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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Jul 1990: Soal, Peter

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     First of all, Peter, did De Klerk take the DP by surprise? Has more been accomplished in the last year than you ever thought possible or probable?

PS     Oh without doubt. The speech on 2nd February was highly significant and most unexpected. Senior Cabinet ministers had been putting out during the course of that week that expectations shouldn't be raised to too great an extent because the President would do things in his own way and the expectations that were being raised around the world couldn't be met. So there was a concern that we would have another Rubicon speech and that he was really just going to tread water so it really came as a great big bombshell that morning of 2nd February. Yes, he's surprised and delighted us in the change that he's taken.

POM     What do you think motivated him? When he was elected State President and then party leader, most articles that we saw said that he was conservative, he was pragmatic but that he would be slow to change and yet in the space of five or six months he made a dramatic leap in one direction.

PS     He went to Damascus. Yes we were of the same opinion. We used to say that he was of the party, his conservative background, his religious background, etc., etc., so don't expect too much from him. Nationalists to whom I speak put out that when the facts were presented to him it was like a Managing Director of a company, when you realise you've got to change direction or go broke he's a pragmatist so he changed direction and with a vengeance. He didn't drag his heels. He says to people that he hasn't actually done anything fundamental on his own, that all these decisions were taken way back in 1986 to make all these changes and that PW Botha dragged his heels and didn't implement them because after the violence broke out when the state of emergency was installed in 1985/86, 1985, Botha's reform programme came to an end. He got himself into a cul-de-sac and there was no movement for years. De Klerk puts out that that frustrated a lot of them in the NP.

     Just another aside, he narrowly beat Barend du Plessis, the present Minister of Finance for the leadership of the NP. I think it was six votes or so, very close whatever it was. Du Plessis' supporters now say that Du Plessis would not have gone as far as De Klerk. Du Plessis said that himself. I've heard him say that, that he would not have gone as far as De Klerk, he wouldn't have had the courage to go as far as De Klerk.

POM     Yet he was the more liberal. It's almost the Nixon syndrome with China, that Nixon could do things with China that a Democratic President in the US couldn't do. What, on the debit side, when the facts were presented to him what would you see as the major entries on the debit side?

PS     The debit side, the high risk. I thought last year that the reform process was delicately poised and I think it is still reasonably delicately balanced between the blacks on one side and the right wing on the other. The right wing are making all sorts of noises, they increased their support in the Umlazi by-election and therefore he himself noticed, commented the day after the Umlazi by-election that they had to educate their supporters; he's moved so far ahead of the electorate and that's fine in between elections but when you get closer to an election the standard political trick is to then get your followers close in behind. So he's moved far out ahead of his constituency and I know that in this recess, this six-month period, the NP MPs are concentrating on educative programmes, that they will be spending a lot of time talking to members and supporters around the country.

POM     If there were an election held today how do you think it would break down in terms of the support of the different parties?

PS     I think that the Nats would still win an overall majority. The conservatives, yes, would gain, there's no doubt about that because anybody in a state of change is uncertain so the average white, whoever he is, a liberal or a conservative, is concerned about the process of change and what's going to happen to his job, his home, his family, his children, etc., etc. So there's concern. Liberal whites will express their concern in certain ways. I went to a meeting at a school of mine in my constituency about a month ago talking about opening the school to blacks. There was nobody against opening the school but there were concerns expressed about standards, sports facilities, numbers of children at the school, would there be bussing to bring blacks in, all that sort of thing, so there were concerns about the change. None of them, because it's a liberal area, were against having blacks at the school but they were worried about the effects. Conservatives on the other hand would just oppose blacks coming into the schools.

POM     Do you think that the Conservative Party now speaks for a majority of Afrikaners, that it is in fact now the Afrikaner's party?

PS     I think so, yes. Yes, I think they are more conservative. It's a very patriarchal society. The women do play a major role in their society but it's very much what Daddy has to say and Daddy finally decides. So it is a very traditional, conservative community.

POM     Do you think the threat is a serious threat or that it will simply dissipate with time, that it's more a threat of rhetoric than a threat of action?

PS     I think it's a threat of rhetoric. I don't think they would actually take up arms. You will have those sort of people putting their point of view to you but they are pushing the electoral system as far as they can. What they're hoping for is an election. That's not going to happen, that they can show they're on the gain, which I am sure they are because of this uncertainty which exists in the minds of white voters. But De Klerk has got to educate the voters, we've got to assist him. There's no alternative, there's no going back, there's nowhere to go back to. Apartheid's gone, it's finished, it's over.

