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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

22 Aug 1990: Buchner, Jac

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POM     Brigadier maybe if you just began by giving us an overall picture of the violence in Natal between Inkatha and the ANC/UDF/COSATU alliance. Inkatha blames the ANC very bitterly, very voraciously and equally members of the UDF and the ANC blame Inkatha just as bitterly and with just as much obvious sincerity. How do you weigh the claims of both sides and what role do the KwaZulu police play in this and what role do South African police play? Can one disengage the politics of it from just the violence of it?

JB     Well you've asked about 200 questions in one and this is going to take the rest of evening to answer. Firstly, let me come back to your questions. I know that you have put them on tape now but let me come back first of all that I would like to put it in a certain way. And maybe you or myself or we will understand better afterwards. Where do we stand in South Africa? That is the first thing. Why I say that, is we are sitting with a unique situation in South Africa which possibly you wouldn't have in Northern Ireland or in any other conflict areas. I don't know if it is commonly known or commonly bandied about, but we didn't have policeman in black areas until a very short while ago. The whole of South Africa, when I joined the police force 35 years ago, we had numerous police stations, I think about a thousand, but they were all in white areas. We didn't have policemen or police stations in black areas. The black population were left to, not to their own devices, to their police chiefs and their tribal customs and their tribal courts and tribal laws. If a man transgressed and committed murder or something like that the chief would send somebody up, arrest the man and then hand him over to the state or to the government. And the western court would take its course and the man would be charged and tried and so on, in the western court. But lesser evils were all tried by the chief in their various jurisdictions. In the last twenty years this went away with the emergence of the self-governing states and the black and independent states like Transkei and so on. And we now have our own court. We still have our tribal chiefs, or Amakosi, and they still have a certain sway in the area but now we are bringing the police to the area.

     But if you look at the whole of South Africa, it's clearly now the black areas, you had a police force mainly to look after the interest of the white man. This is what we had. You can put that to government policy or you can put it down to anything, or colonial development or whatever you want. But now we have changed all that. Now in South Africa, the whole of South Africa, they have got two policemen per thousand inhabitants. I know that figure has been bandied around quite a bit, but they compare it to Britain which has got four, Germany's got six and this morning I heard that in certain areas they have up to eight policemen per thousand. Now in KwaZulu I've got five million people and with the five million people I have a police force of 3,000 men, which gives me point six (.6) per thousand which is a very, very small police force. And if you look at a place like KwaMashu where I would say I have got about 400,000 people living, I've got 150 policemen in there. And if you look at it they work on four shifts. One shift off and three shifts on. That gives me less than 40 policemen per shift to control an area of 400,000 people. It's a well known impossible task.

     I'm trying to tell you that in the areas where we have conflict in Natal, where we have had the main, since 1985, the main conflict areas, Pietermaritzburg, its not Pietermaritzburg, if I may quote, the white city, but it is the black townships surrounding it. Now in black townships surrounding Pietermaritzburg you've got one police station that's in place, you've got 112 policemen, or it had when I left there three years ago, 112 policemen and they had to cater for more than half a million people. But if you look in the centre of Pietermaritzburg, the so-called white areas I would say you have a much bigger police force and a much smaller population and of course many more vehicles and many more and so on. And the police stations are all within shouting distance of the community. Where as in the Edendale area, say, if you want to go and report a case say from Elandskop you've got to go about twenty or thirty kilometres to get to the police station. This goes for all the high density areas around our cities, our two cities in Natal. This is where we had most of our problems. So we were totally inadequately policed. That is the first thing that I want to do before we start speaking about who is responsible.

