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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
23 Sep 1998: Felgate, Walter
POM. First, Mr Felgate, I would like to ask you a question, curiosity if nothing more. You are now back in the Provincial Legislature, you're now sitting on the other side of the benches, so to speak, what is it like to be looking across at your former colleagues and engaging them in debate when you have spent so much of your time in the former position? What's it like from the ANC side of the benches in contrast to what life was like from the IFP side of the benches?
WF. It's a question I can't really answer yet because the provincial parliament is heavy on committee work and very light on parliamentary sessions. Since I joined the provincial parliament in July there is only one one-day sitting, there's another one at the end of the month. So I have not even made a speech in parliament, I have had no time to talk in parliament, so the question is still to me an academic one which I will have to explore in the future.
POM. How do the committees work? What powers do they have since what we're operating with here is a government of provincial unity? Does what comes out of the portfolio committees, does that generally become the basis of the legislation that's passed or is it subject to extensive debate or revision and referred back to the committee?
WF. In KZN province it was one of my fights within the IFP to make the portfolio committees more effective. The constitution lays down that the legislatures should drive governance. In the previous regime the executive drove the government, ministers presented their caucuses with bills and the duty of the caucus was to support their party in that bill in its form that it was introduced then in parliament. Debates were minimal in the portfolio committees and served only really on another publicity function and smoothed the way for the passages of legislation. This province is controlled by the IFP and the IFP is authoritarian and there is, again, the old process of the executives in the province introducing legislation, sometimes sight unseen, completely drafted and ready for publication in the Gazette to portfolio committees and portfolio committees by and large, IFP portfolio committees who dominate because they have the majority, just accepting the legislation as it was drafted. I have yet to find out the extent to which the ANC in this province is driven by the same spirit of the constitution that I believe is going to be the salvation of the country. If you're facing a future in which there is going to be a weak opposition, to say the least, after 1999 and there will be a very weak opposition, the fight for democracy is in the ANC's court.
POM. So you see - now we would get around to that in time but it comes up now, the latest Markinor report or survey has the ANC at 41% and dramatic decline in support for the IFP, 19%. (i) Do you think that's an accurate reflection of the state of the parties, or (ii) do you think that survey instruments tend to underestimate the degree of support for politicians who have support in rural areas, that rural areas are in fact under-represented?
WF. Markinor and Markdata are producing different results. The results show the same trend so I think the trend is reliable. I've got a great respect for Professor Lawrence Schlemmer who basically runs the Markdata research. Markinor has got a very reputable background so you've got two reliable instruments measuring different things. I think that's the real issue, they're measuring different things, not coming up with different measurements of the same thing and only future polls will elucidate what the position is really going to be. But they both reflect a very strong trend and that trend I think is a reliable trend and it will continue and there will be a decline in IFP support.
POM. Why has this decline set in?
WF. A number of reasons. Firstly, during the early part, the first half of 1990, Buthelezi's confrontationalism has not produced the results that IFP members and supporters believed it would produce.
POM. There's also been a lack of delivery in the province?
WF. No, the lack of achievement in negotiation process. The IFP, Buthelezi specifically, was absolutely convinced that there would be no constitution if he withdrew from it. He didn't believe that the NP and the ANC would go ahead without him.
POM. But for now the position of where he was the person who announced, made the announcement of the SADEC forces going into Lesotho, he is acting President of the country, he has in a way come a long way and I'll get back to that too.
WF. And because Mandela is holding his hand and people see that, but he, as a strong man in his own right, has lost face. He's lost face within his own party and he's shedding support. Organisationally the party is in chaos, there is no sound administration in the party, there's fragmentation, in-fighting is exacting a heavy toll. I think the research that the IFP itself commissioned showed very clearly that people are moving away from ideological issues, they're moving away from confrontationism, they want bread and butter issues and the IFP is weak on bread and butter issues. They have no faith that the IFP will deliver. They don't see the IFP as being able to do more than the ANC is doing. There is lack of faith. So that trend, moving away from ideologies both on the ANC side and the IFP side has created a common dam in which both the IFP and the ANC have got to fish for their votes and I think in that process the ANC is outstripping the IFP.
POM. Is there any factor at work where, to make a very rough division, ANC support is urban and IFP support is rural and that if nothing else you have continuing migration to the cities creating a larger, so to speak, ANC pond while the pool from which the IFP draws its votes is diminishing? So there's a demographic element in it.
WF. There's a combination of two things, there's a demographic element, there is the nature of peasant society, and worldwide peasant society has got its own nature, but more importantly there are political structures. The same peasants who vote solidly for the IFP in rural areas, vote solidly for the ANC when they come to squatter areas for example, or township areas. So this voting is a situational phenomena. The same people, the same individuals, vote one way in one place and another way in another place and that's very clear.
POM. If I were in a rural area I would vote IFP and if I moved to a squatter camp outside Durban I would vote ANC?
WF. Or to a township, black township.
POM. I would probably vote ANC. Has a lot of that to do with subtle pressure of what's the prevailing ethos in the community, that you just slip into being part of it if you don't have any great ideological convictions one way or the other?
WF. I think it's more complex than that. I think people vote within the ambit of a political system. You've got a tribal political system as distinct from a democratic political system in urban areas and you will vote within the set of imperatives and confines and directives of a tribal society one way and when you're out of that, physically, you're no longer subject to those influences and you vote another way. I think the real fight for democracy in KZN will take place with the extension of local government legislation after the election. As you know the constitution froze any further development of local government structures until after 1999. The white paper which is now being prepared -
POM. This is Valli Moosa's white paper?
WF. Yes, it forecasts that the establishment of elected structures in rural areas would radically change the circumstances in which individuals vote. They will be suddenly cast into the kind of political system in which they would be a lot more prone to vote for ANC than they would be to vote for IFP so local government development is going to be the death knell of IFP's rural support system.
POM. We'll get back to that one. Before we get into the specific questions, let me ask you just some general ones. Many commentators have made the allegation, or come to the conclusion, that the NP went into negotiations from the onset without any clear vision of where it was going, without any clear strategic plan as to what it wanted out of the negotiations and therefore never, so to speak, defined its bottom lines, whereas the ANC, they would say on the contrary, went into negotiations with a very clear strategic plan and with their eye always on the bottom line, knowing what their bottom lines were and prepared to concede or make concessions on any number of things as long as it didn't affect their bottom lines. So you have Van Zyl Slabbert, for example, in his analysis of the negotiations saying that Roelf Meyer and Leon Wessels were the best negotiators that Mandela had. He calls negotiations simply a 'pushover'. You have Patti Waldmeir talking about the negotiations were an exercise in the psychology of capitulation. (i) Do you agree with the thrust of that analysis or do you think it was indeed far more complicated than that? (ii) Did the IFP go into the negotiations, these are the CODESA part of the negotiations, with a strategic plan, clearly defined objective as to what it wanted at the end of the road and defined bottom lines or were its negotiators really at the behest of the whims of Buthelezi's ad hockery and never quite knew where they were going because they never quite knew where he was going?
WF. Take the NP first, prior to 1990 there was an ongoing set of talking about talks, negotiating in fact between the South African government and members of all the homeland governments. It was a formally constituted meeting which ran into about nine different sessions over some years. They had no joint plan of action, they had no objectives.
POM. 'They' being?
WF. The government and homeland leaders. The discussion was dominantly discussions of how to evade ANC dictates and when the ANC produced their Harare Declaration that was it, demanding a single phase transition De Klerk vowed, in these meetings I'm talking about, to fight that to the death and assured everybody that he would never agree to an approach which would create a new government which will write the constitution. That process saw De Klerk capitulate after July 1992 when the ANC produced its ultimatum, I think it was the beginning of August, and it then undertook rolling mass action August, September, and then there was the first bosperaad between De Klerk and Mandela. De Klerk capitulated, he had to accept the notion of a Constitutional Assembly phase one process, establishing a new government which had supervised the writing of a new constitution. So the process itself was one in which De Klerk had no plan of action and he eventually had to succumb to the ANC plan of action against all undertakings to Buthelezi and other homeland leaders, particularly to Buthelezi.
POM. Had he any strategy? You again hear commentators say that the initial strategy was to try to forge this broad alliance between Buthelezi, the other homeland and independent states, parties and that this grand alliance would maybe be sufficient to defeat the ANC and that he believed that even up to the collapse of CODESA 2.
WF. When negotiations originated, it was actually in the peace process, that's when parties began lining up the negotiation forces, feeling each other out, and in that phase Gerrit Viljoen was the dominating intellectual factor at the NP negotiating table. Roelf Meyer came in as a new minister during that process.
POM. This is at CODESA?
WF. Pre-CODESA, at the peace negotiations which led to CODESA 1. The peace negotiations led to the preparatory conference in November 1991 which established CODESA in December. During the latter part of those negotiations about negotiations, between IFP and the NP, Gerrit Viljoen was axed, Roelf Meyer took over and there was a new ball game altogether. There was a very marked change of NP politics in the negotiations with the IFP. As late as the end of 1992 Buthelezi was still calling for an alliance between the NP and the IFP. He was talking about a one-on-one alliance. De Klerk accepted the idea.
POM. That the one-on-one is just - ?
WF. Just the two parties because Buthelezi came out of the peace structures believing that there were only three parties who really mattered and if the IFP and the NP came together they would form a majority government and the ANC would then be put into opposition. De Klerk insisted on broadening the base of such an alliance.
POM. Do you think that was a mistake to advise him to do at the time?
WF. Mistake by?
POM. Do you think it was a mistake on De Klerk's part?
WF. No. It had already become clear to De Klerk during the course of the peace process that the IFP did not have the capacity of leadership and depth of leadership to carry through Buthelezi's intentions and his statements. The ANC had a very strong internal set of up and coming leaders from COSATU and from UDF and they produced a very formidable battery of leadership capacity. The IFP was always stretched to the limit in manning committees and making a contribution so it became clear that the IFP lacked strength on the ground and it became clear that the IFP could not create a kind of disruption that the ANC could with their control of mass action. So before CODESA started it was clear to De Klerk that the ANC was the party of consequence and the IFP, as a running partner in a battle against the ANC, would not be able to deliver the strength that such a partnership would require. Also it became clear that the IFP had no real strength anywhere else in the country other than KZN. So De Klerk moved away from embracing Buthelezi and finally in the Record of Understanding reached an agreement with Mandela which excluded the IFP from being a future important role player.
POM. Many people say that the Record of Understanding was the turning point. Patti Waldmeir quotes, and the remark is reiterated by other ANC leaders, that the NP just about caved in on everything. They came out of it saying, "We got everything we wanted."
WF. It set the agenda for a Negotiating Council which began the next year and the Negotiating Council agenda was ANC dominated and it was a victory for ANC in negotiation prowess, unquestionably. The collapse of the strength of any opposition to the ANC leading from CODESA 2, the collapse of CODESA 2, Boipatong, the address to the United Nations in July, the ultimatum and the bosperaad, that process was a process in which the NP would capitulate step by step to the dictates of the ANC.
POM. Waldmeir cites FW's reaction to the collapse of CODESA 2, but before Boipatong and on the evening that it had collapsed he had a meeting with some journalists and she was representing The Financial Times and they found him in a buoyant mood and convinced that the ANC would have to come back to the table and ready to get to an election as quickly as possible, believing that the numbers were there for him in an alliance with the other parties to gain a majority against the ANC. What happened between the collapse of CODESA 2, including Boipatong, to September of 1992 which turned De Klerk from being in a position where in May or June he would have said, "Let the ANC come to us", they would have to come back and come to the table, to by September he was almost a supplicant, "Please come back to the table, what do we have to do? Let's have a bosperaad and let's get together." Besides Boipatong what subtle psychological factors were at work or international factors or national factors that swung the pendulum away from De Klerk so decisively in the direction of the ANC?
WF. I think there are two issues that one must talk about. One is that the process didn't begin after the collapse of CODESA 2. CODESA 2 collapsed around the question of who would be the executive and who would control the process. In CODESA 1 Roelf Meyer nominated Ramaphosa to be chair and Ramaphosa nominated Roelf Meyer to be head of the executive. They took turns in locating each other in key positions and there was a duet between the ANC and the NP during CODESA 1. When it came to CODESA 2 the IFP dug its heels in and contested repeating the mechanisms of control and management that were in CODESA 1. A lot of internal in-fighting took place and the NP in those exchanges were served notice that De Klerk would have to choose between Buthelezi and Mandela and he had to sacrifice one or the other, he could not be working with both. By the time CODESA broke up the NP was aware that Buthelezi would have to be expendable. I think that's one side which one can talk about. The other side of it is that until the actual event you could speculate about political power but when CODESA did collapse, the ANC walked out, Boipatong took place, I think there was certainly from an IFP point of view, you could see it, a very strong flow of censure from overseas over De Klerk for possibly messing up the whole process. When Mandela addressed the UN he rallied very strong support.
POM. And Boipatong also hurt the IFP.
