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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Dec 1990: Mboweni, Tito

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POM     We're talking with Tito Mboweni on the 17th of December 1990. Tito, just to start with the ANC Consultative Conference, since then. We got into the sessions, we didn't go to the opening sessions, I went to the press briefing and the closing sessions. What's your assessment of what happened? What's your assessment of the direction the ANC is taking?

TM     I think it was the key thing you take in from the speech which was just made at the stadium, that, in the main, this is an extremely successful conference, bringing together 1,603 delegates. These are the brightest, I'm prejudiced, inside and outside South Africa. The major issues for discussion, as you said, were on international isolation, negotiations, and the armed struggle, all of those, especially the armed struggle, the violence, are critical issues before the conference. And, for me, the most significant outcome of the conference was its unifying goal. [Or unifying and a desire to ???.] But for the first time in 31 years we are going to a national conference inside the country, consultative as it was, bringing together young and old, exiles and those who had been inside the country, and were prisoners, and so on. So, for me it was a very important, as it were, cross-pollination of the best sort of traditions I've talked about, unifying into a very formidable force. The discussions, of course, were very heated, coming as they do from comrades who have experience with day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute repression by the apartheid system. So the conference gave a very realistic assessment of the situation in the country and therefore, what sorts of strategies and tactics need to be adopted for the way forward, between now and the 1st of June next year. So in that sense, I think it was very significant. There were nice moments at the conference. Spirits were very high, you know, as you saw in the hall, just when you were there.

POM     It was very - we got the impression of it being a very, kind of, people were there to work.

TM     Yes. [Sorry, can I just take it.]

PK     You were saying the spirits were high, and we were just saying there was a sense of seriousness about it, almost a - people who came to do business type of atmosphere.

TM     Yes, yes, I think there's that, particularly, I think, as I say, people were emerging from a battlefield, basically, in most of the country.

PK     Could you give us what you would consider a profile of the average delegate, you know, age, did they have a job, were unemployed?

TM     No.

PK     What did it look like to you?

TM     Yes, yes, but I think, if you talk to some of the others, Stuart perhaps is coming, they'll know more about the actual profile.

POM     Well, in terms of, say, the constituencies people came from, like from trade unions?

PK     Were there a lot of trade union people?

POM     Or from other associations, is there?

TM     [I don't - of course, those who are waiting, obviously, I might as well tell you, that's ... for every ANC member if you're waiting, from part of the union movement in your area. I mean, for a teacher, you don't teach, you know, ..., whatever.] So, yes, you know, those were all the workers who came from the union movement. But I'm sure there must have been unemployed, youth, there must have been other students, there must have been a couple of people involved in business, I saw a couple of doctors, lawyers, it was widespread.

POM     When we talked this morning to a government minister, and the way he interpreted it, the proceedings of the conference, was that it was a defeat for the leadership.

TM     That's absolute nonsense. That's absolute nonsense. Why, why, why did he see this as a defeat?

POM     That the leadership was more moderate, and that people with tougher stands on issues were the people who got the resolutions passed.

TM     No, that's absolute nonsense. That's an absolute nonsense. The conference was a consultative conference to discuss particular issues. And there's no way in which the leadership can call a consultative conference with fixed positions. It's the precise reason why you call a consultative conference, to get the feedback from the membership. At no stage did I see leadership arguing with the grassroots. The leadership took what was coming, you know, and the leadership also contributed in the discussion about the issues. So, I think what the minister - who was it?

POM     Roelf Meyer.

TM     Meyer, umm, Roelf Meyer is currently the Deputy Minister for Constitutional Development. So obviously this is a person who is trying to destabilise the movement.

POM     Sorry? It's an effort to ...?

TM     To destabilise the organisation, to say that, 'Look, there's a division between the leadership and the rank-and-file.'

PK     He wasn't condemning in any way, it was just a reading.

TM     So, but I think it's typical too.

PK     But it's also what the press said to Mr. Mandela at the press conference yesterday: the way we read it, is you got your ears pinned back, so it's not, I don't think, that, you know, that ...

