Lords the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Elibank, when he said, quite rightly, that whatever happens in South Africa the blacks are ill-prepared to take over not only the government of the country but the running of the country. The same thing applies of course not only to South Africa but also to Mozambique, Angola and, above all, to Namibia. I wish here to pay tribute to the painstaking and lengthy work of Dr. Chester Crocker who, after many rebuffs and many disappointments, has at last produced something about which, even though the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, has doubts—of course we must have our doubts about it—we must happily admit is a very gret step forward both for Angola and for Namibia.

However, in all these countries—South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique—there is a whole mass of people of innate intelligence and innate capabilities. They have been born with those capabilities and endowed with them. They have received God given gifts which they are not now able to develop because of the educational facilities, which are virtually non-existent in so many of those countries, from the lowest level of literacy or numeracy up to the higher levels of technological capabilities in university training and other forms of education.

Here there is something that we can do. It is something which I believe is completely non-controversial. I hope it is something which will gain the support of your Lordships and, possibly more importantly, of Her Majesty's Government. I suggest that we could take active steps to help people from all those areas, and particularly those from Namibia and South Africa, to pursue some form of higher education—not very high, necessarily—in this country which will enable them, when eventually the time comes, to play their full part, whether it is in promoting new agricultural techniques, in carrying out research, or in keeping the electrical services, the telephone services, the legal services and all the services of government itself running properly. We hope that that time is not far distant in Namibia or Angola, although it is much farther distant in South Africa.

We could help produce a whole cadre of trained people. That is essential for whenever that transition may come about. By giving a modest amount of money in this country to enable such people to come over here and gain some training—they would, of course, be suitably selected people—we would do far more to help the future development of that sad troubled area of the wonderful continent of Africa than by any debates in your Lordships' House or elsewhere. I say that with the greatest respect.

I urge Her Majesty's Government to give serious thought to my suggestion as a positive contribution towards the well-being of all those countries. I urge them to give not only serious thought to it, but also hard cash to enable that to be carried out, and to be carried out immediately.

3.58 p.m.

Lord Gifford

My Lords, this is a very timely debate and I pay tribute to the expertise of my noble friend Lord Hatch, and particularly to the humanity of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. I wish to restrict my contribution to the country of Mozambique. It is a country with which I have had a long association. That association dates back to many years before its independence, when I used to speak in your Lordships' House in support of the liberation movement which was then called FRELIMO.

It has been a very happy association, largely because of the deep humanity and the spirit of international friendship which characterises the leadership of Mozambique. It has also been happy because of Mozambique's unswerving commitment to a non-racial, non-tribalist society where people of all races, all religions, all cultures and all language groups can develop, thrive and build up the country together. That is the dream which we have for a nonracial South Africa.

However, that is very much a reality in Mozambique where, if one looks among the leadership one will find, for all that it matters, blacks, whites, Indians and those of mixed race. But the point is that it does not matter at all. It is the quality of one's contribution and not the colour of one's skin which counts.

It has also been an association beset by much tragedy. I recall with deep sorrow the late president Samora Machel, one of the great leaders of Africa. A true friend of this country, he commanded the respect of conservatives and socialists alike. Noble Lords opposite may recall his deep friendship with the late Lord Soames.

He was killed with other leaders of Mozambique in October 1986 when his plane crashed into a South African hillside. The black-box transcripts revealed that his plane was lured off course by a decoy beacon. The overwhelming inference from many suspicious features of the crash is that his death was engineered by some agency of the South African state.

President Samora had a deep love of children. He spoke of them as the flowers that never fade. He would say that the certainty of a better tomorrow lay with them. In the early years following independence huge strides were made in Mozambique in providing nursery schools, crêches and schools where the children and youth of the country could develop in ways which were unthinkable under colonial rule.

The overwhelming tragedy of Mozambique is that those children have become the deliberate targets of a terrorist campaign of unspeakable brutality. It is horrifying that that terrorist campaign has been created and is waged as the chosen strategy of the South African military forces.

In developing this theme I am very anxious to speak in a non-partisan spirit. While I share the deep disagreement expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, with the central elements of the Government's policy on South Africa, I should be the first to recognise that the Government have responded to Mozambique's call for help with concrete assistance and with co-operation on many fronts. On that aspect of the southern African situation I hope that political opponents can come together constructively to stop the brutality.

Horror and brutality are not exaggerated words. The terrorists of the co-called MNR, whom the people of Mozambique call armed bandits, have no political programme. They massacre whole villages; they destroy health clinics, schools and hospitals; they ambush civilian buses and food lorries; they destroy crops and cause whole populations to become refugees; they mutilate civilian administrators by cutting off their ears and noses. They terrorise and kidnap the children, children as young as 11 and 12, to enlist them into their ranks and force them to become killers or, if they do not co-operate, to kill them.

Mrs. Graca Machel, the Minister of Education and widow of the late president, has taken special responsibility for the rehabilitation of the children who survive those massâcres or who manage to escape from the terrorist camps. British medical experts are among those who are helping her. The stories that they can tell would make all of your Lordships weep.

Why is that happening? Do not make the mistake of thinking that it is some haphazard form of barbarity. There is clear proof that the so-called MNR, originally created by the Rhodesian security forces, was taken over on the independence of Zimbabwe by the South African military. It is the South African military which has trained, armed, supplied, transported and in effect commanded the MNR. The documents captured at the Gorongoza base inside Mozambique in 1985 proved that active support from the South African military continued despite the agreement signed in Nkomati in 1984 between South Africa and Mozambique. That support continues to this day.

It is wrong to say that South Africa merely supports the MNR. The MNR is an integral part of the strategy of the South African defence forces. Those elements of the apartheid regime which pursue that strategy of sowing misery and devastation in Mozambique do so because they want to prevent the emergence of a successful, non-racial African state along their borders, a state which might be too fine an example for the South African people themselves. There can be no real peace or security in Mozambique or in any of the other front-line states until the system of apartheid is overthrown. I agree with my noble friend Lord Hatch on that point.

People are dying in Mozambique now. There are strategies to defend Mozambique which can be pursued now and on which I hope that we can find some common ground. First, we can maintain and increase the aid which goes from the United Kingdom to Mozambique, both governmental and non-governmental aid, both direct aid and aid through the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). The government aid already includes military assistance in the training of the Mozambique forces. That is absolutely right. We should recognise that Mozambique has the right to, and the desperate need for, materials for its self-defence against aggression. However, the overall scale of the aid does not meet the needs of the situation.

Secondly, we should be exposing the nature and the causes of terrorism in Mozambique. It is a challenge, as great as the challenge of Nazism in the 1930s, to the civilised world to unite in action to stop the outward aggression of a vicious regime. President Samora Machel himself in a memorable phrase described apartheid as the Nazism of our time.

