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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

21 Aug 1990: Botha, Louis

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[Interview already underway]

LB     ... their political affiliations will give you a different explanation as to the background.  For obvious reasons, some will highlight certain factors while they'll gloss over other factors.  If you see a member, let's use examples, if you see a member of the ANC, they will say apartheid is the cause of the conflict.  If you see a member of the CP, he will tell you something different; he'll tell you it's black demands and they want a white homeland.  You understand?  If you see a National Party member, he'll blame the ANC, most probably.  If you see a member of Inkatha, they'll blame the ANC.  So, you get different explanations.  Now, somewhere in there lies the truth.  And I've done quite a bit of research on this as objectively as I possibly could.  Unfortunately this leaves out the most important part which is a bibliography, I left that behind, that got separated.  But I'll give you a quick rundown.  I believe that the following issues and factors are playing, have played, and are still playing a role in the violence as we see it today.  Because at the end of the day, the violence that we see today is a manifestation of causes which go back many years.  And the people all look at the violence and they say, oh, this one's assaulting that one, that one's attacking that one.  Unless you go back in history and you find that where did this originate,  you will never find the answer.  And then you'll never understand it, either, because things will seem to you - what's going on?

     I believe that there's an ideological struggle for the control of the black mass in Natal.  That is one of the reasons, they're not necessarily in order of importance, but these are some of the causes: there's an economic reason and under 'economic reason' I include things like housing, unemployment, squatting, you know, all that type of thing.  All that, and education, all those type of factors. There's a criminal element taking advantage of the situation and exploiting it for their own gain. Then there's the youth gangs.  Youth gangs, it must be borne in mind that this is not a phenomenon just found in South Africa, it's a worldwide phenomenon.  Those are the four main causes.  As we go along we're going to pull out others as well.  And then you'll find that they belong in one of those four.  I say those factors are interrelated and are present in Natal and elsewhere in the Republic.  Elsewhere in the Republic Inkatha is not involved. Inkatha is involved at the moment, maybe in Natal, because Natal is a sphere of influence of Inkatha. They're mainly a Zulu organisation. It is open for other races to join as well, because it was a national liberation organisation.  It has always opened its doors for others, though it has not seemed, not been able to attract the numbers it would have wished from other groups, other ethnic groups.

     If one makes a factual analysis of the whole position objectively one is left with an overall impression that there is an ideological basis for this struggle.  And it is complicated by some of the factors I've already mentioned.  To understand this, the cause of the ultimate statement that there's an ideological background to the unrest, it is necessary to digress from the conflict and give you a short background on the ANC, Inkatha, and the UDF. I'm going to start off with the ANC and it's going to be a very skimpy one, but I want you to listen carefully to what I'm saying, because it leads up to something.  As is generally known, the ANC was formed in 1912 in Bloemfontein.  I'm not going to give you the details, all the different chairmen and presidents, that is important. Over the years, through various efforts, campaigns, etc., attempts were made to get and obtain political rights for the blacks. One of the objectives to this end was to forge a united African nation.  The ANC Youth League, also known as the Congress Youth League, was formed in 1943. Both Dr. Mandela and Dr. Buthelezi were also members of the Youth League. Now, the Youth League proposed a programme of action which was accepted by the ANC in 1949.  The programme proposed a policy of strikes, boycotts, and civil disobedience.  The implementation of this policy in 1952 swelled the ranks of the ANC from approximately 7,000 to over 100,000, virtually overnight. Different organisations accepted the goals of the ANC and the Congress Alliance was born over that period. The South African Congress of Trade Unions, SACTU, also swelled the ranks of the Congress Alliance by joining it.  The idealistic Freedom Charter was written and proclaimed to the world at Kliptown in 1955. Now various people claimed to have written the Freedom Charter.  I'm not going to argue who wrote it, I'm just saying it was presented.  Now, have you ever seen the Freedom Charter?

POM     Um-hmm.

LB     Look at the Freedom Charter and then look at the politics in the world.  It is a very idealistic, utopian type of document that is in fact a beautiful document. But unfortunately, we are stuck with human nature, human greed throughout the world. It cannot be implemented. As much as I'd like to see it implemented, if you look at it, somebody has to pay for that. Now, as a result of various actions and campaigns in their attempts to improve the lot of the blacks and gain political equality with the whites, the ANC was banned in 1960. Some of the campaigns led to disorder, destruction, and death. Now, I'm not going to say blame the ANC and say they first went over to the violence or that the state first banned them. I'm just giving you a short background.  In 1961, with the aid of the South African Communist Party, the military wing uMkhonto we Sizwe, also known as MK, was established and many blacks fled the country into exile or for military training abroad. Some say for education, others were trained further. Efforts were launched to overthrow the white government by military means.

     I'm going to leave the ANC just there for the moment and concentrate on Inkatha next. Inkatha was established in 1975 with Chief Minister Buthelezi as President. Buthelezi held Inkatha up as a national liberation movement, especially in the late 1970s, as it was embroiled in a deep political struggle with the government. It must be borne in mind that at that stage the ANC was banned and effectively removed from the scene with most of the black political groups internally being immobilised by security legislation. This left Inkatha as the only effective opposition to the government and I don't think we really know the history of this country at all. Over that period, especially 1975 to 1977, all the black opposition groups that aspired for political power or whatever, they got snuffed out. Now, according to Smith in his book of 1988, page 127, "Inkatha, like many other black organisations before and since, was nearly snuffed out at the moment it started making waves."  In 1977, just two years after its founding, it was threatened with banning by the then Minister of Justice, Jimmy Kruger. Inkatha and Buthelezi became a symbol of opposition to the government and if you cross your mind back to that period, that was the only group that was actually giving opposition to the government and there was quite a bit of head-bumping, head-butting over that period.

