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February 16, 1978

Report, South African Department of Foreign Affairs, 'Transit Visit of Reverand Ndabaningi Sithole'

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Transit visit of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole




In London Rev Sithole would be taking up Britain’s continued support for the PF which he said was not comprehensible. In order to build up pressure against the British attitude his party had sent representatives recently to West Africa where they had visited Liberia, Benin, Togo, Guinea and Guinea-Bisseau, all of whom had ­apparently indicated their support for the internal settlement and were making their voices heard in London. In addition Kenya, Zaire, Tanzania and Nigeria also supported the internal settlement.


Rev Sithole said his party was in touch with the terrorists in Rhodesia who had indicated that they supported the internal settlement and would like to lay down their arms once the interim government was established. In the meantime they would continue their activities in order to keep up the pressure on Mr Smith.


Rev Sithole was quite convinced that once an internal settlement was reached the support for Mugabe and Nkomo would erode. In this connection he mentioned that Moz’s support for the terrorists was diminishing.


Regarding the Anglo-American proposals Rev Sithole said that while many of the principles will be taken up in the internal settlement, the negotiating nationalist parties could not support a role for Britain in the transitional period as they no longer trusted Britain in such a role because of its stubborn adherence to Mugabe and Nkomo.


Pretoria 16.2.78


Before Sithole left SA news came through of internal settlement. Rev. Sithole told me that the settlement had greatly strengthened his hand and he was looking forward eagerly to his meeting with Dr. Owen. The Rev was not very interested in the attitude that Andrew Young would adopt. When I asked him about the attitude of President Kaunda he said he could not say at that stage but that Kaunda would have to accept the settlement. His present support of the PF was merely because he wanted to see his friend Nkomo become the first president of Zimbabwe.


Mr Killern Secret.


Reverand Sithole's upcoming trip to London to discuss Britain's continued support for the PF in Rhodesia.


Document Information


South African Archives, Department of Foreign Affairs, BTS 1/156/3. Included in "Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart Van Wyk.


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Leon Levy Foundation