About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

01 Aug 1993: Holomisa, Bantu

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

BH. The government is using groups like COSAG.

POM. Excuse me, General Bantu Holomisa on the 1st of August 1993.

BH. No, we foresee that the government of South Africa again is possibly using these structures which they have invested in for quite some time. Like KwaZulu government who is taking the whole group now to court. Making the whole thing a mockery, because KwaZulu government gets funds directly from South Africa, it's not an independent state. You can't even say they are controlling their own revenue because that money comes from Pretoria as it is. In essence what you are saying then now is that the government of South Africa is sending the other 25 parties to court indirectly because the costs are going to be paid by the South African government through the KwaZulu government. So I think it is the last kicks of a dying horse but we need to be vigilant. Because if we are not careful the whole process can get out of hand and, of course, the South African government will still be in control.

POM. When you look at opinion polls you see just the base of support for the National Party has more or less collapsed.

BH. Yes.

POM. 25% of the voters who voted for them in 1989 would not vote for them today and there's talks of splits within the National Party itself. Widespread disillusionment at the electoral machinery to grassroots level has kind of conversely been driving people who are abandoning the party in droves and the split within the Cabinet between hawks and doves. What are the implications of all these things? I mean, how much room has de Klerk left for manoeuvres? It sounds to me that the world is closing, slowly closing in on him.

BH. It is true that he is losing support, that is the Nationalist Party. Precisely because of what I earlier on said, that he is an indecisive leader. He cannot take firm decisions. And the blame would be put squarely on his shoulders because last year he was given the go ahead through the referendum, but they started to apply brakes. You remember that CODESA deadlock? Because precisely he distorted the meaning of democracy. And he allowed, even the right wingers, which he has defeated, to gain a foothold. Now his people were surprised, for instance, last year December or November when he said there'll be elections in April 1994. They started to panic because between the referendum and that statement of his in parliament he still presented himself as if he can still manage the process and control everybody for a period of say four or five years or ten years. All of a sudden he said there will be elections in April. Yet he didn't condition his audience. All what the Nationalist Party, through the local media, which was sympathetic to it, and SABCTV was concentrating on having out-manoeuvred the ANC internationally and that sanctions are crumbling and de Klerk can go to any country. So, he never actually got involved in transforming his audience and also his security forces. When they heard him saying that, then the people started to panic because it came to them, some of them, as a shock now. Had he maintained the momentum immediately after the referendum, he would have been given a chance. Because you remember when the CODESA resumed in May people's thought are that major decisions are going to be taken. But you know what he did. Now, when it comes to the present situation it is true that he is losing support. Precisely because, I think, his lack of leadership qualities.

POM. What moved him from the 1990 position, he was decisive, firm, in control, bold, creative and not afraid to take decisions. What's happened that's moved him slowly into this indecisive rather fumbling individual?

BH. I think it's simply because he allowed himself to lose control, of behaving as a technocrat. He ended up being manipulated and controlled by the securocrats once more again, giving him false information, intelligence reports. You remember how many arrests he has made of the PAC people, how many charges? And people are saying the people who are killing white South Africans are being trained in Transkei, there are bases, people are carrying arms, they are getting out with weapons to South Africa on a daily basis. But when you look at Transkei, it's only the Indian Ocean, and it's bordering with South Africa. Obviously, if the arms are coming from northern Africa they will have to pass through Transkei. So, then he started to behave like PW Botha, insensitive, telling the ANC to disband its military wing. You don't do that when you are in negotiations. I mean, there's revolution the way it is unfolded, it's not handled like that.

. I think the result of that is he ended up being manipulated by the securocrats. Perhaps the securocrats gave him a latitude in 1990, thinking that he is going to unban the organisations and still control them. But they didn't know that the ANC and others would swell the streets and ranks of South Africa or actually send a signal that, "De Klerk and your forces you cannot control South Africa without involving us." So, I think he got agitated and perhaps now he felt that he needs to show some force, he's being regarded by the whites or some conservative whites or the military as the weakest leader they've ever produced.

. However, there's one thing one has got to understand when you look at the issue of South African politics. The army and the police, particularly the army, have been running the political set-up until almost 1990 when the unbanning took place. And, I don't think, therefore, it was wise on the part of de Klerk not to immediately retire some of the generals who were in charge of the SADF because of their attitudes. Or if he had not done so, at least he should have embarked on an exercise of changing attitudes amongst them. But instead, he kept them. Now he seems to be at ransom, they are holding him at ransom because he was part of the killing machinery, which is State Security Council. De Klerk himself, right from the time of Goniwe and others when they were killed, right from of the operation which was planning to destroy this region. So obviously if the security forces, for instance, some of these generals have been implicated in the violence, like the current head of the Military Intelligence, Jaarsveld van der Westhuizen. But those are untouchable guys because obviously, if he were to touch them they can say, "Ah you are the last one, but what about these minutes, do you still remember that you were present when we took the decision to eliminate ..." So, it's a blackmail of some kind.

POM. Jon Quelane, the reporter, he wrote at one point that Holomisa is holding at least a dozen damaging documents, all of which, judging by the two so far released, are accurate. The documents show that FW de Klerk was aware of many of the ...

BH. Atrocities?

POM. - atrocities that were going on. You have documents still? You haven't released more yet or have you released them?