     Now, the ANC were closely watching the internal developments and they supported Buthelezi and at the end of 1979 at a meeting in London between Chief Minister Buthelezi, members of his Cabinet, and an ANC delegation, the ANC proposed amongst inter alia that they use Inkatha and its structures internally as a surrogate liberation organisation and that the ANC be recognized as the sole exclusive organisation representing all the blacks of South Africa. De Kock, in a book of his in 1986, page 140, wrote as follows, and I'm quoting, "What is known is that the ANC wanted Inkatha as its surrogate while it wanted to be the sole exclusive organisation representing the black people of southern Africa." Inkatha rejected both proposals out of hand. And I believe that the seeds for confrontation were sown here.  ANC saw in Inkatha a strong opposition to its own plans and strategies.  Davis, in his book at page 391, in 1988 writes as follows, he's referring to Buthelezi, "His attempts to appropriate the ANC mantle internally collapsed in 1980 when the liberation movement finally condemned him and his politics."  As a result of his (this is the Chief Minister's) participation in the government's homeland/Bantustan policy, perceived by the left-wing as apartheid control, Buthelezi and Inkatha are being accused of being political Januses (two-faced).

     The left-wing exploits this participation fully while placing less emphasis on such participation in areas like the Transkei.  But there's a difference here. The Transkei slavishly follows the principles of the ANC and supports it to the hilt, whereas the Chief Minister is considered as opposition. So, it glosses over the Transkei's participation and attacks the Chief Minister for his participation. Inkatha follows a capitalistic ideology, strongly opposes violence, disinvestment, sanctions, and socialism. All right, I'm going to leave Inkatha there for a minute and we'll go to the UDF.

     The UDF was founded in 1983 Athlone down in the Cape. That founding was preceded by a call by Oliver Tambo in January 1983 in a document entitled Planning for a People's War, issued by the PMC, Political Military Council, in which the fragmented left groups were called upon to establish a United Front during 1983 as this year was to be known as the year of United Action. Now, that obtained in Dawn number eight, 1983, Dawn being one of its publications. By means of this United Front control would and could be taken over all aspects of communities, community life, churches, youth, etc., etc.  Now, I firmly believe that the UDF was a consequence of Tambo's call.  Different well-known church leaders, for example, Archbishop Tutu and Rev. Boesak gave credibility to the UDF by becoming patrons thereof.  The perception was created by a sympathetic media, that the government was on the point of collapse and that the UDF would assume control in months. The point got, cross your mind again back to that period and we were quite worried at one stage because we got the impression that the government was about to collapse and just hand everything over to this mass organisation, that was the impression that the media reporting created. Literally hundreds of black organisations and, to a lesser extent, Indian, coloured and white organisations, affiliated to the UDF. The UDF acted as an umbrella organisation.

     In 1985, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU, was founded and also affiliated to the UDF, with far-reaching implications. Both the UDF and COSATU expounded the virtues of socialism and the Freedom Charter. Both argued and pleaded to the world for sanctions and disinvestment from South Africa. I will give you one quote from the South African Institute of Race Relations report, 1987-88, at page 637.  Now, it is, and I quote, "COSATU came out in favour of compulsory and mandatory sanctions against South Africa."  Now, there are many other examples as well.

     Now, just to recap, with a short historic background in mind, one can see that the ANC was from 1912 to 1960 the prime organisation in fighting for black aspirations. It continued this policy from abroad after its banning in 1960. A political vacuum was created in black politics by the departure of the ANC from the scene. The founding of Inkatha in 1975 and its political struggle with the government got its political stature internally, as well as externally. Most of the other black groups were immobilised by government legislation from  1975 to 1977. The ANC proposed to use Inkatha as a internal liberation organisation in London. That was rejected by Inkatha. The ANC saw its front-runner status being threatened and started condemning Buthelezi and Inkatha in 1980. The UDF/COSATU were founded internally and rejected cooperation with the government as you see, at the time, with its support for socialism, nationalisation of property, of mines, of companies, strident calls for sanctions and disinvestments, as opposed to Inkatha's support for capitalism, anti-sanctions, anti-disinvestment, evolutionary change, and participation in the homelands policy set the stage for confrontation.

     Now one can see two black groups here, different ideologies, different economic policies, and if one stops just there for a second and looks back into Africa, you can see that the stage must be set for confrontation. Now, I'm not being racialistic, I'm being quite factual about it. Confrontation in Natal, bearing in mind the above, it's clear that the ANC needed COSATU, that they had to confront Inkatha, especially in Natal, Natal being the main sphere of influence of the Inkatha.  The power struggle would go over the control of the black masses. I'm going to stop there for a second.

     We've had unrest in the most recent past in places such as PE, East London, Kimberley, down in the Cape. I want to make it very clear that Inkatha is not involved down there. So, we have an organisation that wherever there's opposition to its policies, goes over to violence or violence flares up.  And I'm referring specifically to the ANC.  They're always trying to blame everyone else for the violence except themselves.  Now, they keep on shouting and screaming at the police, at Inkatha, at the government yet never themselves. The media have contributed towards this sort of perception that has come on down because when you're talking of attacks, you talk of Inkatha vigilantes and then you talk of mobs but you never talk of UDF mobs. Very, very rare, it's just mobs. So you never see the UDF or the ANC running into violence.  It's always Inkatha, the vigilantes, the warlords, also police. In the last two or three weeks, there have been some very interesting editorials in the newspapers like The Times and The Tribune and The Mercury almost saying, chiding the ANC, and saying to them, "You must look at yourself in the mirror, you are blaming everybody else, you're blaming Inkatha, the police, the government, etc., look at yourself as well."  It can't be, you can't be an organisation without mistakes.

