This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
01 Nov 1996: Holomisa, Bantu
POM. Maybe we will start at the end and then work our way backwards. First, who wanted you out of the ANC and why?
BH. The indications are that after I testified in the Truth & Reconciliation hearing, now referred to as TRC, it was Vice President Mbeki who seemed to have been offended of all the ANC rank and file members and it's him obviously who, as you know, castigated me publicly in parliament and it's him also who calls that the DC (Disciplinary Committee) must sit because the letters of complaint from Stella Sigcau were never referred to the National Working Committee or NEC and at that stage President Mandela was on leave as well at the time he took the decision that I will be disciplined, nor was there any meeting of the top five officers, that is Secretary, Deputy, Treasurer, himself and Mandela, so I know that because some of them in the top five told me that. Seemingly he has been behind this and he didn't only end there. He also called the editors of various newspapers and summoned them to his house in Pretoria, notably the article which appeared on 13th August in The Sowetan. He had an lengthy interview with some friends of mine who are working there and they told me what was happening and they quoted him as having said, "Holomisa must go. Even if he were to apologise we wouldn't accept that." And he seemed to have taken this thing personally and I advised, as you know, as early as 4th June that the matter should be debated and be solved politically because legally it's not going to work because I was once a head of government and they cannot take that away from me, and I spoke in my capacity as a former head of government in the TRC.
. But as you know the court, the DC's decision, they found me guilty on all the charges on 30th August. Then when I notified them of an appeal to the National Executive Committee then I asked the reasons for judgement. They came back on 25th September with a new judgement. The difference between that new judgement is that the first one I was found guilty on all the charges, the second one now was saying, no, we found you not guilty on the main charge, that of going to the TRC and speaking about Stella Sigcau and so on. But my argument to them was that the whole thing is intertwined because we started, had you solved this thing politically or had you approached me and explained to you, you wouldn't have the whole trouble of following a disciplinary hearing. But the sentence was not amended, "You remain expelled." So in a nutshell it has been single-handedly been pushed by Thabo Mbeki. I am not apologising and I don't know why, I am less interested in knowing too.
POM. You're not interested in knowing why?
BH. No I'm not interested in that. He will have to go and defend it in court now because that's history.
POM. So what are you interested in?
BH. A review of my case, that it was not handled properly and that the charge sheet itself was not clear charges, some of the charges were overlapping over the other verbatim. I'm talking legal now. Politically I'm not interested because if his behaviour was characterised either by jealousies or by whatever it's only the people who will determine my future, it's not him. As you can see now that when they chop me out the people are calling me left and right and say, "Come and explain to us, why were you chopped away? Were you expelled?" And I think they have a problem now of selling that expulsion to the branches because the branches are singing one way and saying, "No, take Holomisa back, we are not interested in that." So already, it's too early, one would have expected maybe after a year people would start showing sympathies but right now they are not taking it kindly. The rallies, for instance, I have been addressing are in the open, thousands of people are coming, they are not ... on resources and even marshals or security, I don't travel with security, they provide security when I arrive in these places they just come spontaneously. For instance, the highest crowd I've addressed was ± 25,000 in Transkei, another crowd in Soweto it was estimated between 18,000 and 20,000 at Orlando Stadium. The next crowd was about 9,000 in the East Rand. The average crowd I would say ranges between 5,000 and 8,000 who attend those rallies and all of them, there are ANC people, but ANC issued a statement trying to get them, threatening to discipline them, suspending them, but the people have quickly come up with other new ideas and said, "No we are a mass democratic movement, we are concerned citizens, we are community organisations and so on." So it's coming in different shape. So that's the situation.
POM. What kind of message do you think the ANC wanted to put across. Most people I've talked to say this could have been handled politically, it didn't have to go to this extreme? What's the message?