POM     This brings me to the role of your own party. Many observers would have said that essentially the NP and De Klerk have pre-empted your ground and there was a question as to the relevance of the DP. One, what do you think is the continued future role of the DP in the process, and two, you've now made a decision to contest the Randburg by-election and I want you to look at that by-election and tell me what you think would constitute a win for the CP and what do you think would constitute a loss?

PS     The figures were that we won this seat last year in a very intensely fought campaign with a majority of about 1700 votes. The conservatives got about 750 and lost their deposit. That's of significance in our electoral procedure which means that they got less than 20% of the votes polled by the winner; you lose your deposit, not a great deal of money, about R400, but it's just the humiliation of losing your deposit. It means that you've got very little support in the area. So a win for them would be to maintain their deposit and increase their numbers and I am sure that they will, there's no doubt about that because there has been a general shift to the right across the political spectrum.

POM     How far would they have to double, treble their vote? Get 2000, 3000 votes?

PS     I would think at this stage, it's early days, but I would think that 1500 2000 is a ball park figure for them but there's no fear of them winning.

POM     If they got 2000 votes could they claim that as a victory, one more indication that the electorate was moving in its direction?

PS     I would say so, with justification.

POM     If they pick up 2000? What if they got, say, 1100 votes?

PS     I think that would be a slight improvement of their situation but it would be a defeat for them. I would think so, 1100 votes, sure. To move from 750 to 1100 there was a great sense of euphoria last year at the time of the general elections, now there's more caution.

     We think that, to get back to the first part of that question, that, yes, De Klerk and the NP has moved onto our ground in terms of reform and change but there are still issues on which we believe there are differences between us and the NP, and that is the question of democratic and liberal values. Now that's more difficult to define and to find our niche in white politics. Up until February 2nd it was quite simply to say we're opposed to apartheid, everybody knew that we were different to the NP. Now they're saying, what is the difference between you and the NP? They're going to do away with apartheid. Now I still don't believe that our values are safe in the hands either of the NP or the ANC. They are still basically authoritarian type parties and it is difficult for liberals around the world, usually they are small groupings and it is more difficult for us to put our point of view.

     On the question of democracy, for instance, at the beginning of this year the NP was talking about separate rolls in the new SA but they spoke about universal suffrage. Now that's a contradiction in terms. You can't have universal suffrage on separate rolls because votes then aren't equal. During the course of the session we pressed them on this issue and towards the end of the session they admitted that there would have to be common rolls, universal suffrage and you would have one vote with one roll. Now I think that's a role that we played in pushing them in that direction.

POM     So as far as you're concerned De Klerk now accepts the principle of majority rule?

PS     Well majority, no, I'm not sure even about that. It's one of the other issues because there's still talk about concurrent majorities, they talk about an Upper House modelled on US lines where you wouldn't necessarily have equal representation. So, yes, there would be a majority of black faces in the government as opposed to white faces. That's something we've been saying for many years simply because of the numbers but they would hope by some constitutional mechanism to ensure that minorities were protected. Now we're not opposed to that, we don't think that minorities, be they Catholics, Jews or whatever, should be ridden roughshod over.

POM     You don't believe that the position of the government on the question of majority rule is yet settled?

PS     Is clear, so they've got to be pushed and they've got to declare that. They haven't yet declared that. So we've got a role in pushing the government towards those liberal values and democratic values. Democratic, I think I've explained, for instance, about one man one vote and all the other issues that one usually associates with a democratic state. And then liberal values, the protection of individual rights, equal opportunity, a bill of rights, etc., etc. And then constitutional mechanisms like federalism as a means of devolving power, taking power away from the centre, independent judiciary to make sure that a bill of rights is not overridden, etc., etc.

POM     Is the DP in favour of a federal structure?

PS     Yes.

POM     A strong or weak federal structure, would there be a lot of devolution of power?

PS     Yes, that's what we're in favour of. I think the central government should look after foreign affairs and overall finances, defence, all the things that a classic federation would involve, and matters that intimately affect the individual should be handled by federal states.

POM     Would this be a difference between your party and the ANC where the ANC want a unitary state, a strong unitary state with strong authority emanating from the centre?

