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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

19 Aug 1997: Mboweni, Tito

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POM. Someone said to me the other day that every time you introduce progressive labour legislation the unions go on strike.

TM. Were they quoting me?

POM. They made the observation.

TM. That's nothing original, they stole words from somewhere.

POM. How would you comment on it?

TM. As a Professor I would fail somebody who steals, who plagiarises.

POM. I didn't say I said it, I said somebody said it.

TM. Oh, that person should be failed. What are we going to talk about this time?

POM. We're talking about labour unions, we're talking about aspects of GEAR and we're talking about how the economy is shaping up or not shaping up.  So maybe my first question should be: a number of people I've talked to this year, all of whom are economists of one description or another, have said that the targets of GEAR are unrealistic, that the capacity of the economy to grow is probably about 2½% and probably will remain in that area for the foreseeable future, that given the rate of growth of population you might be lucky enough to achieve a 1% increase in income per year, that the great mass of people in poverty will remain exactly where they are, that the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged has stabilised at about the point where it is at present and about the only people who have gained in any substantial way since the beginning of transformation have probably been the new black middle class but that one can say goodbye to wholesale economic transformation in terms of 5%, 6% growth rates creating 250,000 to 300,000 jobs a year, it's not going to happen, that this is reality.

TM. I would just like to make some general observations. If you want a discussion about GEAR you should really talk to the Minister of Finance but I will just make some general observations. I think that the period 1994 to now has been one of the most challenging periods in one's political experience. To take a country out of apartheid to democracy and transformation is probably much more difficult than any other political exercise anywhere in the world. A country where the majority of the population, 75% of the population, was dispossessed and oppressed, subjugated, denied proper educational facilities, through many years of exclusions and regulations and laws were out of the main stream of the economy and so on, to take that kind of situation in three years and transform that country is a major political exercise, major, and there are only twenty four hours in a day no matter how smart you want to work. So I think it would have been naïve on the part of anybody, myself included, to have thought that we could resolve over 300 years of colonialism and apartheid in three years, I think it would have been extremely naïve.

. Secondly, it would have been naïve to think that everybody would suddenly be equal because at the end of the day was the within the context of a capitalistic economy. So programmes of redistribution haven't gone as fast as they should have so different classes may benefit at different times in the process of transformation. But at the same time it will be incorrect for us to say that a foundation has not been laid for transformation, political, social and economic transformation. Let me give you an example. Many communities which have been forcibly removed from their land have begun to go back to their land. That's empowerment in the real sense of the word, not in the theoretical, in the real sense of the word, but interestingly you will find that in the process of land restitution in some instances division has begun to occur amongst our people some of whom want to go back to the land where they were forcibly removed, some of them say they don't want to go back, they want where they are now to be properly developed because they don't want to be moving all the time. So the major challenges are there in the hard core economics sphere.

. To give you an example, the trade union movement in South Africa now controls one of the biggest private hospital companies. So if you go to Park Lane Clinic in Johannesburg, Rand Clinic, the biggest shareholder in those clinics now is the trade union movement. Major businesses, trade union movement is a shareholder in Johnnic, industrial and newspaper company. So if you look at it in the broader and not just in the individual there have been various developments indicating different forms of empowerment and development but it's true that where an individual perhaps becomes a manager in a company you could say the black middle class is benefiting. But in a situation where the National Union of Mineworkers is part of a consortium and buys into Johnnic, the question arises who is being empowered there? Is it the black middle class? Who is being empowered? I don't have the answer to that question. Perhaps in the next couple of years I will have the answer but I don't have the answer now. What I know is that the Mineworkers Investment Company has put its money into those sorts of activities so it's not just your black middle class individual. It's a much more complicated coming together of things.

. Poverty reduction, there's a long way to go. It would have been naïve for us to think that in three years we would have wiped out in the inequalities in our society. But these stark forms of poverty which continue to haunt our society have to be dealt with as part of a programme. I can tell you one thing for sure, for certain, that the school feeding scheme has reached many, many poor children, part and parcel of poverty reduction.  The access to make public medical facilities by the aged and the young and the pregnant women immediately targets the poorest of the poor because it is those poor people who are not able to go to a private clinic who will go to a public hospital and when the aged go there, the pregnant women and the young they get free medical treatment. That's an immediate impact on poverty. There are schemes to assist the poor pregnant women with a nutritional programme. That's a poverty reduction measure. Then we have already put in place an old age pension system that is equal for all races and all old age people have access to that old age pension. So I could go on and on about the sorts of measures which collectively will over a period of time begin to make visible changes but you don't do that in a day.

