About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

16 Jul 1990: Van Den Heever, CM

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POM     We have just been talking, before we formally started this interview, of perceptions and the importance of perceptions. How would you give your perceptions of the situation today, as of July 1990?

CVH     The basic and important thing that forms our perception, or shall we say my perception, is the fact that I live in a frame of reference that on an international basis you see nationalisms coming to the fore, like in Eastern Europe. Nationalisms, as I see it, tend to be the basic denominator to pursue a nation's destiny. When you relate that to SA you find that as a result of a diversity of peoples these peoples tend to live in compartments. I think this is not only a South African situation, it's an international situation. Although there is esprit de corps amongst certain people there are deep differences and when certain things do happen in countries the nationalisms fall through as the basic sediment. Whereas in SA we are pursuing a new constitution, whether we like it or not certain changes must take place in SA, and from my frame of reference I also see it's important to solve and to resolve the issues that are at stake in the SA political arena and obviously, as one of the main actors in this game, the Conservative Party, my party, must also take a stance.

     But I think it is important that we realise that a third world people and a first world people cannot be moulded or blended into a one man constitution. It will not work because perceptions differ greatly, the structures of state differ greatly, the economic pursuance differ greatly, the cultural value systems and the mores and the rituals of the particular people differ fundamentally. Although there are similarities in some fields based on western standards, like, for instance, in the economic field, in the field of sport I would say there is a high level of generality amongst the people, but by and large the cultural and political issues differ fundamentally and also to some extent the religious issues. You might argue that there are religious differences in other countries, it's not a strange thing to find that it might be the case in this country, but the fact of the matter is that deep-seated differences amongst the first world and the third world people makes it impossible, and also the demographic figures, the majority of black people who are lesser educated.

     Another thing about SA is that we first of all had a colonial government in the form of a Dutch government who actually instituted the apartheid system in this country. Secondly, there was the colonial period in which the British Empire ruled. During these two periods of regimes apartheid got entrenched in this country. If I can mention an example, Swaziland and Bechuanaland were made independent states. Partition states were a way of life for the South African society for many, many years. We fought colonialism, we were against colonialism. Colonialism did bring some benefits to African states. The British did teach them about affairs of state but they made a dismal mess of their independence. With a few exceptions Africa today in general is in turmoil. We all know that. That is fact and reality and the philosopher Thompson said, "All philosophical debate will be defeated by the facts and the experience." The facts of the experience are that in a white man's world is completely different to a black man's world. You may call it a racialistic approach, you may call it whatever you like, if nations over the world tend to be separate, tend to have concord only with their own people in the affairs of state itself then I would say it is not out of tune for our people to see the differences and to accept it as a fact of life.

     My perception is that as far as the political future of this country is concerned we are also against the oppressive element of apartheid. You cannot play father over the  black people any more. They must start to work out their own destiny but I don't think it's for the white man to be his pacemaker like we have been in the past. He doesn't appreciate it, he never becomes independent. He always looks up at you as his father when it suits him. Therefore, the only moral way out is to have a commonwealth of states whereby you divide South Africa into regions where each of these nations can have its own self-determination, it's own sovereignty. This will leave the white man separate from the other groups. There will obviously still be concord amongst all the groups in a particular region where mutual affairs are concerned like water supply, electricity, roads, customs and excise, etc. But overall, the only way to pursue freedom with justice is by partitioning the country.

     Now you might ask me how are you going to partition it? Where will my territory be? I might answer by saying that I live in Pretoria, that's my territory, that's mine, I own property there.  The CP has won constituencies in Pretoria, in the Northern Transvaal and the rest of Transvaal. We have a legitimate right because we developed it but by the same token the blacks also have the right because it's their country. They didn't come from thin air, they were born in this country, they have a constitutional and legitimate right to be here.

POM     Can I just ask you a few questions on that. If you talk about a commonwealth of states, what if the overwhelming majority of black people want to live in one single state, so that you're talking about a situation of a South African state, whatever it's called, and then a white state? Is that an acceptable equation to you?

