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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
05 Oct 2000: Maharaj, Mac
POM. We are at the interview of the 27th February 1995.
MM. Page 1, the last paragraph there is an underlined sentence to check whether the formulation you put is
POM. What I wanted to do when it is underlined is that I would knock the words out altogether. So the sentence would read, "But I don't have the means to increase your salary and now your child is about two years old you must understand that you must do the best for yourself."
MM. "You do the best for yourself", correct.Page 2, third paragraph, you've asked what do I mean. I say that, "Assurances that were meant for people who were in the system were given already practical form by the previous government", and you say what do you mean, what practical form were they given? Well, the promotions often took place by the previous regime before April 1994, they were promoted in the civil service, in the army, in the police, the job gradings were lifted, there was an away allowance system, e.g. at government level where the government functioned six months in Pretoria, six months in Cape Town and therefore they were employed, say, those employed in Pretoria would be given an away allowance while they're in Cape Town for six months including running a school and a crèche for the children and then the school in Pretoria would have to keep a space for them for the next six months of the year. So all those systems which all sent up their salaries.
POM. So they were paying twice?
MM. Oh yes, the cost of that system was more than R100 million just at the parliamentary level.
POM. So if I had child in a Pretoria crèche and I had to go to Cape Town for six months, I took the child out, I put it into a crèche in Cape Town.
MM. They took their servants also, paid for to go there, travel allowance.
MM. Domestics to look after my house in Cape Town and to look after my children and a school nursery in Cape Town which kept the place for that child and after six months the child would be back with me in Pretoria and the place in that crèche would be still kept open.
POM. So that meant that that place was paid for because it was kept open?
MM. Paid for.
POM. So there were two crèches being paid for.
MM. Two crèches being paid for, staff working only six months of the year. Then you had agreements at the Bargaining Council with the Public Service with regard to job security, so it's those sort of detailed agreements that the previous regime had entered into with the existing public servants which you could not undo just like that.
. Then the second paragraph from the bottom which begins, "The guarantees in their jobs is that their jobs are guaranteed but not their posts."
POM. That's what I've got, jobs are guaranteed but not their posts.
MM. I just wanted to underline the example of the implications of that for the state. We had in education fourteen departments with fourteen Directors General, we now needed to create one where only one person could become DG. Even if you considered the fourteen you could only select one to be the DG of National Education. What happens with the thirteen? You guarantee them their job but not their post so you could only give them a lower ranking job but the pay that you had to give them had to be the pay that they had been receiving as DG.
. Page 3, the underlining, no problem about your formulation. Page 4, second paragraph which begins, "The ANC had inhibition about talking." Now you then ask the question at the end of that sentence, in what sense when you say - ?
POM. "This really could become an uncontrollable process." They didn't want this because they feared it could become an uncontrollable process.
MM. Now in my view in the sense that racism is a question of fact as well as a question of perception, therefore the issue can become very emotive and usually when issues become emotive it's usually the hot-headed, the demagogues who would thrive in that atmosphere because they would play on the most fear generating aspects of that emotion. So it's a sensitive issue of how you manage the process of deracialisation.
POM. How you manage the process of?
MM. Deracialising that. Then at the end of the same paragraph you have made an underlining about how it should read and the underlining is, "Why is it that you are leaving ministers."
POM. I would be taking that all out and it should just read, "The other day in parliament I argued what I said to President de Klerk over and over again."
MM. That statement is right but it's standing out of context. What I was saying is that here we are in a coalition government, De Klerk, you and NP people have ministerial posts but you don't make appointments from the previously disadvantaged. You say you support the idea that everybody should be given equal opportunity but, you, Mr de Klerk are not appointing in your Deputy President's Office the previously disadvantaged. The only people who are appointing are those ministers who come from the ANC. So what you are doing in fact is while you, as far as the concept, you don't carry out the practice and you are making it look like the issue where there is, say, a wrong appointment, is because there's something wrong with me, the ANC minister. That's the point I was making.
. Then second paragraph from the bottom, the paragraph that begins, "Now I think this is a large source of grievance", you say, amongst whom? I say among blacks.
MM. Page 5, third paragraph which begins. "I approach matters differently", and in that paragraph there's a reference to the Helderberg and you want to know what I am referring to.
