About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

05 Sep 2004: Maharaj, Mac

POM. Maybe I'll run through some things with you. First of all are some names. The name of a big family called Rapu?

MM. Rapu. That's possibly Rapu Molakwane. He used to be a youth leader at the time of Peter Mokaba.

POM. Was he accused with Mokaba of being a spy?

MM. I think the time when Peter – suspicion begins to grow, it's partly a time when he and Rapu were detained. Some of the things I can't remember at the moment.

POM. OK, there's no need to get into it. Youth leader is fine. Norah. If they don't come off the top of your head let's just skip them for the moment, I don't want to take up your time.

MM. Norah would be a name as we changed code names abroad for people, Norah would have been one of the changes.

POM. Pete was Ivan, right?

MM. Yes. Ivan became Pete, yes.


MM. Joe Slovo.

POM. K was Joe Slovo? Just the letter K. Not K A Y. No, no, just K, not K A Y, just K.

MM. Possibly Kathrada.

POM. OK. He doesn't fit somehow but maybe it is him.

MM. No, he would be amongst the people who were released, questioned.

POM. You'd want him to be the secretary to run Mandela's schedule? Would that be him?

MM. Possible.

POM. You guys had said that Mandela's schedule had – you met with people in 1990, you met with Mandela for two and half hours and then K joined you and he told K that you were to make time to see him whenever he wanted to see you.

MM. Slovo.

POM. No, not K A Y now. Just K.

MM. But it's still Slovo.

POM. It's still Slovo, OK, I'll check it.Zami is Winnie. Vincent? Don't worry, we'll just run through them.

MM. Yes just run me some.

POM. Sam, Kalie?

MM. No.

POM. R, the letter R.


POM. No, just R.

MM. Could be Rachel, could be Raymond Mhlaba, Rachel would be Govan Mbeki.

POM. Sue?

MM. Sue, in what context?

POM. I don't have it, I just put down the names. Let it go. Comrade July?

MM. July was – I think he was either the panel-beater or the doctor who knew the panel-beater.

POM. The doctor who knew, and you lost him?

MM. No. I mean we came across, I think, the panel-beater through a doctor who was already working with us. I don't remember meeting the panel-beater at all.

POM. This guy got in trouble of some kind.

MM. He was in trouble because? What kind of trouble?

POM. I think you lost him you said. I think he was involved in an operation where he might have – no, that was a different one. I'll find it. I don't want to spend time on these things.T H A N D E K A?

MM. Thandeka. Context again before I can even hazard. It doesn't ring a bell.

POM. Andy?

MM. Andy would be Solly Shoke, now Chief of the Army.

POM. And Gasa? He comes up in the context of - not Gatsha, it comes up in the context of KwaZulu Natal.

MM. You mean GAZA.

POM. Well in the minutes it says SA, could be a Z, but if it's ZA?

MM. One of the community leaders, I don't know which side, ANC or IFP side.

POM. Well Gaza's instructions, it's in the minutes of either the Organising Committee, the 17th when the internal leadership committee was meeting. It's in that document or it's in the document of the minutes of the 23rd. So you can find it there.

. OK, questions. When Harry Gwala was confronted by Slovo and Nzo in the presence of Sisulu, this is from March 1990.

MM. Gwala had gone abroad I think. Harry Gwala had gone abroad and I think that during Walter's trip abroad Harry must have touched Lusaka and they used that opportunity to have five sessions with him.

POM. On?

MM. On the problems of KwaZulu/Natal, on the problems of how they were conducting themselves, on the criticisms of Gwala, because it says there that they could not take the matter further because if they raise it at the NEC level they would have to disclose my presence in the country and they would have to disclose Operation Vula.

POM. That's right, yes.

MM. So they chose to discuss it, three of them, with Harry knowing that Walter was now already head of the inside, Nzo was Secretary General, Slovo was Secretary of the party and part of the President's committee.