WF. Yes, it was vilified by Boipatong. When Mandela addressed the UN in July, a scathing attack both on De Klerk and on Buthelezi, particularly Buthelezi, and his subsequent ultimatums to De Klerk, that whole process, it was the ANC that was supported nationally and internationally. So I think the process actually began in the beginnings of CODESA 2 but the actual events had to take place before De Klerk would have to capitulate. In other words it was clear, the writing was on the wall, but when August rolling mass action started it was clear that the ANC actually had power on the ground. It was also, I think, clear that the NP did not have the depth of constituency support that the ANC had and it was the leadership issue between De Klerk and Mandela and Roelf Meyer and Ramaphosa without a societal backup. Big business was looking askance at the NP, they were hoping for a settlement which would empower the ANC. Internationally that was the same. I think the forces were ranged against De Klerk from the beginning of that year and materialised through the events of that year.
POM. So would you agree with those who said that he should have taken what was on the table at CODESA 2, that there was a better offer on the table then than what he finally ended up with?
WF. No, I disagree. CODESA 2 had actually not got off the ground and there had been a very broad agreement about where we were going at the end of CODESA 1 but CODESA 2 never actually got off the ground because of the fights about executive and administrative control of the process.
POM. Yet four of the five working committees produced agreed upon reports which they presented to the plenary meeting of CODESA 2 in May of 1992. It was only on the constitutional committee, which involved Ramaphosa and -
WF. All those reports were not complete reports. There were still negotiable sections in them and it would possibly be true to say De Klerk would have got more out of settling on expanding those proposals with the ANC in opposition to the IFP and they together could have so generated a combined force, but the IFP would have to exclude itself from the process. De Klerk may have been better off. I doubt it because the real issue was the establishment of a Constitutional Assembly as a constitution writing body.
POM. Hadn't that been established in CODESA 1?
WF. Yes, but the real process of negotiations where De Klerk really lost out was in those constitutional negotiations.
POM. But he had already conceded that the constitution would be written by an elected constitutional body in CODESA.
WF. That he already conceded by the end of CODESA 1.
POM. Yes. So in a way he had already -
WF. He capitulated on that crucial issue.
POM. He had agreed that the constitution would be written by a majority and the majority -
WF. Yes but all I'm saying is the contents of the reports presented to the plenary of CODESA 2 would be made irrelevant by subsequent Constitutional Assembly negotiations. They wouldn't be dictated, there wouldn't be guidelines, there would just be documents for a process to start afresh, which it did.
POM. So you buy into the analysis that De Klerk kind of folded his hand, in the end he folded his hand and more or less threw in the towel?
WF. Yes. He was involved in a face-saving exercise. I think he was also involved in a very personal issue. He had come out of 1991 hailed by the world as a great man doing astonishing things and he couldn't be the person who then in the end wrecked the process. I think personally he couldn't face the world and say, "Look I started something but now I wrecked it." Capitulating was part of the perpetuation of the De Klerk myth.
POM. One thing that has struck me, and again a number of commentators have pointed out that Roelf Meyer was an early convert to the concept of simple majority rule whereas De Klerk opposed it to the bitter end and was almost forced to accept it. If De Klerk was, or if Meyer was an early convert to majority rule, hadn't De Klerk sent in the wrong team? This is like a chess game where you and I are playing chess and I have already conceded in a way that you're going to get what you want, that you're going to win, so before I even move my opening pawn I've already, in a sense, psychologically conceded that you're going to win the game.
WF. But De Klerk wasn't negotiating to win the game, he was negotiating to get as much out of the process as he could possibly get. It was very clear that already at the end of CODESA 1, before CODESA even got off the ground, and during that whole year, that the ANC would call the tune and he was at their mercy and was thankful for the process which enabled him to get something out of it.
POM. So in a sense the NP, once they had agreed to negotiations, were negotiating from a position of weakness rather than a position of strength?
WF. Oh yes, very much so.
POM. And again coming back to the IFP, where did it see in its analysis of the situation, where did it see itself playing the crucial role?
WF. The IFP at the beginning of the Negotiating Council had very specific and very clear notions of what it wanted.
POM. The Negotiating Council would be part of the peace process as distinct from?
WF. The peace process, the CODESA 1 and then you had the Negotiating Council. After CODESA 1 you had the Negotiating Council. After CODESA 1 there was no CODESA 2, CODESA 2 collapsed and then you had the Negotiating Council after the Record of Understanding. By that time the IFP had already written a complete South African constitution which was tabled at the Negotiating Council.
POM. This was after the Record of Understanding?
WF. After the Record of Understanding. We drew up a constitution for KZN and a parallel constitution for South Africa, so the negotiating team of the IFP had very specific instructions, very specific objectives, they knew exactly what Buthelezi expected of them. The process in Negotiating Council was one in which the Constitutional Committee, working committee, laid before the Negotiating Council agendas and approaches and content for debate. It was the IFP's inability to get its documents debated that infuriated Buthelezi more than anything else. There was a filtering process so you couldn't even table - the IFP constitution was formally tabled as a document for the Negotiating Council but it was never ever debated, not even for ten minutes. We couldn't get it debated because the Constitutional Committee did not lay that agenda on the table and that was decided by the Management Committee and by the bilateral between the ANC and the NP, the SA government. Let me just go back one step, after the IFP walked out of the Negotiating Council in July, the IFP continued with round the clock negotiations with the NP to forge a NP/IFP agreement on outstanding issues that had arisen in the Negotiating Council. By October we had reached accord with Roelf Meyer, we had settled all the outstanding issues and produced a joint IFP/NP document on the outstanding issues. It was then necessary to broaden the base of the negotiations and to involve the ANC for the first time. At the very first trilateral meeting between the ANC, the NP and IFP Roelf Meyer tabled the document that had been drawn up by the IFP and the NP and Ramaphosa ruled that it was a non-document. He wouldn't even look at the document, would not accept it's findings as a negotiating beginning and insisted on a new beginning by the three parties on outstanding issues and adopted the Negotiating Council positions on every one of them. Roelf Meyer, who had made concessions to the IFP, capitulated and ended up supporting Ramaphosa and that led to the total breakdown in December between IFP, NP and ANC in negotiations.
POM. What was your impression during the time you spent there of Ramaphosa and of Meyer, they being the two surrogates for their principals, so to speak?
WF. Ramaphosa had absolute clarity about each step of the way. He had the capacity to see traps on the road, side-step them, look ahead and achieve objectives. He was a complete master of negotiating strategy and if possible to make progress with Roelf Meyer because he didn't actually look too far ahead and see the implications of what he was agreeing to for future negotiations. So he was effective in that sense. Ramaphosa was the past-master of control and he controlled not only the Negotiating Council but all trilateral meetings that I was involved with and bilaterals with the ANC which I was involved with. He was not stampeded and long before De Klerk was prepared to accept that the NP and the ANC would have go to on without the IFP Ramaphosa was very clear that that would happen and he was quite prepared for it. He wasn't phased by the IFP's withdrawal from CODESA, he wasn't phased by the IFP's withdrawal from the Negotiating Council. So my impression, as I say, is one in which Ramaphosa had the kind of solid backing. There were two sets of backers. Roelf Meyer was backed by Constitutional Development Services, the Department of Constitutional Development, by all the constitutional experts and lawyers in government employ. Ramaphosa had the backing of the innovative thinking of people like Joe Slovo and other members of the NEC, so he had a strategic backup which had a sophistication of its own. Roelf Meyer didn't. He didn't have that kind of backup. The party, the NP as such, couldn't back him up. He was backed up by civil servants dominantly.
POM. I want to go to our last interview and just go through some things, have you elaborate them more and explain them a bit more. There are some more questions I have about them. You said:- "There was clearly no prospect of raising fundamental issues and going back to square one which technically and politically and constitutionally one could have done. I reported accordingly and I suggested to Buthelezi that the issue that we should concentrate on was the issue of local government in KZN tribal areas. We ended up with a compromise and Buthelezi rejected the compromise out of hand." Now, (a) what was the nature of compromise and (b) how would it have left the IFP in a more powerful position than it is now?
WF. The compromise in essence, constitutionally speaking, was that the IFP had to agree that the principles of the constitution, the whole chapter on human rights, would have to be revised to get what the IFP wanted. The IFP basically wanted the tribal councils to be given the full powers of an elected municipality. That was the demand of the IFP. That was clearly unconstitutional, against the principles of the constitution. Remember that we were amending a final constitution so one would have to go back to fundamentals. It was not technically politically possible to do so. So we had to accept that the tribal councils did not have the capacity, would not be given the capacity of a municipality. The principle in question was how then do we give the tribal councils a role? The compromise was that the elected councils, which should be done on a regional basis and not on a local basis, would be able to delegate part of its duties and powers to tribal councils for execution which would have done two things. Firstly, you would have avoided replacing the tribal councils, they would remain intact. You would have avoided election in the tribal council ward. You would have had regional elections across a number of tribal councils and the regional council then would have been incapable of exercising its powers because there is no arm of local government and would have to use the powers inherent in the delegation to the chiefs. That would have left the chiefs as a participant in local government and left them in a position in which to some extent they could have blocked that which they didn't want and approved that which they did want. A political process would have arisen out of it and you would have then had a compromise.
. Buthelezi rejected this because he contended that the delegation was something which was not prescribed and could not take place. He did not see the process as one in which the politics would determine what would happen because the chiefs would have to be participant to something. If they weren't participant to something there was a deadlock. Now both the ANC and the IFP as principals had to clear the compromise. It was not something that had been agreed to by either party. It was the negotiators came together and said this is the only thing we can put to our principals and we think it will work, and it would have given the IFP a very much more secure future political base at local government level in the rural areas than they are now going to get because the chiefs are going to be replaced by elected bodies now and they will become purely figureheads and ceremonial leaders.
POM. Later you said, "I reminded him (Buthelezi) that the only struggle left for the IFP is a parliamentary struggle", and his words were, and I quote him, "What then Sinn Fein?" He was talking about the Sinn Fein/IRA option. You said there was no breaking those ranks so to me it became clear he had to be stopped.
. What happened in the last year? You hear less talk of any kind of resistance from Buthelezi or even confrontationalism. Mandela went out of his way at the 50th Congress to pay tribute to the IFP and to Buthelezi for the part it had played in the national government. In fact, I think out of his whole 62 page speech it was the only laudatory words he had for anybody. There is talk of him being given a Deputy Presidency under President Mbeki. He is Acting President of the country when both Mandela and Mbeki are out of the country and indeed was the person who nominally made the decision to join the SADEC forces in going into Lesotho. In that sense he has a public profile that exceeds that of other ministers and a kind of a stature that he's up there with the big boys if only tangentially. There is a general consensus among the people I talk to in the IFP that the IFP will be part of the next government, that the present arrangement will continue. There has been talk about mergers and although that's been rejected it's not been ruled out that there might be or will be a post-election coalition, voluntary coalition which would give the IFP a position in the national government. He had an invitation to be a guest at Mandela's 80th birthday and his wedding so that the wedge between them has been closed, so to speak. Buthelezi seems, when I saw him the last time, more mellow, more comfortable in the position he is holding and that's on the national scene.
. On the provincial scene if, as you say, the IFP is in trouble, is there not a strong possibility, indeed probability, that there will be a resort to the tactics of the past and that while the symptoms of the violence have been dealt with over the last four years the root causes are still under the surface and it doesn't take very much for this to erupt again, whether it's in the form it's taking in Richmond, though that doesn't involve the IFP, though I want to talk about that. How do you see the broad picture emerging and his role, the role of the IFP if present trends continue as indicated by survey data that the IFP is on its way to losing it's only bastion of power and patronage in control? You often said that Buthelezi stands by principle until a question of power arises and then he will abandon the principle for power and being offered a Deputy Presidency and a seat, so to speak, above the nitty gritty of provincial politics and the nitty gritty of confrontationalism, it puts him in a position that improves his position as a senior statesman and compensates in a way for the insults that the ANC on him in the past and it's recognition of course of the role he played in the whole liberation struggle.
WF. A discussion on this whole issue must proceed from a number of starting points. Firstly, the ANC are aware of the potential that this province offers of continuing violence of ugly proportions. What's that mean? Richmond, what's happening in the Port Shepstone area, Inanda area, are all harsh reminders of the potential for violence that there is in this KZN society. The ANC also are aware that once you've raised the level of tribal consciousness and the ethnic factor to the extent that Buthelezi has raised it violence can only take the form of a war of attrition; nobody can win on either side. So it's something to be avoided. This whole question of an alternative treatment of Buthelezi flowed from the process of ANC/IFP discussions about violence and a peace process they were initiating and you must ask Jacob Zuma because he actually originated the process and not Mandela.
POM. What was this for?
WF. Offering Buthelezi some kind of incentive. In terms of my discussion with Jacob he maintained that during this peace process in KZN -
POM. This is post-election?
