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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

18 Jun 1998: Hartzenberg, Ferdi

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POM. Let me give my impressions by maybe making a statement: the economy is gone to hell.

FH. Yes, it's a problem.

POM. Not exactly because of the fault of SA but because it's part of a globalised economy and at the mercy of financial markets whether they're in Japan or Indonesia or South East Asia, that the per capita income for the first time I think in the last four years is actually going down not up and that's going to aggravate social problems.

FH. Yes, unemployment.

POM. Unemployment, there is nothing the country can do about it.

FH. Well 40% of the population is unemployed at the moment. OK. That is your impression?

POM. That's number one. Two, that government is in an almost suspended state, that many of the provinces are on the verge of financial collapse, that corruption is spreading whether it's in the Eastern Cape, the Northern Province or even in Gauteng, that the banks are over-extending loans to the provinces with no guarantee of repayment which may result in defaults on the part of the province and you could have a real banking crisis of the type that happened in Indonesia, and that Bafana Bafana are up against it tonight. The country needs an injection of something to hold it together.

FH. Yes, we hope they will be successful.

POM. So my question to you would be, you give me your assessment, or you respond to what I said and put it in a political context for me because everybody that I talk to says that no matter what the state the economy is in or what level the crime is at or whatever social problems continue, the ANC are going to quite comfortably win the election in 1999.

FH. That is so. I think the first thing is that it is true that external factors are contributing towards the downfall of the economy but I don't think that is the most important aspect. The fact is that as a result of the government's incompetence to control the country and to take the right decisions it is undermining confidence inside and outside SA because no matter what has happened in the eastern countries if there was confidence in SA investors would have invested in SA but they don't do it. Previously it was short term capital, not investment, not long term capital investment in the economy. But in the past week it is also the short term capital that is being taken out of SA, so that is a problem. I think the underlying reasons for all this is the government's attitude and the way they conduct the business of SA. The most important thing of course is the fact that 40% of the people are unemployed and I think that is a time bomb because as a result of that crime is very, very, very high in SA, violence, the fact that 24,000 people are being killed violently in SA, it is totally out of hand. The second thing is that the message that the government sends to the people is not that the government is hard on crime but that it is soft on crime and for that reason it is getting out of control and I think we are already in a state of anarchy. Then of course the fact that on our farms the farmers are being murdered. Last month it was two farmers a day, and the previous month.

POM. I think 81 were killed last year.

FH. Yes but it's much more now, more than 500.

POM. More than how many?

FH. Well since 1994 it is more than 500 farmers that have been killed, apart from the people that have been attacked, but those figures we can get, but I think in April and May 120 farmers have been killed.

POM. 18 people were killed.

FH. No, in May of this year - it could have  been March or April but in two months 120 farmers have been killed, 58 in one month and 62 in the other month have been killed and the fact is that car robberies, 100,000 cars are being stolen every year in SA now, on a yearly basis. New motor cars, 300,000 are being sold, so one third of the new cars is necessary to replace the stolen cars. So I think if one third of the new purchases is necessary to replace the stolen cars of course in no country can it be tolerated.

POM. Now when you say the government, the lack of confidence on the part of the government, what specifically would you point to?

FH. In the first instance the police force. The police are not capable of doing the necessary investigations and to put it before the courts to bring the people to book, the criminals. So many of them when the case is presented in court the judge or the magistrate has to throw it out because it is not of any value because there was not a proper investigation. Secondly, the judicial system, they cannot cope with the whole business and the minister is not able to rectify the situation so that we have a proper judicial system so that if you have problem you can go to court and you can get a decision, a judgement from the court. The administrative side of the whole administration of the government is falling apart and that is so for the police, that is so for the judicial system, but the same thing happened in the education system and in every other department.

POM. Why is it that during the days of apartheid one heard that the SA Police Force was one of the most effective and professional in the world and now in the space of three to four years it has become one of the most inefficient, corrupt, inept? What accounted for the huge tip?