     My own opinion who is responsible for the violence, it is quite a long story, if I can carry on a little bit longer. There is a definite power struggle between two sides and to actually put it into compartments let's say that Inkatha on the one side and UDF on the other side are the two leaders, misnomer that they are. And maybe I must do a little bit of history again. And if I say that they are clever I actually mean this, they have done quite a bit of research but you mustn't ask me who they are, because they just put it rather the radical left as opposed to the UDF or the MDM or the ANC or the people that want to make South Africa ungovernable. Let us just say the radical left. A study was made about five years ago and what actually developed from an urban development programme, and I checked this story, what had happened was that Inkatha was always, not always there but from 1973 surely, it was in existence, it was very strong in this area, the rural areas and up here and it is still very strong and today it is still very strong, Inkatha as a movement, as a cultural movement and now political movement, but more so as a cultural movement is very, very strong. Inkatha as a traditional movement, a cultural movement, it existed in Pietermaritzburg, it existed in Durban, it existed in the high density areas where the black man had westernised and accepted all western cultures but it wasn't very strong, but it was there. They were there long before UDF started. When UDF started out, there were those who saw this as a threat, a danger to their future, tried to react. There were those who reacted and it did start then as two groups fighting each other. But not openly fighting each other. To a certain extent in the beginning they were selected assassinations. And again I say the radical left was much more sophisticated, if I may call it that, they were much more clever. By means of selected assassination they actually eliminated the top structure of Inkatha in the areas where it was biggest and where they knew that Inkatha wouldn't be able to drum up more support or enough support. In this area, we are now speaking of the King's country, from here northwards, Nongoma, the king lives here and it is a true blue the traditional Zulu living. Even if you assassinate or eliminate one of the top leaders there will always be another one tomorrow morning that's equally strong, or just as equally strong, to the same extent. If you take a man out in the Pietermaritzburg area, to replace him, already there wasn't much support for Inkatha. Now the top man is taken out. To get somebody to substitute him is just about impossible. And I will come back to the reasons for that just now, why that was so bad.

     But this urban development project or town planning, it came from a town planning study that was undertaken. The study had worked out that if you have certain norms within certain parameters around a certain town or city and you move in close proximity to another area of the same town, all these norms and cultures would sort of roll over onto the new area. And what they did is they took that idea and they speeded it up. They took the worst possible areas, the most badly supported areas of Inkatha, and they took them, if I may use the word, conquered them and then rolled this over to the next area and again by means of selected assassination, intimidation and by good politics, took over those areas. And within a very short while, it started off in 1985 but fizzled out again, but about 1987, towards the end of 1987, September, there was a sudden onslaught and the radical left succeeded in conquering just about the whole of the outlying areas and suddenly it started to come to life, this onslaught, if I may put it that way. And they actually succeeded in conquering the whole outlying area of Pietermaritzburg except the one area where it was completely rural, that's Elandskop which is about 35 kilometres west of Pietermaritzburg which is still today a very staunch Inkatha area. But the rest, Edendale the whole Edendale valley, Imbali, and down Mpumalanga way, they have conquered that whole area. Then they rolled it over into Hammarsdale and down to Mooi River and down into the greater Durban area. And of course then it erupted into Umlazi and down into the south, Umgababa and those places.

     Now having said that, and this now caused - first of all Inkatha was there, and I won't say they were in charge, but they were there. And suddenly Inkatha was not there. It was very, very, well conquered, I think that is the only word I can use there. So then Inkatha started hitting back. Tried to re-conquer and tried to stop this roll over and were trying to recruit people in the area, trying to prop up the few leaders they had left in the area and trying to give them support, trying to recruit more members. And unfortunately, of course, they also used intimidation and they used other methods. But they did re-establish certain areas. And today it is common knowledge in Pietermaritzburg, you can look and say that area there that's UDF, that area there that's Inkatha, that area there is a bit of both. And of course which I didn't mention just now, that of course was never Inkatha or UDF it was always AZAPO, or there was a post of AZAPO. So that is how the thing started.

     There was, and I am not laying the blame on both sides, but there have been killings. And in the beginning in 1987 around those times there were large number of people massing, especially at night, picking up sticks and you name it, whatever, and firearms, and going out en masse and attacking other people, burning down their houses, and killing people. I was in Maritzburg at the time and I do know that we arrested a large number of Inkatha followers, we arrested a large number of UDF followers, the radical left rather. And the interesting part was that in the beginning somebody had spread a rumour among the Inkatha followers that the police would not arrest them, that they were sacrosanct, they had the blessing of the authorities. Wherever we went and there was some skirmish, all the other guys ran away, the radical left, but Inkatha just stood there, put down their weapons and waited for us and wanted to talk to us. And then we arrested them. Which caused a lot nausea. This is actually what happened in the field. And then, even now, three years later, we don't have the big groupings any more. These are now individual assassinations, individual murders, or in small groups. If you come on a couple of people and you say what organisation do you belong to, or if you have been attacked, you ask, which organisation do you belong to? Everybody now says they don't belong to any organisation. They're neutral. Everybody is now neutral except the leader elements on both sides, they are the only ones that can't claim to be neutral. But you might find that he says I'm Inkatha but I'm neutral.