TM     I see. But also, generally, we had a bad press, except for this morning's news coverage that I listened to. Generally, we had a bad press. And I thought when I went home, particularly on Saturday night, and began to read the Sunday papers, the Sunday papers are out by about 10:00, I was surprised, I thought I was coming from a different conference than the one they were portraying. You know, just different. Now, you see, the members of the National Executive Committee, I don't know how they did it, the leadership is defined. It's defined by leaders, members of the National Executive Committee. And members of the National Executive Committee were spread in the Commissions, they were part of the discussion in the Commissions, and it was an interesting thing, actually, that the resolution on sanctions was actually proposed by the National Executive Committee by the leadership. [So you can't, unless you say, you know...]

POM     Why do you think - because I think we noticed that too, we noticed in the papers on Sunday that our limited observations of what went on were totally out of whack with what appeared in the press. Why do you think there is this bad press?

TM     In the South African press, my own view is that here you should look at its ownership and its tradition. I wouldn't be surprised, particularly mainstream press, in the Sunday Times, in particular, I'm referring to the Sunday Star, as one and the other Sunday newspapers. They're either part of the Argus group or part of the Times Media Ltd., both not particularly known for supporting the aspirations of the poor.

PK     Do you think that's true of the working journalists, though? I mean, as opposed to the guys who own the paper, write the editorials, and have the headlines made, the guys who are there covering the story who are at all ...?

TM     No, but they also have a perspective.

PK     That's right. I mean, you read the stories, the words they use about your saying ...

TM     They've got a perspective, I'm sure they must have some framework for writing within the newspaper. They know that if I write a story like this, it won't work, it won't be taken, but if I write like this, it will be accepted. They want to keep their jobs, as well. I mean, that surely explains why. You read in Britain, the Guardian will cover things differently from the Daily Telegraph. But you know, I would have a problem, perhaps, if we discuss the conference any further, because, you know, I've not been mandated to talk about the conference.

POM     OK. Sure. Yes. One of the things that we're curious about, and this is related in a way, why the question of the economy would not have been one of the Commissions?

TM     That's not meant - see, the main plan for this conference was to strategise on the way forward. Now, in June, we will be discussing mostly policy issues. We'll be discussing education policy, health policy, social worker policy, economic policy, Bill of Rights, legal and constitutional issues. In other words, June next year will set the policy framework, from June onwards, into the new South Africa. Whereas this was a consultative one on strategy, tactics, how do we go about ...

POM     Well, if you had to get to, actually, on to economics, if you had to trace the evolution of ANC thinking on economic policies since the start of the year, or since February the 2nd, what have been the main evolutions or developments that characterise the policy?

TM     Yes, I think that in the main, you see, there's been a lot of debate around the economy. And clearly, the ANC has influenced that debate and, also, the ANC also has been influenced by the debate. But, I think most critically, though, the debate is attempting to address the very specific situation of, in particular, black people, their position in society and in the economy, of abject poverty and deprivation, the homelessness, lack of jobs, limited disposable incomes, and a feeling of being excluded from the economy. So these are the issues, I think, which are affecting the debate, or which the debate seeks to find answers to. But I think it's important that we don't see the evolution or debate on the economy simply this year. I mean, we should see it historically particularly since the time of the Freedom Charter, when there at least was a document that said, these are our views about it. [Tape off, then on]

     I was saying that, particularly since the adoption of the Freedom Charter, which at least attempted to bring together the economic aspirations of the majority of the people into a single document in a very summarised fashion, only about one clause. But ever since, obviously, there's been a lot of debate, particularly by forces representing various interests. And the ANC has a mass organisation which brings together various classes in society, has had to articulate the economic policy in such a way as to increase the unity of those various class forces, particularly within the oppressed community. So that, therefore, the ANC position must be said to be overall addressing the needs of the poor, addressing the needs of the black shopkeeper, addressing the needs of also a section of white business which is patriotic and willing to be part of the future. And so what has happened in this year is that, particularly since April-May, when we had one of the major consultative workshops of the ANC and COSATU, which came out with a document, discussion document, on economic policy. [The first, you know, the first...]