BH. No, no, no. The timing for them is not yet opportune. So, this is what I'm trying to say, that the security forces are holding him at ransom and he cannot move, he cannot. I mean he's got a problem I think. Now, let's come now to the split within the Nationalist Party. We suspect here that these guys, they must have been given a fresh mandate, that is the Afrikaner Nationalist Party and others. Although de Klerk as leader of the Nationalist Party, Hartzenberg, the leader of the Conservative Party, AWB leader, Terre'blanche and so on, may appear to be belonging to different political organisations, but there is one common denominator among them and that is the Broederbond. They are all members of the Broederbond, including the present President where now the strategy and the interests of the Afrikaner, irrespective of your political affiliation, are discussed. The likelihood is that they might have told him that the strategy of unbanning the organisations and that of wanting to control the process, you have failed in it. Therefore we have to produce someone who has got a clean record politically, and who is highly respected among the security forces. But in doing so he must go and rally, perhaps the right wing and put them under him. Every thing will be attributed to the right wing, stay close to the ANC as much as you can until the last minute. It is possible they must have told him that. That's why you see the sudden emergence of General Viljoen.

. If you look at General Viljoen, he operates like a holding company, it's subsidiaries, you see AWB, you see CP. I mean Hartzenberg has been elected by a constituency and has been elected to lead as political leader of that party. They are members of parliament. But, like right now Viljoen just came in and he's moving with his former Chief of Intelligence, General Groenewald who has been instrumental, General Groenewald, in forming the COSAG group and later formed this group now of the Afrikaners. So, if you look at Groenewald and General Viljoen, they've got influence in the present rank and file of the SADF because the people who are in charge are the Generals which they were leading. They were never given the golden handshake to go and retire and get new fresh blood. So I suspect that they might have told De Klerk that you've made a mistake so we need someone to rescue the Afrikaner, so rather, Viljoen form this group, control it, anything - assassinations, everything will be attributed to the right concept of resistance movement as a strategy of the SADF, be it black or white. Then from that group on the right and therefore at the negotiation table we might bargain using you. That look, the right wing is gaining support gentlemen, can't we get some concessions? They can do that.

. Let alone the ill-discipline of AWB leader, Terre'blanche, which was displayed at the recent invasion at World Trade Centre. According to our Intelligence he was not tasked to do that, to get there. They were to have posters and protest and few guys come in but his hooligans just got out of control. But still the media of South Africa was quick to say it was because of discipline on the part of AWB members, not on the part of perhaps Viljoen, the blame was not put squarely on Viljoen per se because he ended up being a hero, going there to stop them, to get out of that, after the damage has been done. So you see here that he's being promoted, he's respected in the security families, his political background is clean, it's untarnished.

. So if de Klerk for one reason or another today, some of the members of his caucus of the Nationalist Party were to resign, either go to the IFP and others to the CP, what it means is those who are going to the CP, General Viljoen, he behaves like a chief director (what do you call it in the economy?) he's the managing director of this holding company. Because in essence his Chief Security Intelligence Officer, General Groenewald, controls the COSAG group, he controls the Afrikaner Volk. The Nationalist Party is here, some are going to the CP, perhaps not in the too distant future, others are going to Inkatha. But who is a common denominator? It's Viljoen because he is controlling COSAG group, everybody. Can you understand what I'm trying to say?

POM. So do you think, like there won't be any big difference between CODESA 2 and the present negotiating forum, as in CODESA 2 you had two rivals, the ANC and its alliance and the government and its alliance, and they were tangled together. And this time round de Klerk, the government - de Klerk has changed dancing partners.

BH. He said, "Alright I will be seen to be close to the ANC so that I'm not condemned internationally, that I'm an intransigent Afrikaner and so on." But in the meantime, the right wingers, COSAG is given a licence to mobilise.

POM. So, you think that de Klerk indirectly or perhaps directly was encouraging the right wing to get it's act together under somebody like General Viljoen?

BH. So that when the chips are down he can honourably bow out.

POM. What does this mean for the process?

BH. Let's take, for instance, the deadlock in negotiations in September or December or November, meaning that elections will be postponed. The term of de Klerk is ending next year, I think April, September, I'm not sure. I don't think he can come back as a leader of the Nationalist Party. Never. So, obviously, as a result of the delay he has been playing to the hands of the right wing, that is, the conservative element, let's put it that way. So that conservative government, if they were to hold elections, de Klerk can still hold elections and we wouldn't do a damn thing at the World Trade Centre. Because what we are negotiating there is not attached to the current constitution of his. We didn't say your constitution must be suspended once the TEC is in place. We are not saying that, which is dangerous. Because he now he is going, "Alright, I was not responsible for the deadlock but my term is ending, I must honour the obligation otherwise I will be seen as a dictator who wants to cling on power." I mean that's a nice palace coup. But at the same time he would have promoted the right wing or the conservative elements. And instead of being 'couped' or whatever, he bows out nicely, retires.

POM. So you see what's going on as being one more manifestation of the ability or the capacity of the National Party to manipulate the situation so that on the one hand they seem to be in bed with the ANC but they are creating conditions on the right that would ensure deadlock?

BH. Yes, definitely. They are leading the ANC into a deadlock situation and in the meantime ...

POM. Have you discussed these things with the ANC?