     So we will get onto the scenario about where we stand now as far as the war is concerned. I just wanted to give you the historical background. Now why Pietermaritzburg not any other place? I did already say to you that Inkatha was very weak, it existed in the Pietermaritzburg area but it paid its dues, it had its members, it had so many members but I would say if you understand the Broederbond, it had a very strong Broederbond in Pietermaritzburg. You would have a few Broederbonds in the Free State too but not as strong as you would have in Pietermaritzburg. In Pietermaritzburg, you know, the British missionaries got there in about 1840, they Christianised the one tribe that was living around Pietermaritzburg and they established themselves there. These are the Apahola tribe. They Christianised them and they westernised them and they actually in 1879 used these Apahola in the war against the Zulu, the British forces used them. So these people were never really true blue traditional Zulus. They were actually ostracised by the Zulus. Now these people still live in this Pietermaritzburg area in Salzburg(?) and this is where you got your ANC leaders from, and the first J.L. Dube he was born in Salzburg. These people were given property, they actually owned property in the Salzburg area. John Dube ANC president of 1912, J T Gumede the ANC president of 1936, Archie Gumede, the son of that president, he also came from there. Harry Gwala comes from there. He is a leading ANC element, you know the name? He's a leading ANC member. The first Secretary General of the Communist Party of South Africa, he comes from there. So all the years that was known as a radical grouping and not a traditional grouping.

POM     Would they all have been members of the tribe you mentioned?

JB     Amakawas. Most of them were from the Amakawa tribe. And of course, as the one kind of bird of a feather I'm sure they actually, some other people married into them and you had various other surnames coming in. But they were mostly from the Amakawa tribes. And also we have the fact that it's close to Lesotho so a lot of Basuto migrant labourers came here and settled there. And also the from the Transkei and then the Indians from Durban. So you have a real mishmash of a community there. And every time you look at this you'll see that true Zulu is not there, except the one at Elandskop, that is the influence of the Zulus, from Zululand all around and coming back towards Pietermaritzburg to the outskirts. But they also stopped. The area in the middle is completely westernised and they are a different type of people. That is why your Zulu or your Inkatha following was not strong there. And that is why it was decided when to, alright there is another point there, if you look at the history of South Africa or the future of South Africa, it was always said that he who has most people on his side can speak of majority rule. Now before this country of mine fell to pieces in the last few months, by this I mean, Ciskei and Transkei and those places don't want to be independent any more, but if you accept they are still independent, the four, I mean in the Transkei you had four, altogether the Transkei, Ciskei you had four and half million people. In Bophuthatswana I think you've got about two and half, three million people, that is seven and a half million people, you have, in Venda, quite a few million there, so say there are ten million people out of the total population of thirty million of South Africa, that leaves you with twenty million people. Now out of the twenty million there are six million whites. I'm now speaking six million whites. Indians will automatically fall in with the whites and so will the coloureds. So that makes it about eight million. Now the Zulus have indicated that they are quite willing to share with the white South Africans, with the KwaNdebele Indaba and so on. They were quite happy with this equality in KwaZulu especially. Now we are speaking of between six and seven million Zulus. If those Zulus do throw their lot in with the whites we are now speaking of about fourteen million people out of twenty million people strictly speaking. Then again that is the way I feel. Whatever I say is the way I feel.

     In 1979 after everybody went to, well not everybody, but the ANC went to Vietnam to look at the people's war concept and so on, before they did this they spoke to Dr. Buthelezi and they asked him to take the place of the internal wing of the ANC which at that stage it appears because today, because he is anti-violence and he is also very anti-communist party influence. These are his two major obstacles. And he refused to use the Zulu nation to do the internal work of the ANC. When he refused of course the ANC then went to Vietnam, they studied their people's rule concept and in 1983, 1984 they started, not publicising it, but advocating this thing and starting sending people in and training their people on the people's war concept. Now then it was decided that there is only one way to negate the influence of the Zulu, you must break the power of Buthelezi because he is the person who controls the Zulus, controls the destiny of South Africa. And of course to break Buthelezi, apart from assassinating him, which is, I would say, very difficult, because he is among his own people, he's well guarded, his aides are very good, his security guards are very good, so that would be difficult. But you could easily break him by breaking his organisation. If you can destroy Inkatha, then you must be careful not to destroy the Zulu nation because then you destroy a very powerful ally that you will have on your side. Now they are asking the people in the Zulu nation that have been looking at the ANC, so there are people who even think they might get the king to accept the ANC, or if the king doesn't accept it that they might put somebody else there. They are one or two guys sticking out their little necks now already. So to break the Chief Minister or to break the power of the Chief Minister, break him through Inkatha. How do you break Inkatha? You attack it where it is weakest. This is exactly what happened, it was attacked in Pietermaritzburg, and then expanded down to Durban and down the South Coast and up the North Coast. And eventually over here but you make Inkatha a swear word in international politics and international press. It was a very, very quick and a very brief run down of how I see the thing. Are you still with me?