PS     That's right. Now we try and point out to the ANC that this shouldn't be seen as a white man's trick to ensure white minority rule in any one state. We accept, again, that there will be more black faces than white faces in every state simply because that's the demographics of the situation.

PAT     How do you engage in that with the ANC?

PS     In dialogue with them. We've got a meeting set up for the end of August. We're having a weekend away with them and we will push those points of view. We see, just to digress, that we've got three tasks apart from the democratic and liberal values which we would promote, three tasks, the first is to ensure that apartheid is killed, it's finally wrung by the neck and it goes, secondly, to ensure that the NP we bring closer to democracy and that the ANC we bring closer to a free enterprise system, and thirdly, that there should be some broadly based government after liberation to run the country so that you bring representatives of all the groups into a broadly based government and that also ties in with our other belief in proportional representation.

POM     So when you say a broadly based government, do you mean a government that would be constituted of members drawn from different parties?

PS     Yes.

POM     So it would be ANC ?

PS     ANC, NP.

POM     So in a way it would be like a coalition government. When you talk about the DP being for one man one vote, which implies majority rule, even though the majority won a majority there wouldn't be a majority government in the sense that all the members of the government would be drawn from the same party?

PS     We would hope for a coalition government as you get in many European countries where a single party hasn't got an overall majority. Now here I think that there very well might be a position where a single party would have an overall majority but that to ensure stability and confidence in the government we would hope that after 'liberation', that after agreement has been reached at the negotiating table, that we would then go to the electorate with some form of a unity government, blacks and whites together to inspire confidence in the new process.

POM     So essentially your party stands for a form a power sharing?

PS     Yes.

POM     For a period of time to complete the transition process?

PS     Yes.

POM     What would be the difference between the form of power sharing that you would seek and that you think the government would seek to negotiate?

PS     I think there might be areas of similarity. We haven't discussed that with them but I think that there could be areas of agreement.

POM     But it would be your understanding that the government wants to negotiate a structure that would result in a power sharing government as distinct from a majority rule government, even a modified majority rule government.

PS     They have said for some time that they believe in power sharing but the difference has been that they actually believe not in power sharing in the way in which we would understand power sharing but an apportionment of power, that they would give, like they've done with the coloureds and Indians in the tricameral parliament, that the coloureds and the Indians have got power in that system, they can stop the passage of a bill so they have got some authority but it hasn't detracted from the overall power that the NP has to run the show. So they've given them some power without losing power themselves.

POM     They are talking about power sharing in the sense that a number of the executive positions in the government itself would be occupied by people from other parties, i.e. a coalition in the sense that it's normally associated with in the west.

PS     Yes. I think there was somebody in the ANC recently who suggested that you might have a situation where Nelson Mandela is the President and FW De Klerk is the Prime Minister. I think that's important to satisfy black aspirations and to reassure white fears.

POM     I want to just get it clear in my own head. One form of power sharing would be, let's say, a dual chamber parliament where you would have a majority which would pass legislation in the first chamber and then the second chamber would have, the various elements of it, would have some forms of veto. That's one form. Then the other form is a form of where the government itself is composed of members drawn from different parties so that in the government itself you would have the ANC, the DP, the NP, possibly the PAC or even the CP if they chose to. So each party would in fact be participating fully in government. Which is the model?

PS     I think we would go for the latter with elements of the former. Everybody involved in constitution making in SA at the present time is scouring the world to see how constitutions work in other places. The favourites are Belgium and Switzerland where there are group rights, so to speak, and those groups are taken into account in the constitution. So everybody is becoming an expert on what happens in other parts of the world and you might find that you've got a combination of various mechanisms once we get down to the constitution bargaining. Negotiation, the essence of negotiation after all is compromise so the ANC says one man one vote in a unitary state and the NP says power sharing, etc., etc., somewhere you meet in the middle and you come to a compromise.

PAT     If you would choose the latter model and choose what we're talking about in terms of compromise, there is not a lot of difference between a coalition government and a single party state because you are offering the strength of the political institution in a government, in the country's government, and marginalising minority political operations. Is that true?

PS     Yes but we would also want some sort of say for minorities. So I wouldn't say that everybody should get together in the coalition but the main actors, and particularly for the few years after agreement is reached, that the main actors should be there to reassure all their constituencies or all their supporters to make them secure and comfortable.

PAT     A transitional government that would lead to another?

