Boer Unilateral Declaration of Independence (1994) PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 March 2012 13:00

Many parts of the text that follows are taken from chapter 22 of the book “Victory or Violence: The Story of the AWB of South Africa”, by Arthur Kemp. Additions and changes are by

General Constand Viljoen and KP leader Ferdi Hartzenberg. Pretoria, 1993, Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF) meetingAfter almost 84 years of illegitimate multi-national elections, usually open to all those who had fairly clear skin ("race" is another thing), by the beginning of 1994 it was obvious that South African Empire's first multi-racial election was definitely going to take place at the end of April of that year - despite the insistence of both the Zulu based Inkatha Freedom Party and the Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF) - a coalition which included the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) - that they would not participate.
The 1994 elections were intended to cement the Empire, forged at the beginning of the century by international capitalism through the British military force, and hand over power, over all nations and tribes of southern Africa, to a black Communist force.
Against this, the AVF drew up elaborate plans to free a large part of the Transvaal - with the co-operation of twenty one Konserwatiewe Party (KP) controlled town councils in the western Transvaal.
In terms of the plan, the KP controlled councils were to seize their assets to prevent them falling into the hands of the imperial regime - this included finances and other resources. For this latter purpose, a plan was drawn up whereby all the KP controlled local authorities would, at a given signal, transfer their assets into a “Volks bank” which would then finance the UDI attempt. They would then form the political spearhead of a "Boer Unilateral Declaration of Independence" in the western Transvaal.
General Constand Viljoen, who led the “directorate” of the AVF, was fully aware of the plans and was even tasked to secure the loyalty and support of the South African Defence force's citizen call up units. Although he later denied it, he was also tasked with gathering together a number of serving and recently retired army and police generals to take command of the military side of the UDI. (Viljoen did manage to gather together a considerable number of such generals, but instead of leading them into the UDI attempt, eventually literally led them to a polling booth at the main army base, Voortrekkerhoogte, on imperial polling day in April 1994.)
The AWB for its part was entrusted with the physical occupation of the towns, which were mostly concentrated within the Transvaal. AWB forces were to be deployed in the towns at strategic points controlling access to the centres, and would form the "shock troops" to ward off any Empire reaction to the planned UDI.

AWB march in Vereneeging, 1991.

The idea of the Boer Unilateral Declaration of Independence was to try and force the imperial regime into reacting with force, which would then (in theory at least) spark off widespread actions across southern Africa.
For this purpose a few individuals in the western Transvaal and some of the KP councils even purchasing some old armoured cars being auctioned off by the rapidly shrinking South African Defence Force, with the intention of using them to fortify areas in the western Transvaal at the selected date.
Of course the Empire intelligence services picked up news of these plans. In January 1994 the then head of the South African Defence Force, General Kat Liebenberg, met with the leadership of the AVF (Eugene Terre'Blanche excluded) and told them that the Empire was aware of their independence plans, and urged them to abandon the idea as the imperial army would not allow the plan to go ahead.

