South Africa apartheid party disbands

The party linked to decades of white racist rule in South Africa has formally departed from the political stage, with its leader admitting the injustice of apartheid rule.

    For 48 years, the National Party epitomised white minority rule

    The New National Party - the successor to the National Party that led apartheid - approved its dissolution at a meeting of its federal executive in Johannesburg on Saturday.

    This followed a decision, taken last April after a humiliating defeat in national elections, to join forces with the ruling African National Congress.

    "What we do today is part of our contribution to finally ending the division of the South African soul," NNP leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk said.

    "It cannot be denied that the forerunner of the NNP, the NP, brought development to a section of South Africa, but it also brought suffering through a system grounded in injustice."

    Brutal oppression

    Mandela became South Africa's
    first black president in 1994

    The National Party, which came to power in 1948, presided over 48 years of systematic and often brutal oppression of the country's black majority, who were denied the right to vote or mix with whites.

    After prolonged international sanctions and rising domestic pressure, National Party leader FW de Klerk released African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela in 1990 and launched reforms that led to the first multiracial elections in 1994.

    Mandela became the country's first black president.

    The party subsequently changed its name to the New National Party but failed to carve out a new identity for itself in post-apartheid South Africa and rapidly lost support.

    The NNP won less than 2% of the vote during last April's elections that clinched a second term for President Thabo Mbeki, prompting Van Schalkwyk to pledge his allegiance to the ANC.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.