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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

14 Aug 1989: Graham, Paul

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POM     We're talking with Paul Graham of IDASA on the 14th of August. Paul if you take as a kind of arbitrary starting point the declaration of the state of emergency in July 1985 and take today, three weeks before an election, what are the major changes that have taken place in South African politics during that period?

PG     The first shift for me is in the politics of the resistance because it was really overheated in many ways running up to 1985 and the people felt they were on the threshold of freedom at that stage. And they hadn't come to terms entirely with the power of the state and the state of emergency made sure that they had to come to terms with that. And so I think there has been a big shift in the way in which the democratic movement understands its role inside the country. And it's taken probably two years to begin to reconstruct itself. But my impression is that since the hunger strike the democratic movement has actually been able to reconstruct itself. When I speak to people in the leadership, I mean one of the images I was given was of this bubble in 1985 which built up almost like a crust and the moment the state pushed it with their finger the whole thing collapsed. Whereas now people see it as much more solid and non-push around at all, and so even if the state now do begin to react in a repressive way towards the democratic movement, I don't think it's going to have a significant impact as it did in 1985. There is no doubt about it.

POM     So would you take the hunger strikes as being a kind of a turning point of some kind?

PG     I think it was a real turning point because up until that time the state had the initiative. People were detained, significant people were detained, and the hunger strike really turned that around. It took the initiative away from the state. It gained a lot of international support which had been missing for a couple of years and the focus came back on South Africa. The state couldn't react in a repressive way towards it. Those people were released and admittedly they were restricted but the fact is they were around, you could consult with them, you could go talk to them on a one to one basis and they could talk to one another on a one to one basis. And a whole lot of structures started building up again after their release.

PAT     That was last year?

PG     This year.

PAT     So you think it sort of reached a pinnacle point?

PG     It was about March, March - April, if you've talked to ... now he was on a hunger strike, he's restricted, but the education structures in Durban which had collapsed entirely, are now very concrete and back in place in many ways. So that's, for 18 months before there was nothing, all of a sudden there is a whole lot of stuff happening again.

POM     Do you think this has brought about a fundamental change in the attitude of the state itself?

PG     Well that is the second half of the equation I think, which is to say that I don't think the state has the ability to act publicly in the repressive way they acted in the past. I'm sure there are still going to be lots of things like assassinations and dirty tricks and attempts to manipulate organisations from within. And there's going to be the fight between security forces and foreign affairs which goes on constantly. But their ability to actually act publicly in a repressive way is very limited at the moment. I think Vlok's position on the hospital action is a prime example of that. First he accuses COSATU of being violent, then he backs down, he sort of says, sorry no action, it wasn't like that, then he goes around his constituents saying, Of course I never apologised, of course it is all like this. So talking to his gallery he has to still wave the iron fist, but then when you see his response to the actual event, the hospital event, you can see they went out of their way to make sure that the whole thing ran like a big civil rights programme. So there is that tension I think in the state and F W de Klerk's attempts to get negotiations going, on whatever mistaken terms they might have, and the fact that he is doing that says he has to do it, he's just no longer in a powerful position.

POM     Is it significant in itself that the government is now beginning to talk, to use the term negotiations?

PG     I'm sure it's significant that they are beginning to use the term negotiations. I think it's still early days, it's still posturing, let's float this balloon and see whether people respond to it or shoot it down. And I think it is in the state's interest to go into the negotiation period fast and get as much from it as they can and cause the other side to fall into disarray. Well I think the other side understands that.

POM     So what would you - could you outline a scenario where just that possibility takes place?