     Now, Smith, in his book, published in 1988, page 114 states, "The ANC saw its front-runner status being challenged and consistent with their view that the only authentic voice of protest is the ANC, have seized every chance over past ten years to denigrate and undermine Inkatha." The alliance, (and when I refer to the alliance, I'm referring to ANC/UDF/COSATU) started with the single-minded purposefulness, intimidation, exploitation of bread and butter issues (bread and butter issues being things like rent increases, bus fare increases, the water price, you know, that type of thing) to isolate Inkatha, the KwaZulu government, from the black masses because politics being what they are most of the people in the KwaZulu Government are also Inkatha members."  In the South African Editorial Services, No. 117, March 1987 at page one appears the following, "A campaign of violence and unrest, politically motivated and highly organised, began in South Africa in the second half of 1984.  Apart from the fact that it was an orchestrated campaign, it was characterised by the intimidation of and violence against the black communities by black activists. The object was to make the black residential areas ungovernable, in order that revolutionaries might take over and towards this end, that they established street committees and people's courts that waged a reign of intimidation, terror, and brutalisation of black communities. The struggle for the control of black masses in Natal spilled over to violence."

     And in Durban, we had, just prior to this period, we had incidents as well. But I think, in all fairness, this can be said to be the period where it actually started. I'm going to come back to this period again. Inkatha President Mangosuthu Buthelezi told Mrs. Thatcher in 1987 the following, "The unprecedented current levels of violence used for political purposes is expressing itself more and more in black-on-black confrontations rather than the black-white confrontation or black confrontations with the government."  And that's a quote from the book by Smith, 1988, page 228.  "The struggle for the control of the masses was a result of research. Tambo and an ANC delegation did research in Vietnam in 1978 on methods used by the Vietcong and the Vietnamese in their struggle against the French and later the Americans.  After that research, a document entitled Organs of People's Power, OPP, was drawn up. This document was passed to selected top UDF officials for the struggle for use in their struggle with Inkatha and was later disseminated further. That document called for the establishment of people's committees, which were to be elected at street level. 'Elected' in the sense because please, remember you're in Africa now and I'm not being derogatory, they don't run the type of elections that you people are used to. Regular meetings were to be held to establish the needs of the people. These PCs were to contain the following elements: street committees which would be responsible for, amongst other duties, mobilisation and organisation at street level; self-defence units which would, amongst other duties, be responsible for information gathering and the defence of the other committees; combat units which would, amongst other duties, liaise directly with the MK and assist in actions against the enemy; people's courts, you heard about them this morning, which would hear any case placed before it and punish those found guilty, including the passing of death sentences where appropriate. Full implementation of this system control can, and has been obtained in many areas of Natal. I call it a reeds theory. You know, if you have reeds standing on the river bank, and the river floods, the reeds lie down. As soon as the water recedes, the reeds stand up. In Vietnam, there were many causes that led to the downfall of the Americans, with the Americans withdrawing from Vietnam but one of them, and we came across the same thing down in the Eastern Cape, you flood the area with security forces. In other words, the river's come down, the reeds are lying down, because the reeds must be, are now these people's committees, They can't act so they sit still but you cannot maintain them. You can only maintain a presence for a certain period of time and then you must withdraw. In other words, the river's now going down. But they'll come again. And every time you withdraw, you're actually strengthening those reeds, you're actually strengthening the people's committees. That is the negative aspect.

     Now the ANC announced two main objectives in 1984,  namely, to make the implementation of state programmes and state institutions unworkable and to develop organisations to a point where the state couldn't act against them. Because Inkatha and KwaZulu were considered part and parcel of the state institutions and the threat that Inkatha held in for the ANC, both objectives were implemented against KwaZulu and Inkatha. The violence in Maritzburg can be traced to the collapse of different councils after the rent increase in 1985. Cross, 1988, page 7, writes as follows, and I'm quoting, he says, "Dates it (the violence) to the collapse of the town councils in Pietermaritzburg townships in 1985", a few lines further, "Only the Inkatha aligned Imbali Town Council remained in office."  Now, the town councils that we had in the townships were very rudimentary.  It was not like the town halls, the city halls in the municipalities weren't so sophisticated.  But it was an element of control, because you have to teach people how to crawl before you teach them how to walk and then to run.  And this is one of the processes which has to be gone through. In some areas, these town councils or township councils, they were not very effective. That, I admit. They were seen as part and parcel of the state structures.

     On the violence, Chief Minister Buthelezi declared, and I'm quoting, "Claimed that the ANC bore the sole responsibility for the killings in Pietermaritzburg. Denying that Inkatha warlords were responsible for the violence, he argued that the ANC purposely set out to kill for political purposes and that the violence was directed against the free enterprise system and the politics of negotiation." That's a quote from the South African Institute of Race Relations Report for 1987-88, page 34.

     Now, since the release of Nelson Mandela, in the middle of February 1990, he has addressed many rallies and made many public speeches, which have conflicting messages. These conflicting messages have aggravated the conflict especially in Natal.  On the 21st of February at Kings Park Nelson Mandela addressed a rally in which he called the persons engaged in the conflict to throw their knives and pangas in the sea, and it was reported quite extensively. In the next breath he refers to the armed struggle, saying that this is still proceeding. This message can be very confusing for those participating in the conflict: did Dr Mandela really want violence to stop? You see, this is the question that they left open. It's not a very sophisticated audience that he's playing up to. It's semi-literate, unsophisticated, and they are also directly involved in the conflict and now their leader says, "Throw your knives and pangas in the sea.  The armed conflict still goes on." Do they really want peace?

     Now, at a meeting on the 25th of March, a month later, at M L Sultan College, Durban, Harry Gwala allegedly stated (Harry Gwala being a Natal leader in the ANC) that Nelson Mandela made a mistake when he told the people to throw their pangas into the sea.  Gwala instructed the youth to go and fetch their pangas and their knives. He said to them, "If you can't swim there are lifesavers there that will fetch you out. Go and fetch your knives and pangas." He didn't tell them what to do with them. But can you understand the message that the people are getting?