POM. Let's deal, while we're at it, with that. I'll just do them as they come here in sequence. We have the meeting of the NEC the 29th, in August or September, that you attended where Mandela's document was accepted.

MM. And when we have a report from Slovo to Gebhuza and them in the country or from Ivan telling them what happened.

POM. That's right, I have that. Now you were targeted for re-entry on 23 January 1990. That's fine.Complaints of MDM, that's fine. We have these two sequence of things: we have your letter of retirement on 21st and you have Slovo's response on 24th.

MM. And when is The Sowetan report?

POM. That's in the middle on the 19th. Now he says in his response to you that the names the NEC got had the names added of Cyril, of Kgalema, of Harry and Andrew Mlangeni, and that the NEC had accepted these names and then expanded the list to include other members of the NEC, regional members within the country, etc., etc. Now my question is: when I look at the membership of the internal leadership core at the meeting of 17 June 1990 there is no Cyril, there is no Kgalema, there is no Andrew. The only one there is Harry Gwala. Now Harry Gwala would have qualified anyway because he was a leader on the inside. Is that right? When they added regional leaders?

MM. I don't see the point you're making.

POM. I am saying that of the four names that were added by Govan when one comes to the first meeting of the internal leadership committee on 17 June it doesn't say Cyril is not present, there is no mention of him. He's not on the committee.

MM. Who was present? Who was present at that meeting?

POM. Only Harry.

MM. And who else?

POM. Oh about 15 or 16 people. I'll get it, it's one of the documents, I don't have it in front of me. I have it, I'll get to it later.

MM. Well they were travelling.

POM. Well then it would have said they were excused. I mean it says, Kathy says – it gives a list of the people who were travelling.

MM. That's the organisational committee or which committee?

POM. No, the internal leadership committee.

MM. Yes. I don't know. I can't remember that meeting.

POM. Well it's in your documents and I will give you the reference to it. It was on 17 June 1990, it's the internal leadership core. My question for you is: when the internal leadership core was expanded, was it still the core of five or was it the core of five plus the names that had been added by Govan, was that the new core? It wouldn't have been all the names added by all the members of the NEC and all the regional leaders?

MM. My memory says that it was all those chopping and changing led to a situation with the internal leadership core as constituted in October/November 1990 and 1989, didn't meet in that form. It became added on Madiba, add on JS, add on Nzo and myself, we met but not with all the Rivonia people. It was Walter, Govan, Raymond Mhlaba, Mandela and myself and Slovo and Nzo.

POM. Well OK, because there is no mention of their being added but that's fine.

MM. That was a very practical problem. People assumed everybody who was in Rivonia will be in the leadership. In a sense, yes, but in the structures you won't find Kathy. Right? Why? That core was discussing the underground it was discussing MK, it was discussing the relationship of the underground for the legal so therefore it was living and discussing areas of a semi-legal nature.

POM. It's quite clear that Walter was head of the over-ground, of the structure, of the core structure. He was head of the over-ground and you were head of the underground and he was the overall leader.

MM. Except that I saw myself accountable to the overall leadership of Walter, Mandela and others, and therefore I didn't regard the relationship of the two levels to be something that is entirely in my province to decide, nor did I regard the strategic direction of the underground to be just my decision. The operation of the underground I regarded that as my province but the strategic decisions had to be made by a committee and that committee, as I say, which met from time to time, I think on one occasion on some matter we invited Zuma to participate. It was not like an exclusive club, it was a small group which could call in other people but not make knowledge of this thing generalised. Now never, never in those committees were Harry Gwala and everybody that belonged, did we discuss the underground. Never in the Organising Committee was it said Mac and the others are here from the underground. No. It was just we are here and appointed as part of the Organising Committee but Mandela, Sisulu, Slovo, Nzo, Raymond Mhlaba, Govan and I knew that that was done to enable the underground to do its work. But it also meant that we had to do the work of the legal Organising Committee and that work gave us a cover to travel around the country and attend to also underground work. That was the design of it. The question never got resolved because it did mean that the head of the Organising Committee should have been made privy to the knowledge that we, five or six of us, have additional duties than the one we have to report to him so that he turns a blind eye and gives us the space. But that never happened.