PG     Yes, the scenario is Kenneth Cohen is a nice guy, he's a reconciler. Let's see him, let's explain how we want to set up some sort of economic community in Southern Africa, let's encourage him to start acting as a mediator between us and the liberation movement and let's talk about deals. Let's try and cut a deal here, let Mandela out, have an internal ANC, get people into talking with us on our terms. And there are enough people of goodwill that might be encouraged by that and then exclude all the hardliners from that. So let's lose uMkhonto we Sizwe, and the Communist Party, let's lose them from the negotiations, you see, let's bring in the moderates, Mandela and the others. Now I think that's probably the analysis that's driving the government at the moment. The belief that it can do that. The belief that there is a gap between people of goodwill in the middle and the radicals.

POM     People of good will would include Mandela?

PG     Yes, it would include Mandela because the state, they now know him you see so he is an OK guy. It must include Buthelezi, particularly once the present State President retires. It will include some church people, I mean this morning's news, the sort of editorial comment, I don't know if you listen to the editorial comment focused on the Methodist presiding Bishop who gave great amount of aggravation to the call that the Methodist church had made around this period in terms of the election campaign. So there are a whole lot of those people. They know, they've begun to trust, they think they can draw in. I think it's mistaken that they believe there is that sort of possibility for driving a wedge between people in the liberation movement. I actually don't think that's likely. But I'm sure that, for me, that's the analysis they are working on.

POM     If they did take that route, move quickly, get the moderates into a process, what do you think will emerge out of it?

PG     I don't think it's going to happen. I think it is going to stall. Now if I was on the other side, and I'm not, I'm just sort of sitting in the middle looking. If I was on the other side, I would try to stall it without spoiling, without appearing to be a spoiler. Because otherwise, I mean here this guy comes and says, why don't you shake my hand? And you slap it, you look awful. So I would say they have to stall. And one way they can stall is they can say, fortunately, well the President is ill. Tambo is ill so we really can't give attention to this thing in the short term because we are going to have to wait. Or they can say, well we need to take back to our people this proposal, get a mandate. And they'll do that internationally obviously. But they're going to start saying we've got to get a mandate inside the country and therefore you've got to allow us to speak to people, organise, all those things, which I think the international community has basically demanded as well, which is unbanning of the ANC, release of people in prison, and the ability to organise politically internally and therefore to create a mandate position for negotiating. So they are going to call for that and keep calling for it and I think they will more or less say, we can't enter into negotiations until that's happened.

     I don't think the ANC are going to buy a sort of Lancaster House type of negotiation package where it's all in a secret room somewhere and you come out with a deal. I don't think they are going to buy that. But the pressure is going to be on them and it's interesting pressure for me because I think there has been a shift in the last couple of years between the ANC saying, or people saying that it's the ANC on one side of the table and the National Party on the other side of the table, to saying it's people who are opposed to apartheid on the one side of the table of it's people who are supportive of the status quo on the other side. You see if it's just the ANC and the government then why can't they do that in Geneva? Why can't they just send five people from each side to Geneva and work something out. So I'm sure that the push for, it's a broad front, is part of that attempt to make sure that it doesn't just become a little secret negotiation strategy.

POM     Do you think the ANC has that reality? That it won't be the sole representative of the liberation movement and that it wants it broader?

PG     Certainly the unions won't, the internal unions are not going to allow the ANC to negotiate on their behalf.

POM     That's COSATU?

PG     COSATU. I mean they are taking a leading role in all sorts of little ways inside the country. Bringing people together, trying to forge unity in the sports field and cultural field and COSATU is playing a role in there. So they're not going to let the ANC negotiate on their behalf. They will want to be at the table. Internally, youngsters particularly, criticise IDASA because we take people to visit the ANC and we don't take people to visit them. And so they are not going to want to be excluded from the process.

PG     So the fact that for the last two years anyway lots of people have been going outside the country to talk to the ANC means that there are different formations of power now. It's not just the exiles. It's very much a democratic movement which includes internal people and exiles and that's been something that's happened in the last two years as well I guess.

