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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

09 Aug 1990: Sonn, Franklin

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POM     Dr. Sonn many people take February 2nd to be a milestone in South African history. Did De Klerk's initiative surprise you and what do you think motivated him to move so rapidly and so broadly at the same time?

FS     I think that February 2nd was a very significant day and happening in South Africa for more reasons than the obvious which I won't dwell on because they are the obvious reasons.  But I think one of the most important reasons was that for a long time in South Africa we, the masses of the people, were in fact kept outside of the mainstream of the South African society, day-to-day social environment, by the process of apartheid.  In other words, you had a situation where South Africa was in fact a first world country with a physical and social society yes, it was a first world country where the social services provided for a typically first world setting.  And there were vast numbers of people, black people, who were permitted into the first world on the basis of coming to serve the first world, not as people entitled to what the society provided.  So their function was a service function.  They were in many ways kept out of this society over a period of time; it was through labour movement, restrictive measures, it was through job reservation, it was through territorial segregation. It imposed on people a knowledge that the society belonged to the white people and that access to it was undesirable unless under certain conditions.

     Over a period of time legislation was removed under pressure but the general atmosphere continued to exist, the general ambiance or knowledge of how the system worked.  I think what then happened on 2nd February is that all of a sudden, particularly the unbanning, the third world came into the first world as it were. People came out of the woodwork and grew in self-confidence.  They saw their leaders acting for them, saw the organisations, and in fact recognised that a balance of power was occurring in the country.  And in a strange way in South Africa there are now two leaders, there is the one, the institutional leader, deriving its power from the legislature, the constitution, the defence forces, the police structure; on the other hand there is a leader, the popular leader, deriving his strength from the popular nobility of people, from the ability to disrupt society and, thirdly, the ability to muster international support.  And the effect on society was to give confidence to the third world, and these people are now presenting themselves in the first world and there is almost a conversion of first world and third world in the South Africa urban city - an irreversible conversion.  And now we have the situation that the minority group, for which the country was created, now has to come to terms with the fact that South Africa does not only belong to them, and does not only exist for them, but also belongs to the other people and exists for them and they have to deal with them.

     This brings pressure on various levels. For example, just to mention a few, let's look at hospital services.  Hospitals are provided for X number of people.  All of a sudden there are Y number of people presenting themselves  instead of just dying in the bushes behind the mountain, coming out now to seek forth medical services.  People are now coming and demanding houses because they have confidence to do so.  People are coming and they are demanding access into educational institutions.  People are now coming into the urban setting so the whole standards of what was called standards of hygiene and whatever which is based on population ratios, this street can carry 20,000 people all of a sudden, the street is getting four or five times that number and, therefore, bearing down on that facility.

     All those things are in a process of adjustment, so I don't think really we have thought through the extent to which that is in fact traumatising the system.  On the other hand the structures that were used in the past in order to deal with those people, if there is stridency, if they venture out of their homes, the police, the defence force, have now been firmly told that, "Look, that is not your duty. These issues must be handled politically."  So it puts a lot of pressure on the heads of those structures to cope with them, down through the Superintendent of the hospital who is now no longer sitting with a health issue, but he is also sitting with a very difficult social situation to handle.  The factory personnel, everybody out there.

     This you will find in the publication too, something which in fact has not been addressed here, that will come into focus sharper and sharper as we move along the way that South Africa is going, its norms are Eurocentrically determined, but as in Europe or America, it is a European country with a European orientation which blacks try very hard to question from time to time.  Now here, this has also been a piece of Europe in Africa and the African, the ethnocentric view of life, is going to dominate and much of this talk about democracy, for example, is an Afrocentric democracy.  The belief of African people to talk things through from the bottom up, which from the Eurocentric perspective, for example, will be viewed as long-winded, as ineffective, as a difficulty to take decisions, slow thinking, and those kind of social clashes are still to come the more the dominating presence of the vast number of people and the high flying leadership brings their pressures to bear on the party.

     Now you ask the question why did it come about?  That is a very difficult question, one can quite easily give one's own pet answer revealing the position where you sit politically. For example, specific examples, the ANC's pressures that were a result of sanctions and result of demography, there is a whole variety. I think at the end of the day there must have been possibly two important reasons.  I think the one is an ability of the government of De Klerk to see that apartheid in statistical terms was not maintainable.  Like we know, for example, that South Africa, we have now talked about the third world coming out of the woodwork, if you look at the statistics at the present time, not so long ago the whites in this country, the first world people, were 20% of the population.  They now stand at 14%.  Into the year 2010 it will be 8%.  So I think that is possibly the most important step to democracy, to my mind it is the reality, and what flows from there will possibly be one of the most conclusive things because that 8% might now manage the rest because they are the people who have got access to education, and to everything and they just see that if you look at the manager to worker ratio, if you look at them as an unskilled to skilled ratio, if you look at unemployed ratio, which all derive from these population statistics, then I think after a workshop by a sharp guy with an overhead projector, he will tell the State President that it is a case of impossibility, it is a no go.  That I think is the one factor.