BH. The message is clear. It's not the ANC as an organisation which I know which is after my expulsion, but it's the work of manipulation by the powerful leaders within the organisation. The message is clear, that our democratic process within the ANC structures is not strong. I think the checks and balances are not there and we need first of all to strengthen that within the organisation. There seem to be dictatorial tendencies which are cropping up, intolerance and my expulsion is clear, it's coming from the leadership, Thabo, Mandela and others. And even the others, majority members of the NEC it's very difficult for them to voice out their opinions because there is a development of a fear amongst us in the top echelons. Fortunately for me I've gone through the same period. I am not interested to go through it again because under the Matanzimas they were running the government under terror and fear, it was like a dynasty. So I am not prepared to succumb to their whims. I told them, I said, "No there will be no apologies, you can go and jump in the lake, I am not apologising."
POM. Did they suggest to you in any way that if you apologised that they would reconsider?
BH. Mandela right at the beginning when he heard that I rejected the notion of the DC, I said it was extreme, there was no need for that, and then he phoned and said, "Bantu, I suggest that you apologise for what you have said about Stella Sigcau in the TRC so that I can handle this case easily, I would be in a position to go to the other members of the NWC and convince them."
POM. Mandela rang you and said?
BH. He advised me that I should apologise so that he can stop this and then I said, "No, what for? I don't feel like it. My mind doesn't tell me that, it has not yet dawned to my mind", because I was referring to an historical event, "I gave you the copies, there's no need to repeat that." That was it and now they have exonerated me after all from those main charges. After that all that snag, intervention of the TRC, giving the TRC a bad image and that the ANC is interfering in the work of the TRC, then after six months they are now withdrawing that charge.
POM. So what do you say to those who say that you should have brought up the matter of the money Stella Sigcau took when she was appointed a minister in 1994?
BH. No, no, they are out of order, completely out of order. If, for instance, you are talking about the information scandal when you are reading a speech, you are referring to it, who is going to tell you that you should have referred to an information scandal on a particular date because it's an historical event and I was telling them in the TRC that this is what happened in Transkei which led us to take over the government and I am here now to ask the TRC that the apartheid structures, apartheid government destabilised Transkei. It was worse under our rule, destabilisation which led to nine Transkei Defence Force members dying after an abortive coup supported by Pretoria.
. So we had to tell that and then I was saying, "Please commission, pay those people, the families of those dead soldiers, compensate them." That's what I said and nobody cared to look into that totality. So anyone who is saying that it is irrelevant, do you want to tell me that Mandela didn't know that Stella Sigcau received R50,000-00 and Thabo didn't know that when they appointed her to the Cabinet? They knew because the whole thing was public even when the ANC was unbanned it was carried in the papers that thing in 1990/91, the Sol Kerzner case. They must just tell the truth those people that there is a greed which is involved here. The whole thing is characterised by greediness on the part of some people who felt that, "Oh you mention the name of Sol Kerzner, ooh, he's our golden handshake, he's our asset." Stella Sigcau is a decoy, it's not an issue Stella Sigcau, it's not an issue. Everybody knows historically. She admitted receiving that money, it was splashed in newspapers but they found an excuse to say, "All right finally we've found him", but what have they found?
. Temporarily, yes, Holomisa might be out but I might come back to the organisation, not according to their liking. Either the people or the courts, there are two strategies, the two-prong approach now, people are demanding this decision was wrong, I must be brought back and then the court case. Those who are saying that are out of order unless they don't know the meaning of the history. What is the meaning of the history? Why could I raise that issue with Mandela when he appointed Stella Sigcau? He knew about the Sol Kerzner issue because we debated it before he came into power when he asked me to withdraw the charges against Sol Kerzner. Why do people now treat that as if it was a revelation? It's not a revelation. Unless you were in exile and you were not reading papers you would think that was a new thing.
POM. Mandela asked you to withdraw the charges against Kerzner?
BH. In a meeting in March 1994 Mandela called me to Carlton Hotel and said to me, "Bantu, I've been raising funds, I've been meeting business people in preparation for the ANC's elections but amongst other people I've met is Sol Kerzner and Sol Kerzner has agreed to give us two million rand to assist us in the elections campaign, but Sol Kerzner right at the end of our meeting raised the issue of his case in Transkei and he asked the ANC and Mandela whether they cannot assist him in asking Holomisa to withdraw those charges because they are giving him a bad name, he cannot operate internationally." This was the second meeting. Thabo Mbeki in 1992 approached me also and asked me that he has been approached by Sol Kerzner to request whether no solution could be found, expedite the case, if the charges or the whole case cannot be reviewed because he cannot operate internationally. I told Thabo that, "Hands off in this case, leave it", and he said, "All right, I understand." I said, "No, it's in the court, let's leave it otherwise Sol Kerzner will put you into a problem." The same thing with Mandela. I told him, "President, please tell Sol Kerzner to send lawyers to Transkei then we can talk with them. Not you, I would advise you to get out of this thing. If they want to short circuit this thing it's not going to work." I even said, let me quote myself, I said to him, "We cannot withdraw those charges because we got into power on a ticket of anti-corruption." That's it.