There are elements within the South African leadership which I believe wish, even while maintaining their own supremacy, to have good neighbourly relations and economic co-operation with Mozambique as against the brutal and confrontational policies and in particular the policies of the military. By taking a firm position, by giving a lead within Europe, by giving a lead to the new United States' Administration, the British Government can, I believe, play a significant part in helping to stop the aggression even if one could wish that they did more to help stop apartheid itself.

Thirdly, we should have no truck with the representatives of terrorism when they come to Europe. If we are consistent in our stand against terrorism we should be excluding from our country those people who come here from the so-called MNR to seek and sometimes to receive support for their terrorism. They receive it from certain shameful individuals and organisations in this country. At a major conference at which I was present in Bonn last weekend a leading Mozambique representative made this call: The peoples of southern Africa are fulfilling their duty to fight apartheid directly. Compared with what they have to suffer, they do not ask much of you: only that you help stop those forces which, in your countries, connive with the holocaust which apartheid has unleashed". I urge your Lordships, and especially I urge the Government, to heed that appeal.

4.8 p.m.

Lord Gisborough

My Lords, the end of apartheid is an almost universal goal but I should like to discuss whether sanctions and disinvestment are likely to bring that about and what they will achieve if they are successful.

There seem to be three schools of thought that advocate sanctions. First, there are those well-meaning people, frustrated by the continued injustice of apartheid, who seize on sanctions for a quick result. They see sanctions as the last possible peaceful alternative to revolution. While they believe that they can produce a quick result, they pay little attention to the mechanism by which that goal is to be achieved. They ignore the essential nature of the South African problem, the struggle for political power among all the competing elements within the country whether they be black and black, white and white or coloured.

The second school of thought doubts the effectiveness of sanctions but wishes to satisfy its conscience with a moral statement and wants to get on the right side of history. The third school is based on the idea of attrition. More realistically they realise that sanctions alone will not induce a powerful and very determined regime to relinquish control or even to share power. Sanctions are advocated as an adjunct to other forms of pressure, including armed struggle, but permanent damage to the economy is accepted as the price to be paid. When confronted with the apparent lack of progress they all argue for tougher measures, more to satisfy their consciences than in the expectation of success.

Should the impoverishment of the South African economy by sanctions actually succeed in ushering in black rule, the new black government could find itself confronted not only with the appalling legacy of apartheid—under-development, urbanisation, population growth with many of the tribes at each other's throats but they would face an economic wasteland from which there would be little hope of recovery. That government would be unable to satisfy the expectations of their followers and would be doomed to instability. The end result would not be democracy but a different form of deprivation and repression, as we have seen in almost every other African state, and almost certainly tribal warfare.

What has in fact happened in the two years since the United States and the European Community introduced their measures? The laws of supply and demand have led to the growth of the South African armaments industry and they are now major exporters, following the united arms boycott of 1977. The embargo on oil has led to successful synthetic fuel production. International disinvestment has allowed delighted whites to pick up businesses at knock-down prices. While black employees benefit from the black advancement policies of the multinationals, it remains to be seen whether they will fare as well under their new masters in conditions of unemployment.

As their economy reduces, we can be sure that the 40 per cent. of Afrikaners who work for the government or the agencies will be all right. Jobs for bureaucrats will surely be protected. The people who will suffer—and I do not think there is any disagreement about this—are the black Africans. They will become unemployed and poorer. Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that the companies which have withdrawn have not reestablished themselves in neighbouring states. That is a recognition that there is no way to stimulate the economy of the southern African continent if the hub is in decline.

So sanctions in South Africa are sanctions against the whole of southern Africa, and no amount of aid will redress the growth and prosperity that has been sacrificed. Blacks will also suffer in other ways than by losing jobs. For example, two years ago Baragwanath Hospital had all the capital equipment that it needed. With disinvestment and reduced support, it is now falling back and will increasingly be less able to care for the health of all the blacks in South Africa, and indeed all the blacks in all of southern Africa, as it did before.

Yet while the Western world urges more sanctions, there is a startling uniformity against sanctions by most blacks. No more than a quarter of those who have been polled recently were prepared to support economic sanctions if they involved significant loss of jobs. Of 1,000 coal miners canvassed, 70 per cent. did not believe in sanctions.

What, then, is the answer? If we want to see the emergence of a democratic and prosperous South Africa the last thing that is needed is the impoverishment of the black population, particularly at a time when their skills will be increasingly needed to contribute to the running of the country. Black impoverishment achieves exactly the opposite of what is needed for black equality.

What is needed is black empowerment, and this implies that the greater their economic stake the more influence they can wield. This can happen only with greater black participation in skills, professions and management; and this can happen only with increased education, training and jobs. The essential need for their contribution would make their demands irresistible, and that is exactly what was starting to happen. Companies were adopting equal opportunity of promotion, with special help for blacks. New black businesses were appearing. For example, eight years ago there were few black taxis but since then black entrepreneurs have built up a taxi business in face of opposition by the state. There are now over 100,000 black taxis, employing directly or indirectly over 300,000 black people. There are many black businesses and even a sprinkling of black millionaires.

Those who work are better off than they are in most other black African countries that I have seen; and I have also seen Crossroads and been through it. The situation is dreadful but is the kind of situation that can be seen in every other African country, and also in Hong Kong. The only difference is that outside Crossroads the government have now built standpipes, lavatories, and so on, so that the conditions in Crossroads can be improved.

Ten years ago black trades unionism was launched by the Wiehahn Commission, and now unions and employees negotiate deals over a wide area beyond just wages. There is therefore a nascent industrial democracy at the heart of South Africa's economy. Great political progress has been made in the past 10 years, and I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, said they were just touching at it. Sport is multiracial; job reservation has been abolished; public transport is about to be integrated; marriage laws were repealed in 1985; the Immorality Act has been scrapped; property ownership by blacks in townships was allowed; property ownership in grey areas is about to be allowed; the pass laws have gone; central business areas are multiracial; there are no curfews in the towns and it is illegal to attempt to reintroduce them. Political parties are open to all races, and there have been many other reforms. More and more housing areas are becoming grey areas, and the government are turning a blind eye.

However, once again the party in power has moved to moderation, too slowly for the world, maybe, but faster than their electors will stand. A Right-wing party has emerged to try to put the clock back, just as the Nationalist Party did in their own day. Even petty apartheid is coming up again. The world must accept a slow pace if it wishes to see continued progress and success in the end. We must accept South Africa and its voters as they are, and not as we would wish them to be. If South Africa is further isolated and its communities become further polarised, the gains will be lost. The influence of the unions, with smaller support bases, will shrink. Indeed, the Conservative Party policy includes the total banning of all black unions.

This is not to suggest that one man, one vote can ever be practical. Apart from wildcat leaders, more realistic, educated blacks realise that that would be tribal disaster. It would also be foolish to ignore that white security is a precondition for black liberation. Greater black economic power is the surest route for full black political power in South Africa, but it is something that has to take time. The experience of the past 15 years has shown that black people can act to change their own situation. It is nothing short of racist for the world to deprive black South Africans of their most potent—weapon—economic power—by imposing sanctions and thereby deliberately imposing on them poverty, hardship and permanent political impotence.

