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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Nov 1993: Dommisse, Ebbe

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POM. You opened on a rather interesting point that so much has been packed into the negotiations in the past couple of days that it is very difficult to quite comprehend what has happened and what has not happened. A couple of questions: I remember when I came here first I asked you whether this was a process about the sharing of power or about the transfer of power. It seems now that it is really a process about the transferring of power but at the time you said it was sharing of power.

ED. Eventually I just went through everything that you asked me and the point that I stressed was that there had to be an interim government which you seemed to doubt at that time and it seems that I was correct about that, that there had to be an interim government to build confidence. So in a way it's a transfer of power but it is also a sharing of power as well because of the transition period which is now set for five years.

POM. So on a scale of one to ten where would you be, what gives you special satisfaction with the constitutional proposals that they have put on the table?

ED. Now? Well I'd give it about six.

POM. I was very surprised that the government agreed to the composition and the manner in which the Constitutional Court will be chosen. It seems to leave the way open to undermine the entire constitutional process.

ED. That wasn't a final decision. I just heard now over the phone that the final decision apparently is that the Judicial Services Commission will present a list of the names to the President and the Cabinet from which they can select. So really it isn't a hand-picked list of judges by the President alone. There are some safeguards built in. It's an improvement on what it was yesterday or the day before. It's not ideal I should say, the kind of compromise that politicians make but it's better.

POM. When you look back at the process, it's more than three years in the making now, what would you identify as the major turning points or the points to turn the negotiations in one or another direction?

ED. Well I think the most important was the speech of 2nd February 1990. That really swung South Africa into a whole new dimension. That seems pretty obvious. And the original euphoria and the optimism started getting less and it got very bad at the time of the Boipatong massacre when the ANC walked out and then when they came back it started getting better but at that time too the formation of what is now called the Freedom Alliance. That to my mind went back retrogressively and when they left, eventually left the talks, I think that was a very bad sign. It could still be that they are drawn back but right as of now, as we sit here, it's a very negative factor that they are not part of the constitution. I thought the constitution should be an all-encompassing process drawing in every party, that was the original position. I personally had talks with ANC people way back in 1989 or 1988 and I was surprised to hear Thabo Mbeki say that, that all parties should join in the talks. Eventually that did not happen and I think that impacted negatively on the process.

POM. What do you think will be the consequences if the FA remain outside, period, refuses to participate in the elections and just withhold their consent from the whole process?

ED. To my mind the most worrying factor is that that would increase the chances of the ANC getting more than a two thirds majority and I always quote Lord Acton that power tends to corrupt but absolute power corrupts absolutely and I think the ANC as a body is open to corruption. It already is corrupt to my mind at the top, right at the top, and we would get misuse, abuse of power in a new South Africa if that alliance stayed out of elections altogether because of the weakening of the National Party position and because of the fact that I don't care really where the opposition to the ANC comes from but there should be opposition to it. We have seen enough of one-party dictatorships in Africa.

POM. What did happen to the National Party? In March of 1992 Mr de Klerk was riding high on a crest of popularity after the referendum and up to that point most of the initiatives seemed to have come from the National Party or from the government and they were the ones who were running the game. Then it all fell apart beginning with Boipatong and lasting into stayaways. From that point on he appeared to be a weaker and more indecisive leader. What do you think happened?

ED. Well there are a few factors. I think it wasn't to his advantage that he won the referendum that far. I think it gave him a false sense of security of his own position and so on. Maybe if he didn't win the referendum that far it would have been better for him. Secondly, right from the outset I think he made a major mistake in the way he approached negotiations. He refused absolutely, in spite of very strong recommendations and advice, that he should have a Premier running the country and that there should be a separate negotiating team. He refused to do that. He saddled Cabinet members with unbelievable responsibilities and tasks, some of them collapsed on the way. Gerrit Viljoen, a very capable man, Barend du Plessis also, Stoffel van der Merwe, people like them, they just faded, they vanished from the scene to the detriment of the party and junior ministers like Roelf Meyer and Leon Wessels had to bear the brunt of the negotiations. I don't think they were properly equipped for it, they were too junior, they didn't have the experience, they didn't have the know-how and this became predominant in the public mind that we have negotiators who are really not up to it, who don't have the political skills that the ANC have and this impression impacted very badly on the National Party. Apart from that the day to day running of the country started falling apart. We had quite spectacular messes like the petrol price hike, the attack on the PAC in Umtata which boomeranged and a government that increasingly seemed incompetent and losing the will to govern. And that is why the National Party stakes, well the percentages of support, fell and fell and fell.