BH. Yes, we do discuss some of these issues, and I think some of them didn't realise it, but I think they might be suspecting that the positions of Holomisa earlier on which he put in public in these issues are proving to be correct. Because if you are a politician and you don't have some intelligence, before you say things publicly sometimes you tend to take a longer time to realise the situation. I mean you cannot expect Bill Clinton, for instance, to go to California from Washington before being briefed by his chiefs, security on the atmosphere in California. But I don't think our friends, before they leave in the morning, go and meet Roelf Meyer in Pretoria. He calls his chief, intelligence, security, and says, "What's the situation, what's the latest, what was said in the Cabinet of South Africa yesterday?". But you'll find that the government knows about what was said in their Boardrooms by virtue of ...

POM. Their intelligence system?

BH. Their intelligence system, infiltration.

POM. During last September you had the mass action and then you had the march on Bisho which kind of concentrated people's minds, it seems that the moderates in the ANC got back into control and said we must get back to talking. Then they had these lists of demands that had to be met before they were to participate in talks.

BH. Which were never met anyway.

POM. They were never met?

BH. Not all of them. Only few political prisoners.

POM. They have this Record of Understanding which seemed like a deal had been done between the government and the ANC.

BH. And then they are now using Inkatha to wreak havoc on those deals and the CP, the right wing, and still I think the scheme is to promote the resistance by the Afrikaner and other blacks to say, "You've done something wrong". And yet de Klerk said, publicly has said, he doesn't think that there would be a deal leaving Inkatha out.

POM. He said that you can't reach a deal if you leave Inkatha out?

BH. Yes. Yet he agreed to publish that Record of Understanding with the ANC. Perhaps they should have not done that, just carry on, have that Record of Understanding but don't publish anything. Because now de Klerk after that he said no, that Record of Understanding doesn't mean that Inkatha will be left out. Yet he was committing himself to things like Constituent Assembly and so on. And at the same time saying if Inkatha is left out he doesn't think that there will be a deal. He's sort of contradicting himself. He's having a veil of secrecy and footwork which people don't seem to monitor.

POM. Do you think that if Buthelezi sits this whole thing out and says, "I'm folding up my tent I'm going home", that you guys can negotiate everything you want to but it has nothing to do with Natal?

BH. No. He won't be able to say Natal. Natal is also ANC controlled. I think the ANC has made in-roads up to his civil servants broodings. He has been warning them, threatening them. In the rural areas he's no longer in control there. ANC is moving in, it's creeping in. So, but on paper and publicly, because he's got propaganda machinery, the media behind him and so on they can paint that. And also the MI, Military Intelligence, if he says there will be a civil war, they will deploy the bandits and start this mayhem like what they've done the day before yesterday, people from the hostels and so on.

POM. OK, so Buthelezi folds up his tent and goes home. If he does that what options are open to him at that point?

BH. No, the whole thing would be simple, simply overnight there'll be free politicking tomorrow. If you were to say, President de Klerk let us suspend the constitution and then bring in an administrator, let's say Chief Justice, then you put administrators in the homelands as well, let all political parties be free on an equal footing. What you are doing there you are beating two birds with one stone. You remove de Klerk, Buthelezi and others. You are actually cutting the relationship between themselves as political leaders and parties with the security forces, which they are abusing, state resources. All the players now are equal. Exactly what happened in Namibia. They had an administrator, the international community is working with that administrator as well as the Transitional Executive Council. You equip the Transitional Executive with all the powers you can think of for a period of, say, nine months, six months. When the Gatsha's of this world who now have an access to the state radio and TV, ahead of the ANC and the PAC and others, the de Klerks of this world who have the same access will now be equal.

. Then you will start judging now who is fanning the violence. I'm definitely sure you won't find it because the rule, the instructions will be different now. You can even bring in the international peacekeeping force, etc., period. Because political decisions will no longer be coming from Minister Kriel of the police, when it comes to deployment. But they will be coming from an Administrator but if you still pursue the argument that this is a sovereign state, but I've never seen a sovereign state killing it's nationals. I mean Goldstone has implicated the involvement of security forces over many times. So that's why I say, you fold your arms Gatsha, but you pull the carpet. Put Administrators there and stay away from the government, then you will see what's going to happen. Because even in this electioneering ANC has got to, and others, have got to go and look for money elsewhere because they are dealing with the people who are in government. If Gatsha wants to go to Johannesburg and attend a rally, who pays for his tickets and hotel accommodation? It's the government. If ANC wants to go to Natal, it's not the government. De Klerk wants to fly to address his people, the aircraft is for the government, security, you name it. So it's an unbalanced state of affairs.

POM. But do you think that, again, if Buthelezi threw in the towel and began to make noises about seceding?

BH. No, he won't secede Natal, because he is not alone there. There are Zulus in the PAC, there are Zulus in the ANC. So the mentality that Natal is a Zulu dominated area and that the Zulus listen only to one person, and that is Gatsha and the King, is wrong. It's not like that.

POM. But could he create a situation in which civil war ...?