     The second factor, also flowing from the demography, is the economic viability of the situation, whether one can continue to pay for apartheid.  If you are an exporter of capital, if development does not occur because manpower development does not, if there isn't a commitment of the people to want to develop society, if the political situation debilitates the work ethic, then that must also be a matter of concern; whether you will be able to sustain the system and keep, as it were, 92% of the population in bondage and unproductive and a drag on you, whether you can run society like that.

     And then thirdly. I think there must also be a receptive leader and an intelligent person, a sensitive person to absorb those kinds of statistical data and those kinds of realities.  And the person who now has a of mind and spirit and psychology that can put all that together in his mind and in his heart and say right, what do we do, and then, secondly, is then able to translate that, those facts and figures, to his people, people meaning those who take decisions with him, and get them to understand that there must be another way.  And lastly I think there must also be a kind of a freedom with such a leader that in the end one must do what you are convinced to do.  And I think that the fifth very important reason, and I think this is a very, very important reason, is the attitude that Nelson Mandela adopted which is quite unbelievable, really quite unbelievable.  In the west when the history of the world is written in the year 2000, one of the most important events in the world that is going to be shown, because we are in a world shift, the world is shifting, and South Africa is a really important player in that field, is that photograph of F W de Klerk and Nelson Mandela on the day of his release, he's quite unbelievable, that after 27 years he stands there in a dinner suit with a pocket hankie, just a tie, as if he's just arrived from London, as if he has arrived from London from the Court of Saint James, not from prison, and stands there next to F W de Klerk who looks the same and they look as if they have been buddies for ten years and they are standing and smiling.  And I still can't get it out of my heart that that in fact happened. It doesn't normally happen like that. I mean in normal cases the guys come out in camouflage wear with their headbands on, with a rifle hanging on their sides, now they are here to sign the peace.  This guy came and he also immediately fitted into society and he started working things out and suddenly almost got De Klerk to recognise him as a co-state president.  And the whole world all of sudden recognised him as a co-pilot.  And today if we have difficulties we phone Mandela to talk to the police.  He deals with the police.  Today talking to the police.  And he has just eased himself in with an amazing magnanimity, an unbelievable self-confidence and is really impressive. One just got the impression that there is a chemistry operating between him and De Klerk, and therefore an unbelievable willingness on behalf of all the parties to find peace rather than revenge.  I think it's a whole serious of events which all happened together and it just synchronised into the process. What is also quite amazing is the extent to which people, that this country that is so rent asunder by hatred and recrimination, how the whole country is in fact dragged along on this wave of determination to find a resolution.

POM     In light of that is there any doubt in your mind that De Klerk has conceded on majority rule?

FS     I think it would be very stupid if he did. I can't believe it. There is a possibility that he might be thinking that he might make some sort of a joint deal that, you know, abracadabra tomorrow there's a deal knocked out two state presidents.

POM     That he's looking for a deal where there would be one-man one-vote, universal franchise but that there would not be majority rule?.  Now we've talked to a number of Afrikaners, representative of high opinion among Afrikaners, including at least one fairly senior government official, and they talk very definitely in terms of a majority vote, one-man one-vote, but a kind of coalition government, consensual decision making which is very different.  Is there any doubt in your mind where the process is leading?

FS     I think they are looking still at some kind of accommodation where there won't be really a transfer of power.

POM     Rather a sharing of power?

FS     And a sharing of power of sorts, yes.  And they are hoping that they will be able to knock something like that out.

POM     Is there not a certain danger here insofar as one community seems to have the expectation quite clearly of one-man one-vote majority rule and the other community is being dragged reluctantly leaning towards some form of power sharing?