FH. It is as a result of affirmative action. If in a company you fire 50% of the top management of the company and you replace it by junior clerks do you think the company will be as efficient as it was? It will definitely not be and that is the problem. Staff in every department, all the departments, are not appointed on merit and competence but on their contribution to the struggle. I have just read this morning that the Judicial Commission had to make recommendations to the government to appoint judges and what they want from the judges in their curriculum vitae is inter alia their contribution to the struggle and if there is nothing in the CV on their political credentials then they are not considered. So it is not the capability of a lawyer to become a judge that counts, it is his contribution to the struggle and that has nothing to do with a good judiciary system. So that is the problem, affirmative action is the reason for the collapse of the administrative function of the state.

POM. To relate this to politics, (i) again as an outsider who comes here pretty regularly and spends at least four or five months of the year here, it seems to me that the whole question of the murder of farmers has been sidelined, it's not covered in the media very much, at least not in the national media, so it's a festering problem out there that is going to one day explode in a more violent way than it even has already; (ii) where does this place the Conservative Party? Now I've looked at or tracked most polling done in the country by respectable polling organisations that are hired by private firms and the fact is that the CP almost doesn't register on the map, it's a blip, it's 1%. As a political party you can point at this problem and that problem and the other problem and all the things that are going wrong but you can't translate any of that into political support.

FH. Well actually what we are doing now, it is obvious that the political divisions in our ranks, in Afrikaner ranks, is our major problem and we must solve that problem. We must get together.

POM. OK, that's the Freedom Front.

FH. The Freedom Front, the Conservative Party and also the people in the NP who voted for own affairs and, what did they call it later, checks and balances. They voted for the deal but on condition that there should be own affairs or minority rights and that is our attitude that we must overcome these political differences by means of common vision and the common target and that is minority rights so that we can get our people together, because everywhere in the world, Europe, everywhere, the essence of democracy is not to control everything from the top and from the central government but devolution of power to communities and to groups and that is what our attitude is, that we must now start campaigning and we must get a mandate in the election for minority rights, not only for us but for any other group or nation that wants minority rights. We must then actively start and claim it and force the government to implement it because at the moment the Minister of Education said he can guarantee us there will be no Afrikaans university and he cannot guarantee that there will be an Afrikaans medium school.

POM. Now you're talking more about cultural self-determination rather than - ?

FH. No it is more than cultural self-determination, it is internal autonomy, autonomy, namely that our attitude is that there must be an assembly elected by Afrikaners and that assembly must take over certain functions like education for Afrikaners, welfare, health services, media, cultural services, a lot of other things that must be taken over by that assembly which must be elected and if the Vendas and other people want the same thing they must be in a position to get it.

POM. But isn't one of the differences here that, if you talk about Venda you're talking about a concrete piece of geography?

FH. Yes but all the Vendas are not living inside that piece. Many of them are living in other parts of SA. So the Vendas who are living in Soweto they must be in a position if they want a Venda school they must be allowed to have it. You know there was a conference on education, I think it was organised by the DP, and at that conference Neville Alexander, who is of course a supporter of the ANC, he said nowhere in the world where a nation is not educated in its mother tongue has it developed to any significant form and that is the position. If they have now decided in SA, the government, that English must be the language, but that means every child in SA except for the English speaking people will be educated in a second language, so we eliminate the possibility of becoming a highly developed nation for that simple reason that we educate our children in a foreign language and so they cannot develop to the highest level of their potential.

POM. But now in the USA where the whole language question has been of highly emotive political content in recent years, teaching Hispanic kids in Spanish rather than in English, and in California they have just passed an ordinance saying that there will be one language, there will be English and that movement is spreading across the country that one of the things that has made America America is the melting pot of where all different nations came in and they came in speaking their own languages but they all had to assimilate, learn English and everyone speaks English and that you divide a nation if you have many languages rather than consolidate it.