POM. Yes, OK.

MM. That's never happened because of the rest of the things being done.

POM. I'm just moving along, I want to move along at a quick rate.So after you got that response from Slovo on 27th did you more or less at that time withdraw your resignation or did you still insist on it?

MM. No, I felt that while he acknowledged the mistake, I felt that while he acknowledged that Govan had acted in an unmandated way, he told me nothing about how they were going to prevent Govan's mischief from continuing. Secondly, while he acknowledged that Nzo had spoken loosely to the media he told me nothing about what measures are being put in place to stop that happening again. And to me when you point at that level that type of problem and you leave it without any measures taken to address it, it means that the situation will continue. So I didn't see any need to change my mind. I did change my mind a few days, later early in March, and I said to Madiba in six months time I will resign.

POM. Yes, OK, but then you said, "I have issues with you and we have to discuss the issues."

MM. Yes, those issues never got discussed.

POM. The meeting at which you announced your resignation, which was the meeting of the 23rd, that is the meeting that is chaired by Walter?

MM. Yes, it's the National Executive plus the internal leadership.

POM. Did you discuss the matter with Walter beforehand?

MM. No.

POM. I'm just trying to get – this meeting takes place, it's the first within the country. You announce that you would be retiring in December.

MM. Let's put it in perspective. That meeting then decides on the structure and the people to manage and when they appoint me to the Organising Committee I say to them I'll do that job but for six months.

POM. That's right, you said, "I'll be deployed for six months and then I'm out of politics completely." Walter continues on with the meeting, the meeting ends, Walter doesn't come to you and say, "Mac, what do you mean you're quitting in six months?" He doesn't?

MM. No.

POM. And since the minutes of these meetings are never distributed there's no way that Mandela would know that you had announced at that meeting that you were quitting because he's busy travelling and a month later Vula breaks?

MM. Remember it said there in those minutes, and that's what's interesting, that the meeting was shocked. It said it wouldn't discuss the matter at the meeting.

POM. It didn't say that Mac, it just said it was raised as a matter of concern.

MM. Go on to paragraph three after that.

POM. I will find it.

MM. Paragraph three says, it also said that they are concerned about this matter, it will not be discussed at that meeting, it can be discussed privately.

POM. What happened? Was it ever discussed privately?

MM. No, never.

POM. It never was. But my point –

MM. The important thing – I suppose it was assumed that no, no, no, he will change his mind.

POM. OK, what I'm getting at, Mac, is that in the way things happened, that within a month Vula had broken and all hell was breaking loose and Madiba was abroad until 19 July, there is no reason to believe that by the time you were arrested that he knew that in fact you were quitting in December.

MM. Why no reason? It doesn't mean he was away from 24 June until -

POM. He was away, he wasn't there then, he wasn't at that meeting and he was out of the country until –

MM. I think he was in the country, in and out.

POM. Well no, he was away on a long trip because he came back on 19th – he'd been on the South American trip, he came back on his 70th birthday.

MM. Yes, and I saw him that night.

POM. That's right. What I am saying is you didn't see him in the weeks before that because he was travelling.

MM. Possible, and then at that stage –

POM. What I'm saying, we're not debating, I will check exactly when he was out of the country, what I'm saying is, what I'm trying to get at is you made this announcement, people said it would be discussed afterwards; that never happened. The meeting is over, everybody rushes off doing what they do. Walter doing what he does, you don't discuss it with Walter. No minutes of that meeting are distributed before the next meeting of the NEC in July at which suspension of the armed struggle is discussed. So if Mandela is abroad and he doesn't come back until 19th and then there's a meeting on 24 July to discuss the suspension of the armed struggle and then you're arrested, there's no reason to believe that at the time of your arrest or thereafter that anybody had ever told him that you were quitting in December.