POM. And yet there are many, I was just reading a short biography of you in the Mail & Guardian this morning. I was looking for something else and your name popped out and they said even though you came into power on an anti-corruption drive that it ended with more corruption rather than less. They pointed to large numbers of civil servants that were promoted and salary increases given.
BH. That is not corruption. Once there is a Cabinet decision and a resolution taken you can't say that's corruption. It's been debated, the unions requested the salaries, everybody, the ANC structures were involved in Transkei. Those unions and workers were ANC aligned and I negotiated with Pretoria for the salary increases. Even in Pretoria they have violated the TEC's agreements, that was the Transitional Executive Council, they have promoted people but this government will only jump when a black person is to be investigated. When whites are involved they will drag it out.
. So to me I submit therefore that that is not a corruption. People came to us, they said they want this but those people who were reported to have promoted themselves in other areas they should be disciplined. After I was appointed in the Cabinet I heard that some people - the question of corruption to say it is worse off, I am still waiting to hear that, what exactly are they referring to? No finger has been pointed either to the directors general, to my ministers or to Holomisa that he has taken monies or has given to himself or families, properties or nepotism or he interfered with the Tender Board. What I know is all those who were implicated, they would face the charges and I gave the statistics when I handed over my power to the Eastern Cape government. That's fine, they are entitled to their views but we are not talking about rhetoric now. I challenged the government as early as 1994 to send commissions there. They have been camping in Transkei since 1994, not even an interim report has come out to point fingers, but we are still waiting.
POM. In this whole matter has your faith in President Mandela been shaken?
BH. I wouldn't like to comment on that. Next question.
POM. Has your faith in the ANC been shaken?
BH. I wouldn't like to comment on that. I like the organisation, that's why I am spending so much money and I am defending it. I am happy that Mandela, Thabo have pushed me out of the organisation and the rank and file of the organisation they say, "No, Holomisa you won't fall hard, we are here to grab you." I am thankful to them. So to the organisation I am still hopeful. That's why in my policies I am defending the ANC in these rallies. I am not attacking the ANC. But for the leadership I won't spare a moment for them. If they are ruffling me, I have a right to retaliate. Next question please, please.
POM. When you talk about the leadership?
BH. I'm talking about Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, the NEC, NWC, it's them who have expelled me in the organisation. So it goes back to Mandela, he had to choose I assume, if he was not behind my sacking. He had to side with his Vice President, it's obvious, you can expect that. But I have a right to defend myself and in defending myself we might bruise some of them. It's hard luck.
POM. You also laid allegations against Sol Kerzner paying for Thabo Mbeki's 50th birthday party.
BH. I gave them the name of the business person who was a go-between and they did not deny that. Instead they added two other business people. They were saying, no, Sol Kerzner didn't pay for that but I guess that they were too late for it to be trusted by the people because when I said Sol Kerzner had assisted the organisation before the elections they denied that. When I said Steve Tshwete was given complimentary accommodation by Sun International, sleeping there freely, and they denied that, they said it was a certain Mr Berman, a certain boxing promoter, but within an hour Mr Berman came back and said, "No I know nothing about that transaction." So to me what else are you going to believe when it is coming from the so-called spokesperson of the ANC? Then Mandela a week after that says, "No Bantu is correct, Sol Kerzner gave us the two million." So who is fooling who? So the best thing for them is to investigate these matters.