4.18 p.m.

Lord Greenhill of Harrow

My Lords, in the debate on foreign affairs following the most gracious Speech at the opening of Parliament, several noble Lords drew attention to the slowly improving international scene. It was suggested there were signs that certain long-term problems seemed to be moving forward, though perhaps not yet to the point of solution. Developments which 12 months ago were almost unimaginable are now taking place and are opening up the possibilities of fruitful consequences. President Gorbachev's speech and that of Mr. Arafat foreshadow such changes, but, in my view, it is not possible to exclude developments in southern Africa which may also be a prelude to beneficial change. There are undeniable signs of movement, and in the last few months we have seen meetings between President Botha and important black African leaders on the west coast of the continent, in central Africa and on the east coast.

The first steps have been taken to resolve the problems of Angola and Namibia. These have come with surprising speed and would have been considered impossible under the present Nationalist government only a few months ago. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, that the Namibia settlement is not foolproof. However, I believe that, having reached this point, it will be extremely difficult to go backwards. Actions have also taken place within the republic that suggest a new approach to some selected political prisoners; but I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that the conditions within the country that the visitor sees—I have not been there for the past five years—are appalling, and one cannot fail to be shocked, just as the noble Lord was shocked. I think that the conditions are so unacceptable that in the end they will prove impossible to sustain.

I believe that the people of South Africa, black and white, want to solve their own problems. South Africa does not belong either to the black race or to the white race. Both have shameful episodes in their past when white has fought against white, black against black, and black and white against each other. I believe that the time is coming when the two races will eventually come to terms, and it may not be as distant as some speakers have suggested. It cannot be denied that among the younger generation there are signs that they are coming together. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Bletso, (who is to speak later) will be very authoritative on that point.

Thoughtful people in both black and white races understand that the full potential of the country cannot be developed without co-operation between the races. They know in their heart of hearts that the clock cannot be put back. When speaking to white South Africans, I sometimes think that they do not reveal what their innermost thoughts are. They know that the time has come for change; they may not say it openly, but they know it in their heart of hearts.

In regard to Namibia, the Americans and the Russians have both done a great job. They have done it not by crude pressure on one side rather than on the other, but by the persuasion of both sides. Clumsy pressures like mandatory sanctions, so freely spoken of, are not the way. Those who favour sanctions are those who are least affected by them. Japan and Germany are now South Africa's largest trading partners, and no doubt will continue to trade. I believe that new efforts by the Commonwealth and even by the United States will be without constructive effect. There may come a time when Her Majesty's Government individually can play a role. Our influence in South Africa is traditional and remains strong. We should be alert for the right time to use it in a constructive and even-handed way. Above all, we must maintain direct and close contact with the South African Government in order to see how we can be helpful. Attempts from outside to force the pace without a real understanding of the depths of the problem can only fail.

4.26 p.m.

Lord Gridley

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, for introducing the Motion. I have one problem in trying to assimilate what he said about some of the great difficulties that he sees facing the British Government, and indeed everyone generally, in coming to a satisfactory solution of the situation in South Africa. He made certain assumptions that I found very difficult to follow in statements about the reactions of the Prime Minister to certain situations and reactions to what has been going on in negotiations with other territories. He may have a great deal more knowledge than I possess. It seems to me that such difficulties would be known to those people in the Foreign Office currently engaged in the business of dealing with the South African situation.

Apart from that, there is not very much else that I wish to say. I want to speak briefly and get what I have to say over fairly quickly. Most speakers have already adopted a 10-minute standard in their speeches and one or two have exceeded the allotted time. I do not wish to deprive any noble Lord of the opportunity to speak.

I have a view about British overseas colonial policy. I propose to defend that policy from my experience as a colonial officer of 30 years' service in Malaysia. In my view the policy was similar for all territories on their way to independence, a fair and humane policy of general application.

In recent times it has seemed to me that when an independent country gets into difficulties—and there are difficulties when an independent country governs its territory and anything goes wrong in the country, there is a tendency to attack British policy or former colonial policies and to blame Britain for what is happening. It is a great pity that we cannot be a little more careful in what we say in answer to those criticisms in the speeches that we make and avoid the deafening silence which seems to be the policy that follows such a situation.

South Africa is of course in a somewhat different situation in application from other territories granted independence. For many years it has had its own Parliament—indeed, many years before many countries post-war were even granted independence. It has its own Prime Minister, whose residence was Groote Schuur in Cape Town, a house that I visited. Nevertheless, because of the Boer influence, there have been difficulties in recent years between that country and other countries in regard to what has happened in South Africa. There was our war with the Boers, which took place prior to the First World War. In the Second World War South Africa was our ally, and it was General Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa, who had a seat in the British War Cabinet and was an outstanding leader in that connection.

Of course, apartheid or separate development is a policy of the present South African Government under President Botha and is to be entirely deplored. Nevertheless, I do not believe that sanctions against South Africa would succeed in removing apartheid, quite apart from the fact that if they were imposed they would hit the poorer elements of the black community in two ways, and very heavily: first, by denying to a very large element of black Africans who travel annually from countries such as Zambia employment at higher wages than they command elsewhere; and secondly, by depressing the economy. Sanctions were not successful when imposed against Italy prior to the Second World War. That is going back some time, but it is debatable whether sanctions always succeed.

It has also seemed to me that President Botha in recent months has moved at least some of the way to placate criticism levelled against him by his commutation of the death sentence against the Sharpeville Six. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, felt that it was quite unreasonable for the life sentence to remain against them. I agree with that observation to some extent.

It has been suggested that President Botha acted in that way because he does not wish Mr. Mandela to become a martyr, which would be the case if Mr. Mandela dies in an African prison. It is said that he would release him on that count.

From my experience of Britain's attitude towards overseas territories and taking any decision which may affect their future, it has always been honourably concerned that there should be individuals in the country capable of governing and that others not governing would suffer by Britain's departure. In other words, the criteria was not to give independence too quickly and to ensure that the country concerned would be well governed before Britain's departure.

Three years ago at the time of Remembrance Day in Malaysia, I was asked by Her Majesty's Government to go to Singapore to honour the colonial servants who had died as a result of incarceration in Changi gaol. I was one of the prisoners in the gaol. Terrible torture had been inflicted upon the inhabitants and oppression of the people had been a subject for our Government in Singapore.

The reason for my visit must be brought to the attention of your Lordships. If the people outside the gaol had any reason not to like our colonial policies they would never have risked their lives to ensure that an organisation was set up in order to obtain funds to supply prisoners with various items. We were able to set up wireless sets in the gaol and every night we listened to the broadcasts of the BBC. They kept alive people who would otherwise have died because they knew only to well that, if the BBC was able to broadcast our failures and defeats in the war, when the victory came and it broadcast the news it was telling the truth. I believe that that story is worth telling under the present circumstances.