POM. Let me put that in a context.

TM. But do you hear what I'm saying?

POM. Yes, I hear what you're saying and I want to put that in the context of a remark made to me by Mr Motlanthe, the leader of the Mineworkers Union. He said instead of looking for a forty hour week we should be working a forty-eight hour week.

TM. But that's not a poverty reduction measure.

POM. No, but he's talking about an attitude towards transformation that there does not appear to be a cohesion and a will and a determination and a commitment among the people to make the sacrifices that are necessary to bring sustained long term transformation.

TM. I don't know how technical you want to go in the discussion, but I would say that at the same time he should have informed you about what we are doing to the overtime rate. We are moving it from time and a third to time and a half. He should have told you about that. He should have told you that we are moving annually from two weeks to three weeks. He should have told you that we are introducing for the first time in South Africa three days family responsibility.

POM. I know, but that's the point I'm making, for example in the United States the law requires you get two weeks holidays.

TM. But I'm saying three weeks.

POM. You're saying three.

TM. No, no, I'm replying to you. You are saying that Motlanthe says this to you, but I am saying that he should have simultaneously told you all of these things.

POM. The point would be that you are giving benefits, like say three weeks holidays, that are more attuned to the development level of a developed economy than to an under-developed economy. In the United States you get two weeks holidays and that's the legal limit, but you're going to three.

TM. There is a contradiction in your question.

POM. What's the contradiction?

TM. The contradiction is that you are saying Motlanthe says we don't have the courage of transformation to move to a forty hour working week and I must say he should have told you what a package of transformation is so that he shouldn't just focus on the forty hours, he must focus on the package of transformation. You see but when I then indicate the other components of the package, you say but these are developed country standards.

POM. No, what I'm saying, and I think what he was saying, was that what the country needs is the determination that this generation must work harder and longer in order to bring about the changes.

TM. I see, he's not saying that he wants the forty hours?

POM. No, no, he says that we ought to be working harder rather than be out there looking for -

TM. Well he must say so, but he has just gone on strike yesterday about it and today he's on strike in Durban, but why doesn't he say so out there? But he's just gone on strike wanting forty hours. What does he want me to do? On the one hand he goes on strike saying he wants forty hours and on the other hand he's saying that we shouldn't -

PAT. He's saying forty-eight.

POM. His point that he was trying to make to me is that as a society there should be a spirit, part of the new ...

TM. But he must go to his members then.

POM. Yes, well -

TM. No, no, but when he goes to his members he raises a different point.

POM. But I'm asking you, is there the atmosphere - ?

TM. No, no, I think there is an important point. It's an important point if when we engage in these processes of transformation and our comrades and colleagues say that publicly and they organise around the issues, I think that people are not moving radically enough. And we say, but here is evidence of what we are doing. And they say, no, no, but you should be giving us forty hours but then privately say something different to what they mobilise people to do. You can't go out there, mobilise thousands of workers, they lose their pay, there's a danger that they may lose their jobs and yet you are not fully committed to what you're mobilising the workers about. I think it's a fundamental problem, I think it's a fundamental problem because if those were his views then he should be taking those views into the union movement.

POM. Do you see this as a problem?

TM. No, I'm saying, I just want consistency because what he tells me privately and tells you must be the same thing that he tells his members. You see what I mean?

POM. Sure.

TM. Because there's no point going to your members and mobilising for something that actually privately you argue against. It doesn't help the transformation process. I hope that he's misunderstood because I think he's a man of his word, somebody who would go out and make sure that things are done in a mature fashion. But the point that I'm trying to raise is that we are doing all of these measures, and I'm not saying so defensively because I know that to transform a country from where we were with such huge levels of inequality, such high Gini coefficients, it going to be a hard, long slog. The key thing for me is that the democratic movement must keep its perspectives right and focus their attention on the key strategic questions and indeed to be able to say at this particular point in time what is it that is achievable for us. Let me come back to the working hours issue. There is a commitment in the democratic movement that we must be able to move towards the internationally acceptable number of working hours. We cannot continue to have a situation -

POM. Is this not tied to a level of development?