POM. That's the aeroplane?
MM. That's the aeroplane disaster which crashed over Mauritius in 1987/88 in which about 160 passengers died, mainly whites.
. At the bottom of that page the paragraph that starts, "That means consultation", the third line of that which starts, "The salient facts in a digestible form and then discussing them with interest groups", I think you should insert, "discussing options with interest groups."
. Page 6. "You would like to present facts tailored to the solutions that you want them to endorse."
POM. This is the first line, page 6.
MM. So you attempted to present facts tailored to the solutions that you want them to adopt. That's what you've got to avoid. You've got to put options backed by facts so that they become engaged in the selection of the option.
POM. Putting facts up front, were my words, is that OK?
MM. Yes that's all right. Now third paragraph "Did you see last night's programme on Agenda on the RDP?" At the end of that is survive, or meaning that you've What am I meaning there? The example of the rural area and the role of the Chief. What I am trying to say there is that the delivery of services based on the promises that the ANC made in the elections depends on involving people on the ground and removing blockages in the Public Service as well amongst people and our traditional structures of society. All of them have got blockages built into them. That's all I'm trying to say and you can only remove those blockages by involving the people on the ground in those processes and then yourself being able to see what are the blockages and helping to remove them.
POM. Where blockages you mean that they have opposition for one reason or another?
MM. Built on primarily vested interests which are sectional and narrower than the interests of the community.
. The next paragraph, "But this woman who was interviewed", you ask the question in the second line, "What do you mean by existing services?" I mean the Public Service, the Public Service as an instrument of delivery.
. Then page 7, second last paragraph from the bottom. Yes, Saatchi & Saatchi.
. Page 8.
POM. Who is 'they'? Oh yes, Saatchi & Saatchi.
MM. Page 8 right at the top you want to know what two experiences. I'm referring to the United States experience and our experience. The second paragraph, "all these things", you ask what things? All these things that have got to be explained to the public. I mean things like why should they vote? What are the different levels of government? Why are they? Why should there be elections? Why for the different levels different elections?
. The next paragraph, the third paragraph
MM. Tunisian, no. Keynesian. The next paragraph, so I think it's what? A benefit to us. I think the fact that our transformation comes against the experience of apartheid's social engineering and world experience. That's what it should have been. What I am trying to say there is that we've had a real experience of social engineering based on administrative decrees in law. It has taught us when we reflect on it that you cannot undo the process by a similar process of decrees, just ordering. You've got to build incentives and disincentives that create pressures that pull towards the objective that you want of the change and that push so you've got to create those pulls and pushes in the system so that the whole thing begins to be undone but it's got to depend on incentives and disincentives.
POM. So if you see the headline in this morning's paper which said that by this time next year 80% of all the Ambassadorial and High Commission posts will be held by blacks, is that being done by decree or is that being done by - ?
MM. That would be done by a restructuring exercise in advertising the posts both for incumbents and other people so that they compete for the post.
POM. So where is the incentive for the person who has already held the post? Where is the incentive?
MM. The incentive there is that you are now going to compete so in law we are not transgressing the law of your job security but to the extent that your post has fallen away because of the restructuring that you are currently holding if you don't come through you can take a retrenchment packet and move out of the system and be encouraged with all sorts of training programmes to go out and be on your own.
POM. What if you say, I don't want to be retrenched, will you be shifted sideways or will you be moved out?
MM. You'll be offered other posts.
POM. It's a good incentive to say you get money if you go or you get nothing and you can go.
MM. Find your way. But first share the objective of the restructuring that's needed to deliver the quality of service that's needed in our Foreign Service. Often in managing that process it goes wrong, let's be clear about it.
. So paragraph 4, I've dealt with that. The bottom paragraph, "Would you explain, the construction is ambiguous?" Let me explain. The paragraph is, "No, it cannot be minor modifications to the constitution". The interim constitution had one part that is unchangeable and that is the constitutional principles that were agreed upon at Kempton Park and they are contained in the interim constitution and they are the only aspect of the interim constitution that are binding and need to be abided by in writing the final constitution. That is why the final constitution had to go through a process of going to the Constitutional Court and saying here is the final constitution, Constitutional Court, here are the principles that were supposed to underlie this, can you pass judgement as to whether this final constitution is in accordance. Right?