POM     Is it possible to get a copy of that document?

TM     I think it should be possible, somewhere in the files. Then, out of that, we took the discussion further. The ANC then met in session in Harare, at which was produced the document, this discussion document, which we called the "Second Harare Document' which further elucidated the ANC positions on the economy. Positions which are in the proposal phase because they're meant for further discussion within the ANC ranks and should be revised and put together for the next conference in June. And we're doing this process of discussion and consultation of the membership through what we call the ANC Economic Associations which I established in every branch in regions where the ANC is to be found.

     Now, the major issues which are raised, as you'll see, are, one, that obviously the country is emerging out of what we call a heritage of poverty and income stagnation, which is what we see as a heritage being bequeathed onto us by the Nationalist Party. For example, between 1980 and 1989, gross fixed investment, domestic fixed investment, is in the neighbourhood of about minus 2%. Unemployment has increased to about 5 million, which is about 40% of the economically-active population. Inflation continues to rise, about 15%. Homelessness continues to increase, particularly since there's no clear-cut urban development policy by the Nationalist Party government. Massive squats, squatters, squatter camps, let me say, which actually leave the mass of squatting people with no basic infrastructure, like no water services, no water or sewage, no proper roads, no housing, obviously, no proper schools, abject poverty.

     And we're saying that in total, we have a problem, that the South African economy actually is experiencing a serious crisis. In part, some of the indicators of the crisis are the ones that would affect, but in the paper I've given you far more details about that. And then we say that out of this crisis, we obviously need to pursue a different growth path, to call a growth path of growth through redistribution. I also discuss that at length in the paper. But, you know, we think that this growth path must be based upon the strategy of meeting the basic needs of the people. Basic needs of the people, meaning in particular that I could use housing, for example, as a new entry into economic development. That will have a spin-off multiplier effect on other housing and related industries. We should use other public works programmes like building of infrastructure and so on, which will also become part of a package of improving the living standards of the people.

POM     So, would you be looking for, on a broader level, would you be looking for trying to attract industries here from abroad, or establishing them here from start-up, that would have the maximum number of linkages, downward linkages, vertical integration?

TM     Yes, yes but I think the important thing is, as I was saying, the multiplier effect of the specific decision to - for the economy to grow through redistribution. Housing is a redistribution question for people who have no housing. But that also impacts on the economic growth, so economic growth is not seen as separate from redistribution, but that redistribution is seen as an important component part of economic growth. That's all called "growth through redistribution". But there are also the other areas of redistribution that I've talked about in the paper, which I don't want to repeat. For example, redistribution of productive resources. The redistribution of the means of mass consumption, i.e., income. Redistribution of health services, educational services, and so on. So that at the end of the day, if you want to summarise the strategy, it looks to me like it says that there will be one part that will be social investment, it will impact on growth and redistribution. There will be one part of it which will be a responding to redistribution as well but which will be capital investment. So you have a two-pronged strategy but following within the ambit of growth through redistribution.

POM     It has struck me, just say, coming through here in the last couple of years, and say, in particular, this year, that the word "nationalisation" has more or less disappeared from the economic vocabulary. Has there been a re-think on what the ANC means by nationalisation and a movement from seeing it as an end in itself towards seeing it as a means to other things?

TM     No, what I can say is my own opinion at the moment. My own opinion is that the debate around nationalisation has conjured up very strange images in South Africa, particularly from the section of the population which has hitherto enjoyed the benefits of apartheid. The business community, for example, has seen the concept of nationalisation as implying that everything that they own will be taken away from them by the state. Many white folks have interpreted nationalisation to mean that their houses and cars and microwaves and fridges will be taken away, that their children will not be free to attend the schools which they want, that their culture will be marginalised and dominated by state decisions, that they will not be in a position to run their lives because the state is running their lives. It's a very South African image of nationalisation.