BH. Alright, let's pursue this secession by him, ceding to anywhere, whatever place. Obviously he's still going to depend on 25 parties in the negotiations for funds. Let's say the government switches off the tap to the KwaZulu police, but instead the government is arming KwaZulu police. They've just bought worth R15 million worth of equipment and donated it to the KwaZulu police. Yet the Commission of Enquiry appointed by de Klerk is showing that these KwaZulu police are killing people. So you just don't imagine what is taking place in this country. So the question of him taking KwaZulu and Natal alone, it would be just one press statement, the following month it's collapsed, people are back. In fact, there would be a revolt in Natal against him or even the civil war will escalate. It will not be a civil war, it would be sort of a tribal war amongst themselves. When you talk civil war, you talk of many nationalities. But the Zulus themselves will fight against that, he won't succeed in that. In fact, he knows that he didn't succeed even when he had fought battles with UDF and ANC in the past, and even presently if there are wars. But because we don't want to experiment another feud or killing of the people in that area, the best thing is for de Klerk, Buthelezi, Holomisa to give in for Administrators and then you bring in stability in this country. But if we are going to cling on technicalities that this is a sovereign state, then we are ... Yes, so that would be the solution. Because they don't want the active involvement of the international community. Alright! What about then de Klerk resigning and the Nationalist Party give in it to a judge because he has lost control?

POM. But do you think Buthelezi will stay out or not?

BH. No, that's an electioneering, he's gearing himself for elections. Buthelezi is a politician. He knows that at the end of the day he might have to compromise, because he knows that he can't go it alone. He can't go it alone but unfortunately he's playing into the hands of the right wingers within the security forces who will take the gap and say if Buthelezi is out then we kill, under the name of the Zulus. So a third force now is emerging because they can see that the gap between the ANC is widening.

POM. The gap between the ANC and?

BH. And Inkatha.

POM. Between the ANC and Inkatha is widening?

BH. So, their leader is selling that if we're not getting a stake there'd be civil war.

POM. But do you think that the government is being sincere in that the proposals that are on the table, that ...?

BH. That? What is it?

POM. Well, are they willing to go into a coalition government for an election for a Constituent Assembly and you should have two years to draft a constitution from scratch and the language is very explicit, they can throw away the interim constitution and start from scratch, that it will be a government of national unity for five years.

BH. They've agreed on that.

POM. They've agreed on that. And they've developed that idea of power-sharing. They no longer talk about that being one of their big demands. Do enough slowly but surely seem to be ...

BH. Now, there's no choice but to appear to be standing for that but what's happening in ... is terrible.

POM. Do you have virtually another civil war going on?

BH. Yes, it's there.

POM. I mean, it's in the East Rand and I've been into Thokoza for the last couple of days and of course I had to get out. That's why I'm saying it's just awful.

BH. I mean you are not even just safe, but he was a journalist.

POM. Yes, I know.

BH. Some are willing to take the chance, they want to get in there.

POM. So you see, OK, the National Party and government kind just of tagged along with the ANC now that it already has no other choice?

BH. Yes. Perhaps they want to use the ANC perhaps to get - because they are under pressure from the business people. Otherwise to stay there the Afrikaner wouldn't mind to come with all the different tactics to delay the whole thing. But they are under pressure from the economics, their businessmen. Businessmen say, no, do something get on with the deal so that the sanctions should be lifted. So he's using now ANC, in one bed with him, with the ANC for economic reasons.

POM. Do you see him, like, being still the chief manipulator, somehow he's manipulating the ANC?

POM. Do you think he is sincere?

BH. He is. That's the strategy I don't like in him. Because he will want to have a bilateral agreements with Party A, Party B, Party C, all of them. But he cannot say to them, "OK guys, there is a negotiating forum now, let's go there all of us and discuss these matters there". Let's take for instance the question of the armed struggle. I failed to understand why he cannot say let us discuss this matter there, what are your demands ANC, PAC, and so on? Alright, I propose as follows, in front of the other Parties. Then the matter is handled at that level. But now what he's doing, he will get with the ANC make an agreement. Inkatha will not be agreeing with that, PAC will not agree with that, the CP, you know. Then you see that the parties here are still poles apart when you read papers. So he's manipulating that in order to delay the process so that he can honourably say I'm not available for election, say, for instance, when his term comes. But had we said this constitution, the current one of the Nationalist Party must be suspended, then he would see that he would have to be honest now. Because this constitution is still THE constitution of the day. He can have elections tomorrow, he can resign tomorrow, another one comes. And then another president comes with other slightly amended programmes of action.

POM. Do you think the elections with take place on the 27th of April?

BH. It's very difficult, I must be honest with you, unless we will depend on the powers of the TEC. If the powers of the TEC are just going to be toothless it's just going to be a toothless body like the National Peace Accord, then I don't think we'll have them.

POM. Would that cause an explosion of black anger? I mean it came after Chris Hani's death, an explosion of black anger. I mean the ANC is under pressure from it's supporters. I mean does it go into the fourth year? While we have nothing, absolutely nothing. In fact most of them have gotten worse after because the economy is gone. It got them worse off, so I mean, must not the ANC press ahead? What do you think of the pressure on the ANC to reach a settlement quickly that would involve them in government, that they will be more willing to make accommodations with the IFP?

BH. No, no. That is why, you see, they accommodated de Klerk, the ANC, precisely because they wanted them to move quickly. Like talking about government of national unity. That a majority government will only come year 2000. Right? But de Klerk manipulated, he came with another strategy using Inkatha, COSAG group, the right wing. But in the true sense of the word he will appear as if he is not under pressure, as you've correctly put it, but they are standing for this. Who are delaying the process now? It's Inkatha, KwaZulu government, the right wing. So he's not doing anything on that one. And he is says if they are not involved it will be difficult to reach an agreement. Until such time that he shows some firmness I don't think he's the leader who can do it now. I doubt.

