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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

13 Aug 1990: Babb, Glen

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GB     You now have an egg that is scrambled so it's impossible to separate. The NP, which was the protector of the Afrikaner, is redefining it's role. The idea is to concentrate people around value systems. The word 'alliance' is used a lot. The Afrikaner has something to offer to the others. The fortunes of the NP are not at their highest right now, but I doubt whether a majority of Afrikaners support the CP.

     There are two reasons why Afrikaners rally to the CP. One is fear, but as people, particularly sophisticated, educated whites, begin to think of themselves as South Africans the fear will wane. The second is the economic factor. As the economy improves and things like squatters and white flight are addressed, these fears will also wane.

     February 2nd was a long time in coming. The Afrikaner considers himself a just, fair person. There is a generation of politicians who have moved away from Verwoerd's policies. You now have a 55-year old person, De Klerk, who is very moral, plus a defence force which, based on their Namibian experiences, can say you have more to lose than to gain if you continue on the present course. Also the MDM's Defiance campaign, the ANC's armed struggle and sanctions are also ...

     It depends on what you mean by majority rule. According to the federalist papers we are in a transition phase. This is something that will see us through to the next generation. I think the constitution will call for a devolution of power to regions and municipalities. This is where power sharing will be important because that is when redistribution will be affected. At the national level you will have more blacks in parliament than whites with a built-in system of checks and balances. You would not be able to regulate Cabinet portfolios in the constitution. We are looking carefully at the Nigerian model which calls for a strong two-party system at the national level. I think any party that would not make alliances to go into government would be doomed to failure. Rhodesia was a failure.

     The government will continue to function during the process with a National Convention going on at the same time. Delegates to the convention will not be elected. The ANC, from the reactions of the government, can see that a Constituent Assembly arouses too many fears. We will have to get to a point where there is consensus decision-making in the government.

     De Klerk has to keep his promise to the white electorate. The ANC will see that it is necessary to have the white electorate's acquiescence. This is not an airy-fairy decision. De Klerk has said this is tough, we will have more credibility. Once they do, however, they have their problems. They are menaced by the in group/out group complex which the majority group exploits to the fullest through all kinds of conspiracy theories.

     Many liberals who have pleaded with the government to do what it is doing are pushing people into the conservative camp with their speculation of what might happen and their own uncertainties about the future.

     Our intelligence community has infiltrated the ANC considerably. After 2 February we were expecting a lot worse, we proceeded. I have said that if I were Mandela I would have taken the bit in my mouth and moved on sanctions. There was a feeling in government that Mandela's rhetoric would have to be a lot more strident to establish his credibility with the young. He said, "Throw your pangas into the sea", and the youth walked out.

     The first priority for the MP in 1948 was to establish an economic power base for the Afrikaner. The English speaking population were arrogant and wouldn't employ Afrikaners. Afrikaners only held 20% of the economy, despite their agricultural holdings. The Indians were better off than the Afrikaners. The Afrikaners continued to see themselves as oppressed well into the 1970s. The accusations that Afrikaners nationalised industry are dishonest. They did not nationalise anything that was in private hands.

     There is a house of politicians who talk about a command economy. It would be difficult to build economic structures into the constitution. In the Bill of Rights, private property ownership will need to be ensured.

     Redistribution of Land - we will have to extricate land from people. Among my colleagues there's no problem giving land to blacks in rural areas. Our wish is to create a change to the Land Acts to create greater order in agricultural areas. Blacks in cities mean further economic development must follow.

     There will be little internally that will change for blacks with an ANC government.

     The SACP has been the most Stalinised Communist Party on earth. Their attempts to develop policies on private property and mixed economies are suspicious. They no longer have any ideological or financial support from the Soviets.

     De Klerk's obstacles are: economic weakness internally and the lack of international financing, and organised opposition to his policies.

     Mandela's obstacles are his failure to have a politically and economically sophisticated team behind him, and the ANC's position that fails to recognise ethnic differences within South Africa.

     Mandela is dignified and eloquent. But a great disappointment is that he hasn't shown leadership. He's maligned because of Winnie. He could have used his world-wide reputation ...

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.