. Page 9, the top paragraph. You are asking what system am I referring to? I'm referring to the system that had the three tiers and particularly the second tier, the provincial system of governance. I was referring to my experience of the problems that I reached and they are highlighted in the second paragraph. I have a province telling me that these assets belong to my province and yet it was a performer in part of the former TBVC state, where are the funds for that enterprise. I'm referring to Sun Air as an example because it fell partly in my portfolio. The Sun Air debacle.
. Now paragraph 5, I say it's OK, you are correct. Then I do add because in paragraph 6 you've got question marks.
POM. The question marks mean is this an original
MM. An original power or delegated power? My explanation for that is I distinguish between firstly
POM. The use of the word 'original'.
MM. I'm making a distinction there between powers that vest ab initio, from the beginning, that those powers vest with that level of government so that's original, from the beginning as distinct and I'm referring to subsidiary levels of government, not to the main level. Any provincial, local government the question arises, does this power originally belong to this level of government or is it a power that is a subsidiary level of government, is it delegated or is it devolved. Three terms that I use, original, delegated or devolved.
POM. How do you make the differentiation between what would be devolved and what would be delegated?
MM. A devolved power would be a power that is given exclusively to a subsidiary level of government by the constitution.
POM. Let's say I devolve a power from central government to a province.
MM. Let's say I say to the province, it is your power exclusively to determine how welfare payments are going to be determined, for which recipients and at what level. Now I have not delegated it, I have devolved it.
POM. OK, now does that mean that you can't take that part back?
MM. You can't take it back.
POM. You can't. OK, because in the British/Irish system they use devolve differently, it's devolved from the centre which the centre can always take back. Here it's used differently.
MM. Well to take it back you would have to go through a particular procedure and one of the problems involved with devolved powers is the subsidiary level of government to whom you have devolved that power must be party to the process of agreeing to return that power to me. If I'm not party to that process then the devolution means nothing, it's as good as delegation.
POM. And then delegation means that you delegate and you can take it back without having to go through
MM. Take it back. I do not have to have your agreement to take it back. OK?
MM. Page 10, second paragraph. "We know they", and you ask, is it the Group of Seven? I say "Yes", and then at the end of that paragraph you asked, "What does this last sentence mean and how does it fit?" The last sentence is, "So I am saying I don't understand from the ANC side that that push would be there." What are we talking about?
POM. So I'm saying I don't understand from the ANC side that push from the side, that push
MM. I'm saying the push in the final constitution in terms of the theoretical argument of unitarianism or federalism. I don't understand that there would be a push from the ANC towards unitarianism.
POM. But the ANC is for unitarianism.
MM. The ANC was but it would not be pushing in the final constitution to say we adhere to our idea of a unitary state.
MM. The ANC would not in the negotiations for the final constitution be arguing from the position we put forward for a unitary state, we now want solutions that fit with the unitary state concept.
POM. So would it be more accurate to say, "I am saying I don't - "
MM. I don't understand that the ANC would be pursuing a unitary state.
POM. I don't believe that the ANC in the final analysis would push for a unitary state. So it's a qualification more than
MM. Yes, so that explains the rest until we get to the bottom of the page. The bottom of the page is dealing with the IFP and the question you ask, "He is (that is Buthelezi) wedded to his conception of himself", which is what, you ask? And I say this is a major problem. And that is that he is wedded to the concept that he is a key player.
. Page 11, paragraph 6 where I say, "That happened in Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, the white right, it happened in KwaZulu-Natal", and you say, "When, elucidate?" I did that in the previous discussion we had when I discussed the raid and the closing of Mhlaba Camp.
POM. Yes, OK.
MM. And the next question is, "I think a similar thing", you say, "A similar thing to what?" The shortest way to put it is calling his bluff and then for that whole paragraph I make the following point. The IFP, its urban constituency had been eroded. With regard to the rural there was a split taking place in the community between the traditionalist and the modernist elements.
POM. In the rural areas?
MM. Yes. In the white constituency which had swung towards the IFP there was a swinging away from the IFP towards the DP. In the Indian constituency where a good section had moved towards the IFP, there was a swing away from the IFP and amongst the traditional leaders.
