About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

23 Aug 1990: Worrall, Dennis

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     We're talking with Dr. Dennis Worrall on the 23rd of August. Dr. Worrall, casting your mind back to the second of February and Mr. de Klerk's speech, did what he say surprise you, and what do you think motivated him to move so sweepingly and so broadly at the same time?

DW     I think that, yes, the speech did surprise me. It surprised me in the sense that we did expect something but the unbanning of political organisations I think was dramatic. To unban the ANC and the PAC without any qualification as to their position on the armed struggle. That was dramatic. In the same breath to have unbanned the SACP was spectacular. I think the sweep of this and what he in fact did to normalise politics in this country was what was interesting. It wasn't the fact that he in fact would qualify or introduce reservations, it was an unqualified position. So, yes, he did surprise. The speech had, when one considered it, it had certain consequences, the implications of which I don't think we'll understand or appreciate. Do you want me to answer that now?

POM     Yes.

DW     I say the speech had, on analysis the speech had four consequences. One, for the first time, the moral right of black people to participate in government on the same basis as whites was conceded and talked about from the government's point of view. Secondly, given the implications of what he was saying, our politics moved from reform to in a sense reforming the existing system, to transform to a whole new political system. Whether that's possible, whether it's wise, is another matter. The fact is, what everybody realises, not everybody, but certainly what one realised on analysis was that he was not suggesting changing this parliament to accommodate people. Thirdly, with that speech, our politics, or rather, the society went from the apartheid era into the post-apartheid era the effect of which is uncertain but the one thing that we can say about it is that it will be apartheid-free. And the fourth consequence of that speech to my mind, and the one that we're grappling with and my party's grappling with, is the fact that our politics moved from a politics of a constituency base of 5 million to a politics in excess of 35 million. And every political party that had operated within the system as opposed to the struggle has placed over it the big question of relevance. And that's what the DP battles with, the question of relevance. How do we fit in.

POM     Yes, but here was de Klerk, a man who was regarded as a conservative when he was elected State President and commentary was at best desultory about him and he took this enormous leap.

DW     I think a lot of different things. I think the man, if you go back, contrast him with his predecessor in some important respects, just to draw out the differences, de Klerk was never part of the apartheid - you know that issue. PW Botha was part of the generation that actually formulated apartheid, conceptualised it, internalised it, developed the policies, mobilised it. He in fact signed the declarations declaring District Six what it is.

POM     Did he?

DW     PW Botha. When de Klerk came to parliament, which was in 1972, which is two years before I came to parliament and we in fact sat just behind each other for five years, then I got to know him extremely well, when de Klerk came to Parliament, apartheid was already on the racks. It was being adjusted. That's the first point I would make. So he was not part of the apartheid generation.

     Second place, de Klerk, in terms of his development as an Afrikaner nationalist, his consciousness as an Afrikaner was determined when Afrikaner nationalism was in the triumphant phase. PW Botha, his consciousness as an Afrikaner was determined, Afrikaner nationalism, in the struggle phase. De Klerk's role models would have been Anton Rupert and Jan S Marais, who founded the Trust Bank. He would have had role models of people who had succeeded, Afrikaners who had succeeded, in other areas of life, other walks of life, business. He would have been more attuned to, he would have greater confidence and be more attuned to the views of others, as a nationalist (small "n") Afrikaner.

     And then I think that his personality, I think that, well, age. You must remember the difference of 21 years between him and PW Botha. Not 21 years, it was really a couple of generations politically speaking. He, I think, as a politician understands the virtues of patience, which is a crucial virtue in a politician. I think he understands also, or he understood also, he was receptive to much of the questioning which occurred during the eighties, churches, academics, who were questioning apartheid, asking questions about its moral basis, its justification, its defensibility. Receptive to that.

