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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

25 Aug 1990: Shubane, Khehla

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POM     If I could take you back to February 2nd and to Mr de Klerk's speech on that occasion, were you surprised by what he did? And what do you think motivated him to move so broadly and so sweepingly at the same time?

KS     I was expecting some dramatic announcement on that day but I certainly didn't expect him to unban, banned organisations in particular the ANC, the PAC and the South African Communist party. That did surprise me yes. But we had got wind of the fact that February announcements were going to be made and I think our attention was focused on him just ending the state of emergency but he went beyond that by unbanning banned organisations. I think what motivated him was that South Africa was entering, this started in the mid-eighties, some kind of an impasse, a no-win kind of situation and I think on the economic front the country was beginning to suffer and it was quite clear to pull the country out of that moral impasse the government needed to talk with credible black organisations and the ANC in this regard I think was fairly particular, was very important. But in my view they reconciled themselves to that in about 1986.

POM     They committed themselves?

KS     They committed themselves to talking to the ANC.

POM     Is that 1986?

KS     That's what I think.

POM     Why do you say in 1986?

KS     The reason for that is I think in 1986 the government made a fairly important political commitment and that was that they admitted for the first time that South Africa had to be one nation and everybody in South Africa had to have a common citizenship, taking into account the Nationalist Party and all it stood for, that was a major shift in politics. And once that step had been taken there was absolutely no reason for them not to talk to the ANC.

POM     Do you think De Klerk has a plan in mind that he has worked out where he wants to get to, the number of stages to get there? Or do you think he is playing this by ear to a considerable extent?

KS     I definitely have the vision he knows exactly where he wants to go to. But that vision comes from the changes, to respond to various things that are happening on the ground in the country and elsewhere and there is a great deal of improvisation to meet the events that are occurring.

POM     At this point in time what would be your understanding of where he wants to go?

KS     I do think that he does want to usher in some kind of a democratic, democratic in the sense of every person in South Africa having some kind of a vote. But I think the one thing that they haven't themselves answered in their own heads is how they prevent what they call black domination, even if that black domination manifests itself in terms of parliament being dominated by black people. That is the one thing. The other is how the economy is maintained. One, the productive capacity it is currently off, and secondly a free market economy. And the other, I think, important thing for them would be to have a say in the running of the country.

POM     Do you think he has conceded on the issue of majority rule?

KS     I think so and I must explain that once in the context of South Africa you accept that there will be one-person one-vote that unavoidably leads you into accepting majority rule.

POM     One scenario that we have come across would have the government accepting majority rule, black majority rule essentially, but the National Party would still occupy some executive role in government. It might be three or four ministerial posts, portfolios given to members of the National Party, so that even though you had majority rule you had a ruling coalition where, lets say for the sake of illustration, an ANC party and the NP forming the government with the ANC party being predominant but the National Party having a role. Would that kind of arrangement surprise you or do you think it would acceptable to people?

KS     I've heard that, I just don't know how in fact you are going institute that type of thing. Because if you are going to be relying on popular vote for people to be in those positions then it is very difficult to design that outside the voting system unless some kind of interim manager is agreed upon, say for ten years or so, in which case the popular vote will not have certain manoeuvring positions. I must therefore argue that in an event of the vote being open to all there is no chance that National Party members could ever win in certain constituencies.

POM     When you talk to your friends and colleagues and discuss these things, is there an insistence that it must be majority rule clear and simple, or are they willing to consider scenarios like I've outlined, where there would be some power sharing between blacks and whites although essentially majority power would lie in the hands of blacks?

KS     It depends on who one talks to. While you're talking to the MDM/ANC type people I think they would see majority rule, a majority rule to them would be a majority party, they would see both the ANC and the Mass Democratic Movement as controlling a fair amount of support in the country. And that support is non-racial in composition. So in that sense it would be majority rule, but not black majority rule. But I think if one talks to PAC/BC people they would see it as black majority rule and that wouldn't have any room for participation of parties other than those that won the election. But the other thing that one comes across within the ANC is I don't think there is a principle objection at leadership level to the first scenario i.e. some kind of cooperation between the ANC and the National Party.