CVH     In a sense it is. The fact of the matter is that we cannot be prescriptive to the black people as to how they want to unify or to divide the territories as far as the ethnic content is concerned. The Zulu might feel, well we want a united SA with all the peoples together including the white people, but if the white people say no you can do what you like and you can assimilate all the various black groups together, including the Asians and the coloureds if they so wish, but the whites are different, they want an own particular fatherland. Well let us negotiate that fatherland. It might be a much smaller proportion than that which we have at the moment.

     The fact of the matter is we are facing such a vast majority of black people and this majority of people have a different way of life. For instance, their family life and their style of life makes it impossible for us as whites to live according to their norms and values.

POM     When you say 'their family life'?

CVH     They're having, they can have four or five or six women and they can have children and can live in one community in a happy atmosphere. The whites can't live like that; we are living according to western standards and moral codes. They are different. What kind of judicial system must you have to assimilate that? What kind of assimilated church will you have to accommodate that? In our church, the Dutch Reform Church, you're not allowed to have more than one wife, as you know.  The same in every other western country. Consequently, I can't see that there can be even ecclesiastical concord if the two value systems must be accommodated in the statutes of one church. There alone is a difference.

POM     A lot of people, certainly a lot of people that I have talked to here, reject the idea of partition as almost completely impractical in the modern world of today. They say, yes, the Conservative Party has talked about partition but they have never put forward any ideas on what form it would take, what structures of government it would take, what would be its relationship to the rest SA. So it's like they have simply the word 'partition' but it's not fleshed out in any meaningful way.

CVH     I would concede that that is a problem but we are sitting with a government-controlled media, the radio broadcasts and also television are solely in the hands of the government. In other words they will never give you really the chance as an opposition party to go into a real philosophical debate about the policy of the CP even with black people where you can have an open debate on TV, say for instance, with the Zulus and the CP or the coloured people and the CP. The fact of the matter is that we have traditionally lived according to the customs of separation. It's entrenched in our way of life. There is probably more than in any other country a definite divide line between the various ways of life in SA. In other words it's not a strange phenomena to have partition but as I said earlier the old form of apartheid, you can always say fine, let us open it up and discuss the moral and the immoral issues of the old apartheid system.

     As I said, we want to move away from that rigid apartheid system. We can't be prescriptive and this is what we are conveying to the outside world and also to the black people, that we do not want an oppressive system. If the past was oppressive we want to move away from it because we cannot control, just as much as the Israelis and the Palestinians do not want to govern over each other. They still have a problem, they've either got to fight it out or negotiate a settlement in Israel. I've spoken to many Jews on this issue and it is a very big problem, very similar to SA.

     The fact of the matter is the whites and the blacks will not blend together into one society so you've got to decide you either blend, you try to blend and make one constitution and see if it works, the price is too costly to contemplate.

POM     How would you see the price of that?

CVH     Well it would be conflict all along because the blacks will be far in the majority and they will obviously control everything from the economy right through to education and all the affairs of state they will control because they will be the majority. If the government, the present National Party, is going to negotiate a constitution it must either concede that it's going to lose power altogether or it will have to negotiate some kind of power base for itself in a new constitution, say on a 50/50 basis. This will be an unequal basis and black people will simply go to the international community and to the UN and say, "We've accepted this kind of model in order to get things going but this is not the style of African politics, we want a one party system." I mean on the basis of experience and the basis of fact, as I said earlier, the facts and experience will speak eventually.

POM     What are your perceptions of what De Klerk is doing at present?

CVH     My perception of De Klerk, and I want to be very lenient in criticism and be very fair in my criticism, you know the Afrikaner people can be very hard on each other. I think Mr de Klerk is honestly trying to resolve a very, very difficult and delicate position. The international community is demanding a settlement in this country whereby the blacks are part and parcel of a constitution, where they can also execute their freedom by way of one man one vote. Now the one man one vote system I don't think is quite, although Mr de Klerk says this will be the idea, one man one vote, we also agree to a one man one vote system but in a patrician society, but what Mr de Klerk wants is a one man one vote system in a unitary state structure. Now it's going to be difficult for a scenario like that to bring happiness because if that is their idea, although he says it won't be based on domination, minority rights will be entrenched in the constitution; how he's going to do it I don't know. Really I do not have a perception of how, what gimmick he will have to devise. Maybe he will use the judiciary to play father or to be the guardian angel over this constitution.

