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Sunday, August 08, 2004

BBC > South African apartheid party will join ANC

The party that legalised apartheid in South Africa has paved the way for its extinction by joining the party that battled the racist system.
The New National Party plans to fight future elections under the banner of the ruling African National Congress.
As the National Party, it introduced apartheid after it came to power in 1948, denying black South Africans the right to vote.
The NNP will shut down in September next year.
The party's leader, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said he planned to join the ANC in the coming weeks and urged fellow party members to do the same.
South African President Thabo Mbeki welcomed the decision of the NNP to join his party.
He said he could not think of another instance where a party of oppression had admitted defeat and joined those whom it had oppressed.
Representatives of both parties are reported to be planning a joint national tour to help convince NNP members to make the change.
When it was in government, the National Party had a policy of reserving the best land for whites and entrenched a host of regulations designed to protect white privilege.
This included preserving white only beaches, benches and restaurants.
It lost power to the ANC in the country's first truly democratic election in 1994.



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