WF. 1995/96 period, it became very clear to him that you can't deal with the IFP at all. You can only deal with Buthelezi. So if you negotiate with the IFP it didn't help you because ultimately you were left with facing Buthelezi so somehow or other you've got to deal with Buthelezi per se, as a person and not with the IFP. He reported to Mandela, this is Jacob telling me what he did, he says he reported to Mandela and suggested to Mandela that they must offer Buthelezi some kind of personal aggrandisement to make him more amenable because he's a power animal and he was running away from personal defeat and ignominy and if you offered him something as a carrot you could then apply the stick as well. Since 1990 when Mandela was released, Buthelezi has really chafed at non-recognition by the ANC. He sought that recognition over and over and over again, on something like forty or fifty occasions. By August 1992 he had sought an endorsement by Mandela that he was relevant, that he was a leader, blah, blah, blah. Jacob Zuma being aware of that desperate need of Buthelezi for recognition said to Mandela, "Give him that recognition, he will become much more amenable and you can avoid the factors of violent confrontation." Jacob told me that Mandela agreed to it provided that it was a ploy of a very specified, limited period to see whether it will work or not and it mustn't be an extended exercise. That was at the beginning of 1996 I think it was, April 1996. I can't remember the exact date. I was called down to a Cape Town caucus where Mthetwa was going to bring a report to the IFP on the peace process with the ANC and the two delegations, one from the ANC and one from the IFP, went down to Cape Town at the same time to report to their respective principals and to come back and set the peace process in place.
POM. To report to the IFP caucus?
WF. And the ANC caucus. There was an ANC delegation and an IFP delegation. Each reported to their principals with the intention of coming back and putting into place a peace process. In 1996 it was agreed and Jacob said that ever since then Buthelezi had just been a past-master at stringing things out, they can't get to grips with what he was actually holding out for. He tabled a long list of demands of apologies from the ANC which dated way back to the 1980s and through the 1990s and demanded the resuscitation of international mediation as a price that must be paid to get him on board. But all these were couched in vague sort of ongoing things where the real issues were roll forward and roll forward and these things have just gone on and on. Jacob says when he first spoke to Mandela there was no question, no mention of either a merger with the IFP or even a deputy presidency. There was only the possibility of continued participation in the next cabinet. As far as Jacob goes the size of the carrot was magnified by the press and various interpreters and has turned into a proposal for a deputy vice-presidency. It wasn't part of the ANC's plan.
POM. It was a media creation.
WF. Media creation or creation of analysts who said, well that's the kind of thing that could be happening.
POM. What happens to the constitution if he did become Deputy President and Mbeki, God forbid, rolled over and died and he would assume the presidency, right?
WF. No, he would be second Deputy President.
POM. So they would have two, OK.
WF. The issue was one which started in 1996 and has continue, I've got a particular personal interest in this obviously. I was brought to Durban by the ANC. I was located in a working flat/office with the ANC funding my stay there while I was writing a book about Buthelezi.
POM. This is still while you were in the IFP?
WF. No, no, here. This is after I left in 1997. So by 1997 the ANC was doing two things, it was courting Buthelezi and it was funding my writing of an anti-Buthelezi book. I was subpoenaed to the TRC and was extensively quizzed by the TRC on my working relationship with Buthelezi and what Buthelezi really was about in politics etc., etc., so not only am I writing a book which will be slamming Buthelezi but the TRC report when it does come out now, it looks like in November, is going to be very, very critical of Buthelezi and slamming him and holding him responsible for a wide range of violence. Ndebele introduced me to Mail & Guardian reporters who wanted to do an in-depth exposé of the collaborationist element of Buthelezi's past. I had discussions with them and with Philip van Niekerk, the editor of the Weekly Mail, who is going to publish a series of articles in this regard. So here I am -
POM. Is going to or did?
WF. Is going to. I asked him to delay it until I had a decision from the ANC that it was strategically now the time to do so. So I am personally in a position where I have got a lot of interest in how the ANC is dealing with Buthelezi. Obviously if I'm going to come out slamming Buthelezi and contradicting Mandela and Mbeki it's going to be politically quite something within ANC politics. Towards the middle of this year I received very conflicting signals about this issue. So in the end, in the latter part of July, I insisted on a meeting with Jacob Zuma and the provincial executive which took place in Jacob's office. I spelt out to that meeting of provincial leaders, and to Jacob as the Deputy President of the ANC, that I had this dilemma. I was writing a book, I was participating in an exposé with the Mail & Guardian, I had submitted a very strong report to the TRC and that report would become in the public domain as soon as the report was handed to Mandela because in terms of the law when the reports are handed to him all the documentation that was used in the process of the building of those reports would become public property so people could make their own assessments of it. So I said the TRC is going to slam Buthelezi, I am going to slam Buthelezi, the Mail & Guardian is going to slam Buthelezi and now I'm sitting here and I just want to know what the position is. Jacob immediately summed up the meeting and virtually killed the discussion and he said simply that he saw no contradiction politically speaking whatsoever in me going ahead with all these things and them going ahead with wooing Buthelezi. And the way he quipped about it was to say that the more I can expose, the more the ANC will have to forgive Buthelezi about. The bigger his crime, the more the forgiveness, the more magnanimous they look. So he saw no contradiction in the process.
. So I am still under that instruction from the ANC to go ahead. They know I am aiming to get the book to the editors at the end of November and published at the beginning of February. They know the Weekly Mail is going to produce a series of very critical articles in which I'm going to be extensively quoted and they know that the TRC report is going to come out. So there you have a fascinating part of South African politics. I don't know exactly how it's going to work out. All I know is that Buthelezi may be wooed, as he is being wooed by the trappings of power, because he's got no real power. He's got the trappings of power and the prestige that goes with those trappings and I don't believe that those enticements are going to be sufficiently strong to enable him to go to the Chiefs of KZN and say to them, "Sorry guys, I tried but I failed. You're going to have elections in your areas. You have been replaced by elected councils." His political investment in the Zulu kingdom and the bolstering of the powers of the chiefs are such that I can't see how he can do it. I might be proved wrong. His hunger for power might be such that he would even do that. I can't see it, so I think the showdown is going to come with the drafting of the legislation on local government and the removal of the chiefs from administrative roles and particular roles and making them ritual and figurehead functionaries.
POM. So if you had a situation shaping up where Buthelezi sits in a room and, let's say, you said he's a very intelligent man, so he can assume that he is going to not receive the kindest treatment from the TRC. If he looks at the figures emerging in the province that the ANC is going to become the dominant power in KZN. after 1999, if he sees that his position as even a minister in a post-1999 government is really simply at the behest or whim of Thabo Mbeki and he is a man who is increasingly becoming powerless, in which case what options does he have to find a way to preserve his power or to create a new paradigm, i.e. Buthelezi as Deputy President, roving ambassador, whatever you want to call it, having in a way removed himself from the political sense and become a 'statesman', whereas the other option is one of violence, I'm going to fight this thing? His implicit threat always to the ANC is I can always resurrect the violence that existed in the eighties and early nineties. Is the ANC's response, well things are different now because we will send in the military and we will simply crush it, or is there enough grassroots antagonism under the surface that all that needs to be done is to light the match and it scorches the earth itself?
WF. One is on very thin ground when you speculate about what Buthelezi may or may not do for two reasons. Firstly, his ego factor is deeply coloured, his concept of self as being a chief, as being a leader, as being the salvation of the kingdom of KwaZulu, when he thinks of himself that is very, very dominant in his concept of himself and his perception of himself and it's difficult to predict how he will behave if that part of him is exploded as it must be if there is going to be a destruction of his tribal base. You can begin speculating about what he will do on two things, one is what he said and he's told me very clearly that even if it means continuing the fight into the next generation, then so be it, but he's not going to capitulate and be party to the destruction of the kingdom.
POM. Is he talking about fight in a parliamentary sense or in an extra-parliamentary sense?
WF. No, in that context he talks about the IRA struggle wasn't waged to gain anybody a seat in parliament.
POM. Well they're in parliament today in Northern Ireland.
WF. Yes, that's what they struggled for. Talk about the British parliament.
POM. Yes, the one or two seats they didn't take. But that's beside the point.
WF. When he made those remarks to me it was of course pre those peace agreements in Ireland. He was maintaining that the IRA did not fight to achieve any position in government and he would not fight to achieve any position in government. He would die rather and let the struggle over-spill a generation. That's one set of factors one must look at in making predictions about Buthelezi, but the other one is, again, his intelligence. He is aware that there may well be a second South African melting pot. We tend to look at the constitution and current political set up as written in stone and cast in concrete for generations to come. He would see a greater fluidity. He does not have any regard for the constitution. He sees the need for radical constitutional change. He's got no faith in the ANC's ability to continue governing against the background of non-delivery and not non-delivery because of bad policies but because of the very nature of the economy and the school system and the education system, the joblessness. He sees all that as producing a possible fluid situation. When he looks across Africa the first government that took over often led to new constitutional dispensations following one after the other one, so when he looks ahead he's not looking at a sterility in which the position of the King and the Chiefs are going to be as tied up in constitutionalism as they now are. He is looking at a wider range of things. Now again, you speculate about these things because you know the man, you can't make any statements about them. The trend emerging of IFP seeking very close relations with UDM in KZN and associated with that the UDM's access to and backing by the right wing elements in Afrikaner society.
POM. Through who?
WF. Their military connections and their intelligence connections and what have you.
POM. You think Roelf has pulled all those in?
WF. I don't know whether he's pulled them in but they are offering assistance which he is having difficulty in holding at bay and I think that's a matter of infiltration. When Nkabinde was held in Westville jail prior to his trial for murder and his subsequent release, Buthelezi made three separate personal visits to Nkabinde. There is a toenadering taking place and a system of support taking place. If there is growing tension in this part of the province, if there's going to be any radical escalation of violence, it will certainly involve resuscitation of white right wing violence.
POM. In that area?
WF. In the whole of KZN, wherever, violence will move from location to location, various places. It has always done so and will continue to do so.
POM. So what some people said, just as an observation, I spent four days in Richmond, is that Richmond is kind of an experiment to see if this destabilisation model works here and if it does then export it to other areas.
WF. That's been the pattern. That's been the pattern in KZN. If you look at the history of violent outbreaks you got a flare up of violence in the Port Shepstone, Izingolweni area, that subsided. Then you got a flare up of violence in the Edenvale area, that subsided. Then a flare up of violence in the Inanda area, that subsided. It is as though each were taking turns, North Coast, South Coast, Midlands. There was never any violence of all the areas at the same time, so one speculates about the movement of organising forces, underground activity and third force elements.
POM. Do you believe now in the existence of a 'third force'?
WF. No I don't believe in the existence of a third force in the sense that there was a constituted third force with a leadership and decision making process and a strategy. I think there is a third force which emerges in specific circumstances and dies down again. I think it's there in that form rather than in terms of any organised form. All I am saying is that if one looks ahead at the economic scene, the chances are that for the next ten years there will be less progress in the real integration of black and white education, there will be less delivery on hospital and health services, there will be more ghost numbers, unemployed. Even if the percentages drop, you've got a huge population bulge coming onto the market place from the 18 to 25 year olds so there will be more people out of work. There will be less houses, there will be worse education and delivery is going to be a crucial issue. Already there are signs that Mbeki had to stamp on SACP very harshly and personally clobber the Secretary General of the SACP. There is the unfinished business of the tripartite alliance between ANC, SACP and COSATU. There are problems there which have been rolled forward. COSATU is the only structure in the country which is continuing to generate new cadres of leadership. The ANC is not doing that. Nobody else is. COSATU is. It's a very viable, strong, well controlled process and is generating a whole new set of leaders.
. So if you're a Buthelezi and looking forward to what's going to happen in the future, you wouldn't see the present situation cast in concrete and you would see perhaps a new opening for a renewed attempt to empower the kingdom of KZN and get the chiefs to play a very prominent political role at local government level. When you predict what he's going to do I think you must be mindful of his own dominantly tribal personality and his concept of self and the historic role he sees for himself as salvaging the fate of the King and the KwaZulu kingdom and the role of the Amakosi. The other side is that he wouldn't look at the future as being cast in stone and would be looking forward to future negotiation situations in which he could re-evoke the bottom lines on tribal authorities.
POM. So the ANC has set itself this objective of achieving two thirds in the 1999 elections. Again, current polling suggests that they are going to fall short of that but if the IFP support nationally boosts itself somewhat, and it seems to be again a diminishing force nationally, it's really a diminishing regional party than a diminishing national party, would part of the price of a coalition be certain constitutional changes that would give protection to the King and the Amakosi, a higher degree of federalism?
WF. I can't see that, I can't see that because it would require a very fundamental - it's not an amendment to a chapter or to a couple of clauses in the constitution. It will have to be an amendment of principles of the constitution. It will have to be an amendment to human rights.
POM. That would require 75%, not two thirds.
WF. Even at two thirds you've still got a Constitutional Court.
POM. It has six provinces in the NCOP and a Constitutional Court, yes. He's 71, he's not going to be in politics for ever.
WF. 80 year olds are very much in politics for ever. We're talking about the next five years, we're not talking about the next ten years.
POM. Yes. So where do you see the weight, the balance tipping at this point? If Mbeki came along to him and said, listen, Gatsha, let's make a deal and you will be second Deputy President in my administration and the price of that is that elections in KZN are violence free and that essentially the IFP plays ball with us. I will give your party one or two posts in government and you play ball with us in a voluntary coalition, and we will make the same arrangement in KZN where we're going to win.