POM     De Klerk has given this promise that he will go back to the white electorate with whatever proposed new dispensation is on offer. Do you think that is a promise he can keep or that he must keep? Or is it simply unacceptable to the black community?

KS     I think it would be unacceptable but I also don't see how he keeps that promise if the projections are true that if he were to go to an election today it is doubtful that he would win. And on the eve of a major transition in the country I don't think he would want to risk showing himself off as having no support within the white community. That is if it is true that if he were to go to an election now he just won't win, I think he would do very well. I think if he were to do that it would take us back to 1983 where the white electorate alone decided the future of country and that I think would go down very badly with people who shall not have been consulted.

POM     Do you think he has to have this process out of the way by 1994?

KS     In terms of the constitution he has to do that. And if he continues beyond that he has to seek some kind of a mandate from the present voters to continue that. Depending on how he perceives those to be he may go for what is talked about, some kind of non-racial referendum to give whatever government is going to be in power beyond that point power to do that.

POM     How do you see this process unfolding? Again a number of scenarios; one is that the route would be one of Constitutional Assembly, second is a broader negotiating table and the third is one is in which the government would make it a non-racial government by bringing in some members of the ANC, PAC, whatever, just drawing them into government while a separate body sat and drew up the principles of a new constitution. What route would you prefer to see and what route do you think will actually happen?

KS     I would prefer a Constituent Assembly. And the reason for that is that any other scenario would have to be predicated upon somebody appointing people to participate in that Constitutional Assembly, whatever you call it. And I just don't know how those appointees, how the support of those appointees would be determined, a person with a million members would have the same voice as a person with three million members.

POM     Well you had Thabo Mbeki last night, I guess at the Five Freedoms Forum, extending an invitation in a sense to all of the black groups to have an equal voice in negotiations. It sounds weird.

KS     Yes, I don't know what he meant by that. Equal voice so far as they see themselves as equal participants but when it comes to drawing up that constitution surely you cannot have a person who represents three thousand people in one part of the country having as much of a say in that assembly as somebody who is representing a much larger constituency. I don't know how you exact it, but in some way I'm sure there is a way of determining these kinds of things. But a Constituent Assembly has to be sensitive to, I think in South Africa, to the disparities of views that exist, as many opinions as possible that are represented in that sitting the better. So the legitimacy, I think, of the product doesn't come out of that. But that's the one thing, what I call a National Assembly and that is an assembly convened by the Nationalist Party and sort of chaired by them so to speak, in the sense of them being the government of the day and having to convene that assembly that would draw up the constitution. Then you fall into the pitfalls of having everybody coming there with an equal say. You may end up with a constitution that is good for everybody but not acceptable perhaps, say, to the majority party. But I just don't know at a constitutional level how you deal with that.

POM     Yes, how you weight the different factions. So which one do you think actually ?

KS     My preference would be a Constituent Assembly.

POM     The government seems to be absolutely opposed to this. One, they would be conceding what they want to negotiate. I guess a Constituent Assembly would be on a one-man one-vote PR system at best. And two that they might find that there is no mandate to be anything.

KS     Well I can see that there are pitfalls in that because South Africa is not a colony, you can't invite somebody else to govern during that period. And as soon as you go into elections to determine who it is going to be, the majority party might just as well be the government of the day. I can see the pitfalls. I think they have a strong argument when they argue that we are the legitimate government, we're internationally recognised and therefore we are not going to give power to anybody else, we are going to oversee this process. I think they do have a point there.

POM     Do you see any mid-path between them? What do you think will happen?

KS     I've been surprised because the Nationalist Party seems fairly cold to suggestions of a joint administration with the ANC. I would have thought that that would be an alternative, where the present government co-opt certain people, say from the ANC and other parties, and that effectively becomes the government during the transition period while the constitution is being negotiated. But as I said I'm surprised that the Nats just don't seem warm to that idea.

POM     What about the right wing? One, looking at the Conservative Party and, two, looking at the extra-parliamentary elements of it, the violent element. Do you think these are just a passing phase or do you think they constitute a very real threat to the whole process?