FS     I think both of them are trying. I don't think the ANC wants to go into strikes and breakdown of society. On the other hand I don't think De Klerk wants to capitulate entirely.  So my own feeling is that the compromise is going to lie in what I call a government of national reconciliation.  At the end of the argument they all say, "OK, what is the solution? How can you accommodate us?"  And then Mandela or the ANC will come forward with the following statement: Look you've got to concede that majority but we need you. We need all the people of South Africa, we need the skills and so on, we don't want anybody to feel ploughed under by the process.  But you will have to understand that we will be in the ascendancy but our commitment is not a takeover of power but more to a government of national reconciliation.  So we will ensure that you are taken up into our government.  But you will have to accept that we will determine, to a large extent, the terms.  And the best option in that compromise might be a government of the majority of the people with people accommodated in it.  You know very much the kind of thing that Mugabe came up with at the end where he had whites in certain portfolios, and depending to the extent to which a synergy between the Nationalist Party government and the ANC can be maintained, they can in a way deal themselves into that position where, say, three portfolios are given to them and they can be soldiers for the sake of continuity, for the sake to placate, because we are concerned about white exodus. So I think in the end it will be a government of national unity and that is why it will be called, too, a national government of conciliation.

POM     Do you think at some point De Klerk or the government must apologise to Africans for apartheid?  Must acknowledge that it wasn't just, it was fundamentally wrong?

FS     I don't think in a sentimental way. I think more what is important is not so much, I'm sorry and tears in their eyes. That's not really the issue. But what the issue is, which is going to be very hard for them to contemplate, and this I also talk about in that talk, is to talk about the past.  That is the thing, the whole attitude at the present moment is forget the past, let's make a fresh start.

POM     But you can't do that.

FS     You can't do that. I have fights with these bloody people about that because it's not fine about the past.  And even America sees now that they tried that with slavery and with their civil rights, and the blacks are coming back to them now and they say, "You bastards, you haven't changed, you're still there." We've got to go back. Between you and me, I've spoken to a few Cabinet ministers about this and I see they are now starting to do this.

POM     They are starting?

FS     If you read your Idasa publication, now in that one, the guy I spoke to actually did at that occasion, those ministers I spoke to.

POM     Does it, beyond that though?

FS     Yes, in fact he said we must talk about the past.  Now what you say about the past is not really important. I don't think you have got to deal with the past sentimentally.  You've just got to say, look, there was a past, acknowledge that.  And we have got to face the inequities of the past.  That will have the effect of saying what a bloody mess we made, that these things didn't just happen.  But at the moment they don't want to face the past, you see.

POM     Let me turn for a minute to young people and a lot of people that we've talked with have pointed to a whole generation of young people who grew up without an education, who are unemployed and maybe will never be employed, but are still very angry.  A generation that knows only how to protest, to exercise some kind of street power, and that they remain a very volatile factor in this whole equation, whether or not any settlement can actually bring peace to townships.  What is your reading of young people?

FS     You are quite right about that but I think that is a legacy of any sad situation and strong leadership must deal with that.  And I think he's (Mandela) capable of dealing with that.  And it must also be constructive strong leadership, there must be efforts to try and address the harmful effect of that rule, various reorganisations, for example, the educational programme to place a heavy emphasis on adult educational programmes and give hope to people.  But again, I must say to you, Professor O'Malley, it really has been one of the most surprising things the extent to which these people that you are referring to have been accepting of the major strategic change that Nelson Mandela announced to move away from confrontation into reconciliation and negotiation.  There has been a tremendous response to that.  I can tell you, if you mention one to me, and I'll give you the background.  You talk about the Boland town, people came out, they wanted books from the library, that's where it started.  They were turned away by the people behind the counter in the library.  That is how it started.  Then they took a bloody minded approach to it.  What happened in Port Elizabeth now at the present moment?  They've succumbed to elements of the government, that is the Labour Party House of Representatives, the Broederbond part of the government, they still take the hard line.  The people won't take it any more because they have a new sense of themselves, so it's part of their process.  But if your question is whether the movement is able to translate the new spirit into those people now I would say it can, yes.  If you speak to those people and you ask them: do you believe in the new approach of Nelson Mandela? They will say yes.  But they will say, but these bloody people don't understand and we have to deal with them.  That is what is going on I think.

POM     You talked about how people feel empowered, that they are now making demands with a confidence they didn't have before.  There appears to be a fairly high level of expectation as to what a new government will bring.  My two questions are: for the average persons who lives in a township or a squatter camp, what difference would it make to the way they conduct their lives, to be under, even a majority government, tomorrow morning?