PS     Well until the next election so that it's purely a mechanism to make people comfortable at what's going on, but that the others left out of the coalition would obviously have to have some say. Our own policy some years ago provided for proportional representation and a form of minority veto, I think it was 15%, if you had 15% of the support you could block legislation. Now we've dropped that at the present time but it's again another mechanism for ensuring that minorities are not ridden roughshod over.

POM     Just hypothetically, what if the NP and Inkatha between them won a majority of seats in the new parliament? Obviously a government composed of these two elements, even if they had a majority of the number of seats, wouldn't be acceptable to the ANC.

PS     Well the ANC says it's a democratic organisation. I would hope that they would accept that for the time being they weren't in the majority and that they would use the electoral process, the democratic rights that they would have, to convince people to support them and hopefully from their point of view at the next election they would win a majority. If you lose out at the polls you must accept that's the voice of the people.

POM     The process itself, how do you think it will unfold? Generally there are two scenarios, one which envisages an extended negotiation table where more parties are brought in so broad based consensus on a settlement is reached and the parties draw up a constitution and put the constitution to the people. The other is where the table is broadened but at some point in the process you have an election for a Constituent Assembly along Namibian type lines and that the Constituent Assembly draws up the constitution. Which scenario do you think - ?

PS     We'd go for the former. The Constituent Assembly we don't believe to be an option here because we are a sovereign independent state. There's no Resolution 435 or Lancaster House necessary or probable, I don't think. Namibia and Rhodesia were not independent. We have a system whereby there is an elected government, it's elected by a limited electorate and you have the bodies who are players on the outside that should be brought in and all play their role and some sort of consensus arrived at as you suggest.

POM     But isn't the obvious answer to that that it's not a legitimate government, it's not representative of the broad masses of the people so to claim sovereignty in the name of the people when the majority of the people are excluded from expressing their preference for it is to de-legitimise the regime, the government itself?

PS     OK. All those arguments, yes I hear them. The hard fact is that FW De Klerk sits in the Tuynhuys and how do you get him out of there other than by throwing a bomb into the place? And he says he's not going to go until he's had discussions with the ANC and others and then whatever agreement is reached that he's going to go back to the whites and put it to them by way of a referendum.

POM     Will he do that?

PS     That's what he's undertaken to do.

POM     Do you think he can or he will?

PS     Sure, oh no I'm sure he will. It's a promise of his to the whites. And the others say, but what about us? And he says if you, the coloureds or the Indians or the blacks, if you want to go to a referendum, fine that's OK but I have got an undertaking.

POM     Well let's say he performs his undertaking and that in the black community and the Indian community and the coloured community, all three give majorities for the new constitutional arrangement and it is turned down in the white community, what then?

PS     Well then we've got a problem, we've got a major problem. If there is a breakdown in the negotiating phase then our role again becomes quite important to try and bring those two groups together because there are two options in this country. You either talk or you fight. Now we're talking at the moment and if the talks break down then the option is either to go on talking or to fight and there's no future in fighting so somebody would have to bring those two groups together again.

POM     You're saying that the white electorate will still have a veto over the new form of government?

PS     Call it a veto. De Klerk has promised that there will not be any changes unless the whites agree to it.

PAT     Do you understand what the form of that acceptance is? Is it a referendum or is it very specific what that means?

PS     Oh yes, that any agreement reached at the negotiating table he would then go to his constituency and say this is it. I foresee, I haven't considered the possibility of failure because I foresee again the coalition idea, some sort of agreement between De Klerk and Mandela, that you could have the two of them trotting around the country promoting what they have agreed to. That's not unreasonable to imagine that Mandela having agreed to or compromised with De Klerk that he should promote that amongst the whites to ensure that it's accepted by them and put into effect.

POM     But here again, this perhaps is a logical next question, the obstacles that De Klerk faces, what are the major impasses that he might encounter or the major stumbling blocks that he can run into which would endanger the whole process?

PS     The fear of the whites and the conservatives playing on those fears, so therefore he has got to ensure that he educates whites and takes them with him and, again, we've got a role to play. Half the voters in Umlazi were our voters, or came from us, they had been educated about constitutional changes, bills of rights, proportional representation, etc., etc. They knew what they were voting for. The other half of these voters didn't know, they just out of loyalty voted for him so he's got to educate them and there's a big process on the go. For instance, on SABC, the government controlled TV, there's no doubt that that's going to be used over the next few years to educate whites about accepting the consequences of change.