     Now if I may, I'm coming to answer your question about the violence. We had odd incident towards September 1985. It was a factory dispute. The thing was not settled and what the firm did, instead of re-employing the people they employed other people which caused dire poverty and destitution and quite a lot of other things. And of course the situation was then pounced on by certain groups and this led to the first confrontation. They actually used ANC terrorists to come into it. At one stage a couple of them came in and were responsible for the shooting of fourteen, or shooting at fourteen girls out of school. But be that as it may, it then didn't calm down but it simmered for awhile and then it really blew up in 1987. And we were sitting at one stage that we had over a hundred murders a month, which was unheard of in those day. And they were all vicious murders. There were stabbings, there were smashings and in certain cases there were burnings. People were beheaded and, it was gruesome. And especially when we still had the groups, the large groups roaming around, everybody in the group had to stab the body, if some person was murdered, everybody in the group, to show solidarity and of course to violence, stabbed that body. So we found mutilated bodies. You know stabbed a hundred times or so. We still had a state of emergency and at that stage of course it was said that I had been sent down to Pietermaritzburg to sort our the problems. And I had approximately eight-hundred and fifty people in detention under the emergency regulations. We quieted down the murder rate and we quieted down the area by doing this but of course we got international press on our backs and everybody on our backs because we were detaining without trial and possibly on that I must just say that detaining without trail and also detaining of children was two of my biggest problems. And I tried to push them through court as quick as we could. But what are you, you know you had problems. I had children of twelve, thirteen, and fourteen involved actually in some cases giving the fatal shot. And what do you do then? You can't really hand them over to the parents. You'd never see them again. You've got to bring the case to a fruitful conclusion. I once happened, this case was only a short while ago, I think he also is going to walk free, but when he came in he admitted to forty-two murders, or being involved in forty-two incidents where persons were murdered. That he had actually also physically stabbed or taken part in the attack, forty-two. We didn't believe him, we thought, you know, he was one of these little loud mouths. At the time he was seventeen years old. We actually took him and he pointed out twenty-eight places, we could connect him with twenty-eight. Twenty-eight incidents of murder where he was in a group, or different groups from time to time, but he had actually gone and they stabbed and killed twenty-eight people.

POM     Were these group operating in the name of a faction like Inkatha, UDF?

JB     That was UDF. But I'm not knocking UDF. I'm trying very carefully not to knock either the one side or the other side.

POM     What I am trying to get at is that, say this particular person, did you get any sense that he was operating from a political motivation or just from - ?

JB     No way, no way. This is the most interesting point and I'm glad that you bring it up because we found, especially with a radical left, that most of the guys on the ground that we had arrested knew nothing really about the irons and fetters of the political organisation they belonged to. And I'm not boosting Inkatha, but because Inkatha was a traditional organisation, a man grows up with it, or a boy grows up with it, he was taught at his father's knee what Inkatha is, more people knew, even on the UDF side, the aims and objectives of Inkatha but very few people, I mean the one said, "Just come and listen to this", and he was serious, the guy said, we said, "What organisation do you belong to?" He said, "The UDF." And they asked him one or two other questions, and they said, "What does UDF stand for?" They said, "The United Difficult Front." There is a perception of a comrade, they call themselves comrade, I'm a comrade, up the UDF and viva, viva ANC, viva everybody else, viva Mandela, and when you ask him, just give me the aims and objectives, what organisations are affiliated to the UDF, can you tell me where the ANC was formed and what their objectives are, they don't know. So it is in name, but I think it is a misuse of certain youngsters or elements by certain people at the top.