     He has a brother who was something of a pioneer, an elder brother, who is known in Afrikaner circles. And I think what was quite crucial, as far as he was concerned, was the election of September last year. The National Party went into that election with a fairly, if you like, conservative platform relative to the Democratic Party. We were clobbered for calling for the unbanning of organisations and some of the other things like that. And the fact is that we did very well in that election. We came out of that election and increased our representation as a new party. And if one coupled to the result of that election, the election of the three Independents in the 1987 election, the significance of which is best described by the way in Graham Leach's book, his second book, I think the first one was in Afrikaans, I'm not sure of the titles but Graham Leach has written two books. You know, the BBC correspondent.

PK     We have it.

DW     Yes. He's written two books and it's the second one that deals with the 1987 campaign and in particular my Heldeberg campaign, in which had, he describes, I would say, objectively the impact which that campaign had in Afrikaner circles. He coupled this with the 1989 election, de Klerk with the rest of us. He was going to be squeezed out. He had to move in one direction and he chose to move in the way he has.

POM     Do you think he's conceded the issue of majority rule?

DW     Yes, I think he has. I think he has. I was reading, I just read a speech now by a junior minister and the fact is that, yes, I believe he's conceded in principle. I think in fact that he accepts that the National Party, I think he accepts the principle that there are certainly going to be more black faces than there are white. I think he's accepted that, the principle of majority rule. I suppose he would say, 'Well, how do you define the majority?' I think he'd probably argue, perhaps he lacks the knowledge, he doesn't lack the sophistication, but perhaps he lacks the knowledge to explain this in terms of the American distinction between a republic and a democracy. But nevertheless, I think that he's accepted the inevitability as a fact, that public policy, the concept of public interest and therefore public policy, being determined by a majority with due recognition of religious, cultural, and language rights.

POM     I'm sort of surprised.

DW     If I could just say one further thing. You know, Nixon said something a little while ago of Gorbachev. He said he was an incredible man. But he said there's one thing that I'm not sure of. I'm not sure whether he will retain power, whether it's more important to him to retain power than get his reforms through, or whether he will risk losing power to get his reforms through. I, for myself, have decided that de Klerk's prepared to risk power.

POM     So, you see him accepting what in essence would be, say, black majority rule? Or do you think that while he's for majority, he's for a dispensation in which power will be shared in some manner?

DW     Look, he'll quibble. He won't accept your formulation. If you were on television, he would, you know, he would say, 'Just a minute now. What do you mean by black majority rule? That's a racist approach. Why must it be black? I mean, why should it not be black and white?'

POM     Yes. Let's say black and white, where one is the party of ANC, just, say.

DW     He would quibble.

POM     Yes.

DW     [But he would certainly accept the fact that every ... of the ANC is ...]

POM     [Purely.]

DW     Yes, I think so. But he would say that it is important that in the constitutional system there'd be safeguards which one would expect: a Bill of Rights, vote in safeguards for linguistic and cultural and religious groups. I think something that recognises that race as such can't be represented.

POM     Yet he's given this promise that he will go back to the white electorate.

DW     Yes. That he has to. I mean, I think that it might be a mistake. I think that maybe he's underestimated the power of Afrikaner nationalism. I think everybody is underestimating the power of the government, for instance. But the fact is that I think that he has, first of all, I think he'd have to do it. And secondly, there's a long tradition in South African politics, i.e., white politics, of getting approval in referenda of important changes.

POM     How do you see, say, the ANC agreeing to this?

DW     Well, the ANC is not.

POM     It's not?

DW     It is not, I think the ANC may have difficulties, but they could be overcome because if what is being put to white South Africans is acceptable to the ANC, the ANC would accept this as a pro forma thing. I can't see a big argument about that.

POM     Pro forma?

DW     De Klerk would obviously find a way of formulating the question that makes it very difficult for people to vote against it or something like that. It's the kind of assurance any politician, in a changed situation like this, would want to give the people who have the power, who in fact could become very difficult.

POM     You mentioned the potential strength of Afrikaner nationalism. One, does the Conservative Party now speak for a majority of Afrikaners?

