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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

02 Dec 1993: Kane-Berman, John

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM. Three years into the process, the TEC becoming a reality next week, an election scheduled for April 27th, how far has South Africa come since the unbanning of the ANC and release of Mandela and how far has it to go before you can really talk about a truly democratic South Africa?

JKB. We will see next week with the introduction of the TEC the effective legal transfer of power. There has been a de facto shift of power from the National Party to various other constituencies including trade unions in earlier years but to the ANC in the last couple of years. With the installation of the TEC this begins to get a legal dimension as well. Although the government is trying to say the TEC is only an advisory body, this is not the case. It has the power to authorise or veto the deployment of security forces, that's real power despite the government's claims to the contrary. And that, given our history, is a fairly major shift.

. We are headed irreversibly for an election next year which, on present opinion survey trends, will result in not only a majority rule government but a government in which there are members of the Communist Party in the Cabinet. Given the National Party's erstwhile visceral hatred of communism it's quite an interesting turn-up for the books; that when many countries in Eastern Europe are getting rid of communists, they are moving into our government.

. Not so much a change but also relevant is the major increase in violence in the last few years. Since September 1984 until the end of October 1993 there have been just over 18,000 people killed in South Africa in political violence. Very often in the media these days or in the statements of leaders of some organisations one sees the figure reduced to 12,000 and the new cut off point as being July 1990. The 6,000 earlier fatalities have been put into the memory hole. One has to recognise that the political liberalisation of South Africa in the past three years has been accompanied by a major upsurge in political violence.

. For the majority of people in this country my guess would be that that increase in violence is the dominating reality of the past three years. The major escalation started from December 1989.

POM. Do you think this violence with its many, many causes will continue after there is an election? Probably it could be divided into three strands, one is the violence in Natal and, two, right wing violence which is becoming more of a threat and, third, this township violence, IFP/ANC or faction against faction?

JKB. There has been a drop in violence in the last four months but there was also a drop in violence in the early part of the year for a few months which was dramatically reversed in mid year. There's not only been a drop in violence in the last few months but a drop in violence in parts of Natal that were previously quite violent. The major areas of violence at the moment are East Rand and certain parts of Natal so one is looking at a localised phenomenon but it's possible that there will be an increase in violence in the next few months and it's possible that there will be an increase in violence after the election.

POM. Can you see any kind of policy or mechanism that could be used or should be used to reduce the level of violence?

JKB. I think the common law should be used. Where people commit acts of violence they can be dealt with in terms of the common law. When in August 1991 Eugene Terre'Blanche and some members of the AWB tried to prevent the State President from talking at a meeting at Ventersdorp, the so-called battle of Ventersdorp, they were prosecuted. Recently Terre'Blanche and some of the others were found guilty of public violence. Terre'Blanche was given a R10,000 fine and I think a suspended prison sentence. Here one had a case of the police doing their work and successfully bringing a prosecution and the courts doing their job. That is the application of the common law. If one did that in all cases where there had been violence and one had a government that believed in the rule of law and the administration of justice instead of the National Party government which thinks that people in prison are a political bargaining chip and therefore lets them out when it suits them, it's possible to bring down the level of violence. The risk is that a Transitional Executive Council or a government of national unity will use the methods which John Vorster used successfully in the sixties and seventies, which is massive arbitrary action by the state beyond the reach of the courts or the rule of law, bannings and detention without trial.

POM. Can you envisage a new government taking over on the 28th April or whatever and one of its firsts acts is to suspend the constitution and introduce a state of emergency?

JKB. The transitional constitution provides for the declaration of a state of emergency, for the suspension of the rights in the Bill of Rights, for a limitation of any rights in the Bill of Rights in certain circumstances, and for detention without trial. There are more limitations than previously because we never had a Bill of Rights and the declaration of the state of emergency was entirely the prerogative of the government whereas now it is subject to parliament, which is something of a safeguard. But the legal instruments for heavy handed security action are there and I would not be surprised to see a resort to action in the name of security or stability that doesn't pay too much attention to due process or the rule of law.

POM. Do you see the threat of that coming from the right or left?

JKB. The threat of what?

POM. The threat of continuing violence or escalating violence? Let me rephrase it. Do you think that the FA will come back into the process and that Buthelezi will come back in and the IFP will contest elections or do you think Buthelezi will sit it out and no matter what the FA does there will be a sufficiently militant white right that can conduct a terrorist type IRA campaign?

