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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

06 Aug 1990: Terreblanche, Sampie

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POM     We're talking with Professor Sampie Terreblanche on the 6th of August. Sampie, I'll start with a very general question. The events of February 2nd took most people in South Africa and certainly in the rest of the world by surprise. What is it do you think that motivated de Klerk to move so broadly and so rapidly?

ST     I must admit it also took me by surprise that day. That he really was prepared to go that far. Especially if one compares it with the policy statements of the government during the election time. There was no reason whatsoever to suspect that it would unban the ANC. During the election it still tried to discredit it, the DP and DP members, for having contacts with the ANC. There was the renowned advertisement, with Wynand Malan and me sitting next to Joe Slovo, a full page advertisement and saying, lending force, people like me and Wynand Malan, useful idiots, and asked the question, 'Are you prepared to trust the future of your children in the hands of people like this, like the DP?' They offered the example of a letter that was intercepted, a letter that Peter Gastrow had written to all the candidates that they must try to maintain good relations with the MDM given the already decided programme of interaction with the MDM and other groups. They made quite a fuss of this as if it was a kind of plot, the DP is in a plot with the MDM it said.

     Now one must try to ask the question: what caused this somersault of de Klerk on the second of February? Now I'll mention maybe two things. The deteriorating state of the economy. There can be no doubt that sanctions and disinvestment, but especially the outflow of capital, harmed the economy, caused the low growth rate, creeping poverty for fifteen continuous years. It was first mainly shifted on the poorer half of the blacks but lately it also started to affect whites. Now attempts in 1986, 1987, 1988 to convince to government that economically we cannot go it alone were not successful. They were not prepared to listen it. Now in May of last year the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the late Dr. de Kock said that we can't, we need foreign investment and to get it we will have to bring about rather fundamental political and constitutional reform. Both Barren du Plessis and de Klerk paid a visit to Mrs. Thatcher in June last year and on both occasions, but especially when de Klerk visited her, she must have given him a workout on the whole sanctions issue, on South Africa's isolation and demanded form him the release of Mandela and said she will do everything from her part to get negotiations going. Now I have been told that a very important interaction, there was important correspondence between de Klerk and Mrs. Thatcher after the election. And I have reason to believe that Mr. Kohl of West Germany and President Bush and the Ambassadors were all involved in this thing, to move the government to the point where he unbanned this organisation, released Mr. Mandela and others in an attempt to get negotiations going. And part of this package deal was that these countries will do everything to lift sanctions, to restore South Africa's international relations.

POM     For what purpose do you see the government going into negotiations?

ST     Now the government is saying that it's going into negotiations with the ANC, they have called a senior partner with also other junior partners with the purpose to negotiate a new constitution for South Africa, a non-racial constitution. But they are always vague about it, it's all to negotiate for a new South Africa that will be accepted again in the gallery of nations. But as far as de Klerk is concerned only on this point, he always emphasises that it can't be a simple majoritarian kind of constitution. It can't be a winner take all constitution, that the minority rights of minority groups should be protected. For that matter also so-called minority rights of the whites.

     Now this is the official reason for negotiations. I am rather sceptical about it. I think one of the main reasons for this sweet reasonableness as far as negotiations is concerned is to maintain and even to improve the new moral high ground captured on the 2nd of February. In an interview of Mr. Walden of the BBC, about 20th of April, he was asked what happens if negotiations breakdown, de Klerk said quite categorically, 'No that is our only hope, if it breaks down we will start again' That absolute strong commitment to negotiations as if it were a golden key. If it breaks down they will always be prepared to start again. As I explained, at the same time the supporting press, especially the Afrikaans press, was conducting a kind of vendetta against Mr. Mandela in an attempt to discredit him. Now the latest ploy is to have this vendetta against Mr. Slovo and SACP. I sometimes get the impression that those kind of scapegoats are deliberately created and if negotiations should derail very seriously the government and it's supporting press will tell its focus and outside world, nothing wrong with our attitude, this sweet reasonableness was all there from our side, it was Mr. Mandela, it was the SACP, they are the scapegoat.

