May 20, 1959 Senate Speech Promoting Bantu Self Government - HF Verwoerd



In this speech the Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, once again elucidated on the policy of separate development, and stated fully its implication. An excerpt of his speech is published here.



… Furthermore, I want to argue as follows. If that will be the result, if through the capabilities of the Bantu it happens that here in South Africa there will be a White state, a big and strong White nation, along with various Bantu national units and areas (or states, if you like) how is that different from what we have in Europe? Are there not in other parts of the world such as Europe, South America and Asia, various nations and states next to each other within the same continent or part of a continent? What would have happened to France, to Germany and to Britain if they had lost all their borders and their populations had become intermingled?
And if those nations do not desire anything like that, and if it is not necessary there, and if it cannot happen there, why is it so terrible if in South Africa there are also various nations and territories and even neighbouring states? Do we find that the all-white nations and states in Europe try to or succeed in becoming one unit without borders? Have those nations become intermingled or has a multi-racial state been established in Europe? Or did we see throughout the centuries, even after the one state conquered the other, e.g. when Charlemagne established his empire, that the various nations again split up and re-established their national borders? Therefore, just as in other parts of the world, we must be able to accept that in Africa there can be various states on one continent or part of it.
These states can nevertheless have a bond, the bond of common interest. Such a bond has even become the modern ideal in Europe, viz. in the economic sphere where they are trying to form a common European market. It is the ideal to retain political independence with economic interdependence. That is the spirit which prevails in other parts of the world where states with various borders, large ones and small ones, occur, but suddenly now something like that is inconceivable in South Africa, and dangerous. Now I ask further: If there cannot be such a division, if the possibility of having separate territories as an eventual settlement of political aims is not possible – how long that development will take, I do not know – what is the other way out? The United Party [opposition] has said over and over: Nothing else is possible but a common South Africa, a multi-racial country, although numerically the Bantu will outnumber the Whites three or four times. I repeat, with candour and in the best interests of the White people of South Africa, that I choose an assured White state in South Africa, whatever happens to the other areas, rather than to have my people absorbed in one integrated state in which the Bantu must eventually dominate. One Bantustan for the whole of South Africa is the inevitable consequence of the policy of the United Party.
Therefore to talk about partition and sub-division as being a distasteful pattern is utterly nonsensical, because in terms of both policies there will be Black areas, and in terms of the policy of apartheid the White man will at least control his own area, whatever the difficulties might be and however hard it might be. He at least has the opportunity to save himself, which under a multi-racially controlled state he will not have.
The next argument I want to deal with is the allegation made by the Leader of the Opposition that our course of action shows a lack of confidence in the ability of the White man to retain his leadership. I will have more to say about leadership at a later stage, but at the moment I want merely to say this in regard to that argument, that leadership in a democracy is not retained by men of pious words. It depends on numbers, as anybody who has made a study of the history of any nation knows. In the final result it is force of numbers which predominates – high or low, poor or rich, Black or White – and therefore it is necessary to apply all our energies and to make sacrifices and to work hard to ensure that there will be a White part of South Africa (even though we must accept the presence of the Coloureds) where the Bantu population will not predominate in that community as part of that community.
The next argument of the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition was particularly surprising to me. He said that as recently as the First World War the races in South Africa were still separated, and then the policy of Botha, Smuts and Hertzog, who believed in separate governmental areas, was possible. His further argument was that since the First World War the Bantu workers streamed into the industrialised areas of South Africa, which now makes it impossible to have separate governmental areas. The migration of Bantu from other parts of Africa to South Africa, is also concerned here. Therefore the inflow of the Bantu into the industrial areas in the White parts of South Africa, and also the inflow of Bantu from other parts of Africa, make the ideal which was possible in the past, the ideal of separate government, impossible. Does the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition realise what he is really saying? He says he admits that before the First World War there was a definite White governmental area here, and therefore Botha, Smuts and Hertzog were justified in saying that we had our own area, and that the Bantu were separate, but that that became impossible as the result of the inflow of Bantu workers from our Native reserves, from the rural areas and from other parts of Africa. My reply to that is that he then accepts a bloodless conquest of the White area by the Bantu, whom the White man wanted to accept only as workers and not as people who would become partners and later the conquerors of this country. If there is any nation in the world which is prepared to allow itself to be robbed of its country by those to whom it only did good and whom it provided with work, then I say that we on this side are not prepared to be “hands-uppers” together with the United Party and to surrender and hand over our country as the result of a bloodless conquest.
I want to compare the position with what would happen in Britain if Britain were to allow Jamaicans to enter the country to seek work to such an extent that in the end they would be in the majority (if immigration on such a scale were possible in such a small country). Would the British just quietly say: We will not stop the inflow, and as soon as they number 70,000,000 or 80,000,000 and we are only 59,000,000 (or whatever the figure may be), then they are in the majority, and because everybody should have equal rights therefore England in future will belong to them! That is ridiculous, but it is in line with what now has to happen in South Africa according to the argument of the United Party. The in-flowing Black workers have increased in number to such an extent that a multi-racial Government must follow and in that way they will become the conquerors of White South Africa, just as the Jamaicans would be in England if they were permitted to do the same thing that the Leader of the Opposition says took place here since the First World War. That is the most peculiar argument I have ever heard as a plea for the granting of political rights to the Bantu, as is the statement that we should not protect ourselves and should not keep the government of the country in our own hands. In the time of Botha, Smuts and Hertzog it was correct, but not in our time, it seems, because we have been conquered already by the large number of immigrants.
