PROGRAM TO ASSIST REFUGEES FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN MILITARY

by South African Military Refugee Aid Fund
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Undated, about March 1978
15 pages
Type: Policy Document
Coverage outside Africa: United States, Europe, United Nations
Language: English
Contents: INTRODUCTION • THE PROSPECTS FOR A MILITARY DESERTERS PROJECT • WHY SOUTH AFRICAN MILITARY REFUGEES SHOULD BE GRANTED ASYLUM IN THE USA • (A) A person who is called to serve in the South African military is required to fulfill tasks far beyond the normal role of a defence force • (B) Alternative service for non-combat duty does not exist for South Africans • OBJECTIVES OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN MILITARY REFUGEE AID FUND (SAMRAF) • PROGRAM ACTIVITIES • SAMRAF BUDGET FOR JUNE '78 to JUNE '79 • APPENDIX 1 COPY OF THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF AN ARTICLE BY DAVID MARTIN WHICH APPEARED IN "THE OBSERVER” ON DECEMBER 18 1977 • EXTRACTS FROM ADDENDUM, DAVID MARTIN, LUSAKA, 17 DECEMBER 1977 • APPENDIX 2 SECTION II: THE LOCAL CHURCH IN ACTION • APPENDIX 3 MEMORANDUM ON SOUTH AFRICAN LAW RE MILITARY SERVICE by Michael I. Davis • The document says the South African Military Refugee Aid Fund (SAMRAF) was established in early 1978 by a group of white South Africans who have been exiled from their country because of their resistance to apartheid (some at the risk of their lives) and by a number of Americans who have been prominent in the field of Southern Africa solidarity work. The document says members of SAMRAF have worked both individually and organizationally for over two decades in support of the black liberation movement against the racist system in South Africa; their activities have involved research, writing, publishing, lecturing, appearing on radio and TV, lobbying, demonstrating, testifying at United Nations and congressional hearings, and initiating boycotts and other campaigns to force American businesses to stop investing in South Africa; the membership of SAMRAF includes lawyers, clergy, writers, artists, organizers, and administrators of peace organizations. The document says members of SAMRAF helped expose West Germany's strategic nuclear links with the South African government; in 1976 they worked with the United Church of Christ to publish The Oil Conspiracy, documenting the secret chain of companies through which Mobil Oil funneled oil to Rhodesia in violation of United Nations sanctions. The document says economic pressure and exposes such as the Oil Conspiracy continue to be important strategies for those working in support of majority rule in South Africa, and such strategies are continuing under a multiplicity of organizations; one strategic point of pressure on South Africa, however, has been ignored by most anti-apartheid movements, and this is the South African military, and the role of progressive whites in South Africa; the linchpin in the ability of white South Africa to hold out against increasing internal and external pressure rests with its military defence force. The document says to date, no other liberation support group has attempted to address the challenge of dissension within the South African military; as whites, some of whom themselves are deserters from the SADF, the South African members of SAMRAF are in a unique position to take up this challenge; moreover, they are able to build upon the experience of other United States members of SAMRAF who were active in the Draft Resistance and GI Movement during the Vietnam war. The document says already, there are a number of indications that the loyalty of a growing number of draft-age South Africans is questionable; recently a draftee committed suicide on the eve of his conscription; an increasing number of South Africans are leaving the country or going underground to avoid the draft; in 1976, for example, 4,000 men failed to report for duty. The document says the role of countries which state their opposition to apartheid should be clear; they need to abide by the Lagos recommendation and provide immediate political asylum to bona fide military dissenters. The document says over 50,000 troops are illegally occupying Namibia in defiance of International law, uprooting people from their homes and creating fire-free zones; in terms of Namibia, troops refusing to serve there are abiding by international law; the USA recognises that South African troops are illegally occupying that country. The document says the penalties for refusing to do combat duties are heavy indeed; for those who desert it is 10 years in prison advocating conscientious objection could be punishable under section six of the Terrorism Act and punishable by death. The document says to establish a climate of support in the U.S. for political asylum for dissenters from the SADF, SAMRAF will publicise research now being done by SALSCOM on the South African military - its strength, the nature of its conscription, conditions of service, deployment strategies, dissention within its ranks etc. - and will take such findings before the U.N. and Congress as necessary. The document discusses the South African Defence Force (SADF), ECUNEWS, the South African Council of Churches (SACC), refugees, legal counsel, military dissenters, and Don Morton.
Used by permission of Mike Morgan, a former member of South African Military Refugee Aid Fund.
Collection: Miloanne Hecathorn papers