POM. Some polls that I've seen have put the level of support at 11% or 12%.

ED. Well we're really being eclipsed by the Freedom Alliance now.

POM. So you could have a peculiar situation that if the Freedom Alliance contested the election that Constand Viljoen could end up as Deputy President of the country.

ED. That's a possibility now. I should add another thing, of course, and that is the economic picture, the day to day hardship of people, the increasing unemployment, still increasing unemployment, the promises which the government made that they would bring down tax to 40% for higher income brackets, which never happened, and the financial situation of so many ordinary people became worse and worse which in a time of drastic reform is lethal for this government, for any government.

POM. So in a sense you are suggesting that all in all that the government and the National Party were out-negotiated?

ED. No, I won't say that. I think they did surprisingly well in spite of these, what should one call it, these negative factors. They did surprisingly well.

POM. If you had to look at the major concessions made by the government or compromises, and the major concessions and compromises made by the ANC what would you point to?

ED. Well I think the ANC in the end made much more concessions than the government. If you remember the Harare Declaration which was their basic negotiating position at that time when we spoke to Mbeki, that was their position. It basically meant the handing over of power and how do you negotiate about that? But they have really moved a very, very long way from there. They accepted that there should be a federal constitution.

POM. Just to check on that because that's one of the things I'm confused about, that on the one hand one reads that many powers including the right to raise revenues will be given to the regions and entrenched in the constitution but on the other hand that the centre has the right to override any of these powers that it has given to the regions which is not federalism in a true sense, it's half way, it's neither federal nor regional but some place in between.

ED. That's correct. It is not a very clear-cut federal system but it is one, I think, which has the potential of becoming one depending on the way the regions perform and also depending very much on whether the Freedom Alliance, if they come into the picture right now, we could get an even stronger federal system but it depends on where they go. As we are talking here now it is impossible to say. One hears positive noises emanating from them but you can't be sure. All right, just getting back to the ANC, I think they've moved a long way from policies like nationalisation and the stupid Eastern European systems that at one stage they embraced. They've moved a very long way from that. There has been a tremendous foreign input on their policies regarding a successful modern state and clearly they would not try things like that. There are some dangers, which I pointed out before, like affirmative action which could be, if it's applied wrongly and not aimed at creating equal opportunities but quota systems, preferential treatment, things like that. I think that could have a very negative impact in South Africa. What else did they do? I think in accepting that South Africa should be, that the constitution should be the supreme law of the country, that's a very important development as far as I'm concerned. That's why we are all so worried and we've had two consecutive days of editorials against accepting the Constitutional Court, a system of how the judges are appointed. We've been very strong on that because we believe that South Africa should be a judicial state and this is the line which we've pushed all along and I think the ANC has moved a long way towards that.

. Now, what did the National Party give up? I think it gave up power sharing as they envisaged it originally and the way they envisaged it originally was not very convincing because quite clearly you can't have minority government through means like that. A minority veto in the Cabinet, I thought that was out from the beginning. Now I understand that the percentage decided upon for the deadlock-breaking mechanism in case the new constitution does not go through parliament, there's a 60% now. I understand that's the latest position.

POM. That's what the ANC were looking for.

ED. They were looking the National Party originally wanted 70% and came down to 66%. I originally said two thirds would be enough as far as I'm concerned. 60% is fair I think because it means if it's 60% in parliament, theoretically 60% of the population will approve. That's fine. But if it gets to the original formula, you will remember the original formula of the ANC was 50% plus one, so that would mean that 49% of the people need not approve the new constitution. I think that's dangerous, that's very divisive, but 60% is much better surely. If that's the deal I'll say in view of the overall picture that's fine. So there the National Party might gain something. They lost a lot from the original position of power-sharing and an enforced coalition is not really on, I think, in a modern country. Voluntary coalition, that is of course much better.

POM. If the Freedom Alliance continues to stay outside the process does this signal some kind of future civil uprising, that there will be not civil war but that there will be something more akin to the situation in Northern Ireland where a small number, there are only about 40 or 50 IRA operatives and 500 in support groups, but they can tie down 30,000 troops and create havoc any place whether it's subways in London to blowing up hotels in Boston. Is that a real possibility?