POM     Do you believe he has, the NP has already conceded on the question of majority rule?

CVH     Oh yes obviously, obviously.

POM     So you would not see a future government as being one in which there is an element of power sharing between black and white but rather one which would be majority black?

CVH     It will be a power sharing model undoubtedly although it will try to get certain trumps in its hand, I doubt whether the blacks will ever accept a model where the white man will have a definite say and a final say on issues of state. It will be  based on majority government, it might be a sort of a consensus government where consensus will have to be reached on issues, something similar to the present three chamber parliament we have. But, of course, we must be fair and say we cannot say in all honesty and truth that we know exactly what model he is going to work out for the country simply because we know he's got to negotiate with the various black people and we don't know what the various black peoples are prepared to concede in the final analysis.

POM     If he were to extend an invitation to the CP to participate in these negotiations what would your party do?

CVH     Well I suppose in the final outcome we will have to make some kind of contribution. In what form it will take I don't know, that is for party leadership to decide but at the moment we feel that we should stay clear of it, let things take their course and see what happens. The CP's basic view is that we will not negotiate the demise of the white man in this country. We will not negotiate that our fatherland should be handed over to a black majority government because the price we paid for it was a very high and dear price. Our freedom is at stake and that is the final thing. About these things you hardly negotiate.

POM     But how do you envisage the process? It's like you have the ANC and the government talking to each other. At some point they are going to invite other parties to participate.  There are two scenarios: one is that the parties around a table would attempt to reach some kind of consensus settlement and draw up the framework for a constitution; the other scenario would be one in which there would be an election for a Constituent Assembly which would draw up the constitution. Which of those two do you think is more likely as a way forward in which the present negotiators will proceed?

CVH     I would say the nucleus of the whole thing will depend greatly on what concord will the NP and the ANC reach on certain cornerstone issues like the judiciary, like the army, like the constitution itself, the representation and the style of representation, what kind of economic policy they will pursue and the basic cornerstones of state will have to be sorted out to a high level. I won't say it will have to be a complete concord but at least a high level of generality as far as these important issues are concerned.

     I think if I can look in a crystal ball and try to form a perception of how the scenario will follow from there on, I would say that the other parties will not have a very big effect on the outcome.

POM     The other parties being?

CVH     All the other parties.

POM     It's really the ANC and the NP, the government.

CVH     Well if the ANC and the government reach some kind of agreement I can hardly see that the coloureds and the Asians and any other group who wants to feel itself different to the ANC, like Inkatha and so forth, they will not really be relevant in the final outcome. They will bulldoze the rest into accepting a constitution once there is some kind of agreement between the ANC and the government.

POM     So at that point is there an election?

CVH     Obviously yes there is. Then they will invite those people in but they will simply have to fall in line and say that the government agrees with the ANC that this is the way. I can hardly see that Inkatha and the coloureds and the Asians can change that view and I don't think they would like to change it. They will simply say, oh well what's good for the government and the ANC is good for us, except the CP.

POM     Would there be an election at that time?

CVH     At that time they would have to have probably an interim government and then a general election on a general basis.

POM     And would the CP contest that election?

CVH     Um I think we will. I think we will have to. You see the thing is it's difficult for the CP to withdraw completely otherwise we will have no say whatsoever.

POM     That's what I'm concerned about. Where do you position yourself? If you're not at the negotiating table where are you? Won't things just roll right on by?

CVH     Well the thing is if that happens that we will have to feel an oppressed people then, of course, anything could happen, anything could happen, because once you become an oppressed people then it's like in the rest of Africa.

POM     Well what if De Klerk said that he would put any new constitutional dispensation before the white electorate, do you think he would keep that promise?

CVH     Now you're asking me a very difficult question because I am playing with that idea in my mind virtually every day and it's difficult to give you a straight answer there and this is because I simply do not know. I do not know on the one hand whether I can trust him. On the other hand I feel he's an honourable man and I must trust him. Another scenario is that circumstances will force him not to hold an election even if he is an honourable man. On the other hand again he will be forced to an election because he will be made to have an election whether he's an honourable man or not.

POM     That's in 1994?