TM. No, no, hang on. We cannot have a situation where we are expecting of our people to work in sub-minimum conditions of employment, we can't most certainly. That would be an affront to social justice, it will be contrary to the spirit and the value which have driven the democratic movement for so long, to fight against injustice and to fight against apartheid. So a better life for all must then have concrete meaning at the workplace as well. Over many years the democratic movement has fought for forty hours a week, long before I was born, long before all of us were born, since 1886 workers have demanded that they should have eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what they wanted to do with those hours. Now it's a long historic demand of the working class and as a working class kid myself I know these things. The question that arises for us is that in pursuit of these deeply held convictions which are justifiable in terms of social justice and other measures, in pursuit of this how do we then sequence our objectives? How do we say in order to reach that objective what do we need to go through? How do we say we cannot put blinkers on ourselves, pretend as if South Africa is a island on Mars, that South Africa is not part and parcel of the international economic system?

. In Afrikaans there's a nice Afrikaans word, it's called oogklappe. An oogklappe is a blinker, but in English 'blinkers', but the English don't put it properly. Oogklappe it means eyes confined, you can't see what's happening on your side, you've only got one direction. Now I am suggesting that we would be judged as historic failures if we proceeded with this oogklappe approach, ignore completely that the world today is a globalised economy, highly developed systems of communication and technology where investment decisions are taken in a split second, to move production processes from one point to the other, where factories are no longer built in the old style of heavy walls and so on. A factory can be put up today and off tomorrow. We're not even talking about comparative advantages but competitive advantages. So it's a different world. We're not even talking any more about competition between countries or amongst countries but competition between and amongst friends and friends have a little bit of a head instinct as well. They go where they obviously will maximise profit and you can't stop them at the door.

. So I am saying with all of that, in pursuit of our objectives we must situate ourselves correctly within this globalised world and I have taken the issue to the trade union movement. I've said the demand for forty hours is a long held one but let's look at the world in which we operate and let's situate our demand now within the context of the countries with the same level of GDP as ourselves and use that as a scientific measure to see how we can achieve our own subjectively held views vis-à-vis this objective reality that we have out here, and we then did a study. The study says most of the countries in the same level of development as ourselves are at forty-eight hours. A few are at forty, some are at forty-six but the majority of them are at forty-eight. You won't find any at sixty. Then it was suggested, well, given the South African experience and the nature of the South African economy and so on, the competitive advantages we may have here and there and the fact that most collectively bargained agreements are actually at forty-six or forty-four, let's take forty-five as our proposal, within the ball park. Incidentally some of these countries which are at forty, one of them is an authoritarian regime in Asia which I won't mention. Given their political authoritarianism nobody believes that they implement a forty hour working week. It's just on the books. Another one, some in Africa which I am quite certain they don't implement that. If actually you ask them how is that law structured they probably won't know. So that, we think, is the scientific approach. If the situation changes as developments take place we should be willing to revise. If, for example, we said forty-five ourselves and other countries come to forty-two in the same ten or fifteen years then we are able as well to come back, revise ours. As Karl Marx and other social scientists have said, we change the world but not under conditions for choosing, but it doesn't mean that these conditions which are not of our choosing must be taken as kind of God-givens which can never be struggled against. We try. These are constraints which we can always knock at the door and try within those constraints to come out ourselves with a progressive programme of transformation.

POM. So we are in fact arguing on the same side. What I am saying is that rather than people saying we must have a forty hour week now, which is the norm in most first world economies -

TM. It's no longer, it's actually changing.

POM. That accept forty-five, understand that we have to put out the extra effort now in order to get to a higher level of development and as our level of development increases then we can diminish the working week. Instead you have a work force that says, to hell with that, we want forty hours and we want it now.

TM. But that's the real world of politics.