AWB-General Nico Prinsloo, Eugene Terre’Blanche, Gen. Constand Viljoen

The Empire did draw up counter measures, which culminated in a formal State of Emergency in the western Transvaal being declared at the time of the April 1994 election.
By the second week of March 1994, AVF had split on the issue of participation in the election as well. General Viljoen, widely regarded as the military saviour of the nationalists in their hour of crisis, used his prominent position within the Afrikaner Volksfront to start negotiations with the African National Congress (ANC) and the then Nasionale Party (NP) imperial government. When ANC president Nelson Mandela publicly shot down the chances of any type of “Afrikaner Boer state” being accommodated, the AVF called off all talks with the ANC and the government, but Viljoen was by then a leading member of the "Freedom Alliance" - (former COSAG, "Concerned South African group"), the multinational alliance that sought freedom for all nations of southern Africa.
The Freedom Alliance consisted of Black homeland leaders (Bophuthatswana's Mangope, KwaZulu's Buthelezi and Ciskei's Oupa Gqozo) and the AVF coalition (that brought together many white Afrikaner “nationalist” organizations; the AWB, at that time great Boer nationalist movement; and a large number of former generals of the Armed Forces and Police Forces of the RSA); all whom were originally opposed to the creation of a single regime, even bigger than it already was.
The Freedom Alliance was still locked in talks with the ANC and the NP imperial government, with the result that Viljoen was able to transfer his talks from the official ranks of the AVF to those of the Freedom Alliance, and carry on virtually uninterruptedly.
These actions soon made it clear to others inside the AVF that a faction under the leadership of Viljoen were in actual fact in favour of participating in the April 1994 imperial elections, rather than an armed uprising for the restoration of the Boer Republics.
On 29 January 1994 the AVF held a mass meeting in the Pretoria show grounds, ostensibly to inaugurate the AVF's own transitional government authority (in response to the ANC/NP authority then just installed to run the Empire): the Volksverteenwoordigende Rand (VVR, the Council of Representatives), the Parliament of the nation. This transitional authority was supposed to be a sort of Boer parliament, with the chairman of the AVF, KP leader Ferdi Hartzenberg, being installed as "president of the Volkstaat" and appointing a "cabinet" to advise him.
However, the meeting was preceded by some back room manoeuvring. On the Thursday (27 January 1994) before the mass meeting (which was held on a Saturday), Hartzenberg called Terre'Blanche to an urgent private meeting at the KP head office in Hatfield, Pretoria. There Hartzenberg told the AWB leader that Viljoen had presented a "strategic alternative" to the AVF's independence plans, and that this alternative consisted of the AVF registering as a political party and taking part in the “new” Empire elections.
Hartzenberg added that he had agreed to let Viljoen present this proposal to the mass meeting the next Saturday. Terre'Blanche expressed his opposition to the proposal, saying that no benefit would accrue from participating in the system at that stage.