JKB. You talked about the threat of violence. Violence is not a threat, violence is a reality in this country. It has been for nine years now. There are, at the moment, ten people a day on average being killed in political violence. The Goldstone Commission has stated that the main cause of violence is conflict between the ANC and the IFP. Our own research at the Institute has indicated that that is a major reason for the conflict but to say that ANC/IFP conflict is the major cause of violence is begging the question as why those two organisations are in conflict?

. Our research indicates that one of the major dynamics in the violence is the adoption ten years ago or so of strategies to make the country ungovernable and to overthrow the institutions of government at all levels, which strategies provoked a violent backlash. Now one sees ten people killed today in political violence but it's difficult to know exactly who is killing whom. One does know that there's a campaign of assassination of policemen going on. One does know that there is a campaign of assassinations of IFP office bearers going on. There are also members of the ANC being killed. There are innocent people all over the place being killed and one has seen recently an escalation of violence emanating from white conservative organisations.

. What the white right will do in the next few months or what it will do after an election is not easy to guess at. There seems to be an increase in white rightist activity but the statistics on that are not very clear. There was also an increase last year in guerrilla activity, to use a neutral term, from APLA and the PAC. Buthelezi has been talking about civil war. He makes the point that he is not threatening civil war, rather pointing out that there is a low intensity civil war in progress at the moment and predicting that it will get worse. The ANC is talking about crushing anybody that tries any violent resistance to the government of national unity. So one is in a violent situation and quite a lot of people probably expect it to get worse. What the Freedom Alliance will do in the next few weeks and months and what the IFP will do in the next few weeks and months with regard to the negotiations I really can't begin to guess at. Things are too fluid and uncertain at the moment.

POM. Which is the larger threat, the Freedom Alliance or Buthelezi?

JKB. Threat to what?

POM. Threat to the new government in terms of making it unstable, of having to introduce harsh law and order.

JKB. One should go back to fundamentals and look at the question of legitimacy. South Africa has never had a legitimate constitution because somebody was always left out. In 1983 I remember going around the country attempting to warn whites - because they were the only ones that had the vote - that if they endorsed the tricameral constitution the result would be an escalation of conflict. We described that constitution as a prescription for conflict because it sought to exclude the majority of the population from parliament and entrench that exclusion in perpetuity. The new constitution is not racially based but the ANC and the government take the view that if the constitution has legitimacy with them as the two major players and their supporters that is sufficient. Their analysis probably overlooks the realignments that have taken place in South African politics in the last three years which were predicted by this Institute, that the two major political forces in this country are now not the government on the one hand and the ANC on the other but the government/ANC/Communist Party/COSATU alliance on the one hand and the Freedom Alliance on the other.. As we speak the Freedom Alliance has not endorsed the Transitional Executive Council or the transitional constitution. Will they do so between now and April? Will they contest the election? If they don't, will that constitution have sufficient legitimacy to promote stability or will we be back at the negotiating table in six or seven years' time?

. I can't speculate on that at this stage because there are talks going on even as we speak but whether the necessary trust exists between parties in the Freedom Alliance and the government for difficulties to be overcome I doubt.

POM. Would you call the interim constitution now written a federal constitution or a constitution that has certain characteristics of federalism?

JKB. The constitution provides for provinces to have jurisdiction concurrent with central government over certain areas. It also provides for central government to override provincial legislation to promote uniform standards, economic unity, national security, inter-state commerce and so on. It further provides that provinces may raise taxes only with the concurrence of the central government. The net result is that although provinces will be able to exercise quite considerable powers, all of these powers are subject to override by the central government. None of them may be exercised exclusively and provinces have no financial autonomy independence. In my book that's not federalism and Mr Joe Slovo was careful the other day to state pretty categorically that it wasn't federalism either and, therefore, I don't think it would fit the standard definition of federalism.

POM. I've asked this question of everyone , and that is if you had to rank the interim constitution that has emerged out of Kempton Park on a scale of one to ten where one is very unsatisfactory and ten would be very, very satisfactory, where would you place it?

JKB. One has got to answer two questions here. The document itself is a major advance for South Africa. The very fact that we have a Bill of Rights which outlaws racial discrimination and that the testing right of the Constitutional Court is entrenched in the constitution, are major advances given where we've come from. There are weaknesses in that the Bill of Rights provides for limitations. And I don't believe that one should have a constitution which envisages people being detained without trial or the degree of state intervention in the economy that this one does provide for. Having said all that, on a scale of nought to ten I would rank it, say, six.