. In the TRC I gave them as an exhibit a letter from Sun International to say here is a letter which says, "Yes we have assisted senior ministers, they come to our hotel and sleep freely." It's in black and white, a letter from Sun International addressed to SABC. Now I said it to Zola Skweyiya who was the Disciplinary chairperson of the disciplinary hearing, I said, "No man, I'm not objecting to you guys as ministers, but I've mentioned in my letter of objection dated 13th June that I can argue in this case that there is a conflict of interest here because Sol Kerzner is a common denominator, Transkei politicians, yourselves, and if the organisation has been compromised for taking two million from a fugitive from justice now you are ministers, here is a letter, can't we agree on a mechanism to investigate this letter, to find out whether you ministers who are in the part of the disciplinary hearing you never slept there freely? If you have slept there free and you are sitting on me, obviously you are going to be angry because I have already cited Sol Kerzner that there might be a conflict of interest." "No, no, no, we have never been there, we have never." I said, "No I'm not saying that. Let's agree on a mechanism to check you guys." They overruled me. A letter, here is a letter, that day Sol Kerzner denied, says Holomisa is a manipulative liar when I said he assisted the organisation to the tune of two million, he said, "No, no, no, he's a liar, I've never assisted ANC." ANC was saying, "Holomisa is a liar, we've never got any assistance from Sol Kerzner." Who are you going to believe?
. So look into that day's business, into that context. Until someone says, all right let's go to the expenditure, where did you buy the liquor for the party? Where did you buy the groceries and so on? And find out perhaps from their accounts in the bank how much did they spend. Until you do that Holomisa will always been given the benefit of the doubt that he was right if you don't take the challenge. Those are the norms and standards or the ethics of good governance. If there are allegations you don't just dismiss them through a press statement, you put an independent body to evaluate and come up with - so far they have not done that, but nine out of ten times of the things I've said it has been proven to be correct and confirmed by them themselves, by themselves, so they have vindicated my position. At the time I was asked who paid for - I had mentioned the name of the business person and Thabo came back, his official says yes, and then added another to this one.
POM. So rather than one being involved they said there were three involved?
BH. Yes, that's what they said. OK next.
BH. Oh no, I don't have time for opportunists really and fortune seekers. Tokyo is a member of the NEC, there he goes to Transkei and Eastern Cape full knowing that this case is under appeal. He's going to debate this. He goes there and starts attacking me, saying a homeland leader will remain a homeland leader and who is Holomisa? So I said, "All right", when I was asked by the media I said, "No I don't have time for opportunists and fortune seekers." But I would like to challenge Tokyo on a live television debate, for him to come up with whatever he was saying and ask me, I will answer him, but I have got a few questions to ask around drug trafficking in general, his association with Stocks & Stocks, a construction company.
POM. What's the name of the construction company?
BH. Stocks & Stocks construction company. How he obtained the house, I wanted to ask him questions on those areas. And then he came back and started to attack me again. I said, "No, no, I want him on TV because this is where I saw him attacking me on TV. I've got questions to ask." He never took that challenge and those questions were only for him and the audience on live TV, not for interviews of this nature and I will not tell you what were those questions. Don't waste your time. Next question.
POM. What role has the media played in following up on the questions that you raised? Do you think they have done a good job of investigating the things that you said, the allegations?
BH. I think the media has for the first time in South Africa, I think they have effectively utilised their rights in asking for clarity from me, from the ANC and I think the public had to draw their own inferences. But investigative journalism, of course, in South Africa is very poor and I didn't see anyone who is pinning down, for instance, Sun International to come out and print out the names of those ministers which they have confirmed that they have given them free accommodation and in line with what Holomisa is saying that there is a conflict of interest. But overall I would say they have done a good job.
POM. Do you think they have treated you fairly?
BH. For both ANC and myself, they gave a balanced view. So you get letters, you get editorial comments hitting me one day, hitting the ANC, so I don't have any problems with the media, I would be telling you lies.
POM. Do you think a newspaper like the Mail & Guardian which in the early nineties was brilliant at exposing what was going on at Caprivi, Inkathagate, they were able to track the cheques, get the bank accounts and here is a simple matter of following up on who stayed in a hotel?
BH. And they didn't come up with it.
POM. And they haven't come up and bothered to verify it.