MM. Why is there no reason?

POM. Well who would tell him?

MM. You are saying a meeting which recorded that the members were shocked?

POM. Walter never even takes it up with you, Mac. Who do you think told him?

MM. Walter Sisulu.

POM. Well you're assuming that.

MM. Slovo.

POM. You're assuming it.

MM. Why do you assume that they didn't?

POM. Because did Mandela ever mention it to you when he visited you in prison?

MM. But visiting me in prison has got to do with detention.

POM. Did he visit you when you were in hospital and mention it?

MM. Sure, but the issue there is not to discuss that matter. The issue was if Slovo and them never told him on the phone –

POM. Well you don't know.

MM. The man is travelling around the world and he's not keeping his finger on what's happening in the country?

POM. You have no idea that he did.

MM. But you have no idea that he didn't.

POM. No, but in the absence of you having proof that he is, the conclusion –

MM. It becomes that he didn't.

POM. Then it's an easier deduction to draw, the more logical deduction.

MM. No, the logical thing is we don't know.

POM. Did Mandela ever raise the issue with you any time between then and December?

MM. No.

POM. No, thank you.

MM. Because between then and December there was no opportunity.

POM. You went to an NEC meeting with everybody else.

MM. No, no, no. I met him on 18 July. I met him on the 19th to brief him that the arrests were coming but I had told him in March that I will be retiring in six months.

POM. Do you think he's going to remember that?

MM. Oh, thank you very much. If that is the position, if you are to make that assumption –

POM. No I didn't say, I said 'do you think'? I asked a question, I didn't make an assumption.

MM. You're saying, do you think he's going to remember that?

POM. That is a question, it's not an assumption.

MM. You're telling me that the head of the underground says "I'm going to be leaving," and therefore it's not remembered, then it can't be important.

POM. But nobody ever mentions it.

MM. No, but then it can't be important.

POM. No, I said, did anybody ever mention it to you again?

MM. No.


MM. Because even if it's not because they didn't remember, it cannot be. If that is the way people function that they cannot remember, then the problem is bigger.

POM. It may be.

MM. It may be, but then you have to analyse it that way. What I'm saying is that you cannot say to me that because he didn't discuss it with me the question arises did anybody tell him. Because we don't know if somebody told him.

POM. We don't.

MM. But we do know that those are the type of issues that would be discussed at that level, that you would not have the head of your underground saying he's retiring and not inform Madiba.

POM. Now that's an assumption.

MM. No, no, no. It's like saying that Joe Modise is retiring and you say don't bother to inform.

POM. It's like saying there will be a special meeting after the meeting and there wasn't.

MM. In no sense was there a statement made that there will be a special meeting.

POM. OK, let's move on. We're not getting bogged down in it. We've gone through the case of Terror, the problems with Terror. They're pretty well documented. Now on the Organising Committee you've got all your people in. You wanted six people on that committee, you got the six.

MM. … does not mean that's Vula, the underground.

POM. Was Harry Gwala ever a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party at the time? I'm asking you because when you distributed a document from – well I'll come to it, but it was one to Nyanda from Billy Nair who wanted Harry Gwala and somebody else added to the people who would be in the core leadership of the ANC. Do you remember that?

MM. I'm focusing on your question: was he ever a member of the Central Committee?

POM. Yes, because members of the –

MM. To the best of my knowledge Harry was in the District Committee in Pietermaritzburg but never did he become a member of the underground party Central Committee. He was certainly not in the Central Committee when he was arrested in 1963 and when he came out he maintained contact. There was talk about inviting him to the Havana Congress but that was not because he was in the Central Committee and then he was brought into the interim leadership core, that puts him into the Central Committee post-1990, post the launch of the party.