. But there's another problem and that is the one of legitimacy that I spoke about. One can have an ideal constitution in terms of its entrenchment and civil liberties and the limitations it places on the powers of the state but if it doesn't enjoy sufficiently wide legitimacy one has got a problem arising not from the content of the document but from its legitimacy. Let's look at the ANC camp as a separate camp from the National Party camp for the purposes of this discussion because they were in dispute previously, let's look at the National Party camp and the Freedom Alliance and give them each three points. On that score this constitution rates six out of ten because only two out of the three camps as so defined support it. So there's a legitimacy problem.

POM. People have come to me in a different way about the legitimacy argument and they say that it is more important to have elections now even in the face of high levels of intimidation and violence and even though the elections might not be free and fair in the phrase in which international observers use the phrase, but it's more important to have a government of sufficient legitimacy rather than wait for an ideal date when violence would be brought under control because that date is simply never going to happen. So what you're looking at best even after this election is a partial democracy, not democracy itself.

JKB. It's probably not a practical possibility now to postpone the election. I've maintained all along that the setting of deadlines before deals were reached was the wrong way to go about it. We maintained that position from the beginning of 1992 in fact, when we were concerned that the process was moving too rapidly for the ANC to be able to sell to its support base. Ironically enough, the ANC walked out a few weeks after we made that prediction because it had supposedly made more compromises than the activists within its ranks would accept. So I've always believed that the setting of deadlines was a back to front way of going about it.

POM. Even if that election had to take place in the face of high level intimidation and violence the fact of the election taking place resulting in a government that would have a sufficient degree of legitimacy was more important than waiting for the ideal date to have elections.

JKB. If the constitution and the Transitional Executive Council don't have sufficient legitimacy and the election is held in a climate of major intimidation and violence, is the result of that election, the government of national unity, going to have sufficient legitimacy to be able to rule by normal democratic procedures or is it going to have to deal with a legitimacy problem in the way that P W Botha and John Vorster dealt with the legitimacy problem, which was security clamp-downs and moves away from the rule of law? The answer depends on whether some or all of the Freedom Alliance come in on the deal. If they don't participate in the election but boycott it, are seen to disrupt it, then the question arises as to how much power on the ground they have. If one looks at opinion polls the answer is very much less than the ANC but a bit more than the National Party. What will they do with that power on the ground? Will they act lawfully or will they act unlawfully? How will they act and how will they be dealt with? If the Freedom Alliance continues to reject the transitional constitution and by the election you will have another extra-parliamentary opposition. Will that extra-parliamentary opposition act within the bounds of the law and be dealt with within the bounds of the law? Will they act without the bounds of the law and be dealt with by states of emergency, detention without trial and so on? These are all questions to which, at this stage, there is no answer. I wish I knew the answer.

POM. If you were to give advice to Buthelezi today, he seems in many respects to have painted himself into a corner, what would your advice to him be?

JKB. I wouldn't give advice. I might be willing to give advice if asked but I haven't been asked.

POM. Do you think that the IFP without Buthelezi's support, that the IFP in an election would virtually crash because this is in a way an election about personalities. If you mention the ANC, you say 'Mandela' and Mandela, de Klerk and Buthelezi have policy differences.

JKB. In the IFP's latest advertisements, there's no mention of any particular personality as far as I remember. I don't think there was any photograph that I remember of Buthelezi in the way that the ANC has a photograph of Mandela. Some of the National Party ones have photographs of De Klerk but not all of them.

POM. Without Buthelezi is there an IFP?

JKB. I should imagine that there is. How strong it would be I don't know but one would need very much more knowledge of the internal dynamics of the organisation than I've got to be able to answer that. When you've got powerful personalities as leaders of organisations there tends to be a view that the organisation wouldn't exist without them but there would be a National Party without de Klerk and there would probably be an IFP without Buthelezi as there would be an ANC without Mandela. It might be different, there might be different policies because powerful personalities at the top do have a major influence. Would the National Party have done what it did on the 2nd February under the leadership of somebody other than de Klerk? We don't know. Would the IFP under a leader other than Buthelezi have gone into CODESA in December 1991 in the absence of the Zulu monarch? That was the reason Buthelezi stayed away. The King wasn't there and he wasn't going to be disloyal to the King. A different IFP leader might have made a different decision. There's no real indication to the best of my knowledge that Buthelezi and the IFP are going to part company in the next few months anyway.