FS     That I will say to you, that's a very, very important matter.  It is a great problem     the argument that I hold there, in that little book, I say that the big problem at the present moment is that South Africa has got the attitude that Mandela and De Klerk will fix it all. And I argue that that's stupid. All they are doing is they are going to establish the parameters but inside the parameters various solutions must be arrived at. They must be resolved by the people on the ground, by the organisations and people on the ground, and that is not OK.  It must be a process which engulfs the entire society. Whether the process is going to be irreversible, whether it is going to work or not work, it is not only going to be determined by what happens in a factory or in a laboratory or at the negotiating table, it is what happens between the people themselves.  And every South African, every interest group in South Africa must take care that it works those things out.  And we must start working in that direction for that to occur.

POM     But for millions, housing, education, the hope will remain hope, it is not going to happen, even if you manage to redistribute some resources, if you do get some flow of foreign capital.

FS     That is the big issue, yes.

POM     So, going back to the youth, they can go along with what is happening up to a certain point.

FS     I've got a chapter on that, honestly, because there is a whole three pages on that.  If you look at the statistics, I said the other day, if they make me Minister of Education, the ANC, I would run away.  I will flee.  Look at the statistics and you look at the resources, how are we going to do that?  So, I must say, if you look at the statistics and you look at the expectations and you want to square that, that is the issue.  And how that is going to be done, how it is, so that people don't see that, ah ha Nelson Mandela made a deal with F W de Klerk, they are having a fine life. We still don't find, and this is what Mugabe is saying too now, I mean Mugabe's unemployment stands in a small country at four million, and now he has got to live through a depression. Now, obviously I am extremely worried about that. Not that the ANC will be able to deal with that, the ability of the ANC, but those things are the legacy of apartheid, the chickens of apartheid that will only come home to roost then.  And I certainly worry about that.  I don't have a quick answer.  I'm also worried professionally that those factors will increase the insistence of a command economy as again an abracadabra solution, a command economy as a quick fix for that kind of situation.  It is almost a desperate attempt to satisfy those needs, not a thought-out way.  I don't know how we are going deal with this gulf because in South Africa at the present moment the gulf between the haves and have-nots is the largest,  but I do write about that.

POM     If you look at Mandela now, what obstacles, what stumbling blocks does he face within his own constituency as he manages this process through to a fruitful conclusion?  And after there is a new government, what second set of problems will the ANC face in holding on to its constituency?

FS     Well his problems before are some of the ones that you mentioned in the question, are the extent to which he can keep the people's confidence, keep them from taking to the streets and exacerbating the element of conflict.  Thirdly, compromising in such a way that he is not seen to be selling too much but at the same time not taking such a hard line that he doesn't establish confidence in the process with the other side.  Fourthly, being able to achieve the goals, or be close to the goals, that he has set for himself and not be driven on another line by the intentions and the goals of the group on the other side, and to be able to reach a compromise that will be at least as close to the bottom line as possible for him and in terms of delivering.  The issue afterwards is going to be really the question of meeting these obligations that we have talked about, these expectations, and also to satisfy the skilled sector of a sophisticated economy, within a sophisticated economy, that the system is going to work not only for those that are outside the system but also for those that are inside.  In other words for the white and black.

POM     How do your friends, neighbours, colleagues, how do they view what appears to be the increasing growth in support of the Conservative Party in the white community?

FS     Well, that is not particularly - that's like OPPs, other peoples' problems.

POM     So the right wing they say, that's up to the government to sort out?

FS     Yes, that's not our issue.  I mean the general feeling, I'm sorry that I'm simplifying it, but I feel that is up to the government.

POM     Looking at the process itself, obstacles are out of the way, how do you see the process being structured?  On the one hand you have some who say there will be an election for a Constituent Assembly, others say the negotiating table will be broadened to bring in all political groupings.  A third say there would be some form of an interim government plus an eminent persons group.

FS     I think in the end we might end up with the third option.  I think the first one is viable from an ANC point of view but will not be conceded.  And I think the one that there will be a compromise is the third option.  I think that is where we will get to eventually.  And I think, between you and me, the ANC is already in their minds preparing themselves to accept that as a compromise.  An interim government, in other words a government like the one now with substantial presence of the others as well.

POM     But this interim government could become institutionalised in some manner after an election just where the proportions of how power is exercised would shift.

FS     And moratoriums and that kind of thing are always complicated.  I doubt whether the eminent persons group will happen, I think there will great resistance to that, only because the white sectors have lost confidence in the international community's ability to adjudicate.  You know the white component looks upon the international community as totally biased.

POM     You might see eminent persons from within South Africa?

FS     Oh yes, within South Africa, oh yes.  Those kind of things are possible in the end, those kind of devices.  As long as - you see a Constituent Assembly looks too much like a capitulation.  I don't feel that will be conceded.