POM. Because this talks about the core organising unit in March 1990 suggestions made, this was to Ivan, to Carol and to Masher, to Billy Nair, that the core committee would be Mac, Billy Nair, Nyanda, Raymond Mhlaba, Kathy, Andrew Mlangeni, Chris Dhlamini plus the CC members. OK.

MM. There was a suggestion from Lusaka to which I responded by suggesting that we should have a Tongaat meeting.

POM. That's right, but what I am saying is Harry's name didn't surface at that.

MM. Yes.

POM. I'm just trying to locate who suggested Harry. We get to borrowing money from - OK.

MM. That suggestion came from Lusaka cold. Lusaka communicated with us, the Central Committee, to say, "Can we proceed and pull together an interim leadership group and here are the possible names that should be in it." We then responded, I discussed the matter with the comrades and responded by saying, "We propose that we should address the matter by first discussing the whole issue of how to surface at a special internal meeting." And there too, at that internal meeting we canvass the delegates for names and Harry's name featured. I didn't object at the Tongaat meeting because I was not going to discuss in that broad type of meeting my criticisms. My criticisms of Harry were put to the politburo.

POM. That was the meeting of 24 June when you resigned.

MM. Yes, when I said, "I resign, I will only work until the rally is done and then I'm out."

POM. But wouldn't Joe Slovo at those meetings have been aware at that point that you were already quitting everything, you were quitting politics in December?

MM. Yes. He would be aware that I had said so at the ANC meeting. And so would Chris. And so would Ronnie. And so would everybody present at that politburo meeting.

POM. Yes.

MM. If Nkadimeng was present he would know. But look, they are the first people as a committee sitting that I'm giving, for example, reasons why I'm pulling out.When I raise this with the party I say, "If you put Harry there then I think you are losing your perspective of what space you should be occupying." It was not a singular issue of Harry, it was what is the image and space that the party wants to hold.

POM. Now you set that out in fact at Tongaat where you said we are a party that must get rid of all traces of Stalinism and get rid of sectarianism. They were all really directed directly at Harry.

MM. No. It was directed at a tendency, not at Harry.

POM. Oh sorry, I know that, I know they weren't directed at him personally.

MM. It was this whole tendency because I had said that we've got to get rid of this thing, we've got to become a party that does not claim infallibility. My ideas were evolving and they were particularly directed at, in the negotiation framework, what image does the party put forward to strengthen, to have a countervailing tendency from what may well be an overwhelming perception that the struggle is now about horse-trading, and the party was so popular amongst the youth and the working people I said, "Who holds this moral banner?" But you can't hold this moral banner if you continue to believe that you are infallible.

POM. OK. This is where I come to it. In November 1989 the ANC says in September, this is a communication that it sent to Nyanda, it says, "In September the NEC approved the setting up of a national underground leadership core, the Vula corps should be expanded and mandated." Then, that the President's Projects collective decision is that the Vula corps plus released leaders from the national leadership responsible for all aspects of the work of the movement underground would be you and over-ground would be Walter in control of everything. Now who is the President's Projects collective decision? Who would be that?

MM. That would be Slovo. At that stage it would be Slovo, Nzo and possibly they would have had Ivan in the meeting.

POM. Ivan, OK. Now this is communicated to Nyanda. It was taken in September. Now you were in – at a September meeting of the NEC you were in Lusaka in September. Were you informed?

MM. I was. I can't remember sharply because my mind would not have been focused at that time on what I have to start doing because I was still (thinking) about matters abroad.

POM. Sorry, your mind, you're in Lusaka, does the meeting of the NEC - ?

MM. Sure, this meeting of the President's Committee could have taken place after that.

POM. Well in the communication it says the Vula corps, it says, "In November 1989 the President's Projects collective decision", that would be November 1989.

MM. So I'm not necessary in Lusaka. Definitely I wasn't at a meeting with Nzo and –

POM. But when would you have been informed of that? This is November. You haven't yet been targeted to go back into the country. Nyanda knows about it but you don't. Do you know about it by the time you go home?