POM. So you're about the most sceptical person I've ever heard since I commented in terms of what's the National Party might be up to.

BH. Fortunately we've known each other now for almost two years.

POM. Three.

BH. Three. And I'm sure you notice that I've not changed much from what I told you in 1990 or 1991. Actually seeing the plan and the strategy, I don't think it was right. It seems to be too much trust on de Klerk, putting all your eggs in one basket.

POM. So you think the ANC are by and large falling into a more carefully contrived Nationalist Party trap?

BH. Strategy, yes. Let's say now there would be a deadlock, for one reason or another, and that ANC decides to say alright, we are pulling out of negotiations completely. Let's say the worst comes up and they say we are going to continue with the armed struggle. Where are they going to operate from? Because the American government who is advising President de Klerk politically and Britain who have advised him and pressurised him to unban the organisations and also to dampen the spirit, the revolutionary fervour will say yes, it was de Klerk who was advised by America and Britain, unbanned these organisations. Yes of course, at the time it was reported that they were caught with their pants down, they didn't prepare for it. And it's clear the way they came back it was haphazard and so on. Nothing organised inside, create a lot of chaos. Carefully planned strategy, CIA, MI and FBI. I tell you, politicians, some of these are group of terrorists. So, do something with them. But they underestimated their following inside the country.

POM. Under?

BH. Underestimated their power. You will unban them, they still control them but it would prove contrary. Now, they came up with the concept of multi-party democracy. In Zambia there must be democracy. Kaunda is a friend of the ANC and the others were ousted. In Angola when Savimbi failed, you know what happened? A man who was tipped by America as well to be THE man. So, which means if you look at this and then the Mozambican situation, they've failed also to oust the present government. Had they managed to oust the present government in Angola, then Savimbi is there, Mozambique is there, change with another one, with Chiluba the President, and that's the satellite of the Western World. Because the Cold War, whether it's finished in America and Eastern Europe, it's still in existence here whether we like it or not. So, what I'm trying to say is that if they were to say we are going back to the armed struggle, a lot of work has been done in the countries in which they used to be hosted. And they wouldn't be welcome, for instance, in Zambia nor in Mozambique nor in Angola and so on. After all, they were part of the deal that Cubans withdraw then. So that's why I say, in a way they have been trapped and if I were in their position I would come up with a plan which would extricate myself quickly. And I think they still have power to do so without firing a shot.

POM. What do you think is going happen?

BH. How?

POM. With these negotiations at the World Trade Centre that are going on day after day? Are they going to produce a draft constitution, a constitution which everyone will agree with?

POM. Was TEC in it?

BH. I doubt it. That's where now we should test the sincerity of de Klerk. Would he be prepared to cede some of the powers of the Minister of Police and the SADF to be under the control to the TEC? If he refuses then there are a number of things, deductions which you can draw from it. So far he's reluctant.

POM. So, the TEC takes over and preparations are made for elections, and you have elections. I mean, where does the right throw a winger in the process?

BH. The? Right wing?

POM. Where does the right wing under General Viljoen or whatever play its card?

BH. Yes, well, they are clever enough to say they want to negotiate, they are not rejecting the negotiations concept. But if, for instance, de Klerk is losing whites left and right, members of parliament are defecting, he might soon be called to have a referendum or general elections. And then the right wing would perhaps take some stake in that, they can delay but not stop the process.

POM. Would you say the ANC would never stand for another whites only election?

BH. Obviously for the ANC it's going to prove to be difficult because the leadership will be told by its followers that we can no longer wait now, you carry on talking there, we carry on doing our own things aside. So because the noises which are being made by PAC also, they are not to be taken lightly, they are eroding positions of the ANC and some of the constituencies.

POM. Let's talk about them for a moment. I know this whole controversy about there supposedly being APLA bases in the Transkei and you're facilitating operations out of here and that the Goldstone Commission found that there were bases for APLA in the Transkei.

BH. Although they said they were training under a tree at night.

POM. Training under a tree at night?

BH. That's what their definition of a training is.

POM. What's your position on that?

BH. Now, firstly I find it difficult for them to say APLA is operating from Transkei because APLA is also unbanned. What they portrayed the outside world was that it is a terrorist organisation which is not in existence in South Africa but it is only operating from Transkei. Well, they obviously they might have been panicking, I suspect there I'm not undermining the capability of the PAC. I suspect that there are elements within the whites who might be behind these killings, killing of whites for strategic reasons, of wanting whites to run away from the Nationalist Party so that they can veto the whole process. I hope people when they talk to us they don't think that we have low IQs or we don't have brains. If the blacks can kill each other because of vying for a political space, what would stop the whites in not doing so, in killing themselves, killing each other? It's possible. I still maintain that the CCB group and some conservative elements within the security forces who are mobile and who reconnoitre the whole area, who knows what time and so on would be behind some of these killings because the South African government has not arrested one person responsible for those killings, yet they've got their most respected intelligence network in the whole of the world. So, I'm not undermining the capability of the PAC but I've got some reservations. I doubt very much, but because the circumstances present itself to the PAC so they can get disillusioned militant people amongst the blacks.

POM. Do you believe that the PAC is in control of APLA or that APLA is in control of the PAC?