FH. I don't think so, I don't think you will divide the nation. I think what will happen if every nation has the security that it will be able to maintain its identity, that it will be in a position where it can be developed to the highest form of development, then you will create a situation where it will be possible to co-operate because we have different nations in SA and we have different languages. How long do you think it will take to transform all the people of SA from what they are now into English speaking citizens? It will not happen in a hundred years time. But in the meantime the level of education and the level of development will be inferior and for that reason, and I don't think it will bring peace, people will be unsatisfied and it will be very difficult to co-operate because you will have to fight for rights. So if the government acknowledges the principle of minority rights then of course it will create a situation where they will be able, the dissatisfaction that will take place, that they will be able to cope with it.

POM. But reading President Mandela's address to the 50th Congress of the ANC in which he lashed out at everybody, he was looking for -

FH. He was looking for a fight.

POM. He made it very clear and most people say that was Thabo Mbeki who wrote the speech.

FH. Perhaps that is so, I think somebody wrote the speech for him.

POM. But he delivered it.

FH. He delivered it and takes responsibility for it.

POM. And he takes responsibility for it but he made it very clear in that speech that this idea of a volkstaat -

FH. No, he said so, that is out. Now I think that was a mistake to do that. We say we must change our strategy, not that we don't think that we mustn't have a volkstaat, but we mustn't start there. Our attitude is in order to unite our people let us get the common denominator and that is minority rights, that is what people in the NP voted for, many of them, white people, Afrikaner people. You will recall that it was on the placards of the NP, own schools, own community life, own this and own that. So a lot of people inside the NP they are in favour of minority rights. The Freedom Front says the Northern Cape is the volkstaat but other areas can have other status and then all the people outside must have certain rights, that is also minority rights. We in the CP we say the ultimate aim is that the Afrikaner people must be free and they also must have a territory but let us start with minority rights as a first step. Let us unite the people around it, let us achieve it, let us get it and once we have minority rights then we can decide on the further steps that we must take so that it can be an evolutionary process.

POM. There is no indication that the ANC - ?

FH. The ANC will never, they will not even give us a school. They are not prepared to give us a school. Because in Vryburg it was an Afrikaans speaking school, there are other English speaking schools in that town and in the vicinity, they have last year decided that they will transform it into a double medium school. They will allow a lot of black children into the school but the ANC instigated violence at the school through the Mayor of the town who is an ANC Mayor and they don't want it to be a double medium school, they want it to be an English medium school where they can take over the school and where Afrikaner people must be in the minority. That is what the minister and the government said, every school must have the same composition as the composition of the nation. So there will be no Afrikaans medium school, there will be no Afrikaans medium university in SA because that is the aim of the ANC and that is wrong.

POM. But where, if they're not listening to you, after four years where politically in a sense you've become more marginal than you were in 1994, why do you think they will listen to you in the year 2000 or 2004?

FH. The reason why they didn't listen to us is as a result of the fact that we are divided and they have interest in the division of Afrikaner people. They want the Afrikaner people to be divided because in a situation, in the present situation, we are powerless as a result of the fact that we are divided and that is why we say the first step is we must unite our people. Our attitude is that we mustn't try to take over the government, we will not be able to do that and if we do that it will be the same situation, you will have the same constitution, you will have the same problems. The system is also such that no government can make a success of it and we don't want to take over this system because how on earth can you make a success of this system, it is not possible. So we say there must be an alternative, we haven't arrived at the final solution for SA. So first we must unite our people so that we can be a power factor and that we can put pressure on the government to achieve meaningful rights that will improve the whole situation of SA and of the system so that we have a different system and it's much easier to unite one million Afrikaners or two million Afrikaners than it is to get eight million black votes to change the system. It is possible if on a basis where you have an alliance with, say for instance, other parties from other nations that also want minority rights that you can beat the ANC but not in one single political party. Then it will need different parties that will get the maximum votes from every nation because if you have a party like the NP, it cannot get the maximum votes from the Tswana people against the ANC, but a Tswana party with a Tswana leader they can mobilise the Tswana people to vote against the ANC and then you can co-operate and you can form an alliance and then you can change the constitution if you get enough support among the various nations of SA. Then you can change the whole system.