KS     I think before the process completed they will constitute a real threat. And that will continue even after the process is in place and the new constitution is in place, but I think the threat is of a short term nature. And presently I think precisely because of the policy within which we lead, the power being where I think it is exaggerated, if we were to move into some kind of a non-racial dispensation the power they wield now I think will drop dramatically. In the long term I can't see them sustaining what they are doing.

POM     Do you think these are De Klerk's problems that he must sort out for himself or do you think in some way they also become Mandela's problems, that he must be sensitive to the need of not making demands on De Klerk that will provoke another backlash?

KS     I think demands must be made but I'm talking about demands that are legitimate, one-person one-vote, fair redistribution of resources in this country and so on and so on. Those demands will continue to be made. But a lot of his demands obviously I think shouldn't be.

POM     Like for example.

KS     Like emotive issues [that aren't knowledge policy, to hell with Africans who just think that federation government.] That's a provoking demand. It may well be practical but things will be becoming official in South Africa but I think that has to be approached very sensitively, taking into account all the views that exist.

POM     What do you understand by white fears and what ones do you think might have a basis in reality and which ones do you think are purely imaginary.

KS     My understanding of those sorts of things is that even for whites who have accepted that apartheid is just unfair I think what is left in the back of their minds is that for so long we have done X, Y, and Z things to these people which are totally wrong, what will stop them from tit for tat if they get an opportunity to? It may be imaginary but I think it's real as well, it's based on everybody sees in South Africa the hostilities between black and white in the streets and it's about everywhere. And I think it is quite clear that the privileges that the whites have are going to have to be shared with a very broad and vast number of people and if that were to happen and the standards that have been obtained in the white community cannot be sustained, even if one were not to take what present is held by the white community, and that I think is good enough reason to have fears. I wouldn't look forward to a situation where my standard of living was going to be dropped even for a very good reason.

POM     Sorry, you wouldn't look ...?

KS     If that were to happen to me as an individual I don't think I would be happy with taking a drop in my standard of living, even for a very good reason like democratising, and I think these are things that are happening within the white community. But other things are the violence that happens, for example, in the townships. People just look at today they are protected because they've got their own separate suburb; what happens if those people arrive in their suburbs? What protections do they have?

POM     Do you think that is a valid fear?

KS     They have reason to.

POM     Are there some fears that are imaginary?

KS     I would say that quite a few of these fears are in another sense imaginary because you find a fair number of people, but usually people who are in leadership positions, opinion leaders, within the black community who would be totally and absolutely agreed with whites with regard to standards across the board, standards at universities, standards that have been maintained in industry and elsewhere. And the argument among these people would be to say instead of bringing down the standards that white society has presently, you need to maintain them up there and increase them if possible and the other people must arrive up to these standards. To the extent that white people who have allies in the black community of fairly credible people, some of these fears may be imaginary. They may not just be the only people who fight the rest of the society, the maintenance of these standards. There are a great deal more people who are going to be joining them to argue for them. Some of those things have been, that is whites in particular, where quite a number of blacks students and members themselves have argued quite strongly for the maintenance of standards. And I think that debate is won now.

POM     Among your own white friends and colleagues have they expressed some kind of anxieties to you about the future?

KS     I think the common thing that people have spoken about is the economy. That this transition is going to work if the economy is maintained in good shape.

POM     Do you think the state of the economy will play a pivotal role in the negotiations themselves, the structures of the economy?

KS     I think so, yes.

POM     Some people have said to us that they believe the government is in a way quite willing to give up political power as long as the white community can retain economic power. Do you think this will be one of the things the government will be trying to do? To have structure to the economy that will effectively keep most economic power in whites hands?

KS     I don't think there's going to be, their line of - I think their attention is going to be focused at maintaining a free enterprise economy and with that unavoidably you are going to have the situation where there is one control of everything, the economy.

POM     Do you see them trying to get a provision regarding free enterprise written in the constitution?

POM     That would be a stumbling point I'm sure too. You're not sure?

KS     Not really, I think the ANC has gone a very long way in moderating some of its economic policies particularly in the aftermath of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

POM     If the ANC were to accept something like that would it pose problems with regard to that part of their constituency that's in COSATU?