4.34 p.m.

Lord Monson

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, for giving the House the opportunity to discuss this important and topical subject. I should dearly like to touch on every country in the region but the time constraints of a short debate necessitate my remarks being confined to the southern half of southern Africa.

Seventeen months ago I forecast publicly that to increase vituperation and punitive sanctions against South Africa would, far from pushing white voters in a more liberal direction as was naively hoped, have precisely the opposite effect and boost the electoral furtunes of the far Right. So it has proved to be.

One of the main problems is that people in Europe and North America do not understand what the terms "Left" and "Right" mean in the South African context. In western Europe and Australasia—in North America the position may be slighly different—by and large those who are well off vote for Right of centre parties. By and large those who are less well off vote for Left of centre parties. In South Africa the position is precisely the reverse as regards white voters. Admittedly the comparison is complicated by the fact that in South Africa Right-wing parties believe in state intervention and subsidy, whereas Left-wing parties believe in Thatcherite free-market economics. In other respects the terms "Left" and "Right" mean the same as elsewhere.

Whites who live in large houses in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, or the more salubrious parts of Cape Town or Newlands, surrounded by immaculate lawns and high walls, normally vote for liberal parties. The less well-off whites who live cheek by jowl in bungalows normally vote for Right-wing parties. For a fuller picture of that section of the population—the poorer whites—I commend most highly to your Lordships an article by A. R. Kenny published in the Spectator on 5th September 1987, and an article by Stephen Robinson published in the Daily Telegraph magazine on 22nd October 1988. Incidentally, the poorer the whites, the more Right-wing they are.

The reason for that voting pattern is not that the better off are more altruistic, although they may well be, but the fact that they judge that there is a reasonable chance of their continuing to do well—in a few cases, very well—under a black government. The future of their children and grandchildren is another matter, but at least the present generation will probably be all right.

In total contrast the less-educated and less-skilled whites fear that their futures will be very bleak indeed under a black government. Bearing in mind what has happened to their counterparts in other parts of the African continent over the past 35 years, who can blame them?

Let us not forget, as the noble Lord, Lord Elibank, mentioned, that the families of most of those people have been in South Africa for over 300 years. They are not gastarbeiter to be sent packing when their utility is at an end.

Incidentally, that shows how half-baked are the proposals of certain eminent politicians in this country to ban intercontinental flights from Europe to South Africa in order to punish the Right-wingers. Most Right-wingers have never ventured outside South Africa; they do not particularly wish to do so and many cannot afford to do so.

The threat that they perceive arises not because of any xenophobia on the part of black leaders, although some of their followers may well be xenophobic, but because of the terrible population explosion in southern Africa. There are far too many people chasing far too few jobs: this in the coming age of the micro-chip. There is massive concealed unemployment in South Africa in the form of overmanning; whenever I am there I am always struck by the fact that it takes eight people to do a job which three people could do easily in this country. However, given the well-known revolution of rising expectations, it is likely that, given a black government, the black electorate would press for still higher pay, and that would inevitably be at the expense of jobs.

Given the realities of the perceptions of the blue collar whites, it will be difficult to reverse the Right-wing backlash that we have seen. But at least the West can refrain from exacerbating the situation, and making the Right-wingers even more vicious, by constantly trying to undermine both the present Government and President Botha.

Irascible and difficult he may well be, but at least over the past 10 years President Botha has been responsible for more beneficial reforms than most previous South African governments put together. That includes the government of the much revered Jan Smuts. Furthermore he has presided over a massive increase in the real wages of the black population.

When I first visited South Africa 23 years ago the idea of a black consumer boycott was an absolute joke. The purchasing power of the blacks was so tiny that it would have had no effect whatever. Now collectively the black population has a massive purchasing power. On a per capita basis it is nothing like as high as that of the whites or the Asians but it is increasing all the time. To pursue a boycott such as we have seen recently in the Transvaal really hurts. It is effective and the kind of boycott I believe the West should be glad to see as a means of shifting government opinion.

Yet President Botha is pilloried in the West as some kind of bloodthirsty, sadistic dictator who eats babies for breakfast. But many of his kith and kin regard him as a pale pink, wet, wishy-washy, liberal do-gooder, and a potential traitor to boot. To someone of his age it is hardly an incentive to go on trying very hard.

It is true that the National Party often gives the impression of not being sure where it is going: It muddles along hoping that somehow it will he all right on the night. In this respect I often feel that the Right-wing parties, for all their narrow-mindedness, their mean-mindedness and their frequent viciousness sometimes have a more intuitive grasp of the long-term realities than do the parties to the left of them.

On the African continent, power flows from the barrel of a gun, as indeed it does in most of the Asian continent, a good deal of the South American continent and the eastern part of the European continent. Treaties, guarantees, bills of rights, and other scraps of paper do not mean very much in the long term. For minorities to survive—and I do not mean in this instance only the white blue collar minority—at least some degree of autonomy is needed, together, with some territorial base where people can feel secure and relaxed even if they normally work elsewhere—all this within a customs union, a common currency area, with an integrated transport system, agreement on control of epidemics and so on.

An excellent example of the degree of autonomy and self-determination that is already to be found in southern Africa, is in Bophuthatswana. Bophuthatswana's enemies claim that it is not really self-governing because it called in South African troops to put down an attempted coup. But so did Lesotho and I do not think that anybody claims that Lesotho is not an independent country.

Naturally one understands why Her Majesty's Government believe that the diplomatic disadvantages of recognising Bophuthatswana outweigh the moral rectitude of such a course. But that should not prevent Members of both Houses of Parliament of all political parties, from going to Bophuthatswana to see for themselves. In particular I should like my noble friend Lord Goodman to do so. I think that he would have the surprise of his life. It is certainly not the barren land full of poverty-stricken people that he supposes. I should say that those who go there will be made very welcome and shown everything that they want to see—good, bad or indifferent. Unless their minds were hermetically sealed before departure, I guarantee that they would be extremely impressed by all the good things that are going on there.

4.42 p.m.

Viscount Brentford

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, for instituting this debate. I should like to make one comment on what he said about the withdrawal of the South African army from Angola. He gave various reasons. I should like to add one more. It is the death of white South African soldiers in Angola, to which I do not think he referred. From my observations in South Africa that is the reason, above all others, why the Afrikaner in the street was getting fed up with the role in Angola. I believe that is a fact; and I should like to add that for the purposes of the record.

The present situation in South Africa has been described very eloquently and effectively. I do not wish to add to that in any way. I should like primarily to look to the future and make certain comments on it. I believe, as I am sure we all do, that one day the hated apartheid and the white supremacy in South Africa must come to an end, if only for reasons of numbers or whatever.

