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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
15 Nov 1995: Konigkramer, Arthur
POM. Maybe I should first ask you about the changes that have taken place in your own life since the government of national unity and the provincial government came into effect in May of 1995. You took a position in government and how has that affected your life from being campaign manager, from being newspaper editor, from being the many other things you were in your life beforehand?
AK. Let me just say that I was very reluctant to go into politics because basically it was pressure from people that forced me to do that. I would have liked to have stepped out of politics altogether but that wasn't to be. With regard to the campaign I think given the fact that we only had a week to campaign I think we did a magnificent job, but again I say I would have liked to have stepped out of it. Then, what's all happened? I became chairman of the Constitutional Committee and then I think we achieved an enormous amount and in fact I think history will show that we were too successful.
POM. Could you elaborate a little bit on that?
AK. Well there were elements within the IFP that felt that we had compromised too much but I don't believe that, I think there were other issues. I think there were individuals that were hell bent on creating a crisis and they needed a good cause and I think they chose the constitution to be the cause. But as you can see what's happened now it's ended in a - I think they're a mess and they've actually gone backwards dramatically. We had achieved the consensus document which I don't believe will ever be achieved again.
POM. This is actually where consensus had been established between?
AK. Between all seven parties.
POM. All seven parties. And what were the objections to that given that politics here are so difficult at the best of times?
AK. As I say I think there were individuals that were bent on creating a crisis for their own party political and personal agendas so therefore they didn't need success in the Constitutional Committee, they wanted a crisis. I was able to, I think we achieved actually, it was remarkable the amount of consensus that we achieved and I think history will show that.
POM. Is that a published document?
AK. It's a published document, yes.
POM. Would one go to the Legislature?
AK. You could go to the Constitutional Committee, the man that was just here with me, he would give you a copy.
POM. Where is that?
AK. That's in Mayville, here in Durban.
POM. And it's just called the Constitutional Committee?
AK. Yes it was called the Working Document and it was a document of general consensus of which we had agreed on. I think there were very, very few outstanding issues. We could have in fact proceeded from there very quickly to have written a constitution which I am sure would have been accepted by a two thirds majority but that wasn't to be.
POM. When you say 'certain individuals' one can easily read the names of Walter Felgate and Ambrosini.
AK. I don't want to go into that.
POM. I know you don't want to do that but what I want you to give me is some idea, because again I'm not publishing anything until after the year 2000 at this point, some idea of what were the issues at stake and how they were played out.
AK. As I said the issues were simply that the individuals wanted to create a crisis. There were no ...
POM. Wanted to create a crisis within the IFP?
AK. Well I think they wanted to create a crisis in the constitutional writing process because they wanted to force an election and they thought that by adopting a stance where they thought that publicly they could get sympathy on their side, where the reasonable IFP couldn't get a reasonable constitution for KwaZulu/Natal, but of course the opposite has come about now. The IFP has been perceived as pig-headed and obstructionist and in fact as I said to you earlier where we had consensus with seven parties you have now got the IFP pitted against the rest.
POM. Is there any larger strategic purpose for the IFP to put itself in that position since obviously somebody made a decision that that should be the position the party should be in?
AK. I would rather not comment on that.
POM. What can you comment on?
AK. I don't want to go beyond what I have said, that I believe there were individuals that wanted to create a constitutional crisis. I documented, as you know I was censured by the party, totally wrongly, but I presented a written document to show that in fact I was acting totally within the confines of the National Council resolutions and in fact the declared goals of the IFP.
POM. You were censured because of bringing about consensus among seven parties?
AK. It was because of my role on the Constitutional Committee but obviously they are not going to say because I achieved consensus.
POM. Has the whole experience left you bitter?
AK. No, it's not left me bitter, it's left me disillusioned. I believe that there are going to be very serious political consequences for that. As a result of that I think that there has been very serious misjudgement, bad judgements. I don't feel bitter I just feel sad and disillusioned.
POM. So that in fact, as you perceive things, you could have by now perhaps an agreed upon constitution that could have gone for a referendum. Would that have achieved two thirds?
AK. We wouldn't have needed a referendum because we would have had a two thirds majority in parliament. The Constitutional Court without any shadow of doubt would have certified the constitution because there is no way, first of all, as we've got skills and we've got constitutional advisors and there are seven parties involved, so the constitution we would have drafted would have been within the parameters set out as guidelines in the current interim constitution and, yes, I have no doubt in my mind that we would have had a constitution by now.
POM. Were there specific issues on which consensus had been agreed which other parties in the IFP or individuals ...?