POM     When we were here before, among Afrikaners we talked to one got the impression that they saw fundamental changes being forty years away. And if you talk to them today the time perspective is a lot shorter, they even talk about time perspective as a lot shorter, they say it's about power sharing more than majority rule, but they're certainly talking in terms that they didn't talk of five years ago. Yet the state was very successful in repressing the uprising of 1985 and 1986. What factors, what facts account for the change in the attitudes of white people?

PG     Yes, in two years. I'd love to say that IDASA has been involved in that and I think that's true at one level, that they factor in unbanning of the ANC and sort of making it a powerful player internally has had to cause radical shifts.

POM     And you think that has been due to?

PG     It's partly been due to our work and partly to the conditions which have made that happen. There's a whole big leadership vacuum in South Africa so where are the leaders? You start looking for them. The people inside South Africa wanted to know what the ANC think and that's made our work easier. So that's the one thing. The other thing is the war in Namibia and Angola, I think, has diminished the power of the security apparatus in South Africa. So they've had to shift their perspectives on things. I think they've begun to realise that they actually can't just control things militarily and what happened in Angola was part of that. And that made the Foreign Affairs people probably begin to gain more influence in government and there has always been a difference in the way they perceive the world and Southern Africa. So that has helped. And the economy has been going steadily down hill. We've had to jettison Namibia, we can't afford to keep the economy up there. And we're having problems internally with the economy. So there are all sorts of pressures internally which are causing things, and then externally I think generally people in the democratic movement are giving quite a lot of attention to the sort of alliance of international forces on South Africa, the fact that everybody out there is thinking the same thing. Two years ago, when Van Zyl Slabbert talked here and said, um that wasn't him, he spoke a year ago at an event that we organised and we invited Anton Lubovsky from Namibia to come and talk. Anton Lubovsky arrived in Durban and was very optimistic about Namibia, this was a year ago, extremely optimistic. No-one could believe it quite honestly.

PAT     This was before the agreement?

PG     No-one could believe it. But he said no, the international community is clear now, you can't play the various actors in the international community off against one another any more. South Africa is basically faced with a global perspective on Namibia. And it's going to have to grant independence, it's just going to happen. And he talked about the finances, the war and the international pressure. Now we are in the same boat all of a sudden in South Africa. And that has got to shift people's time frame. And it's had to shift the Afrikaners' time frame as well whether they like it or not, willy nilly they've had to shift and the question is can they maintain the initiative or are they just going to see things running out of their control? So I think they are trying to hold the initiative, I think F W de Klerk is trying to hold the initiative.

POM     Where would you place sanctions on this spectrum?

PG     There is no doubt that the democratic movement and the ANC have been convinced by the last two years that sanctions have made a major impact on bringing people to this point. Absolutely. There is a total conviction that sanctions have had a major impact on bringing South Africa to this point. Both financial sanctions, even just the arms embargo which has been hanging around for years, which South Africa believes it has overcome. In the white community there is still this feeling that sanctions is not a good idea, that it is going to cause all sorts of suffering in the black community and I think for many in the white community, white business community, they would say we are trying to change things before sanctions make an impact. So that's the message that they're coming with, no constructive engagement, more money into South Africa, all the rest of it because otherwise things are going to get really bad. So the guys in the democratic movement are saying, well it's very difficult to analyse one way or another, you have to decide who's calling for sanctions and who's opposing it and then if you look at things the people opposing it are the people who have the most to lose in terms of the status quo and the people who are calling for it are the people who have the most to gain. So it becomes a bit of a article of faith, I think. Financial sanctions are going to - you know sanctions in terms of the international finance, they will definitely have a major impact. I mean we are running this country out of loans.

POM     Yes, there are 3.1 billion due for repayment in March of 1990 and do you think that the international community will place a condition on rolling over those loans or whether the country will default?

PG     That's the 3.1 billion dollar question for the international community I think.

POM     I mean in a sense the government can say we can't pay you.