POM. There's no indication that other nations or other groups are looking for minority rights in the same way?

FH. Not yet at this moment, not yet, but the dissatisfaction is growing and in Namibia the situation has already developed where the various nations, or some of them, most of them like the Hereros, like the Damaras, like the Rehoboth people, they have organised themselves into parties and that they now claim not only minority rights, they claim self-determination and that will happen in SA.

POM. Why is it that after two or three years, and we have discussed these issues in various forms on a number of occasions, why does there not appear to be any real movement towards the Afrikaners from the CP, the Freedom Front, those who support the NP, of them coming together? Why don't things move?

FH. I think there is, I think there is a movement, it is growing because these things take time. You must remember that we fought each other fiercely in the past and it is not easy and it is not possible to move from a situation where you were fighting each other into a situation where you get unity. That takes some time but that need is taking place at grassroots level and people say the time for those things is over and we must now stand together and we must change ourselves into a powerful force that can achieve something. And that is happening and I hope something will take place. I hope that we will be able, if it is possible, before the elections to establish a movement where more than one party can participate, more than one party and individuals can participate, and that we can fight the election under one banner although different parties co-operate under one banner and ultimately it will be able to develop into one party. At the moment I think we must be very careful and we must try to take a step, a meaningful step that will bring people together and that we will demonstrate in the election that we are now consolidating and that we can get a score on the scoreboard that will indicate that so many Afrikaners are supporting this attitude and this trend and that we are now going to stand together to fight for minority rights.

POM. The last time I asked you whether the CP had decided whether or not it would participate in the elections in 1999 and I think it was a week before your congress. Have you made a decision?

FH. Yes we've decided to participate in the election and we have also decided at the same time that we are going to participate in such a way that we will not promote the division but that we will make a contribution to consolidate our people and we will try our best not to divide the people more than they are divided now but to consolidate the people. When we took the decision we said that we think there must be co-operation between all the Afrikaners who are in favour of minority rights and we have started with discussions but we need a little bit more time to see whether we can come forward with something meaningful.

POM. When you say something meaningful?

FH. That is a movement where we can participate under one banner.

POM. Now, again, why in the end should the ANC take much notice of that?

FH. They will not take notice, not from their free well. They don't want minority rights for anyone in SA, for any nation. They want to control it from the top and they want to control everything, every person, every piece of SA, just like the Soviet Union but the Soviet Union couldn't maintain that situation. The desire from the various nations to take control of their own futures and their own destiny, that was the force that brought the Soviet Union down and the same thing will happen in SA. Nowhere in the world is it possible to control nations for ever and I don't think this government will be able to do that.

POM. I'll give you a quote from Jeremy Cronin.

FH. Yes, but he's a communist.

POM. Yes, but I'll give you a quote because I'd like you to comment on it.

FH. Yes give me that quote.

POM. It says, his quote was: -

. "You can already smell authoritarianism tendencies in the air in SA. The ANC will win the next election by default because the opposition is so unfocused. There is a lot of jargon and not much thoughtfulness coming from the government. Mugabe epitomises where we could end up. We implement austerity but when we encounter resistance we give up for a few months. There are swings between demagoguery and managerialism. It holds terrible perils for democracy."

. This is the Deputy Secretary General of the SACP. How would you comment on his remarks?

FH. Well I think that he is disappointed with the incompetence of the government but he is still a communist, Jeremy Cronin, and he threatened them, that was a few months ago that he made that comment. He threatened the government because he wants communism to take over in SA and he is disappointed with the government and as a result of the fact that the government is incompetent he sees that other things, he smells something at the moment, but he also says that the opposition parties are not well organised and so on. So I think that the incompetence of the government creates the opportunity for parties based, like the CP, based in the heart of a specific nation to consolidate their people and to become a force. As a result of the fact that the government cannot withstand pressure it will be possible to put them under pressure and to achieve certain goals. I think that is possible because we have seen with the trade unions in the educational field that the government had to cave in under pressure and they will, if there is enough pressure, you will be able to change the situation.