AK. There were no specific issues that were raised. One issue that was used totally foolishly I think is what I had agreed to and all the others, and there were senior IFP people present, we had agreed that the so-called sunrise provisions in the constitution, which we fully support, that they should be in the schedule to a constitution.
AK. Provisions in terms of - you see one of the great victories that the IFP got right at the death was in terms of Section 160 of the constitution whereby provinces were given the right to write constitutions which were different from the interim constitution and so what our plan was, we accepted that within the parameters of the current interim constitution, we were proscribed to a degree but what our intention was, and all the parties had agreed, that there would be sunrise provisions in terms of which the extra powers which we wanted in our constitution would only come into effect once the final constitution made this possible. There were people in the IFP that wanted those sunrise provisions within the constitution and it seemed to me logical that that was not a good thing to do because you can't have a constitution where certain clauses are not implementable and not current, so that is why we agreed to a compromise which I thought was fair, that those provisions should be put in a schedule like the current constitution, it's got lots of schedules to it and it doesn't make them any less binding on the legislature and on the court of course. But that was the only issue that was discussed. I think it was a political decision, as I said.
POM. I suppose my question would be, and I don't want to get into personalities or whatever, but a political decision for what purpose?
AK. Well I told you, to create a constitutional crisis.
POM. For what purpose?
AK. To have an election.
POM. Are there elements within the IFP that seriously believe that in a province where the election was so bitterly contested, where the results were tenuous insofar as both sides accused the other of massive fraud, that you could actually go out, have an election in a violence free atmosphere, free and fair, that would result in the IFP ...?
AK. I'm not going to speak for others, let me speak for myself. My position is, and I stated it and I will stand by it, nobody will change my mind, is that I don't believe - first of all if you believe in the IFP's principles as I do then there is no need to go and get a two thirds majority to write the constitution of your wish because then you're trying to foist your will on the one third minority and the very basis of IFP philosophy is that you should protect minorities from majority domination. So therefore that is a totally fallacious and illogical argument in my view and nobody will change my mind. So therefore even if the plan were to have an election in order to create a two thirds majority I think it's politically very foolish and in fact runs contrary to IFP principles. Much better to negotiate an all inclusive constitution and in fact I believe, and I still believe it very fundamentally, that one of the great virtues and achievements that you can have as a politician is to actually be able to take minorities along with you and to protect them even though they've only got one seat in parliament, because that is the essence of democracy. It's not about majorities it's about minorities and that's what I believe IFP policy is, so I'm not out of line.
POM. I suppose what amazes me is that there could be a body of opinion within the party that would really believe that they could go to the province and secure two thirds of the vote.
AK. Yes there were such people and, as I said, I have no intention of speaking for them but of course wiser counsels have prevailed now, people now have begun to realise that the IFP has got no chance of getting a two thirds majority. It will not get it.
POM. Some polls I've seen would say they might be lucky to get 50% never mind two thirds.
AK. Yes, I would take polls with a pinch of salt because, as you know, they also predicted that we would substantially lose the election and we didn't, we won it.
POM. How have you weathered that? Do you still sit in parliament as a member of the parliament?
AK. Most of my positions, I don't serve on the Constitutional Committee. I was chairman of the IFP caucus in parliament, I've resigned that position. I've told you I'm sad and disillusioned but not bitter.
POM. Do you think that you were scape-goated, that you were a convenient scapegoat for the ambition of other people?
POM. That's a qualified yes after a long silence. Just looking at other election results, when you look at the local elections in the rest of the country, leaving out KwaZulu/Natal and the metropolitan Cape, IFP polled about 2%.
POM. .6% which by any standing raises the question is it a national party or a regional party?
AK. I think, again I don't want to - let me just say this, there are reasons for that very bad performance and the main reasons are very, very poor campaign management.
POM. Bad management at the local level by the local campaign managers and whatever?
AK. Yes. It wasn't run by local people, it was run at national level, and very bad policies too the way it was done.
POM. .6% is almost, I mean for Dr Buthelezi to come out and say after achieving .6% in the seven provinces to say the IFP are going to win the next election in 1999 seems to me delusional.
AK. Has he said that?
POM. He said that after the election. It seemed the height of delusion to say the least.
AK. It's unrealistic.
POM. Where is the party heading?
AK. No, I'm not going to comment on that. I think the IFP remains a very formidable political force. I think one of the great tragedies of South Africa is that the ANC, I think, has been extremely foolish in the way it has sought to destroy it's political opponents. It has used the might of the state to try and do that and I think it's extremely short-sighted and I think history will show that I'm right.
POM. I'd like to get back to that but before we go to the ANC ...