POM. From the IFP to?
MM. The NP, DP, ANC, more towards the NP, DP. And amongst the traditional leaders, which is Gatsha Buthelezi's remaining bastion, there were fractures opening up, e.g. between the King and Buthelezi. So this is how I look at the IFP constituency and what was happening at different levels.
POM. Different levels beginning to fragment.
MM. Page 12 top paragraph, "My own problems that I have encountered in my department mirror that as well. It is the only way we can change the culture." What is the only way? I say it's to pose questions and to find answers around that question. How, through what mechanism, can we best deliver to the people on the ground? That's the question that we should be posing as we restructure and change our departments so that you keep the objective of the public service in front of them when they seek a solution because otherwise you don't pose that question and their individual and sectional interests come into play.
. The rest is OK. Page 13 OK, page 14 OK, page 15 OK, 16 is OK. Page 17, right at the top of the page, that very first sentence, "And executing plans to destroy a system. I am not sitting down to plan how to do it." The sentence starts, "For the first time I am not sitting down and planning how to destroy a system. What I am now doing is I'm sitting down to plan how to build a system." So this sentence, "I'm not sitting down planning how to do it", should be replaced by, "I'm now sitting down to plan how to build it." I am merely contrasting the role in my life.
POM. You talk about the De Kock file, I have one question there. Page 17. I think it's at the top, the TRC.
MM. The disjuncture between our files.
POM. Let's just go back to pick up on 15.
MM. Oh yes, page 16, paragraph 5, that big answer there.
POM. "The other day I was given a cheque, was it for R300?"
MM. I got a cheque for - ?
POM. You have that on page 15?
MM. Just ask the question on your page and I'll take it.
POM. This is on page 14, Padraig: "Now nothing has happened with regard to implementation" that's my language. "But what has happened is that our strategic profile for Transport has shifted. It's made a leap from the previous system." What is the previous system?
MM. The previous system did not see transportation and the development of roads and transportation as a crucial function in the economy. If you look at today's figures for globalisation what has really made it possible is the reduction in costs in transport, costs of goods and services and communication of course. It is a vital component of transforming the South African economy to be an export oriented economy. If our goods have got to compete on the international market then the costs of those goods must be at a level that is competitive but one of the key elements in that cost factor is transport costs and by cabinet agreement that transport is one of the primary sectors of this economy that must be attended to, we had lifted its profile. That's all.
POM. "It was asked in cabinet about two months ago, why don't we have a passenger transport policy and uphold it? I said none of you around the table have it."
MM. Have a policy.
POM. Have a policy on what?
MM. On passenger transport.
POM. "I have to develop it anew.""This morning my DG had to be here to discuss the same issue.They - who is 'they'? The Department of Finance or who? "Have now given us the allocation but we are asking for the allocation to be slightly shifted in a way in which they prioritise it -." That's transport?
POM. " - in the RDP office. The allocation between category A and B is not completely satisfactory. 'A' being? In other words you wanted it slightly - ?
MM. Two categories and which funds are allocated and I'm saying, no, I want some shifted from this one to that one.
POM. The two categories being?
MM. I can't remember which I was talking about there, but it would be within my budget but I'm saying I have greater need for resources now at passenger transport level.
POM. OK. So you were saying you were shifting resources between you wanted to shift resources internally between?
. "Our RDP business plan has satisfied the RDP office and the RDP office's judgement had to be slightly modified as a result of what we said." So the RDP modified their plan a little as a result of what you said.
MM. I'm really talking about the debates within government about how to shift allocations within the RDP objectives.
POM. Page 15, "Popo was part of the process of finding the solution, even in the ANC.I think there is a tension between them and the constitution." You mean?
MM. What the constitution says.
POM. What the country says and the policy position of the party. OK.
. "When I read in the newspaper of some problem in Britain I am able to put my hand on it and say this sleaze factor comes from the patronage system.It is not in any legislation, not in any regulations, it's totally the informal sector of enrichment which the big guys can make for themselves.It's not like the taxi industry."
