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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

15 Jul 1991: Skweyiya, Zola

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POM     Zola, the first question is a bit long winded. What I am trying to get at is when the negotiators sit down at the negotiating table what will each one envisage as the problem that is trying to be negotiated? I will read the opening of a book by a man named Donald Horowitz who is a leading expert on divided societies in the States. He recently did a book on SA which begins: ...

     "There is disagreement over the extent to which the conflict is about race as opposed to being about oppression in the guise of race, or amongst nationalisms demarcated by race, or about contending claims to the same land. There is disagreement over the identification and even the names of the racial categories and there is disagreement over the extent to which the conflict also involves ethnic differences within each of the racial categories. There is no consensus whether a future SA might also be divided along racial and ethnic lines and if so how severe such divisions might become, and there is discord over what measures might be required to reduce future conflict. In short there is conflict about the nature of the conflict."

     In your view, what is the nature of the problem that negotiators, the ANC, would be facing when they sit down at the table to negotiate?

ZS     In my view it is a question of democracy in SA and the question of the division of resources. As you are aware, because of the monopoly that the SA regime has had over the state, it has been able to win for the white community in this country privileges at the expense of the black majority. The whole struggle in general was to change that, was to change apartheid and racism for a democratic solution for a future SA, a non-racial, non-sexist democratic SA. And this is what it is all about insofar as the democratic process of this country, I think in terms of all of them insofar as the ANC is concerned and its allies, COSATU, the SACP and all of them. It is still the same situation when it concerns also the PAC and AZAPO although in their approach there is more emphasis generally on the question of the African majority as opposed to the rest of the South African people.

POM     What I am getting at is that government people that we have talked to concentrate on calling SA a classically divided society with all kinds of minorities and ethnic groups where you would have to have constitutional arrangements to protect them. Do you accept that analysis or say, no, the real problem here is white domination?

ZS     That is what I am saying. The basic question is a question of democracy and the whites in general in this country monopolised power at the present moment. In fact their solution, they find that they cannot continue in that way and so one way or the other they are trying to maintain that by ensuring that the privileges that they have today in SA should be entrenched in a new constitution, whereas the ANC and all the democratic forces are maintaining that they want a democratic SA based on individual rights in general, not on group rights as they are putting it.

POM      In another divided society, for example Northern Ireland, they talk about power sharing, that if there is a future dispensation going it will have to involve both Protestants and Catholics in the sharing of power at the executive level, when the SA government uses and talks about power sharing, do you see them as wanting power sharing or to entrench and maintain their position?

ZS     We maintain that when they talk in terms of power sharing it is one way or the other of maintaining the privileges that they have at the present moment, because they cannot maintain that because of the pressures they are receiving from the oppressed majority of this country. I have problems with equating the SA situation with those of Northern Ireland.

POM     Don't dwell too much on that. In other countries the majority over minority have had complete control over the other groups. I am not using it in that sense.

ZS     Coming back to SA, the main problem here is the question of democratising the society and rule in general. The state in SA wants to maintain those privileges at the expense of the black majority and also using the false name of democracy, power sharing. There will be no question of power sharing in SA. We are not fighting for that. We want a democratic non-racial SA where every individual has got the same rights as any other person.

POM     Will there be a pre-negotiation stage where each side has to get its terminology into line, when the government talks about democracy? It has a whole set of ideas that are different to what you mean when you talk about democracy, like both sides will use the word democracy but they don't mean the same thing.

ZS     Yes, we will have to find a common vocabulary, because there are many things that they say that don't mean the same thing to us. The question of the Bill of Rights, everybody talks about the Bill of Rights for South Africans. The ANC, the PAC and everybody has accepted that. On the other side they have begun to accept that too. But when they talk in terms of the Bill of Rights they want to use the Bill of Rights in order to entrench the privileges of the white people, hence you see the acceleration generally of some processes which were unthinkable before, especially the question of the land, the repeal of the Land Act. They want at the present moment to ensure that a status quo exists whereby the division of the land presently in SA is an accepted fact which is not being questioned by the people of SA. So by the time we come to a constitution that is accepted with a Bill of Rights, they use that Bill of Rights which is entrenched in the constitution in order to preserve the present status quo. Whereas we look into the question of the whole constitution and the democratisation of the whole society in SA, including re-division and redistribution of resources, a land reform process is necessary.

POM     During the past year on the reporting of the violence in SA there has been an increasing tendency for the media in the US and Europe to report it as being Zulu versus Xhosa. In fact The Economist reported in one of its editorials just two weeks ago that the violence between the two groups was really not very different in nature from the violence between the Serbs and the Croatians. Do you reject that characterisation?