POM     But what makes you so sceptical especially since Mandela has made a point since his release of saying not only in this country but overseas that de Klerk is a man of integrity?

ST     Yes, it seems to me that they have developed a rather close relationship or understanding between de Klerk and Mandela. I am sceptical and I will give reasons, but the only reason perhaps for some kind of optimism is this, let me call it, seems there is kind of a chemistry between the two men. And it says as much or perhaps even more of Mr. Mandela as Mr. de Klerk. Now there are several answers to this question. Some of the ANC say, they remain sceptical because tomorrow a bus can drive over de Klerk and what then. He hasn't said, and it is important, Mr. Mandela hasn't said the National Party or the new National Party as it is sometimes called, has integrity. He hasn't even said the Cabinet has integrity. So it seems to me other people that have personal interviews with Mr. de Klerk are quite impressed. He's making promises, also in speeches, more than he can deliver.

POM     Could you amplify that a little?

ST     I'm thinking of good examples you see. One thing was that he said in parliament that all forms of discrimination must be abolished because as long as there remains discrimination there can't be peace and stability. But at the same time he acts emphatic about the idea that minority rights be protected and the minority rights of the privileged white group. Now if he succeeded that their very large property and privileges, whatever, be protected vis-à-vis the deprived masses, that's a new form of discrimination, it's a contract kill. He has promised the civil servants and the teachers that he will see that their employment conditions will be improved. I can't see how it can happen in this relatively stagnant economy. He promised his white constituency that he will see that there is not a redistribution of property. He said in the interview of Mr. Walden that he is against the redistribution of wealth, that was the word that was used, because it is a socialistic concept and de Klerk said, 'I, de Klerk, am absolutely against it.'

     Last week, some of my friends, also more or less my kind of attitude, last week de Klerk was installed as the big protector of the Voortrekker movement. It is an Afrikaner youth movement. I said why, why put at this stage, this kind of groupism again over and over? In his speech on that occasion he said it is the task of the Voortrekkers to promote the identity and the culture, etc., of the Afrikaners. There is no reason to fear that Afrikaner interests and the national interests clash with each other. Me, as an economist, when a man talks that kind of nonsense after giving the groupism and the group conflict that has been the outstanding feature of South African history, now apartheid policy was a policy where Afrikaner interest was promoted at the expense of all the other groups. You see he is promising, and I ask myself, I would want to be a fly on the wall when he meets people in his office. Firstly, he must be a good listener. And then he has the ability to seem to be very sincere. And then he commits himself, 'I'll give attention to this, I realise this is an important problem, we will do this.' But perhaps in not too long a time the whole thing will boomerang, he's promising too much.

POM     Do you think that in a sense the government and the ANC may be talking at cross purposes? I'll tell you what I mean by that. That what the government aspires to achieve is from a power sharing arrangement which they will envisage as a final result, but that the ANC might see a power sharing arrangement as just a step on the route to something else, that is to full majority black rule? And that in a sense the two side have different agendas which are concealed in a way because the language in which they talk to each other is so broad.

ST     Oh yes, without any doubt. The agenda, not to talk about the hidden agendas, is completely different. And it is exactly for this reason that I think we need an open debate. To monitor everything that is going on. When de Klerk talks about power sharing he will mean something completely different than when the ANC is talking about the same thing. When both are talking about a new South Africa they mean completely different things. And although negotiations or talks about talks has started today and although one has reason to say they are much nearer to each other than what was the case last year at this time, the distance is still very, very big. Given their background, given their language, given their frames of references.

POM     Let me switch this to economics. If tomorrow morning you did have a majority government, say an ANC government, what difference would it make in the life of the average squatter or family in a township?