DW     Yes, without question. Without question. The Conservative Party is now - in the first place, it is the party of Afrikaner values, of Afrikaner traditions, a spokesman for the Afrikaner because the National Party is no longer. And secondly, I believe that it represents the view of a majority of Afrikaners. I'd say it certainly does. Well, it's hard to say, if it came to a vote, we'd probably be more than 50%. But just expressing a view. As a guide to sentiment, I would say, it's closer to 60%. Especially with the present difficulties which are turning whites off, the violence and so on.

POM     Yes, I'll talk to you about that later. How potent a threat is one, the CP, and two, the right-wing, in terms of its possible militaristic action?

DW     Yes. Yes. I think that the CP, let's distinguish these things, the CP has a parliamentary commitment. It is committed to parliamentary politics. In some instances, it's tenuous in some ways and some individuals. It's a tenuous commitment. But nonetheless the overwhelming commitment is to parliament, parliamentary politics. And for that reason, the Conservative Party would try and force an election. There's not much they can do. They would have liked to have demonstrated in that by-election in Umlazi, which you have heard about. They went flat out for a victory there. And the government just won't risk any by-elections from now on [because they hold by-elections when really archaic men die in office, but they're not going to appoint anybody to create that.] Because they know that there are whole parts of the country where in fact they no longer hold sway. It's a literal fact that the National Party is not a factor in much of the Free State or in the mining areas. But within the CP, having said it's a parliamentary party dealing now, as a threat, there is quite an intense debate for ascendancy between two tendencies. The one is the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, the AWB, which is militant, racist overtones, action-oriented.

POM     We've talked with Eugene Terre Blanche.

DW     Right. They are people who believe, who lean in that direction, I'm talking now about Conservative Party Members of parliament, say the negotiating process is going to break down, who say that a civil war is going to take place. And out of that they will then get their state. On the other side, there are those who are Volkswag people, in other words, Carel Boshoff people, who say what's important is a symbolic Afrikaner volkstaat. And I characterise it differently. I say an Afrikaner Israel which will provide Afrikaners in the Diaspora of South Africa with a sense of psychological security which they would not otherwise have. Because I understand that point of view completely. I support it totally. I believe they've got to put their ideal on the table and it becomes part of the negotiating process. That view within the CP, he is saying, 'Look, we're strong enough, we can, we should get into the negotiation process.' And the CP has got these two tendencies. As distinct from the CP, there are the right-wing elements and a whole slew of them. Is that too drafty for you?

PK     No, it feels good. Thank you.

DW     There are a whole slew of right-wing sort of militarist organisations. They have more nuisance value than anything else. I mean, it's a nasty nuisance value. They have access to explosives. They have access to intelligence. There will be some police who are sympathetic to them. And they have an enormous potential to sort of disrupt, inflame feelings, and generally injure race relations. They in fact harm the prospects of peaceful answers. But they don't have the power to bring about any major change. I don't believe the military is a problem, the army, the defences. I think there may be some individual policemen who could go out and join this other crowd. But I believe that the police and the army are intact and I just wish that there would be less sort of criticism of them by people like Tutu and the ANC and the others. Quite frankly, I'm sure that they are blameworthy in some respects but I think that it's a very serious problem. If we lose the army and the police, well, then I'm afraid we've got a major problem.

POM     Now that the obstacles to negotiations are almost out of the way, how do you think the process itself will unfold? You have one scenario pointing to a Constituent Assembly, one to a broad negotiating table with every political constituency represented, the third some form of - I don't know what it's called, interim or transition government, the present government with additions from the ANC and the other organisations brought in and some form of assembly of eminent people representing every political point of view drawing up a constitutional principles. Which of these are likely, which are not? Or are any of them likely?

DW     Yes. Well, I think that we've got a situation - I think the events of the last 12 days have profoundly affected this issue. But the starting point would be the Harare Declaration. The ANC may be at sixes and sevens organisationally and they may have awful problems with leadership integration, just enormous difficulties. But the one thing that they do have is a negotiation road map. And that's the Harare Declaration. And I urge everybody to study that because that's what they have clung to so far, remove the pre-conditions, pre-conditions removed, cease-fire, constitutional principles, interim government, Constituent Assembly elected, constitution written and implemented, end of armed struggle.