MM. Sure. I would know about it even at that stage but not as a formal communication. We would have discussed which way are we going to go. Slovo could have raised it with me, Ivan would have raised it with me, and I would have been expressing my views, they would have been exchanging views amongst themselves until sometime in November they met and formally decided that's the way it's going to work.

POM. Mac, you shouldn't be surprised that I'm asking you. You never raised this in any of our conversations.

MM. It's not a material issue.

POM. Well it is. You are saying –

MM. The reality I'm confronted with is that I come into the country in February knowing that I'm part of that core and Vula is part of that core.

POM. But you didn't say that before.

MM. Wait a minute, and I open the newspapers and I read it's different.

POM. Yes, but this is the first time you say that to me.

MM. But the issue never arose in that way, Padraig. The issue arose, "You Mac, what moved you?" I didn't turn round and say now this is the position I was appointed to each time and say this was reaffirmed, therefore I did this. I said all that happened is contrary to everything, January or February I opened the newspaper, The Sowetan, when we have a hot … there is a communication with Lusaka. Open the newspaper and find ANC has decided this is the collective. I'm sitting here saying, "Well what does it mean?" It has no regard to what has previously been decided and I say, "OK chaps, goodbye." And when they come back they tell me, "Oh, we made a mistake. We assumed that when Govan sent us the communication" -Why would I rely on Govan to send a communication when they know all the problems from OR's time that communicates authentically and our system was watertight and Xundu, the courier that they sent, is a man I said not to be relied on, and they rely on that and they say, "Well we thought it involved discussion with Walter and with you. We assumed that." I said, "That explanation doesn't hold water." I'm not going to nitpick and say, "But wait a minute chaps, you know that within the hour you can reach these chaps." And if you don't receive a communication from me you know, you say I'm the head of the underground, and you don't say, "Hey, wait a minute, his name is not even there." At Stockholm you discussed it.


MM. That's all I was explaining and I can't – to me it wasn't – Padraig, at the stage of November it wasn't a big issue, I never thought that there would be an approach which separated the legal and the illegal because that's the danger that I was pointing to. I was pointing to the danger that the underground cannot function and carry out tasks if it is not in sync and in co-ordination with the legal body. Suppose the issue of that leaflet in Durban, you can't have a leaflet in the name of the ANC, underground saying one thing and the legal saying the opposite thing.

POM. OK. Now the meeting I'm talking about, it was on 19 March, this is before Tongaat. It says, "On the recommendation of the national core", who would be the national core, of the SACP?

MM. Yes, that's from the Central Committee now. That message would be from K, it wouldn't be from Govan.

POM. That's right.

MM. And it's from K alone, it's either ANC or party but when it's from K and Norman then it's ANC.

POM. You meet on the 20 April 1990 with Mandela and Slovo for two and half hours. Now you say there's no real discussion around the issue of the launch document we submitted nor work of the internal leadership core, five plus Norman and K, took place. In this com it says that Bulelani was brought to the attention of Mandela.

MM. Does it say so?

POM. Yes, right to the attention of Mandela. It said three people were, one was Zulu and one was Peter Mokaba and the third was Bulelani. It says all three were brought to his attention. Now Mac, I'm trying to ask you to scrutinise your mind as to what at that point, why would he be brought to Mandela's attention? I'll just leave it with you.

MM. It's very simple. You people in the overt structures who are charged with that be aware of this information.

POM. Because he says that he wants to be kept abreast of security, briefing of security. He's also told at that meeting that there will be a mini conference organising the SACP.

MM. Yes.

POM. And he says there that he always wants time to be set aside so that you can see him whenever you want to.

MM. Yes.

POM. Now again my question, Mac, is why did you never request any time to discuss your issues?

MM. When he talks at meetings, like this meeting, events were moving at such a pace that there was no time to discuss.