First, on the question of talking, I am sure that we are all agreed that for people with opposing views to talk is very much better than to fight. My noble friend Lord Elibank talked about the disunity among the blacks. This is one of the problems that I see at the present moment, which is greatly fostered by the South African Government. They do not want the black leaders from different groups to get together and to build personal relationships with each other. I believe that that is a factor that should be encouraged by any means possible. The South African Government do not want to talk to all the different black leaders. However, I believe that there are ways in which black leaders can meet together.

I am not sure whether the Minister can offer us any encouragement on this or whether the British Government are able to provide opportunities for black leaders from different groups to meet together and to talk. I believe that it is one of the most fundamental things that should be happening at the present time. Perhaps I should mention to the Minister, having just come back from the Far East, how glad I was to hear his personal praises being sung there for his efforts on the work he is doing out there.

Secondly—on a point that has been touched upon—the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, spoke of preparing Namibians, and other noble Lords have talked about the question of preparing black leaders in South Africa, for the future. I believe that disinvestment has set back the preparation of black managers who were working in British-owned companies. But there are still quite a number of British companies out there with influence. I believe that we in this House should be doing all we can to encourage them to train black managers for the future.

Thirdly, I wish to talk about the question of what will happen when people from differing groups in South Africa meet together to talk about a possible settlement. We know that we probably have a greater experience in this than any other country. The UK Government played a very great part in reaching a settlement in Zimbabwe. Of course the decisions will need to be taken by the South Africans themselves when the time comes. On the other hand, there will be a great need for balanced ideas and programmes to be put forward for consideration. A settlement in South Africa will be far more complicated than most others that have ever been considered by Her Majesty's Government. There are questions that will be raised and programmes that will have to be agreed not only on the consitutional settlement of South Africa but also on such questions as land reform, the economy, the future ownership and management of industry and how agriculture will be treated in a multiracial society. An enormous amount of work will need to be done before these problems are resolved.

Noble Lords may say that I am being overoptimistic in thinking that this is the time for any consideration of these questions. However, time has the facility of racing ahead. We do not know what will trigger the need for a settlement. We are not there yet; but it could come very quickly. There are very experienced people in your Lordships' House who, for instance, have been Foreign Secretary or Prime Minister. My question to the Minister is this. Are Her Majesty's Government, however informally, giving any thought to what could be done when the time comes for a settlement of all the enormously complicated and vitally important issues that will need to be resolved?

4.49 p.m.

Lord St. John of Bletso

My Lords, I too wish to join noble Lords in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, for introducing today's debate. I believe that I am the only one among your Lordships who has spent almost all his life in South Africa. I have spent a total of 29 years there; I am now a proud 31 years old.

Indeed, today's debate comes at a very critical period. It comes at a time when there is crucial economic and political change evolving in southern Africa and against the following major movements of the past four months. We heard recently of the agreements about the withdrawal of Cuban and South African forces from Angola. We also have the likely agreement which could lead to the independence for Namibia and free and fair elections—which I might add are long overdue.

It also follows on the recent moves by the South Africans to normalise their relations with their neighbours, specifically the recent meeting between President Botha and President Chissano of Mozambique. Indeed, in South Africa it also closely followed on the reprieve of the Sharpeville Six and the release of certain political prisoners. Of course we all hope for the ultimate unconditional release of Nelson Mandela.

Finally it follows on the recent local elections in South Africa which saw the expected increase in the Right-wing pro-apartheid movements in the Transvaal. Indeed, the future and prosperity of South Africa hinge to a large degree on a lasting peace accord in Namibia, Angola and Mozambique and obviously an acceptable socio-economic and political resolve in South Africa incorporating all population groups.

I am well aware of the time restraints on this evening's debate and in preparing my speech I picked out a few of what I believe to be the major themes dominating the southern African situation. First and foremost, there is the inevitability of black majority rule in South Africa. There is the need for free and fair elections throughout southern Africa, the interdependence of South Africa in southern Africa and a change in Soviet foreign policy and, more specifically, its influence in reducing tension in the region. I believe that that is a very major issue in the current developments in southern Africa. Finally, there is the choice between evolutionary or revolutionary change in South Africa.

My main theme is the inevitability of black majority rule in South Africa. One main cause for the stalemate in South Africa, apart from the obstacles of legislative apartheid, is the lack of strong unity on both sides of the dividing line. I speak here of the divisions within the Afrikaner Nationalist Group. Those divisions have only really developed over the past five years. I categorise them into two groupings. I call them the 1,000-year Reich Nationalists, which are the AWB (Afrikaans Weerstand Beweging) and the convervatives, the more moderate element, the aprés nous le deluge element, those who believe that the status quo will continue for their lifetimes but perhaps not for their children's. I believe that that is important to note. So often people speak about South Africa and the wicked Afrikaners who think that the situation will continue for the rest of their lifetime. There has definitely been a change in attitudes in South Africa.

One other aspect worth noting is on the other side of the dividing line; that is, the rivalry between the Zulu "Inkhata movement and the UDF.

Clearly the reform programme in South Africa has come to a literal standstill over the past year. To a large degree that has been a result of the Conservative Party becoming the official opposition and the reluctance of the Nationalist Party to forge ahead with their reform programme for fear that they might lose vital white votes.

However, as your Lordships are aware, next year there is likely to be another general election in South Africa. In terms of the constitution of the tricameral legislature, provision has been made for elections to be held before the end of 1989. Indeed, over the past year the South Africans have emphasised their efforts to normalise their relations with the southern African states. Clearly no matter what the Government in Pretoria do, they will fail to achieve success without the consent of the black population. For that reason I remain sceptical about the success of the Regional Services Councils. I support the idea of Regional Services Councils because that effectively is a phasing in of black power at local municipal levels, but until such time as the ANC is unbanned in South Africa those Regional Service Councils, I am afraid, are doomed to failure.

In fact I believe that Nelson Mandela will be unconditionally released, but only after the general election. What is more, I believe that President Botha will be resoundly returned to power and many whites in South Africa will be surprised at how the Right-wing has effectively shot itself in the foot. I mention that because of—and I can describe it in no other wayéthe disgusing behaviour in Boksburg where the Conservative Party, after coming to power in the recent local elections, re-imposed petty apartheid with "whites only" and "non-whites only" signs. There we have seen an emergence of a very powerful weapon, the black consumer public. The boycotting of white businesses in Boksburg has effectively brought business there to an almost total standstill. I believe that that is an effective means of bringing about meaningful change to retarding the retrogressive measures of apartheid.

Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was the first Prime Minister of the first colony to become independent in the early 1960s. His premise was that political freedom was the first ideal and that economic prosperity would follow. I beg to differ on this point.

Here, I wish to raise the issue of sanctions. We can argue for hours about sanctions but I simply ask whether economic sanctions work. I do not believe that they do. Certainly there is no quick fix. I hear the counter argument: What peaceful alternative is there to show the international community's disdain for the system of apartheid? I argue that targeted sanctions have worked. I bear in mind the Gleneagles Agreement. I am a very keen sportsman and something which hurt me most was when we were cut off from playing sport with the international community. Certainly the Gleneagles Agreement has brought about multi-racial sport. However I must add that now that there is multi-racial sport, there is no encouragement about when the South Africans will again be able to play sport with the international community. I believe that that is a great shame.