     Now, the processes have been telescoped to a certain extent, which is a measure of satisfaction on the part of the ANC with the process of negotiation. Because all the pre-conditions are supposed to be met before there's a cease-fire. Well, that doesn't happen, not all the pre-conditions I mentioned have been a suspension of the armed struggle. They are not into the constitutional principles yet, that phase. The ANC is publicly saying Constituent Assembly. It is downplaying the interim government aspect.

     Mandela, on television the other night, said there's an alliance between the National Party and the ANC. And a certain amount of joint decision-making is already beginning to take place. The public position of the ANC is still a Constituent Assembly, elected. Privately, what the ANC has been saying is that they may not insist on that. That one, there's the government's opposition too and, secondly, the fact is that it's going to take time. Because you've got to register voters. That could take 18 months. And so maybe, therefore, we'll go for some kind of negotiating table. But if we go for negotiating table it has to be a two-sided table: the government only, and everybody else around here with us. And if we get that, the Democratic Party joins us, if the five homelands were enjoined to sit at the table, Allan Hendrickse that comes from Labour Party, etc., etc., etc., then, in fact, we'll go for the table.

     Now, I think, and on the basis of that they've tried to ensure that Inkatha sits with the government. For quite frankly, I think all of that has changed. I think Inkatha have emerged from the wings. I think Inkatha is a factor. I don't believe a joint ANC/NP government is possible. I don't think it's a feasible idea. Inkatha has to be part of it. I think that's inevitable and the result of what has happened. And I think the ANC now will be insisting on an elected Constituent Assembly. I believe the Black Consciousness Movement will go for it, but they want a proportional representation. The PAC with various organisations will go for it in due course but they want it on an elected basis on proportional representation.

POM     Why do you point to Inkatha emerging as a ...?

DW     Because I think that that what has happened. Just as Afrikaner nationalism is crucial and has to be recognised and Afrikaner nationalism is an ethnic expression, so I believe that black politics this week became in effect ethnic. I think one will see increasing tensions now. I think that Inkatha has played down the ethnic aspects. Buthelezi's presented himself as a national as opposed to a Zulu leader. But the ANC, with its propaganda, there was a brochure which they put out in Johannesburg on the 14th, the weekend a week ago, which had anti-Zulu overtones and that Buthelezi had played the Zulu card. And I believe Inkatha's organisation is completely underestimated. He can arouse Zulu feelings, he has done so, it is the biggest group, and I think what a lot of people are not aware of is that there are more Zulus in the Transvaal than there are Xhosas. And there are. So first of all, you've aroused that sentiment in the Transvaal and a lot of those hostel workers have gone back to Natal, their homes have been destroyed and so on. They're going to heighten Zulu sentiment down there, strengthen Inkatha. So I see this as a whole new ball game. I think it's quite crucial.

     What has happened here, if I may just say, to put it in a universal context, what has happened here is that where in the decolonisation process in the pre-independence period in most countries of Africa and Asia, you had a united political front opposing the colonial power, the minute that the stage was set for independence, that front splintered into its various constituencies. And the equivalent in the South African situation to independence is the liberalisation period. Liberation predates the new constitutionalists. I think people now know that this is just around the corner. And they're looking for constituents. And I've been quite amazed at this. There's an excellent article on this, by the way, which I have found quite helpful [by a chap called by Arent Laypot(?). I think I might even be able to... I can ask my secretary if... But Arent Laypot,] and it deals with this question.

POM     We met yesterday with both Buthelezi and the King and I think we were taken aback by the King, who spoke very intensely about the attacks taking place as being an attack against the Zulu people by the Xhosa. I mean, it was really, the way he expressed it, very simple. Simply put. Would that surprise you? That he would see it like that?