WF. We're in the political set up in which the IFP continues to control KZN. That could be looked at, if Buthelezi if faced with being in opposition in KZN with the KZN ANC in charge of local government and local affairs, having a driving seat, I have difficulty in thinking of Buthelezi going along with that kind of compromise. He would refuse an Mbeki approach.
POM. So you would see that he might prefer ending up having no ministerial role and being leader of the opposition in KZN and that's the way he spends his declining years, his years of 71 to 77 in politics?
WF. I don't think I see him as that. I don't think he's got any role in opposition benches as an ordinary MP. He would make the tribal politics in the kingdom his stamping ground and make a name for himself there rather, I think. You're speculating about the impossible. What he will do is anybody's guess. I'm just laying out the factors which eventually will mix and make him do one or another thing.
POM. Here I have that you worked for African Advisors to something Zinc Corporation?
WF. Rio Tinto Zinc. Rio Tinto Corporation, Mining Corporation.
POM. That was?
POM. Zinc Corporation.
WF. Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation.
POM. You said "That's when I began working with Beyers Naudé, Buthelezi and Bennie Koapa". Who is he?
WF. He is a sociologist who was involved with Steve Biko and black empowerment politics.
POM. Is he still around?
WF. No he went abroad, into exile, and he's now back somewhere in the country. I don't know where he is.
POM. You said Beyers Naudé and Buthelezi were very close. This was after Beyers Naudé's renunciation of apartheid and his founding of the Christian Institute of which you were a member. You had mentioned that in college you had met many of the future members of the ANC's National Executive and went to see them in exile, that your leanings were towards the ANC after the banning of the Liberal Party. Why then didn't you move in the direction of the ANC rather than of the IFP if this was your natural inclination? You talked about going underground and going to Chief Luthuli who told you, when asking him to join the ANC, and he said use your car and your telephone and -
WF. He told me to join the Congress of Democrats.
POM. This is a question about Buthelezi?
WF. Yes, why I did not at that stage move in the direction of the ANC and moved rather in the direction of Buthelezi. Firstly it was a frame of mind and then a concept of who you were and what you're doing. In the 1970s I was acting predominantly as a member of the Christian Institute, I was a Beyers Naudé man. I met Buthelezi in that process, worked with him in that process of Beyers and Buthelezi coming together to avoid black on black violence. So my location in the whole process -
POM. That was in the seventies? Black on black violence was an issue?
WF. Oh very much so, with the Black Consciousness developments, Steve Biko, the fight for trade union rights, there was a lot of conflict between the homeland governments and Black Consciousness movements, the violence of black theology. It was a very formative era of black empowerment. My location in what I was doing was a Christian Institute location and it was dominantly commitments to bringing about a cessation of violence or avoidance of future violence and reconciliation. When, therefore, Oliver Tambo came to me, I think it was in 1978, and told me that I would have to choose between Buthelezi and the ANC and that he expected me to work with the ANC to damage Buthelezi and Inkatha, I was faced with the dilemma of -
POM. Sorry, was this in 1979 or was it 1978 because you had arranged a meeting in Stockholm in 1978 and in 1979 there was the meeting in London?
WF. 1978. That's right. We'll pin it down if we have to. I think it's in 1978 that Oliver Tambo made that demand. I was then faced with having to be working with Beyers Naudé with a double agenda to stab Buthelezi in the back in a process of bringing about peace between black warring factions. I found it a very impossible demand and rightly or wrongly I couldn't bring myself to agree to it and therefore ended up working more closely with Beyers and Buthelezi for the same objectives that step by step, very rapidly running out of credentials with which to use to negotiate with the ANC. So after 1979 I had no further role to play.
POM. So looking back, just two questions. One, it was the ANC who set out to destroy Buthelezi rather than vice versa?
WF. That's not true. Buthelezi very clearly from 1976 onwards believed that the ANC would fail, that revolution would not succeed, the armed struggle was futile, that the power of the apartheid governments were supreme and that it would be he, Buthelezi, and Inkatha that would in the end force and negotiate concessions and have a legislated programme of reform inside SA. He, therefore, set out to oust the ANC and to replace the ANC with Inkatha and to replace Oliver Tambo's leadership with his leadership. Those were very clear, unambiguous objectives. It's not something one has to read between the lines. I've got all the addresses of Buthelezi, private and confidential addresses to the National Council, the earlier Central Committee, clearly spelling his role out and the ANC could see that. So wherever in the world you've got a revolutionary force in exile being supplanted by an internal force arising to take advantage of the vacuum you're going to have a backlash. So Buthelezi produced the backlash, not Oliver Tambo. Oliver Tambo was only then recognising that there is no alternative.
POM. What was Tambo like? I hear many comparisons between himself and Mr Mandela with a lot of people saying that he had the leadership ability of Mr Mandela, that he was a far better administrator but that what he didn't have was the Mandela charisma.
WF. I think it's all perfectly true. I have spent quite a bit of time with him and particularly I spent a whole week, seven days a week with him on one of his Italian trips. The ANC was offered a partnership by one of the provincial towns in the north of Italy and I went with him to Rome and then on to -
POM. Were you going with him as a member of the Congress of Democrats?
WF. Of ANC. I went with him just as someone invited to accompany him.
POM. But why would he invite you if you were working for Buthelezi?
WF. This was prior to his demand that I back-stab Buthelezi.
POM. So would this be in 1975 or 1977?
WF. 1977. But when you're living with somebody in the same hotel, in the same motor cars, going to the same meetings continuously round the clock for seven days you see a lot more than you would see in meeting him only in meetings and on occasions. I was always amazed at how he was just an ordinary man and yet commanded the kind of deep respect by his colleagues. He was totally unassuming. He wasn't bombastic. He had no airs about him. He always protested that he was doing what he had to do because it was a fate that he was thrust into beyond his own asking. He had a very wily sense of organisational control. I think I mentioned to you before, after I listened to an address to a Lisbon conference, a UN conference in Lisbon at which Arafat spoke, Joshua Nkomo spoke, I went to him afterwards and I said to him, "But how can you make a speech without even mentioning Mandela, no mention of him?" He said, "Where in history does a reigning king clothe a crown prince with glory."
POM. That was his response?
WF. Yes, that was his response. If you look at his speeches, written speeches, there is no lauding of Mandela. He was aware of the Mandela factor and the factor developing around Mandela in jail because there was a lot of communication between Mandela and - We're taking a long time over detail. I'm perhaps talking too much?
WF. Oliver Tambo came across as a past-master of holding an organisation together. Politics in exile is extremely difficult. It's difficult to hold exile groups together, exile movements across the world have seen assassinations within its own ranks and changes of leadership. Oliver Tambo held the ANC in exile together. He was a superb leader. The defection of the eight after the London fiasco was again an exercise of Oliver Tambo's control. He kept the ANC together, he kept a working relationship between it and the SACP functioning and he was a superb tactitioner and earned the deepest respect of those who worked with him. But I agree, he didn't have anything of the charisma that - a very unassuming figure, no charismatic presence that Mandela has got.
POM. Would you see Buthelezi as a charismatic figure?
WF. Well he certainly has been charismatic inside the IFP and inside KwaZulu. Charisma can fade very quickly. It's something which is part of the environment you're in, it's not only a personal factor. Kaunda has got very little charisma left and he had a lot of charisma. Take a man out of a position of authority and power and charisma wilts very quickly.
POM. So what were the purposes of these meetings? Was it to create more dialogue between Tambo and Beyers Naudé?
WF. No, our contention from the South African side was that the ANC in exile understandably declared an armed struggle, understandably could not become itself involved in internal politics because it would detract from the armed struggle, but the internal democratic struggle was growing and there was a danger that there would be the development of third force factors coming out of that growth. There was the emergence of Steve Biko who was angling for his own slice of national and international prominence. There was the emergence of SASO, combined Students' Representative Council with Mashishini and people like that aspiring to some kind of leadership role. There were negotiations between SASO and the ANC and BPC and Biko and ANC about joining forces with the ANC but on such conditions that the ANC could not accept. Biko, for example, wanted the whole of his executive to be absorbed as part of the ANC executive and to have some kind of joint control over developments and Oliver Tambo obviously had to say no to that. So we were saying, from a Christian Institute point of view, that it's time that the churches in particular and Christian institutions linked up with the struggle and to get the churches involved in the struggle for liberation against apartheid was important and we wanted the empowerment of the churches to do so by the ANC and we wanted some kind of recognition of the importance of the churches by the ANC and a reciprocal relationship between them.
POM. Did that relationship exist between the churches and Buthelezi?
WF. In the early stages yes. Buthelezi was a very close friend of Archbishop Dennis Hurley, for example, an Anglican Archbishop. He was a close friend of people like Colin Winter, all those sort of clerical heroes of the struggle. They all advised him against continuing in homeland politics and step by step he shed all of them because he insisted on retaining his homeland Chief Minister's position against their advice, so they saw him as reneging on principles that they thought they shared. But there was obviously in the early seventies a very strong working relationship between them. I was actually introduced to Buthelezi in Archbishop Dennis Hurley's house.
POM. Which was in Durban?
WF. In Durban, yes.
POM. Will you talk about that meeting in Stockholm in 1978 and how Oliver Tambo withdrew, that he was under pressure not to put Buthelezi, so had he not to give the same recognition to Buthelezi - was already the sediments of a power struggle between the two organisations in place?
WF. Yes, particularly for Oliver Tambo, it arose out of a meeting that Oliver Tambo had set up between Buthelezi and Craig Williamson. Craig Williamson was then running the Inter-University Exchange Fund in Europe as an anti-apartheid movement and of course it subsequently emerged that he was a member of the SA Police posing as a liberal. But the whole question revolved around the issue of funding. Buthelezi desperately needed international funding for his Inkatha programmes. The churches were the arbiters of who received what funding. The SA Council of Churches was regarded as the sister organisation of the Interdenominational Funding Agencies in Europe and North America and also was consulted by Foreign Affairs Ministers. CEDA for instance, both the Swedish CEDA and Canadian CEDA consulted with the SACC about what projects to support and what not to support. These agencies by the very nature of their involvement were more reflective of the radicalism in Christianity than its conservatism, fell very strongly under the influence of the World Council of Churches and the programme to combat racism that was followed there and the Ecumenical Movement supported the Latin American struggle for liberation and the emergence of liberation theology. So the ANC was frequently consulted and in fact you couldn't get major funding without the ANC giving the nod to whoever it was, whether it was the Ecumenical Movement or a Foreign Affairs Department or so on. Eventually, and Craig Williamson set himself up as an intermediary on a funding basis in Europe.
WF. Donors and liberation movements. He channelled a lot of funds to ANC projects and the ANC at that stage were unaware of who he was and referred Buthelezi to Craig Williamson as a funding source knowing that -
POM. Sorry, referred Buthelezi to?
WF. To Craig Williamson.
POM. Who did that?
WF. The ANC.
POM. The ANC referred Buthelezi to Craig Williamson? OK.
WF. Yes. He had a discussion with Craig Williamson and in that discussion it became very clear that Craig Williamson would only fund projects that the ANC had approved of beforehand, so Buthelezi got up in a huff and left the meeting in the middle and refused to have anything further to do with Craig Williamson because he would not rely on projects which only the ANC would fund. That was an important breakaway because it became clear to Oliver Tambo then what Buthelezi's game was. He didn't want a partnership which the ANC could assist in, he wanted a source of independent funding to do what he wanted to without regard to what the ANC thought of the matter. I think that was one of the issues which persuaded Oliver Tambo to listen to his NEC members who were saying dump Buthelezi.
POM. So the crucial meeting of 1979 in London, did you attend that meeting?
WF. No I didn't attend that meeting.
POM. But were you aware of what the issues were?
WF. I wrote all the documents for the meeting. I wrote two of the documents. Buthelezi wrote one himself there. I wrote two of the three documents myself and put together an audio recording which he was going to use there.
POM. What were the crucial issues that led to - ?
WF. Recognition of Inkatha and Buthelezi by the ANC. That was the demand by Inkatha.
POM. Recognition as a legitimate - ?
WF. A freedom fighter.
POM. Part of the freedom struggle on a par with the ANC. Almost looking for parity of esteem.
POM. So it had nothing to do with using Inkatha as the internal wing of the ANC through which the - ?
WF. It was two objectives. One is to give ANC overt public recognition to Buthelezi's leadership of Inkatha as part of the struggle. That's one side of it. The other side of it was to try and persuade the ANC that it was time to negotiate with PW Botha and it was worth attempting. The text is there for anyone to read now.
POM. Where is the text?
WF. Well I've got copies of the text.
POM. Would you mind providing me with that?
WF. No, not at all.
POM. Thank you. That's very interesting. In an odd way, or maybe it's not, is that Buthelezi's line that in the end this had to be a negotiated settlement was the course the ANC ultimately came around to accepting.