     Now, let us leave that there for a minute, let us go to the most recent public statements of the people like Winnie Mandela whom the blacks look up to, Harry Gwala again, Chris Hani, that type of person, and Walter Sisulu and company. They keep on referring to the AK that they want to take and use to overthrow the government. It confuses, it creates the impression that they must continue.  When I say 'they' I'm referring to the black masses. Arrangements for a meeting between the Chief Minister and Nelson Mandela concerning the violence in Natal between Inkatha and the alliance was stopped on the advice of Harry Gwala and Gumede who went to Soweto to consult Mandela. The impression was created by subsequent media reports that the leaders did not really want peace. Now, even up to today, the Chief Minister has on many occasions made public statements inviting the ANC, particularly Nelson Mandela, to sit down at a table so that they can discuss the violence but Mandela, unfortunately, is being manipulated. He's being manipulated by the people directly underneath him and they did not want Mandela to meet with the Chief Minister because they claimed it's going to give the Chief Minister stature. He's got stature already. That's what they're scared of. They are scared that they're not politically ready in the field to make peace.  In other words, they want a little bit more war so they can gain a little bit more. That is the only conclusion one can reach.

     It is generally accepted that the South African society, and particularly the black community, is being threatened by youth gangs. It is a fact that the activities of some youth and youth gangs have terrorised black communities. It must be borne in mind, however, that these youth gangs are not just a South African phenomenon. In the Bureau of Information booklet, Young Revolutionaries, published 1988, page 3, it's stated, and I quote, "In communist China the Red Guards, many of them children younger than 12 years of age, spearheaded Mao Tse Tung's cultural revolution in the late 1960s contributing to the murder of 40,000 people." I'm not saying that they were responsible, but they contributed towards it. And a few lines further, "In Cambodia, teenagers of the Khmer Rouge played a key role in the slaughter of nearly three million Cambodians." There are many examples of youths and youth gangs being used for unthinkable purposes. One can go to Ireland as well. One has the same thing there.  The youths of the youth gangs are part and parcel of the ANC policy and strategy. In June 1985 at a meeting in Kabwe, Zambia, the ANC released a document which contained, amongst other facts, the following, "The youth is an important section of the fighting forces in our struggle."  In the South African Editorial Services pamphlet, number 117, March 1989, the following appears, "It," referring to the violence, "was characterised by intimidation and violence against black communities by black activists and by the prominent role played by the youth."

     The youth make up a large part of the street committees and the brutal people's courts. Through the existence and education of these committees and areas, the community's activities and political role is controlled by the youth and through the youth by the ANC. In South Africa, and particularly Natal, the blacks live and die in poverty in comparison with the whites.  Especially in the squatter areas black youth see no future for themselves and therein lies one of our biggest problems. That is, rather inadequate and in many cases overfull, crowded schools that supply inferior education, according to their perception the value of education is questioned. Schools and class boycotts are organised in certain areas. Migratory labour, rapid urbanisation have led to sharp reductions in parental control, and this has resulted in idle youth. The weak economic condition with large groups of black youths being unemployed have also resulted in frustration, bitterness, with a massive shortage of provisions, food, and shelter. These conditions have contributed to the youth being readily politicised by the left with promises that the ANC would redress the conditions when they came to power and overthrew the government. They've been holding up the Freedom Charter and the people actually believe this. They see themselves as one day they're going to be out on the street, the next day they're going to be in a house. One day they're going to be out on the street, the next day they're going to have employment. This is how they see it, they're very simplistic.

     Now the criminal elements have also taken advantage of the conditions to recruit. The youth who see no future for themselves in the present circumstances to have become willing tools in the hands of revolutionaries. They are 'assisting' in trying to change their own circumstances to their own benefit. The damage to property, the number of deaths attributed to youth gangs, will never be known. Economic conditions, I'm just going to touch on it, because I'm not an economist, but anyway, as has been stated, there are other contributing factors to the violence in Natal. Without a doubt, economic conditions play a powerful role, some would say the main role in contributing to the violence. I'm going to stop just there for a second. And I'm going to quote from another document dated November 1989, it's a special issue, appears the following, which has a bearing on the violence, "The 1984 uprising saw, for the first time in the history, the emergence of people's organs of power. Popular organs of power emerged and addressed in their own way the question of political power. Organs of people's power understood that real power meant the destruction of their enemies, administrative and political organs, and the location of their own offensive (our own words, combat units) and defensive (our own words, self-defence) capabilities."

     There's a second document on it, it's an ANC policy document dated December 1986, quoting Chris Hani, and I quote, "So the necklace was a weapon devised by the oppressed themselves to root this cancer from our society, the cancer of collaboration of the puppet.  It is a weapon of the masses themselves to claim the townships from the very disruptive and even evil activities of the puppets and collaborators.  We do understand our people when they use a necklace because it is an attempt to render our townships, to render our areas, to render our country ungovernable.  It made the enemy's access to information very difficult." That's why I said to you that it is part of the ANC's policy to make the country ungovernable. And it's to that end that you see all the activities going on. I think that that's most of it.

     In South Africa, and in Natal in particular, something like over 50% of the black population are youths between the age of about ten and eighteen. The youth at school are not receiving instruction because the ANC, some years ago, called for liberation now, education later, to try and put pressure on the Education Department. And the children burned the schools down and they tore up the books. This created further problems. Now, you've got youngsters who are not educated trying to get work on the market that want educated people. They contribute further to the poor economic position, which can't be strengthened because you've got people who aren't educated and who can't be employed.  So, it's a group of people that are just sitting at home, and they're frustrated. That is some of the problems that we are facing.

POM     Now, do you believe that it is still the policy of the ANC to make the country ungovernable?