KS     Yes, I think so. But that too just depends on how well the system works. If it can be demonstrated that more and more people are finding places within the common economy, I think those people may withhold their criticism, but at some later stage these criticisms would, I think, emerge.

POM     It would be hard at the moment to see COSATU not raising objections if the ANC tomorrow said that in talks with the government we are prepared to write provisions guaranteeing free enterprise into the constitution; there would be an uproar.

KS     No.

POM     Do you think tensions like this exist within the ANC? That there are points of division? Like at the broad based movement that there are points of divisions that can potentially become explosive, that's made up of many constituencies, not just one constituency?

KS     Yes.

POM     What would you point to?

KS     One I think would be socialism versus some kind of a free market economy may not be a valid free market economy, social democracy whatever it is, that is the one force around, under which tension may occur. The racial question is so potentially very ...

POM     The racial question is?

KS     I think it is an unstated expectation among African people in particular, that apartheid has been focusing on them more than any other community, and if apartheid were to go that would have, among other things, to reflect itself in a whole range of African people moving into institutions from which they haven't been able to move into up until now, public institutions and service institutions as well. And I can't see that happening for some time after a non-racial dispensation in South Africa if actually in place, precisely because I don't think within the African community you have the critical skills that would push people in that direction and if you don't have those you're bound then to retain white skills in those positions and that may well be cause for some resentment particularly among people who I think see themselves as having played a critical role in bringing South Africa to where it is. These are young people, many of whom have just not been at school for a long time.

POM     When you look at young people you have this constituency of whole generations that are unemployed, unemployable perhaps, who are used only to a culture of protest and confrontation, how explosive a problem is this? Can anyone bring that group under control?

KS     You'll see, I think that's potentially an explosive problem. I think the ANC has begun to themselves see how explosive a problem that constituency can be. And those people who have been in the ANC, I think quite a few of them are expecting to be rewarded. I think there's a level at which it can be correctly argued that they do deserve to be rewarded in some way, they may be given some kind of job within the ANC hierarchy bureaucracy, etc. etc. But because of their level of skills the ANC simply cannot do this. And increasingly the ANC is drawing amongst people who have those skills.

POM     The ANC is drawing the support of people who ...?

KS     Just as in its bureaucracy, made for people who work for the ANC on a full time basis, and I think that constituency is beginning to perceive the direction in which things are going and they aren't very happy with that.

POM     What about with regard to the cessation of the armed struggle? What do you pick up like in people that you talk to in Soweto?

KS     I think some people at least have interpreted that in a way we haven't abandoned the armed struggle, we've merely suspended it. MKs still in place, we still maintain our ammunition reserves and we're still in our trenches. There's that kind of language coming through from some people.

POM     Would that include language from Winnie Mandela?

KS     I guess that kind of authority, as an authority yes.

POM     Is there any significant component of this age group that see many of the moves as being a sell out, are still kind of withholding judgement but kind of really in their hearts think that this isn't what the struggle was all about?

KS     If exists it hasn't been clearly articulated, but you can sense it that there are people who feel that it was perhaps premature to suspend the armed struggle, I guess that you would be fairly in places like Natal that would be perceived as a surrogate of the state. It wouldn't surprise me that you would in some of as a result of the events of the last two weeks.

POM     What role does the PAC play in all of this?

KS     What's becoming clear to me, up until now they have rejected any mention of participation in this process. I think very soon they are going to be forced to take part in it as soon as negotiations start. I think frontline states that are housing them are not going continue that indefinitely and that may push them into the process. And I think the government too is trying to squeeze them in that direction by saying that the ultimatum that's in place with regards to the release of political prisoners applies only to ANC political prisoners. That's a squeeze from the government for them to participate in the process. I think eventually they are going to participate and just come back inside the country in some kind of a protest movement.

POM     What difference do you think majority rule would make in the life of the average family in the township or in a squatter camp over the next four to five years? If it is going to make very little difference, you have this huge age group of, again, unemployed young people used to protest, are they not going to become very quickly disillusioned with the revolution?

KS     This I think one can live with, I think that is unavoidably going to come from it but I guess it can be contained in one place.

