Independent homelands : an analysis of selected issues in South Africa-homeland relations

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University of Cape Town

Eight years after Transkei has been granted independence, the independent states have become an important component of the South African political landscape, and their existence cannot be ignored despite the fact that no other country but South Africa has recognised their independence. This thesis is concerned with the evaluation of the choice of independence. The reasons are examined which led the South African government to grant independence to the homelands, and those which induced some of the homeland leaders to accept it. An evaluation is made of the political and economic benefits and lack thereof this choice has brought to those who made it and to their communities, with a view to the role the independent states may play in future developments in South Africa. A descriptive-analytical approach has been adopted and the main subjects have been presented in their chronological unfolding, in order to stress the basic continuity in the aims pursued both on the part of the South African government and on the part of the homeland leaders, despite numerous tactical adaptations to the circumstances on both sides. Most of the information has been gathered from the Hansard of the House and from reports of various commissions and government White Papers. Official documents from the independent states and the economic corporations working therein have also been extensively used. Other information and data have been gathered during a period of fieldwork in Ciskei and Transkei and through a number of interviews. The time passed since the granting of independence to the homelands which opted for it is still too short for an exhaustive evaluation of the effects this choice had for their population. It is however possible to draw a few preliminary conclusions regarding the effects the independent states will have in the evolution of the political situation in South Africa. The most important is that they are here to stay, bar a total defeat of the white government in an all-out war, and that they may be a factor in a still possible peaceful solution of the South African problems.

Bibliography: pages 381-191.