LB     At this stage, yes. Let us look then at the result of investigation in Durban concerning Operation Vula. There was an incorrect interpretation of the presence of Joe Slovo there, because there was a Comrade Joe there, but it was somebody else. It was not I that did the interpretation, it was somebody else that did the interpretation. It would indicate clearly that there are still instructions going out that the country must be made ungovernable. I am sure that the ANC are still continuing with their policy to make the country ungovernable. If one looks at the violence, why is the violence taking place down in the Cape? Why is the violence taking place up in the Transvaal? You understand? There are still weapons coming through. We recovered with Operation Vula massive weapons caches and that we are still following up. No doubt that we will recover more.

POM     Well, I mean, on the one hand you have Mandela and De Klerk who seem committed to a process, who did sign the Pretoria Minute. Now, would De Klerk sign the Pretoria Minute and government still believe the ANC had no intention of giving up the armed struggle?

LB     You see, it's a very different question to answer, that.  And politics is something I'd rather leave for the politicians. Now, I'm sure that the State President is satisfied in his own mind that Mandela is quite genuine in his pronouncements, how can I say? His pronouncements that he wants peace. But it's the structures below Mandela that appear to be manipulating him. One can ask the counter-question which is politically the counter-question, why is it that Mandela does not want to meet Buthelezi? If those two leaders meet you will definitely have a scaling down of the violence. Buthelezi has said on many occasions, "Come, let us meet. Let us sit and talk." But the people immediately below Mandela, let's call them, not the National Executive but influential people directly below, those are the people that don't want him to meet with Buthelezi. And while they don't meet, you won't have peace. So, that is one of the problems that we have.

POM     So, what's your reading of how this process is going to continue? I mean, on the one hand, you again have the politicians, De Klerk and Mandela, committed to moving towards the negotiations, towards a peaceful settlement. On the other hand you're suggesting the ANC is really continuing the armed struggle under a different name or using different modes of operation, with increasing instability appearing all around the country. If this instability is not checked, what will it lead to?

LB     Well, Operation Vula was definitely aimed at insurrection, overthrow. And if one goes back to Operation Vula again, but with the current, let's call them peace initiatives led by the State President, if they are successful, that will bring the two leaders together. And here I'm referring to Mandela and Buthelezi. I would definitely bring those two leaders together. And from there, it's a politician's game again, because at the end of the day, we execute the policy. They set the policy. And I'm sure that the State President will set the policy that will satisfy, you can never satisfy everybody but it will certainly satisfy a great majority of the people, yes.

POM     Patricia?

PK     I wanted to ask you along that line, we have heard several people suggest that, as part of this De Klerk could invite certain people from the ANC to participate in Cabinet positions in his government in an interim transition process which, if one follows what you're saying, that's like mixing water and oil. How would you see the policy being set and the execution of that policy? Wouldn't that give mixed signals to your people on the ground?

LB     It's a bit of a difficult one to answer. You see, the State President, again, I'm not a politician, the State President has made it quite clear he doesn't want an interim government.

PK     Government with the ANC.

LB     Of the ANC. He's made it very clear. He's made it very clear, as well, that the days of all-white election is a thing of the past. He's not referring to a possible referendum amongst the whites, but an all-white election is a thing of the past. So, there's a different interpretation. But that's the thing that must be solved by negotiation between the parties. Each one is trying to be, not prescriptive, but each one is putting its demands on the table. And that is what negotiation is about how do we put all the different points into a pot and take the best from it? So, one can't run forward and say, what's he going to do for it? I haven't got a clue. But I believe, I totally believe he's on the right road. I've got no problem with that. There are people that have a problem with it, yes. But unfortunately, politics is one of those things, you know, when you get up in the morning and you make eggs for breakfast and you do them all sunny-side up two or three people are going to say, "I don't eat eggs at all."  Also in politics.

POM     Well, what about the monitoring committees that were to be established between members of the police force and the ANC?

LB     Now, that has been a problem.  There was a newspaper report the other day and they said that there were 96 police officers' names given as the, how shall I say, the 'liaison officer' from the police's side. The ANC had not supplied many names. I think, at last count, it sent out 25. They just haven't been able to come forward with names. And I think they're very shy members, very slow. Maybe they'll get going now after this Pretoria Minute because the names we should have had are the

LB     The street committees and area committees there and it's through that process where your violence comes out. It's true intimidation. They want to ensure that at the end of the day they are the best positioned at the negotiating table, the most people behind them. So the longer the negotiation process is delayed or dragged on the more advantages to their own position. This is the way I see it. That's why they don't want to supply their names, this is why they're rather slow in sitting down.

PK     So, you think this is a strategic, deliberate?

LB     A deliberate point ...

PK     To destroy the process?

LB     Not to destroy the process but to stall, they're not in a strong enough position to take over Inkatha. Yes, they haven't got enough ground support.  And they feel that they must have more support.  And that is only through dragging this conflict on that they will be able to get more people on their side, a true process of intimidation.

PK     Now what?  Say, for example, let's just use a hypothetical situation, that in two weeks they have half of those names.  Fifty names on the table.  This process begins to go forward.

LB     But the process of going forward at this stage.  Sorry, on a limited scale, if there's a problem, what is in effect supposed to happen if, for example, the ANC were going to have a march in Durban tomorrow? And we foresee problems with it. I'm supposed to, or rather the Natal liaison officer, is supposed to pick up the phone and phone his equivalent in the ANC, but it's not actually working too well, because the people aren't replying, they're not in office or they don't phone back.  So you have this problem.  But now remember that the leaders at certain levels have made certain decisions.  So, it, to me, personally, and please, I'm speaking here personally, it would indicate that there's a gap between the talking and the effective carrying out of the policies.