ED. Oh yes, a very real possibility. I think both from the Inkatha side, we all know that neither the uMkhonto people nor the Inkatha people are angels. There is a low level civil war going on between ANC/Inkatha and also from the white right wing who are very well trained who can cause havoc and in some instances they have done it. So if they are not drawn into the process there is, I think, a very distinct possibility of that kind of terrorism and explosions, killing of innocent people and all that. That could go on.

POM. Could you find a strange situation emerging where there would be a new constitution formally adopted and ratified by parliament, where one of its first actions would be to declare a state of emergency?

ED. Yes, that's what we all fear, that we will go back to 1986. This would be in different circumstances and we wouldn't have the external reaction which we had last time round. The outside world would then probably approve of what's being done. In any case in the new situation where there is a legitimate government I think its first concern would be the radicalised youth and unemployment. Tackle that and if you tackle the radicalised youth it probably means some form of suppression and apart from the radical youth the extreme right wing, extreme Zulu nationalist outbursts.

POM. What does Buthelezi want?

ED. I wonder if he knows himself. Very simply put I think he wants a KwaZulu/Natal which is run as his own personal fiefdom. He would like to be governor of that. He realises that he does not have national pulling power, that he is not able to be a factor nationally. The whole Freedom Alliance is built on a very suspect base. Buthelezi all his life has been non-racial in the sense that KwaZulu is a non-racial national state while Hartzenberg, people like Hartzenberg are old time racists, and how they get along is quite incomprehensible. So it's a marriage of convenience that's going on there and I think it has to do a lot with Buthelezi's personality. He feels hurt, he feels that he's being left out after he championed the release of Mandela, he was against sanctions, he was always for the economic build-up of South Africa and now he's side-lined. He's side-lined by both sides. The jointly addressing meetings between him and Mandela, that has not taken place. He's very hurt. Of course he's a very egotistic, proud man and it's a combination which does not work easily for making compromises.

POM. Let me just throw out a suggestion. We've met him four times in the last four years and each time he's been a completely different personality, but there is one constant in how he sees the world: "I have been insulted". Every other sentence is something has injured or insulted his dignity or whatever. Do you think that he knows that nationally he might draw about 5% and that rather than being one of the big three he would be shown up to be really just a marginal leader, that that would have been the ultimate humiliation and insult so he stays outside the process and tries to deal with things only on a regional basis?

ED. I would put it a bit higher. I think that probably he's capable of getting 10% or more and that's what he believes. He has 1,8 million card carrying Inkatha members on whose vote he could probably rely. If he gets two million votes out of say fifteen odd million people who actually voted, he's about 14%. That might be bigger than the National Party is right now and he would be a national figure. I think he really wants to be right at the top. He wants to rule South Africa and he realises he can't do that because the ANC is simply too strong to allow him that and that's what bugs him and then he has to withdraw to a kind of, as I said before, a personal fiefdom, a regional power base and that is what makes him so difficult because for his regional power base to be strong he has to have extensive powers and of course there's a strong Zulu feeling that they would never want to be governed by the Xhosas.

POM. In possible scenarios could you see one where there seems to be some division within the IFP itself over those who want to contest the elections and those who want to boycott them, that the IFP might contest the elections over Buthelezi's head?

ED. I would doubt that. I think he would put his leadership on the line. He would go to a congress or something and say, "This is my position now vote on it", and once he puts it on the line they would vote for him I think, they wouldn't drop him now.

POM. The second is that he stays outside the process but as the threat and maybe the fact of an escalating civil war in Natal takes place he negotiates with the government and negotiates a stronger position for himself. He gets what he wants by staying out of the process rather than by staying in it.

ED. That's a big danger I think, that he would stay out. I don't want him to stay out, nor does the ANC. If they start governing and they have accepted a kind of a federal system most of their time could be taken up by trying to fix Natal/KwaZulu. It hasn't been fixed for how many years now, the violence is raging on and on and on. You know the problems there, it's not only political violence, it's criminal elements, it's old tribal feuds and so on. If Buthelezi isn't satisfied we don't face a very stable future. It's as simple as that.

POM. Without a stable future you don't stand much of a chance of having foreign investment come into the country. Can he use this as leverage on a national government to say "Give me more power, you allow my region to be more autonomous and then there will be peace".