POM. But the trade unions have power.

FH. Trade unions of course.

POM. Where does the Afrikaner power come from?

FH. Well there is a trade union, there were three trade unions in negotiations with the government, SADTU and NAPOSA and then the SA Teachers' Union, that is mainly Afrikaner people.

POM. You said SADTU? Which union was mainly Afrikaans?

FH. South African Teachers' Union, something like that.

POM. And would these three unions co-operate?

FH. They co-operate yes. So it demonstrates to you that in the field of the trade unions if they co-operate they can put pressure on the government but if we, the Tswana people, the Venda people, the Zulu people, if we co-operate in the political field then we can achieve the same thing.

POM. Just going backwards a little bit to the economy, without economic growth this country is stuck, it just becomes one more economically stuck third world country.

FH. Yes, well that is what will happen, it is what Chris Hani said before the elections of 1994 that the ANC are prepared to make this country a wasteland in order to get power, and now they have got the power and now they are making the country a wasteland.

POM. Two things, (i) if you were to travel the road from Johannesburg to Pretoria, every time I come back there is more and more development, there are more cranes going up, there are more offices being built.

FH. It is so, there is development, it is but not enough. You need a growth rate, if the government wants to implement the RDP, which is a social programme, then this country must grow at least 10% per year if you want to create enough jobs, enough economic growth in order to support all the social programmes. But the growth rate is about 1% at the moment and this year I don't know whether it will be 1%. But the fact is the growth of the population is more than 1%. For that reason the per capita income is decreasing at the moment. So there is development but not enough, you need much more development because if you have an unemployment rate of 40% and you want to create jobs then there must be a much higher growth rate than we have at the moment.

POM. How long, do you think, can the ANC rely on the loyalty of the masses? For the great mass of people in the last four years very little has changed in their lives.

FH. Look, very little has changed but the fact is that in Africa Mugabe hasn't improved the life of the masses of Zimbabwe, in fact I think it deteriorated. But when the election comes then it is intimidation and racial politics. Have you read what Muleleke George said on the 16th June, this month, the day before yesterday when they celebrated Youth Day? He said that they must take up arms and fight to win the elections, they must even take up arms if it is necessary and they must fight the counter-revolutionary forces. In other words it means the government is not countering revolution and trying to keep the country in a peaceful state, the government is responsible for the revolution and that anybody who wants to stop it that they will fight such people. And he said they must fight the Boers because if the Boers take over the country once again they will oppress the people and the Boers have no intention to take over the country, the Boers only want to become free and to control themselves, not the rest of the population. But that will be the sort of politics that they are going to play, the danger of the Boers, that will be the slogan. Let us stand together against the white people of SA. It will be a racial election and in that way they will get the votes because they will say, look, we have liberated you and you must support us and the danger is the white people. Let us stand together against the white people and then they will also intimidate the people. They will intimidate because if they want to use arms in this election what are they going to do with it? They want to intimidate the people to vote for the ANC. That is not a strange thing in Africa. So you will have the same thing.

POM. What's happened to the IFP? Again, here's a situation of where repeated surveys show that nationally its support is diminishing, not increasing.

FH. I think it is more or less at the same level, the polls say, I can't remember, 5% of the votes, but it is concentrated in KwaZulu/Natal and I think in the rural areas the IFP is very strong. Even during the last election in the urban areas that is where the ANC got their votes from, but the IFP won by, say, 52% or 53% in Natal and, well, I hope they will be able to repeat it, I hope so. But they have problems because the ANC is the government now and they use government, the power that they have. Before the election they were not in power, they are in a stronger position and for that reason one of their targets is to beat the IFP and to destroy the IFP in KwaZulu/Natal and you have noticed that they have made very friendly remarks towards the IFP, they invited them to become one party to join the ANC, in other words to swallow the IFP so that there will be no IFP and no opposition from that quarter.