POM     I guess I'm asking if the PAC sits out there saying sell out, sell out, if there's a transition with a new government, material conditions don't change very much, people say this is what it was all about and the PAC throws out a kind of a magnet attracting the disaffected, does it pose a greater potential threat in the future than it does in the present?

KS     Wouldn't that be a political party participating in the system as well?

POM     Well I could participate but participate by, like the Conservative Party is now, by saying sell out, sell out, sell out, this won't work, that won't work. How do you see it?

KS     I can foresee a thing like that happening, but it shouldn't last because that which shall be preventing that particular party in government from dishing out goodies should prevent any other party including the PAC. So that I think if they are a part of government they too, I think, are going to have to moderate what their criticisms are because if they do accede to power they are going to have to govern the country and dish out the goodies. I don't know, this is a pure guess, but they are going to become the one saying, look, we just don't have access to more resources than those other people had.

PK     When you talk about them playing a protest role, you mean a protest role within the system, not standing on the outside?

KS     That's the only role that they can play.

POM     What are the main problems a new government would face? I mean there are these of housing, of transportation, of education, of immense disparities in the distribution of income and government expenditure on different groups, where are the resources going to come to address these things?

KS     I don't know?

POM     Is there a huge gap between expectations that are out there of what will happen? Do you notice that?

KS     Yes, that's very noticeable.

POM     How do people talk about the future?

KS     I think standards of living well, unfortunately, in South Africa are those of white people presently. And some of those standards are far too high for a country with a weak economy like ours. I don't think South Africa even if the economy were to attain the bulk and growth that we are talking about could afford the ... all over the country.

POM     Which?

KS     Suburbs.

POM     What do you think will happen?

KS     It is hard to guess, quite a few of the black people will make it to those standards. I think the traditional route which Afrikaners came to occupy, the economic status they now occupy, would be available to a great many blacks, i.e. the ride through the state bureaucracy. And for those people I don't think they should be able to afford the many things that one sees. But I don't expect the numbers of people who can afford those type of things to increase dramatically. Add another 10%, 15%.

PK     You recently went to the Soviet Union, is that right?

KS     Yes.

PK     The system is completely at the other end of the spectrum. Do you see the post-apartheid South Africa being more along a socialist model?

KS     No.

PK     Having experienced this and that now?

KS     I think South Africa has really come to visualise some kind of social democracy but it's far too expensive for one aspect, that Zimbabwe dispensation where I think the state made a concerted effort to retain control over certain private investment concerns, but the business section in South Africa is far too strong I think to give in and because precisely because we're been moving into that transition during negotiations a great many power centres that we have now are just going to move with us into the post apartheid future. And I don't think it will depend on the government of the day whether or not those things get nationalised. A great many concerns are going to have be taken into account.

POM     Like?

KS     Business for example I think is going to remain from now intact. And because whatever government would be in place will be wanting business to continue operating and working well and increasing, I don't think a rash position will be taken to bring business in to line. The white community, for example I think, is going to be around for some time in South Africa and that may be another power centre, the PAC is going to be around, there are so many groupings that could be around.

POM     In many ways you're suggesting that in fact economic power would still reside in the hands of the white community for a considerable amount of time. That logjam is not going to be broken.

KS     That is true.

POM     Look at the violence of the last, well, three phrases, one, in Natal, and two, the spreading of it to the Transvaal in the last couple of weeks; what is your interpretation of it and what feedback on the ground like in Soweto have you been getting the last couple of weeks as to what's going on?

KS     I think on the ground in Soweto that's seen as Inkatha violence, and just about anywhere you go each time Inkatha is back again.

POM     Now do the people see it as being orchestrated by Inkatha? Do they see it as operating with the help either overtly or covertly of the police?

KS     I suppose, fortunately, I think police collusion is very clear. Each time anything has happened the police have been very keen to defend people outside the hostel rather than people in the hostel. Disarming of these factions only occurs on the side of one faction not on the other side. And this I didn't see myself but it was rumoured that in one hostel a police van drove into the hostel to bring food to these people with bread and whatever else that was. So that the presumption, in my view, of police helping out Inkatha is just very strong. And the view that it is Inkatha doing all this, that too is extremely strong.

POM     Why do you think people think Inkatha is doing it?