POM     At what point does the process become irreversible or is it already is irreversible?

FS     Well I will argue that the moment the thing strikes into the hearts of the people then it is irreversible and I think we are reaching that stage.  I believe more in what happens in principles of psychology than what happens in structures.  At the moment, and I think we are getting to that point, the Afrikaner people, you've seen them, and don't argue with me and tell me, confirm this now that Afrikaners are already beginning to believe that there is a better way than apartheid.  The people you've talked about.

PK     All they say is it doesn't work.

FS     Yes, there is a better way.  At the moment it's there, then they wouldn't want to go back to it.  That's the important thing.  And again people don't talk about that. That's when it's irreversible.  You know what is going to happen in the next couple of weeks and days?  Unbelievable people are going to join the ANC.  You know, people are going to say, look if we want this process to succeed and if we want the things that we think ought to happen, then we must join them and we must play our part inside.  And that kind of process is going to create the irreversibility.  Obviously there is also the structure of things that needs to occur.  You see in Zimbabwe the people never accepted, even after Mugabe, the white people didn't accept him, they still don't accept him.  You know in Zimbabwe, you visit there they will tell you one thing if you are in the car with them and they are sure there are no microphones. They tell you in the car.  But here people are not saying that about Mandela now.  You know this man is beginning to take people's hearts and people are beginning to believe that he perhaps has the answer.  In that context, the SACP is a bit of a worry because it spoils the water a little bit for that kind of dynamic to occur.

POM     What is a South African communist?

FS     A South African communist is a person that is against apartheid.  It is still a very simplistic definition as that, yes.

POM     How would you, or could you, draw a distinction between somebody who is a member of the ANC and somebody who is a member of the Communist Party?

FS     Hardly.  But people, if they see the red flag and the yellow symbols on it, I mean I'm talking about white people that are charmed by the new development, they are saying ...  mostly because of the religious thing, its a very religious country and not because of sophisticated economic reasons.  And that is also true about many black people.  You know, for example, there is a Moslem community which was a very strong anti-apartheid group that has played a hell of a role, and their position in respect to communism is really ...  The coloured people are really justly based. The logic of the African community is also really just, or church, and the church is an important institution that you have discovered in society and they are at variance fundamentally with the SACP.  So there is a knee-jerk reaction against the SACP as a symbol.  Although the role that the SACP has played in concert with the ANC does give it the appearance, as you suggest, of being just part of the liberating movement rather than an ideological force.  Now, in time that's also a very interesting definition of the future.  How that is going to develop into the future as two parties running in almost symbiosis, whether tensions are going to develop or are not going to develop?  Obviously around all these issues the person and the symbol of Nelson Mandela is critical because he is able to straddle all these differences and I don't know how that is going to occur should he be removed.

PK     What happens if they lose Mandela?

FS     That is certainly a matter of concern, particularly the internal drive.  Although you know one salutary fact is that the ANC is really trying very hard and it is also in the nature of the African way of looking at these two to do things through communalism and through joint decisions and joint mandate seeking and consultation and so on, and that will offset, it will ameliorate the loss.  Mandela is not only the leader, he is the symbol and the leader but he is not the organisation and he himself defers to the organisation constantly, he says, "I am a disciplined member of the African National Congress."  So there is a process.  But obviously it would be a tremendous loss.  Lots of other people have also established great confidence with the white people, like Thabo Mbeki.  And I think he will be, if he succeeds, he will be best able, in my mind, to fill that void.

POM     We've talked almost exclusively in terms of the ANC and the government, what role will Buthelezi play in all this?

FS     I think at the end of the day people will join the two sides.  The two sides are honestly       too dominant, do you understand?  You'll be on their side.  And I think you know people within Buthelezi's group will come to that mind.  The Democratic Party, for example, is going to split in three and that is just an example of what I'm talking about.  One group is going to remain liberal, which is very good, they will be a small cadre of purists, who say it is our function to keep the liberal values alive and that is our mission in life whether we live here or in Alaska or in Massachusetts, our function is to keep the doctrine alive.  There will be the second group which will say, look, the white interests are represented by De Klerk and we've got to give the backing over there, and the others are going to say, look, we've just got to throw in our lot with the ANC.  And it is going to happen quickly I think.  I think that before the end of the year that kind of divide is going to occur.  And that is the kind of thing, dynamic, that will occur throughout society and others will just stay out of the process and see if they can't grab the falling ball.