AK. No but you see what has happened to the IFP in recent times comes at the end of a campaign which started in 1979 where the ANC had a deliberate policy to set out to destroy the IFP politically and to physically annihilate it by assassinating its leaders and that continues apace. It's happening every day of the week and I think that is extremely short-sighted and the IFP is a very formidable, certainly in KwaZulu/Natal, a very formidable political force and it is totally impossible, it doesn't matter what mistakes are made on whatever side, it is impossible to eliminate it and I think the ANC have made very serious errors of judgement and I think they will reap the (consequences) through their actions.
POM. I've had some people say that the party's increasing emphasis on Zuluness and the Zulu nation and establishing the Zulu nation has reinforced the perception of people that it is in fact a regional party and not a national party.
AK. No I think people misread the signs. You must remember that I think you've got to look at the Zulu people in a historic perspective. I think it's best to start in the early 1870s. When the British colonised South Africa and when they had their policy of establishing a confederation they, particularly in KwaZulu/Natal, what was then KwaZulu, they came across the most formidable obstacle to all their plans which was the Zulu people. The Zulu people were without any shadow of doubt the mightiest and best organised people in southern Africa and they were economically self-sufficient, so in order to establish their political plans and also in order to get labour for the farms and for white agriculture and for industry later on, they needed to destroy the Zulu people so they set about creating incidents culminating in the Anglo/Zulu wars. So there is a very deep-seated feeling of injustice among the Zulu people because of the activities of colonists.
. Now if you then take a jump, they were very much in the forefront in 1910 in opposing, and in fact the ANC originated in this part of the world, in resisting the creating of the Union and leaving blacks out, then it culminated in 1948 with the Nationalist victory and again if you look at our province again, KwaZulu/Natal and again the Zulu people, who was the biggest obstacle to apartheid? It was the Zulu people. The Xhosas and those people sold out. They became 'independent' and it was only the Zulus, that was the only really major force that withstood the Nats and at the end of the day I think history will show that Buthelezi and the Zulu people are really the rock on which apartheid finally faltered. Again, you see, KwaZulu was punished by the Afrikaners, they were starved of cash, their leaders were harassed and so on, and so there is resentment from the Zulu people towards that.
. Then, of course, what happened, and that is the ultimate treachery, is on September 26th 1993 De Klerk signed the Record of Understanding with the ANC which was essentially a pact against the Zulu people because that meant in terms of that treaty the hostels were to be fenced, the cultural weapons of the Zulus were to be taken away, constitutional negotiations were to become a bilateral affair between basically the Xhosas and the Nats, the Afrikaners and the Nats and of course again it's ganging up against the Zulu people.
. And now we've got a liberated South Africa and where is all the energy being directed? Again it's against the Zulu people. So it's just a new set of oppressors. I think that's the background against which when you say the IFP is perceived as a Zulu party you must look at that background. There's one and a half centuries of history of subjugation of these people and they do make up 85% of the population here so it's not surprising that the politics of the people in this area should be dominated by the Zulus, they are the majority and it's their land, it's their country.
POM. Does that not impede the development of the party as a national party where people outside, who are not Zulus?
AK. You see I think you've got to look at it against a much broader historic perspective again, against a broader canvas, and that is that I think the ultimate political battle in South Africa is between centralism and federalism. That's the fundamental issue of politics and if the Zulu people fail, if the IFP fails, if KwaZulu/Natal fails then I think we are headed for very, very autocratic and in fact undemocratic rule from the centre. That's not going to happen but if we did fail that's what would happen. Therefore it's very important. I think federalism will stand or fall in KwaZulu/Natal.
POM. When you say, 'if we fail', you mean if KwaZulu/Natal fails to ...?
AK. Well I think if the IFP fails and I think those people, there are many, many political forces that support the IFP stand on that, for example the Democratic Party. That might be small but it's very influential in business and so on and that's where most of the resources of this country are concentrated. So when I say 'we' it's a broader we, it's those people who believe in federal democracy, those people who put the individual before anything else.
POM. But then the constitution that you had achieved consensus on must have been a constitution that was inherently federalistic.
POM. And you have brought the ANC along with you so one would have expected the people who sought to destroy it would be in the ANC.
AK. Yes, as I say, I think history when fairly written will show that we in fact achieved a near miracle. I also happen to know that the ANC people, they were roasted by their national leaders because of the consensus that they had reached, but I believe that was our great achievement because if we had been left alone that would have actually stood the test of time. There is no way that the ANC would have moved against its leaders in KwaZulu/Natal, in my judgement anyway. I think they would not have liked what had happened but I think it would have happened and they would have been forced to let it happen.