Eugene Terre'Blanche and Ferdi Hartzenberg. 1994

The meeting went ahead as planned, as was attended by over 10 000 people. When it came Viljoen's turn to speak, he was met with rapturous applause - but this support melted away and was replaced with cat calls when he announced his “strategic alternative” of participating in the imperial elections.
Despite the meeting chairman, Frank le Roux (the KP chief whip and Member of the Empire's Parliament for Brakpan) trying to force a motion through supporting Viljoen's proposal, the crowd turned ugly and the meeting broke down in chaos and confusion. Several angry men tried to storm the stage and physically assault Viljoen for making the suggestion, and it was only due to the presence of his bodyguards that he was not assaulted. His wife, who was with him on the stage, broke down in tears as the crowd voiced their displeasure.
The stage then had to be cleared as it became too dangerous to stand there. The pandemonium continued as the crowd swung virtually to the man against the idea of participation in the election, and soon calls of “Terre'Blanche” and “Volkstaat now” were shouting down any attempt by Viljoen or his supporters to answer the criticism. The crowd only finally calmed down after Terre'Blanche took the stage and told them to quieten down.
The AWB leader then made the proposal that the whole matter be referred back to the AVF's executive council for further discussion. Although this counter proposal was accepted with rapturous applause, it was never carried through by the AVF's executive body, as things moved very quickly after this confrontation.
The installation of the Volksverteenwoordigende Rand then continued, and Hartzenberg appointed Viljoen as his minister of Defence and Terre'Blanche as his minister of Law and Order.
Viljoen however did not take the rebuff as an indication that he should stop that line of thinking, and almost immediately restarted his (till then) secret talks with the ANC and the NP. When ANC leader Nelson Mandela then announced, with great fanfare, that the ANC would "never agree to an Afrikaner Boer Volkstaat" the AVF executive then took a final decision breaking off talks with the ANC and instructing Viljoen to do so as well.
Viljoen however simply became part of the Cosag/Freedom Alliance delegation which was then also engaged in talks with the ANC/NP transitional government, and through this forum continued his task for an alternative to the AVF's independence plans.
Sensing there was a possible split in the ranks of the Afrikaner Volksfront, the ANC/NP transitional government then began to apply pressure on the ranks of the Freedom Alliance to participate in the imperial election, which was now only a matter of months away. The Ciskei was the first to cave in under the pressure, and its leader Oupa Gqozo resigned from Cosag and let his homeland join the transitional government process.
Further pressure was then applied to Bophuthatswana and KwaZulu. An state of emergency was called out in KwaZulu, and the region was flooded with armour and troops, ostensibly there to stabilise the situation, but in reality of course to send a clear message to the Inkatha Freedom Party that any attempts to disrupt the election or to go for independence as a Zulu kingdom (which was the line being used by the IFP at that stage) would not be tolerated.
At the same time, civil unrest broke out in Bophuthatswana, causing a major crisis in that homeland. This unrest prompted the abortive intervention in that state by an armed force of AWB and AVF (see: “Conflict in Bophuthatswana - 1994”).
On 4 March 1994, the day of final registration for parties wishing to take part in the April imperial elections, Viljoen registered a new party, called the "Vryheidsfront" (VF; in English: "Freedom Front", FF) in order to lay the groundwork for participation in the election by the white not-Boer Afrikaners.
The day immediately following Viljoen's registration, a full sitting of the “Boer parliament” was held in Pretoria, where Viljoen's decision to register the Vryheidsfront was overwhelmingly rejected. Viljoen came in for particularly severe criticism from one of the three AWB members of the parliament, Fred Rundle. Rundle, who acted as media spokesman for he AWB, asked Viljoen where he had obtained the money (R75 000) needed to register the Vryheidsfront, as it had certainly not come from the AVF's purse.
Viljoen then gave the astounding answer that he did not know where the money had come from, even though he had said that he had had the money (in the form of a bank check) in his pocket "for the past two weeks." This was an obvious and transparent lie, obviously meant to cover up for the person who had put up the money, apparently a businessman from Kempton Park on the East Rand.
Viljoen agreed to abide by the parliament decision to let the Vryheidsfront's registration lapse (as it would automatically if the party did not submit a list of candidates) and the meeting then ended.
By this time however, negotiations between Viljoen, the NP and the ANC had already come to a head. A last minute amendment to the interim imperial constitution established a "Volkstaat Council" whose job it would be to look into the whole issue of white Afrikaner self determination after the election had taken place (self-determination for the white Afrikaners is something very different from independence for the volk of the Boers!). In return for this useless “concession”, Viljoen had to agree to take part in the imperial election through the medium of his new political party, the Vryheidsfront. If the Vryheidsfront then won seats in the new imperial parliament (the system of voting used was proportional representation) then he would earn the right to nominate members of the Volkstaat Council.
The Volkstaat Council was however specifically forbidden from making proposals centred on an independent, sovereign, homeland.