KS     I think because when it started long before this it was specifically Inkatha that attacked people in the trains because they argued that Gatsha Buthelezi had been denigrated by those people. And the beginning of this violence was also preceded by a single attack on train commuters and those people didn't hide the fact that they came from Inkatha.

POM     Let me ask you why is it that something as small as insults can drive people to violence and retaliation?

KS     I don't know, I don't understand is that a basis in an issue, a very huge issue with Buthelezi? For a long time his honour has been trampled upon, these are some of the things that he has been saying, My honour has been denigrated, and the honour of it has manifested itself in violence all along, he's been very good at it. I thought it never would degenerate into what has generated but it has.

POM     Do you think that it shows that part of this whole problem that hasn't been adequately acknowledged is the ethnic part? That there are ethnic divisions and that papering them over is just that, papering over, they must be dealt with, they must be acknowledged at some point in a more explicit way?

KS     I don't know how more explicit you can go because there is a fair amount of acknowledgement in African society of the fact that you do have a distinct grouping of people called Zulus, Xhosas, and so on and so on.

POM     But the experience in other countries is that ethnic groups frequently come into competition with each other and this competition often turns violent. Do you think that's been acknowledged here or is it that last week shows ...?

KS     No that hasn't been acknowledged. I would think the reason for that is that each time that competition has presented itself into violent action, there always have had to be a grouping or an idea that has been standing and directing some of the dissatisfaction that flowed from that into the violence. The point I'm trying to make is that much as there is an awareness of these distinct ethnic groupings around, those who have never had to translate themselves into the kind of violence spontaneously, violence has always occurred when there's been a person, group and organisation that has taken charge of directing these dissatisfaction as I'm saying into the type of violence.

POM     You are saying that, yes, there may be differences and even divisive differences between ethnic groups but it takes a third party to fan those difference into actual violent confrontation.

KS     That party will be part of those, may be part of those communities that I'm talking about.

POM     Do you think that the violence is orchestrated by Inkatha with the approval of Buthelezi?

KS     I think so.

POM     So that all his calls that he is a man of peace, and that Inkatha is also non-violent, that to engage in the armed struggle, this is all just posturing on hypocrisy on his part?

KS     Yes, I think so, personally.

POM     Would that be the range of view that you would come into contact with in Soweto?

KS     Probably.

POM     On the other hand the Zulus we've talked to see this very much as this being an attack on the Zulu people by the ANC led Xhosas, the ANC, does that surprise you? Why would you expect that?

KS     That would have to be substantiated and I don't think any one of them can say that there have been any attacks on some people. And, secondly, I was just looking through the list of people who died assisting authorities, there's as many Zulu speaking people among the victims as there are non-Zulu speaking people. And that goes to prove what is so obvious in Soweto that it was Inkatha attacking the community, not either Xhosa, or the ANC or any specific grouping. Maybe in the East Rand it was Inkatha attacking Xhosa, I just don't know what started things off there. It may have started as that and later Inkatha the community.

POM     Why were these attacks mounted. What was the purpose? What was Buthelezi after?

KS     My view, and this is specifically my own, is that I think for as long as the violence was restricted to Natal his push to meet Mandela would just not be taken seriously because the Natal problem is something that has been there long before Mandela came out of jail. To add pressure to the ANC he needed to gain new ground and the Transvaal provided for that. And that's the reference in which the war was fought I think in Transvaal, it has proved his point; even if he were to retreat now I think it would prove his point. And I think the state must at some level, vis-à-vis a validity with the issue because I think they did have the capacity to end this violence in a weeks time if they wanted to. Their security forces are intact on and so it is and you could see that those people who had come in, the Zulus in particular, were going to bring that conflict to an end and it really came to an end. What I'm trying to say is that at some level there must be, call it collusion, yes, between what is happening from Natal, which is the seat of this violence, and the state.

POM     What accounts for the ferocity factor? This isn't just Inkatha followers attacking other black people, there is an element of, to use your own word, ferocity involved, what do you think that comes from? What accounts for it?