POM     By certain people at the top?

JB     Yes.

POM     So you see the violence as being orchestrated?

JB     Not all of it, some of it. Especially those selected assassinations, yes. But a lot of this, or all of it is unnecessary. A lot of this should never have happened, a lot of the murders should never have happened because a lot is in the heat at the moment, and it is building up of just revolutionary feeling in a certain area. I mean certain areas, they actually told us were no go areas because the comrades have taken over and they didn't want the police or the ambulances or the army or anybody in there. They were going to police the area. They were going to do sanitation, everything. They collect its money. If you don't pay your money of course you are also burnt or of your house out or something. But you never had any sanitation services or anything like this. The bus services broke down because no bus would go in there. There was no rent control and of course your law, your courts of law, was a guy sometimes we found one, alright that was an odd exception, of a book of Mao Tse Tung, that's something else, but most was just an ordinary book, the thicker the better and then you'd come before the court and you had instance justice, a kangaroo court which to most of the community was acceptable.

POM     What would be the ages of the youth involved?

JB     At that stage and even now I would say mostly between about fourteen to about twenty-five, twenty-six. I made a study of the guys I had in detention and most of them fell into the category from sixteen to twenty-two. I eventually refused to detain anybody under the age of sixteen. I didn't bow down to pressure, it's just that I had a conscience to live with this. And I had a bit of assistance from the judiciary so we could take certain cases directly to court and even make them wards of the court or get their parents and look after them.

POM     You say most of these would have had no real political ideology, they were doing it in name of the UDF without understanding what the UDF was about on the one hand; on the other hand you are saying that it was orchestrated from above by members of the UDF. What about the situation with regard to Inkatha?

JB     Well Inkatha must be something on the same level because they are real old diehard traditionalists and I'm sure that their areas have been attacked so they would get support and they would go and retaliate and go and attack the next area.

POM     But would the youth there be manipulated in same way or orchestrated as in the same way as the youth who claim to belong to the UDF?

JB     Yes, I'm sticking my neck out here, but to a certain extent yes. But they knew more about the ideology and the aims and objectives of the party. But we must be very careful because, I see you come from Chicago, is that right?

POM     No Boston.

JB     Sorry I wasn't insulting you.

POM     Patricia is from Washington, DC, the murder capital of the United States.

JB     Well that's a beautiful place. Boston also is a very nice place. But Chicago, well I was thinking of the games in Chicago, we were sitting with a very, also then a unique position there, we have a very high density population around our two cities. Very high. We have got a little bit of the westernised world there but mostly rural. We have got overcrowding. I mean we don't have lovely houses. We have a few of these houses out there but mostly they are shack type houses, and about 18, 20 people per shack. There are hardly any sports fields. There are hardly any jobs. There is a hell of an unemployment situation. There is nothing you can do in your free time except roam around in groups. And I don't want to say the Zulu is very emotional but if you have one good speaker, he doesn't have to be a leader type, I saw now that I actually, with my own people, you put sixty people together and say we want you guys to sing a song for us and do a bit of a dance and sing, as if you, in an unrest situation, the next minute one of the women watching started crying, she was so convinced that this was real. Because immediately two or three guys came to the front and said come, and they started singing and they got everybody whooped up into a frenzy. And this was only make believe. So I would say that you can have an instant mob in our townships within a very few, in a few seconds. If you have the right person with the right words. That is one of our problems. Then of course as I said the unemployment. There is no transport most of time. You have nothing there, there are a hell of a lot of idlers because you have got no job, you have got no chance of a job, you can't get into town, so these people roam around and they can be easily manipulated and used.

POM     Would there be generational differences? Like would most of those who would be supporting the, claiming to be UDF/ANC the, say urban based, vis-à-vis those supporting Inkatha be either rural or first generation rural? Is there any pattern like that?

JB     Yes, it is difficult to really pinpoint that but your support for the radical left is in your urban areas. Again, because your trade unions, because of people you know, artisans and this type of thing, labourers, that sort of thing, people around the urban areas have been there for a generation or two generations. They have westernised, they have not seen a little bit of culture, or they've lost a little bit of their culture, or they haven't had the time to practice their culture. Your influence of the trade unions is very strong in those areas. And your trade unions go hand in hand with your radical politics mostly. And it is easier to influence a group of men in an urban area than to influence them in a rural area. And even today, I mean as I sit here, you can walk from here now to the Mozambique border, it is about 200 kilometres away and you will always be met with smiles and assistance all the way through. Nobody will harm you or hit on your head. But it is a way of life here.