BH. They haven't given a clue. I think maybe they have said, "Oh, so what", but I think the media also they didn't want to appear as if they are fighting a case for Holomisa. After all sleeping in a hotel free is not an offence, but in this case I was saying, "You have no right to try or preside over me because Sol Kerzner has compromised this organisation, let us have an independent tribunal instead." They refused to do that. I think the media in South Africa, in the past I have never received a positive media because I was being seen as a person harbouring terrorists, but even the conservative papers this time they show sympathy about what the ANC was doing for having gone to the TRC after they said people must go and speak the truth and now they start gagging people.
POM. I think I recall you telling me that you had discussed what you were going to say at the TRC with Mandela before you went there, right?
BH. I gave him a copy of my testimony. I briefly told him that I am handing over these files which have been in my possession which he had knowledge of some of them, including the Goniwe signal which we leaked in 1992 with his authority. There was nothing really, even the text of that testimony, the ANC would have used it to their advantage to nail down the National Party but we may never know what agreements were signed before the elections.
POM. Has the whole experience left you disillusioned?
BH. No, no, not at all. The ANC, I want to repeat, as an organisation and these people they say, "Holomisa don't leave the ANC." I can challenge you other than Mandela. Who else would go to a rally, people not biased, and just thousands just pitched up. That just shows that people were against this thing. So there are a few leaders who are manipulating the structures. We bus people to rallies, rallies of President Mandela down, people are bussed, we pay as the ANC, but in my case they just came. I remember in Transkei I started to address people around half past twelve and people started to get into the stadium as early as half past nine. By half past one when I was finishing my address people were still streaming into the stadium. So I am not disillusioned at all with the ANC. But if the certain leaders they don't know what the right hand is doing, it is not Holomisa's baby because I gave Mandela a copy and this should have told them. How far can one go if you have gone to a President?
POM. So if the court ruling goes against you?
BH. I will simply go back and start from scratch, apply to my branch. If my application is not accepted I will refer or appeal to the ANC's conference next year. At least it will be debated fully now by the same people who are inviting me almost every weekend.
POM. Do you have a constitutional right to belong to the political party of your choice?
BH. You have a constitutional right, yes, to choose, so I have chosen ANC.
POM. If you choose to join they can't refuse you?
BH. The constitution is silent. But I didn't want to follow that route. I wanted to make sure that at least I get a fair hearing. You can take back what happens if next year they do the same thing to me or to another person. So by going to the court and serving them these papers they will learn one or two things, they won't repeat it.
POM. Were you disappointed that all the ANC official structures and the NEC fell into line, that the Women's League and the Youth League and that people who were usually associated as being close to you like Peter Mokaba and Tony Yengeni and Winnie Mandela all just went dead silent?
BH. That should prove to you that the structures are manipulated. The people have got a fear, the dictatorial tendencies that are there, the autocracy is there, culture of intolerance is developing within the ANC leadership, so you dare not to challenge people there. But those leaders they purport to be representing people. It's a contradiction in terms that you throw me out there and then the following day the stadiums are full, the same ANC followers. So there is a problem in the ANC today, in the NEC. Let me cite, for instance, one case of Cyril Ramaphosa's departure in the ANC. We were simply told that it was in the agenda but when we were about to debate it we were simply told that this matter is not debatable. Mandela said this case of Cyril Ramaphosa will not be debated. And yet we were hearing the speculations in the media that he might have been a victim of foul play by Vice President Mbeki who doesn't want him to compete with him for the presidency and so on. Now we wanted clarity. That matter was shut down. So there are many but I was just citing that one.
POM. Was Cyril there at the time?
BH. Yes he was there. We wanted to ask questions and we were only confined to debate whether he is going to be within the party until when, so he said until the constitution has been finalised and that's it. There are many instances, so one looks at the body language of President Mandela in a meeting in order for him to comment. The instance of Pallo Jordan, you know that the reasons why they were expelled at the end, the media speculated because he normally stuck his neck out in meetings. There is a dictatorial tendency which is creeping up.
BH. I don't think so now after he was kicked out and then rescued. He's quiet.
POM. But beforehand?