PK     You can look at the rest of the world and they can see how that's played out, Central Europe and some other African countries, so they're, I would assume ...?

TM     No, I think the South Africa image of nationalisation, it doesn't answer the question, what is to be nationalised? It doesn't answer the question, how will this be done? It doesn't answer the question, what are the benefits and what are the costs? It conjures up an image of disaster immediately you mention the word "nationalisation". And I think one has to take that into consideration, because we're talking about building a new society, democratic, free, that will accord the citizens of the country a feeling of belonging, and the citizens of South Africa will be all sorts of black and white. So I think it's an issue to take into account, one cannot just simply laugh at the South African ignorance about the issue or just the images that it conjures up.

     But the second problem that I've noticed, and, again, I want to emphasise that this is just my own opinion, is that from the side of the oppressed, nationalisation means that all productive resources will be turned over and run by the state, that as a result of that black people will have one of the highest standards of living in the world that will equate and probably overtake the living standards of the white people at the moment in South Africa. It's another image, an image that arises out of deprivation, out of the sense that emerging from deprivation, the only organ which we'll have to address our economic positions is the state which will be democratically elected by ourselves, and therefore, the state must run industry and must provide all this.

     So you have diametrically opposed understandings of nationalisation. It seems to me that if we really want to address the real issues about the rebuilding of the South African economy, we have to, one, of course, understand the particular South Africa conjuncture, its particular wavelength of thinking. And the other, I think that you say, an economic position which will strengthen what will be a very fragile democracy in future. So, one, I think, as you will see in that discussion document, what we have intended to do is trying to explain in some more detail what the role of government will be.

POM     Has there been any development of the ANC's own thinking with regard to nationalisation, like certain categories of economic activities perhaps that heretofore they would have included that they would now exclude?

TM     I think there is one interesting feature of the discussion document which says that, you see, the question of which areas the state will intervene in will depend on the balance of evidence.

POM     Sorry, the balance of?

TM     Evidence. In other words, if evidence suggests that the state must create a national bank of development that decision will have to be taken depending on the balance of evidence. Or if the evidence suggests that there's no need to start a new bank of development but that you'll restructure the existing South African Development Bank, or the development bank of, it's called the Development Bank of Southern Africa now, but it's a very misleading name because Southern Africa was part of the Bantustan structure, so South Africa was seen as independent of these Bantustans, so therefore, South Africa got together with these Bantustans that are composing Southern Africa. It's a very South Africa notion. But they have a Development Bank of South Africa. And the Development Bank may need the restructured, it s Afrikaner-male domination may need to be radically changed so that it in both its management and style of work it reflects the tasks which a development bank has to perform in South Africa in the future.

     But I'm saying, if a decision is taken, depending on the balance of evidence, this is what will be taken. We've avoided situations where we've said the state is going to own the mines, the state is going to own the industries. We've avoided that situation, particularly in a discussion document like that. But to mention the broad principles around which decisions will be made on whether the state intervenes, in which sector and why, those sort of things, but we have stuck, obviously, to the well-known standard position of the ANC, that the economy is going to be a mixed economy, with a public sector, private sector, and various small scale economic activities, family businesses, co-operatives.

POM     You mentioned the mindset that white South Africans have about nationalisation and what black South Africans often have about it. In your experience in meeting with people from abroad, from the international business community, what is their mindset about nationalisation?

TM     The mindset is, it's typically a range of points of view. Very far to the right. Very, very far to right.

POM     That it's bad, it's inefficient, it doesn't work well, that lots of the things which are nationalised should be done, should be privatised?

TM     Yes, uncomfortable, which in my view at least from just an intellectual point of view, reflects what I would see as a resurgence of a particular economic ideology, world economics. And that ideology at the moment is the ideology of privatisation. Now, obviously, ideologies come and go, that are not static. In no time that people discovered the failure of British Telecom as a privatised enterprise will they demand that it become a public corporation. So I'm not convinced that it's a fixed thing, that forever and ever British Telecom, for example, will be a private - I'm not convinced.