Economic sanctions can only hurt the very people whom they aim to help. I believe that the threat of sanctions is the most powerful weapon. That has had a profound psychological impact on the business community. However, in reality, economic sanctions have only served to polarise the white vote.

We now need to revert to my major theme; that is, the inevitability of black majority rule in South Africa. Do the sanctions lobbyists want South Africa to degenerate into an economic wasteland? I refer to a recent speech given by Gavin Relly, the chairman of the Anglo-American Group. In a speech to a delegation in Bonn he said: Political stability presupposes economic prosperity and social order. If a future black-led government were to inherit a wasteland, it would never be able to fulfil the expectations of its followers, and would be doomed to instability and worse from the outset". I believe that the only way that change can take place in South Africa is by building an atmosphere of mutual trust. But how can mutual trust be obtained in South Africa? I do not understand why the South Africans have this fetish about keeping legislative apartheid. I live in a multi-racial village and have done so for 14 years. We have always had a multiracial village atmosphere. It is a complete facade to claim what I heard the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, say, that the coloureds have to commute from 40 kilometres outside Capetown. Certainly Mitchell's Plain is 40 kilometres outside Capetown, but there are many areas in Capetown which are multi-racial.

Why does South Africa keep legislative apartheid? I feel strongly on that point. Surely now is the time to repeal the Group Areas Act, to unban the ANC; now when it has shown its initiatives in bringing about real change in South West Africa and, we hope, a peaceful solution ultimately to Angola. Now is the time.

A well-brandished theme among white South Africans is that white security is the precondition for black liberation. I believe that following the next elections in 1989 we shall possibly see the lifting of the state of emergency. We shall see the ultimate lifting of the Group Areas Act. History has proven that violence has never succeeded in bringing about lasting solutions.

I conclude by quoting a very dear friend, Alan Paton, who in his last book, Save the Beloved Country, wrote: The great problem which confronts white South Africans and their country today is whether they will be able to undo the damage of the Verwoerdian doctrine"— Dr. Verwoerd was the architect of apartheid— and gain, to some extent at least, the trust and confidence of Black South Africa in the goodness of their intentions". Bearing in mind the enormous interdependence of South Africa and southern Africa, if South Africa is allowed to degenerate into an economic wasteland the repercussions for southern Africa will be disastrous.

5.2 p.m.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Hatch has once again given us an opportunity to review the current scene in southern Africa. We are grateful to him for that and for his comprehensive speech. We have also had a most impressive debate with knowledgeable speeches from noble Lords who know southern Africa well.

References to southern Africa were, of course, made in the recent debate on the gracious Speech and we were glad to hear on the day of our debate on foreign affairs that the Sharpeville Six had been reprieved although, as my noble friend said, they were given long prison sentences—a punishment which on the evidence they did not deserve.

One could recite a grim catalogue of state repression, executions, indefensible sentencing and of cruelty on an ever-widening scale towards the native population. Those are the inevitable consequences of apartheid. As some diseases produce outward manifestations, so this wicked policy has its terrible results. As the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, described it so vividly in his splendid speech, it is an abomination. There is no defence for it and the Government have properly condemned it.

The Foreign Secretary described apartheid as, A violation of basic human rights and human dignity".—[Official Report, Commons, 25/11/88; col. 345]. He went on to say that the Government are working for the "unconditional release"—he stressed those words—of Nelson Mandela. Of course, we warmly welcome that. After 26 years in prison Mr. Mandela has arrived in a bungalow with a swimming pool but he is still a prisoner, as Mrs. Mandela has made plain with her usual courage. How can one begin to find excuses for so indefensible a government?

Noble Lords have welcomed the developments on Namibia. There is no doubt that the influence of the United States and the Soviet Union was crucial in achieving the draft statement. Well deserved compliments have already been paid to Dr. Chester Crocker for his long and assiduous efforts. Namibia and Angola will certainly need all the help they can get as they begin to rebuild their countries after a long war and there are now real hopes that there may be a negotiated end to Angola's civil war. However, there is still a long way to go. As my noble friend Lord Hatch said, we welcome the signing yesterday by the South African, Angolan and Cuban governments of an agreement to implement United Nations' Resolution 435 on Namibian independence.

The noble Lords, Lord Elibank and Lord Gisborough, have both argued against sanctions. That is where we on this side differ from the Government. The Government stand virtually alone in the world, and that is something we must regret. They have insisted throughout that sanctions will not work while we and others, especially our Commonwealth partners, have taken a different view. But the accumulating evidence appears to support our arguments because South Africa is in increasing financial difficulty.

South Africa has substantial short-term debts to pay. I understand that in 1990–91 South Africa is due to repay 12 billion dollars—about half its export earnings—and it has other related problems of insoluble difficulty. However, the point I must make to the noble Lord is that these problems are compounded, are made more complex, because South Africa has no one to whom it can turn. The fact is that since 1986 there has been a 5 billion dollar net outflow of capital as foreign banks and corporations under pressure from countries which do not believe in apartheid have pulled out of South Africa. I should like to know the Government's reactions to that. Are they at last prepared to take a similar line to those countries?

Where can South Africa turn for financial salvation? Does the Minister think that the IMF or the World Bank can or will help? It does not seem that western credit agencies or foreign banks will bail them out. South Africa might get some help from Switzerland and possibly from West Germany but, for obvious reasons, I would be surprised if those two countries show a willingness to sustain the government in Pretoria. For the South African economy to survive at anything like its level of recent years it must have new foreign capital to stimulate its economic growth. There is a strongly growing view that the necessary capital will not be forthcoming unless there is a radical change in South Africa's political system.

That leads us to a point of the utmost significance: namely, that if this scenario is correct, sanctions of a kind are certainly working—and working steadily to a profoundly serious end for South Africa, black and white. As the noble Lord, Lord Goodman said, sanctions are biting. What do the Government make of that? I believe that the Government should combine with our allies and others to ensure that this economic pressure is applied more strongly so that the changes which we, and they, want to see come about as soon a possible. Change through economic pressure is better than change through force of arms. The sooner it comes the more lives will be saved in southern Africa.

There are still those in British political life who seek to find excuses for the South African Government. We had a slight flavour of that in one or two of the speeches today. The bogey of Communism was raised. It was said that the South African Government have moved away from the worse excesses of apartheid and that, at the end of the day, Mr. Botha may be a moderate leader, and so on.

I wish I could believe that. I want to see the end of violence; I want to see a free multi-racial community with equality for black and white. But unhappily I do not see any light at the end of this tunnel, though I hope that my noble friend Lord Greenhill's more optimistic view is ultimately proved right.