ED. Well, we wrote an article which drew some attention saying that Buthelezi should be made an offer which he can't refuse and I thought they came pretty close to that with this constitution. I don't really see what the problem of the Freedom Alliance is with not accepting this constitution. It satisfies most of their needs as far as I can see. They can raise some points. If I were they I would carry on about the Constitutional Court, about the revenue powers of federal regions or whatever, but the basic principles of what they want are really in the new constitution as far as I can see. It can be strengthened but our paper's position has been that we criticise him very strongly for not taking part in the negotiations and weakening the arguments for their kind of case by not taking part.

POM. All this begs the question, could you at this point in time, given the level of violence in Natal/KwaZulu, have anything approaching free and fair elections particularly in a situation of where I guess some surveys show that the ANC and the Inkatha are almost running neck and neck so in a very close election the one who loses cries fraud, whether it's Inkatha or whether it's the ANC and particularly given the climate of intimidation that exists, puts a question mark over it? What kind of elections will you have to have?

ED. We'll have violence and we'll have intimidation, there's no question about that and whether it will be certified as free and fair elections raises a good point. Of course if the Freedom Alliance does take part in the elections then you could build in stronger safeguards for having a freer election and a more fair election. We could get more external help, assistance, monitors, police and so on to check that everything is going better than it seems now. But if they stay out I'm not very hopeful about what will happen then.

POM. Where do you see the white community going? It's confused, swinging this way and that way.

ED. The white community has not got much room to manoeuvre. I think the right wing, the Conservative Party, the AWB, Volksfront and so on, the only person that could draw more white support would be General Viljoen, Constand Viljoen. He's a famous General, a very good soldier, brilliant soldier. He's not much of a politician but he has charisma, he draws the crowds and so on and he has a very good image as an Afrikaner.

POM. Has he given a respectability to the right that it lacked?

ED. Yes. He's also useful in the sense that he's kept them from some really madcap schemes I think and is more pragmatic than say that wild man Terre'Blanche or even Hartzenberg with his hang-up about genetics and so on. Viljoen could play a very constructive role if they came in. Well, he wants this white volkstaat which is a possibility as some kind of a federal structure where a certain region could have a predominantly Afrikaans populace, which is very difficult by the way because there are not that many whites any more percentage-wise. But it is a possibility and apparently they have moved closer to that and there's some sympathy within the ANC for that position as an outlet.

POM. So over the three years, who has impressed you as playing important leadership and visionary roles in getting over one hurdle after the next and who has disappointed you?

ED. Politicians always disappoint. I think without de Klerk there would have been no settlement. He's amazingly optimistic, almost surrealistic in fact. I think Mandela has held the ANC together to a degree but he's not a very stable politician, he wavers. He goes from last week saying there would be no role for de Klerk and that was extremely stupid. The kinds of things he said about 14-year olds having to get the vote and so on, that's ludicrous for a responsible elder statesman to come out with statements like that. So in a sense he also disappointed me very badly.

POM. So he has disappointed you?

ED. Well with things like that certainly. He seems to have a split personality in the way that some days he's talking the kind of thing that should be said about where modern day South Africa should go and how important it is that the brains of the country should remain here, the skills, the know-how and so on which I regard as totally important for a new South Africa, that there shouldn't be a brain drain. We need economic development, we need foreign investment, we need foreign goodwill and so on. Sometimes he's very good about that and then you get these inexplicably stupid statements that he makes. In a way that's to blame also for the insecurity and the uncertainty and the confusion among whites, the mixed signals that emanate from the leadership of the ANC. He's very much responsible for that, on the one hand asking whites to say and on the other saying white policemen should get out of the black townships. Racist statements like that. Irresponsible statements like that. You look at me very doubtfully there?

POM. The younger generation outside of Mandela and de Klerk, the younger generation of leaders, the Thabo Mbekis, the Ramaphosas, Roelf Meyers, Leon Wessels, de Villiers. Have any of these stood out in your mind, in negotiations being tough and resilient and capable of knowing to play the right cards and when not to play them?

ED. I think the one person that stood about among the ANC was Thabo Mbeki. He's very consistent. He's a sophisticated modern young man, I don't know if he's young, but he knows what makes the modern world tick. I was less impressed by Ramaphosa. I thought he is an opportunist. He made some very harmful statements at times. He's a skilful negotiator I have no doubt about that. He was well trained as a trade union leader and he has a very bad habit of the baby trying to throw the toys out of the cot, that came through very strongly at times.

POM. By which you mean?