POM. What I am saying is where is the spirit where Mandela can say to the workers, we're doing this for our children, forty-five hours now so that our children can have forty or maybe even thirty-eight, but we have got to push ourselves upwards, we have got to work hard, we've got to sacrifice on behalf of each other in order to make our transformation happen. Our transformation is not going to happen by giving shorter working hours, doubling overtime rates, longer holidays. That in the long run is not going to lead to transformation, it's going to lead to more demands, higher union wage costs, less competitiveness, you're pricing yourself out of a global economy where there are people working forty-five and forty-eight hours a week. Where's the spirit?

TM. No the spirit is there. The issue, the way I see it, is not that we must work harder. That's a 1990s version of a dynamic economy. In the globalisation period that we're in working harder is backwards, you need to work smarter, and working smarter means that you must have the requisite skills.

POM. Which you don't have.

TM. That's why we are putting in place a major skills development strategy to deal with the skills. So you see as the skills deficit is changed increasingly to a skills surplus our people then are able to exploit the higher value added change in the production process.

POM. But I don't see your unions out there saying we're on strike in order to work smarter?

TM. But that's leadership. That won't come by itself. Every time I go to a union meeting, every time I go to a workplace, every time I interact with the union leadership, with business people, every time I speak here when I have an opportunity in parliament I raise these issues to say that we have to galvanise our country and society in the direction of developing this consciousness about working smarter. The other day I was addressing a conference of the South African youth where they were forming a new organisation, South African Youth Council, all the youth organisations were there. I indicated to them that the key issue for them to debate and come to terms with is the technological revolution within the globalisation arena, that actually they shouldn't be holding that conference at the venue where they were, they could have sat just in front of each other's PC and communicated their decisions and that increasingly we are having to focus on the development of the skills of our people.

POM. You used the word 'galvanised', now that consciousness, I'm saying just one step, not behind but parallel, why can't you galvanise the work force to realise that in the short run sacrifices must be made so that in the longer run far more can be achieved?

TM. You see it's a complicated process, it doesn't happen just as an event. As I say when an opportunity arises we go out there to the people directly. I spend quite a significant amount of my time going to union congresses, going to workplaces, talking to people, talking to workers. Through the kind of legislation that we bring in on the skills development that's meant to force through a process of change and transformation where skills are organised. Some of the legislation that is put in place, take the Labour Relations Act, it forces through new work organisation so it's a much broader programme. But I fully understand the position of our people. Our people have had a raw deal over many years, they are still very angry. They want change to happen at a faster pace. It's very difficult to say to somebody, look, wait for the future generation. And until some of the tensions which are the result of apartheid are resolved there will be many problems. Let me give you an example, most managers in South Africa prefer to go away on Friday afternoons, go fishing.

POM. We've noticed that.

TM. You try and get an appointment on a Friday afternoon in South Africa, it's hard. You think the workers don't see that? Of course they see it. They say, why shouldn't we have the same? And the workers raise a legitimate complaint. There is a massive wage gap and they say what are we doing about this wage gap? They raise a legitimate concern. Most of our people still lead the lives of the wretched of the earth and I think it's incumbent upon this democratic state to also have to be very active in the process of social transformation but it's not very easy. You're not going to turn a township to become a suburb like this one over night and yet the demands for housing are there, there are real, major problems. It's a much more exciting project to be involved in because it's a once in a lifetime experience to have to do this. Sometimes it's lonely.

POM. That's for you, it's a once in a lifetime experience?

TM. Yes.

POM. But you, I'm saying, are faced with a worker, and I'm not using that in any pejorative sense, who doesn't want to be galvanised towards working smarter, he just wants to work fewer hours.

TM. No, no, they do, they do. Working smarter doesn't mean working longer, it means being able to use the modern technologies, the modern work organisation methods, the better utilisation of shift systems, better utilisation of compressed weeks.

POM. How many unions have taken to the streets demanding these things?

TM. No, no, no. You should differentiate between - as I say I spend a lot of my time -

POM. I know.

TM. Also going to the workplaces. You see it's unfortunate that perhaps you are having this interview on a day on which there are strikes but strikes will follow us throughout our lives, for as long as capitalism is around. So you must situate yourself outside of what may be happening now and look at the more strategic questions confronting us. This thing doesn't worry me. It's something that for as long as we have capitalism we are going to have these strikes. It's unavoidable because the contest between capital and labour is a permanent feature of capitalism.

