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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

28 Feb 1992: Jordan, Pallo

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The bi-election in Potchefstroom was read as a referendum on De Klerk's initiatives and changed the political situation in South Africa. If the government was seriously negotiating toward democratic elections and a democratic constitution, it would be clear that the NP would lose power. Therefore, their first agenda has been about posing obstacles and foot-dragging. Their second agenda item would be continued destabilisation of the ANC by De Klerk's government through violence.  This referendum (March 17) is an attempt to further delay the process. In the last referendum in 1984 (creating the tricameral parliament) we saw an outpouring of anger and this started the states of emergency in 1986 and 1987.

The ANC's attitude is that the De Klerk reaction to the bi-election casts serious doubts about the government's intentions toward CODESA. If the white electorate does not like it then the CODESA process is irrelevant. This is the reason the ANC is adamantly opposed to this referendum and it is joined by all but three of the black political parties in CODESA. We have called on the white electorate to oppose the white referendum because we do not want CODESA to fail.  (Within a week Cyril Ramaphosa came out urging the whites to vote "yes".)

We are concerned about two issues. First the explicit and unpronounced fears of the whites about domination. We don't consider this fear rational; but then fears are not always rational and prejudice is not rational political debate, but the ANC takes them as real.  We (the NP and ANC) have gone a far way. There has been a great narrowing of the distance that formerly separated the anti-apartheid forces and the government; such as agreement on universal franchise, a Bill of Rights, an independent judiciary, and there is a fair amount of agreement on checks and balances. We have not shifted our position. It is the NP that has come around to accepting a democratic transition.

The elements of the transition are the second issue of concern to us. We propose rapid movement to an interim government in two phases. First an Interim Government Council negotiated at CODESA. This maintains the existing three houses of parliament and the legislatures in the TBVC states (independent homelands). They would be supervised by the Interim Government Council. Two commissions are created, one on elections and one on the media (broadcasting). This government apparatus would see that the decisions taken by CODESA would be given legal force. The Election Commission would make possible a new electoral roll and make provisions for elections to a new Constituent Assembly (CA).

The CA would have two functions: (1) to write a new constitution, and (2), to be a new legislative branch of government. Decisions on the constitution would be reached with a two thirds majority and ordinary legislation would take a simple majority. In its legislative function the CA could create a new executive and this interim government, in the second phase, would take over all the functions of government. We think the constitutional writing function would take a very short period. The ANC believes the interim government arrangements would last about 18-24 months. When the interim government has completed its term of office it would be up to the CA to decide if the interim government transforms itself into a permanent government, as in Namibia, or there would be new elections.

In CODESA there is a large consensus, except for Bophuthatswana and the IFP, the two that have not signed the declaration of intent. The lack of participation by the PAC and AZAPO is regrettable but not an impediment. In time they will come on board.

Sanctions were the stick and now we need the carrot. At the sanctions' peak back in 1989 they had a tremendous effect. Their repeat has not had the solitary impact that it was intended to. Any democratic government has a backlog of legislation and social welfare inequities that have to be addressed. We are going to require a commitment from democratic countries with resources for aid in housing, health, education, etc. One will have to make up for the legacy of apartheid. It is also true that the SA civil service will need to be addressed. Affirmative action is meaningless if there isn't training and education. This is not going to be a democratic South African government going around the world as beggars. If we cannot address these issues the democracy will not work.


Are you ultimately talking about power-sharing or a transfer of power?

We don't talk about power-sharing. We talk about a democratic government in a country which is 80% black.


Integration of the MK and the SADF?

It is not a question of integrating the MK into the SADF, but a question of restructuring the SADF. The SADF insignia is a castle in Cape Town which was the white people's fortress in defence against black hordes. This is illustrative of the need to introduce a new ethos. At the end of the day, there are hard realities we (the ANC) have to face. There are people in the officer corps who have built their careers in the armed forces, and then there is the Navy, and you can't throw out the Air Force and the Navy.

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