POM     But would you, would it be your opinion that if the ANC were to put a heavy emphasis on nationalisation, that that would serve as a deterrent to attracting foreign investment, so that there has to be a trade-off here, too?

TM     Whereas, if the ANC said that there would be a public sector ...

POM     No, no. Like, if the ANC ...?

TM     But you see, that is the problem, the image.

POM     Yes, I know, but the image ...

TM     But you see, that's why I think we need to put the image that there will be a public sector, a private sector, and various types of sectors. [Tape off, then on]

POM     I suppose what I'm getting at ...

TM     So therefore, you see, this is the point I wanted to make. That if one says that there will be a public sector, private sector, and other sectors, so you feel out a foreign investor, you know that you will fit within the private sector, very clear.

PK     But you're dependent on what's going to be in here, as well, right?

TM     Yes. It will depend on - but in terms of your own property, investment.

POM     Yes, I suppose what I'm saying is that the word "nationalisation" becomes a word to avoid because it sets off these images. And in the minds of foreign capital in particular, any use of the word nationalisation conjures up this thing of the state playing a big role in everything, and in that manner serves as a deterrent to foreign investment.

TM     I think it's true to say that the word nationalisation does conjure up all kinds of images. But I think when we come to the nitty-gritty sort of thing, and say that what we're talking about is a public sector and that it's important even for the foreign investors to understand what we are saying about that type of public sector. I mean, nobody in the ANC has so far suggested to me that the state sector and the public sector will be overbearing. It's not suggested anywhere. And such foreign investments then would lack clarification. [No other opposition is... ]

POM     You would like to ...?

TM     Get clarification, give them a clarification that we're talking about the public sector. Now, but you see if the ANC does not include in its economic program the word "nationalisation", we will lose support from the oppressed.

POM     How about the unions?

TM     No, no. Just the oppressed black people. If you don't include the word nationalisation in the economic program, the ANC, this is what I will advise the ANC myself, that you lose political support. So you have to gauge its impact on political support, which is necessary to see it through the process of transformation. Or, lose that support in favour of big business from South Africa and overseas. Which one would you choose? I won't choose the side of big business.

POM     So if you had to speculate, let's say, yesterday, over the weekend, there was a resolution before the Consultative Conference on public sector and nationalisation, do you believe that it would ...?

TM     There were two resolutions, one resolution saying that there's a public sector, and the other resolution saying we should have a nationalised sector. The one that says we should have a nationalised sector will be adopted. [Tape off, then on]

POM     OK, that's clear.

TM     So, therefore - and if the business community doesn't want to understand our position ...

PK     The political position.

TM     The political position, but also the content of that public sector, is too bad. I've done my bit trying to explain to them. If they still don't understand it, too bad. Too bad.

PK     So you would just expect them to understand the political consequences.

TM     I think they have to understand.

PK     Well, what if they say, 'Too bad'? What if the business community here, and there's an international community, I think in August you were saying a lot of what needed to be done here in terms of social justice was going to be dependent on investment and growth. So what if the international business community says, 'Too bad. We have other places to go'?

TM     I will say, too bad, too. You won't get our platinum. But I would say, you must be realising perhaps a little bit of a change in my militancy between August and now.

PK     I can tell, right.

TM     And there's a reason for that. There's a reason for that because, you see, in August I had just come back into the country in June and was in the process of really discovering the country. And what I'm finding, including about the country, is that the situation is even worse for our people than I had imagined.

POM     You had imagined.

TM     Yes. For ten years, I thought the situation had slightly improved. I come back within the country to discover an absolutely horrifying situation. And therefore, I understand very well why if the rank and file don't see the word nationalisation in the economic programme it would create a problem. And I will not defend a situation whereby I put myself in contradiction with the rank and file, with the ordinary black people in the squatter camps. I won't do it. The bad working conditions in the factories, and so on.

POM     Do you think a lot of people who came back into the country in June, that their perceptions of what they thought the situation was changed dramatically?