POM. That would allow them to get maybe over two thirds in the next election.

FH. That is so because a government like the ANC don't want opposition, they don't want opposition and that is one of the reasons. The same thing happened in Zimbabwe but in a different way but with the same result. Mugabe approached Nkomo and he said, "I will take you into the government of national unity and then you become part of the government but you must abandon your party." And Nkomo decided to do that but when the next election came he had no party, he was absorbed by Mugabe, and that is exactly what the ANC want to do with Buthelezi but Buthelezi is clever enough not to do that and he has announced a day or two ago that he is going to fight the election on his own, there will be no co-operation or alliance with the ANC or he will join the ANC or anybody else. He is going to fight the election on his own and I think that was the right decision that he took.

POM. How do you think a Thabo Mbeki government will be different from a Nelson Mandela government?

FH. I think the one difference will be it will not be as far as attitude is concerned, it will be different. It will still be the alliance, the SACP, the same influences, COSATU, but I think the one problem will be that Mandela is a very good liaison person. He satisfies all the people, he made promises but they do nothing about the promises. I don't think that Mbeki will be able to play that role in the same efficient way as Mandela has done and I think dissatisfaction will grow and that will create the opportunity for the radicals to come forward with demands and he will listen to their demands and the fact is ultimately in a country like SA where you have ten or more nations, many religious groups, many differences, ultimately to control a thing like that it will end up with a dictator.

POM. When the revelations were made last week about chemical stockpiling of different kinds of biological weapons, were you shocked?

FH. Well the fact is that it is untested evidence. We don't know what really is the position. If, and I think there is a possibility that there was research going on but not for offensive weapons but because they fear an attack by biological weapons and they had to counteract it because at a certain stage when the war was on on the borders and in Angola and elsewhere you could expect anything from the opponents and if it was only for defensive purposes, and I think that was more or less the case, but the evidence before this commission was different, that it was designed to kill only black people or make black women infertile and so on, of course that is wrong, of course. But I don't think it has been proved that that was the case because the one thing that is sure, it never happened, it wasn't used, never. So people are now appearing before the commission and they want amnesty and I am not sure that all the things that they are telling the commission that it is the truth, but in order to get amnesty they are prepared to say anything and there is no cross-questioning, it is a matter of their making statements and whether it is true or not we will never know.

. So I am not sure what has happened but the fact, what we can say at this moment is that the TRC is examining only one half of the history. The history of the ANC we don't know what has happened in their camps. We don't know who are responsible for the necklace murders. I think that was terrible but we don't know who were responsible for it, what happened, who killed all the IFP leaders, who killed the 1000 policemen and the SA Defence Force people, who was responsible for Stompie Siphe's death. We don't know at this moment what happened to Stompie although Winnie Mandela has been before the commission for nine days, you don't know what happened. No truth has emerged from the commission's activities especially on the side of the ANC, no truth.

. So I think one thing is absolutely clear and that is that the TRC is not interested in the whole truth, it is only interested in one part of the truth. All those things are being said, terrible things, but it is not proved. I don't know really what the position is and one thing is for sure, that the ANC want to blame the Afrikaner for everything in this country and the TRC is the instrument to that effect.

POM. If I had to ask you to look at the last four years, the Mandela years if one wishes to call it that, and to tell me something good that's come out of them?

FH. Out of the whole situation?

POM. Yes, something good.

FH. Well something good is that we can now play international rugby and cricket and those type of things. Sanctions have been lifted, but the problem is we get no investments. I think in the days of sanctions more people invested in SA than now. So that is so that things happened. But has it improved the quality of life of the masses of SA? No it hasn't.  I think the world expects something else and many people in SA expected something else. They thought if the ANC will come into power there will be an efficient government, there will be confidence, people will invest, the people of SA will have confidence, all the strikes and the riots and the violence will stop and there will be peace and there will be growth and prosperity and nothing of that has happened. The strikes are still going on. The productivity is going down. Mass action is going on. If the court says the government cannot investigate the SA Rugby Football Union because it is a private body, they don't accept the ruling of the court, they start mass action and they threaten that they will call for sanctions and boycotts and things like that. So the government don't act like a government, they act like a revolutionary force.