CVH     Yes. So you have four possibilities there, and to play around with every one of those

POM     What's your gut feeling at the moment?

CVH     I'm very uncertain. I'm most uncertain. A gut feeling, as an analytical man myself it's very difficult to depend on a gut feeling. It's very difficult to relate to a gut feeling. I would say if I have a choice now to say how I feel, I would think he will be forced to hold a general election.

POM     That is among the three - ?

CVH     The three chambers.

POM     The three chambers. Say you did hold an election and a majority of whites voted for the new dispensation where would that leave the CP?

CVH     Well it's easy to say that they voted for the new dispensation, if you look at the last general election and its manifesto and its little book it gave out on facts, it's very clear that he misled the electorate completely because no-one ever visualised that the white man will actually be forced out of politics and make it virtually impossible for him to accept the fact that his national flag will have to go, his national anthem will have to go, that his education system might be subjected to a people's education, that our value systems will be endangered. I think if the electorate, a responsible electorate, were aware of these possibilities they would have voted completely differently.

POM     My question is if he puts forward some new constitutional arrangement and says this is the way we, the government, and the ANC, this is what we're putting before you to vote on, now if the white voters voted OK, we'll accept it, where does that leave you?

CVH     There are two possibilities of the outcome. One, if the model which he will put forward will be on a basic of 50/50 the electorate might say all right, thank heavens we've resolved this, we're back for international recognition, at least we get half of it. It might work. But if it's one man one vote majority system

POM     If it's one man one vote but in a two chamber parliament where the upper house has some veto rights, yet not Westminster style, not first past the post majority rule but a more complicated form of it as exists in other democracies?

CVH     I doubt whether he will get the sanction from the white electorate.

POM     But if he did?

CVH     Well the fact of the matter is then we must accept that history will tell us what will follow. Then we must leave it to the future to decide how are we going to relate as a people with a different opinion. How do nations all over the world relate after a certain type of constitution has been forced on them even with their own sanction? Discontent, I think, breeds in the minds of people once you feel that I cannot pursue what I want to pursue in a reasonable and a normal manner, I can't retain the same standard of education which I enjoyed as a father.

POM     Would this not be a situation in which a democratic election among white voters in which they were given a choice to vote something up and to vote something down and as a member of that electorate would you not be prepared to accept the majority opinion?

CVH     I will have to accept the majority opinion, I cannot stop the constitution to be founded or moulded. But the fact as I said, or tried to say, is that the scenario following that will be left to the future to decide but if it means that I am oppressed by a black majority government, like the whites in the rest of Africa, I will most certainly become a revolutionary. I will have to fight for my freedom because then I will be in chains to them.

POM     Do you make a distinction between the white electorate on the one hand and the Afrikaner people on the other?

CVH     Not really.

POM     As you see yourself as a party, as a party of Afrikaners?

CVH     Attitude of people. People who basically think the way we do. It's not linked to Afrikanership itself. Like you get in the Greek community a very high level of support for the CP. You get it amongst people coming from the eastern bloc countries, a high level of support. English speaking people are realising more and more that the CP is the only party that can accommodate and facilitate their innate feeling. The only obstacle with the English speaking people is the fact that they say the CP is an Afrikaner based party and they don't always feel welcome in the party. But we are trying our level best to change that idea, that image of the party. Conservatives all over should unite whether you're Afrikaans speaking, whether English speaking, German speaking or whatever. The fact is that the white man's civilisation is a western European civilisation with western standards and tradition which we want to retain.

POM     Do you think if an election were held today that the CP would in fact gain a majority of the seats?

CVH     Oh yes. I say this in view of the outcome of the Umlazi by-election. If the NP stronghold, Umlazi, where they got the highest votes in Natal of support in 1989 and they just won with a very, very small majority with the help of the DP, then I foresee great trouble for them, great trouble.

POM     What will happen in Randburg do you think? What must the CP do in order to be able to claim a resounding victory and on the other hand what would constitute defeat?