DW     No. I think it's started, you see. And you must remember that the ANC is perceived as a Xhosa organisation. I mean, it's got one Zulu in its hierarchy. That's Zuma. I don't know. I'm probably telling you things you know, but the fact is, because you've obviously been around, and what the ANC - the ANC is being extremely stupid in its approach towards Inkatha. Very, very silly. Because the strategy is the wrong one. The strategy is one that simply arouses feelings and the attacks which they've made on KwaZulu, on Buthelezi. They've said some very, very sweeping things. Destroy KwaZulu, destroy the KwaZulu government, destroy Buthelezi, get the KwaZulu police out. And I honestly don't know the rights and wrongs of the Natal situation or my constituency there. And I frankly just don't express judgments on them because I get views from different people. I mean, I've got a member of my party who ...

POM     I'll guess who he is: Roy Ainsley.

DW     Well, Roy Ainsley is one guy there, yes. But, now, you see, I was actually thinking of Pierre Cronje(?) but you spoke to Roy Ainsley. But, you see now, this is a piece that appeared in Business Day earlier this week. Now, this was by Graham McIntosh. Now Graham McIntosh is a minister of religion. He's now a farmer. But he was a minister of religion who was a PFP Member of Parliament and he was the bane of the Nationalists when he was here. And it's called "Moving Beyond Intolerance", if I could just read you, to give you a flavour of this, but he says that he's pondered why black politics are so violent and so on and so on and so on. And then he says here, "Part of the problem seemed that the ANC had a deliberate policy of intimidating and terrorising conformity to its rule or an acceptance of its hegemony. Nowhere is it better demonstrated than in the southern Natal areas around Port Shepstone and the smaller Natal towns. The Port Shepstone area has seen burnings and killings and witchcraft accusations leading to horrible deaths inflicted by people supporting the ANC or its Hydra-headed form of recurring front organisation. It is always 'community-based', working for 'peace', 'democratic'. And any opposition is from vigilantes. The pattern that has emerged is quite transparent. Find a grievance with a serious ... organize a march, often with the help from activists from outside of the area, hope that an incident with the SAP will develop, stone vehicles, burn houses, or necklace somebody, and then calm the people into submission, then create a liberated zone. Killers threaten the PAC, AZAPO, or Inkatha rivals if they dare to show up in your liberated zone." Another part of the problem is Inkatha has become now...' You see, he criticises Inkatha, too. "Inkatha, unlike the other homeland political parties had powerful ... to them, strong leadership, and a well-educated cabinet. Why did it not have a unanimous support base in the Zulu ethnic group?" He criticises him, too, "Inkatha has responded with savage violence although the demonic 'necklace' has remained the ANC trademark." [Now, the point is that... You see, you get this, now. I'm not just... I can't express a judgement of this. Pierre ???, a Member of Parliament for Greyton, took over from this chap. That's about the same age, there's no...has a different view. But the fact is that their approach has had... I mean, I have other evidences of that. This book by Rian Malan. Have you read it?]

POM     Yes.

DW     Well, you know, Rian Malan's account of the UDF's, ANC's and other's campaign of terror against the Black Consciousness People, you remember that? Now, I mean, he's an honourable, you know, he's a General. I mean, these are intellectuals. It was a traumatic experience for Rian Malan. And I've since talked to some of these people and I must absolutely confirm it. Now, you see, here the ANC comes back, all the homelands just fall into line. No problems. But the one guy who's outstanding is Buthelezi. And, you know, I have enormous reservations about this. I have enormous reservations. I've heard Mandela actually say, when he visited people who were injured in hospital after the Sebokeng phase, and say, 'You know, this is ANC territory. I don't know what the Inkatha people are doing in here.' This sort of thing, you see? Making remarks of this kind. And there's a quite enormous intolerance. Now, this incident is one of my concerns. One, I'm relaxed about the idea of an elected Constituent Assembly on proportional representation lines. I mean, I must tell you quite honestly that an election for a Constituent Assembly, which is what the ANC wants, I think, before you even get to the Constitution, could lead to so much intimidation and disruption and unhappiness in this society.

POM     Without the violence somehow being brought under control, or even if it is brought under control and operates at what in Northern Ireland they say, that's an acceptable level., i.e., mostly black people are killing black people. Do you think there can be any meaningful negotiations?