POM. But does it worry you that you are losing more jobs a year than you are gaining?

TM. That's contestable.

POM. It's a mix.

TM. But it's contestable. You will always have that. In the United States you will always have job creation, job losses. It happens all the time. Sometimes other jobs are lost in other sectors, created in others, that's life.

POM. I know, but when you've a backlog of maybe 40% unemployed?

TM. We don't know that, we don't that.

POM. 35%?

TM. We don't know actually.

POM. You said last year you'd have figures this year.

TM. And the figures that we wanted to have are not there.

POM. So if you don't have the data how do you make decisions?

TM. That's the problem that we're facing. We are now starting a major programme with the US Department of Labour particularly to draw up statistics, to set up a statistical base. These things take very long but now that we have a bi-national commission things are going to move a little faster perhaps than we started off with. In the Labour Department we are appointing a labour market statistics expert from Australia who is going to help us set up statistical machinery. These products will only come from the experience of a good teacher. When we set up a labour market statistics division today it will probably take another two, three, four, five, even ten years before we get reliable statistics. Meanwhile we have to make do with the Central Statistical Services. CSS is being tasked now, we're going to review their methodology, review their definitions and go out and do a special study on the employment situation in the country. Their statistics are just not reliable. But that's beside the point. The point is, are South African workers unreasonable in their demands, are they sufficiently strategic in their outlook? My answer to that question is South African workers are not unrealistic in their demands, they are very strategic in what they want and the issue is how to make the balance to avoid this thing, this oogklappe thing, and the role of ourselves as part and parcel of the leadership is to take these issues to our people and say here are the issues. The reason that we are proposing that we handle these matters in this particular manner is because of the way in which the situation is at the moment and I think if we handle it like that we are in a better position to reach out to our people. When our people say that they no longer want to live in squatter camps but in houses they are correct and I am one person who will stand with them and say you are right.

POM. I'm not disputing that.

TM. But then come to them and say but there is this plan of action that all of us must rally around, this plan of action which should encourage all of us to do whatever we can to contribute to this housing problem.

POM. All of us must rally around.

TM. Oh yes, galvanise people. My mother didn't wait for anybody to give her a subsidy on housing. On the basis of whatever savings she has and the pension that she has from my Dad's work she started building a house.

POM. And do you think that sense of galvanisation exists throughout this country?

TM. The sense of galvanisation is there. You only need to read some of the papers to see what the ordinary people are doing for themselves. Women, yesterday I was reading about what - you must have seen it in The Star - about what the women in the Northern Province are doing, standing there and making -

POM. The houses.

TM. Yes. There they are standing and making cement bricks and so on. That's the spirit of Masakhane.

POM. Why can't that be duplicated on a large scale?

TM. It's happening here, here in Khayelitsha there's a women's housing project. It's taken off. So when the Minister of Housing discovered what those women were doing I think she allocated about ten million rands to them because there was a community at work. There are many instances where -

POM. But if that sense of galvanisation was there why hasn't the Masakhane campaign been far more successful than it has?

TM. No, the campaign itself had many faults. You don't run a campaign on a basis of adverts. You go to the people. You don't avoid organisational matters by going on radio and television. That's not galvanising people. That's show biz.

POM. That's how you get the Olympics.

TM. That's show biz. But ordinary people, if you see what they are doing around food for example, ordinary people, other people have got things like peace gardens, growing vegetables, not waiting for government to come and give you vegetables, they are growing the vegetables themselves. So there are many, many initiatives in this country which show that there is a new spirit on board. Unfortunately what people tend to see is when we're out in the streets and not when we are at home growing vegetables, when those women are busy making those bricks, cement bricks, or when my mother is busy building her house. That's not visible or sensational enough for articles. South African journalism is particularly poor in terms of its enthusiasm about going out to do investigative journalism because every day in the newspapers there should be stories about what the South Africans are doing in the new spirit of reconstruction and development. All that you see is Cyril Ramaphosa and somebody else striking a deal in Johannesburg. What about these ordinary South Africans who contribute to the regeneration of the society, who are not waiting for government?

POM. Why are the media not doing that?