POM. So you think this is considerable bluff on his part, his talk of retirement. Do you think there are substantial elements within the IFP that want to contest the elections?

JKB. I am sure that there are elements within the IFP that want to contest the election, I am sure there are elements that want to boycott it equally strongly. I don't know whether it's bluff on Buthelezi's part. One would not be able to judge this without reading what he actually said instead of relying on the press and newspaper interpretations. I'm not sure that there is bluff there. I'm not sure that what he's saying is not, "If the party decides to contest this election in circumstances that I don't think are appropriate then you're going to have to contest without me." Very often when political leaders say that kind of thing they are announcing a decision and not really putting their own job on the line because they know that people will go with it.

POM. The six-pack that was arranged on the last night of negotiations. There was a six-pack deal, several items. I've had a great of difficulty, I don't think people understand what those six points were, even some of the people who were negotiators, part of putting the six-pack together. There are two in particular that came to my attention as not being clear. One is the decision making mechanism in the Cabinet and the other is the deadlock breaking mechanism for the Constituent Assembly. What's your understanding of what both of those are.

JKB. I don't know. I've given up trying to keep track of the details of the process and have decided to wait for the act as passed by parliament, when I will study. To try and keep track of this document by document is impossible because you'll read something one day in a draft, a proposed amendment to something, and then you'll get the 29th report of the 17th sub-committee which will refer to something in the 30th report of some different sub-committee and you won't have that particular report. I don't have to make any speeches or do any analysis of this thing until next year so I'm waiting. My librarian brought me the latest offering from the World Trade Centre this morning, 240 pages. Should she make a photocopy? And I said really it's not worth it, let's wait for the Act. We've done a very detailed analysis of the Transitional Executive Council because we've seen the final Act as passed by parliament so we know what it says.

POM. Again looking at the last few years of negotiations and particularly since last June when talks broke off, what do you see as the major concessions as made by government, concessions or compromises made by government, and concessions and compromises made by the ANC?

JKB. The major concession made by the ANC is that the Constituent Assembly will not have untrammelled power but will be bound by the constitutional principles. The major concession made by the government - a much greater concession - is that the Constitutional Assembly will be able to tear up this transitional constitution and must replace it by a new one within two years, bound only by the thirty two constitutional principles. The constitutional principles are therefore critical to determine the future state beyond the transitional phase, but the last draft I saw of the constitutional principles was five pages and the transitional constitution was 150. The constitutional principles mean that the ANC doesn't quite have a blank check but it has pretty wide ranging and extensive powers to shape the new constitution, to tear up that Bill of Rights and write a new one. In my view Joe Slovo is the man of the match so far. The critical deal is that one. If you read the details that he spelt out about a year ago as to how things should go

POM. This is their document, Strategic Perspectives?

JKB. Whatever it is called, yes. It's largely gone according to the strategic plan that he proposed, amazingly so. He even talked in terms of the ANC and the government working out bilateral arrangements which they could then together push through and rubber stamp at the World Trade Centre, essentially that is what happened. If you look at the documents coming out of the World Trade Centre now, they are quite openly bilateral agreements between the government and the ANC. There's no longer any fig leaf. That's the way Thabo Mbeki wanted it when he talked about a two sided negotiating table in 1990, when he talked about a bilateral deal between the ANC and the government. We warned at the time, in September 1990, that if it went the way of bilateral arrangements which others were expected simply to endorse, this would provoke an alliance of unlikely bedfellows including Inkatha and the Conservative Party. We said that they would have an interest in upsetting any deal to which they were not party. So it's all gone exactly in the way that Joe Slovo wanted it to go and also in the way that the Institute predicted it would go. He was obviously helped in a major way by Cyril Ramaphosa, who is a shrewd and experienced negotiator who learnt in the best training school in the world, which is the South African gold mining industry.

POM. So would you essentially say that the government was out-negotiated at the end or did the government get the best deal possible given the prevailing circumstances.

JKB. I think the government was out-manoeuvred and I think it probably got the best deal that a party of political agnostics were willing to fight for.