WF. The only difference is that the ANC came round to accepting it after the armed struggle had produced the circumstances in which there were no options left for De Klerk, whereas Buthelezi wanted to avoid that situation. And a difference also was that Buthelezi was aiming for a programme of legislated reform from within, with the NP retaining its position of government power and the ANC saying, no, there must be a complete break in the government of the day.
POM. You said you were a member of Okhela. What does that stand for?
WF. It was an organisation -
POM. An Afrikaans word?
WF. No, it's a Greek word, I'm not sure what it's origins are.
POM. That was Breytenbach?
WF. Breytenbach, the poet, Afrikaans poet in Paris who set up a white organisation to assist in the armed struggle.
POM. So you became a member of that in?
WF. It must have been 1977/1978. It must have been 1978.
POM. I will give you copies and you can go through and get the dates right and things like that.
WF. It's strange how years ... with each other over 20 years ago, 1977 or 1978 was one year to me in terms of the political events.
POM. Sure. Tambo was portrayed as being a man of peace who abhorred violence and only reluctantly ever - this was my question to you the last time - was only reluctantly ever brought into the armed struggle. Buthelezi was opposed to the armed struggle yet accusations have been made about paramilitary units attached to Buthelezi which you won't talk about because that was before the Truth Commission. Were people playing for power rather than principle? You said, "I'm grappling with that at the moment, I am still grappling with it." A year later are you still grappling with it?
WF. Yes I think so.
POM. Was this more in the end about power than about principle, both sides?
WF. I find it difficult to distinguish between one and the other. Principles assume driving forces by power advantage the principles give you, principles that have no power advantage are weaker principles somehow and principles which stand against the use of violence for political purposes is compromised when you indulge in defensive action. You compromise further when you indulge in defence and pre-emptive action. So the principle is watered down when it comes to power advantage. If you can gain power advantage by defending yourself you will defend yourself, you won't become a martyr and die. If you gain power advantage by taking pre-emptive action to avoid violence, which is also a form of defence, you do so and the conversion of pre-emptive action into strike action is a very narrow grey line you can't cross without compromising.
POM. Was there a period when you were a member of both Breytenbach's outfit and also a member of the IFP? Or was the IFP then only a movement and hadn't converted to a political party until 1979?
WF. Yes very definitely, yes, 1978, 1979 my membership of Okhela expired with Okhela, Okhela expired after Breytenbach's arrest in SA and the whole of Okhela fell into disrepute.
POM. His father was a member, someone told me, his father was a very prominent Afrikaner, Breytenbach's father. A member of the Board of Directors of Anglo?
WF. I have got no recollection of Breytenbach's past myself at the moment. There were the key people in New York, Don Morton and Schuitema. It fell apart after Breytenbach's arrest. Okhela fell apart and became a nothing. Okhela was dominantly something that worked with Dutch resistance movements and anti-apartheid movements.
POM. So after Tambo asked you to help destroy Buthelezi and you, for principled reasons, moral and personal, and your work with Beyers Naudé, found that you couldn't do this. At that point you cut your ties with the ANC and cast your lot with the IFP. So you became a member of the IFP, or you joined Buthelezi's camp. You said, "I was thrust into Buthelezi's camp". In one sense you almost became a member of the Buthelezi camp by default.
WF. Until 1981 I only served Buthelezi in a part time capacity. I received no payment from Buthelezi or Inkatha. I was a businessman, I was running a printing and publishing outfit and property dealings and funded myself. 1981/82 I accepted a full time position.
POM. After Mandela was released and relations broke down between Buthelezi and himself, there are two aspects: was the war between the UDF and the IFP inevitable?
WF. Oh yes, the UDF set out to destroy Buthelezi and COSATU set out to destroy Buthelezi. It was one of their purposes in life, they would not accept the membership of IFP in their organisation.
POM. So he isn't exactly paranoid when he says, "Everybody was out to destroy me and I was making this contribution, I was the person who said I wouldn't talk to the regime until they released Mandela and I was the person who was travelling around the world preaching against apartheid."
WF. In the ANC's submission to the TRC, they admitted that they had ordered the assassination of Buthelezi and sent an assassination team into KwaZulu to assassinate him, but they maintain that team was then instructed to abort the thing before it materialised. They didn't fail, they were withdrawn.
WF. They didn't give reasons for it. The TRC submission is one in which they make the statements.
POM. Would that have to have been ordered by Tambo in the chain of command or could it have come from uMkhonto?
WF. Not necessarily. MK operated as a law unto itself in most cases. It was only on policy issues I think that Oliver Tambo as Commander in Chief would have any role to play but it would be an MK decision.
POM. Was there any sense on Buthelezi's part, and I understand through you and my interviews with him, the psychology of the man, was there any sense of after Mandela was released and instantaneous recognition and his meetings with De Klerk, and his refusal to come to KZN to meet with the King and Buthelezi had seemingly been arranged beforehand, was there any sense or did you get a sense at any time from Buthelezi himself of resentment, of someone who in a broad sense was saying, "I was the one who all along said that the armed struggle wouldn't work. I was the one who said there had to be a negotiated settlement and after all these years the ANC has come around to my point of view and they suspended the armed struggle and there they are taking the credit for all the changes that are occurring or about to occur in SA and I am being left out in the cold as though I never existed, whereas I preached dogmatically and consistently one line."
WF. Buthelezi has an enormous capacity to be very sincere on one front and just as sincere on a very contradictory front. During the period 1990 to end of 1992 there were long strings of Buthelezi's real earnest endeavours to get Oliver Tambo to meet him and to share a platform with him and to give recognition to him and he was deeply indignant that this wasn't happening.
POM. This was in 1991/92?
WF. 1991/92, a two year period in which he was deeply indignant that this wasn't happening. While he was deeply indignant that it wasn't happening he was busy planning with De Klerk of how he and De Klerk could get together to defeat Oliver Tambo and subject him politically. The two processes were running parallel and there was consistency on both sides. So he has this capacity, as we talk about it in our part of this whole thing, a past-master at double speak and as part of almost a split personality on these issues. He gets a frame of mind in which he's a liberation fighter and he's indignant that he's not given the recognition. Then he gets in a frame of mind in which he's collaborating with De Klerk and seeking the SA government and army backup, police backup for what he's doing. So he's a contradictory character in this regard.
POM. Now you said, "The danger of the man is that he abandons principle whenever it needs to be done. In the 1994 election he put his face against the election until April of that year. I was running a training camp to sabotage elections and he capitulated, he just capitulated. There is no other reason for it, he just capitulated. He abandoned what he was doing. I had to go and disband what we were doing and tell the guys 'I've been all wrong for the last six months, go home now because there are going to be elections'."
. What kind of camp were you?
WF. It was a military camp along military lines teaching people with military instructors of small weaponry use, the use of ambush techniques, the use of communication sabotaging, the use of tracking surveillance work.
POM. But you were running this camp, and the purpose was that if elections did take place and ballot boxes were -
WF. We could destroy telephone lines and make communication impossible in rural KZN where the electoral districts were being demarcated and run from schools.
POM. What did you think would be the consequences of that? Say he had not contested the elections, say you had gone ahead and the elections were held there and you had implemented whatever sabotage operation you were organising, what would have been the consequences of that?
WF. The IEC declaring that in the area there was not a free and fair election and that Mandela would then have taken over personal control and run the province from his office. That was the constitutional position.
POM. He would run the province from his office? OK. What would that have meant?
WF. That would have meant a continuing war of attrition because implementation of whatever he decided would be totally impossible.
POM. So there would be just destabilisation, continued destabilisation of the province?
WF. The entire region, yes.
POM. Of the region. Would there have been any moves to secession on the part of - was that ever discussed?
WF. There was never any attempt to think in terms of secession because Buthelezi was well aware that in this day and age it could not work technically, internationally, finance-wise, control-wise, security-wise, it just couldn't be done. Secession was not an option he ever considered.
POM. Essentially you were prepared to destroy the new SA, make it stillborn?
WF. Yes. Buthelezi was dead set against the constitution ever being ratified. He was opposed to the interim constitution in principle. He was opposed to the ANC being in charge of a Constitutional Assembly writing a new constitution and he would rather face death and destruction of that whole process.
POM. And you? You with your background in liberal politics, having friends at university who were members of the ANC, joining the Christian Institute, was this to be the end of the road, with SA engulfed in war?
WF. When I was involved in those years, I shared Buthelezi's view that it would be unthinkable for the ANC to go ahead without Buthelezi. The harshness of hindsight has now of course spelt out how I should have seen very much earlier than I did see that that would take place, that there would be a dropping of Buthelezi. So I never actually envisaged the final outcome to be one of anarchy or one of the destruction. I thought there would be a pausing and a further attempt to reach an all-inclusive settlement with Buthelezi and so you were actually producing the threat which was worse than the bite could ever be.
POM. So you would have foreseen a situation where Mandela would have said to Buthelezi, "Come let's discuss this", and they would have reached some agreement where he would have been brought into the government at some level and elections would have been carried out in KZN?
WF. And the solution to the rural political problem with the chiefs and the King would have been solved.
POM. Is there any doubt in your mind, as there is to this day in the ANC itself, that in fact they won the election in KZN in 1994 but after the count where part of the deal made was that the ANC would contest it in court, they just let it stand?
WF. I think there was a sentiment arbitrarily produced by Johann Kriegler as chairman of the IEC who in the end apportioned seats in terms of whatever formula he, Kriegler, used and nobody else knew about. There was certainly a degree of political fraud on both the ANC and IFP sides which was difficult to assess but the balance of opinion was probably correct that on balance the IFP would have in a free election achieved the majority of votes. The ANC, of course, dispute this, but I think the subsequent indices support the notion that the IFP would have won a fair and free election by a very narrow majority.
POM. They got the majority of the vote even though they lost the urban areas in the local elections.
WF. Yes, they had a share of the urban vote they subsequently lost, they had a share of the white vote they subsequently lost.
POM. But they still got an overall majority of the vote in the province?
WF. I believe so, yes, and I believe that subsequent polls and research has shown that.
POM. You said he abandoned what he was doing. "I had to go and disband what we were doing or what he was doing."
WF. 'We' were doing. I was doing what I was doing there on instructions and in collaboration with Buthelezi. I wasn't doing it as Walter Felgate.
POM. What he was doing and tell the guys I've been wrong. The principle didn't change but he just realised that he could not service that principle, that principle would not service him. He couldn't stop the election. If he did try to stop the election we would end up in a situation in which he would be much worse off so he abandoned it, no consultation. There wasn't IFP pressure and lots of debate, it was a Buthelezi decision.
. Why do you say if he couldn't stop the election that, you said, we would end up in a situation? Is that 'we', a 'he' would end up in a situation?
POM. That goes contrary to just the rationale you've given me for disrupting the election. In a sense you're disrupting the election and you're expecting there will be a continuing war of attrition but Mandela will -
WF. I am saying that one threatened to produce a war which could only be a continuing war of attrition believing that they would never get that far, believing that the threat would be sufficient to stop the ANC and make them reconsider and necessarily bring about a reconciliation with Buthelezi, a political, constitutional reconciliation.
POM. He came to the conclusion that that wouldn't be so?
WF. He came to the conclusion that he could not stop the election and if he could not stop the election the threat wasn't there and if he could not stop the election and if he didn't participate he would have ANC rule in the province.
POM. You talk about Albert Luthuli saying that you should go and join alliance politics. What was meant at that time by 'alliance' politics?
WF. The ANC and PAC were all involved in passive resistance campaigns and alliances were struck between those parties to run a defiance campaign and passive resistance campaigns, pass burning, so it was an attempt across party lines to stage black solidarity.
POM. Then you say you met Johnny Makathini of the ANC at the NEC in Lusaka. Who else? What other members do you recall?
WF. Virtually all of them. There were people who regularly attended meetings that I held with the ANC, was Johnny Makathini, Joe Slovo, Reg September, Alfred Nzo and Nkobi. Those were the group of people who were dominantly present in our discussions.
POM. Who was the last person?
WF. He was the Treasurer General, Nkobi. The Secretary General, the Treasurer General, Joe Slovo, Johnny Makathini and Tambo.
POM. You said then you left and you did your PhD at the University of Southern Mozambique. You said you were persona non grata in SA, you could go to no black areas. In all of this time while you were going back and forth between here and Lusaka and in a way operating as a go-between Buthelezi and Tambo and Tambo and Beyers Naudé and actually meeting with members of the ANC's NEC and in that sense having some handling of the thinking of the ANC, you were never detained, pushed by security people, hampered in your travels? You were free to come and go as you pleased? Even at one time you had almost overlapping memberships in one organisation that saw itself as part of the liberation movement and another organisation that was operating on a different track like the IFP?
WF. There were two sets of circumstances. One, I had had very high level dealings with the SA government as African Affairs adviser to Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation.
POM. With people like who in the government?