BH. No. There's no such thing. ANC was in control of MK but it was MK which was in the news during the armed struggle. You always get that. Whenever an armed wing of a political organisation is involved its the party which gets lot of publicity because the trials, everybody arrested. I mean what I'm trying to say is that this drumming up of the PAC fiasco by the South African security forces manipulating the media of South Africa is proving to be a joke that APLA is coming from Transkei and so on and that the whites are being killed by PAC or APLA. There's no proof. No, I think what they are doing is a smokescreen, perhaps the government is aware you may never know, that some of their people are involved in this thing. But because their audience is panicking they must point somewhere, point a finger elsewhere. Like this teacher which was arrested in Cape Town. Now the people, at least started to get a relief thinking that something going to come out of that. But now there are a lot of speculations linked to a stolen car and so on. I thought maybe they've since taken fingerprints there. They might have the finger prints of this man or on the hand grenade and so on. So I think every time there is something they must say somebody is arrested otherwise the whites are going to go to the right.

POM. But the PAC does not deny that APLA exists?

BH. No, no, no. APLA exists.

POM. What I'm asking you is APLA in control of the PAC or is the PAC in control of APLA?

BH. PAC is in control of the APLA.

POM. OK, so is the PAC giving them instructions?

BH. PAC is says we are continuing with the armed struggle. So obviously the APLA is receiving instructions from the political wing to say carry on. If tomorrow Makwetu were to say, "APLA, we are suspending the armed struggle", it was going to be stopped.

POM. Do you think they are right to continue it? Do you think they are right to continue it, the armed struggle?

BH. No, no, no. I don't support the armed struggle. I've never supported armed formation. I'm for peaceful resolution. More especially now the climate is good for us to pursue a noble peace initiative.

POM. Have you been under a lot of pressure from the South African government?

BH. No, no. I take it lightly. It was not a pressure. It was an imaginary created crisis, I told them. When I was about to meet de Klerk last year or early this year they said, "What are you going to do about addressing this crisis?" I said, "I don't know of any crisis which is in existence". But de Klerk is trying to cover his tracks and also have a smokescreen. You see, in these operations there are always reports that there was a white man. "We saw a white man involved". And the police would say, "No, no, no, the white man who is reported to have been seen there was shooting to these people, maybe they were mistaken." Then it's suppressed completely. PAC, APLA will say, we are not involved then someone will be report, will phone SAPA, he says APLA did it. Look at the killing of the children and whites in Johannesburg. President de Klerk said in parliament 18 members of APLA have been arrested and so on. Three days after that they said card carrying members of the ANC were responsible, just ordinary criminals. It's just to prove how these guys are fumbling. That's how is APLA fumbling. I've been saying if the blacks can kill each other because they are fighting for political space, if the whites feel that de Klerk is selling out, and they feel that in order to do so he must lose support, they can do that.

POM. Business Day had a quote, you just mentioned it. Business Day reported that, "Transkei military ruler, Major General Bantu Holomisa, was unmoved yesterday as reports that APLA commander, Sabelo Phama, told Transkei police that it targeted children because it was the easiest way to hurt whites".

BH. Yes, it's true. What would I say on that? Because APLA is unbanned here, it's unbanned in Transkei, it's unbanned in South Africa. The commanders of those organisations are free to move around in South Africa, I assume in South Africa. If they don't want to go to South Africa the choice is theirs. But he was here and he was asked to state their policy, how do they see the integration of the armed forces, and he therefore uttered that statement and the media quoted him. So I'm unmoved it's true. The man who could have been - the question would have been directed to his president. Then he would have made an issue. But he is free to address the people of Transkei so he was saying that publicly. That is his opinion but I don't agree with him. Because I don't believe - my stand is known on peace and violence.

POM. On the whole question of re-incorporation, where do you stand?

BH. We'll be re-incorporated immediately after the election. That's what was agreed at CODESA.

POM. After the elections?

BH. Immediately after the elections. Our people will be participating in the elections. But we are not going to be re-incorporated to President de Klerk. No. It's a big NO. ANC attempted that, I think they are failing. We are not going back.

POM. So it was the ANC who would prefer that?

BH. No, he wanted us to go back immediately but we said list the advantages of taking us to apartheid government. They want to import Casspirs now to come here in Transkei where we are sleeping here nicely, no political violence and so on. And what are the advantages? Because we are saying, produce documents, give the people, come, politicise. In fact this is the free area in terms of the people going to associate themselves with their parties of their choice. In South Africa there is no free politicking. The free politicking is, say, during the mass actions, street marches. Free politicking after 7.00 pm in South Africa you won't find it. Because you can hardly go and knock at your next door or to a house and say I've come to present my manifesto. People are afraid, they are panicking. So you can't say there's free politicking in that country. So if you say Transkei must go in there then you have your priorities upside down.

POM. There's a report I'm quoting here on a paper that says, "The ANC was not happy with Holomisa's dismissal of the Goldstone Commission's preliminary findings that Transkei is said to be harbouring and supporting APLA terrorists."

BH. What's it?

POM. Hmm?

BH. That's their opinion? We are not doing it to please them here.

POM. You're not doing it to please the ANC?