. The country may yet pay a terrible price for it, but walking out of CODESA in May or June of 1992, which was a multi-party process, and then staying out of negotiations until the government signed the Record of Understanding, the ANC achieved what Thabo Mbeki had mooted in the first half of 1990, bilateral negotiations. The Record of Understanding was a bilateral arrangement which is what the ANC had sought all along and the government had rejected. The government now did a complete somersault on that. The bilateral arrangement has driven the process ever since then and turned the multi-party talks into a rubber stamp. That was the one strategic manoeuvre. The other was to manoeuvre the National Party into opposition to the only political party, on the black side, with any kind of serious challenge to the ANC's status as sole authentic representative, implicit rather than explicit. That doesn't mean that the IFP would necessarily beat the ANC in an election but if you look around on the black political scene the IFP is by far the most important actor after the ANC.

. In the first half of 1992 the National Party, in particular Pik Botha, was talking about an anti-ANC alliance of a whole lot of people, pre-eminently the National Party and the IFP. The ANC clearly did not want to fight an alliance of the National Party and the IFP and however many others they brought, so the Record of Understanding very neatly drove a wedge into that possibility. I don't think an IFP/NP alliance ever had a chance anyway. However, I predicted as long ago as 1986 that the National Party would do a deal with the ANC before it did a deal with the IFP. I don't think a National Party / Inkatha alliance would be a desirable thing and I don't think it was ever on the cards anyway, but it was the way that the National Party was thinking and the ANC wasn't going to have it, so it manoeuvred the National Party into opposition to the IFP and that was a clever, strategic move. What the consequences of essentially bilateralism as opposed to multi-party negotiations might be down the road is a different question.

POM. Who switched dancing partners? You said that at CODESA you had the government and the IFP and eight other parties and you had the ANC and it's grouping of eight other parties and there were two sides to the table at least. Who switched, so that essentially you had the government and the ANC on one side of the table and it didn't matter where everybody else was.

JKB. I don't think it was necessarily a question of dancing partners because I don't think there was ever an alliance between the IFP and the National Party. What was happening was that the National Party was talking about an anti-ANC alliance. Before it could even be discussed, the ANC turned the National Party not into its dancing partner but into its junior partner. Dancing partners in some sense are equals. It turned the National Party into its junior partner and by the power sharing offer prepared it for the role it would play in the Transitional Executive Council and the government of national unity.

POM. When you look at the last three years since 1990 what would you identify as the critical turning points in the process? I think you've mentioned some of them, like the Record of Understanding would be one.

JKB. Well the turning points

POM. That either forced the negotiations in a new direction or gave them a new impetus for them to resume.

JKB. I think the Record of Understanding was probably the only turning point. We're now at the end of 1993 so it's four years since the release of Mandela in February 1990. From the start of CODESA at the end of 1991 is a period of two years. I don't regard CODESA 1 as a turning point because it was merely a logical extension of the release of Mandela. But CODESA started as a multi-party exercise as I think the government wanted, whereas the ANC's determination all along was to turn it into a bilateral exercise. It achieved that critical position with the Record of Understanding in September of 1992. That was the logical extension of the breakdown of CODESA 1 and the ANC's walk out. Quite when the IFP walked out of the subsequent talks I don't remember but the turning point that precipitated it was the Record of Understanding. I don't suppose that the white referendum in March of 1992 was a turning point because that was merely a confirmation among whites of De Klerk's blank cheque.

POM. That was the peak of his popularity. Eighteen months later you find the NP in disarray, de Klerk after two years being kind of the front-runner in terms of setting the pace became more secure, appeared more sure of himself. Many of the characteristics were associated with his first two years seem to be absent in the last couple of years, particularly this year. What accounted for that dramatic fragmentation of the NP and the decline in de Klerk's own political fortunes?

JKB. One, superior negotiating skills on the side of the ANC. Number two, the uneven match between people pursuing consistent objectives in a single minded and strategically astute way against a bunch of political agnostics. Weariness, coupled with very successful use of propaganda, especially about violence, to undermine De Klerk's position, have also had a major impact. I think the government has even begun to believe in the propaganda against it itself. Perhaps also loss of the will to fight, which happens, I would imagine, to people who are fighting but they don't quite know what they are fighting for. One must ask the question: with apartheid gone, does the NP actually have any reason to exist? What does it believe in? The Freedom Alliance has cornered the market on federalism, the ANC is the party of the dispossessed and those who believe in state intervention. The NP in the old days of poor whites would make that claim. For 45 years the NP was in single minded pursuit of this racial apartheid system. It would still be practising that system, I have not a shred of doubt, if it could. If they could still enforce the pass laws and Group Areas Act and everything else none of those measures would have been repealed. With apartheid gone, crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions, and the Freedom Alliance having cornered the market on federalism, the ANC being the party of the dispossessed believing in state intervention, the Democratic Party being, the supposed custodian of the liberal tradition, where is the NP's market share? If you vote for the NP what are you voting for?