PG     That's the risk. I think they are going to have to use the threat, the international community is going to have use that threat to keep the pressure on the country to move. The trick is will the threat work or will we then have to call in the loans and what will South Africa do then? Will they just turn into another defaulter nation, and say well now that we're a defaulter nation we can get on with our own lives and too bad. Or will they in fact come up to scratch before March? So what are we talking about, five months, six months, the other question is how far can you go in six months? What will Maggie Thatcher, for example, be willing to have happen in six months before she will support the reallocation of these loans? Will it just be Mandela or will it be the whole package? You can go quite far in six months. You could lift the state of emergency, that's stroke of a pen stuff; you could release prisoners, that's something that could be done on the stroke of a pen; you can unban the ANC with the stroke of a pen and you can lift the International Security Act, because that's the real problem on detention you see, that's what prohibits political activities. You could lift all those things with a stroke of a pen. The question is will the government be able to do it? They've still got a majority in parliament, they'll still have a majority in parliament after September the sixth.

POM     Let me frame a question in those terms. Take three scenarios. One of where the National Party is re-elected with a simple majority, not as strong as it is now but still strong. Second, a scenario in which the Conservative Party more than doubles its strength, the government has a very simple majority. The third where you have a hung parliament. What do you think the government, or the National Party, in each of those situations will do?

PG     Let's assume they've got a simple majority. That was the likeliest scenario but I mean I didn't expect them to take out the hatchet on the State President so quickly - I mean I guess he asked for it. So a simple majority. I think all the other conditions are going to be the same. They are going to have to make the decision and they are not going to get any help from anybody else to make it and I think, whatever the rightwing says, they are going to have to make those decisions, they are going to have to go down the negotiation road some how. Let's assume they've got a slender majority and they've really got a lot falling away on the rightwing, which I guess could happen. Now that means that they are not going to be around in five years time. I mean assuming everything else was equal there'd be another election in five years time. The writing's on the wall for the National Party because the CP has just increased its support in a way along the line. So my guess is, if I were them I would be saying, well we've got to get out of this country what we can get now because if we stay, this white electorate, we are just not going to be in power in five years, we're going to lose it anyway so what can we do to make sure that our interests are covered? And I think that's going to drive them down the negotiation road anyway because it's going to be in their interests to go that way because their interests at the moment are not working class whites, their interests are in the centre because this community and academic community that's been in, so they are a centrist party and so they've got middle class and upper class interests to consider.

     A hung parliament? I understand that at least one Cabinet minister who has asked about this says, well it depends what you mean by a hung parliament. If it's just a couple of votes well that's easy we'll buy them off if it's just two or three, if we're not in the majority by two or three votes we'll buy the odd votes, we can get by, we can keep governing under those conditions. If it is a large block then the question is which way do they jump. And that is a hard one to answer. That's a really hard one to answer because the DP are going to have problems. They are not going to want to go into coalition government. So there is a possibility of the DP really being under strain because of that. Some parts will want to go into a coalition government, some parts will want to act as an opposition which occasionally votes with the National Party, so there is going to be strain there. I don't think the CP, their track record is that they are not going to want to go into coalition with the National Party. I mean the CP's approach has always been if you can't join them beat them. That's the way they have responded to the AWB, to the HNP, they've always said, if you want to join us that is fine, join us, but if you don't want to join us we're going to go for it. And they're going to be looking at the next election so they are not going to say, let's go into the coalition with the Nats, they are going to try and win the National Party's MPs.

POM     Will there be any possibility of such a situation fragmenting the National Party, that it in fact splits?

PG     Well that will be possible, that will certainly be the scenario the CP will go for, that in fact you split the National Party and you end up with the National Party no longer. So maybe you end up with a CP government. Well if you've got a CP government I think it's Boksburg, that's the scenario. And I think things might come to the table even faster, but obviously they will come very differently because you'll no longer get controlled negotiation, what you'll get is really active resistance on the part of large percentages of the population, the black community, and I would say that you might well get support in the white community for that. We're not Nicaragua, we are much bigger than Nicaragua but in many ways the alliance between the middle class and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua have helped move that country really fast. They are still suffering from the consequences of that. I mean if you get that sort of broad alliance after liberation what do you do with a broad alliance? You've got all these interests to put together.