POM     Let me put something to you. In Northern Ireland in 1985 the British and Irish governments concluded an agreement which became a treaty, internationally binding, which the Protestants in Northern Ireland regarded as a betrayal, an absolute sell-out and they made all kinds of noises about mobilising support against it and that in the end they might have to turn to unconstitutional means. They didn't turn to unconstitutional means. Indeed Protestant paramilitary organisations are really on a fairly low order in part because they would say they are a community which obeys the law and respects the law. Do you think that supporters of the CP who have always regarded themselves as being the upholders of the law and paying great respect to law and order would get turned on by violence on the right because essentially they would still see it as a violation of the law, a contravention of the law? Or do you see violence as a real possibility?

PS     The conservatives play with the concept of violence. They go very close to the edge of moving into that field themselves. If you look at the newspaper clippings and what they have been saying over the last few months, as I say they're very close to getting into the violence, seeing themselves I mean they're not there.

POM     Do you think that the supporters of the CP would actually support that kind of activity that began to result in just random bombings, assassinations?

PS     Difficult to say. I don't think the sort of fringe supporters would, the hard line core members, yes, would but not the sort of soft Nat support that's gone to the conservatives simply out of concern or fear for the future.

POM     It doesn't take very much, a very big pond for a guerrilla operation to operate in. Do you think in the crunch that that constituency has enough support that it could harbour terrorist type movements?

PS     No, if you put it that way, no I don't believe that they have. But I think that De Klerk is going to use his position to educate whites, get them back on his side, to reassure them. It's important that Mandela must know that you're dealing with a situation where the whites have got to be brought along. So in effect they've got, call it a veto if you like, but if we're going to have a peaceful transition they've got to be reassured that everything's going to be OK.

PAT     Someone yesterday described the education project, someone fairly high in government who's involved in this project, described the education responsibility as this: we have a choice, do we slow the process down and bring the constituencies, particularly the NP constituency, with us or do we move fast and just drop them into the new SA without having taken them through the education process. And that is a debate that goes on within the circles of the government. It sounded to me as if the preference was for the latter. The best way of educating people is to present them with a fait accompli and say here it is and now you have to deal with it as opposed to slowing down the process. I would also suggest, as part of my question to you for comment, that it strikes me in talking to NP MPs that the leadership is far ahead of their own MPs and that they are more in line with the leadership and MPs in your party as opposed to their own who have to rely on some these Nat MPs to go out and do the education. So obviously they are considering what might be the wrong message.

PS     Dragging their heels. There's no doubt about that. Yes, if they're ahead of their supporters they're also ahead of some of their MPs. Some of the comments this year in parliament, I think of that chap from Durbanville when we debated the repeal of the Separate Amenities Act, who lauded the virtues of the Separate Amenities Act, it had been a good piece of legislation and one day somebody in the future will want to reintroduce a piece of legislation like this again.

POM     Can you remember his name?

PS     Van Deventer. He had been a party employee, the Secretary of the NP in the Cape. I suppose that might explain why he adopted that point of view.

POM     Could you spell the name?

POM     VAN DEVENTER. He had been the Secretary of the NP in the Cape. So as I said, maybe this explains why he adopted that point of view. So quite correct, a lot of these MPs are way behind De Klerk and the leadership but that's something that they've got to work on. They're going to have sessions, I don't know whether you've been told this, but as De Klerk takes his Cabinet away into the bush to sit there for a weekend or a couple of days and decide on their next few moves, away from telephones and interruptions and that sort of them, he apparently is planning similar sessions for the parliamentary caucus, all the MPs, they will be taken away for a couple of days for a brainstorming session, get some sense into their heads.

POM     The first part of Patricia's question, the one where you crash course the change, get people to adapt to it vis-à-vis education proper which prepared them for the change, which would you think - ?

PS     OK, his problem, sure you can just bash on regardless, but in the end 1994, 1995 or 1993, whenever he reaches agreement with the main actors, he's got to go back to the whites at a referendum as he's promised to do, either a referendum or an election he said, just to make it clear, and if you're way ahead of your constituency then he runs the risk of losing that process, the election or the referendum. So at some stage I think he's got to stop, take a deep breath and allow the rest of us to catch up with him.

POM     Looking at the black side of the equation what do you see as being the main problems the ANC faces in the next year?