WF. Foreign Affairs, dominantly Foreign Affairs, Bantu Administration because I was dealing with labour matters and with international relations, so had come out of that drawer and had come out of that drawer putting up the best possible fight against anti-apartheid, disinvestment campaigns. I was fighting for multi-nationals' right to invest in SA and defending that right nationally and internationally. So I had that image. I also had the very strong personal backing of Buthelezi and the government would be very reluctant to act against anybody who was doing anything for Buthelezi because the more progress Buthelezi made in what he and Beyers Naudé were doing the better it suited the SA government. The recognition that there was a role for internal democracy and Buthelezi was -
POM. Why was it the more successful they were the better it was?
WF. Because the image of Buthelezi would be enhanced.
POM. But on the other hand the more black on black violence you had the more you could point to the liberation struggle as a house divided against itself.
WF. You could have black on black struggle which the government was quite capable of introducing themselves without Buthelezi. If you had black on black struggle and you had Buthelezi emerging as a dominant personality campaigning for the acceptance of the homeland government scheme and for differentiation of political rights in SA, it suited the SA government, there's no question about it. They had a complete trust in Buthelezi because they knew what Buthelezi was doing and how Buthelezi was actively campaigning against the ANC, so his manoeuvrings on the international church and monetary fund situations, his diplomacy drives and his campaign for non-violence, campaigns against disinvestment were all very valuable to the government. There would have been unprecedented ructions had they done anything to me because I was so solidly supported in everything I was doing by Buthelezi, I was doing it with him and for him. So there was that side of it.
. The other side of it was that there was a degree of success. I was using ANC escape routes to cross borders so the SA government did not know where I was going until I had emerged in public somewhere and I was reported back, but at many of these meetings which were clandestine meetings across the border either into Mozambique or Botswana, both of which had sets of government officials opening the way for people like me dealing with the ANC and the ANC dealing with people like me, there was a joint committee for instance in Mozambique composed of the Foreign Affairs, the army and Machel's department and the ANC sat on this common committee to deal with passages of people in and out of SA. So you had the prediction of that very safe passage and you disappeared out of sight and the next thing you would come back out of sight. On one occasion in which I did travel with a SA passport from SA I was called aside by a Special Branch at Jan Smuts Airport on departure and served with a notice that they had reason to believe that I was indulging in things which were detrimental to the interests of SA and they were just giving me a warning that if I continued this I would have consequences, active intimidation. When I was in Amsterdam I -
POM. So they did have a tie up, were keeping tabs on you?
WF. Yes obviously. When I pitched up at the Foreign Affairs office in Sweden and discussed matters with the Foreign Affairs it was something that they would get to know about. I was saying the operation was actually one in which I had essentially lost my passport in Amsterdam and was issued with a new passport, so I had two SA passports. The one I used to leave the country and then come back to the country. The other one I went out of the country illegally and then used my second passport to travel around Europe or wherever I was going so there was no connection, no stamps of foreign countries, and particularly in Africa. I left no official trail. Botswana, the Secretary to Seretse Khama's government, Steenkamp, worked with the Foreign Affairs minister and smoothed passages there as well. So you could get to Zambia via Botswana or you could get to Europe via Mozambique quite comfortably.
POM. Now Niel Barnard says that his organisation, and he did say it because I asked him because, again, I think it is said in one or two of the books, or every book that's written, that the NIS had infiltrated the ANC at all levels and Barnard said yes that was true and there was many a high official in government today who was on the NIS payroll.
WF. It didn't surprise me at all.
POM. Did you while you were in places like Lusaka and meeting with members of the ANC's NEC, did it ever strike you that your activities were being reported back to Pretoria?
WF. You assumed that that was the case. You would be naïve not to assume that that would be the case. You went on, surprised each time that you were allowed to go on yet once more and do a bit a more, and do a bit more not knowing when the chop is going to come. You would have been absolutely stupid to think that you were outwitting everybody. You were playing a role and you were making it possible to play the role, you were taking the risk of illegal night time crossings on foot across borders in strange countries and then reliant on a set of people beyond the borders. It's obviously something that you couldn't keep secret. As I said, I had to deal with the World Council of Churches and when I went to Geneva and I saw the World Health Organisation or went to a Foreign Affairs Department, say a Foreign Minister in Sweden or Canada, whoever I was dealing with, or we went to international interdominational church meetings where the secret police would certainly have observers and they would certainly be reporting back that you were there doing these things. But again the protection of Buthelezi was very fundamentally important.
POM. Would the government have been in favour of there being - do you think the government ever entertained the notion that Buthelezi might be able to persuade the ANC as to his course of direction?
WF. No, the government was backing Buthelezi as an internal development that would oust the ANC in importance and become the prime mover in black politics. It was as simple as that.
POM. Then my point would be, would they not ask themselves what is this trusted confidante of Buthelezi doing crossing the border repeatedly to meet with the -
WF. Gaining backing for the importance of Buthelezi. Buthelezi was receiving backing. When I went to Foreign Affairs office on this ticket, when I was arranging for Oliver Tambo to meet Steve Biko somewhere in Europe and I was arranging for the necessary travel documents and security arrangements and government support.
POM. It was all done through the Christian Institute?
WF. All done through the Christian Institute. People saw Buthelezi involved in something they could really back as part of the liberation struggle so I think Buthelezi was gaining and the SA government were recognising Buthelezi was gaining and, as I said, Buthelezi, if you look at the documentation, what he says to government itself over the whole of the 1980s and early 1990s and what he said to the National Council and Central Committee before it, it was very clear, Buthelezi was on a take-over bid. He wanted to replace the ANC and the government was supporting him in merging in the struggle as the leader to be noted and the negotiating partner of the future.
POM. And yet they literally switched sides as soon as Mandela was released.
WF. They switched sides when they saw the capacity of the IFP did not match the capacity of the ANC to do on the ground things and become a destabilising factor. The ANC could have brought the government to a standstill and made the country ungovernable. Buthelezi could not do that so the threat of ungovernability was the thing that drove De Klerk into submission.
POM. You mentioned, "I was doing research ... and I was prevented from going into any black township, any black area." I suppose that's in SA?
WF. In those days no white could go into a township or into a rural black tribal area without getting a permit from the magistrate. The Commissioner General reported to the SA parliament that I was a threat to the security of the state.
POM. This would have been in nineteen?
WF. Oh, 1969, somewhere about there, 1968/69. I was a threat to the security of the state and that I was not to be permitted into any black areas and the magistrate - I was then at that stage doing research, I had a research camp at Kosi Bay in north eastern Zululand, the magistrate came to my camp and gave me three hours to vacate his magisterial district. If I wasn't out of his magisterial district in three hours I would be arrested. So I had to abandon my camp, I left it to my interpreter to tie the ends up and I packed what I could and got out.
POM. What were you doing your research on?
WF. It was basically an ecology study of the relationship between ecology and social and political institutional organisation, how does a tribal society organise itself to cope with its environment and there was a particularly harsh ecological environment they were living in and I was looking at how people organised themselves, as a social anthropologist.
POM. Did you finish the thesis?
WF. I finished the thesis in draft form. I think I mentioned to you before that my supervising professor, internal examiner, Professor Eileen Krige insisted on full disclosure on the radically different tribal economic patterns this side of the border and the other side of the border, same people, same tribe, same history, same institutions but economically they were totally differently organised, the tribal economics were totally different. The tribe on the Mozambican side was dependent on a very lucrative widespread cash cropping of dagga, marijuana. Now I couldn't make those disclosures because then I would be betraying the people with whom I had worked and lived and was accepted and became friends with and part of their community, so I couldn't go and expose this cash cropping. There was no other accounting for the economic differences so I left the economic chapters unwritten and made mere theoretical references to it. She insisted on that chapter's inclusion and she knew about it because on a weekly basis I couriered the field notes to her in case there was a fire or it got lost, if you lost your field research work you've got to secure your documents. So she had been receiving these documents and was aware of my observations and documentation. I refused to do so and this held up the production of the thesis. The field research for three years was funded by the Human Sciences Research Council and one of the stipulations of that Council was that a written report be submitted to them on the research findings. So she took the law into her own hands and prepared a draft for submission to the HSRC with her name on it because she was the person who was responsible for the research grant. I then took her to the Supreme Court for plagiarism. It never got into court, she capitulated before then and then we had a compromise and I put my name to a draft document which came out in book form. The University of Natal published it and then submitted that to the HSRC. Obviously it was goodbye to my PhD.
POM. One thing, you said "And there I met Frelimo and the first Minister of Justice was my personal friend and a lawyer", and then the tape stopped, it came to the end of the tape. You met Frelimo within - ?
WF. Frelimo was the liberation movement, Samora Machel's party.
POM. Yes of course.
WF. When I was dealing with him I did not know that he was Frelimo. Obviously, nobody knew.
POM. So you met Machel there?
WF. No I never met Machel, no.
POM. The first Minister of Justice. What was his name?
WF. My mind is blank on it at the moment. I'll think of it in a moment. When the Christian Institute decided that we must meet with the ANC in this joint venture you had then to contact the ANC. Now you can't go to London with a South African passport, knock on the door and speak to Oliver Tambo. You've got to come with credentials. So I went back to Mozambique, got accredited by the Minister of Justice with a letter of introduction to the ANC camp in Tanzania and I proceeded to Tanzania, met the ANC camp there and they referred me to Johnny Makathini who was then the UN representative at UN, the ANC representative at the UN. I then met him and then he introduced me to Oliver Tambo. So you had to go with some accreditation otherwise you'd never have met Oliver Tambo. So I just mention that in passing as a contact that made the Christian Institute venture possible.
POM. Interesting. Not too far to go. These can be answered pretty quickly. The question of a single ballot paper. You said: - "At that stage the ANC were holding out for a single ballot paper and Tertius Delport together with the others pressed this at a meeting where predominantly NP MPs from this province said that if we did not get the support we needed and if the measures went through they would resign their seats as members of parliament, they felt very strongly about it. In the event they never did, it never came to anything. We had that kind of rapport."
. You wanted a single ballot for national elections and one for provincial elections? Yes, OK. When you say 'we had that kind of rapport', you mean that it was more hot air than - ?
WF. No, the rapport in which they could in all earnestness give us those undertakings but then couldn't deliver on their side. They failed to deliver but the rapport was there to produce a genuine attempt to make the delivery.
POM. These are just going back to some of these things we started at. Again an assumption was that, or some people say an assumption was that when the ANC was unbanned that on the government side it felt that when it came to negotiations they would run circles round the ANC as they were far more sophisticated, far more experienced and that the ANC guys were a bunch of amateurs and as it turned out it practically turned out to be the other way around, that the ANC had a very sophisticated team of negotiators who ran circles around the NP negotiators, in Van Zyl Slabbert's words 'took them to the cleaners'. Would you subscribe to the view that the government held the first view?
WF. Oh yes, they were totally unaware of the extent to which Ramaphosa would creep out of the COSATU woodwork and come and take on the dominating ANC role in negotiations. They were totally confident that they and Buthelezi could run circles around ANC negotiators.
POM. Who else, the hard negotiations you were in, from any side who impressed you, who stood out as being really good at what they were doing?
WF. Roelf Meyer was good. Nobody must take away the fact that Roelf Meyer was good at what he was doing. He lacked the organisational backing and the dynamic that Ramaphosa had but he was good. Ramaphosa was excellent. Wessels was good. The DP guy, Colin Eglin, was really good. De Lille in her own way was good.
POM. Patricia de Lille?
WF. PAC. Patricia de Lille, she learned very fast.
POM. Joe Slovo?
WF. Joe Slovo, yes, he played more of a background role but in all crucial meetings he and Ramaphosa worked together and produced the results. Thabo Mbeki whenever he came into it was very dominating. He tended not to be in the front line negotiating position. Niel Barnard was particularly good backing up Roelf Meyer.
POM. Mac Maharaj?
WF. Mac Maharaj was more of an executive functionary. He ran the executive and he and Fanie van der Merwe were the natural administrators and executive backbone to what was happening throughout. They were excellent in the job, they and the guy in charge of administration.
POM. Hassen Ebrahim?
WF. No he was in the Negotiating Council. I'm talking about CODESA. Hassen Ebrahim only came in really prominently in the Constitutional Assembly. He emerged in the Negotiating Council under - I'll think of it in a moment.
POM. And on your own side?
WF. Generally a severe lack of negotiating capacity and skill. You had the overriding dominance, the IFP delegations were subject to the overriding domination of cabinet ministers, KwaZulu cabinet ministers. Frank Mdlalose rapidly earned a name for himself as a very affable, avuncular figure who was always seeking to smooth things over but none of the ministers came prepared to negotiate. There was never any caucusing prior to crucial negotiations. You arrived and you presented them with documents that the Chief had approved and they sat and read the document. There was no caucusing afterwards, no analysis of what went wrong and what went right, invariably running late for meetings. So it was a different kind of team altogether running on formalities of documents which were produced in advance and were document driven and negotiator driven.
POM. I asked you about the TRC before. One of the gripes then by the IFP was that the TRC was a witch-hunt aimed in part against Buthelezi or other senior members of the IFP and it was ANC driven. While you were a member of the IFP did you subscribe to that view?
WF. Not really. Right at the beginning of the TRC's existence I had a long discussion with Alec Boraine and Alec Boraine and I go back many, many years in the Methodist Church.