CVH     What the CP should do there is to have a dynamic candidate but a man backed by information which will have to influence the electorate into accepting the real policy of the CP. I say 'the real policy', in other words a policy where we move away from rigid apartheid, where we say that we want to govern ourselves free from black majority rule. That is just and fair. We grant the black man his right to govern over himself but we are not going to deny ourselves the right not to be subjected to majority government. I think that is a reasonable argument for support. We will also pursue the fact that the security situation in this country is deteriorating. We need a government that can secure the white man but also prevent the destruction of the family life of the black people. If we really know what's going on in black communities now, we are always thinking in terms of what the white man says. We receive many black people who come here with tears in their eyes to say that they wish the CP would take over this government.

     We had a Bishop here now, a black Bishop. You see if you look at the black man and you see what's happening to them today if they dare to differ from the ANC, there are something like 85,000 illegitimate children roaming the streets of Soweto. These people are in control of Soweto. They force and enforce their views on responsible people. He was telling me of a family which is one example of many other families, the man goes on pension, he's worked for a company for 40 years, they pay him a pension and he gets a lump sum and he buys a house with furniture and so forth and he feels now he can go and enjoy his retirement, and then one night they take away everything he worked all his life for and they burn his house down. This is the type of style of concord you find amongst black people. Unruly people which needs a government desperately that can come down on this hooliganism and the black people are putting their arms out in desperation for a government of this stature, that can stop it. It's got nothing to do with apartheid or oppression or anything but just a government who can take control of this.

     This is what we will say to the people in Randburg. We do not want to be a lot of radicals and you get radicalism nowadays, there is radicalism. It's the result of the government handing over this government to the black majority, and don't tell me for one moment that I believe that if the ANC has significant say in the government that the moderates like Professor (I'll get to the name just now) he said that the moderate people will phase out and the radicals will take over. The problem with African politics is that you can talk day in and day out, year in and year out, the fact of the matter is that the black radicals take over eventually. They radicalise every white man, they radicalise their own people. They radicalise the economy, they radicalise everything and they destroy everything they can put their hands on. Look what they're doing to God's nature. Have you been to a homeland yet? Go and see a homeland and then you will have a perception of what I'm talking about. You can give them more and more and more and they will destroy more and more and more. They don't even leave a bird in the sky or a bird in the nest, they won't leave a creature whether it's an insect or anything, alive. They destroy everything they put their hands on.

     This is the type of thing the white has to endure and face and now they want us, the international community, they close their eyes to these things, they want us to hand over power to the black majority to entrench a third world status, go back into civilisation, back into history, backwards. They talk about the CP using the ox wagon, they will find themselves eventually in the age or the period before the wheel was even invented. It will be long before the ox wagon was invented, they will go back to the dark ages if we subject ourselves to this possible radicalism. I don't say this is an absolute. I say this as a strong possibility.

POM     On Randburg, just to finish off on Randburg, what vote must you get to be able to claim a victory?

CVH     I haven't got the statistical figures but I know that we got something like 700 votes.

POM     Yes 655.

CVH     In that range, 4% of the vote. It all depends again whether the DP and the NP will be both in the field.

POM     Say they are both in the field to start.

CVH     I haven't got the figure, I'll have to go and verify it. I would say we will have to make a dramatic we will have to go in the vicinity of 38% - 40% of the vote. It will be a dramatic escalation of support.

POM     What would you have to look upon as a defeat?

CVH     Less than 2000 votes. It's an absolute rejection of a policy but I say this once more, the problem facing the CP is that the people do not really know (you made reference to that earlier) the people do not really know the policy of the CP. In a sense it's our fault, in a sense it's the lack of opportunity to make it public what exactly we want. Maybe, like in the past, there's always been an inability of the Afrikaner people to come forward with emotionally a viable, moralistic approach to partition. This is a possibility and that we are simply at fault as a result of our lack to put it there. I mean I speak to many people and once they know exactly what we're aiming at they have a completely different view that these are not a lot of radicals, we are very much concerned.

POM     When you say to people that we as whites have the right to self-determination, we're a different people, we're a different culture and we're for partition, but you can't flesh out partition in any way that makes it real. Where, what part of the country, what would its relationship be, what do you think its relationship would be to the rest of SA?

CVH     You see the problem facing us to give you a part of SA, is that you will have to go into negotiations to determine that.