BH. We are not pleasing anyone, Nationalist Party, ANC, MK, APLA, we are not pleasing anyone. Because they know that Goldstone - we told them that Goldstone is being manipulated by de Klerk. How can Goldstone conclude that there are bases here after having only listened to a one-sided story, police and the army intelligence. They didn't even test it, that evidence from the PAC, let alone the Transkei government. Of course we have said to them there are not bases here. In fact they vindicated our positions earlier. Later on the ministers said no, there are no bases per se in Transkei. The training which might be there maybe it's a crash-course training. It's taking place all over. One will buy an AK in Soweto and then he'll go to somebody, "Hey man, can you teach me how to do this?" How do you control such a thing? So if the ANC therefore was unhappy with this one they were expressing their own opinion. But principles are principles, my friend. If you are investigating something you cannot conclude without verifying the authenticity of the information you have. So if that they concluded that way, hard luck.

POM. Do you disagree too in Goldstone findings that the primary, if not the exclusive, cause of the violence is the political rivalry between the IFP and ANC, do you think it's off the mark there too?

BH. No, no. He's wrong. He doesn't understand politics. The revolution, the political violence will continue in this until there are elections. Right? It's not going to stop. No one will stop it. But, you stand a chance of stopping it if you have such things as administrators, as I proposed. As long as de Klerk is still in power this violence is going to continue. But what Goldstone should have done is to be able to distinguish between criminal and political violence. The political violence we have here is directed by the military wings of the liberation movements to the central government, from time immemorial. What the central government did was to bomb these people when they were in the neighbouring countries. And they didn't get favour from the international community because Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho are members of the OAU and UN. So that was a wrong tactic by them. What they did was to come with a counter-revolution wherein now they had to train other blacks like Inkatha to fight against the ANC. Now the whole thing was sold to the outside world that is it's ANC/Inkatha black on black violence. I remember you were in this office and I told you that there is no such thing as Xhosa, Zulu or ethnic violence. This is sponsored by the MI, military intelligence. I'll give you a copy of this document which I released, Operation Katzen and see who is Inkatha then. It is stated there that when this General van der Westhuizen, the current Head of the Military Intelligence, when he wanted to form the Xhosa resistance movement he said, "This Xhosa resistance movement 'maar' (but) in nature and extent they are the same as Inkatha and must be controlled by the covert activities of the Military Intelligence and be funded by the South African government. All its actions must not be traceable back to South African government." That is what is happening in South Africa. So when Goldstone is addressing the issue of violence, if he doesn't understand that politics, that side of the politics, then he must forget and there is no precedent anywhere in the world where an armed struggle has ever been ended by a commission of enquiry. Have you ever heard of such a thing? But if de Klerk and Makwetu were to sit down like they did with the ANC, discuss these matter bilaterally and then come up to cessation of hostilities it's alright. They are solved politically. That's why I say political violence will go on until de Klerk is removed from that position. So, that's the way I analyse and see it. It's history and Goldstone - it's a futile exercise which he is doing. After all he's not even a credible commission of enquiry.

POM. He's not because?

BH. Because the commission of enquiry is manned by the civil servants of South Africa and ex-civil servants. The people who are doing the investigation for him, it's not the international police but it's part of this killing machinery which is, police will come with the evidence, people will come with their evidence and then information proves that the same police which are collecting evidence for Goldstone, not exactly persons, that he's implicated in the violence. So it's a chicken and egg story.

POM. Can you tell me about the aftermath? I know you were pretty close to Chris Hani and he was very helpful in the last two years in getting me to see people. What are the political consequences of where and will continue to be the consequences of his death?

BH. I think both ANC and SACP have lost tremendous leader, and losing him at a wrong time too because the elections are just around the corner and the man was a crowd-puller. I think also the ANC have lost in that Chris Hani was intervening on a number of occasions when he sees that a position might lead the ANC into a difficult position, trapping. He would come up with his military expertise, analysis of the situation, and he was respected. So I don't think they have that strong person now, who can say in a meeting, "No, if you do this here are the implications". And Chris Hani was respected by the youth, the educated, the MK and so and so on. And I think, on the other hand ever since Chris Hani's death the economy has taken a big dive. Tourism, people don't want to come into South Africa and it has also given up some loopholes in this fighting. Sometimes when a white man is killed we still start analysing whether the people are still not revenging for that. So, it's a tragedy for country I think.

POM. Whatever you prefer to call them, the black on white killings or whatever, whites being killed, this has had an impact on tourism in Transkei, has it?

BH. Yes, we did have some few shootings here, killings immediately after the funeral. But we have arrested almost all the people who were involved in those killings. Unlike in South Africa, strange enough, we've arrested them and they are not, so far, politically linked it's just criminals.

POM. If you had elections and they were boycotted by both Inkatha, by all the COSAG parties, would it be regarded as meaningful elections?

BH. No, on paper you wouldn't say that. But the effect of the election would be to remove the apartheid structure. We are not worried about COSAG or Inkatha. We are worried about the oppressor. People tend to forget what we are fighting for. We want to remove de Klerk, if we remove him the rules and regulations are going to change, how the country must be governed. That will mean there will be no more money, no more bandits being trained or funded by the central government either in Angola, in Mozambique or in KwaZulu. The tap will be closed completely. So I'm not worried about Inkatha whether they participate or do not. But if we remove the apartheid monster, good for Holomisa. We will talk to Inkatha in a language which they will understand.

POM. Do you favour a government of national unity in which the National Party and the ANC would be the major players?

BH. Yes, no, I don't have problems with that. I take that period of government of national unity as a period of proper handover. Bureaucracy in this country is too big.

POM. What happens to your old civil servants?