POM     So you don't see Buthelezi playing much of a role in this process at all?

FS     He'll become increasingly a nuisance, I'm telling you.  Increasingly people are going to say, can't this man just shut up? If he doesn't decide to cut his losses and join either group, come sit with De Klerk, already he's becoming a bloody nuisance.  I mean I get a little bit irritated by him but I think international people do feel that he is a bloody nuisance.  And increasingly this is going to happen.  Look, Oscar Dhlomo defended him two months ago and he is now saying he's a bloody nuisance and his own following is beginning to say so.  So if he is clever he will try and strike a deal. Again his bloody ego is too big, his ego is massive.  I often feel about Buthelezi that it would be good if he can be taken away somewhere. Give him a holiday.

POM     Sounds like a euphemism for something.

FS     No matter, but honestly the two groups are too strong, honestly, that is my perception of it, I given the thing a lot of thought. It will be very difficult for you to sit there as an independent participant.  What is he going to do there?  If you and I have spoken, I represent five billion bucks, you represent eight billion, we're striking a deal, she represents ten thousand rand, I mean really, we'll talk and we'll conclude and we will say, "By the way, you had something to say didn't you?"  Unless you say, "Look, I've got ten thousand bucks, can I play, can I throw in with you or you?" And that's what I think is going to happen very quickly in the future, very quickly, people are going to join.  There will be two sides to the table in the end.  De Klerk is trying very hard not to have that because as an astute politician he thinks he can play the groups up against one another.  But, and they might even work so in the beginning, but later on people are going to say no, and comes up tens of issues they will only have to decide between the two groups at the table. I'm betting on that.  Some of them will join De Klerk and others will go to the ANC, so I really think there will be two sides to the table.  What do you think of such a proposition now?

POM     That there will be two?

FS     Eventually.

POM     A lot of our feedback is that Buthelezi is a real part of the equation and to leave him out would be a prescription for a lot trouble, for a lot violence.

FS     That he will destabilise the process. Oscar Dhlomo says the same.

POM     And then you have others saying that you could get an alliance between Buthelezi and the NP and we even had a Conservative Party member saying today he could see an alliance between the Conservative Party, they had talked to Buthelezi they said a possible alliance with him too.

FS     Unfortunately Buthelezi is managing to work up emotions so strongly that even if he wants to make a deal with Mandela, Mandela might be precluded from doing so because people have a lot of feelings against him.  But in the end, you know by the analogy I have just drawn, you would have to join one or the other.

PK     One or the other.

FS     Or be marginalised, yes.  And the other clowns like Allan Hendrickse, he can come and work in my office here, the forces will just pull him in with De Klerk and De Klerk will be embarrassed.  Already De Klerk is embarrassed by him.  I was talking to one of the Cabinet ministers today over the telephone in Port Elizabeth and the guy said, "For God's sake, help us with these", and I told him, and he said, "You know these guys are so verkrampte, they are the verkkramptes within our ranks now."  That's true.  The kneejerk reactions are so strong that they will find it uncomfortable to be with the ANC, although they were moral.  They will just not be emotionally able to be there.  They will also be an embarrassment to De Klerk because they will not have a following because their following is also dwindling, people are becoming ashamed to be identified with them, the same with Buthelezi too, so they will become marginalised.

POM     Finally, your students, what has this meant to them?

FS     Well, they really respect the leadership and the ANC.  And its wonderful.  I'm ANC and for that reason there is a very good relationship between us.

PK     Are they activist oriented?

FS     Activists, yes.  They are very, very activist.

PK     Demanding?

FS     Very. I mean they know their strength and I have to come to terms with it from day to day.  They have force and I must accommodate them, I can deal with them.  But I know them, again, from the background of the situation that 2nd February was something which happened to the whole structure.  If De Klerk speaks to Mandela, Mandela to De Klerk, and I think that I can run this campus the way P W Botha ran the campus.

PK     Yes, but do you negotiate with them?

FS     Oh, yes.

PK     They just don't demand and get?

FS     No, no, like now I expelled a student and they came and they demanded his reinstatement and we arrived at the solution and I will reinstate him to attend classes but he may not return to the residence.  They will monitor his alcohol intake and they will monitor his classes at the end of it.  And if he falls down on those two then we will talk again.  So we came up with a solution like that.  And now he is returning on Monday and he will be under their control and if he does wrong I call them in.  So that is the kind of solution.  Sometimes I give in, depending on the situation.  And sometime they give in.  But we talk to one another and they call me comrade.

POM     Thank you very much.

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.