ST     If I think both Joe Slovo and Thabo Mbeki have said that if there is a new democratic government, as they put it, they never use the word black government, they say democratic government, the next day, it will be almost the same. They won't do drastic things immediately. But, you know, a democratic government, if not the next day, within the next few years will without doubt try to bring about rather fundamental changes. In this connection I think I must repeat what Mr. Mandela said the day he was released. We need an end of white political monopoly or domination and we need a fundamental restructuring of our economic and political systems to address the inequalities of apartheid and to create a thoroughly democratic society. Now these inequalities of apartheid, what's that? That will be addressed. Now this is perhaps the most outstanding feature now of South Africa. This inequality, let me mention six. The inequality in political power, symbolised by the fact that in last year's election the National Party got only 6.3% of the potential votes if everyone had voted. The inequality in economic power and control as is symbolised by the fact that the eight biggest corporate conglomerates are controlling 80% plus of the shares of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. ANC are very, very determined to do something about this monopoly of control, so-called, and it is a difficult problem because almost all of them are multinational that can move out if necessary, if they think it is necessary.

     Thirdly, the inequality in property. Because of the Land Acts and other disposition legislation and the ANC is also very strongly committed towards land reform. Yesterday there was an article in the Afrikaans paper about this complete stupidity to think about land reform. The only way farming can be profitable in this country is large capitalist farms. That is the new approach. Of course the ANC will do something about land reform, buy out farms, cut it up in smaller units, bring about land resettlements.

     Fourthly, and perhaps the important one, we have a very unequal, unfair, a great inequality in opportunity and access as is symbolised by the unequal social spending. In the March budget 28 billion, or 40% of the budget, was allocated for social spending. A rough estimate, the government don't have hard statistics, a rough estimate indicates that 12 billion will be spent on the five million whites, another 12 billion on the 28-29 million blacks and 4 billion on the 4 million Coloureds and Indians. On strength of that the government is still spending at least five times more to create opportunities for blacks vis-à-vis whites. Now a new government that is, I've done a lot of work on this topic, a new government when a disenfranchised group gets political representation, parliamentarian representation and becomes the government or a partner in a government, experience shows in all other countries that they use their new parliamentarian bargaining power or physical power to put additional taxes on the rich and to spend more on their upliftment, education, housing etc.

POM     But the tax base in South Africa is so narrow anyway you are not going to raise very much.

ST     This is the problem that the money sector is relatively small and even I must admit that we must be careful not to have too much democracy too soon. It can easily happen that a new democratic government cannot only use but misuse its physical powers to redress injustices of the past too quickly and restrain the capacity of the economy. For that reason I think it is necessary, not in negotiations towards a new constitution, not to try to protect minority groups but to try to protect the economy.

POM     Do you expect de Klerk and his negotiating team to attempt to have provisions written into the constitution regarding limitations that can be put on restructuring the economy?

ST     Yes, I will argue very strongly for that. They have not talked of that at all. No government spokesman has said anything in this connection. Only that the property principle should be protected and that there should not be a redistribution of wealth. I think we must convince the ANC and others that in their and in all our interests to build constraints into the new constitution. For example, physical constraints. At present government spending is 28% of GDP. I think we can't for the next ten years, twenty years, I can't see how we can afford more that 35%. All kinds of such constraints can easily be built and perhaps a Reserve Bank that is rather independent and these types of things. But the question is, who is going to monitor it? That a new government will, that it should be part and parcel of a new constitution as in the state, for example, entrench principals.

POM     Will there be two aspects to this? One. would you expect the government to try to have guarantees inserted that would protect the white minority? And secondly, a different kind of guarantee which I think you are talking about which is one that will kind of safeguard the economy itself?

ST     Yes, I think the government will try first one.

POM     Will they have success?

ST     Mr. Mandela said yes, he understands that we will have to do something to allay the fears of the whites. That is one thing. To give them the kind of protection de Klerk asks is another thing. I think it is wrong given our history and history of ongoing group conflict that there will be anything in the new constitution that will boil down to a perpetuation of the present statutory defined group. I think there should be no groupism of whatever nature in the new constitution. And that is the ANC's attitude also.

POM     But will the government for its part be prepared to trade away political power, or the appearance of political power in order protect economic power?

ST     Yes, there is quite a lot of talk.

POM     What if the government ultimately, again, what is part of the government's grand plan, if they have one? What ultimately are they aiming to do?

