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South African question to be discussed at conference.

In the same year that Brown v Board of Education was being decided here in this country, representing a major civil rights breakthrough, South Africa was putting in place its system of government enforced racial segregation. Eventually, that system would become the impetus for many American states and local governments to pass resolutions condemning apartheid and imposing economic sanctions.

NLC and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) will co-sponsor a discussion on the question of South Africa during the Congressional City Conference in Washington, next week. During the forum, both sides of the question on sanctions will be discussed. South African Ambassador Harry H. Schwarz will present his government's position.

Ambassador Schwarz is the first serving politician from the opposition ranks to be appointed to a senior ambassadorial post in South African history. He is a veteran member of the anti-apartheid opposition in the South African Parliament. Mr. Schwarz has long been an advocate of human rights and negotiation to formulate a new democratic constitution. Ambassador Schwarz emigrated to South Africa with his parents who were Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.

He began his public service in 1951 when he was elected to the Johannesburg City Council. A lawyer by profession, Mr. Schwarz holds the Order of Meritorious Service, which is awarded to South Africans who have rendered exceptional public service.

By many accounts, today South Africa appears to have begun a process that would result in a more open and democratic society. Most recently, South Africa President F.W. de Clerk has called for a national referendum to prove that his government has a mandate to continue with its policy of negotiating a fully democratic and non-racial national constitution. In response to the progress that has been made thus far, the government of South Africa feels that all sanctions should not be lifted.

There are also those who feel that while there are signs of progress, it may be too soon for sactions to be lifted. In their view, Black South Africans have not themselves called for a change in this policy so it would therefore be better to wait until that has occurred.

This special session should be of interest to conference delegates, particularly those from communities that have adopted resolutions or taken other actions in response to the South Africa question. The session will be held on Saturday, March 7th at 4:00 p.m.
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Title Annotation:Congressional-City Conference
Author:McCloud, Thom
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 2, 1992
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