POM. Transitions are usually accompanied by these kinds of vast fragmentations that exist in political party structures.

JKB. Dr Treurnicht said - or was it Jaap Marais - some time ago that De Klerk was another Kerensky. Maybe it's time for him to go and get a job at UCLA or wherever it was that Kerensky went to or he could go and join Gorbachev.

POM. More admired outside than inside.

JKB. More admired outside than inside.

POM. Just two more questions. Did the stand or the position the ANC endorsed on the Constitutional Court which gave the State President the right to appoint the majority of the members of the court together with their insistence on there being a single ballot shake your faith in their belief in democracy?

JKB. My hopes that South Africa would end up with a multi-party, federal, democratic system were shaken long before that by a whole range of things, including the fact that political liberalisation was accompanied by a major upsurge in violence. That does far more to shake one's faith in democracy, stability, the rule of law, peace, prosperity and growth, than what a particular party might have said or done on a particular issue in constitutional negotiations. The violence and the intolerance from various quarters that underlies the violence, is the key thing that has shaken my hopes for peace and prosperity in this country.

POM. Have you picked up a hardening of attitudes between blacks and whites? I put that in the context that up until this year I went into the townships. You know two years ago you would see lots of people in Alexandra or Thokoza or whatever and today you see not a single white and today the people there tell you not to come in both for your own safety and for their safety. Is this another kind of dynamic taking place, the black/white one?

JKB. My impression, partly my own conclusion but influenced by what good observers tell me, that there's been a great increase in tension and distrust in this country in the last four years and that is partly an increase of black/white tension. Liberally minded whites are becoming resentful of blacks, especially in the context of clumsy affirmative action programmes and black resentment of whites is growing.

POM. Would it be bad for the country if the ANC were to receive more than two thirds of the vote next April?

JKB. I think it's bad for any country, for any party to have untrammelled power. I would rather see a watertight constitution without any possible limitations on the Bill of Rights and without any provisions for detention without trial than a situation where the NP is relying on itself as a check on the possible abuses of power. I would much rather see a situation where we had a better constitution than a power sharing arrangement. The constitution doesn't go far enough guaranteeing against the abuse of power. I would like to feel like an American who doesn't even bother to go and vote. The low percentage polls in the US I've always taken as a good thing because it tells me that Americans are confident enough about their rights and freedoms not to care two hoots who is in the White House. I would like to be in a position in this country where actually I don't care too much who wins this or any other election, knowing that my rights and, of course, those of everybody else can't be trampled on. A happy society to me is one in which I would feel apathetic about the results of the election on the 27th April this year or any year thereafter. I would like to live in a country where I don't care too much about politics. What worries me now is there is too much at stake hinged around one election. One of the things that is at stake in that election is whether even this imperfect constitution is going to be replaced by something even less acceptable after two years.

. This present document, Roelf Meyer says, will last for a long time but the fact of the matter is that it must be replaced within two years. The word is 'shall' be replaced, not 'may'. The report of one of the technical sub-committees some months ago said the new constitutional would replace the present one 'in its entirety'. We are now at a situation where we are having an election and immediately after it will come into operation a constitution designed to last for a shorter time than it took to write, if you start with December 1991. You spend two years negotiating a document which is designed to last for a maximum of two years and may last for an even shorter time. So the real question is, what is the future South African constitution going to look like? That depends on the market place and depends on the make up in terms of parties in the new government. So nothing is yet decided other than the 32 rather imprecise constitutional principles.

POM. People in the NP I talked to say they believe there will only be minor amendments that the government want in terms of getting it as fully fledged a constitution as possible, while the ANC doesn't want it to be an amendment to the existing constitution. They hope there will be an amendment here and an amendment there and that in essence the 156 page document will run to 200 pages.

JKB. The NP also believed that apartheid was a good system for South Africa. On historical precedent, given all the things that the NP believed in, the rational man must find out what the NP believes in and then believe the opposite.

POM. Thank you ever so much. I'll probably see you again maybe in six months or so.

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.