ST     Well, that is a good question, what is their plan? The question is, do they have grand plan. You see, I left unfortunately the day after the talks about talks, both groups were busy with bolstering themselves or getting into good positions in this pre-negotiation phrase. Their tactics and their footwork are quite good. But if one asks the question do they govern as one senior partner, does it have a strategic plan for the next two or three years prepared, yes we will put this on the table, we are prepared to compromise to this point. Do the ANC have such a strategic plan? we'll put this on the table and we are prepared to compromise on it or not. All their processes now are tactical approaches. The ANC, it seems to me, was also caught a little bit on the wrong foot. And someone very close to the government told me that he, someone in the inner circle, said they at this stage don't know if hard negotiations start next year what to put on the table.

POM     They have a set of positions but they don't have a set of policies?

ST     Yes, set of positions, or a set of hope or a set of promises. We will promise, the promise that whites will be protected. And they talk about such things as the property principle will be protected. But that's one thing, even if the property principle is protected there can still be a hell of lot of redistribution given the ordinary physical machinery. As I say, I think one must try to convince the ANC to build in physical constraints also on their own behalf. At this stage I am still more worried about who is going to monitor, that a new government will respect that constraint.

POM     I still, I suppose, can't envisage this in my head, here you have a rather small taxable base really. The imbalances between blacks and whites are huge. And at the same time you have an increase in population that requires a 5% growth rate per year in real income just to stay even.

ST     Yes, as far as job opportunities.

POM     You have got huge amounts of young people coming on the market every year for jobs which the market just can't absorb. Very few economies get 5% per year and yet here you are talking about a need for over 5% if there is to be any real increase in income for redistribution purposes. How do you redistribute and grow at the same time, at a sufficient rate to overcome your rate of population growth?

ST     No, I wrote an article in December last year, that was before the 2nd of February, do you have a copy?

POM     I don't know, we can get that afterwards.

ST     It was just published. In which, about the post apartheid economy, which I tried to make an estimate of what kind of foreign investment do we need to reach a 5% growth rate given the high capital intensity of the economy, the capital labour relation multiplied three times in the last 30 years. Given the very low saving rate in the country, of course of creeping poverty, my estimate is that we will need 13 billion dollars annually during a ten year transformation period after that also. The big question is, the key, will it be possible from a certain point when Mr. Mandela said, 'I'm satisfied', that we can attract 10 to 13 billion dollar.

POM     That's another hope.

ST     That what's we hope.

POM     Why should venture capitalists or whatever return to South Africa?

ST     That's a point. We can look it from a demand and a supply side, internal and external point of view. From the demand side a new government will have to prove to the world that it can maintain law and order, that it can create stable social conditions, that there will be a growing economy with attractive profit opportunity etc., etc. Now that in itself will be difficult. On the supply side, well 13 billion, it is not that many, lots of money moving and available but there are three blocks in the world with potential capital. Western Europe, mainly Germany, is now looking east, the United States, well it has become, thanks to Reagan, a debt country and perhaps the Americans will have to accept greater responsibility towards Latin and South America, more than they even realize at this stage. That leaves us with Japan. I don't know if Japan will be prepared. They have a lot of money I suppose but they are hard business people, they want high profits, good guarantees etc. While I put it this way, that while the wall has crumbled and the iron curtain is almost also down, it seems as if this wall between the rich north and the poor south is growing higher. We have dragged our feet for so long that we have missed the boat, you see. But we are in this rather difficult position. We need a redistribution of opportunities, at least. And especially the housing problem must be addressed. The worst forms of absolute poverty. We will have to address these problems even if the growth rate remains 2.5%. If we can maintain a 5% to 6% growth rate - well the new government, that was your question, will without doubt have redistribution measures and policies to such an extent that the living standards of the whites will have to be scaled down even if we have a 5.5% growth rate. If we can't reach a 3% growth rate some redistributive measures will be taken as necessary and that will happen. It will really affect the whites very negatively and then lots of them may leave the country and then we can end in a very dangerous vicious circle.