DW     Well, I think the negotiations, I suspect - look, I must tell you that the events of the last two weeks have really shaken me because I was very confident with the process and I was happy that Mandela and de Klerk, the chemistry is good. Both men, the one is in complete command of his situation, even with slight difficulties, de Klerk. I'm less sure of Mandela. I think, when I first met him, which was nine days after he came out of jail, my impression was, you know, impressed as one was with him, I nonetheless felt that he'd be a senior statesman. That he wouldn't be a leader. I think the international trip that he took and his visit in particular to the United States convinced him that, first of all, I don't think the man had any idea of just his heroic dimensions. It did not swell his head or give him illusions of grandeur. I think it just convinced him that he had an enormously important role to play. And I think secondly that he came back with a sense of his own mortality. Because I noticed or detected a sort of change in pace and a determination to get on with things. And he and de Klerk, I mean, I know this from talking to government people, but they hit it off and there's a sense of now he's going to call the shots. But I think that's all been overtaken by these events. And I think that his stature is diminishing fast. Once, from the 78% or whatever it is, I think it's diminishing fast.

POM     You think he's following that advice in not meeting with Buthelezi?

DW     I think that's incredibly stupid. It's incredibly stupid. You can't wish that away, you see. You can't side - Buthelezi is an impossible man. I mean, I wish it were, let's say, Dhlomo. Dhlomo had the stature of Buthelezi. Buthelezi's a difficult person.

POM     We saw that yesterday.

DW     Yes. Did you?

POM     He was kind of arrogant and abrupt.

DW     Yes. Well, this is the difficulty. I mean, I'm sitting here trying to arrange a .... He's a strange man of real contrasts. I mean, on the one hand he's terribly arrogant, that's true. But on the other hand, there's a kind of modesty. I mean, I just spoke to him and congratulated him on that interview which he did on television, because I thought he had got a raw deal from the journalists. I mean, they were throwing propaganda at him. So, I just rang and I said, 'You know, I thought that you handled it well and so on and it's a pity you didn't get a chance of giving your vision of South Africa rather than respond to propaganda.'

POM     He didn't really get time, either.

DW     And I got a letter back from him thanking me, this kind of thing. I've seen him act at lunch where, which we had with him in Ulundi, a few of us, but he invited a Christian couple. I think they were missionaries or something in the area, nearly going back to America. And the switch from - he stood up and he, it was half an official lunch, and he spoke to us and the change of manner was perfectly extraordinary. You know, "My brothers in Christ" to this couple, you know, and "brother and sister in Christ". And it was a total switch. It just interested me. And to watch him with old people, old whites, old ladies. [I mean, visiting the... He's ??? in Natal constituency. All ??? ???, he's been beside these people.] It's a kind of extraordinarily humble, you know. But then he has no sense of media relations. He probably issued a statement after he spoke with us.

PK     There were eighteen of his statements.

DW     That's right. Yes, I think he's handled it wrongly and I think it's blown up in their face.

POM     So, as you look at, say, Mandela and his community. What obstacles or stumbling blocks do you see him facing as he tries to guide his community?

DW     Mandela?

POM     Yes.

DW     I think Mandela's problems are - look, I must confess, and not having given it a hell of a lot of thought, I think there is the lack of coherence, there's a lack of organisation. I think psychologically they're ill-prepared. De Klerk caught them off-guard completely. They'd been living abroad, reacting as international actors, a kind of alternative government. They've got to come back to South Africa and settle down and relate themselves to domestic politics. It needs a lot of adjusting. You know, you don't just fall into a political role. They're terribly used to using the media and press statements, which is their major kind of ... Mobilising now is something else. I think, too, that they just have too much money. I spent a morning at their office a week ago speaking to their economics section. In some respects I found it encouraging. In other respects, I found it very depressing. And I'm not sure what it is. I think that there's an integration of leadership, integration process they've created. They've got the UDF here, they've got this curious relationship to the South African Communist Party. The Communists have got their own agenda.

POM     By the way, what is a South African communist? How does one distinguish between a member of the SACP with that of the ANC? What does one believe that the other doesn't believe?