ED. He's a spoilt brat, he likes power too much. I was very poorly impressed by people like Mokaba and Gwala and Winnie Mandela and Tokyo Sexwale, statements that he made outside the Supreme Court after the Hani trial. Totally irresponsible, saying that they would take the law into their own hands once they got into power. We don't need that kind of demagoguery in this country.

POM. What impact do you think the assassination of Chris Hani did have on the whole process? Did it move it forward, made it more urgent?

ED. It showed us that we were on the edge of the precipice and if that kind of madcap thing went on this country could degenerate into a Lebanon. So in that sense it had a sobering effect. I think Mandela played a very positive role there because he really calmed down his people and he insisted on discipline. That was one of his more impressive moments.

POM. Do you think the fact that it was he who went on television to appeal for calm, restraint and discipline rather than the State President represented the symbolic changing of roles?

ED. Oh yes. De Klerk was very hurt by that performance and that increased the image of him being a lame duck President and that lame duck phrase is haunting him. And in a sense it's true. He cannot run the country alone any more.

POM. When you see the TEC coming into operation, do you see it more as being there in an advisory capacity and that ultimate decisions would be left with the Cabinet and the State President or do you see it really as the first baby steps towards power sharing?

ED. Well it's definitely the first steps towards power sharing. Initially I thought that it would be more in an advisory capacity because the government would still be ruling the country and whatever recommendations they made would have to be applied, there would have to be action on that because the government would be inside the TEC, would be part of the decision making process there. Now because it's such a short time that we have left I do not think that it would now make such big impression on the country as I first thought it would because there's so little time left, there's about 4 - 5 months left and everything is moving into election gear, every party is gearing up for the elections, even the Inkatha people said that they want to be represented on that Electoral Commission. So we are moving into election mode and the running of the country will be rather shambolic I think.

POM. What do you think are the greatest challenges a new government must face, well the interim government and then the new government? What kind of challenges on the one hand and what should be the priorities on the second hand?

ED. Number one priority is to become fully part of the modern world, to realise that this whole continent is falling to pieces. Africa has 1% of world trade and South Africa has about half of that. This country is the last hope for Africa to succeed otherwise everything is going back to the bush. Africa is simply going to be ignored by the outside world as a hopeless basket case incapable of governing itself, becoming more and more like Somalia and Uganda and countries like that. That's the general image of the outside of Africa. To be counted in the modern world you need to have a successful economy, that is the number one priority, to be competitive. This country has to be geared towards export led industries and an export led economy and we have to become productive and we have to compete against countries like the Pacific Rim, like the United States, like the European Community and so forth. That is the real world out there. If we are not competitive we are going to lose out. To become competitive we have to be productive and we have to train people. The seven million odd jobless in this country have to become part of the work force and the work ethic which is totally lacking now.

POM. Is there a potential for a very quick showdown between COSATU and an ANC alliance led government of national unity where what's good for the country is not necessarily good for COSATU's members?

ED. Sure. Very much so. I think there's a huge potential. I think that's one of the probabilities that such a showdown could come very, very quickly. COSATU is working for its members but it's stopped working for the unemployed.

POM. Somebody said some place that the problem South Africa is facing is not that it is becoming two classes, white and black, but that it's becoming two classes, employed and unemployed.

ED. The privileged class being the employed.

POM. One of the things that struck me very forcibly was that at CODESA the government was wooing Inkatha and trying to build a coalition against the ANC and when negotiations resumed they just completely switched dancing partners. What do you think led to that strategic decision?

ED. I think there's a big divergence of opinion within the government about that.

POM. That they should have done it or not?

ED. Or whether that's the correct strategy. Well there's method in their madness because we do have a constitution now that has a fairly good chance of working and the interim constitution is probably going to look very much like the eventual constitution. If a very strong ANC gets into power I don't think it's to their advantage to tinker too much with this constitution, they might build up too much hostility. So this interim constitution is going to be very much like what we are going to have. That is why the National Party decided to move along with the ANC because survey after survey showed that the two strongest forces in the country were ANC and NP. Lately that has changed. The NP paid dearly for their strategy because they were seen as the junior partner of the ANC. The other dimension of the thinking within the government is that there should be a very strong opposition against the ANC to prevent the abuse of power and there's a lot to be said for that as well.

POM. Well we've heard a lot of the hawks and doves in the government and the National Party itself. There was talk of mass defections.

ED. To where?

POM. Before the passage of the Bill authorising the TEC and yet the Whip ruled that day. There wasn't one solitary vote that went against the government from its own ranks.