1994. The final act of betrayal: Gen. Constand Viljoen with Roelf Meyer (NP) and Thabo Mbeki (ANC)

Five days later the AVF meeting of 5 March, Bophuthatswana president Lucas Mangope called on his partners in the Freedom Alliance and in the AVF to help him contain the ANC inspired unrest in his country. This request was thus the subject of an urgent meeting of the AVF Head Council on 10 March - and Viljoen, who was still a member of the AVF, was present when a decision was taken by the  to send in an armed expeditionary force to Bophuthatswana to prop up Mangope's government. As recounted in the article “Conflict in Bophuthatswana (1994)”, the expedition ended with the AWB and AVF forces withdrawing, and Viljoen and the AWB blaming each other for the unsuccessful operation.
Viljoen then almost immediately announced that he was not going to let the registration of the Vryheidsfront lapse, and that he would activate it to participate in the imperial election. Although Viljoen later said that he decided to participate "after the Bophuthatswana expedition" (as quoted in the Sunday Newspaper Rapport of 27 November 1994) it is obvious from the course of events that he had in fact decided to participate in the election a long time prior to that date.
Gen. Constand Viljoen. Pretoria, 1994With the pull out of Constand Viljoen and the formation of the Vryheidsfront, the Konserwatiewe Party also then decided to pull out of the independence plans. On the same Saturday that the first AWB car bomb exploded in Johannesburg, KP leader Ferdi Hartzenberg called personally at Terre'Blanche's home in Ventersdorp to tell the AWB leader that no KP controlled councils would support the UDI drive. By then it was of course too late to stop the AWB's plans from being put into effect.
At the very last moment then, the great coalition of the AVF was broken and nothing came of the carefully laid independence plans - even though the Empire took no chances and the entire western Transvaal was flooded with troops and armor during the election period.
It was obvious that Inkatha Freedom Party non participation in the election would be crucial to the effectiveness of any AWB resistance program, as unrest in KwaZulu/Natal would cause the Empire to divide its forces between the two regions.
The Empire had, by March 1994, already instituted a State of Emergency in KwaZulu in an obvious attempt to intimidate the IFP into agreeing to participate in the imperial election. Of more importance to the AWB, was however the fact that the State of Emergency in the Zulu region had caused the SADF and police to deploy a large number of troops and armoured vehicles in that area - troops and armour which could not then also be deployed in the western Transvaal. However, in the first two weeks of March 1994 the IFP leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, appeared to start to waver. Terre'Blanche launched an attempt to prevent the IFP from participating in the imperial election from the middle of March 1994, writing several letters to the King of the Zulus, Goodwill Zwelethini.
The AWB and the IFP were officially allies in late November 1993.

AWB members provide training to Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party militants. Picture taken during a secret AWB training camp, Heidelberg, 1994

The last of these letters, dated 14 April, appealed to the Zulu monarch to "stand firm" and promised that the government and the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, would be "too divided" to effectively crush both the "Boers and the Zulus". The letter ended with a promise that "all hell will soon break loose" - a boast that did not go unfulfilled.
Despite the last letter being carried to the Zulu king by a member of the Zulu Royal Household who had for many years been on good terms with the AWB leader, the AWB's attempts to keep the IFP out of the imperial election were unsuccessful, and that party entered the imperial election at the very last moment. In the imperial election, the IFP barely won control of the province of KwaZulu Natal and emerged as the third biggest party in the new imperial parliament.
The AWB's reaction to the participation in the imperial election by the IFP was unexpected: a statement was issued on Thursday 21 April 1994 saying that the "so called peace which has now been found between the IFP and the ANC will not be a lasting one. The election will be an opportunity for confrontation between the ANC and the whole Zulu nation." The AWB predicted that the "war between the ANC and the IFP would intensify as the Zulus will never accept the outcome of the election."
"The AWB declares that it, under no circumstances, plans to be part of the coming election; that it still regards the election as illegal and that it therefore has no confidence in the future government. The General Staff and the executive Council have therefore decided to protect members of the organisation and the Boerevolk against the chaos, uprising and revolution which will follow."
With the decision on the part of the IFP to go into the imperial election and the split in the AVF coalition, Terre'Blanche realised that he now had to deal with a situation which had rapidly changed. He decided to try and speed up the intended confrontation with the Empire, and for this purpose formally announced that the AWB was going ahead with its' plan to concentrate its forces in the western Transvaal. The final paragraph of the press release commenting on the IFP's decision to participate read as follows:
"The AWB has declared as a base, secure territory which stretches from the Northern Transvaal to the Cape border. Thousands of members of the AWB are already busy moving into the area in order to ensure that sufficient manpower is mustered in order to ward off any persecution or action against right wingers by the future Communist government."
The AWB had by this stage already started concentrating its forces in the western Transvaal - as had the government of South African Empire, which had now had its one hand freed by the decision on the part of the IFP to go into the imperial election.

Ernie van der Westhuizen, Eugene Terre'Blanche, Nico Prinsloo. Ventersdorp, March, 1994