PAT     In your scenario about the NP needing negotiations, what role in that does the CP or the DP play? I mean is this kind of politics really significant, the next real phases?

PG     I don't think the democratic movement thinks they are, which is why they can run a defiance campaign which might hurt the DP because I think they don't feel that there's basically that much significance in it. If the Nats run the negotiations I think the CP are going to be excluded from it. Spoilers maybe, but excluded. I think the DP are going to be excluded as well and the question for them is which side of the table do they sit. That's the question for the DP and that's the question they have already been asked by the democratic movement. They have been asked straight, which side of the table are you on? Are you on our side of the table or on the National Party side of the table? I don't think they've got an answer. If you go and ask Peter Gastrow he'll say we are on the same side of the table as the democratic movement if you ask Dennis Worrall it's not clear. I think he would almost like to see them as being somewhere in the middle, you know the messiahs in the situation. They are not going to be the messiahs of the situation.

     I think the National Party will run it and maybe I am just shooting off my mouth but if you look at Namibia, the man running the South African part of the negotiations, he said those are the guys with the skills in the civil service, so they are going to be the people who are turned to in any local negotiation. What's their picture of how negotiations happens? It's negotiations between us in government and the other interested governments. Didn't even include SWAPO. It certainly didn't include the South West African territorial force or the internal parties in South West Africa. They were excluded from the process. And so I am sure that is the model that is going to be followed. Obviously they are not going to be able to get away from the ANC but there is always a chance they will try to negotiate through the frontline states, for example, our government and the international community but it certainly is not going to involve the DP, not going to involve the CP, certainly not going to involve the other two houses. I mean who takes them seriously any more any way except themselves? And they are going to try and exclude COSATU, UDF groups as well I think.

POM     Would this be a policy to try and divide opposition forces as much as possible?

PG     I think it's just that they're so messy, it's partly about division, OK, but it's partly about, well we can talk with the Americans and so we can work out a deal. The Mandela position is that they just go and they can talk with him. And everybody we take to Lusaka, Harare, Dakar or wherever, discovers they can talk with the ANC. You know they discover they are nice guys. And they are reasonable and rational and they speak English.

POM     This is the old thing, they're civilised.

PG     Yes, they're civilised, but when you talk about the UDF or COSATU that's another story.

POM     These same people have a different attitude?

PG     I think so, certainly I mean it is much easier to go and talk with the ANC than it is to go and talk with the youngsters in the townships. So my guess is negotiations are going to run down that same road where you try and talk with the people you can talk with and the others just hang around the edges. The democratic movement ...

PAT     The war in Namibia, you know, they have to be really careful of that, because you didn't have the same kind of development of liberation institutions within Namibia that you have here and so when you say that the ANC postures to make sure that they don't speak for the total liberation movement, it seems to me that you can't have the Co-op African or the National Party going and talking to Great Britain and to the frontline states and then coming back once again and saying OK this is the framework of what we are going to do.

PG     That's true and that's the danger of this whole thing because they can't but they might try. Inkatha has tried to do it locally with the local negotiations, they've tried to say we will only talk to the presidents of these organisations. You know the bunch of young people out there, they've tried to do that but in fact the COSATU/UDF side had in fact constantly kept the townships, civics, youths and all that on board with their side of the negotiations, so they can't escape from it but my guess is they will try. But I suppose what I am saying as I talk to you is that it is more likely that people will go down the negotiations track than that they won't at the moment.

POM     That means the government?