POM. I don't mean at this meeting. But he says, "Whenever Mac wants to see me have Mac - "

MM. But, Padraig, I'm not going to go and beg to discuss my issues. I'm more concerned when I request a meeting with him it's on ongoing work. To me I have said I'm retiring in six months time.

POM. Mac, you also came back to me and said if you had discussed your issues with him you probably would have withdrawn your resignation, you wouldn't have resigned.

MM. It's possible. That was a speculative issue, wasn't it?

POM. Now you're using the word 'speculative'.

MM. No, no, that was a speculation about – your question was: how would you have conducted yourself? Would you have persisted even if you had discussed, if the matter was discussed?You see, Padraig, to me when I recall those times my mind was focused on what are the tasks to do, if I ask to see Mandela it would be with a task. I had said, "Look, I have issues, I want to retire. These issues are there on the table let's discuss them." We'll discuss them later. I'm not going to keep going and saying, "Please discuss my issues." Wherever the issue arises, like it arose in the politburo, I raised the matter, took my position, continued with my work. I never went around saying, "Now listen Slovo, let's talk my problems, and if you don't talk my problems", I say, "I'm doing my work as I committed myself to do." That's the most important thing. "Now Madiba, I need to meet you, urgent problem." What is the problem? The problem that arose, he's returning, the arrests have started, so I brief him. I don't say to him, "The arrests have started, now can you and I discuss my problems about why I want to leave the ANC and retire?"

POM. But this was in April, Mac.

MM. Yes but –

POM. 4 April.

MM. April/May. You first tell me that he was away on a prolonged trip. He was not only on a long trip, he was around the country, he was abroad, he was all over. And to me, as it says there, we never got round to this, we're going to schedule another meeting to discuss these crucial issues, the launch, the internal leadership cores, the leadership core's work, the question of the strategy for the underground. That to me, if there's a moment available, discuss that. That's an issue for the whole movement, it's not an issue that centres around my decisions. And you will see, there's another report, that that was discussed. This whole thing of is the underground going to be an insurance policy or what, that was discussed by this group.

POM. Just on that there is a very robust response – there is a very robust reply from him saying that he is not in favour of using the underground as an insurance policy.

MM. Who made the statement to the media?

POM. Well, when?

MM. Ronnie himself.

POM. When he made that statement.

MM. When the Vula arrests took place. He is the man who made that statement. I should check it in Armed and Dangerous.

POM. I will check it. That's no problem.

MM. That is the type of problem.

POM. I will check it. Who was Sabata?

MM. Sabata would have been Charles Nqakula I think.

POM. Chris would be Chris Hani?

MM. Yes.

POM. You're talking about bringing people in, Sabata, Chris and Norah. Again, we haven't identified Norah. Just leave it in your notes there.

MM. Oh, Norah would be Little John.

POM. Little John.Now there was also a thing there where you were scheduled for re-entry and when Ronnie was coming in and then it said, it just popped into my mind now, that Jacob Zuma was scheduled to come in in April.

MM. Which year?

POM. Of 1990.

MM. That's one of his trips coming in to meet the regime and then we would meet clandestinely. I would meet him clandestinely.

POM. This wouldn't be with the regime now because this is when Nyanda was informed of your re-entry dates, he was given three. This is in November of 1989. He said that you would come in in January, late January, that Ronnie was due to come in at the end of February and that Zuma was scheduled to come in in April.

MM. That's possible but it was just overtaken by events.

POM. But would he become part of Vula? I assume.

MM. It depends on what decision they would take in Lusaka. It wouldn't be our decision. If they said he was coming in to do other work, intelligence and security and please liase with him but he's not going to be part of your structures and accountable to you or you're not going to be accountable to him, that would be acceptable too.

POM. Now here I'm just quoting from you.

MM. The fact that it is a communication like that suggests that they were thinking of sending him to join us.

POM. This is from 16 May 1990. During one of the Tongaat – sorry, Tongaat discussion, session 14.