BH. Oh yes. He would speak his mind, ourselves, everybody, but now everyone says, "All right let it go." Even the members of parliament, I read a Weekly Mail survey which was showing that there is a sense of fear of some kind. So that is our organisation today, it's not the organisation we knew before. There is a big difference. If you buy a New Nation today, it's also Phosa, the Premier of Mpumalanga, he's saying yes there are problems, there are tendencies of dictatorship within the organisation. It's in today's New Nation, big centre piece. Next question.
POM. What does this say about the way democracy will develop in this country? It seems to me you're talking about an organisation that's closing in on itself with an elite at the top who make decisions, who push people into line in one way or another, that people are afraid to criticise in case they lose their position or their job and as you said autocratic, dictatorial tendencies? This isn't exactly compatible with transparency, accountability and the development of an open and democratic society?
BH. No not if we are going to continue like this.
POM. That's what I asked you. What would Chris Hani say?
BH. Well I think Chris Hani before he died he was already noticing these tendencies of not consulting, of feeling sometimes alienated because he was the SACP Secretary. Now even today you find that SACP and COSATU are disillusioned the way ANC leadership is working and consulting on macro-economics, privatisation, it's just decide and that's it, it's not debatable. So everybody is concerned. Chris Hani if he was in government he would have limited powers to challenge the leadership. If he was outside the government he might but anyone who is being seen to be talking against Mandela, they always want to portray him as if he doesn't make mistakes, so one has to be careful in handling that. I've been constraining myself on a number of issues because they see him, we respect him. I think what the ANC needs is a national convention, call ANC structures, the allies, SACP, COSATU, mass democratic movement, you name it, and say, guys, we admit we have erred in following areas, we are calling you to advise the way forward, we have a suggested way forward but it has to be in line with your thinking. Yes, this is a transition. It's difficult to transform a liberation movement into a political party. Yes, we had to take these decisions because we were looking at the poverty on the ground and we wanted something which would be quicker because our economy and the international market will not wait for you to go and do consultations and run workshops.
. When you run a country they take that you have been given a mandate during the elections so you must implement it. Those are the things which they need to teach even us as ANC followers, to say if you are voted in implement your manifesto which we have given you. You don't have to come back to us again and ask us, how can I budget this, how can I do that? But the key is to keep your man informed. The problem here is that leadership at times you behave like a spasm. Come with a big press conference, this is the policy. Oh! We are not consulted, I don't know anything about this, I am a member of the Cabinet, I am a member of the NEC, what's going on here? It's worse with our allies who are far away from us.
. And another thing which I sensed is that the concessions which might have been wanted by the minorities of this country, where they didn't win at the World Trade Centre during negotiations, are coming back through a backdoor through consultants because they tend to rely too much on consultants. We have spent billions and billions of rands on consultancy work. We don't seem to have confidence in the civil service. Consultants give you the document and sometimes he has no clue about how a civil service operates. He has never worked in a government. He comes with standards of the private sector and then you will find that this thing is not implementable because of budget. They are coming up with flourish and language and all sorts of things. Chaos. We need a convention to review the situation and map out the way forward before it's too late.
POM. Do you think that the alliance will stick together or do you think it would be better for the country if in fact the SACP became, well it is a political party in its own right, if the ANC became a political party in its own right?
BH. No, no, we still need the alliance because there are programmes which we have approved together which we have not yet implemented. But the elitism which is developing within the government and the ANC structures must be dealt with, nipped in the bud immediately because they are now using the illiterate people, poor people to vote for them, go and fill the gallery and vote and be used as voting cattle and nothing beneficial to them. The people who benefit are us who have got the know-how. So one has got to look, review that because it is not in keeping and in line with what we preached before the elections. It's too early for ourselves as leaders to be seen to be too aloof from our people. Instead we are telling them what's the difference now between the apartheid structures whom we were accusing that they are dictating, they are not consulting, they just tell us this is what is going to happen. So we need to come up with a way to say, all right guys you are in government, stick within the government. ANC outside the government, this is your role, support those who are inside. How? Come up with a mechanism? And then how are we going to interact with the alliances without being seen that there are tensions?
POM. When you go around at the rallies you go to what do you sense, and you've travelled from the East Cape to the north to here in Gauteng, what's your sense of what the mood of the people is after 2½ years?