PG     Yes, that means the government. And I think it means the democratic movement will go down that track. Now I spent last week with a group of youngsters, black youngsters, their analysis of the next few years is totally different. They are pessimistic in the extreme. They see the National Party back in power, they see the international community as being essentially fickle and they see young people in the townships as being so disillusioned and excluded from everything that they are just going to become more and more uncontrollable elements in the society and therefore they see a steady degeneration into lawlessness, the economy just failing more and more and the politics of negotiation just dividing the opposition, constantly dividing people, causing friction between Black Consciousness people and UDF types, causing power struggles inside South Africa and externally. So in their view the future is an extremely pessimistic one. So though we of IDASA are quite, if not optimistic, at least we believe there is going to be change. They don't see anything really discontinuous from the present. They see it as you go through the 1970s, 1980s, they see that sort of thing running on into the 1990s much as it is at the moment. Now, I think I share that because those are just ordinary people who are voting in the movement. They are significant people in the movement. They will vote with their feet if necessary so they might be very nervous about getting into negotiations and they might actually be resistant.

POM     That's these young people?

PG     Yes, and they're important young people because they are in youth congresses, they are in church youth structures which aren't like the rest of the church so they tend to be aligned with the democratic movement. They are in organisations which have voting status within the democratic movement. So they're representative of a sort of under-group feeling, then there is going to be resistance to moving too fast.

POM     Why do you think that would be so?

PG     I think because they are so suspicious of the National Party they'd much rather beat it than negotiate with it. And they are also suspicious that there are people like the international community, and Mrs. Thatcher I think has a particularly bad name. I have said this to the British as well, she has a particularly bad name because she is seen as being far to sympathetic to the National Party you see. So if she is part of the negotiations, the international community's pressure for negotiations, then that can only be because she wants to protect her interests and the interests of big business and capital and the National Party because that's where her sympathies lie. So there are going to be, I think, people being very hesitant internally about moving into things, whereas the ANC who have been outside are much more pragmatic politicians in many ways and they would, like Anton Lubovsky who says, let's not worry about Walvis Bay because it's the South African enclave, let's not worry about it. When we've got independence then we'll just put a road block across there and in two weeks it will be ours anyway. People on the ground in Namibia, the youngsters, think they have been sold out because SWAPO allowed this to happen, so I think there is going to be that tension inside South Africa as well.

PAT     Does that suggest that the ANC in some respects are not in touch?

PG     No, I don't think so. I think they are in touch. They know that. I think they understand that. And are working at it constantly to try to educate people, but how do you do that when you have such poor lines of communication? So what might happen is that they have to go into the negotiation thing without having had the chance to do that education and they're going to do it on their own. Just like the hospital strike that you know was done on their own.

POM     This could bring about a fragmentation within the black community itself.

PG     It's going to cause tensions. The question is can you hold those tensions together. Because people are going to want to exploit the tensions. And so I think the democratic movement is presently strong enough to hold it together. But that's a guess. No one will know.

POM     What would you identify as the major potential sources or actual sources of divisions in the black community and the major or potential sources of divisions within the white community?

PG     In the white community it is fear and distrust. And that is caused by isolation and I think our IDASA analysis of the situation ...

POM     Fear and distrust?

PG     Yes, of the black community really and the ANC and the democratic movement. I mean there are nice black people but they are not in the democratic movement, the democratic movement is a bunch of terrorists who are out to get us. And even when they say nice things you can't trust them. So the ANC constitutional guidelines look nice, but we don't really trust the words. So there are those sorts of tensions in the white community between whites and the democratic movement and that's going to be a source of constant tension.

     Other splits in the white community itself, I mean one has to just, one shouldn't take the party formations as obvious points of difference because there are people in Flamingo Court which is a big sub-economic flat area down south of Durban, there are people there who will vote CP, no doubt about it. Now those same people joined in a rent boycott with the Durban Housing Action Committee which is a UDF affiliate. So their interests on the rent thing were common with basically the people they would otherwise see as terrorists, in fact they now think they are very nice guys because they supported them when they didn't want their rents hiked. But they will still go and vote CP. So you can't assume in the white community that just because someone votes DP they won't go and run to join the army and set up the laager, there's is a good chance they will and the National Party the same, so the splits are going to be, I think, along lines of prejudice and fear and material interests rather than party formation. I guess that is already happening. That's why English speaking people vote CP.