PK     Well, what I don't understand, though, is that an organisation which has - I understand what you're saying, I think on the one hand they say they've abandoned the armed struggle and on the other hand they haven't if you look at the various documents that we've seen in the papers about Operation Vula. Now, let's just accept that, that they have not abandoned the armed struggle.  Now, they've got a situation where they're supposed to be sitting down in a collaborative effort, as I understand it, with the police, to monitor the violence on the ground, working together.  How can the police sit across the table or on the same side of the table as these people who they don't really believe are committed to this, and work effectively?

LB     Well, at the end of the day, as I said earlier, we are officials who carry out policy. The government has said this is the way it will be done and there's no way that we are going to be accused, at the end of the day, of not carrying out the government policy.  So we will try to do our damnedest to carry out that policy.  If the government says we must sit down with them, we will sit down with them.  I firmly believe that is the only way, because at some stage, sorry, this damn thing has to stop, I mean, the violence as a whole, that has to stop at some stage.  And if we don't, if we're not going to start talking to the people, then it'll never stop.

POM     But surely it must almost pose an insuperable problem for you to want to share information with people whom you believe are engaged in an operation to destroy you?

LB     It does.  We concede it.  And this is one of the dilemmas that are facing the policemen out there.  You will find every now and then accusations are made against the police force.  Again, as I said earlier on, it would seem, if you listen to the accusations, that the ANC are a group of innocents in toto while everybody else is guilty. But if I take your point, it does cause a problem for us.  And there are policemen that are very resentful of this, because you go and talk to a youngster, I mean, he goes there five, six, seven, eight times a week, and he gets stones thrown at him.  He can't go to the location by himself, whereas five, ten years ago, he could go by himself but he's a target now.  I mean, the Minister of Law and Order made figures available the other day, summing up 43 policemen had been killed within six months.  And over 200 injured.  Now, just before I went to Germany in February this year, the figures were summing up 245 policemen killed and something like 22,000 injured, yes, 22,000 injured.  That was in February this year.  That is over the last five years.  Now, it's obvious, we are human beings like anybody else, if you get stones thrown at you the whole time, you are going to react.  And we have difficulty with these people, that is so.  Let's be quite honest, if we're going to be honest with each other, yes.  But it is officers, us, that have to sort of keep control of that.  It's not easy, but it's government saying we must do it, and we will do it.

POM     Does the spread of the violence to the Eastern Rand, other areas of the country, surprise you?

LB     No.  The Chief Minister summed it up very nicely on TV the other night.  He's been accused of exporting the violence from Natal, up into the Transvaal.  As he said, I think the words were, or the expression he used, was "Balderdash" or "Poppycock" or something like that.  And I agree with him.  Because if one goes back, the violence actually originated up there and came down to Natal in 1976.  You understand?  It came down to Natal and all that's happened now after the lifting of the emergency regulations up there, the people up there suddenly hear that they're not in a strong enough position, and they've used the opportunity.  And that means a certain ethnic problem that's crept in, as well.  And that bodes ill for the future.  "Our father was killed ten years ago or my brother was killed twelve years ago.  I must extract revenge."  This is happening, as well.  Revenge attacks are a big problem for us.

POM     You know, one of the

LB     So, sorry, they, the leaders of the people, some of them have been sitting quiet over the past two, three years and have now taken the opportunity to try and settle old scores.  Immediately when that happens, you get a criminal element climbing in, because looting becomes and, again, it's a phenomenon not isolated to South Africa or restricted to South Africa.  It happens the world over.  Military violence like that you have going on. And then you have military revenge attacks again. So it's a vicious catch-22 circle.  You must try and break it as quickly as possible.

POM     I mean, one hears, again, accusations by, say, members of the UDF that the police either covertly or overtly, explicitly or implicitly, side with Inkatha or with the KwaZulu police.  I mean, how can you be neutral in that circumstance?  It's an almost human impossibility.

LB     It is virtually humanly impossible.  Let me answer it to you this way.  We must also bear in mind, as you heard when you were with the General this morning, that intimidation plays a big role with any of the areas.  Now, we have black policemen, who've all said that in those areas, that one tends to take the politics of the area in which you reside.  That's your own politics on the survival side.  Police can be human beings just like anybody else but if people try and make supermen out of them, they're not.  So, they must ultimately take their politics or use them to support the politics of the area in which they reside.  And it's from there that the accusations have also come.

     But to come back to your statement or your study or your point that policemen would tend to support Inkatha.  One would like to do that but it cannot be done because the minute you do, you're going to lay yourself wide open for this type of accusation.  And the accusations are being made left, right, and centre.  And you know, , his appointment was to try and counter this because some very wild accusations were made by the UDF of complicity of working together with Inkatha.  And every time they put these statements on the table and the General investigated, he proved beyond doubt that it's not so.  One must be careful of propaganda, because their propaganda is beautiful.  I see, when you were at the General, you referred to the Inanda bus incident.  Now, the Inanda bus incident, it was quite clear that there were no shots fired at that stage, definitely.  But look at the news that's gone through about it.  Everybody believes that there were shots fired.

POM     Could you just tell us the events that led up to that?  What the investigation revealed?

LB     Right.  We're taking the day before.  There was a car wreck on the side of the road and this bus, came down and hit this car wreck, because you actually had to swing out to avoid it.  We assume, now, that the tire hit the wreck, because it did hit the side of the road.  And that was the bang they heard, when the tire went.  The bus followed the same route.  There was no sign, the forensic experts, to the best of my knowledge, found no sign of fresh markings, as far as the police were concerned, on the wreck.  Now, I know there was a reporter that said the man lay in his arms and said, "I was shot at."  But that has proved to be a lie by another person standing next to that person, who said it was a lie.  You see, this is the problem that we have.  And as a policeman, I don't have access to the media where I can stand up there and say, Hey, you people are all lying.  Yell out the truth.  We have to go through a certain process before we can do that.  There's a thing called a court.  I can't just make wild statements.  But, the opposite's not true, the other people can make wild statements and wild allegations, and unfortunately, they are believed, whereas we're not believed, there's a discipline involved, and we've got to follow certain procedures.  So, our reaction is much slower as far as that's concerned.