TM     I think so, Yes. I think so. Actually, I think you should - I'll propose that as one of your projects you follow one exile who's still in Lusaka now. You have comprehensive discussions about them, about how they see South Africa. You give them a year, when they are back. You come back and have a discussion with them.

POM     That's a terrific idea. Is there any way we could ...?

TM     Most of my business friends, actually, are surprised at the positions I'm taking now.

POM     Is there anyone you could suggest, do you somebody who would be, like, just, a natural?

TM     I don't know, I don't know. I was just suggesting that.

POM     Yes, it's a very good idea.

TM     If you can find somebody in Lusaka that you can talk to, who is still in exile.

POM     Who's still there. OK. That's a really good idea.

TM     And then, give them about six, nine months here. Come and have a discussion with them again. You will discover that they've changed their perceptions.

POM     That's a great idea.

TM     It would give a very nice profile. Let me explain to you why most of us are increasingly saying, 'Hey, you know, for all of these years we were moderate, really, politically.' You know, across the townships, you see the reality of the place. For me, from an economics point of view, I see the abject poverty and it brings back the kind of emotional position I was in ten years ago when I left South Africa. And it's even worse now because I'm aware of the particular experiences of other countries. Zambia is absolutely poor. Absolutely poor. I've seen some of the most poverty-stricken areas in Zambia and it is nothing like Alexandra township. With all the propaganda that the SABC says about Zambia, you need just to cross over to go to and see it. And most of us when we were in exile we interacted with people as equals. So, for ten years, I lived the life of an equal human being with others. Come back here, it's different. Black person here, you know. Put back in your place.

POM     How does that get in, could you give some examples of how that manifests itself?

TM     Oh, yes, oh, of course. One obvious one is, working around twelve years of white people is very bad. It was black people. They weren't ... directly at me, but if I go into a shop, and the white shopkeeper says, 'Thank you, bobbejaan' to a black person, after the black person has bought from this particular shop, bringing business to this white shop, and the white person says, 'Thank you very much bobbejaan', and I feel mad about it. I just give you an example: I want accommodation, a flat. You go in to view flats and they discover you are a black person, sorry, the flat has been taken. And as a black person, whenever you want a flat in what are considered white areas, you have to do it back door.

PK     Have a white person go before you?

TM     Have a white person go in to sign the contract for you. It dehumanising. Yet, for ten years, I never had that problem. I could live where I want, irrespective of the fact that I was a black person.

PK     You've obviously worked in the United States.

TM     Yes, well, I didn't go to the United States, but I did go to Britain. You know, and I lived in Africa, I was treated as a human being in Africa. But the poverty and the problems in Africa, as a human being we share the poverty, whatever the situation is. And I had to get a flat eventually by using a white chap to sign the contract for me. And I went through an agonising period. And from an international point of view, and from the human point of view. After I had signed this contract, and the contract indicated that two people would be staying, there was me and this white chap, so that it becomes a de jure fact that I'm staying in the flat, they never asked, 'Who are these two people going to be?' So he didn't give them my name, naturally. Then they write a letter to the chap who had signed the contract, which said, "We have discovered that you are subletting it to a person or persons unknown". It's another thing that's making me angry. "To a person or persons unknown". And by that time I'm in Swaziland with Nelson Mandela on this thing, Swaziland. And they say that in that case, in terms of the lease agreement, "you are not allowed to sublet to any person or persons. So, in the circumstances, therefore, you leave us with no alternative but to give you 48 hours notice to vacate the premises by no later than 12 noon Thursday, the 22nd of November, 1990. Failure to meet our request will result in this matter being entered to our attorneys and all costs thereto will be for your account." Now, obviously, we put up a very big fight. That letter is not here. But we had to put up a very, very big fight, you know. No, that's not it. Ah, that's it, thanks.

POM     I'm just glad to know that it gets here.

TM     And it's filed, it's filed.

POM     With Christmas cards.