POM. But in a sense the opportunity to develop that kind of consensus is now gone, the possibility of just a regional constitution or a provincial constitution emerging the chances are becoming more dim as there are more and more disagreements within the parties in the Constitutional Committee itself. Meanwhile the IFP continues to not participate in the Constitutional Assembly at the national level so it's kind of putting itself between a rock and a hard place, it's not having a voice in one forum and in the other forum it screws up its own constitution.
AK. There were forces of course who believe that they should use the constitutional process, this writing process in KwaZulu/Natal to fight constitutional battles at the centre. First of all I think it's wrong tactically but more importantly I think history, time will show that I was right in my judgement, that in fact it's unachievable so therefore it will fail.
POM. What is unachievable?
AK. To try and use the constitution writing process in KwaZulu/Natal to achieve national objectives. It can't be done. So in a sense, it would appear to me that if anything the IFP would have wanted to have its constitution in place before the draft of the final constitution. That was the plan and this is again one of the great tragedies that one of the principles that was agreed by all parties, which is phenomenal, was that the KwaZulu/Natal constitution would be passed before the final constitution. That actually we had written agreement. That is just unbelievable; we had it but it's gone.
POM. That's gone. You talked about the ANC and I want to get to that but for a while I just want to concentrate on the IFP. In a sense if it fails it's failure is due as much to internal blunders within the parties and the private agendas of certain individuals as it has to do with the actions of the ANC or any external force, in fact in a certain way the ANC was co-operating with you.
AK. Yes I think it depends, again, history must be the judge, I think at the end of the day it goes beyond personal chemistries but I think we had got to a situation where there was a feeling of mutual respect, we could disagree very strongly but we could actually get on and we could actually reach compromises. I think that's the great tragedy that that has all been lost.
POM. That whole thing could have been a stepping stone for reconciliation in KwaZulu/Natal.
AK. Absolutely. It was. The most amazing thing was that for the first time the ANC, and the IFP had to learn that lesson as well, but the ANC was actually confronted with democracy, that at the end of the day, argue as hard as they wished, and we did argue very vehemently and forcefully, at the end of the day we got to a situation where it was self-evident that the IFP and all the other minority parties agreed and then the ANC, and I must give them credit for that, having to submit to accept that on those issues they could not win that battle because 662/3% of the people of this province had adopted a certain line and they, to their credit, had to accept that. And there were other issues from the IFP's point of view where we found ourselves, and that's maybe what was so disliked by some elements within our party, that I was in a position, and my colleagues that were with me, to accept that on other issues the minorities in the ANC were against us and therefore we were in a minority and you then have to compromise and submit to the will of the majority otherwise there is no way forward unless you compromise, other than walking out and I wasn't prepared to do that.
POM. I'd like to go back to a couple of statements. I came up here for the Shaka Day celebrations, I went down to Stanger and I went to Umlazi.
AK. What did you think of that beautiful monument, the one at Stanger?
POM. I didn't think very much about it.
AK. You didn't think? Why?
POM. Which monument now?
AK. The new buildings around the ...
POM. Oh, sorry, yes, OK.
AK. That's my work. I'm chairman of the Monuments Council, I'm very proud of that. Private money. It was a great project. Anyway that's just by-the-by.
POM. Sorry I misplaced where the assembly had actually taken place.
AK. You know how those beautiful interpretation centre and the buildings which have been very tastefully done around that monument, I think.
POM. Dr Buthelezi said two things, he said the might of the security forces is being harnessed to destroy the IFP and that an IFP in local elections in KwaZulu/Natal would "open the door to increased violence".
AK. Well let's try and put that into perspective. I've only read newspaper reports on what he said, but I am happy to show you hard evidence that in fact we met with the police this morning. We can document at least 28 cases of very blatant human rights violations by the army and the security forces since November and those violations include cold-blooded murder where members of the security forces have actually shot people in cold blood from a metre away with automatic rifles. Now he is absolutely correct and that is why I say, if you go back to what I mentioned earlier, that the campaign against the IFP which started in 1979 by the ANC to destroy the IFP that continues apace and there is no doubt whatsoever that the army and the security forces are being used to intimidate and in fact assassinate IFP leaders. There is no doubt about that. It's well documented and I can give you at least 28 cases.
POM. I would like that. You needn't do it now but if you could just send them on to me.
AK. I can give you chapter and verse in all those cases but I mean the old tactic which was used then at the height of the assassinations against the IFP when increasingly the assassinations were done by people in police and army uniform and then the argument was always that they were impersonating them. I think there are at least four cases now where members of either the police or the army have actually been arrested for murder of IFP leaders. And we're talking very recently.
