7 AUGUST 1964, Page 10

The Smashing of a Party One thing the Prime Minister

and his Govern- ment are trying to condemn and prevent is the South African Liberal Party. Once again readers of the Spectator will be familiar with the growing success of this party in challenging the whole structure of apartheid, and with the warnings that if the press outside the Republic did not begin to notice its existence it would be so much easier for the Government to squash it. This squashing has now started. In the past few weeks, one after another Liberal leaders have been picked up by the police and are being held in solitary confinement without a charge being brought. News of these arrests trickles through to the British preSs. The fact that they are all members of the Liberal Party and that this is a sustained attempt to smash the one successful, non-violent opposition party is scarcely mentioned. But what sort of people are these? Apart from Vigne, there is Adrian Leftwich, former Presi- dent of the National Union of South African Students, most active in the attempt to keep apartheid out of the universities, spending much of his time helping Africans rejected by the universities to take their degrees by correspon- dence courses. Mr. Alan Brookes and Mr. Sholto Cross are both university lecturers. Mr. Neville Ruben, currently being held by the Portuguese authorities in Mozambique obviously under South African instigation, is the son of Leslie Ruben, a man who represented Africans in the Senate in the days when that was possible; he too is a former President of NUSAS, joint editor of New Africa and one of the few people to have made contact with all the South African opposition groups in London.