Perhaps I may take one example and that is the attitude of the South African government towards newspapers. Last month it closed down the Weekly Mail, a liberal newspaper mostly read by middle class white people. The Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Stoffel Botha, justified the action on the grounds that the newspaper systematically published material which caused a: threat to the public order". That is rubbish because this particular paper has a circulation of only 25,000 among relatively well-to-do whites. This particular Mr. Botha has the power to close any newspaper for three months without redress or right of appeal. As noble Lords are aware. other newspapers have been closed down and one editor, Mr. Sisulu, an enlightened liberal, has just been in prison without trial for two years. I am glad to learn that he has now been released, though strict restrictions have been imposed upon him. He must not practise as a journalist or express his views.

But what kind of government is this that stifles free speech and imprisons journalists without trial? Is this a government for which this House should feel a jot of sympathy? I think not—that is, if the traditions of this House on all sides stand for anything. I read last week that four ANC members were found guilty of treason, the judge saying that it was "common ground" that South African citizens "owed allegiance to the state" and that those convicted had conspired to overthrow the government.

A noble Lord

My Lords—

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, I am in difficulties about time and I apologise to the noble Lord. What the judge in question did not discuss in his summing up was the very relevant question why black South Africans should owe allegiance to a state which systematically operates apartheid and which deprives them of basic human rights in their own country. This South African high court judge also said that a call to scrap apartheid, is an unequivocal declaration of war on the state". It reminded me of the summings up of Nazi judges in the 1930s. There is never a future for regimes which commit crimes against humanity. Sooner or later the curtain comes down and the work of repairing the damage has to start.

I listened carefully to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Bletso, whose views we must all respect. He spoke of interdependence of southern African states. He is right. The key to the future of southern African states lies in South Africa itself. But while apartheid remains, tension, expenditure on arms and social and economic instability will persist throughout this vast region. This is why apartheid must be ended, and the sooner the better. We call upon the Government to use all their endeavours to this end.

5.13 p.m.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Glenarthur)

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, has given us an opportunity once again to debate the important topic of southern Africa. It is a part of the world which has caused great anguish to many. It still does, as this debate has shown. But it is one where we have seen significant developments in recent weeks.

At last a settlement of the long-standing problems of Angola and Namibia is in sight. We warmly welcome the agreement signed yesterday morning in Brazzaville between the governments of Angola, Cuba and South Africa. This confirms the understandings reached in Geneva in November on a timetable for the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. This is a triumph for United States diplomacy and, we would all agree, a tribute to the efforts of Assistant Secretary Crocker. I very much agree with the noble Lord, Lord Walston, in his comments about that particular triumph.

We are delighted that 1st April has been set for the implementation of the United Nations plan for Namibia. We look forward to the signature of an agreement by South Africa, Angola and Cuba on 22nd December in New York, which will ensure that the United Nations plan can be smoothly introduced. Namibians have had to wait too long for their independence.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, seemed to pour some scorn on the agreement, but nevertheless it was only through dialogue that this moment of very considerable hope could be reached. We welcome the flexibility that the parties have shown.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, pointed to two supposed dangers in the Brazzaville Protocol. First, there is the supposed danger to Angola. I say to the noble Lord that Angola is a sovereign power and it is not for us to question its own decision to sign. Secondly, he seemed to suggest that there was a supposed danger to Namibia. If I have understood the noble Lord correctly, he said that the United Nations Resolution 435 was not enough. We say it is—I say it is—the essential step to independence for Namibia.

The noble Lord rightly predicts that we will argue that dialogue has achieved this major success. We have strongly supported the process throughout and we are also very much encouraged by the dialogue and the issue between the United States and the Soviet Union. The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, asked what we were doing to aid an independent Namibia. Her Majesty's Government have been preparing for Namibian independence. We hope to make a significant contribution to the United Nations transition assistance group which will monitor the elections. We and our partners in the Twelve also stand ready to assist an independent Namibia economically.

As regards aid for Angola, we are concerned about how the reconstruction of Angola might be achieved. My honourable friend the Minister of State for Overseas Development will be attending the SADCC meeting in Angola in January when the question is almost certain to be discussed.

The noble Lord, Lord Walston, also called for this aid and he referred to education assistance, more particularly as regards South Africa. As regards Namibia, our education assistance will continue to grow after independence.

We have also witnessed a number of recent developments in South Africa itself. The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has recently returned and he described South Africa as a time bomb. We are glad to see that the noble Lord has recovered from the virus that he picked up there. We have been encouraged by the South African Government's release of some political prisoners; by their reconsideration of draft legislation to enforce the Group Areas Act; and by their decision to drop other legislation intended to restrict the flow of foreign funds to local organisations. We welcome the statesmanlike decision of President Botha to reprieve the Sharpeville Six. We had made representations on behalf of the six on many occasions. I believe that the most important point is that those who were reprieved were reprieved from death. That is what our representations may have helped to secure.

As regards human rights, I say to the noble Lord, Lord Walston (and we shall turn to this matter in the second debate) that we condemn all abuses of basic human rights wherever they occur. In the case of South Africa, we have made our views plain to the South African Government on many occasions both in London and in South Africa. We have long called on the South African Government to release all those detained without charge. Our ambassador recently raised this issue again with the South African authorities.

I said that there were encouraging signals. They do not represent anything like a fulfilment of our hopes for South Africa. We will continue to press the South African Government to release all political prisoners, including Mr. Nelson Mandela. I can tell the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Bletso, that we shall continue to press for the group areas legislation to be not merely amended but abolished. Above all, we will continue to seek the total abolition of apartheid. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister told the Afrikaner newspaper Beeld in an interview very recently, apartheid is contrary to the Government's whole philosophy, which is that people should be able to live where they like in their own country, exercise their full democratic rights and advance according to merit, not the colour of their skin.

We do not believe that this objective, of a nonracial, representative system of government in South Africa, will be brought closer by further isolation of that country. Indeed, the positive developments of recent weeks, whether over Angola, Namibia, or South Africa itself are, I believe, a vindication of our policy of engagement not withdrawal. It is this same approach—of searching for ways to make a positive contribution to improving the lot of black South Africans—that guides our response towards those who call for further sanctions.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, has, somewhat predictably, made his familiar call for sanctions. He gave some facts to support his case. I respect the noble Lord's point of view, though I do not agree with it. But I hope he will respect the Government's position and view and accept that our policy is also supported by facts. Punitive sanctions have not worked. Have they stimulated political change in South Africa? No, they have not. Have they prevented new repressive measures by the South African Government, or rolled back existing restrictions? No, they most certainly have not. Instead, since the last round of sanctions were imposed in 1986 we have seen the renewal and the extension of the state of emergency; the measures taken on 24th February against the United Democratic Front and other organisations; and the continuing rise of the extreme Right-wing in South Africa. No one could have put that point more eloquently than the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Bletso, with his special knowledge.