POM. Isn't there an irony in this and the irony would be that before 1994 it was the ANC who were saying that it was the security forces in collusion with the IFP who were assassinating ANC forces and they were always pointing the finger directly at the police, and now it's the IFP who is pointing the finger?
AK. No, no, no. The reality is this, I think one's got to be very careful of one's facts, Nelson Mandela the president of the ANC, before he became president of the country, got up at the United Nations and said that the IFP was a surrogate of the National Party. You remember? If the IFP is a surrogate of the Nationalist Party, given that 400 of its leaders are assassinated, then I presume, it's logical that the Nationalist Party is not going to assassinate its surrogate. Logic then compels me to the conclusion that in fact it was the ANC that was assassinating the IFP and that's a fact, but by pure logic that's what he said, not I. Secondly, we have said since 1985, and you can find it in long, voluminous evidence to the Goldstone Commission, that in fact the ANC and elements of the security forces were involved in the assassination of IFP leaders. What you have now is that the ANC is now the government and uMkhonto weSizwe that was doing the killing is now in the army, so nothing has changed and it's not an accusation which is being made, as you put it, that it's now suddenly come about. It's been going on since 1985.
POM. But are the troops that are sent in here, do they contain a high proportion of uMkhonto weSizwe?
AK. They always say that it's only 5%. Well, if it's 5% of whatever many thousand that's a lot of people. It just takes one man to kill people as you well know. You don't need a whole platoon to go and do things like that. The assassinations are always carried out by individuals.
POM. Why do you think that the situation here never receives due attention in the national media?
AK. That is one of the great, and I think history will show, that is one of the greatest injustices that have been done to the Zulu people and the people of this province because if you look at the world attention that is focused on places like Bosnia, why is it not focused on KwaZulu/Natal? People are being assassinated every day. Why is there no outcry? I think the figure now is round about 450 IFP leaders have been assassinated. That is a crime of monumental proportions. You tell me why nothing is said about it. I don't know. One of the reasons, of course, is that the IFP doesn't have the resources to conduct the sort of PR exercises that would be necessary to highlight that, but the fact of the matter is there are journalists around, these figures are published, why is it not brought to the attention of the outside world?
POM. Why would The Weekly Mail & Guardian, which at least saw itself as some kind of custodian of the exposure of illegal activities, never devote a single story to the killing of IFP people?
AK. I have no trust in The Weekly Mail at all and I've said to you before I believe that that's a creation of the South African state.
POM. Sorry, which?
AK. The Weekly Mail.
POM. Is the creation of?
AK. The South African state. I think that was funded by the National Intelligence Agencies to achieve certain objectives. I have no doubt about that, no doubt about it whatsoever, so I don't see it as a guardian of human rights. I think now maybe it's got a little bit more independence and now it's making certain people uncomfortable because it does draw attention to things which it never did before but it certainly isn't a journal. I know from my own personal experience that we have supplied masses and masses of information to show what is going on and they don't publish it.
POM. What impact did the arrest of General Malan and the other two former Chiefs of Staff of the SADF and other top officers have within IFP circles?
AK. We've known for a long time that that is just a political act and it's going to result in a show trial and I think that you will find that they are going to end up with egg on their faces because it's totally ludicrous.
POM. But the Prosecutor, McNally?
AK. The very man whom the ANC subjected to all this scrutiny, the very man that they wanted transferred because they said he was pro-IFP and now all of a sudden he's a big hero. If you want my personal opinion you're going to find that McNally has been very clever. He's going to say, "You want to be smart? Carry o"', and you will see that they are going to have egg on their faces, including the minister, because it's nonsense, absolute nonsense.
POM. So it's just a show-case?
AK. Yes. We'll talk again, you're going to come back again. Let me try and put it into perspective for you without wanting to go into the merits or demerits of the case. As I told you, over 400 IFP leaders have been assassinated. The ANC had a public campaign to make this country ungovernable. It's top leaders including the Foreign Minister of this country in The Times of London called for the assassination of Gatsha Buthelezi, the Foreign Minister of this country. Now given the fact that these murders were taking place can you realistically expect any people simply to not do anything about it? Do you think that any government should not do about that? Do you think it's not the responsibility of the government to protect the citizens when there are public announcements that people should be assassinated? That's the background. Now, given the fact that people set up structures to defend themselves, and even if one conceded that some of those people might have murdered others illegitimately or illegally, I think it's a very long shot then to go and say those people that made it possible for others to defend themselves are now guilty of murder. That is ludicrous. If that were the case then we should arrest the Foreign Minister immediately and charge him with inciting murder. Is that not logical? So that's why to me it's just an absolute farce, it's a show trial and it does grave injustice to the legal system.