TM. They are not picking it up. I don't know. Maybe because they have got specific areas of focus. But let's move perhaps to other issues.

POM. Yes, but some of these media are now black owned so the matter of it being the white controlled media is no longer as true as it would have been even three or four years ago.

TM. No, no, there is a difference that has come in between ownership and editorial control. They all have charters which give editorial control to the current editor so the actual writing and editing hasn't changed, all that has changed is the shareholding.

POM. Why hasn't The Sowetan run a series like this?

TM. I don't know. You should ask them. I don't know.

POM. Shouldn't you?

TM. They are independent. It's an independent newspaper. You should ask them, you should pose that question to them. If I owned one of the newspapers, yes I'd try and answer the question, but I don't. I am looking forward to the day I'll own one newspaper.

POM. You look forward to owning your own newspaper? Cyril wanted his own gold mine and you want your own newspaper. What is business doing? Is business playing its role? For example, you talk about the skills development programme, is business now prepared to plough back a significant amount of money into a skills development programme or is it something that's left to government to do? What's their contribution?

TM. Well there is a lot of enthusiasm in the country generally, business included, in ensuring that we achieve this skills revolution, a lot of enthusiasm and that enthusiasm needs to be captured in a programmatic fashion. So to that extent the Skills Development Bill that is in the cabinet system should indeed get the support of business. But don't phone me from Boston and say, but minister you said that business supports this Skills Development Bill, when they come up in the negotiations and express reservations. That you will get, from the union movement, from business, always. The day there is no reservation coming from the union movement or business it is probably the day I retire. There will be an objection and that is something that will follow us for the rest of our lives.

POM. I remember when you came back first and had dealings with business how angry you were at the way white businessmen would lecture you on economics and finance.

TM. They don't do that any more, they've learnt that I'm not a student of economics any more.

POM. Now, has their attitude changed?

TM. It may not have changed but they don't express it in front of me.

POM. What do you think?

TM. I don't know, but they won't express it in front of me, they will get a hiding, an intellectual hiding. They won't do it, they have learnt. None of them will express a foolish thing before me.

POM. But my question is do you think that their attitude has changed?

TM. No, no, they will run it, I think they will run it.

POM. And they will just keep their mouths shut.

TM. This skills development thing is critical and I think they accept that the society requires that we inject a huge amount of resources and energy into skills development, to tap into this high value added change and at the end of the day business stands to benefit as well from this exploitation of the high value added change and it can only get into this high value added change if you have got the requisite skills. Requisite skills won't fall from heaven, they have to be prepared for. We have to put money into science and engineering schools. We have to put money into maths and science teachers as part of our investment in our people. We have to make sure that industry-based training takes place at a higher level and ensure that the qualification framework that we put in place is one that is implemented. So a whole range of things we will put in place but the results unfortunately don't come in a day. For example, for us to begin to reap the benefits of the new educational system will take about fifteen, twenty years because the seven year old kids now who are at primary school in our new education system only qualify perhaps, only leave school when they are fifteen and go to university or technikon and finish when they are about twenty-one, twenty-two ,and depending what degree they take until they are twenty-five or twenty-six. So the actual results are measurable only in about twenty years time.

POM. A generation.

TM. We have to be very careful that we are laying down the correct foundation for success in twenty, twenty-five years time and I think that's a burden, it's a burden of our endeavour in that if we put the wrong foundations now in twenty, twenty-five years time our people are going to say what the hell did you think you were doing, you've messed up this whole country. That's why some of the countries which got their independence in the sixties are reaping either the benefits or the negative consequences of decisions they took in the seventies and therein lies our burden, our burden is to make sure that we will put in the right foundation for a better life in twenty, twenty-five years. It's a long time. I'm an old-timer then and I'll be retired. I'll either look back and say what foolish things I did or look back and say this job was well done.

POM. Let me finish with one, I want a comment on a quote from FW de Klerk. This is part of the revisionist history of South Africa, but he says : -

. "The people who structured apartheid and put it on the books were not evil people. Apartheid was in its idealistic form a plan to make all the people of South Africa free. The Afrikaner fought the first anti-colonial war in modern history in Africa against Great Britain so Afrikaners have a deep understanding of the need of a people to be free."