BH. The people first of all are disillusioned, the people are saying we have not done anything, the people are saying we are getting poorer and poorer, the standards are dropping. The people are saying we are failing to combat crime. The people don't see anything in sight whether there will be any programme to address housing and other related matters. So you get that disillusionment and the people are saying what they notice is just power struggle at the top, at branch level and so on, but we don't seem to be focused on achievable programmes and goals within the immediate and medium term and we come up with excuses and so on. So, yes, they are disillusioned but they are still hopeful because there is no other alternative and I am one of the first ones to say there is no other alternative party to the ANC, but we must address the style of leadership. It's not on. We must confront the leadership style which is in our organisation. The ANC have got good policy, good people but the leadership, no, I've got a problem. Even myself as a former dictator I have never worked the way they are doing.
POM. So you should know what a dictator is.
BH. Oh yes, yes. It's ironical that it's me who is now defending the principles of transparency, accountability, you name it. I mean a dictator what does he know about a democracy? So it's not on. In Transkei I had checks and balances. If, for instance, we were members of the Military Council, we had a structure underneath us, senior officers of the defence, if they were to pick up anything be it gossip or intelligence to say Holomisa interfered in the issuing of a tender or he appointed his girl friend or relative or whatever, in a meeting, because we were meeting once a week, Mondays, the table was round, it was not us and them, they would ask me questions so that helped me, that sustained me. Maybe I would have fallen into the same trap of acquiring firms, businesses, properties, all of a sudden Holomisa is a millionaire. Now I wouldn't have a problem to pay my legal costs and be asking for my pension, I would say all right, I've got cash. But it helped me. It's only now that I realise that the structure I created, have a Military Council, you have another body here and you have ombudsmen and then you have the media and then you have an independent judiciary and it helped me. That democracy we were practising it. That's why ANC and PAC were happy in Transkei and they were not fighting against each other. That's why unions also were operating freely. So I practised what they agreed upon at World Trade Centre since 1988. So now some of the way they do things you would feel it's like asking Holomisa to take a step backwards or two.
POM. What puzzles me is that some of what you say is so obvious, like that the ANC was losing touch with the people. You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. You go in and you talk to a couple of people and you find people who are the very same as you, saying I will always support the ANC, there's no other organisation, but they've lost touch with what's going on down here. Was this matter, such an obvious matter, never brought up at the NEC? Did nobody ever say, "You know what? We have a problem on the ground, we're losing touch?"
BH. We have raised that issue now and again, even Mandela himself has raised that issue in frustration, in anger, telling us that branches are collapsing. Go and revive these. But I think the morale is very low right up to the top down through the branch leaders. They seem not to understand what direction must be taken. They are aware. Winnie Mandela blew a whistle as early as 1994 that if we continue like this we must forget that we are here to serve the people. They chased her away. Even the conference in 1994 in Bloemfontein was raising these issues, but that just shows that if we can be told by the conference in 1994 and now we are going to the second conference next year and we have not attempted to solve those problems, it's a problem of leadership. Simple. There's no other thing you can do. The people can say, come and scream, "This is it", but as a leader you must sit down and say all right we have been elected, let's debate this. Don't be defensive, don't threaten people in the meeting. Listen, keep quiet and then come up with a strategy. The problem here is that a person will come, Pallo would say something, or I say something, or another one will say something, and then from the table you hear, "Some of you here like to speak this and that and that and that", and then the table start castigating each individual. Now you are discouraging people to go to your meetings and say, "Yes sir, it's all right sir, yes it's OK." I am not used to that style of leadership. Next question.
POM. That's a nice cutting off point. I'm going to get this transcribed as quickly as possible and get it back to you and I want you to go through it carefully and then I want to go back and pick up areas to explore more. I want to get it right.
BH. Otherwise, as I said, I still regard myself through and through an ANC member. If I was somebody who was having some ambitions and so on I could have easily said, "No, thank you for expelling me, I form my own party", being deceived by the crowds coming, but I know that the whole thing was not debated by the ANC structures and this was just a mere manipulation and to crown it all the whole thing of the two million rand took place in a Bantustan administration in 1987. What business has the ANC to do with that?
POM. Thank you.