POM. Will the same thing happen with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission?
AK. I don't think it's got a chance of flying. What is going to happen, for example, I could give you, and I have given it to many prominent people including the former State President, hard evidence of very senior people in the ANC who were guilty of, if not murder, complicity in murder. Those are facts, you can prove it. Now are those people going to be prosecuted? Some of them are sitting right in the top of the government. They are going to be prosecuted? If not, why not? One has got to be even-handed. Given the sort of violent society that South Africa was and continues to be, if you want to try and correct that you've got to be even-handed.
POM. Do you think that a person like Desmond Tutu would be even-handed?
AK. That is a difficult question to answer. I would just remind you though that personally I, although there are moments when I admire the man, but I cannot forget some of the things he did. For example, when an attempt was made to assassinate Buthelezi at the funeral of Robert Sobukwe he did not condemn that. Robert Sobukwe, the leader of the PAC. An attempt was made on the life of the Chief.
POM. This was when?
AK. This was in the seventies and it was not condemned by Tutu. In fact he said that these were the actions of a new breed of people with iron in their souls. Well! A little while later the good Bishop was then very depressed about the behaviour of the youth and particularly necklacing and said he would emigrate if this continued. But by condoning that at that time he was laying the foundations for that sort of behaviour. Maybe the man is wiser now.
POM. Could you think of somebody off the list of names that have been submitted, are there names there of ...?
AK. I don't want to cast aspersions on the people there but I think politically the whole thing is wrong. You cannot build reconciliation on the basis of witch-hunting. It doesn't work. As I say, let's just take Alfred Nzo the Foreign Minister, he publicly called for the assassination of Buthelezi. Now what are you going to do about that? Is he going to be hauled before the Truth Commission? It's not likely is it?
POM. I thought the way it works is that if you have something to admit to you go before it and then you can claim indemnity?
AK. Has he admitted to that? Have they all come forward and said, yes we plotted the assassination of the IFP, which they did? I mean there are volumes and volumes of transcripts which were done by the BBC on Radio Freedom where they called for the assassination of IFP. It's not an opinion, you can go and listen to it, go and get them. It's not us, it's the BBC.
POM. The BBC's what do they call it?
AK. The transcripts on Radio Freedom. The BBC transcribes most major radio stations in the world. There are tomes of these allegations, not allegations, of evidence.
POM. Do you think the situation in KwaZulu/Natal is worse now than it was 18 months ago prior to the elections?
AK. Yes I think so. Yes and no. There are some areas where it's not so bad. I don't know whether I can get a copy of an address I delivered to parliament a little while ago and I think that would be a much better answer to your question.
POM. An address that you gave to?
AK. That I spoke in parliament on the violence and produced figures to show that, for example, the murders increased by a hundred-fold between 1993 and 1995. In other words once the democratic process had started operating there were more than a hundred times more murders than there were during the whole liberation struggle. I can get you the figures out. What does that show? I think it shows without any shadow of doubt that particularly the ANC was using violence as a political mechanism. Again it's not just opinions, you can produce the evidence to that effect. If you read the Goldstone Commission reports you can find all the submissions of the police as to who was behind these things and nothing happened. So I think that what has happened in KwaZulu/Natal is that all the energies are now being focused on KwaZulu/Natal because that's the one area which they do not control and where a quarter of the population of South Africa lives and it's very important to the economy of South Africa. In fact it is a key to the economy because it's got all the major ports, it's got the refineries, it's got the major road infrastructure, the major rail infrastructure to the economic heartland of South Africa. So economically and politically it's a very important province. So with that caveat yes it has got worse but it's not surprising.
POM. But, again, if I follow your logic, part of it getting worse is of the IFP's own making.
AK. Well, no, the IFP might not have always had a very good strategy in responding to things but you cannot blame the IFP for maybe reacting badly to the mass murder of its supporters.
POM. I suppose I mean that if the course of the constitution had been followed, you laid the groundwork for real consensus and you laid the groundwork for real reconciliation, then it changes the entire context in which everything is looked at and judged.
AK. That is correct. Speaking for myself, personally, at the end of the day the best guarantee you have as an individual and as a member of a minority is a very good constitution because then it doesn't matter who rules, it doesn't matter whether the IFP is the government or the ANC is the government. If you've got a good constitution then that's where you must seek your guarantees and your security. So that is certainly what drives me politically.
POM. This is a different kind of question but there is always this ongoing thing about Mandela being the glue that holds the ANC together and talk about the succession stakes and who is up and who is down and what will happen when he retires in 1999. You never hear the same talk with regard to Buthelezi and the IFP.
