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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 18, 1977


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Press statement by SWAPO accusing the West of stalling the UN resolution for Namibian independence, and of working with South Africa to exploit Namibia. Questions whether some aspects of the resolution have been ignored or discussed without consultation of Namibia.
    "SWAPO Press Statement, Delivered by D.T. Tjongarero at an Impromptu Press Conference in Windhoek," June 18, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SWAPO Department of Information. Included in "Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart Van Wyk.
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The 31 year-old deadlock of Namibia has been a creation of South Africa and her allies the Western Powers, who are permanent members of the Security Council. While South Africa has been continuing to rule Namibia against the wishes of Namibian people, the West has been incapacitating the UN to take concerted action in Namibia, especially through vetoes in the Security Council.

The West’s latest attempts to talk to South Africa cannot be seen otherwise than the continuation of this alliance to legalize South Africa’s presence in Namibia to try and lessen the international pressure on South Africa, to try and thwart SWAPO’s attempts to effect genuine independence for Namibia.

We take cognizance of the West’s attempts to boost the image of the Turnhalle, to pose it as an alternative to SWAPO’s peaceful takeover of Namibia. There is no alternative to SWAPO’s peaceful takeover through elections within the framework of Resolution 385 except SWAPO’s intensification of the struggle at all levels.

The West succeeded in one thing to come and attend the Turnhalle’s funeral. The Turnhalle was appointed to divert the struggle, and your achievement was to again show that the Turnhalle members are puppets of the Pretoria regime. Today the Liberation war in Zimbabwe is costing Smith almost a million Rands a day. No country can cope with such expenses without breaking her economy. Thus we are aware of the West’s attempts to save the racists before they are crushed for their own interests will go down the drain. Thus their primary interest is not at all the welfare of the Namibian people but saving their racist agents from total annihilation.

Questions with regard to your initiative

Is your coming to Namibia still within the framework of the Security Council resolution which gave you the green light to explore possibilities of a solution for Namibia? What is the legal status of your visit to Namibia?

You have put it to us that you are not negotiators but explorers. If this is still the case, why are there talks of a settlement? If you came as explorers how do you explain the agreement which led to South Africa’s enactment of laws in the SA Parliament empowering the SA State President to rule Namibia by proclamation?

Who’s to appoint the Administrator General? What would his functions be? To whom should he be answerable? Was this agreed upon? Between whom? And if so, is it still within the framework of Security Council Resolution 385, paragraphs 7 and 8?

The Security Council Resolution 385 paragraphs 10 and 11 make as priority conditions for free and fair elections in Namibia:

The withdrawal of the whole South African presence in Namibia: Army, Police, Administration.

(2) The release of all political prisoners.

What has happened to these conditions?

(B) In the light hereof, how do you explain SA committment to uninhibited national elections with the banning order on the acting Vice-President of SWAPO, comrade Nathaniel Naxuilili, having been extended to 1982, the execution of Filemon Nangolo, the indefinite detention of Axel Johannes and Victor Nkandi after having served a one-year prison term, the continued detention of captured SWAPO guerrillas and supporters all over Namibia?

What about the draconian emergency resolution R 17 in Northern Namibia and trial under the Terrorism Act of four Namibians, in the event of an agreement ­having been reached, or was this not taken into account?

Why is the West meeting several leaders of SWAPO separately and not together, when SWAPO maintain to be one organisation?

What is the role accorded to the UN Council for Namibia in your discussion with South Africa during the period before elections, the UN Council for Namibia being the legitimate administrative body to lead Namibia to genuine independence? Has the Western Five taken over the responsibilities and duties of the Namibia Council?

It is an indisputable fact that Walfishbay is an integral part of Namibia, while SA is claiming it. What is your view on this issue?

What are the concrete guarantees for the return of expatriate Namibians?

Having considered what has been said up to now about the Cape Town talks, and bearing in mind that the West cannot negotiate on behalf of Namibian people, SWAPO condemns the West’s attempts to negotiate outside the UN.

The West’s meeting South Africa outside the UN, and for that matter in SA on the Namibian issue is a clear endorsement of South Africa’s legality over Namibia. By meeting the extended arm of South Africa through the Turnhalle, the West wants to give alternatives where there are no alternatives, and they thus deserve the strongest condemnation. Your attempt is to be seen as endorsing the Turnhalle’s ethnic obsession, thus dividing and weakening the Namibian people’s bargaining power.

At our last meeting with you we indicated that as long as SWAPO was geographically divided there would be no stand on your initiative. What have you done to make this meeting possible? We believe that it is convenient for you to meet the leadership here and outside, for it would seem easy for you to divide SWAPO between external and internal. Or are you not interested in having our response? If you are prepared to go ahead without SWAPO you should also be prepared to face the unavoidable consequences.

Nothing outside Resolution 385 of the Security Council is acceptable to SWAPO. Empowering the SA State President to rule Namibia by proclamation and the appointment of an Administrator General does not fall within the provisions of Resolution 385. And thus SWAPO rejects it. South Africa has no right to prescribe what the Namibian people do; she’s merely a colonial power to vacate Namibia to make room for a people’s government in Namibia. The Cape Town talks are an evasion of Res. 385 and deserve the total condemnation of SWAPO and thus the people of Namibia.

There is a war between South Africa and SWAPO. Any decision taken between the West and SA, who are partners in exploiting Namibia, is null and void as long as no agreement has been reached between South Africa and SWAPO—the parties at war. The West is sustaining South Africa militarily and economically; their talks are thus an attempt to undermine the people’s struggle.

SWAPO is prepared take part in open national elections for a constituent assembly under the supervision and control of the United Nations, in accordance with Res. 385.

If SA does not want to leave Namibia peacefully, SWAPO, and thus the Namibian people, will intensify the struggle at all levels to overthrow the SA regime or any other regime installed against the will of the Namibian people. SWAPO reserves the right to call from support from all peace- and freedom-loving people of the world.

It should be clear to all that the inalienable right of the Namibian people for independence is not negotiable at all.




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