POM. You knew him from when?
WF. Oh from my early twenties. He was a Minister in the Methodist Church and I was a local preacher in the Methodist Church.
POM. Same church?
WF. Same church yes, Methodist Church. He was one of the youngest ever presidents of the church, elected President of the Church, so we've known each other a long time and I could talk to him. I was totally opposed to the Buthelezi castigation of the TRC because I saw it as a necessary process that we had to go through in one or another form. The only gripe with the TRC, and it still is in my mind something which other people are not talking about, the struggle for liberation very dominantly was won by black tenacity and the breaking down of apartheid not only from outside but also from within, the defiance of pass laws, the defiance of job reservation, the Apprenticeship Act, Labour Relations Act, the refusal to cow down to apartheid, step by step made these laws inoperable. Industry was siding with labour, they were providing blacks with skills training that the law said they should not be provided with and they were employing them in capacities the law said they should not be provided with. There was a whole defiance of apartheid by ordinary people. Those are the totally unsung heroes and heroines of the struggle. Nobody has ever stopped to recognise the role of ordinary black South Africans. At any one year between 300,000 and 400,000 blacks were jailed every year for offences against apartheid. That's a struggle on its own. It's a struggle that ordinary people, ordinary housewives, ordinary young men and fathers and husbands waged, a refusal to accept apartheid. I think the TRC is not going to have any accreditation to that dimension of black South African society which produced the final support system for the ANC which otherwise they wouldn't have had. It was that defiance which supported COSATU and the UDF which again brought about the circumstances in which negotiations were inevitable.
POM. Do you think that the TRC will, just looking at it as truth, that it will have done an adequate job in revealing the truth about the past? Justice?
WF. No it's a totally impossible dilemma. The TRC did not have the resources nor did it have the budgets to complete what it started. There is no way in which you could uncover what it attempted to uncover in the limited time available to it. I think it's being highly important in the amnesty hearing section of it, the thing that has imprinted indelibly on many South African minds, never ever going to allow that kind of society to evolve. So it's important in that respect but in terms of actually - for instance the terms of reference include the charge that they must find who is responsible for violence in KZN. There is no way in which they're going to do that. The hearings part, my own testimony to them, I was grilled from nine in the morning till after four with virtually no break. It's a long time to be grilled by seven people and forty or fifty things that were discussed throughout had to be either accepted or investigated. I know they had no time to go and investigate the things that I have said. They can patch together where what I say dovetails with what somebody else has said and they can say, well, that's corroborated statements. But actual investigation, research into it - it started off with my subpoenaing and Section 29 hearing in which I was told that there would be -
POM. Section 29 hearing is in camera?
WF. In camera hearing. It was actually a preparatory hearing to an actual hearing. I was told that there would be two research workers allocated to work through the documentation that I had with me and to help me produce a balanced report. That never took place. The research workers were never available. In the end I produced a report to the TRC and it did not corroborate it. So I am saying they just haven't got the capacity to go into the documentation or go into the stories that people tell them so they must end up with big holes in their understanding.
POM. Justice? Truth, justice and reconciliation, has it contributed towards the achievement of justice?
WF. I don't know, it's a moot point. Justice is so bedevilled with huge problems, internal problems and transitionary problems which are nowhere near being solved. It's difficult to say. I think there's been a certain degree of social justice, but again rising more out of amnesty applications than anything else.
POM. Many would argue that the granting of amnesty is the antithesis of seeing justice done, that many security people have walked in there and confessed to everything and said, "I was told by my superior and I was working for the government and there was a communist plot and this is the way I murdered", and they're looking at their watches saying, "Gee I've another 15 minutes to go and this is the way I murdered Mr X, I put a bag around his neck and I tied the bag and pushed him against the wall and I held it like that until he collapsed and died. That's my story. I apply for amnesty and I did it for a political motivation."
WF. That's a very cynical representation of what actually transpires and I think there's a counter side which needs to be looked at. One's notion of justice is always in enlightened thinking centred on rehabilitation and not on retribution. I think that's the nature of western civilised law, that it seeks not to exact a tooth for a tooth. If you've got a situation in which an amnesty applicant confesses and makes full disclosures you're faced with a question of, does he need to go to jail so he can never do it again, as you would do with a rapist or a felon of any other kind? I think the amnesty applicants are not going to do what they did again and I think there's justice in seeking remorse which is rehabilitative rather than seeking retribution which is revenge.
POM. Reconciliation, other than some instances of reconciliation between victims and perpetrators of crimes? At least I gained the impression from many people I've talked to on every side that it has created more polarisation than reconciliation but then is that an inevitable result in the short run?
WF. Yes, I adopt the view of the TRC in this matter and that is that the TRC is the beginning of a process of reconciliation. The process doesn't end with disbanding of the TRC and the TRC and its investigations will make that process possible which would otherwise not be possible. I think over the next five, eight, ten years the effects of the TRC are going to work out towards reconciliation. The laying bare of problem areas, of conflicts and the naming of names has created circumstances in which reconciliation can now begin to be attempted. They've taken all the ghosts out of the cupboard and put them on the table and shone a torch on them and you can deal with that.
POM. Just one or two other things. You talked about the list that was drawn up of the 400 leaders who were killed. You said some put it at 1000. But anyway you put it on the agenda of the Peace Committee: - "Before that could materialise and actually come to anything I had a Central Committee meeting which slammed the notion of this investigation into a number of deaths. Their argument was that Goldstone would do a superficial investigation, come up with nebulous findings and then for ever thereafter people will say, well Buthelezi has not verified the facts, so they refused the investigation by Goldstone." Was that Buthelezi? What was he afraid of?
WF. I think Buthelezi was aware, as I was aware, that those lists were drawn up basically by two relatively junior members of the IFP who rushed off whenever there was violence to the community, took down names and produced a report. There was no collaboration and there was no corroboration, there was no checking, there were no follow-ups, the data was unreliable, and if an investigation showed that a significant number of cases brought to Goldstone were proved to be unreliable it would cast doubt on the whole list of people.
POM. He was afraid of if there were a thorough investigation into the names his credibility would suffer perhaps?
WF. Suffer. It was more appropriate to produce a list of 1000 people, of names and addresses, and say these are the people who were killed. Look, they're all IFP chairmen or secretaries of other officials, now this is what's happening and leave it as unproven, but you have made a statement. Unless you investigate it and even if you took a small proportion and Goldstone told me that he couldn't possibly investigate 1000 people, I must select the people I felt most needed investigation, give him a short list and then he would investigate those. That's what the IFP refused to do.
POM. You said: - "I can't imagine anybody in the IFP not reporting on a one-to-one basis to Buthelezi on everything that that person did." Does that mean, and I think you have answered it, that people who engaged in illegal actions would have told him anyway, even though he hadn't ordered them, would have informed him about the actions they had carried out?
WF. Most certainly that's what I'm saying, yes. Someone like MZ Khumalo who was in charge of the Caprivi trainees and the deployment afterwards would not have done a thing without keeping Buthelezi informed about what he was doing.
POM. Did he appear before the TRC?
WF. No. A subpoena has gone out for him but it became known as the 'Magnus Malan trial' in which he was part of the seven IFP people charged with murder and conspiracy, but they were released on technical grounds of inadequacy of police documentation.
POM. You said: - "Accountability and responsibility lies with people in charge." Who was in charge? Does ultimate responsibility lie with - ?
POM. So that even if he was not part of a decision, say for an illegal action, if he was informed of it, then it fell - ?
WF. He assumed responsibility.
POM. "I don't want any more of these kind of actions."
WF. When you are praised for it and thanked for it and even if he didn't originate it.
POM. Last page. We're still talking about the same thing. "Dr Buthelezi could legitimately say 'I did not order this, I did not plan this, but I subsequently had knowledge of but I didn't try to investigate to find out what went on'."
. Was the same modus operandi in use by the government?
. "People like Buthelezi and whoever would legitimately be able to say there was no official party decision (this is you) they know of no such decision. There was no organ which made those decisions. If it did take place it was taking place by somebody who they do not know. They can say that very legitimately. They could also admit that they did not pursue the matter. They allowed its flow because it's happening through their policies and it was good for whatever they were pursuing. Buthelezi could not spend the time he has spent denigrating the ANC, blaming the ANC for the assassination of IFP people and be intolerant of people who - "
POM. I was asking in light of what you had said that Buthelezi didn't have to organise any orchestrated retaliation against members of the ANC, he just incited people to retaliate. Do you think that the government's demonisation of the ANC in the seventies and eighties, and of the SACP in particular, could have just as easily led members of the security forces to take matters into their own hands and assume that they were doing their duty? That they didn't have to be ordered to eliminate these people, that it was implicit in a message they were receiving from every organ of state?
WF. I think this has become very clear in the amnesty application hearings that this did take place. Small groups acted under an umbrella of knowing that what they were doing would be approved without getting the approval and having to go to the people involved. I think the amnesty applications have also shown that undoubtedly people like Johan Coetzee, Commissioner of Police, or Magnus Malan or Le Grangé certainly knew that those kind of things were going on without them having knowledge of the details. I think Buthelezi is in the same position. He knew what was going on, he didn't have the details. People knew that he was supporting what they were doing and when successful would report back to him but without him authorising any of the action.
POM. Coming back to the beginning: - "He doesn't want his name tarnished, he doesn't want the beginnings of things. It's going to boomerang. After the commission has done its work then come the murder investigations as a result and the work that commission has done and there's no amnesty, people are going to have to go to the gallows and to lifelong imprisonment, then they're going to talk and there's going to be a backlash" In the end will the TRC open Pandora's Box?
WF. I think they will. Then it's a question of the Department of Justice and public prosecutors being able to decide what they pursue and what they don't pursue, what dockets they open or what they don't open. So I think a lot of politics would go into decisions about what's going to be done but the Pandora's Box will be open I am sure.
POM. Do you think that a time comes when after the release of the commission's report, and it probably will have named the people who have been issued with subpoenas who either did not respond to the subpoenas, that a case might be made for 'let sleeping dogs lie', or if we have a succession of trials involving - let's assume that all of the 200 names didn't respond to the subpoenas and that they're all prosecuted, that you have 200 prosecutions one after the other, amnesty going on, that the country gets mired in its state of anomie of irresolution?
WF. It's difficult to say. I'm looking at some of the realities. One is that if there are grounds for further investigation somebody has got to order that investigation, somebody must give it a priority listing, somebody has got to instruct some branch of police to go and investigate. Then a docket must be drawn up and somebody must make a decision about whether the docket warrants prosecution. There's a whole process which can be followed legitimately and it would be subject to enormous restraints because of a lack of manpower, lack of money, the inability of the police to fight crime and the rising crime anyway and to add this to their plate is going to be just too much. So there will be a lot of valid reasons why some things will not be pursued and other things will be pursued, leaving critical decision making an influence, I think an important factor about what will be done and if it's going to mean a movement to reconciliation, I think a lot of prosecutions will never take place because there will be no investigations.
POM. Now you say that Buthelezi would have been told by those who were carrying out any of these illegal actions of what they were doing. You were in an environment where members of the IFP were being killed and members of the ANC were being killed. Was there any doubt in your mind that the IFP either instigated or retaliated against attacks from the ANC or that the IFP was out to eliminate, as far as possible eradicate, the ANC?
WF. I just looked at it more simplistically than that. Across the world we have had liberation movements fighting against oppressive governments. You had to have, and there were wars of other liberation forces against ordinary people, a softening up process, a 'get him on your side' process, a breaking down of government collaboration. I think once you go into that scene there is violence and counter-violence as part of the name of the game. Whether you're acting as Frelimo or UNIP or ANC you've got to soften up the civilian population, you've got to create no-go areas for yourself and I think the whole process is one in which there is a natural progression of violence and counter-violence.
POM. You brought up Jacob Zuma's name and the issue of amnesty has been a controversial one in the sense that many people have said that the ANC made an offer of blanket amnesty to the NP and that Kobie Coetsee turned it down ostensibly on the grounds that they could use the granting of amnesty or indemnification as a bargaining chip of some kind, and that had he accepted that offer there would have been no TRC. Do you have any knowledge of such an offer ever being made to apply to all sides?
WF. No, you just had the extraordinary business of the ANC seeking and obtaining amnesty in unity which now of course has been upset by the Supreme Court decision. I've got no knowledge of what the current state of play is there.
POM. But that was for a certain group of people, not for all of them?
WF. No. But it had to be a blanket amnesty of returning exiles for political offences. When a political offence was a criminal offence that's a matter for the TRC to decide.
POM. But it didn't apply the other way round? That wasn't negotiated on the basis that there would be a blanket amnesty for any irregular actions conducted by the security forces, or do you simply not know?
WF. I don't know.
POM. The Peace Committee, how did it operate in practice?
WF. The Peace Committee was two different things - before and after the Peace Accord was signed in September. Prior to the Peace Accord, the Peace Committee strove to work on two fronts, one was to normalise relationships between security forces and the public and communities and the other to draw up a Peace Accord. After the Peace Accord was signed the Peace Committee then supervised regional peace keeping endeavours by sub-structures on a provincial and regional basis. In practice the Peace Committee was more of a talk shop and the peace work was done by a relatively autonomous set of structures working at provincial and regional level to bring about reconciliation.