POM     Why is it that organisations like the South African Council of Churches, people like Desmond Tutu, Allan Boesak, I mean people with international reputations as advocates of human rights, why are they so insistent that it is Inkatha who is the leading perpetrator of the violence, that they are doing so either in overt or covert collusion with the state?

JB     Why, I hope one day we will find out. But as far as Boesak and Tutu are concerned

POM     I just used those as examples.

JB     No, no, that's right, there is a - or there has been and there still is a continual shouting regarding the position of Inkatha and that Inkatha was actually the originator of the violence. But I think it is already clearly dispelled, or contradicted. I don't say I have disproved it but the fact that Inkatha was in existence before the UDF, before the trouble started and Inkatha then at that stage never attacked anybody else, and they in fact at present, there are certain areas within my police control area that are totally UDF and they are not under attack. We do not have from the police side attacks on them and Inkatha does not attack them so I can't see how can they justify saying that Inkatha does all the attacking, but there has been attacking from both sides. Now who initiated that attack to me is very clear and I think we, the whole of the country and the rest of the world, are being - they are heading somewhere. That the one who protests the loudest should actually look and see at who caused the actual thing, because we look through a list the Chief Minister gave out yesterday, of all the prominent Inkatha members that have been killed so far. UDF can only mention one and they deny that he was a member of the UDF. They can't mention one prominent UDF member that has been killed. I still say, I'm not saying UDF, I'm saying radical left.

POM     One of the people we talked to was Roy Ainsley who belongs to the DP monitoring group

JB     With respect, Roy Ainsley has got other motives besides just being there.

POM     We didn't find him all that super impressive but he did supply us with affidavits.

JB     With due respect, I said to them I received files of them, taken by himself and we've gone into that, I'm not attacking Roy Ainsley here, what I'm saying is that when you want to take a statement from a Zulu, you must make sure that you understand the Zulu. Because he takes statements from a Zulu and he says, I live there and there and there, my sister was killed by Mr. O'Malley on that day and the police know this and they have done nothing about it. Then we get their affidavit. And I send out a specialist team, you make this affidavit? Yes we did. Did you see Mr. O'Malley killing your sister? No, I never saw it, I heard somebody had said that he had done this but this is all very conveniently left out. And it is not , it's in beautiful terms, it's couched in legal terms, the poor person who signs it, you can see from the signature, doesn't know what the context of that affidavit is. I'm not saying he is taking false statements. I'm saying he is speaking to a person and believing what the person is saying where the person says he killed my parents, and says that. But he doesn't take it from a theoretical point of view, or from a jurisprudence point of view where you have to say; when did you see him, how far away from the man and so on?

     And we have a lot of difficulty with those things. They are actually now, running onto the scene, grabbing all the cottage fences getting all the evidence so when we get on the scene we've got nothing to investigate. Then they let us have it two weeks later or three weeks later, then we've got to go in, you can never prove a case. You can't even bring it to court. We now have this one about Father Ingobo(?) who was charged with ten cases of murder plus there various others and the judge said, first of all not one witness was prepared to speak, they all said we didn't see anything. And these are all people from Roy Ainsley and their company who had gone and made affidavits and we had to charge this man in the Supreme Court and now suddenly not one of the witnesses remembers seeing this happening. But they had made affidavits. In Pietermaritzburg we charged two of them for perjury but it is unfair to charge, not an innocent bystander, but a semi-literate person who was now called in to make a statement, made the statement, and now we tell them we take another affidavit and we put the two statements against each other and they are sent to jail. Which isn't my way of working the thing. Sorry I wasn't attacking Mr. Ainsley.

POM     In your work here in the last week and a half what has been the reaction here among the people you work with, the people you associate with, to the spreading of the violence to areas in the Transvaal?

JB     People I work with, first of all I work with on the one hand Chief Ministers, the ministers and senior staff here.