POM     So if you put that in conjunction with the huge number of young people coming on the labour market, many of them with few employable skills. If the new government called you tomorrow morning and said how do we list our economic priorities, what should we do to achieve them, what advice would you give?

ST     That is difficult. Well I think the first thing to do is to try and create conditions attractive enough to invite foreign investments and for the new president and the others to go to all countries that can supply foreign investment, to go on his knees. If they tell me, yes, we have already have done and we were successful to get 4 billion but we have reason to believe nothing more, then I will try to convince them if there is not a built-in constraint in the constitution, let's look at a new budget. You can increase taxes but only marginally, you can increase government spending and loans but at the moment government spending is 28%, 29%, you can go perhaps to 35% and social spending at present 10.5% you can go to 14%, 15%. And you can redirect it, open up schools, share utilities to the utmost, but also if it is not already done, that is very important, to do everything to re-educate the people on both sides of the great divide. Tell people that South Africa is not a rich country, that South Africa is not a potentially rich country, that South Africa is a relatively poor country and will remain it for the next three decades given the demands, given the population growth rate, given the backlogs, given the inequalities. And try to convince people on both sides of the great divide to scale down their demands drastically. Well, I will tell the new president, you and your ministers will have to become preachers in the best sense of the word and try to convince the whites that they will have to scale down their living standards.

POM     What about blacks? I recall you telling us last year that the increase in black wages was outstripping the increase in black productivity and yet in a new South Africa you can expect the unions coming early to claim their piece of the pie which, again, would appear to be in direct competition with the productivity needs of the economy.

ST     Yes, you see that is a very good point, a very important one. Black wages over the last 15 years have increased quite dramatically. In all probability at a far too fast pace given the total situation in South Africa, it has increased for the insiders with jobs to a large extent at a cost of job opportunities for the outsiders. The question is, let me ask the question, will the new government be successful to contain the black trade union? If they also prove to be a very strong bargaining, they have a strong bargaining position and now once even high wages it can very complicate the whole situation. At present there are 5 million so-called outsiders that can't get job opportunities. The projection is that 8 to 10 million, if there is not a dramatic improvement, will be under-employed or without job opportunities in the modern sector at the end of the century.

     So again you see, this problem about the trade-off between equity and efficiency or justice and growth, call it what you like. De Klerk said in his radio or television interview, we must give more food to the goose that laid the golden eggs and then use some of their additional eggs. That was a very simplistic remark, he's not for a simplistic constitution but he talks simplistic economics. And then use the additional eggs to feed the hungry. If there are not additional eggs? Now this whole discussion about trade-off between equity and efficiency, justice and growth in this country is over simplified. The popular thing in white circles is we must only distribute in a growing economy. Now if there is not a growing economy, what then? I think we have reached a position given that large injustice of the past to try to get growth through redistribution, with redistribution create conditions of stability, etc., political justice, political legitimacy etc. that will hopefully bring foreign investment. We have reached a point where we firstly need some kind of redistribution before we can expect an influx of foreign investment, etc., etc., for growth. But what will be the reaction of many whites in that in between period? To use the words about the golden goose, we are always told be careful the goose may die, the goose may stop laying eggs. In our case, given the position of the commanding heights, the goose may fly away. What to do about that? I must say it is a very hard problem.

POM     You talked about, again, attracting the flow of foreign capital. You have, or it appears anyway, most of the senior personnel in the ANC are members of the South African Communist Party, what kind of a signal do you think this sends to foreign investors or do you think that it doesn't matter?

ST     No it does, as I said, at Thabo Mbeki's meeting in Cape Town, Dr. Rupert told Mbeki that if a new government has connections with the SACP one can't expect that other countries will invest in South Africa. Now perhaps part of this re-educating the public, perhaps also re-educating the ANC and the SACP to play down certain things. Joe Slovo wrote an article in the Business Day of the 4th of July, an open letter to the business community, and I must say it is extremely moderate. What he put forward there is not communism it is even not socialism, what he put forward there is social democracy. I can't understand if someone of the ANC writes an article, the fact that the General Secretary of the now newly formed SACP wrote it brings his credibility little bit into question. But that is the way they are starting to bend backwards to satisfy the business community.

