What pressures from beyond South Africa threatened National Party authority in 1974-83?


  • Mozambique became independent in 1975 and an organisation called the FRELIMO came into power and its leader was Machel.
  • He had support from communist and his internal policies and external allies were a threat for South Africa
  • Machel enabled the ZANU to establish military bases in Mozambique to establish guerilla attacks against white minority in Zimbabwe. 
  • Smith (leader in Zimbabwe) supported the Remano movement in the orth of Mozambique- civil war against the FRELIMO 
  • Botha expanded South African support for Remano so Mozambique could be destabilized and  therefore no longer a threat to South Africa - preventing support for the ANC and MK
  • ANC were already established in the capital Maputo 
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Angola and Namibia

  • Angola was under the rule of Marxist MPLA
  • South Africa was concerned as Angola could have been a base for SWAPO 
  • SWAPO is the organisation that was trying to free Namibia from South African rule 
  • South Africa built a military presence on northern Namibian border and sent their troops to Angola in 1975-76
  • South Africa and the United States helped UNITA movement to fight against the marxist government


  • United Nations, with the support of the Western powers, fought in an internal sttlement about the promotion of non-revolutionary governments but South Africa didnt co-operate with them. 
  • National Party feared that African majority rule in Namibia would been that SWAPO would go into power
  • This could have given support to the ANC
  • Botha built up military presence in Namibia and due to this white youths were 'forced' to long periods of compulsory military service. 
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  • 1970's - conflict betwwen white minority (Ian Smith) and liberation movements of ZAPU and ZANU. 
  • ZANU emerged as the military force as it relied on Chinese support for military hardware and training
  • The white minority sought help in South Africa as the National Party feared communist governments around neighbouring countries
  • However, South Africa realised that Zimbabwe would not have survived with the ruling of white minority therefore encouraged an internal setllement with African leaders. 


  • Zimbabwe parties met in London 1979 and agreed on democratic elections. 
  • ZANU won in 1980. The new presdient was Mugabe.
  • UK promised substantial finacial resources to underwirte purchase of land from white farmers
  • Botha realised that the support it had for Zimbabwe was becoming too costly.
  • Mugabe did not allow ANC and PAC to establish military bases or presence in the new Zimbabwe 
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Defence expenditure

  • Pretoria decided to spend a great deal in defence as surrounding countries were all becoming independent therefore a threat to Pretoria. 
  • The government prioritised domestic arms industry due to the United Nation ban, in 1963, to give any weapons to South Africa. 
  • Nationalist government was assisted by France and Israel. 
  • Israel formed an alliance with South Africa and military links were very important
  • Shared political identities as isolated regimes and both feel threatened about countries around them
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Regional accomodations

  • 1980- 9 African states launched the (SADCC)
  • This excluded South Africa as was designed to counterweight the apartheid regime 
  • This was hard as South Africa controlled key transport links to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. This also meant that Pretoria could pressure neighbouring countries not to support ANC
  • South Africas effort at destabilisation was focused on Mozambique due to its socialist government, as it supported the ANC
  • 1982- Swaziland signed a non'aggression pact with South Africa and agreed not to support the ANC. 
  • Mozambique was fighting a civil war and signed the Nkomati Accord in 1984
  • South Africa stopped military support for Remano if FRELIMO would stop supporting the ANC
  • This was signed and it was a major breakthrough 
  • South Africa removed much of pressure 
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Political prisoners

  • AAM realised that they could gain more support by concentrating on human rights rather than political aims of liberation
  • 1974, AAM and linked organisations launched the SATIS 
  • Focused on political prisoners. ANC and AAM  felt that focus on prisoners would be more effective if they found one iconic figure- this was Nelson Mandela
  • 1975- Mike Terry became the secretary of the AAM and provided new connections in British politics. 
  • They supported a young student in a case
  • Mahlangu was taken as a hero by the ANC.
  • AAM released biographies and stories about Nelson Mandelas life before imprisonment during his 60th birthday.
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Economic sanctions and political alignments

  • 1973, reports of starvation wages paid by British firms in South African hit headlines
  • Trade Union Congress advocated formal code of conduch in British firms operatin gin South Africa
  • This was similar in the United States
  • AAM generally opposed these initiatives
  • AAM were uneasy on supporting Black Consciousness
  • They did not support the new organisations in the Trade Union therefore AAM were reluctant on promoting them in newspapers
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