POM. Were you pleased that the Constitutional Court faced down the government on this particular issue?

FH. The Constitutional Court will give a verdict in favour of the government. That is obvious because it is packed by supporters of the government.

POM. But they said that the government didn't have the authority to investigate.

FH. That was the High Court, not the Constitutional Court. Now they are going to appeal. The government are now going to appeal to the Constitutional Court to overrule the High Court of the Transvaal. But the ANC after that say now they must appoint judges that will give verdicts in favour of the government. They must fire the present judges.

POM. Last year when we were finishing up and I asked you are you more optimistic about the future or pessimistic, and you said not very optimistic.

FH. Still so.

POM. "I think it was necessary for this situation to happen because it is obvious already at this stage after three years that it is a failure in every respect. It is a failure but it must prove itself as a failure and from that failure we must build something new, something positive, something that will last and I am positive and I am optimistic that this will happen, so it is good."

FH. I am still of the same opinion. Definitely. Because this thing is still going down and it must be a failure and it will be. It is not possible for any government in the world to make a success of this situation. But if it didn't happen people would still have thought that was a possibility and it was not tried. Now it is tried, it has been proved and it is proving itself as a failure and it will continue until the final collapse of the whole thing. Then we will start building a new dispensation that will be a permanent solution for SA and will bring the peace and the prosperity that everyone is looking for in SA.

POM. Do you ultimately see a split in the alliance, that it is inevitable?

FH. It is possible.

POM. Not before this election?

FH. No not before this election. But I think the Communist Party will play a role to prevent the split in the alliance. That is their main role, that is their function to keep them together, but I think a split is possible, that it will at some time or other take place because the radicals are going to take more and more control of the government, and to a certain extent a little split has already taken place, the party of Holomisa, his power base is the Eastern Cape and that is also the power base of the ANC. So that party will undermine the ANC in the election and that is a good thing because that vote will be divided a little bit and that will give the opportunity if the feeling, the national feeling of the various nations, become working then of course it will give them the opportunity, it will be easier to take over the government by an alliance of parties from the various nations that co-operate to change the situation if the opposition is divided.

POM. Finally, black empowerment. Is black empowerment a catch phrase for saying that a few, an elite, are going to get rich or is it something that has real possibilities in terms of its trickle down effects?

FH. I think the position at the moment is, I've seen some report a few days ago where the gap between the rich people and the poor people of SA is increasing and that more and more black people are now becoming rich people and that the gap between the rich black people and the poor black people is growing and that of course will happen ultimately. If it happens on a basis of merit then it will be able to maintain itself but the fact is it is artificial at the moment and for that reason as a result of the fact that it doesn't create economic growth but some black people must get rich it is at the expense of the poor masses.

POM. If I had to ask you, if it came down to a choice between the next president being Thabo or Cyril Ramaphosa, who would you be more inclined to trust the future of the country to?

FH. I don't think I would like to make a choice because I would like to have my own president for only our people. What I think is going to happen, I think Cyril Ramaphosa took a clever decision when he decided to go out because he realised that they are going to make a mess and now he is giving Thabo Mbeki rope to destroy himself and then he will come back, but he will come back as a rich man, a capitalist and perhaps that will be a small improvement because he will not be a communist. He will then have to deal with the radicals and whether they are going to accept him as a rich black man we will have to wait and see. Perhaps it will be one of the revolutionaries that will take over, and don't throw away Winnie Mandela. What do you think is going to happen in this country when she takes over? I think then it is the last lap. She will bring it to a point where the final collapse will take place and where the new start will begin.


FH. It was nice to see you again.

POM. Thank you very much and, again, I apologise for being late.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.