The next argument was that we are changing the map of South Africa; we are forming a horseshoe of the Prime Minister’s Black states. Has the Leader of the Opposition ever considered that neither I nor this party but history, and partly the history of the time when the White man was still landing in Africa, placed the Bantu in the areas where they still are? They inherited it, as we inherited our area. This horseshoe was not created by us or by any organisation we established or by any Act we passed. The Bantu themselves settled there, where the White people found them and where they still are. Is the Leader of the Opposition going to deprive them of that horseshoe? If not, why does he attack us? He does not want to unify the whole of South Africa, as I said a moment ago. He wants the Bantu to retain their horseshoe. In fact, the heart-lands (in situation, not in numbers) of that horseshoe are Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland. Just look at the map; those are the heart-lands of that horseshoe, apart from the Transkei and Zulu-land. He therefore also knows that Britain has been in control of that horseshoe from 1910 until now. Did he therefore intend to say that Britain wants to bind South Africa in a vice of Black states in the form of that horseshoe? No, only now, when the National Party is considering safeguarding South Africa by recognising Bantu self-government in those areas, suddenly this is a dangerous horseshoe. It was not us who put the Bantu there. He was there. The United Party wants him to remain there. Nor can we disregard the fact that he is there. Therefore to say that we are changing the map of South Africa is absolute nonsense. But let me ask this further question: Should one throw up the sponge when one finds oneself in difficulties? If it is true that there is a horseshoe of Black states, due partly to the actions of Britain, must we say then that consequently we must simply allow the rest of South Africa to become mixed and in the final result to become dominated by the Bantu? I look upon this horseshoe argument as one fit for a debating society but not for a serious discussion on the destiny of a nation.
In spite of that, Hon. members on the other side enlarged on it. The Hon. the Leader of the Opposition even came along with the argument about the dangers which would develop on our border under such a future arrangement; inter alia, that it would become a springboard for foreign ideologies, that Communists would be able to take over the areas and that the Bantu states would be able to enter into their own treaties. He also asked which navy, which air force, might perhaps dominate those states? He says that in this way our coastal area is handed over to foreign powers! These are alarmists stories he is spreading in advance of a far-distant future, when there will be the fullest development. He does not use those stories for the transition period. He is afraid of what will happen if Bantu states come into being one day. Let us assume that it is possible that some of the dangers which the Hon. Leader of the Opposition mentioned may arise. Let me then point out to hon. members opposite that they must be logical. While I accept for the sake of argument that that may be so, it must be noted in the first place that the same Leader of the Opposition who accused us about these “dangerous” states, later in the debate accused me of wanting to create such weak little states! I believe he even spoke about the immorality of this. On the one hand he talks about the tremendous danger and, on the other, of the creation of weak little states, which would be an injustice.
Let us examine the position if we accept for argument’s sake that they may become dangerous independent states. I contend, of course, and it is my belief, that there are no grounds for the fear and anxiety of the Leader of the Opposition. My belief is that the development of South Africa on the basis of this Bill will create so much friendship, so much gratitude, so many mutual interests in the process of the propulsive development that there will be no danger of hostile Bantu states, but that there will arise what I called a commonwealth, founded on common interests, and linked together by common interests in this southern part of Africa. In other words, I believe that these dangers of foreign ideologies, of foreign navies, and so on, will not materialise.
If the Hon. Leader of the Opposition wants to frighten people, however – fear which I believe will be proved to be unfounded – then my reply to this type of reasoning is that in the long run I would prefer to have a smaller White state in South Africa which will control its own army, its own navy, its own police, its own defence force, and which will stand as a bulwark for White civilisation in the world and which, in the event of an emergency and a clash with ideologies in neighbouring states, will also have the support of the outside world to enable it to maintain itself (in other words, rather a White nation which can fight for its survival), than a bigger state which has already been surrendered to Bantu domination.
I propose now to sketch the consequences, in terms of this same type of reasoning, of the United Party’s policy. What would be the (remember this) eventual position – because after all the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition argues in terms of the situation which will eventually arise when our policy is carried out – what would be the eventual situation in the event of his policy being carried out? Then you would have a multi-racial community and a multi-racial state with ever-expanding control by, and a joint say on the part of, continually developing Natives in one joint country, with the Natives outnumbering the Whites four to one.
(Do not let us take the other groups into account.) What would that involve? A South African army and a South African police force under black generals; an air force under a Black air-marshal; a government with Black Cabinet Ministers; a Parliament with Black Members of Parliament; administrators and mayors, all Black! Now I ask the Hon. Leader of the Opposition: With such an end in view, what hope would there be for the White man? Not only would he not have his own army, his own defence force and his own diplomatic channels to protect himself against foreign ideologies, if there is an emergency, but he would already be under the domination and under the superior power of the army, navy, air force, police service, government – nation-wide – of the Black man. Is that the eventual picture which the leader of the Opposition wants South Africa to choose? If the Leader of the Opposition wants to come along with alarmist stories about imaginary eventual consequences of our policy than I can do the same about his! Hon. members over there laugh. But if they were not prepared to ridicule their own Leader when he put forward this sort of proposition, why is it so ridiculous when one outlines to them the consequences of the other alternative, the road to Bantu domination? Their laughter is born out of despair; it is an admission of the weakness and senselessness of this type of argument. In any event this type of speculation gets us nowhere. What we are trying to achieve under our apartheid policy is a South Africa which endeavours to build up reasonable opportunities for the Bantu in such a way and of such a nature that we can secure their permanent friendship and co-operation without giving them domination over the whole of our own area in addition to their own. And if in the coming years all the wisdom of statesmen is harnessed to allow development to take place in this way, and if the Opposition and its Press and the liberals who oppose this peaceful neighbourly development would stop their venomous attacks, then there would and must be great hope for South Africa. Then friendship with other racial areas and also other colour groups here would grow. But only then, never otherwise.