POM     I mean your staff and your

JB     Not unconcerned. And if I say unconcerned that's the wrong word. But the Transvaal is a hell of a long way and they in no way are threatened here or in danger, it doesn't worry them. They read it but that is as far as it goes. That is the reaction I hear. They read it and they know of it. But that's it. And there's a bit of a clucking here, you know that's bad going on up there and so on. But they are not, I would say, overly concerned. I think the ordinary black man in this area has enough of his own problems that he hasn't got time to worry about what is going on in Belfast or what is going on the Transvaal.

POM     There's no suggestion of them seeing it not as being an attack on members of Inkatha but as being an attack on Zulus?

JB     It is now an attack on Zulus. This comes out very clearly from the discussion that I have had with them. They see it as an attack on Zulus. Not anymore as an attack on Inkatha.

POM     What do they attribute this attack to? Who do they think is carrying out this attack and why?

JB     The Xhosas. Now it has degenerated, or whatever you want to call it. It has now come - it is the Xhosa element on the one side and the Zulu, not Inkatha. Any man seen to be a Zulu is attacked. I think the same goes for any man who is a Xhosa seems to be attacked.

POM     What accounts for what appears to be the ferocity of the attacks, the intensity factor? I mean one can understand the raw struggle for power but there seems to be a certain intensity and ferocity.

JB     Look at the Zulu. The Zulu is a warrior nation. It is a way of life, they're still fighting. Even at very peaceful meetings here, you go up here to the royal palace, where they are all they are, and the King and the Chief Minister and everybody and they're dancing around with their shields and their swords and their sticks and then they act and they look pretty ferocious. And I'm not saying that they get violent but if you give them enough dancing time on a Sunday afternoon, even in peaceful times we have quite a large numbers of assaults and murders, not so much murder as culpable homicides, a person who has been killed, a man hit on the head with an axe. Unfortunately the man dies. It is a way, the Zulu way of life. It is ferocious, it is warrior like, it is warlike and some other thing is that it is a status of the Zulu nation that human life doesn't mean very much. That is a very peculiar thing to this area. Human life means next to nothing. I did study anthropology for three years at university and I will not profess to be an anthropologist but my own opinion of this is that they believe in the forefather spirits. As long as he have a child he doesn't mind dying because he then becomes a mediator between his child and God. As long as he doesn't die childless, this is a big , but if he has a child then they have got no fear of death.

POM     Would you find that most of the people who are arrested, who are involved in the violence would be men with children?

JB     No, that I can't I say. I must say that the most experience that I can speak, there are about a thousand cases or a thousands persons; I didn't interview them but I've seen the interview reports on each, and every one of them, as I said they vary in age and most of them are single, although that isn't to say they haven't got children, most of them are still single. I never went into how many children they had. But there is definitely no fear of death or no fear of courting death.

POM     You think that Chief Buthelezi keeps calling for, saying that a prerequisite to any kind of peace is a meeting between himself and Mandela and addressing a joint rally together, do you think that would really have much of an impact?

JB     Yes, oh yes, I know that the Chief Minister is totally committed to it, he mentions this quite often. The only thing is that Mandela will not come to such a meeting.

POM     Why?

JB     It is very difficult to say why not. I think if left to himself, if he was allowed to do what he wanted to do when he came out of prison, yes, then he would have done it. Because you know that Dr. Buthelezi was his champion all these years and he has always said to the government he will under no circumstances negotiate with the South African government until such time as Dr. Mandela is released. And it was only after the release of Dr. Mandela that Dr. Buthelezi said, that's one of the previous demands that have now been met, he is willing to meet with the government. And it was very obvious to me when Mandela was released from prison, now I have studied the ANC for many, many years, and I have studied the profiles of just about every ANC member that there was, including that of Dr. Mandela, and for a lawyer that has been incarcerated for twenty-seven years, who had all that time to think what is my message to the world, and all this, he took a piece of paper that was given to him and he read it, and it read it very badly, and also he didn't hold onto the microphone, the microphone was held by the trade unionist, to me it was all orchestration, the man was told here is the piece that you had to read and somebody else held a microphone, and if he didn't rise to that, man, he would have been removed, that is my own opinion. But Mandela didn't say that the Chief Minister had mentioned this, he wanted a meeting and they were going together to Pietermaritzburg to stop the violence, to stop the violence there. At the last minute Mandela contacted the Chief Minister and said no way, at the meeting my own people wanted to throttle me for doing that. I cannot do it. And so then he had been side stepping the issue of meeting with Dr. Buthelezi continuously.