POM     There is still a pariah image attached to them one way of the other.

ST     Yes, will people believe, you know. What will be necessary. Now on the one hand I think it is early days, in due time he will say more. I know Joe Slovo, there can be no doubt in my opinion that he is a socialist, a committed socialist. The question is he also a democrat, will he be in favour of a democratic socialism? There is also talk about this two-phased revolution. The first phase to get rid of racism, the revolution for political liberation. And then later in ten or twenty years time another one to get rid of all the ugliness of capitalism and to create a more just system. Now perhaps it would be necessary for them to play down this second revolution thing very strongly. On the other hand I realise that the economy, your original question, what will be my advice to a new government? In that article Joe Slovo said something about there must be democratic control over the economy and people in that Business Day went through the roof about that remark.

     While I was in Germany I talked to a German professor and we talked about these restructuring problems and the new order. [and he said what is always interesting, be part of me(?), that in the Anglo-American or English language there isn't a word for what the Germans call ornew(?) or Verchofs ordine(?) or Verchofs ordine politik. Now those are the words used by Walter Orkin(?) whom I honoured in my younger days. I studied the works of Walter Orkin, he was a mentor of Arard(?) who was the creator of the social market economy.] Of course that one must expect that a new government after a hundred years of apartheid and monopolistic capitalism will use its newly obtained political powers to create an economic system that can be effective to promote the welfare of the total population. But at the same time I must say I will try to convince them, given the vulnerability of the economy, given the small tax base, given this strong position of the commanding heights, to put their plans on the table but as far as the economy is concerned to move slowly. I will make a plea for gradualism.

POM     How would you distinguish between a member of the SACP and a member of the ANC?

ST     I think the Leverkusen conference in Germany in October 1988, and this question was asked, Joe Slovo talked for more than an hour on the subject. And I must say at the end of his talk I didn't know. It seems to me to be one organisation. At least half of the members of the Executive are members of the SACP. And there are people that say that in many respects they may be the more reasonable one. I got the impression it is the same ship. It all depends in what waters it's sailing. When are they going to put up the SACP flag or the ANC flag? It seems to me very much the same organisation. Now there was lots of talk, now when de Klerk, or there was rumours as if he said Slovo or a member of the SACP can't be part of the negotiation. And my friends were joking and said, 'What would de Klerk's attitude be if Mandela called him and said, no we are still very keen to negotiate with the National Party but we are not prepared to talk to members of the Broederbond', and then one of my friends said, 'Oh God! Don't do it, the only one that will remain is Kent Durr one of the poorest ministers in the Cabinet you see.'

POM     The word nationalisation seems to have become a code word for many things.

ST     Now you see, especially because when that speech of Mandela on the 13th of February, now I think Mr. Mandela could have been much more circumspect when he talked about that. But strangely enough looking from another point of view that speech had an important historic meaning. It really shook the ... out of their long, long capitalist sleep. That speech put the whole issue of a restructuring of the economy parallel to a new political constitution on the table. And if it was not for that speech that other issue would still not have been really squarely on the table. I must say the ANC reaction was so, was of much more careful about it. Now in my own experience with the ANC I don't think it will be that difficult to tell them not to nationalise the gold mines.

POM     What do they mean by nationalisation?

ST     Yes it means quite a lot of things, I think you are correct. But if I can use American political slogan I think one must accept that nationalisation will remain a plank in the ANC's political platform. I would plead with them, let it be a small and not a wide plank. Now I attended a conference, I was a speaker at a thing of Inkatha in end of the end of June, I and Ronny Bethlehem and a black man from COSATU, now he was not very good I must say and when he was pressurised he said, 'Yes there will be nationalisation and there will be nationalisation without compensation.' And he got quite a hand from the blacks in the audience. Now it's only, he's talking small man. It will be highly irresponsible for the ANC to proceed with a real nationalisation without compensation. And they are saying, they put it much more carefully, they will only nationalise if they are convinced it is in the interests of the total population and set all kind of pre-conditions. So I think they are to a large extent off that bandwagon.

