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  • Conservative Party
  • J.H. van der Merwe (bio)

The Conservative Party (CP), which today represents the majority of Afrikaners in Parliament, wishes to see a democratic South Africa where the Afrikaner will not be dominated by others and where his right of self-determination can be fully exercised. We would also like to see a free market system, with economic interdependence among the various states. This vision strongly resembles the European model of politically independent, but economically interdependent states. It is the only way to solve the political power struggle and increase the people's level of welfare. The path through which this solution should emerge is that of peaceful negotiation.

The Conservative Party believes firmly in the universally accepted and widely practiced principle of the self-determination of a nation in its own state. This is democracy in a homogeneous state.

The global trend is firmly in this direction. Before the Second World War there were 70 independent states; today there are 160. One may talk of a proliferation of states or of democracies or of nationalisms. Small states with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants proudly take their places in the UN alongside giants like China and India, with their hundreds of millions of citizens.

Europe, Africa, and the Americas are all partitioned into dozens of independent states. South Africa is a microcosm of such countries, although it lacks final state boundaries and has a high degree of integration. South Africa's nearly 40 million people belong to at least 13 clearly distinct nations, such as Afrikaners, Zulus, Xhosas, Vendas, Sothos, and so forth. Thus it would be totally undemocratic to enforce a one-man-one-vote "democracy" in such a heterogeneous country, for it would mean domination of small nations by large ones and would constitute a tyranny of numbers.

The CP's fundamental philosophy is that every nation is entitled to exercise the right of self-determination in its own state. This is in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. We accordingly reject [End Page 38] artificial attempts to juxtapose different nations in one so-called undivided state. That inevitably results in domination of smaller nations by the big ones, causing their sacred right of self-determination to become obsolete and their own value systems to be supplanted by those of their dominators.

The National Party and the Democratic Party advocate political power sharing in an undivided South Africa, hoping for some form of checks and balances as protection. We regard the possibility of effective checks and balances in a Third World milieu as a myth. It has worked nowhere.

The ANC's call for "democracy" and a one-man-one-vote system sounds sweet to the ears of the world, but it will mean that 35 million black people will determine the future of the 5 million whites. It means blatant black domination of whites, and the smaller black nations face the same dilemma. To add insult to injury, Mr. Mandela, not satisfied with black political domination alone, wants to nationalize white banks, mines, businesses, and farms. This was the basic mistake made by the USSR. The Soviet bear's artificial hug is now relaxing, and democracies are emerging.

My party rejects violence as a method to accomplish political ends. We believe in peaceful negotiations and are confident that there are still enough moderate, responsible people in South Africa to establish a peaceful future.

We want to be relieved of the burden of governing others. All people should enjoy universal franchise—but in their own states. We advocate a large degree of interdependence between independent states, including economic, agricultural, academic, medical, and various other fields of interdependence.

The bottom line for the CP is the belief that an undivided South Africa would destroy the Afrikaner's right of self-determination; would cause the eventual destruction of our value system; and would lead to Third World standards. It is therefore unacceptable.

South Africa at first glance seems to have a free market system. This is largely incorrect, however, as the system is changing fast in the direction of socialism. Although so called "privatization" occurs, the government is also implementing social democratic principles. The government argues...


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