DW     Well, I think in fact that a man like Slovo who takes a view of life and approach of life that's quite deeply embedded in Marxist-Lenin ...

POM     Yes, it's in such disrepute.

DW     It's what?

POM     That's in such disrepute, that it's a ...

DW     I don't know that it's, I mean, it doesn't seem to, you see, I'm hoping that with the establishment of the Communist Party as a legal party, that there will be some weaning, you see. And that the communist influence within the ANC will be reduced. But I'm not sure that that's going to happen, because so many members of the ANC, I don't know what it is, some say it's 24 or 25, but whatever it is, it's a lot of influence. Now that's partly a good thing. Because, you see, the one thing about the association between the SACP and the ANC is that when, that came about because when the SACP was banned, it went underground and it infiltrated the ANC before the ANC was banned. There was a ten year gap, more or less. Now what actually happened as a consequence of that was that the ANC developed a genuinely non-racial approach because a lot of the communists were Indians and whites. And, you know, if you compare it with the Zimbabwe movements, for instance, their commitment is genuine. I mean, Buthelezi doesn't have whites in that kind of capacity, you see. I hope he gets some! I think that white politicians are going to start using their options and start moving to the ANC. I mean, a political party like ours, I think we've got a row, I mean, I think the some of our chaps should go and join the ANC, join the Inkatha, and play that role now. They've got something that we might do. It's heresy around here.

POM     Yes, we've met Wynand Malan.

PK     There's enough of that speculation.

POM     And we were asking about the role of the party, had asked him that question, what was the role of the party, now that your policies appear to be pre-empted by the Nats? And he said, 'Well, to tell you the truth, I'm resigning tonight! It'll be in the papers tomorrow.'

DW     Yes. No, Malan, didn't, I'm afraid, didn't endear himself to us. He's a very good friend of mine, [and so not...very upset about it.] But, that's just by the way. I mean, the fact is that the SACP, its influence is very strong. We sense that when the ANC people came back here, unless I say to you sort of, you know, we're in confidence, but the impression we got was that the communists seized the high ground of the organisation. I mean, I met with, I had met him once before, Terror Lekota, suddenly he was in Cape Town. I phoned him and said, 'Come and have dinner.' And he brought along a white person with him. And I've no doubt that he was a communist. There was no way that I could give courtesy to Lekota, I think. [There is no way on a ??? sort of basis, you see. And we have since sensed -- very shortly after that, we... Well, this is a problem. At a meeting after the ??? meeting] In the first formal meeting between the ANC, they saw a delegation from my party. They went out and I looked around at this group and there were white faces. So I said to Nzo, Mandela had gone off to Johannesburg, and I said to him, 'You know, we can help you in two ways.' Because they invited us to join them, you see, on their side of the table. But I said, 'Look, we can help you in two ways. One, we know something about elections.' And that was the big problem that SWAPO had. Do you know that? They didn't understand about elections. They needed someone to assist them. The UDF people know that, they realised that we could help them. 'And the other thing is organisation. We've got some people in our party who've really got to understand something about party organisation.' Political parties are strange animals. You don't get management consultants in to tell you how to organise a political party. And so we suggested that perhaps out of this crowd, you see. And I said to him I'd like this dimension, that if they'd like a little bit of advice, we've got a couple of chaps who could help them. And Alfred Nzo said, 'Dr. Worrall, thank you for that suggestion. I would like you to convey it to Joe Slovo.' That's before Joe started his own party!

POM     Ah, wonderful.

PK     That's great.