POM     This is what I come back to, how this process will unfold. Let's say some arrangement is reached between the ANC and the government and there's a form of power sharing, or there's even majority rule but with severe constraints on some things. Let's say there is an election and it's accepted both by the majority of the white community and by the majority of other groups. Now there's a government and you may contest that election or you may not but you probably would have to contest the election as an opposition party. Now there's a new government. The party is still a member of parliament, how does it go about the negotiating? Essentially the government says the people have spoken, the majority of the people in the country, the majority of blacks, the majority of whites, coloureds and Indians have all spoken and this is what they are for and you live in a democracy and

CVH     All right, let me try to answer it this way. We were against the three chamber parliament, we participated in the election and we got elected in the parliament. This might happen again. But, as I said, the scenario following from that point onwards will depend on the future, what will happen, what will emanate from this new style of constitution. That I can't tell you.

POM     Well let us say, assume, on the one hand there was a significant inflow of foreign investment and the economy stopped deteriorating and levelled out and people were no worse off. Let me say that the average white person found that after a year or two years of this government in fact they were no worse off than they had been before?

CVH     You will never stop radicals demanding more and more and more even if there's inflow of wealth in the country. Remember, if a man invests money in this country what does he want in return for it? He wants a good profit on his investment. If the excessive demands for wage increases without the support of productivity supporting that demand follows one after another then SA will price itself out of all international markets. That is fact. Whether you have castles in the air or you believe in Hans Christian Anderson, Grimms stories or whatever, the fact of the matter is in the final analysis the facts will speak. We do not foresee, like in the rest of Africa, that the black man will attain the productivity if he's in control of this country. If it's true what you say and the investments come, why is investment declining in the rest of Africa?

POM     Because there is in fact an industrial infrastructure here, there is an industrial base and it has worked and investors abroad would see SA as

CVH     Well we don't know what's going to happen in the future. I don't think it will be a great improvement.

POM     OK, let's make two assumptions. Assumption number one in fact follows the scenario you think most likely, that is that even though there might be a moderate government in the beginning it will be taken over by radicals and the economy begins to deteriorate severely. This would increase your demands for a separate homeland for whites. Yes?

CVH     Yes.

POM     The second scenario: things get no worse, in fact may start to get better so that after a year or two the average white person will say, "Gee, all my fears of what would happen to the economy haven't happened." Where does that leave you as a party?

CVH     Well I would say that if a people concedes that he will not sing his national anthem any more and accept a new flag gracefully and he also sees that education is a one people's education and accepts that then we won't have any problems. But then you have lost everything. Then you're a person living from day to day. Then you are a pragmatic person, you go home and you close your door and you mind your own business. There are no cultural values at stake any more, you bury them. It's like a final funeral of an Afrikaner people. Then, of course, on the surface things will go well but a nation was prepared to see its own burial. Then it will go well. But if you do not want to see your burial, if you do not, like in the rest of Eastern Europe, and those countries are aware of their nationalism and they want to break away from the Soviet Union, if that is a fallacy well of course things will go well in this country even with the black majority. If we ignore history and the trends of what's happening in the rest of Europe, if we ignore Lebanon, we ignore Israel, we ignore Ireland and we ignore all those countries, it will go well in SA.

POM     But many people would say that the message of Eastern Europe is the opposite of what you're saying. They would say here you had peoples who had been disenfranchised for 40 or 50 years and who were demanding franchise or demanding the right to vote.

CVH     Yes, I agree with them.

POM     And that's exactly what the blacks are saying.

CVH     I agree with them fully. Blacks must get a vote, they're God's people, they have all the rights, they were born in this country. I will never deny them that right. In that sense I am a liberal.

POM     And you don't deny that if they all want to live in one nation that is part of SA they should have that right too?

CVH     Well if they accept the fact that if I do not want to live in that one, I want to be separate from that, then they can live the way they want to. They can have 100 children if they want to and they can have AIDS if they want to, they can do anything they want to, then I will have peace with them but at least then I will demand a piece of my own land even if I've been ousted out of my fatherland, I only have a little spot to live in, I will be happy to live in my little spot.

POM     Could you see an arrangement I'm trying to get a firmer idea of what you mean by an independent state. Could it be an autonomous state with special links to the rest of SA? Would it lie some place between autonomy and full independence or would it be a nation with a flag, with an army, with a navy.