BH. Those are the things which need to be looked into after elections. So I take that as a government of national unity, it's a proper handover the way I see it. Because let's say here comes Reserve Bank and you find that some officials they were involved in an exchange or a foreign exchange currency scandal, including loans, of course the government says, "Give us this loan we'll give you so much gold or something like that, we'll pay you as a go-between in order for us to get us this loan". And they sign those things. We've got to be told the truth, and you cannot be told it over 24 hours. Get the elections, get a new government. You are a Minister of Finance and the whole world looks at you. All of a sudden you see a debt you are owing, some was above board, others were underground. So but if you now have a government of national unity you can still summon that government because it will be there. You say, "My friend what about this one? Who was responsible for this transaction?" "Oh, he has left". "Where is he?" "He has since sought out sort of a refuge in London, we cannot bring him back". Something like that. So, these guys now are actually looting the country, we know that, it's a free for all. The government of national unity in a way will give an opportunity not to take over a rotten administration.

POM. But if it can get it's hands on the security forces would you think it to be the important thing?

BH. It can get its hands on that and then if there are still people who are hell-bent on destabilising other southern African states as well within the system that will be tracked and be stopped. I mean, we've got to build this region, South Africa, and be a beacon of hope as opposed to what it is now. Unfortunately, the de Klerk government didn't want to look at the models like Transkei where the people are living peacefully and so on. He portrays us as if we're an enemy position, enemy area or we're close to the ANC, close to the liberation movements, as if ANC is not operating in South Africa. That's what he sold to his conservative element. But if he were to say, "Gatsha, can't you go to Transkei and say why on Saturday there was no need to deploy police when people want to go to rallies?" It's PAC is going to have a rally or DP is going to address people in the evening here in the town hall. There is no police deployment, people just go there freely. He's got a hidden agenda, that there's no doubt about it.

POM. Are you more optimistic than you were last year about this being a peaceful settlement and a lasting, endurable one?

BH. Yes, well, when we talk at the tables there everything is fine. They told you even at CODESA we were about to reach an agreement. De Klerk has come up with something different. No, they can still do that, he has many cards on him to frustrate the process. I think the big one is this fact that he is losing popularity amongst his own people or he can just honourably bow out and get another animal which we must try and study for the next six to twelve months and in the process delay can be effected. Not militarily or violence-wise but strategically.

POM. What about if the date of election had been postponed?

BH. I think they will be finished, because amongst them they don't agree with the tactics of offers being made.

POM. What? Within the ANC?

BH. Yes, when you read papers.

POM. Yes.

BH. You read that the people who don't believe that this approach - let's say some of those people and you look at COSATU which also seems to be splitting. Others saying we want to form a political worker's party and so on. Don't think things are going alright, they are going instead to favour de Klerk. The more you prolong it, they favour de Klerk, CIA and the FBI. Bring these people, render them useless, dampen their revolutionary fervour, split them as much as you can, the chaos. Let's say, for instance, if the ANC had fallen into the trap that they must change from liberation movement to a political party as early as 1990, they wouldn't be having a cent today in the bank. You see that? Because they wouldn't be qualifying now to get donations, sympathies and so on. And the cards which de Klerk has been pushing with Gatsha, disbanding the army and so on, instead of sitting down and saying, "Right, I know that we have been fighting, I recognise that you've got MK, I've even unbanned it. Can we structure and plan the future of this country?" Simple. But the way he'll take the negotiations, he's taking them as if he's doing a favour for the blacks in this country, it's not their right for what they are demanding.

POM. So if I summarise you correctly, you'd be saying you expect this process to drag itself out?

BH. De Klerk will use every available means to drag it out and if possible to deadlock completely.

POM. And as a result there will not be an election on the 27th of April?

BH. Yes.

POM. It might be postponed, and if the election is postponed the ANC is in really bad trouble with it's own constituency?

BH. I think so. If you read Weekly Mail and New Nation, those are the, I think, papers which are close to them. The leadership would be under tremendous pressure. Because when Chris Hani was killed they didn't take it lightly. But Madiba, Mandela, he rescued the country.

POM. Somebody said when he went on television to address the country it was symbolic of shifting power.

BH. Yes it was because de Klerk wouldn't be qualified to do that task, with due respect to him.

POM. OK, thank you ever so much.

BH. Thanks very much.

BH. So the whole thing now hinges on the agitated caucus members of the NP. If one day they decide to walk out because of lack of decision taking or making by the President, and it might affect the process. I think that's where nuts and bolts of the whole thing are because the government is pivotal in the whole process.

POM. The government is?

BH. Pivotal. They are a pivot. Whether the talks are inside or outside the government will be there. So which means the concept of allowing or relying on President de Klerk to bring manna for us. I don't buy it. That's why I've not been perhaps popular in some circles because I say the international community must be involved in one way or another, they must have an active role, not just mere spectators to count how many people die and so on. Because that one it doesn't seem to get on, I'm selling this one now of administrators. So at least take administrators as South Africans. They are very good, respected South Africans. Why don't we want to go and sit there as equal partners, then the whole thing will be speeded up? The image of the police and the army will immediately improve. We let the liberation movements start to plan about the integration fully. But now they are fearing they don't trust this, there's just panicking, everybody is acquiring to get a gun. Look at the shops, shops are making hell of a lot of money throughout South Africa. And then you say we are going towards a peaceful set-up. There's something wrong somewhere.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.