Four years after South Africa's first all-race elections, which put an end to white power and the system of nominally independent black homelands, one white group wants to re-establish homelands - for itself.
The Volkstaat Council, set up by the government in 1994 to research the possibility of setting up a self-ruled white territory, is coming to the end of its work and has reached a conclusion: There are sound justifications for separation."We don't accept the idea of a pot where you throw in everything and then you have a new nation," Professor Hendrik Robbertze, chairman of the Volkstaat Council, told reporters at a parliamentary briefing on Wednesday.
"(Self-determination) will determine whether South Africa will survive as a stable and prosperous community of secure peoples."
But while the ruling African National Congress has not officially ruled out a "volkstaat" (people's state), leading government members have said the idea will never fly, mainly because there is no single area of South Africa where white people form a majority.
It has been a cherished dream of many white Afrikaners to have a separate homeland.
The Freedom Front, which has nine seats in the 400-member National Assembly, claims there is enough support for the volkstaat, even though the party achieved the support of less than 40 percent of white Afrikaners in the 1994 election.
Afrikaners are descendants of the original Dutch and French colonists and make up some 60 percent of the white population, which numbers some five million out of South Africa's total population of around 40 million.
Robbertze believes the council's research has lifted the concept of self-determination out of the "party political sphere and made it the focal point of scientific investigation."
After analyzing surveys and questionnaires and studying "the history of Afrikaner self-determination," the council believes its concept can be achieved.
"The demarcation of specific areas and the feasibility studies currently being undertaken place the volkstaat in the realm of practical politics," the council said.
While the council does not aim to carve out a separate Afrikaner nation, it has spent millions of rand (dollars) over the last four years gauging Afrikaners' desire for self-determination and earmarking plots around the country for habitation.
The council estimates that at least 10 percent of South Africa's three million Afrikaners would prefer to live apart from the rest of the country.
"They want the ability to decide for themselves on really important issues like language, religion and culture," Robbertze said.
"This desire will not go away . . . the desire of the people will increase through the years to come."