MM. By the way, just one word, that robust response of Ronnie's, after the theoretical agreement when it goes to the structure side you will notice how he starts talking about the militia as well as the armed struggle and the self defence. That raised the question who should it be accountable to and there too he agreed it should be accountable to the President, not MK. The structural problems, as far as I remember, were very much back into the combat terrain.

POM. OK, I will look at that. In a Tongaat meeting, session number 14, you say, "If the talks go off on the wrong track we will resume violence."

MM. I say that?

POM. Yes. Just note it down for yourself, you can check it on that. It's mini com number 14.

MM. Oh it may have been a response to an issue that arose in the debate (a) from Gebhuza's paper where the issue became: are you going to be suspending the armed struggle or are you going to be suspending armed action? And the discussion would have been that we could at an appropriate stage look at suspending armed action but that does not mean we have suspended the armed struggle, that does not mean we have called off the armed struggle.

POM. How do you distinguish between armed action and armed struggle?

MM. The distinction would be actually linking up to the Harare Declaration on the climate leading to a cessation of hostilities, that calling off the armed struggle would be part of the cessation of hostilities which would be applicable to both sides, which says hostilities cease from both sides, we are no longer at war with each other. We are now negotiating without arms.

POM. You say, "What happens in negotiations cannot be divorced from the masses. Resistance can't be snuffed out and negotiations will not get us everything. Action on the ground is the key." I understand you to be saying we can't take actions that are too far ahead of our constituency, that if we start taking actions in negotiations – OK, sorry, you talk.

MM. I am saying at all costs let us not demobilise the masses, let's keep them active, let's keep them active in support of the negotiations process. At the same time in relation to the violence we cannot say to them stop. They have to defend themselves. So the issue was negotiations in the context that we will continue, the legal and the illegal ANC will continue to activate the masses and keep them coming out in support of us and we would come out in support of them.

POM. In that session at Tongaat Govan Mbeki talks about, refers to 'military councils'. He suggests they are in the townships or something. What is he referring to?

MM. What did he say?

POM. He's talking about, referring to military councils but it seems like they're township structures because he says they can't keep law and order and if they were to keep law and order they'd have to start shooting the people and they can't do that because they're – I'll get the full quote for you.

MM. I'll have to read the whole thing.

POM. In fact let's hold it there Mac.

MM. The funny thing is that I can't even – I saw the minutes saying that he was there but he was there for such a short period I can't even remember anything significant in his input. It was like that. Out of tune. Our theme was in this new environment we have to emerge into the legal space, how do we see that situation, how are we going to emerge, which way are we going to move forward? Are we just going to put all our eggs there? How are we going to structure ourselves? Those were the issues. In relation to the negotiations how do we see it, are we in favour of moving in that direction? If not, why not, if yes, what are the preconditions of moving forward?

POM. We'll hold it there Mac for the night. I'll do one session with you tomorrow and that will be it.

MM. Yes, you've given me hell tonight.

POM. No, no, I give you hell right back.

MM. I said you gave me hell! Am I entitled to go to sleep and say this bloody Padraig has been giving me hell?

POM. I hope you say it. I'm taking it actually quite easy on you.

MM. Thank you very much!

POM. You see this is my theory Mac, I figure now that you're invested enough at this point, at this late stage in the game you're really invested enough that now you have to tolerate my bullshit to get to the end of it, whereas in the beginning you could have said go to hell.

MM. I can't say go to hell to you now.

POM. Just a quick question, the ZoPC, what does that refer to?

MM. What name did we change Natal to?

POM. It was all caps, it's in caps. I'll leave it with you.

MM. It's a Z with a small o and then a PC.

POM. Yes. I'll check it to see in fact what it says.

POM. I'm sure Joey has a lot of – oh, I was going to ask you, just to check because you were going to check on it and that is you were going to check on Jakes' e-mail to you okaying the introduction.

MM. Thanks for reminding me. I'll look at that.

POM. Look at that Mac, it is important.

MM. OK pal.

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