MM. All I'm trying to say is I think the taxi industry, the corruption, the bribery and everything is visible but in a democracy the shock to me and the surprise element that I noticed was that a democracy is underpinned by an informal mechanism of patronage dispensation. It starts off by some innocent looking thing like the honours that you bestow in Britain for making a person a lord, belong to the House of Lords. It then becomes later on as you dig into it, why did so-and-so become a lord? You find that the party in power had been funded by that person for their election campaign and it's a compensation and a bestowal of patronage. Now that's one form of patronage. You find other forms of patronage existing which enable that system to work. You see it in the United States over party political funding, you have all sorts of elaborate rules. All that is patronage, there are no rules around those things and yet it exists and you ask yourself, I'm going to get rid of the patronage system, you find if you get rid of that patronage system that whole democratic system begins to collapse. So I've had to acknowledge that, yes, patronage does exist, will exist. My problem then is how do you make sure that it doesn't become a corrupting influence in that society. That's all I'm trying to say.
POM. Nice question. The TRC, at five o'clock
MM. Began to make enquiries, phoned around.
POM. Because the De Kock file
MM. There's no specific file that I'm referring to. What I'm saying is that the evidence that De Kock was giving
POM. At his trial?
MM. At one of his trials or one of the TRC hearings.
POM. Page 17, OK, the whole thing, De Kock began to just talk, talk, talk.
MM. And expose the fact that, yes, these two Vula operatives were killed.
POM. "I have a house in Cape Town.It's empty.The only time it's occupied is when my children and wife come for three or four days, say that we are coming down, my children are on school holiday, they are coming down to stay with me in Cape Town.Yes it is nice to be able to say to my children, I can take you for a holiday but I can't find a fit in our diary without worrying about whether I can afford to take them to Sodwana Bay."
MM. Sodwana Bay was an example of an area which is a natural resort but there I will have to pay, whereas if they came to Cape Town I have a house that's standing empty.
POM. In 1952 we had, yes, this is Moroka. I looked for Moroka everywhere. I looked him up and I found out from Mandela's diary he had been elected after Xuma. Mandela said that he was a compromise choice.
MM. Yes Dr Xuma wouldn't go with the programme of action.
POM. And then when you went to the trial he said, "I'm not part of them." But then you still had him on as President.
MM. We still kept him.
POM. So when you say the 'Moroka factor'?
MM. People would say there's a Moroka factor meaning that you elected a President as a stop-gap measure and that President turned out not to be in line with your thinking.
MM. Actually it's a gentle word, not in line with thinking, he actually deserted them at the trial.
POM. OK, got it.
MM. Then we go to the next one and that is 13th March 1997, page 1, page 2 all your changes make it comprehensible. Page 3 they make it comprehensible. Page 4 nothing really. Page 5 paragraph 3, second sentence from the bottom, "Police, government then not to arrest people", the word 'not'?
POM. So the sentence there would read, "Do we rely on your goodwill that you won't arrest us? Yes up to a point we could rely on you because you would be telling the South African Police not to arrest the people who had been sent from Lusaka to meet the government at Groote Schuur."
MM. Page 6 OK.
POM. "My bail was R180,000."That's OK I can work that out. Just forget it, don't worry about it. Page 5. You said, "My bail was larger than the bail set for even Wouter Basson who had been charged for manufacturing Mandrax."
MM. I don't remember, I don't know what his bail is. It's a piffling point.
POM. He's still in fact working, right?
POM. Still taking out hearts. Again, that was just editorial at the top. "They were going to use it as an instrument to keep the ANC divided and to play games with."Period, and we can knock the rest out.
MM. Page 7. "It's around those big questions here." What are you getting at here, and what does this mean? And earlier there. I think that whole sentence internally, that whole sentence should be struck off. No, just the sentence. Line 1, 2, and 3 up to 'settle down', up to the point where you ask, what do you mean?
POM. That paragraph would begin "Internally the balance was shifting in favour of negotiation for democracy."
MM. Then the next paragraph, just strike off that sentence, "But it left - ", that whole underlined, because the rest of it makes sense. You say "What was the alliance? The NP and the IFP? What am I missing?" I say, "Yes, the NP and the IFP."
POM. "What am I missing?" gets erased.
POM. Just the end of this, the words were
MM. It doesn't matter because in terms of the way that the national community, it was unsustainable because it represented a minority force within the country over the whole social formation in terms of the way the international community was viewing the situation.