PS     A problem in their community, black community. As whites are not all united so blacks too, they're not one monolithic mass that everybody sometimes makes them out to be. There's the ANC and the PAC and there are factions within those groupings as well so there's a role for them to educate their people and to bring about a unity of purpose in their community. And there's Inkatha as well so there are many groupings within the black community and there's a battle for ascendancy in the present time whether it's between ANC and Inkatha or between ANC and PAC.

POM     Do you see  ?

PS     Yes I think so. I think Inkatha would like dearly to come to some sort of understanding with the ANC so that they could be together, not one tucked in under the other. Inkatha doesn't want to do that. The ANC would like it to be like that. They've got five of the six homelands in bed with them and three of the independent homelands in bed with them. It's just Buthelezi and Mangope who they haven't yet been able to bring to heel so to speak. So there's a battle for supremacy in that field.

POM     But obviously even from a constitutional point of view Buthelezi would opt for a federal type of parliament over a unitary state model -

PS     Yes, that's part of his policy.

POM     - by the ANC that would allow him to continue to exercise a considerable

PS     My nose tells me that Buthelezi is losing support but not to the extent that he's no longer a player I don't believe. He's still got a considerable base in rural Natal as he showed on Saturday when he got 12,000 people to turn up at his meeting. That's not bad, that's quite a showing. But I think that he's losing support in the cities to the ANC.

POM     But reports of that were coupled with a statement that before he used to draw 70,000 80,000 people.

PS     I think, again, it shows that he's losing some support and the fact that he held the meeting in Ulundi and not in Johannesburg, it could have developed into a bloodbath if he had held it here or in Durban at the Umlazi stadium. He didn't, he chose to hold it in Ulundi where, to be fair, he's always held his congress. This was the 15th congress and they've always been held in Ulundi.

PAT     Do you think given this desire of Inkatha to form some kind of alliance, to be brought in with the ANC, do you think the NP is barking up the wrong tree?

PS     I don't read into the fact that Jurie Mentz was there on Saturday and delivered a message and so on, much that the Nats are opting for Inkatha as opposed to the ANC. I think there's always been reasonable contact with them. It's also been mentioned that we weren't there. We didn't get an official invitation to the best of my knowledge as a party. I personally got an invitation because I know Buthelezi quite well and I am also our spokesman on homeland affairs and I just couldn't go so I sent him a nice letter declining his kind invitation and wishing him well. So I don't read much into it. I don't think that they will do anything at this stage to alienate the ANC.

POM     To turn for a minute to the violence in Natal, two or three things. One, when Mandela was in the US he frequently said the agency or the institution to blame was the government and that the government could have taken steps to bring the violence under control, hadn't done so and was really using Inkatha, or implying that the government was using Inkatha to wipe out the ANC in Natal. Do you think that that was a fair assessment by Mandela of the situation? Two, do you believe that the violence there can be brought under control in the short term? And three, what kind of message does the violence there convey to white people?

PS     Number three, South Africans would say it gives whites the skriks (fright) at what's going on there because that's their worst fear of what happens in Africa, Belgian Congo type situation, etc., that blacks are out just to kill each other and us, rape our women, burn our houses, steal our motor cars, all that sort of thing. So in that respect it's unfortunate but it's part of the battle for power which is taking place in Natal between the ANC, the UDF on one side and Inkatha on the other. Yes, I think the government now is making a concerted attempt to bring the violence under control by sending in extra security forces. Mandela, well he went to Natal shortly after he came out of prison and he told the people of Natal to throw their pangas and their rifles into the sea but they didn't listen to him. Now he blames the police or the authorities for the fact that the violence continues. There is a problem in that the warlords, be they either Inkatha or ANC people, are going to continue on their own and they've got to be separated and some sort of peace brought to the area but he hasn't got all that much influence in Natal.

POM     The reporter for the New York Times in a number of reports has referred to it as black on black violence to the extent that he was called on the carpet by the ANC who said that if he didn't stop referring to it as black on black violence they might have to deny him access to the ANC itself.

PS     Really? Is that Christopher Wren? Really?

POM     Yes.

PS     I haven't seen Christopher for a while. I saw Christopher about a month ago. Oh really? So has he stopped talking about black on black violence?

POM     It should not be called black on black violence.

PS     Did he report on that or did he just tell you?

POM     No it appeared in some other paper.

PS     Well they use fairly persuasive methods from time to time the ANC do.

POM     How would white people see it? Would they see it as black on black violence?

PS     Oh sure.

PAT     Deprivation, poverty.