DW     My immediate reaction was, Oh, hell. There's a marvellous story, incidentally which is terrible about Buthelezi, by the way. And it comes from the U.S. I think it comes from Chester Crocker. The story was told that these three South Africans who arrived at the pearly gates and St. Peter's sitting there and looks up and says, 'Your name, my son?' And the fellow says, I'm PW Botha, President of the Republic of South Africa. And he taps him and he says, 'My son, my son, what makes you think you can pass through the gates?' And PW Botha explains, he started with the process of reform, just as the devil was about to grab everything, and he says, 'And I've been faithful all my life to Elize.' And St. Peter says, 'My son, we give people the benefit of the doubt here. You may pass.' And he looks up at this other chap and says, 'My son, your name?' Pik, RF Botha, Foreign Minister, Republic of South Africa. And St. Peter says, 'My son, my son, a record like womanising, drunk and disorderly, what makes you think you can pass through the gate?' 'Well, you see, during the last years of the Reagan administration, I helped ...' 'Well, my son, you may pass and we'll give you the benefit of the doubt.' And he looks up and he says, 'My son, my son, what have you left?' Gatsha Buthelezi. Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Chief Buthelezi. President of Inkatha. He said, 'My son, what makes you think you can pass through the gate? You have quarrelled with Alan Paton and quite a few other people so what makes you think you can pass the gate?' 'First of all, I'm not your son! Second, don't talk to me like that! Hey, you're sitting in my chair!'

PK     Oh, that's good, now you'll have to take it as all personal. I said now he doesn't have to take Buthelezi's attitude yesterday personally. It's part of the personality.

POM     One last question. Thank you for all the time you've given us. The economy. What role will structures of the economy play in the negotiations?

DW     Well, put it this way. I think the economy is, you know, I've written about arguing about the form of the constitution and this and all. I think the economy is the most important issue, frankly. Now how it will figure in the debate or rather how it will figure in the process of negotiation remains to be seen. One of the things that impresses me is the level of the economic debate that's been going on here. I mean, you've been here two months now and if you would ask me, the articles that Business Day is running. But if you consider the reaction, if you consider Mandela's first mentioning nationalisation when he came out. And the businessmen's reaction then, I mean, it was one of outrage. I mean, this is just crazy. I mean, how can a man get something like this? To the point where they've realised that it is a problem and we've got to take it seriously. There are disparities of wealth, income, public expenditure, there's the moral side of the problem. And there's a political problem in that every black politician is going to be under enormous pressure to deliver. And so we've got to come up with answers. We don't want nationalisation but what are the answers? And this is something that fascinates me very much. And I think the debate in that respect has moved along quite remarkably. I think it is beginning to impact within the ANC. I mentioned a meeting which I had with the economic department of the ANC and you know, I was quite impressed with them. They are concerned about things like business confidence, getting foreign investment. But if you're concerned about those things, you can't be in favour of nationalisation.

POM     But do you see ...

DW     And I think, therefore, that the debate may have reached the stage where when it comes to the constitution and negotiation, are we talking about expropriation, are we talking about the right to private property, are we talking about the sanctity of contracts, are we talking about building into the economy some kind of stipulated mix between the private sector and things of that kind? It may be that those could be the subject of negotiation. So that what I'm saying is that I would hope the economic debate has advanced to the point where that's not a major issue. And there are very crucial issues. But I see somebody's suggested yesterday at a conference in Cape Town, somebody suggested that there be a limit on taxing, taxation, what the state can tax. This is obviously is a bit of white interest talking. But it's a most important issue.

POM     Do you think there'll be any attempt on the part of the government to have some form of economic protections regarding the structure of the economy written into the constitution itself?

DW     Well, I don't know how you can, frankly. Unless it's on those kind of issues. But, yes, I think that it won't be. It'll be a lot of people who will want something like that.

POM     And this time next year?

DW     Because, if I may just say this to you, you will get a flight of whites out of South Africa. Rather, a flight of whites out of South Africa will be caused less by the political arrangements and the constitution than the economics. And that means skilled people. So I think this issue is very important. I certainly take that aspect of the debate much more seriously. And again, I believe that, insofar as the Democratic Institute is concerned about this, the interaction between politics and economics and the necessity for, or rather, economic conditions, pre-conditions, necessary conditions for democracy, democratic government or pluralism is something that I think needs to be focused on. It's just one of the little things that I'd like to focus on.

PK     Little things? The smaller issues you address.

POM     At this time next year, how will the process have advanced itself? Where do you think things will be?

DW     I really, I really am not sure.

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.