TM     So, eventually I write to them and say that, "I regret that you wrote this letter to us, and first I must apologise because I was out of the country, I was in Swaziland. So when I arrived, I found the eviction notice. I arrived on a Saturday, no, on a Sunday. And found an eviction notice which was for the Thursday three weeks ago. So I was not in the country", and so on. So, no-one would accept the argument that in the contract we had said that two people would be living in the flat. Stupid legalistic argument. And that they had never asked who the second person was. "In any event, we want now to make it clear to you that this particular chap and Mr. Tito Mboweni are living in the flat. And so far Mr. Tito Mboweni has used the flat on a regular basis. Secondly, we think that if your objection is because Tito Mboweni is a black person, then we think you are not appreciative of the developments taking place in South Africa and to that extent we are prepared to put up as much resistance as possible. We will mobilise whatever process..." Of course, they apologised for it, they sent a letter apologising.

POM     So they did?

TM     They apologised. The other thing is that I faxed the letter from here, and on the other side it indicates the ANC Economics Department. I was saying if I was not Tito Mboweni I would have been evicted.

POM     They suddenly realised they were talking, perhaps, to the future Minister for ...

TM     And they take this increase on me. So. But what I'm trying to say is that therefore I think the situation is very bad, generally. But in terms of accommodation particularly what the reactionary wing of business is doing is to buy up properties with anticipation of the Group Areas Act and in anticipation of whatever changes that may come about, then, you see, they would like to say to people, 'No, if you are a black person, the flat is taken. If you are white, fine.' So, you know, you see these things all the time. You get into the buses or trains - and then the particular behaviour of the government, you know, who are to apply for indemnification. Political prisoners have to apply for indemnification.

POM     Where are the indemnity forms? Would it be possible to get a copy of it?

TM     Why not?

POM     Thank you.

TM     Then there's this stupid indemnity thing. It just makes you more angry. How did you leave the country? Did you have a passport? Which board approved? I mean, honestly.

POM     Like an immense intelligence-gathering.

TM     So, I'm saying, I'm just saying to you that the totality of the South African situation, which is still very apartheid in content and in form, really does make one very angry. But for the business community another thing that made me very angry is we initially took the dialogue with the business community perhaps far too seriously. It was probably a mistake on our part. We took it far too seriously, we thought, here were people talking to the ANC prepared to change, as well. And therefore, perhaps we will need to make some adjustment of what our position is. No! What they wanted was that we should adopt their ideological position. So they mistook our willingness to talk as a willingness to be lectured to. It was a terrible blunder on their part. And the particular language that they used with us, patronising and insulting. You know, I'm sure if you go back to some of the speeches they write, some of the contributions they write in the papers, and so on, they describe the ANC as economically illiterate. Now, that's not on. First, it comes from big business, which is white, to the ANC, it's very patronising, very patronising. I've taken very strong exception to that, very, very strong exception. Particularly, given the fact that most business people themselves actually are not economists. So from an intellectual, economic argument, they know nothing, the business people. And we've respected them, and they've taken our respect for them as a sign of weakness.

     Secondly, they have almost taken advantage of the discussions with us as a leverage for continuing the repression of workers on the factory floor. As we talk to them today they are dismissing workers tomorrow. No, that is not on. It's just not on. We have raised certain arguments with them over the concentration of the South African economy and they don't seem to be taking it seriously. So, clearly, I think, that one of the ways of dealing with the business community, South African business community, will have to be by law in future. Anti-trust legislation, for example, and other laws regulating the dealings of business. Because they still don't listen to discussion. They had long discussions, for example, of the insurance and pension funds industry. And we're moving to a consensus, we thought, about the unlocking of the resources which they have at their disposal, for purposes of investment in social projects, like housing. I mean, they have got assets to the tune of about 150 billion. And if they used just a small fraction of that, 5%, for social purposes, would, assuming that one house, one low-income house costs you about 30,000 rand, we would be in a position of building about 450,000 houses.

POM     Tito, we'll have to run off to another appointment. Thanks a million, it's been a really good interview.

TM     Very good.

POM     Do you have a home number now?

TM     No.

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.