KS     That is a difficult thing to explain, but the one thing that, I think in the case of Soweto, was very much is that I think people in the hostels felt a bit isolated in the sense that hostels were quite clearly dispensers from which violence was a double agent. I think whoever was in the hostel knew that everybody outside the hostel was out to attack those hostels. Most of those are simply just situated like within township and therefore fairly easy to attack if the community had as much as those people in the hostel has had. That I think will explain why you attack so ferociously, to make a point that even if you try to raid again we are so ferocious that we are going to get you. One thing that surprised me in Soweto is that during the course of that violence there was a constant number of warriors in those hostels, one day in the morning you saw the numbers of people with those arms, you went there at night the number was more or less the same. And what I couldn't understand is when these guys slept, when they were going to work and the numbers on the other side were changing. In the morning you'd go there it would be full, you go later in the day the number would have gone down, and at night it would be drastically increased and I think what accounted for that is that people went off to work, people went off to eat, etc. etc., which gave me the impression that it may well be that people are being moved around on the other point. I think the migrant community divide could also account for the ferocity itself, but I wouldn't be sure about that. I was just surprised that the constant numbers of people that were.

POM     A couple of last things. One, as Mandela tries to steer his community through this process of negotiation and transition, what are the major problems he faces within his own constituency and similarly when you look at De Klerk what do you see as being the major problems that he faces within his community as he tries to manage the process to a fruitful conclusion?

KS     I think Mandela's problem is he's going to have to change the culture of resistance which runs so deep in these constituencies and I think, for instance, during the process that's taking place now the culture has to change. And I think to tone down people's expectations is going to be a major challenge particularly because there have been up until now some equalities, materialism that has been in place within the resistance politics and with those organisations, the ANC and whatever else participation in this process and getting involved in state institutions, radically federalism is going to go. It is fairly easy to see that the ANC now, their neighbours and so and so, and that no means is good to maintain this equality that participation, I think, in state institutions is going to draw them away from Soweto, hierarchical, clearly hierarchical. Things are going to be introduced in the organisation perhaps from an organisation that has claimed to be so democratic depends on consultation etc., etc. is going to be hard to swallow if that concept hasn't changed the resistance movement to something else in addition to that and compromising is going to be very difficult thing for people swallow if that concept doesn't change, particularly if it not spelled out what it is over which they're going to compromise. The ANC hasn't done that up until now.

     And I think it goes to areas like Mandela keeps on saying that De Klerk is an honest man, this, that and the other thing, and people are perceiving this violence has been among other things fanned by the government, that is going to be difficult to explain to people. Another problem, the most important thing is that there are people within the white community who still think that there is absolutely no need for us to talk to these people because in battle we can overrun them anytime. We have in Africa, experiences in Africa have shown that it was people who negotiate with Africans, the best of what has been built in the particular society goes under and you end up with some kind of a Uganda. Those are some of the perceptions.

POM     Do you think Mandela should meet with Buthelezi? And your assessment of Mandela since he's come out of prison. What has he done well? Future expectations, where has he disappointed you if he has?

KS     Having come from prison myself I was surprised at the way, the ease with which he has handled such large crowds of people. I spent a bit of time in the section in which he was because, that was in the seventies, that was a section with a very few people, at most there were about 17 of us. On being released and been let out, he'd throw out the people, I just couldn't handle that, I was just surprised with the ease that that man went into that crowd and conversed with people and having suffered from withdrawal symptoms which is what most people who have come from the island, particular people who were in the insane asylum section had to deal with, and some of them have just never recovered from that. Now I'm sure that's at a level that other people aren't able to deal with. But that I think is something that surprised me. I always think to myself it's still coming, he hasn't dealt with this, with that, at some stage he might deal with it. That's a major thing to me. I don't think I would ,there was nothing wrong with me when I came out of jail, but I just couldn't handle that, how the hell is he able to?

POM     By this time next year where will we be? How will the process have advanced?

KS     The governments, just to talk about things that have happened over the last two days or so, the government's refusal to renew the - and the way I think they have handled this violence, seems to suggest that their thinking is that now we've got the ANC, we've locked the ANC into this negotiation process, we can try and knock them a bit. It is going to take a hell of a lot for them to pull out. We are now able to go through to Africa and talk to people out there.

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.