POM     Were there autopsies carried out?

LB     Yes.  There were autopsies carried out and that record - again, the best person to speak to would be General [Skipper(?)], and you'll find that there's nothing there whatsoever, that there were no shots fired.  So, you know, it's one of those incidents, and there are many like that, where people twist things so quickly.

POM     On a personal level, what do you, yourself, see the future holding?

LB     I was asked this question yesterday. I was busy with a British parliamentarian yesterday. I'm very optimistic, I'm very optimistic. One of the toughest nuts the State President has to crack is to get Mandela to settle down with Buthelezi around the table. You'll find Buthelezi wants to talk. You get those two to sit down and talk. That's the first tough nut. Then he's going to have another tough nut and that will be Mandela's baby more than the State President's.  Whatever decision they reach, or whatever agreement they come to, the same thing, didn't permit a doubt because they're going to have to be seen to be in agreement. It's no good, you and I coming into this room and talking and walking out and nothing we agree ever gets implemented. We have to go and tell our followers, look, this is it, and to be seen to be wanting it to take place. But I believe he's going to have a problem, because of the likes of Hani and his own wife, because she said in America now, I was reading, again, the other day, I was going through all my reports, the schools are military targets,  ANC military targets. They're going to wipe out the schools. She said that in America.  Now, I suppose that she was wrongly quoted, but

POM     Once again.

LB     Well, yes, yes.  I mean, this happens every time.  And when the TV camera was on her from where she started her talk to the end of her talk, I went through the whole thing again, there was nothing about misquote.  It was a direct quote and it wasn't like that.

POM     What kind of a government do you see emerging out of the process, when it's completed?

LB     Well, you see, again, depending on how strong the government is going to be, because the government is going to have to be strong.  If it's very awkward I just hope that the State President can pull it off, and I trust that he will pull it off. I'm very hopeful of that.  If a black government emerges, so be it but then a Westminster-type of democracy has never worked in Africa and I firmly believe that it won't work here.  And I want to say to anybody who says that will work here, show me why. Why will it work here when it didn't work elsewhere in Africa? I know the Americans have got democracy, one man, one vote, but they've got a bias because they've got the smaller states with less people that have got the same voting strength as the larger places, so that there's no dominance.  So, what is going to emerge?  I don't know. But I certainly, my personal self, I have no intention, or I certainly wouldn't like to be stuck up underneath a socialist type of set-up like we're seeing in Europe falling apart.

POM     In that regard, what is a South African communist?  What does a South African communist believe that a member of the ANC doesn't believe?

LB     Well, you know, if you talk to the ANC about this, they run around like a cat on a hot brick. The Danish group I spoke to the other day asked me questions where I feed the same line. Let's look at it this way, if you had an organisation -  where are you from?

POM     Where am I from?

LB     Yes.

POM     Ireland.

LB     Ireland. Ireland. If you have an organisation, I don't know what organisation it is, of course, I assume that there are many, but if you had an organisation of ten members,  no matter what organisation it is, take a trade union, a specific union with ten members, of which two are Communist Party members, what have you got?  Those two are usually so dedicated that they will tend to dominate the other eight.  Now, what happens if there are seven communists out of the ten?  Or over half, then, of the ten.  What will you get?  You answer me, sir.

POM     I know.

LB     Exactly.  Let's look at the National Executive set-up.  Out of the 35, 25 are confirmed members of the Communist Party.  Some of those people are sitting on the Executive of the Communist Party.  We say that there are 27.  Nelson Mandela runs around and says, no, no, no, it's not 27.  But he doesn't say, Oh, there's only one.  We say that there's 25, definite.  So, 25 out of the 35 and you're trying to tell me that the ANC can actually rule the roost?  No ways.  So, we have a problem there.  That's without saying.

POM     How do you evaluate the PAC?

LB     The PAC are going to become a factor, because what is happening is the young youth, young youth, whoops, veer off.  The youth who have obtained certain positions, who have kicked up a little nest for himself, you know, "I'm on the bosom of", as it's called here, "I'm ruling my own roost in this area."  If peace comes, he's going to have to go back to school.  He's going to have to give up all this, what he's been fighting for.  He's going to have to become just the next door neighbour now.  Bump Mr. X on the street committee anymore.  And people don't tend to give up positions of power once obtained.  That is a problem.  PAC have said, come, come over!  So what we have found is a lot of youngsters are going over to the PAC now.  And I say this is one of the reasons why Nelson Mandela is having difficulty trying to get to Buthelezi.  A lot of it, and it's a fact.  I'll construct it as a fact, that there's a lot of opposition amongst his own members, of sitting down with the State President.  And a lot of dissatisfaction expressed over the Pretoria Minute.  It's said it's only politicians that can talk all day and call it a Pretoria Minute. You see, there's a lot of people are dissatisfied with that.  So we have a problem with it.  Now, we expected it, PAC is saying, come over.

     Now, I say to you, one of the liaison groups that I was talking to awhile ago, he was concerned that Mandela would lose support if he moved too close to the government.  But, dammit, at the end of the day, that was the State President taking a political risk.  Why must he be the one that takes the risks all the time?  Why must he be the one to lose support the whole time?  Let him get out of his corner, let's (expose him) to certain opposition.  But to say this and to say that, we'll promise this, we'll promise that and promise that; what has Mandela done to this day?  What has he done?  He sits there on public platforms and promises.  Has he delivered any goods?  The answer is, no.  He can't even meet with Buthelezi to try and get peace.  So, this is my personal problem

PK     I have another question about the PAC.  Is the PAC, the armed struggle, real?

LB     Yes and no.  They are, at first, they came to be more bloodthirsty, more, how can I say,  more callous, I think would be the word, than the ANC.