AK. No, but hold on, unless I'm misunderstanding your question, first of all you've got to look at the political realities. The ANC is the government and it has a very sizeable majority so therefore it is obvious that it will be the major object of discussion, obviously because it is the government. And the other thing it's no good having a dog in the manger attitude. Mandela is a very remarkable man, there's no doubt about that. I think he's one in the world today, one of the great statesmen. One cannot gainsay that. With regard to the ANC, in my own personal judgement, I don't believe, despite what I said about Mandela being a remarkable man, I think it's a gross over-statement to say that he's the glue that keeps the party together. I don't believe that. I think he towers above it but he certainly doesn't keep it together.
POM. But it keeps the alliance together more than the party?
AK. I don't think so. That is in the nature of South African politics that you will see that that alliance, which was an alliance of convenience, will in the fullness of time disintegrate with or without Mandela. I don't think he's capable of holding that together in any way and I think there's lots of evidence where in fact he's taken a very tough line against some of the actions of the trade unions so I don't think you can describe him as the glue that holds it all together. I think inevitably it's going to disintegrate and there will be a realignment and that will affect all parties.
POM. So taking the results of the local elections, leaving aside KwaZulu/Natal again and the metropolitan Cape, what interpretation would you put on the results? Here you had for months the media saying, or observers, presumably astute observers of the political scene, saying that there's the lack of delivery on the part of the ANC, there's restlessness at the grassroots level, there are people complaining about the gravy train, on the two major issues which their constituency, unemployment and housing, nothing that they've have done on unemployment and virtually nothing done, I think 10,000 houses in one year, sorry 18 months, the record of performance is that people would show their dissatisfaction with the record of delivery.
AK. I have never believed that and I will tell you why. I think it's a great fallacy because you see in fact the opposite is the truth or the reality in my judgement. Given the fact that the ANC didn't perform and made promises that it couldn't deliver it's even more reason why people that are disillusioned at local government level will actually get in there and get their people in. You must remember the national government, however much it failed, has got nothing to do with the delivery at local government level. Delivery is going to have to take place at local government level, so therefore I think it's totally illogical to say that you're going to punish the government because those people know the reality, they see now for the first time - you must remember there were only white city councils that had a meaningful base from which to operate. Now that they have been joined up the vast majority of the people saw a real opportunity to actually, through their own actions, bring delivery about. So therefore I think it's very illogical to expect them to punish the government. It's not going to happen. If you accept that argument what follows then is simply a factor of organisation and the ANC is well organised. It's got the funds, it's got the manpower and it's got the skills so therefore if it's able to organise itself at local level, which it clearly was, and remember as I said again you're not asking the people to vote for people that are sitting up there in Cape Town, they were voting for people whom they know, who are members of their own community. Now they might have an ANC label on them but at the end of the day those people are voting for delivery because they're going to have the levers in their own hands. I never once thought that the ANC would suffer a reverse. It doesn't make sense. It would have suffered a reverse if we were voting for a new national government, yes, but not for local government. It doesn't make sense to me.
POM. Do you think you can have by next March or whenever, local elections here that will not increase the degree of polarisation between supporters of the IFP and ANC now that they will be in a way fighting over smaller more defined pieces of territory?
AK. No I don't view it quite that way. I think that the bulk of the people will be wanting to get people into power, into positions of authority at local government where they sense that they can actually deliver. So I don't think the battles are going to be over major party political issues. I think it's going to be a much more ...
POM. I suppose my example would be, let's say I was an ANC party member in an IFP stronghold, but I may be quiet about it, I don't go about advertising the fact.
AK. You're not going to be able to do that. That's the one political reality. You see you can't hide your affiliation in that sense because you're going to have to go and stand in an area, you've got to be there.
POM. That's what I mean. It would encourage people not to stand. I saw this in Thokoza, in the four separate wards, three were ANC strongholds, one an IFP stronghold and in the IFP stronghold there was no ANC candidate and in the three ANC strongholds there was no IFP.
AK. I think those are a little bit extreme those examples because, yes, there are certainly areas in our province where it is going to be difficult for the parties but I think in general it should be possible to hold violence free elections.
POM. We were talking about Shaka Day earlier and, again, I was struck by some of the things that Dr Buthelezi said and one was, "That the very essence of Zuluism is now under siege and I am calling on the Zulu people to hear me when I say that we are entering the final phase of a more than two centuries struggle by the Zulu people to establish their kingdom as a kingdom that will live on in perpetuity." And again, "Portentous developments have taken place in the last 16 months and have put the destiny of the Zulu nation in the hands of the people of this region who by themselves are now paving the way for the new struggle for our liberation." That's very strong language.