POM. You were talking about Buthelezi: - "Buthelezi's political commitment already is made to the Amakosi. He said to me that he would rather die than give in on the issue. So we're moving into a situation where he needs an unstable environment in which to generate the kind of pressures which will make people fear what he could do as a sanction against inroads into the authority of the Amakosi."
. Do you think that that unstable environment, that was a year ago, do you think that unstable environment is beginning to shape itself or have things changed?
WF. No not yet, no. You've got an unstable environment evolving but not around that particular issue. The Richmond issue, for instance, is nothing to do with local government structures or Buthelezi's stake in local government or in democracy in rural areas. There is a beginning of a very unwelcome upsurge of political violence in a number of places in the province which can't bode very well for anything. But the instability I'm talking about is instability that the Amakosi will bring about on instructions from the IFP leadership.
POM. You still expect - ?
WF. Yes. I can't personally see that Buthelezi will capitulate and allow elections in government -
POM. But they're not due till next year, till the year 2000. They are split from the local elections.
WF. Yes but it's my contention that you must keep that pot simmering. You can't let that pot die and get cold and then light another fire after 1999. And if you look at the rhetoric Buthelezi is using in addressing the House of Traditional Leaders, it's worth reading those documents, his addresses to the House of Traditional Leaders in KZN and the demands that he's making are all keeping expectations very high that the Amakosi will have an important role to play in local government. So he's keeping that pot warm, if not simmering.
POM. Almost finally, and I'd asked you this and again the tape switched off, the question was: the question is whether the IFP is part of Buthelezi or Buthelezi part of the IFP? You said in response to my question does the IFP exist without Buthelezi, you said : - "Parties very seldom implode. Parties either have a split down the centre and there is a schism in the party or leadership changes. The question is whether the IFP is part of Buthelezi or Buthelezi part of the IFP. Because the IFP is what it is there must be substantial reservoirs of potential leadership which are not coming forward."
. And I asked you, where would you put Ben? How is Ben Ngubane different from Frank? And you said : - "I shared digs with Ben at university. I've known him a hell of a long time. Ben only does what is good for Ben's image. I can give you numerous examples of where - " And then the tape stopped.
WF. Just for example, Buthelezi instructed myself and Ben to go and have opening discussions with Eugene Terre'Blanche from the AWB.
POM. Back in?
WF. Oh, 1983. I made the arrangements and then Ben pulled out and he said he couldn't afford the political risk that I can afford. He couldn't be seen to be speaking to Terre'Blanche so I must go ahead without him.
POM. Is this 1983 or 1993.
WF. 1993, sorry 1993. On another occasion Buthelezi sent Ben and myself to Transvaal, to Pretoria, to meet with right wing military people. There was a mixture of ex-army Generals. Viljoen was there amongst others, Geldenhuys was there, people currently in National Intelligence were there, Bophuthatswana Intelligence was there, Ciskei Intelligence was there, to talk about right wing backing of Buthelezi. So we went to the meeting together and obviously at such a meeting one only talked generalities and felt the pulse of things and then you pursued more private meetings on specific issues which had a need to know basis to them. So we met that afternoon and then it was agreed that I would then arrange further discussions of a more private nature where the need to know principle became operative and Ben pulled out of that, he wouldn't have anything to do with anything like that whatsoever. Frank was prepared to take risks for Buthelezi. Ben was not prepared, has never been prepared to take risks.
POM. So as a premier do you think he is more effective than Frank in running the province?
WF. They had two different roles. Frank's role was to bring about a government of provincial unity which he succeeded in doing with Zuma. I think he would have done that job better than Ben could have done it. Ben has inherited a situation in which he's a caretaker premier until 1999. He's got no prospects of being re-elected as premier.
POM. He has no prospect of it?
POM. Because the ANC will - ?
WF. Either the ANC will take over or alternatively if the IFP wins there's the Buthelezi factor. If Buthelezi remains in politics, the IFP remains in politics, Buthelezi will have to be the premier of KZN to give him some prominent status if he wins the elections. So if the IFP win the election I see, if Buthelezi stays on in politics, he won't be an ordinary MP he would have to be premier of KZN which gives him some clout and advantage in negotiations for the Zulu situation. So Ben is a caretaker guy who doesn't want to blot his copybook and is keeping the seat warm for Buthelezi in the best circumstances.
POM. So in the end, at the end of the day you don't see the ANC making this kind of deputy presidency offer to Buthelezi in order to keep the IFP on board?
WF. It would be wonderful for South Africa if it could work. It's really a laudable thing to do if it can work. But I don't see it working. I don't see Buthelezi -
POM. That he would go for it?
WF. I don't see ultimately that he will make the sacrifice of tribal society. His political investment in the Amakosi is so huge he can't dump it, I can't see him dumping it.
POM. Just the last couple of things, since you joined the ANC. The ANC targeting two thirds - we covered this didn't we?
POM. The problem of AIDS. When I came here in 1989 I asked Barend du Plessis, whom I saw two days ago again, I've kept up with him every year just as a running tag even though he's well retired, I asked him what had the government budgeted for AIDS? I was doing a lot of work of AIDS at the time. And he looked at me and his eyes popped as though what a strange question to ask, and without him having to say anything it was obvious if they had budgeted anything they had budgeted next to nothing. I saw a figure yesterday in fact that in 1993, that would be the last year of the NP government, the allocation for AIDS prevention and education was R21 million. Now there are reports coming out of astronomical levels of AIDS in KZN, it leads the nation, it's over a 20% rate of infection. There are three million people HIV infected, having risen from one million to three million in six years; 150 new infections every month; and at a conference in Johannesburg at the weekend one international expert said that unless it were brought under control that by the year 2010 the life expectancy of South Africans would have gone from 60 years to 40 and this would destroy the whole fabric of society. In the last week or so more attention has been paid to it but it's not a government priority. If it were, massive sums would have to be poured into God knows what. How do you deal with a problem like this, of this magnitude? Or can you deal with it? In the west they tried - it was homosexual and the homosexual community, being a highly organised community, was able to police itself and bring the rate down and under control; or it was drug related which they didn't count because they had no political constituency, but it wasn't heterosexually transmitted as such. I think the rate of cross-sex transmission is 2% or something. So it kind of fell off the American chart as an issue, no public policy issue when it didn't become a heterosexual disease. Campaigns to get people to use condoms, men to use condoms, turned out to be a complete failure. What can be done?
WF. As I understand it there is no viable plan of action, there's no blueprint for AIDS dealing in the future and therefore there is no budget. I don't know whether there's no plan because a plan is impossible to draw up or because planners have been under-resourced and the planning hasn't been resourced.
POM. 27% of the women who attend pre-natal clinics in KZN are HIV infected.
WF. One in three, yes. The last figure I heard from the Ngwelezana Clinic was one in three.
POM. One in three!
WF. Pre-natal clinic attendance is one in three. And KZN it's heterosexual, it's not homosexual.
POM. Oh yes, that's the big difference between - why it never became an issue in America. It's different here. If it doesn't become an issue, all your plans about development and constitutionality and things like that are all subsumed by a disease that eradicates the -
WF. Governments across the world are very inept in dealing with problems which could emerge in the future. The whole environmental issue, the warming up of the earth, governments haven't taken, or internationally haven't taken action because it's some time in the future. Governments are good at dealing with things that threaten their position today, but they're not good at dealing with things which may occur in five or ten years time. That's almost universal in the behaviour of government and it's the same here.
POM. Last, very last, the alliance. Having been inside the ANC now, is talk of a dissolution of elements of the alliance after the 1999 elections but before the year 2004 more wishful thinking than real? Are the disputes between COSATU and the ANC and the SACP family disputes that are aired in public but don't threaten the cohesiveness of the alliance built up over the years, that they will stand together until they see the transformation of SA take place?
WF. I'm interested in this because one of the fundamental differences between the IFP and the ANC is that the ANC has had the capacity to work in tandem with civic organisations, with non-governmental organisations and trade unions and the IFP has never had that capacity. So to me it's a dimension of the ANC, it's important. My own perceptions are coloured by conversations with individuals. When I witnessed the lambasting of the SACP Secretary General by Mbeki I made it my business to go and speak to him.
POM. This is Charles - the new one or the old one? Charles Nqakula or Blade Nzimande?
WF. No, he's chairman. The Secretary General is Cronin, Jeremy Cronin.
POM. He's the Deputy Secretary, yes.
WF. But Thabo came particularly heavily down on him personally in Bloemfontein, so I made it my business to go and speak to him and I gained the impression that the SACP were totally convinced that democracy still has to be fought for, we haven't achieved a democratic state, and that the real fight for a future democracy is taking place and will have to take place within the ANC camp. They see the ANC front as remaining fundamentally important in the drive towards democracy so they see no future or no advantage, any disassociation, dissolution of a partnership. They want to keep the partnership going because they recognise the only show in town is the ANC show. Opposition is going to become virtually nothing after 1999 and the ANC will sink or swim on the way it deals with issues and they believe it should be resourced from within and should be supported.
POM. Do you think, you said the ANC will be the only show in town after 1999, that as things stand now they are going into election mode with an economy that is in crisis, a stock market and financial markets that have lost 40% of their value in the last six months, with a poor record on services, with an inability to create economic growth. In fact this year and next year per capita income will probably decline, joblessness is on the increase, inflation is going up, and it will win handsomely. Do you think that will instil a false sense of security? It's like saying, we almost fail on every front in terms of delivery of services to the people except some electricity here and water taps there, and people are worse off than they were four years ago across the board, there are more poor, more people living in squatter camps and, gee, here we are, the only show in town. It doesn't really matter what we do. Does it give the incentive to say, my God the opposition is breathing down our neck, we'd better do a good job or we'll be out of business the next time around?
WF. The ANC is intensely aware of something which they see as far more potent than any opposition could be and that's the alienation of their own constituencies on non-delivery. That awareness is far more potent than any opposition could be in making the ANC think very carefully of how it does things and what it does. It's not regarding itself as a free agent to do as it will.
POM. How would it save the alienation of its own constituency? What measures would it take if that constituency is not going to vote for the NP or for the DP?
WF. Firstly there will be -
POM. Low turn out?
WF. The continuation of the floating vote, the people who say they're not going to vote or don't know how they're going to vote. That's running well over 20% now which is alarming. That's one degree of alienation. The continued vitality of ANC local branches on the ground, the regional structures, that vitality is dissipating and you're aware of this, particularly in setting up for elections. So these indices of alienation of the people and the emergence of spokesmen, anti-government, anti-ANC spokesmen, blaming the ANC for non-delivery, non-party political, is broadening. So I think you've got that awareness and there's a far-sightedness about the ANC's thinking which has characterised it for some time and they're not going to continue with the process. And there's also the other factor and that is politically there may be grumblings that the ANC has not delivered but there's no indication that, for instance, those grumblers think the IFP could do a better job. They are grumbling but they're not seeing alternatives that's better than the ANC. They see the ANC as failing and they're kicking the ANC for failing.
POM. But they're not kicking anybody else.
WF. Not seeing anyone to replace them.
POM. In fact, this is more for your information, I don't know whether you saw it, a survey by the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch on consumer confidence and it showed consumer confidence down considerably. But when it broke it down into black and white they found that white consumer confidence had dropped 25% in a year but that black consumer confidence in the economy and their financial position was largely unchanged from a year ago. The majority also rated the present is the right time to buy durable goods like household furniture and equipment and they look forward to their financial position becoming better over the next 12 months, not worse. Whereas for whites it was diametrically the opposite. So researchers have some trouble explaining why but there are any number of reasons.
. Last, to end, UDM. What's taking place in Richmond? Is this in any way a parallel or repetition of the UDF and the IFP?
WF. No. The Richmond situation is greatly contaminated by the fact that Sifiso Nkabinde has control over a vast squatter area on a farm that he is in the process of inheriting, or has been in the family, used to belong to his father, and you've got a parallel between Richmond and Lindelani in this respect. Thomas Shabalala has control over a large squatter area and he's got a squatter contingency and they've got to support him or they're out on their ear. But he has this private army, so to speak, from his own squatter area and I think Nkabinde has got the same dimension. So it's a different kettle of fish to the old UDF/IFP conflict.
POM. Now Shabalala has been reinstated in the provincial parliament by the court?
WF. As far as I know the IFP said they are going to take it on appeal. He's not yet returned to take up his position and there's the question of back pay and a matter of civil judgements yet to come. So that's still in the melting pot.
POM. He's one of the people I used to interview and then he disappeared off the map and I've been trying to trace him. I don't think I'll thumb a lift out to Lindelani.
WF. No not at the moment.
POM. Anyway, that's it. Thank you ever so much for the time. I will have this transcribed. Did you get a copy of the last one or do you have a new address for Judy to send it to you? Does Judy have your current address?
WF. I don't remember where the last one arrived from.
POM. Why don't I take your current address down in case she doesn't have it.