PK     If he were to meet with Buthelezi and they were to make some kind of an agreement, do you think, given what you've seen of these forces on the ground, he could control them? He could tell them to stop in a simplified way and they would respond to him?

JB     Well, I think we've got to do it all, we've got to do it in the middle level, at the lower level and at the top. Even if we have the interim groups and a few of the ANC people meeting at that level, if we have the meeting at the top and one meeting at the bottom with lower echelons, then I'm sure it will have, it already has had a marked effect. From the first of May there was in Natal a dramatic drop in the number of unrest incidents here. So I think it will eventually - it is not something that will stop overnight, that we can forget. And I say this for certain; those who believe that this killing is over, I think we've got the Costa Nostra here, we've got, for every murder that has taken place, or for most of the murders that have taken place, my family clan, which might be the Buthelezi clan or say for example the Dhlamini clan, and there you've got another clan, somebody from that clan killed my family, he might be UDF, he might be whatever, or he might be Inkatha and I'm UDF, but my tradition still says I have to take revenge. So all these murders, or most of them, are still going to be revenged. You know we're stuck with that. And this is already happening now. My murders are slightly higher than they were three or four years ago. My ordinary murders, my usual murders, they are slightly higher. Because it is now difficult to differentiate between an unrest murder, if a man comes past a man in the street and he fires a shot and he kills him we put it down as unrest because a firearm was used. A man walks down the street and he stabs another man with a knife, we say there that is ordinary murder. If a group of people come and stab a man, we say it is unrest. But when a man comes down, somebody has killed his sister, and he goes out and kills somebody else's sister in retaliation and he uses an ordinary knife, we might put it down as an ordinary murder. So we don't know. And we will never be able to actually measure exactly how much violence we are going to inherit from what has happened over the past five years.

PK     I have one more question and it has to do with the charges that are made about the KwaZulu police and the co-operation with the community. And I have heard what you have said. Do you find it particularly difficult with this particular force in the areas of unrest to maintain discipline?

JB     Not maintaining discipline but I have a lot of problems with too many people trying to interfere especially at ministerial level and all that. You know we have got little groups and whatever you want to call it. I have people they want to tell my cops on the street, listen you must go and sort out that lot over there because I'm responsible to the Chief Minister and I'm telling you that. He is a bit scared and he goes and does it. But my message has been clear enough, fortunately, that the Chief Minister supported backing us and he has been calling himself on the policemen, that you do your police work as a policeman, besides party politics. You are there to look after the community. But I still have the problem I have policeman, alright I'm up to ten thousand I've got three thousand policemen here, I've got five districts, I've got twenty-four police stations, I've got a large groupings here and so on. If you believe what the people are saying, the KwaZulu police are going around with Inkatha, assisting with killing. They haven't got enough work to do. And my guys are mostly overworked, most of them are working twelve hours a day. I suspended a man yesterday, actually for this morning, that was for another offence, I've suspended men, people, for acts of violence against UDF. I've suspended certain of them for acts of violence against Inkatha. I don't do that on a regular basis but I do that. But I sit with the unique position, if I have a certain area and a murder is committed or let us say, let us forget the murders, let say for argument's sake I get a complaint against the police, and that certain police have acted me. I send a policeman out there, now this is the UDF that was complaining, I sent a senior officer out there which I didn't know, legal reporters gave me a whole of all the story, that your constables are doing this and this and this, or in KwaMashu they are doing that, send a colonel out there, black colonel. I said, "Go to this place and send me a report." He interviewed every constable and sergeant and whatever, got the story, but now the story is going around, even among the policemen, that this colonel is a member of the UDF, because he is investigating their actions with Inkatha. We have the same thing in reverse. If you take a man in the community and you arrest him and he is a UDF supporter or a radical left supporter, everybody comes out and says that the police side with Inkatha. If you go in and pick up one of the big Inkatha people that we did the other day, they will back you up and everybody in the caucus says your policemen are all UDF supporters. So you sit and you dance this way and you dance this way.

POM     But wouldn't a fair number of your policemen belong to Inkatha?

JB     Well first of all I don't allow them to wear any Inkatha colour or anything like that.

POM     But wouldn't it be natural for a fair number to be?

JB     It is funny that a large number do not belong, especially in my officer ranks they do not belong. They are not cutting themselves one way or the other way.

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.