POM     English speaking people?

PG     Vote for the Conservative Party which is basically an upper class kind of people, but the English people will vote for it. So in the black community there are going to be all sorts of possible splits. If you go and speak to anybody now they are all calling for unity, maximum unity. I'm sure you've already come across this. Whether they are union people, or business people, they are all calling for maximum unity in the black community and that includes Inkatha. So part of the peace initiative in Natal is about making sure that there is unity in the black community which can't be exploited, the difference can't be exploited. So where will the splits come? The one potential split is between the homeless and the poor and those who have. There is a potential split there. The unemployed aren't unionised by definition. Although COSATU tries to unionise them they've never managed and there are millions of homeless people who are hardly organised. In fact the only organisation that goes on there is that the Tamany Hall type of organising.

POM     Which?

PG     Al Capone type of organising. There's lots of that going on. Now those people are not going to be going into the democratic movement very easily and so there could be splits along those sort of lines. Games, bad games in Cape Town, lots of games here and mostly around resources. Those roots are unresolved I think in the black community.

POM     How about the charterists and the non-charterists?

PG     I think that split, I think that's going to be overcome. [... are, if I'm not mistaken, busy planning a trip to Dar-es-Salaam in the not to distant future.] So they are going to actually be with the ANC. The messages going out locally are let's overcome our differences. Let's deal with institutional differences but let's overcome them. And I think the message is that they are over-comable. Because of what the government did in 1985 I mean, it's rebounded on them. 1985 all those splits were exploited, AZAPO, PAC, ANC, UDF, they were all exploited by the state as they proved in Natal. And people got tired of it because they finally asked the question, in whose interest is this? And they got the answer, it's in the interest of the government. So I think it is going to rebound on people. It's going to be much harder to deal with those splits. There are other splits while I'm at it. And that is the homelands. The homelands have armies and the homelands have power bases and the Democratic Movement understands that and is busy running fast to try and deal with that at the moment.

POM     Does this include all the homelands or just the three that have independence?

PG     Well they're the most difficult to handle. It includes all of them but the independent ones are the most difficult to handle. So they are running fast on that one I think.

POM     Just a point of information. Can a homeland that is not independent raise a standing army of its own?

PG     No, but that hasn't stopped KwaZulu from running its own police force which includes people who are in many ways paramilitary and it certainly hasn't stopped them from raising an informal army in the townships. So there are those potentials. So the homelands are a possible point of division but I know that ANC and the democratic movement are working on that. Another potential point of division is the traditional leadership which runs quite strong in Natal by chiefs in rural villages and so on. And the ANC, as I understand it, is giving quite a lot of priority to those people at the moment. In fact generally I suppose as an outsider if one analyses where the ANC are at the moment they are identifying all the potential splits and going for them quite rapidly. Whether they will be able to deal with all of them that's another story and I think they will deal with some of them. It's a question of balancing power ultimately.

POM     Is KwaZulu different in the sense of the influence of Gatsha Buthelezi and Inkatha?

PG     Yes, they are different for two reasons. One is that they are not independent. The second is that they have taken an ambivalent position in regard to the rest of the liberation movement. With Chief Enus Mabusa(?) he's in a similar boat. He's not independent but he's taken a much more sympathetic point of view towards the ANC and towards the democratic movement.

POM     Which homeland is he?

PG     so there's been an accommodation between that homeland and the democratic movement, whereas the Chief Minister has tended to be much more ambivalent. He sees himself as being part of the liberation movement but the action between him and the rest of the liberation movement internally has been a conflictual one so therefore there has been a difference in that and I think they are going to try and resolve that now.

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