POM     But, do they have a military capability?

LB     They have a military capability.  It is a very primitive military capability but they have a military capability, yes.  You see, they were supported, the PAC always has been supported by China and a lot of that funding there sort of dried up.  They're having a bit of difficulty in begging their weapons and a little bit of difficulty in bases, etc., etc., long lines of communication. So, it's a problem whereas the ANC don't seem to have quite the funding problem and they seem to have weapons from Africa.  Sorry, weapons from Russia.

POM     What about the right-wing?  Does it pose a real problem?

LB     Yes, the right-wing, we've got to be very careful of.  Bearing in mind that the right-wing, who and what are they?  Let's just look at that quickly.  Apart from the fact that he's white, that he's probably done his military training, he's probably done service in the police force as well.  So, in other words, he's got first-class knowledge of how the system works.  You understand?  So, if you want to go across details with him he's going to have a problem.  Sorry.  We are going to have a problem.  And that is a problem.

POM     Is there ever any discussion among yourselves of the possibility of, given the way you say that the police feel about the ANC, that there could be collusion between lower levels in the police force and the right-wing?

LB     No, we're watching it very carefully.  We're watching it very carefully.  Again, you see, if you go off a mutual path you're asking for trouble.  You're leading with your jaw Because you're going to get whacked and I don't mean by us.  In a police force the world over, I know a lot of police forces tend to fail at this or that, but it's very difficult.  But you must try and walk a neutral path no matter how difficult it is because the minute you start taking sides you've got a problem.  That we must always try and impress upon our members:  don't take sides no matter how difficult it is.  And sometimes it's easier said than done, conceded.  And I'd be misleading you if I said it was easy, it's not easy.

POM     Patricia?

PK     No.

POM     Well, thank you very much.

LB     If I could just treat that in overall, you can see, now there are two ideological, two groups with different ideologies, came to the same Cape, the Cape being South Africa,  and they're bound to clash and this is the clash that you've got.  This is what I said, it has an ideological base with all the causes being fed in.  They use the economy, the whole search of the criminals.  Our own efficiency, because we, at the end of the day, have had our own problems within the police force, we've got a shortage of men, with shortage of vehicles, or shortage of that.  But it comes back to the economy again.  So, when you talk of the economy, there are many other issues.  It's not just hard cash in the hand.  So, that has been another problem that we've had, numbers of policemen.

POM     I've one last question.  Do you get feedback from your policemen on what people in the communities are thinking?  Like, they sort of pool what they say?

LB     Yes, now, we have a meeting every single morning at the office and then we do the analysis of what's going on in the area.  And there is fear, that that is definite.  There's fear on the average white man, not so much of the politics as his being threatened by criminals because a lot of policemen have been pulled out of the area to tend to the unrest.  Now, where there should have been policemen in white areas, there are fewer policemen.  And that's a problem in itself.  So, now the people aren't feeling as safe and as secure as they should.  Now, that's something that the government has to tend to.  But again, it comes back to the economy.  It comes back to, as I said, it's one of the contributing causes.  So, it's a catch-22 situation:  where are you going to split it? Where are you going to stop it?

POM     OK.

PK     I have a question about that, which is, have you noticed, I come from Washington, D.C., where our police chief says it's extremely difficult

LB     I just, I just had a very interesting group from Houston the other day.

PK     Did you?

LB     Very interesting.

PK     Do you have problems with recruitment now?  Have your numbers gone down as your needs increase?

LB     At one stage, the policemen were leaving the police force at the rate of 25 per day.  And that is countrywide.  And it didn't go on just for one or two days, it went on for a couple of months and they were leaving at terrific numbers.  But that is attributed to many reasons; one of them was salary, one of them was these continual attacks, the long hours you work, being continually blamed.  But, luckily, the people's eyes have opened and have seen that it's not just the policemen's fault, it's the ANC, they're a bunch of purists, that they are partly to blame, as well.  Or, in many cases, they are the sole cause of the problem.  But that is being rectified because salaries have been improved.  I won't say our conditions have been improved but at the end of the day you don't expect to become wealthy if you're a policeman.  You should become a doctor then!  Or something else.

POM     A politician.

PK     Usually you can't afford to become a doctor.

LB     I'll go there and study in America at the college and I'll get a degree.  My son is coming back tomorrow.  He's in New York.  And it's very interesting, the feedback I get from them.

POM     I'm sure.

PK     Where is your daughter in school?

LB     She was at Binghampton.  She's studying medicine there.  And she's gone into New York now.

POM     The Shangaans?

LB     The Shangaans and the Ngunis.  They do have a political arm.  A lot of people say it's not so but it is so because you take the politics of the area in which you reside.  Now, they're supposed to be above politics but when you're dealing with humans it's not clear-cut like that. We quite recently had a case of where a youngster went along to the muti man so that he could become immune to bullets, or where the bullet would turn directly into water as it comes towards him. This is what they firmly believe.  When he was shot, he wasn't killed.  He then went and he killed the witchdoctor.  When he recovered, he came at him and killed the witchdoctor.  And he firmly believed that the policemen had gone to a stronger witchdoctor.  So, he didn't have sense, he had to go and find a stronger witchdoctor than that one.  So, you have that effect, as well.  You know, we laugh at it, but it's a fact.  I asked the question the other day.  I said to the people, how can some of the Inkatha people, when they launch these attacks, because you, I mean, you cannot for the rest of your life stall, or else the opposition are attacking you.  At some stage, you must have that's human nature.  How can they act like that?  The one, when we were joking about it, he said they have now got medicine so that you policemen can't see them if they go over to their death, and they firmly believe this.  But when we say it, a lot of people scoff at it and they say, no, it's not so.  How true it is, I don't know, but one must then look at some of the actions.  I don't say, please, I don't say that this is the rule, I say, this is the exception.  But it does occur.

POM     Thank you.

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.