PS     They're all Zulus there killing each other. It's a good old fashioned you say the warlords, it's a good name for them. People with territorial and other claims and other people won't submit, they just wipe them out.

PAT     I think the comparison is made, for example the right wing bombing the NP HQ, they don't report that in the newspapers as white on white violence. It's reported as political conflict, disagreement with the conservatives, the right wing versus the left type of thing and then we look at Natal we look at black on black violence and how that emulates the concerns that whites have about the rest of Africa.

PS     Interesting point. You see whites always regard any action on the part of the blacks, violent action on the part of the blacks, as confirmation of their views that they are savages whereas whites, we act differently.  It's inherent white racism. One can understand that with 40 years of being force fed a diet of racism, 340 years of it.

POM     Finally, on economic structures, I always think the economy is a primary concern of every section of the community. Do you think that the government will look for economic structures or principles to be written into the constitution, safeguards against the way in which a future government might go?

PS     I am sure they will, in fact they've said as much and I can't remember their words now but, yes, they've given those sort of assurances that there will be no Marxism here, there will be no nationalisation. I'm not sure if they said no nationalisation but it's been implicit in what they've been saying. But they fundamentally are free enterprise people, a free enterprise party, and I think that they would hope that during the course of the negotiations that they would promote those concepts.

POM     Where would the DP stand?

PS     We're a free enterprise party with a sort of a social conscience, but basically we're free enterprise.

POM     Would you support the building into the constitution of principles relating to the conduct of the economy?

PS     Yes, well, personally I'm on shaky ground when it comes to economics but let's say that we're basically a free enterprise party, we're against intervention by the state but we also realise that there's got to be a degree of distribution which has to take place to redress the wrongs that have taken place over the years. Now how we bring that about I'm not the right guy to ask, that's not my scene. I'm on political structures and human rights and so on, that's my field.

POM     Has the party as a whole developed an economic policy or would just do so in terms of  remarks that there should not be state intervention but there should be some redistribution, some mechanism for redistributing wealth so that there is an uplifting of ?

PS     Yes, of those who have been deprived.

POM     But that doesn't find the ways.

PS     I'm giving you the bare bones about economics, as I understand it.

POM     Does the policy spell out the ways in which the DP would seek to do this?

PS     I don't think so.

POM     Or is it just that - ?

PS     I haven't got a copy here but I can post you one of our when we're finished there might just be one there that I can get you a copy of.

POM     In terms of time, where do you think the process will be this time next year?

PS     Talking phase still. We haven't taken away all the obstacles to negotiations and then the ANC hasn't sorted itself out yet. They're having their congress on the 16th December and then after that if the obstacles haven't all been removed then we can get down to some negotiating.

POM     So you wouldn't see negotiating beginning really until early 1991?

PS     Into 1991 and then we enter the parliamentary session again and there might be delays. I don't see that as a problem, that there should be delays. I think the fact that we're talking is important, that talks are taking place. Hopefully we will have a place at the table to put our point of view.

POM     Would you think that by this time next year that the table would have been broadened or would talks still essentially be between the government and the ANC?

PS     I think that by this time next year the table will be broadened because once the obstacles have been removed and the ANC have got themselves sorted out at their congress then you get down to the shape of the table.

PAT     So you think this time next year there will actually be formal negotiations? I don't want to misunderstand, people talk about talks as a free negotiation, that when you say we'll be talking at this time next year you mean at a formal negotiating table?

PS     I think so. That's just a guesstimate. And also the sparring phase I think would take some time until people settle down and get to understand each other and know what they're about and know each other and then I think that the negotiations could develop at quite a rapid pace; once you've found your niche that you then reach agreement, once you understand each other.

POM     So do you see the process as being essentially completed before a general election is due in 1994?

PS     I think so but if not it's not a major problem I don't think. I think as long as the process has made sufficient progress if De Klerk were to go back to parliament and ask, say, for parliament's life to be extended for a short while just to bring to an end the process, I don't think there would be a problem with that because why then go through an election and all that upheaval? We've had two elections in three years, 1987 and 1989, and really you waste a year at election time. You Americans, you waste so much time with elections. You have too many elections! I'd hate to be a Congressman in the States, you're in a perpetual state of election. You're rushing back every weekend to go and keep your base secure.

POM     OK.

PS     Well I hope that was helpful.

POM     Thanks a million. Very interesting and stimulating.

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.