AK. It is but if I take you back to what I said right at the beginning you must see that in its historical perspective, and it is so that the Zulu people are, the ANC they are throwing everything at actually in the Zulu eyes to destroying the people. Look at Sexwale and all these people were saying the whole ANC election machine is going to be brought here, their supporters are going to be bussed in. Why are they saying those things? Is that not proof of what he's saying? Isn't it?
POM. Well proof of something. Just two last things, is the struggle in a broad sense in the IFP between what one might call the modernists, the urbanites, and the traditionalists, people whose orientation is more to traditional rural values and the maintenance of the primacy of the chiefs and the headmen and that situation?
AK. Yes there is always ...
. (Continued on next tape)
. I was saying that obviously there are divergencies and differences and tensions between what you call modernists and traditionalists in the IFP but that is the case in any political party. As I was saying, if you look at what's happened, the ANC created a front among the chiefs called Contralesa and now you have seen what has happened, they have now revolted. It's exactly the same thing. There's nothing unusual about that. South Africa is a developing country. You are getting rurally based masses that are being urbanised and being subjected to all the stresses of urban life and industrialisation and obviously you are going to find tensions. There's nothing untoward about that. It's a perfectly normal phenomenon. Yes, sure they are there.
POM. Dr Buthelezi himself says, he threatened at one point to resign, that he did not want to preside over a divided party. What kinds of divisions was he specifically referring to?
AK. Oh I don't know, you must ask him, but it's always uncomfortable for a leader to see divisions and particularly when you are under enormous pressure.
POM. Did you see the ANC's, what they call their working paper document they put out after one year of the government of national unity in which they made statements which in effect said that they believed that the National Party in conjunction with important elements of the security forces still wanted to destabilise the democratisation process and a way had to be found to deal with this? Do you think they really believe this?
AK. No it's just rubbish, it's just rubbish. The reality is, and the political reality in South Africa for as long as one can see into the future is going to be that the ANC is going to keep apartheid alive. It has to because it's a beautiful mechanism which was created by the - what the Nats created for the ANC is a PR man's dream, this apartheid. They are not going to let that die. Obviously they are going to keep resurrecting this and in my judgement that's what the Truth Commission is all about. It's all planned so that it will come to a head in 1999 and all the failures of South Africa can be blamed on the Nats and apartheid. People will have forgotten that the ANC was the one that didn't build the houses and so on. That's all the Nats, all these evil people from the past, they are the cause of all these problems. That's what it's all about. They are just going to keep it alive and whip it.
POM. Where do you see KwaZulu by 1999?
AK. We've got to bring the violence under control and that is an absolute imperative, it's a real great challenge and it's also a great tragedy. I think KwaZulu/Natal has for large numbers of reasons the best chances of really developing it at a very fast rate.
POM. The best chance of developing?
POM. Do you think given the level of uncertainty, doesn't that constrain it?
AK. No, I think that is of course the great constraint, but even at the moment despite all the violence KwaZulu/Natal's economic growth is faster than any other province. Now if you look, because of our strategic position close to the sea, because of our water, because of our labour resources, because of our very, very big pool of blue collar skilled workers, mainly the Indian people, because of the fact that South Africa's economy to grow is going to have to compete on the world markets in manufacturing, given the fact that the mining industry obviously is going to progressively run down, all the indicators are that in KwaZulu it's going to grow. It must do. And if we bring the violence under control it will happen very, very rapidly. It's got, in my view, also the greatest potential in terms of tourism and I think tourism can grow the economy faster than any other economic activity. So, yes, I think if we can resolve the political problems and get rid of the violence I think it will take off.
POM. Just to go back to one last question which I don't know whether you side-stepped it or it escaped me, but it was that in the ANC, as I said, there is open talk about who will succeed Mandela and there are leaders there who are identifiable, one of whom, unless there's a dark horse, will succeed him. One doesn't hear the same kind of talk with regard to the IFP. Is there an identifiable successor to Dr Buthelezi?
AK. That debate has been going on for a long time. As I indicated to you earlier the reason, the talk in the ANC about the ANC summit is at such a high level is obviously because they are the government and because they hold a substantial majority. But it does carry on and there is in our province also no obvious successor, but there are certainly lots of people who are capable of leading.
POM. OK, I'll leave it at that unless you've anything to add which I haven't asked. You want to get out of politics as quickly as possible or are you in for the duration?
AK. No, I certainly would want to extricate myself from politics now.
POM. That's kind of sad.
POM. Yes, it is. Anyway thank you very much for taking the time again.