. And : -

. "We would lead the rural homelands to independence just as the colonial powers to the north had done. The goal was to bring justice to all by transforming South Africa into something like Europe, national states working together in respect of common interests."

. Do you think that that's the attitude that most white people have?

TM. I think it's probably a minority within the white community. Each statement there is so contestable, historically, politically, ideologically, morally. I think that he is trying to justify apartheid, or a refusal to apologise for apartheid, not that an apology in itself would remove the hurt and injury caused to so many South Africans, but at least it goes some way.

POM. Do you think that most white people accept some kind of - ?

TM. Oh yes, oh yes. Actually most white people are horrified by what they see coming out of the Truth Commission. It's like a national therapy.

POM. They're horrified but they're not saying so.

TM. Many of them are. No, they are saying that were part of a system that did all of those things but year on year we voted for people who did these things. We are ashamed of what we have done. Many people say that, many white people. That viewpoint is a minority. The Dutch Reformed Church, the major Afrikaner church, doesn't agree with that. They have actually issued a public apology for apartheid and the way in which they became part of the ideological dressing up of apartheid in religious terms, how the concept of a chosen few, a chosen folk, chosen by God, was used in the church to justify apartheid. They are very shameful about it so they won't agree with him. I wonder what happens when he goes to church because his Reverend certainly wouldn't preach that. I am quite happy to see the process of reconciliation going on because I am naturally concerned that it is not going as fast as it should but it's a movement.

. Let me give you an example why I say I am concerned and I want to give the example of sports because sports is one of the expressions of the inner person in a sense, joyful, happy. Apartheid made sure that our people played different sports, the outcome of which was that rugby was mostly an Afrikaner sport and yet rugby was played by black people in the Eastern Cape long before Afrikaners began to play because rugby came with the English and the Cape was an English colony, dominated by the English. People in Transkei were playing rugby a long time ago but apartheid made sure that they were marginalised out of the sport and naturally black people tended to focus on that sport which we were not marginalised out of, which was soccer. That was segregated but black people excelled there. Today when you go to a rugby match 90% of the audience there is white. It's very sad. You go to your soccer game and 90% of the people there are black people but there are those South Africans, black and white, who would go to a rugby match and would also go to a soccer match. It's part and parcel of the process of reconciliation. I saw for example on Saturday that when Bafana Bafana played against Congo a sizeable number of white South Africans were there. Now one of the things I liked most, I saw a couple of them went there with their young kids. It's very good, it's very, very good that because it means they are generating within the kids an identify, a South African identity and I think that is a practical expression of reconciliation, but more than that, of developing a common identity. Maybe those kids in the next twenty, twenty-five years are going to be the true South African nation. At the moment we are busy weaving together these disparate elements into a nation. We are still not having a nation.

POM. Let me just ask you one last question and it's personal. Is it necessary, difficult as it may be, that Clive Derby-Lewis be granted amnesty, that he is the kind of counter-point of Dirk Coetzee? Is it necessary?

TM. My subjective view on both cases is that they shouldn't be granted amnesty. That's my subjective view. But a society in transformation doesn't depend on the views of a single individual. It depends on the values and systems of the collective which is much larger. If the outcome of the hearings is that Clive Derby-Lewis is given amnesty, that is the collective view. If I was in charge of the decision I wouldn't let them go, I would keep them in prison for their lives. The hurt which they have caused, the statements which they are still issuing now to say that in assassinating Comrade Chris Hani they were getting rid of an anti-Christ, they are not apologetic at all of their actions. If anything they are seeking to explain their way out in a kind of a clever manoeuvre to explain that what was at fault was the political context within which they operated. So if the decision was for me I wouldn't grant them amnesty, but it's not mine. In societies we operate not in the interests of the individual but in the interests of the country as a whole and the wisdom as to what is in the interests of the country as a whole doesn't come from the individual. It comes from the broader collective and if the broader collective thinks so, so it shall be.

POM. Last question. Is Cape Town going to get the Olympics?

TM. I think so.

POM. I think so. We think so too.

TM. And El Nino is coming anyway so there will be no rain.

DM. I agree with you. I'm just worried about - I'm dealing with white pessimism.

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