     But, now, one important thing is more the commanding heights, this large concentration of control. They want to do something about that and I also think it is necessary but I also don't know what. They talk about dismemberment. Now I also don't know what that means. It seems to me you see, Anglo-American has fifty or a hundred different kinds of companies in different fields that really didn't have much in common. That they want to break up into small companies. And they may appoint some black members on the boards of the company and regard that as a type of nationalisation. Nationalisation may be like democracy, what is it, is it a weasel word, is that what it is sometimes called? You can make it mean what you like it to mean.

POM     You talked at lunch about your students. What is their attitude as you've seen over the last couple of years, but particularly since February 2 as the changes are occurring?

ST     Many of the students, especially first year students in a commerce faculty like this, is that they are extremely materialist, extremely progress oriented, very individualistic and have very little sympathy for the poor position of the blacks. The popular remark is it's their own laziness etc., etc.

POM     Do you think they go along with the notion of having to live under black majority rule?

ST     No, they have not the slightest idea what it means because that is one of the most remarkable things. Since second of February, nobody, and definitely not the de Klerk government, has made an attempt to re-educate the whites about what the implications will be if there is a majority government with a big black part in it. I told you about an article in The Argus, (you said you have it otherwise I can give you one), the supporting press of de Klerk are saying this very optimistic scenario is part and parcel de Klerk . De Klerk is going to create or negotiations in a new South Africa will be a fait accompli with a win process where everyone will win and nobody will lose. And that is the greatest nonsense under the sun.

POM     But if you were to take a poll of your students and say all those who find it tolerable to live under black majority rule raise your hands, what portion would raise their hands?

ST     Well if one doesn't give them an opportunity to ask what he means, many of them, and it is sometimes said, if de Klerk wants to create a new constitution but it will not be a black government. He will succeed to a, that's an Afrikaans expression, to put ears on the blacks, to take them for a ride, to have a constitution where the whites will still call the shots. That's the popular meaning.

POM     But if you said no, this is going to be black majority rule?

ST     Very few of them will put up their hand.

POM     And if you said not only will there be black majority rule but you are going to have to get used to a lower standard of living, would they start packing their bags?

ST     Yes, they may. You see even in this class I talk about, before this interview, I talk about the inequalities of opportunities and how important it is to create reasonable equal opportunities to create equity. The students, you see, their discussion is, well people must be paid according to their productivity and if blacks are so lazy and have so little productivity and remain poor they are to be blamed. And I challenge them on it, I told them that someone told me this weekend that in America if you give aid to the poor people you are called Christian, but if you ask the question why are they poor, they call you a communist because then you are questioning the system. They didn't like it when I told them the story. Or to put it in other words, I have a very tough task to explain to students that this inequality in South Africa is a result of this structure. To explain to them that given these structures, political structures of apartheid and monopolistic capitalism etc., we are in a country where undeserved poverty stands directly against undeserved wealth and stands directly against undeserved poverty. They don't want to hear it, they don't want to understand it and it's very difficult to communicate it to them.

POM     This time next year, if we are having this conversation, where will things stand? What will have happened, on what track will the negotiations be?

ST     Next year this time I think, well, economically we will be almost in the same condition, very little will happen as far as the economy is concerned. Politically, well after these negotiations between the senior partners, so we are told, there will be attempts to get also junior partners on board. I'm not so sure that it will have succeeded at this time. But it is possible that hard negotiations may have started in the first half of 1991. But it is quite possible that at this time next year there will be a serious negotiations with all kinds of blame being thrown around of who is responsible for the breakdown of negotiations. And I am really concerned about the unrest situation. I think it may worsen.

POM     That's the violence in the townships. Do you see the violence in Natal as coming to any kind of resolution?

ST     It is a deep-seated thing there. People who are acquainted with the Natal situation are very critical about Mr. Buthelezi, but also about his so-called warlords. And the question is asked, does he have any control over them and does he want to have control over them. The situation is a deep-seated there. It is a struggle for power.

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.