CVH     Everything, absolutely.

POM     How much land, where would it be located, what are the practical arrangements? Are you working on these problems?

CVH     Yes we are working on it. That information I can't divulge now but we are working on it because obviously we will have to come with a proposal. I can tell you this that in Hansard, I think it's No. 9 of Hansard, one of the ministers made reference to Mbeki, Govan Mbeki who said that why don't the CP want to negotiate with us, even their demands for a homeland can only be negotiated once they start talking to us. This was in Hansard. In other words there already is the indication that even in the ANC they are thinking, let's get rid of these white people who want to be separate, let's get rid of them because we will never rid ourselves of them and they will always be in the new structures.

POM     In that case why if tomorrow De Klerk invited you to sit at the negotiation table and said you can put anything you want on the table, you can put the issue of - ?

CVH     He might just do that. I can't talk on behalf of the leadership. Dr Treurnicht will have to decide whether the party will participate. I can't give you an answer now. I think we are still studying the options.

POM     In Northern Ireland in 1985 there was an agreement concluded between the Irish government and the British government and the Protestant Union, and population of Northern Ireland regarded it as a complete sell-out of their position. They regarded it as, again, that the government had behaved as a traitor in the same way that many people, Afrikaners, would believe that De Klerk acted as a traitor. What they did to show the solidarity of their people against the agreement was that all 14 members which they had in the British parliament resigned simultaneously, so 14 by-elections were called on the one day and they used the support they got in those by-elections as what they called a 'referendum of their people' on the agreement. Why would your party not consider resigning all their seats simultaneously and there being 39 by-elections called on one day and you would tell the white community that this is your occasion to show your overwhelming disapproval of what De Klerk is doing?

CVH     In the first place the government won't have to hold a by-election and, secondly, even if we participate and if you hold an election, even if we get an increase of, say, 20% of the support, they will still not change. They know, they've conceded that if there are elections today the CP will win that general election. They know it.

POM     For the by-elections do you do opinion polling?

CVH     We do canvassing, we have people doing this kind of research.

POM     Do you go so far as to employ a professional pollster?

CVH     Never. We do the canvassing ourselves. We are fortunate as a party to have people who are dedicated, really dedicated to the party and this is the difference between us and the NP. Just before you came I had a call from Durban and a chap said, "Can you try to get us accommodation for 100 people in Johannesburg to help you with canvassing." This is the type and calibre of people, people who are dedicated, people who are really concerned about the affairs of the white man in this country.

     You know the CSIR said that there are 27% of the urban people in a society that are these kind of pragmatic people who care about nothing but themselves. They don't care about what goes on.

POM     CSIR? You mentioned an organisation?

CVH     Yes, the CSIR, Scientific Research Institute. It's a new building in Pretorius Street, not far from here.

POM     They said that there were?

CVH     27% pragmatic people. And these people are people who are not concerned about what's going on. They are not interested in school affairs, in church affairs, in nothing. They don't care whether there's an election or not.

POM     Do you think if you did contest an election, an open election, that you would get support from black voters?

CVH     Yes. Dramatic, dramatic.

POM     You would?

CVH     Dramatic support, but they might say what's going to happen to us? A black man might say, "We want the white man to be in control of things. All that worries us is the fact that we're the poor." But the funny thing of this is that those who have to create wealth and job opportunities are people supporting liberal parties. So you've got to address the liberal minded people to say pay the black man more, don't come to the hairy-backs, the Afrikaner, that has nothing, to the ordinary man in the street who's got a white skin. He doesn't determine a black man's salary, his wage. It's the big companies who are liberal, who take money out of this country at alarming rates, they take money out of this country which they earned on the sweat of the black man. This is the so-called moral people.

POM     So if you gave an upper and lower limit to the kind of support you think the party might secure among blacks?

CVH     Oh I can't say. I will have to take a tremendous guess.

POM     Just broad upper and lower limits.

CVH     I would say if we get the opportunity to put our message across, a partition model, I would say we might just get the majority of the black people if it's put in the right context; in other words where you say that we do not want to oppress you, as a matter of fact you must determine your own future, we will be there as a country to help you with aid where possible. We might say that there might be conditions, that we have given a vast territory away which we placed in your hands. If you allow the white man to help you with the development of agriculture on your land where he will have the security of profit as a co-operation in that country, fine, we might consider that kind of help.