. Then this one here, "Not in accord and was out of sync with that reality." Just out of sync, that's all. Then you say there, "I've lost it, what are you getting at?"
POM. Yes, I've got it now.
MM. It's a simple thing and I think it's what you later on come to but when I was at this point I made the clarification. Capitulation is a concept of winner/loser in negotiations and that is an incorrect approach. A shift for the NP was to come to the realisation that they and the ANC were partners to a process of taking South Africa back a negotiated resolution. Now you understood that later on.
. Page 8, the paragraph beginning, "The issue." Yes, you are correct. I agree with you. I was merely going in that direction. I was merely disagreeing with the Patti Waldmeir formulation.
POM. So I can say just 'yes' there.
MM. The next paragraph, page 9, it might be on your page 8 the second thing, go on, the next paragraph, the agreement, carry on and you ask the question, "Now you would insert the real advance, therefore was there recognition on the part of the NP that their real allies were the ANC and not etc., etc.?" I say "Yes".
. Then, "I think it is a good way of expressing", yes I agree with you there. Then this paragraph: "What it would have meant."
POM. "For the psyche of the country."
MM. The rest of your questions are still because you did not see whether I was agreeing with the point that you've made, that the real advance Patti Waldmeir was saying that the NP capitulated and I was saying no, that's the wrong language. The real paradigm is there was a shift towards a recognition that, hey, without the ANC we can't move to a negotiated resolution so we'd better accept the reality that we are partners in a process. That was a shift and to describe it as capitulation
POM. It was a realisation of how to
MM. Of how to make the process work. So it's putting it back, negotiations in Patti's concept is a winner/loser concept and it's a wrong way of approaching negotiations. That's where I think that she goes off in her book. It's a very good book but the paradigm that it used for negotiations is the wrong paradigm.
. We then come to what is probably your page 9, the paragraph, "No." Again you say, "What does this mean? The point you were going to make was never finished." Ignore. I say ignore this whole question here, this whole question that you are raising in this paragraph. This question that is posed here about what De Klerk could have done, etc., I say that belongs to the 'what ifs' of history and it's of no consequence. 'What ifs' are never of any consequence in history.
. Then this paragraph here, "It was negotiated" this sentence here "Having decided - "
POM. This is on page 10?
MM. That whole sentence beginning 'having decided', just eliminate. So your question falls away and it makes sense as it stands.
. Then the next paragraph, yes, here. "Is this what you meant to say?" Yes.
. Then we come to "So I will make", here, this paragraph.
POM. Page 11.
MM. "Is this the right word?" Part of its job was to hunt, to seek out, not haunt. To seek out informers in the organisation.
. Page 12, nothing there. The next page, "Earlier the papers were saying", yes. You ask the question, "What is being talked about doesn't make sense? How do you mean to end this sentence?" I think that here, "believed that if anybody had such a past that such a person in cabinet today is working to undermine the goals of the ANC government." All I'm saying there is there were these allegations that there were apartheid informers in the ANC who are members of cabinet. There was speculation, are there two, are there three, are there five? I say in the context of the larger issue it's not important to me. I have to look at them and say just as on De Klerk's side there's Roelf Meyer who was head of Intelligence, there may be an informer in the ANC side but what relevance is that? I have to look at that person and say how is he performing as a minister? Is he undermining our policies or is he implementing our polices? If he's implementing, fine.
POM. "He became part of the renamed national - "
MM. Oh, you put 'what' here.
POM. "I took that information, he certainly took that." What? That information? "into account"I suppose.
MM. Mandela certainly took that information into account but he has not acted vindictively.
POM. He asked you a question, are the guys doing well or - ?
MM. That completes that.
POM. I now want to
MM. The rest you didn't give me.
POM. We're now on to October. How are you doing? What I can do is I can leave this with you.
MM. Leave this with me and I will go through it.
POM. Unfortunately they're not blocked in the same way but you can get the letter I'm using the same thing, if it's underlined it means knocked out.
MM. She will photocopy that. I will tell her now for Monday's appointment and I'm sure that it will be possible if I work them to do it as fast as we've done the others today. It also has a way of shutting me up.
POM. Four things, the name of the person at Beacon Press to contact?