South Africa's progress on dismantling apartheid won a major endorsement on Apr. 15, when the European Community agreed to drop curbs on trade in metals. But that may not help South Africa's economy much. Few global companies have substantial investment plans for the nation, and business activity is stalled. Indeed, South Africa's gross national product is likely to show zero growth at best this year, after a 0.9% drop in 1989.
The biggest brake on recovery is continuing political violence, which the government blames on rivalries among black political parties. But the African National Congress says a shadowy, right-wing "third force" is provoking the outbreaks. Unless Pretoria cracks down on such agitators, the ANC threatens to suspend plans for an all-party conference to launch negotiations on a new constitution.