I agree with my noble friend Lord Gridley. The imposition of punitive sanctions would increase South African isolation. I very much agree too with my noble friend Lord Gisborough. How can we expect to change the outlook of those in positions of influence in South African society by cutting them off from the very ideas and influences that will do so? That is like trying to convert a country to Christianity by withdrawing the missionaries. It is true that some black leaders call for punitive sanctions. Others oppose them. But whatever the balance of black opinion, there is no escaping the fact that sanctions would cause ordinary black South Africans grievous harm. And without any doubt they would also hit the economies of the front line states severely.

The noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn, asked specifically about financial matters. I agree with him that market forces have had some effect on the South African economy, but they have not had the kind of effect that he would like to see and indeed I would like to see on the structure of apartheid itself. It is precisely because there were market forces that that is the case. Governments should not dictate to markets in quite the way that he suggests.

As to punitive sanctions, I hope that when the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, says that only where sanctions bite are alterations made by the South African Government he will reflect on what the President of the United States said in his report to Congress in 1988 on the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act 1986. I quote: The Act has reduced United States leverage, hardened the South African Government's determination to resist outside pressure and increased the appeal of ultra conservative movements". My noble friend Lord Elibank mentioned jobs. It is perfectly true that Chief Buthelezi has stated that lost international trade has cost South Africa some 150,000 jobs already, and disinvestment some 60,000 jobs. It is worth remembering that the editor of the largest circulation black newspaper, the Sowetan, told the Financial Times on 23rd November that most blacks oppose sanctions because they know they will lead to more unemployment and more misery.

All that is not to suggest that there have not already been a number of restrictive measures implemented by Britain. I have a list. There are 25. Some of them were agreed at the meeting of EC foreign ministers in September 1985; others at Nassau; others at Marlborough House in August 1986; and more in September 1986. It would serve the noble Lord and others who support sanctions to study precisely what has already been done.

The Government have rejected the negative approach in favour of engagement in South Africa, as I think my noble friend Lord Elibank would have us do, to work for positive change throughout that country's society. We have a rapidly expanding programme of aid to blacks in South Africa, now running at £4.5 million annually. We contribute some 20 per cent. of the total European Community aid programme, which is worth £14.5 million annually. If one adds that to our programme of scholarships, running at 500 this year with an expected increase to 960 in 1991—I hope that this will please the noble Lord, Lord Walston—the £500,000 we spend on community self-help projects as well as aid to social welfare projects and black trade unions, one can see that we mean business.

In South Africa's neighbours too we maintain considerable programmes of economic and security assistance. Since the formation of the South African Development Co-ordination Conference in 1980, we have spent almost £1 billion in bilateral aid to the countries of the region and have committed £54 million to projects of the SADCC organisation, mainly in the vital regional transport sector. We shall also give £103 million in the period 1986—90 as our share of commitments to the region by the sixth European development fund. Our objective is to help to ensure the survival of the neighbouring countries and to reduce their dependence on South Africa. Support for the neighbours sends a strong message to the South African Government. They know where we stand. We call on others to join us.

The economic dependence of the neighbouring states depends on their ability to defend the security of their transport routes to the Indian Ocean and ensure their internal security. We continue to provide military training to the Zimbabwean army and are training company-size units of the Mozambique army at Nyanga. The noble Lord, Lord Gifford, spoke about Mozambique. He rightly pointed to well-documented atrocities by the rebel group. His account of South African support is, however, something of an exaggeration. We welcome the recent agreement at Songo between the presidents of Mozambique and South Africa and assurances by South Africa that assistance to the rebels will not take place.

In recognition of the importance of Mozambique's role in southern Africa, the British Government have increased substantially the extent of their aid to that country. During his visit my right honourable and learned friend the Foreign Secretary announced a £15 million contribution to phase two of the project to rehabilitate the vital Limpopo railway line which links Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This complements the £14 million worth of United Kingdom funding for phase one of the project channelled through SADCC.

The noble Lord, Lord Monson, to whose points I listened with great care, referred to one other country, if I may describe it as such—one of the so-called independent homelands, Bophuthatswana. In common with all other states except South Africa, we do not recognise the so-called independent homelands. I do not believe that any United Kingdom interest would be served by a change in this policy. The noble Lord may disagree. Bophuthatswana does not meet our usual criteria for recognition as a state. Its creation is an expression of the South African Government's policy of separate development; and that policy, he will appreciate, we strongly oppose.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, accused me of not answering an earlier question about South African membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He asked why we support South African membership of it. We support the objectives of the IAEA to facilitate international co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. We also firmly believe in the principle of universality of membership and the right of each state to belong, if it so wishes.

I must say to the noble Lord that support for South African membership in no way implies approval of the system of apartheid. I must also say that there is no evidence that South Africa has been violating the IAEA rules. As I explained the other day, we are continuing to urge South Africa to remove doubts about its position on nuclear matters by acceding to the non-proliferation treaty and opening all its facilities to IAEA inspection, as indeed some facilities already are.

In conclusion I believe that I have been able to demonstrate incontrovertible evidence of the Government's deep concern at the problems of southern Africa, and of South Africa in particular. Like the noble Lords, Lord Greenhill and Lord St. John, and my noble friend Lord Brentford, we believe that change will come to that country; indeed it is inevitable. Apartheid must go. But that change must come from within South Africa itself. Outsiders can assist, as we are doing, to bring the parties together and to encourage dialogue. That will point the way to preparation for an eventual settlement in the way that my noble friend Lord Brentford would wish. But, ultimately, it must be for South Africans to determine their future, and achieve a system of government which is fair and acceptable to all the people of South Africa.

5.31 p.m.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, my first pleasant task is to thank everyone who has taken part in the debate, which I think has been of a very high standard. I shall use the two minutes which I have to wind up the debate to take issue on just two points. First, the Minister who has been replying appears to be arguing in two contrary ways: on the one hand, he says that sanctions do not work; and, on the other hand, he says, "These are the sanctions which we are applying". I ask why? He can only justify that if he inserts a word before the word "sanctions"—one which we have never used—namely, "punitive". The object of sanctions is not to create a wilderness in South Africa; it is to reduce the power of the South African terrorist state to terrorise its own citizens. That is the first point.

The second point is that all the way through the debate speakers have been saying that it will take time. Indeed the Minister was saying, "We are pressing", and talking about engagement. Before I was banned from South Africa in 1959 I was working with Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu on peaceful demonstrations against the oppression of the African people. By then they had had 100 years of peaceful protest; they only turned to violence when they found that such peaceful protests brought nothing more than increased oppression.

Today the black Africans, the coloureds and the Asians in South Africa have fewer rights than they had 100 years ago. That is the answer to the present policy of the South African Government. My whole point has been that we still have the Group Areas Act and the Population Registration Act. Those are the foundation stones of apartheid. I ask the British Government to do what the Minister said in his last words; that is, to help those in South Africa who are working against oppression. We can only help; they have to decide. However, we can help most clearly by increasing our sanctions, as other countries have done. That has led, as my figures have shown, to the few reforms and liberalisations of the last period. My Lords, I beg leave to withdraw my Motion for Papers.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

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