ED. So far. It might still happen. There's big tension within the government.

POM. If it were to happen do you see it happening in the next couple of weeks?

ED. Possibly. A week in politics is a long time.

POM. If you were a betting man?

ED. If I were a betting man I would say that the hawks certainly realise that a split now would be totally damaging to the government, just as a split more to the right would be very damaging to the government and the interests of South Africa because the National Party in spite of all its warts and limitations is still theoretically the strongest possible opposition to the ANC. On the other hand if there was a split, there's also a possibility of a split to the left, of some people joining the ANC and that could be totally damaging as well especially if these defections took place from the negotiating team because then the argument would obviously be, "Who the hell did we have there to negotiate on our behalf? People who were selling us out?" So the government cannot really afford any kind of defection.

POM. Another thing that has struck us this year is the hardening of attitudes, that whites appear far more resentful and bitter and blacks more dissatisfied and also resentful. The point is that since we started coming here regularly in 1989 we would go into the townships, just drive in and go to see who we wanted to see and drive around and drive out and we've a number of families who we've interviewed for the last three years, one of them in Thokosa, one in Sebokeng, and either we can't get in or don't go in or are told not to come in by the families themselves who are not only looking out for our safety but are looking out for their own safety. What's broken down that has led to that type of situation?

ED. It's the tribal war between Inkatha and the ANC, that's the root cause. Do you know that Zulu is now the most widely used black language on the Rand? Zulu. That's the latest statistics. So there's been a tremendous moving of population from Zululand to the Rand and I personally experienced how the Zulus are hated by some blacks on the Rand and I think the black on black hate has certainly gone far beyond what it should be and a government of national reconciliation will do very well to draw Buthelezi in to give him some sort of standing. Otherwise the possibilities are there of becoming more like Ireland or Lebanon.

POM. OK, thank you.

ED. When are you going to publish?

POM. Well I'm going to follow this process right through until 1997 because I want to take in the first couple of years of there being a new government and how it performs, to see what tensions arise and how they are played out. I have a publication date of March 1998, so there's still some time to go. I have over 800 hours of taped material. I don't know where to put the stuff at this point, an immense amount. I've got 130 people who do formal interviews like this, including the entire leadership of both the government and the ANC and the PAC and Inkatha and the Zulu King.

ED. And you say Buthelezi has been inconsistent?

POM. Very. To the point where he's like a different personality. On the one hand, the first occasion, he was suspicious. The second occasion he was very gracious. The third occasion he was rather forthright, he behaved as though he had been on drugs or something. He just sat up there with his hand against his mouth and mumbled his responses.

ED. Do you interview him at the same time of day every time?

POM. I would say so, late morning.

ED. Late morning. He suffers from diabetes.

PAT. The only time we've experienced that was

POM. This past time he was again gracious. Of everybody that I write to every year he personally responds and I get a letter back again from him talking about the burdens that are on him, the time he can spare and things like that whereas nobody else ever responds. You fax, fax, fax, fax till you nail the person or their secretary or something. In that sense the most fascinating person we met in that regard is the King. We would say contrary to conventional wisdom that rather than the King being the puppet of Buthelezi that the King is a man with very definite views of his own that mirror and in some places exceed Buthelezi's. He's not just a playboy who is being dangled on a piece of string.

ED. Oh no, no. I never had that idea.

POM. Do you think that there is a Zulu card to be played by there, called by the King on Zulus?

ED. It's one that the government might want to play. Suppose everything breaks down and the government of national reconciliation has to be formed by consensus between major players they might invite him to be, or to nominate somebody to serve, on that government. That's one way to by-pass Buthelezi if he remains so stroppy and non-co-operative.

POM. It gets more fascinating every year. Some people come and some people go and yet the more interesting part in a way has been the ten families that range from a rich conservative white family in Zeerust to a poor African family in Orange Farm. In between you've got every range of income and colour and we do the extended families, that is the children, parents, aunts, uncles, whoever is around, at least twice a year to capture what is happening to their lives and one conspicuous thing has been that in the case of four out of the five African families, four of them are far worse off economically now than they were three years ago, they have either lost their houses or are on the verge of losing their houses but it's been downward mobility all the way.

ED. That's the last thing we can afford in a major reform movement, economic decline. It's contrary to all the success stories. That's one thing that really surprises and disturbs me about de Klerk, these constant upbeat messages, they are not real. They are not real.

POM. OK. Thank you very much.

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