POM     There was an article in yesterday's Star or Times where Sampie, the Professor at Stellenbosch, Terreblanche?

CVH     Sampie Terreblanche.

POM     He said that the NP was trying to solidify its support among whites by sending the message that the only way to ensure continuing economic prosperity was in fact to bring about fundamental constitutional change. In a way you're taking the very opposite point of view, you're saying the only way to ensure that the economy will become as poor as a third world economy or run into the same difficulties as the rest of Africa is if there is fundamental constitutional change in terms of majority rule. When you look at the factors that weigh on people's minds when they make decisions or try to make decisions about their future and how they would respond to either what you suggest or what the government suggests, what would you say are the most important factors that they consider?

CVH     Sampie Terreblanche?

POM     No. Sorry. If I as a white voter hear a message from you, I hear a message from the government and I try to make up my mind as to which one I should support, what are the important factors that I will weigh before I make my decision?

CVH     First of all political stability, security of the environment. In this country political security, I would say, is the environment where you can feel secure to pursue your goals. Of course, secondly, it should be a capitalistic system, economic system whereby you're remunerated according to your knowledge and all the standards of economic theory, if you want to call it that, where the principles of the economy are addressed correctly, where a man is paid in accordance to his productivity, where there is a sound market for exports, but all in all political security is the basic medium in which you can sell a product in this country. In other countries I would say this is not that important because it is a free and open society. In this country you cannot have a free and open society as a result of the differences. So once more you've got to come back to the principle of you have the political security to invest, to get overseas investments, because you get many people from overseas who say we cannot invest in a country with the possibility of political insecurity, where you have power-sharing, like in the rest of Africa. You can't have that, we are not willing to invest money. We will make loans available, yes, handouts there will be, but investment with a view to make a profit, no. This means once more that the perception of an overseas investor will also revert to political security.

POM     You don't believe that an overseas investor would regard black majority rule as an indicator of political stability?

CVH     Well he might, once more depending on the perception of the company or on its management, but by and large the international economic investors got quite a shock of experience with the rest of Africa. They might say, let's wait and see. They might hold back, say Philips SA or Philips in The Netherlands will say, fine, we will embark on a job training, employing more black people, put them in management and see what emanates from a new approach. Let's see if we can increase our productivity. But the economic stability will relate once more to is the black man in the industry, is he happy with his circumstances, is he happy to accept the fact that his wages are linked to his productivity levels or does he use his demand for wages purely on the political leverage which he uses in order to camouflage his inability? This is what they do.

     Let's look at the university education. At Medunsa University, you can go and visit there.

POM     Where is that?

CVH     That's just here at Garankura, on the Brits Road out. At Medunsa you might just go and find out from the faculty of medicine, say you've heard about the demand from pupils to have their anatomy paper to be examined again and they want to rewrite their exams in anatomy for the second year in succession. They want a revision in other words. And ask what do they do to the classrooms if they don't get their way. Has there been any destruction at the university? What's going on in the cafeteria? I heard a story that if they are given fish and chips twice a week they would take that fish and chips and throw it on the ground and tramp it into pulp. They're not satisfied with it. They're not like the white students accepting what they get. They metaphysically want to be superior to everybody, they want a three course meal every day apparently. This is the type of people you get. Our university students must be happy with what they get, they must be satisfied if they don't do their work and they fail their exams. Not these people. They have a different approach. No, you must mark them and they must have 100% for everything they do, it must be 100% otherwise they're discontented.

POM     OK. I will leave it there for the moment. Thank you very much, I really appreciate the time you've given.

CVH     Another scenario is that if Mandela, with his friendship with Gadaffi and Arafat and Fidel Castro, comes to an arrangement as far as the supply of uranium is concerned and they use that as a way to make atom bombs and to make a threat to the west, I wonder what the Jews will say in Israel. They will simply squash Israel to pulp and I wonder if all those people who support liberal parties in this country if they are aware of the facts, what they will say. I've spoken to a few Jews and I think it's a frightening experience for them. Then suddenly they become conservatives.

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.