ZS     I reject it completely. I think last year when you were here we rejected that whole interpretation because we felt very strongly that the character of the violence was not the same. You can't come into the streets of Soweto and you say I am killing people here because they are Xhosas. You come there and kill people that live in Soweto and most of the time the people might most probably have been Zulu. The revelations more than at the present moment are showing very clearly that the whole question has been used by the South African regime to boost Inkatha to be a player, an important player in the struggle against the ANC by the present government. It has been very clear, if you look at the whole process from Natal where it was Zulu against Zulu, if you want to use it like that, but it was not a democratic process against Inkatha and the SA Police and that this whole process has been transported into the Transvaal. Like they have been trying to transport the same thing into the Cape at the present moment. The democratic movement has not been vigilant as such, I don't know whether that transportation will succeed but so far it has been stopped. The basic question is the division and the weakening of the ANC and using this whole process of Zulu, Xhosa or black on black violence as Gatsha used to call it before, to show that the black majority in this country is divided. I think that this revelation in which President de Klerk and everybody has accepted, including Gatsha himself, completely vindicates our stand.

POM     So there is no doubt in your mind that the revelations of the last couple of weeks that concern absolutely the ANC in the sense that the violence of the last year has been a part of the government strategy of offering the olive branch on the one hand and undermine the ANC on the other?

ZS     It was a double strategy of the government's. The main thing as I said was to weaken if not to destroy the ANC. I think even the government itself, even the statements that they have been making including Gatsha himself and every other person, it is clear that we have been right. If one has been reading the SA papers in the last two weeks, from The Sunday Times, which is violently against the ANC, let's take The Sunday Times column by Ken Owen the week before last when he completely came up with the statement that Inkatha was a puppet of the government. Even Business Day and all other papers say the same. These are the papers that have been very much against the ANC, saying that we are the people who are behind the violence in SA. I think in general our position has been vindicated by the present situation.

POM     Do you think that de Klerk himself has been a party to what is going on or at least had a general knowledge of it, if not a specific knowledge of the details?

ZS     Do you want my personal opinion?

POM     Yes.

ZS     I would find it hard to believe that de Klerk did not know. I think as the head of the SA regime at the present moment he has to be held responsible for the whole situation. That is my personal opinion and I think it is the personal opinion of the majority of our people. You cannot expect Mandela, anything that happens here, in fact some questions have taken place within the whole country here in which generally the whole leadership of the ANC has not been involved, but the SA press has held Mandela responsible for such actions. In a similar situation we have to hold de Klerk responsible for the violence. He did not show any enthusiasm whatsoever to stop it and he was completely biased towards Inkatha right through. But at the same time we should differentiate the actions generally of the SA security management system which he inherited from the past total onslaught policy of PW Botha, which remained within the government which he is in charge of.

ZS     I think as an organisation, the ANC being aware of the implications generally of such a stand, that we should have taken as the ANC, as an organisation, and the role de Klerk has played, it would not be very wise for us to take a stand that implies that he himself is responsible for this violence. I think we should try by all means to give him some leeway to be able to continue to give direction to the whole process of negotiations insofar as the SA regime is concerned. That is why at the present moment the basic thrust of our demands has been away from insisting that he is responsible. We have stuck to our position that we took in the April statement demanding that Vlok and Malan should go and the removal of all the units of the government, the security forces who are responsible should be effected and the removal of all foreign forces which are remaining here in SA, especially around the Transvaal. We have demanded the repatriation of these forces to their own countries and the putting before the courts all the criminals that are involved in this situation. I think that is the general outlook of the ANC. It is based on a collective decision, not on individual opinions.

POM     Obviously the climate of trust between the ANC and the government is at the moment pretty bad.

ZS     Sure it has been. You see there are two situations that are there at the present moment. One of the tasks of the government first of all was to weaken the ANC as much as possible and the second thing is to demystify in the eyes of the SA people the role of Nelson Mandela since his release and also in the eyes of the international community to try to show that he is not as powerful, authoritative and influential as he is supposed to have been. That can be seen from their whole approach, first of all. One example is the way they sabotaged, according to the Sunday papers last week, the call that he made for everybody to give up their arms in Natal and, secondly, the whole approach in which de Klerk has been dealing with matters after he has had confidential talks with Mandela and the way de Klerk has not fulfilled what has been agreed upon. The whole approach is to show who is the boss in SA.

     In general I think the whole approach towards it, the whole spirit in the atmosphere and environment of the past that many people had thought had been achieved between Mandela and de Klerk and subsequently between the ANC and the South Africans is completely gone. New efforts have to be made to bring it back.

POM     Will it take some time to re-establish that level of trust?

ZS     Yes. The bona fides of de Klerk have been completely destroyed in the eyes of the general membership of the ANC. I know a political organisation of the standing of the ANC can go back and talk of de Klerk as a man that somebody can trust but this time I don't think they will do that.

POM     What do you think will be the minimum that the ANC would require to show that the SA government is at least beginning to act in good faith?

ZS     The fulfilment first of all of the agreements that we made with them, from Groote Schuur up to the present moment; the removal of Vlok and Malan.

POM     Do you regard their being demoted as being removal of these two figures?

ZS     No. They have been demoted. Yes it is an admission of guilt but as I said in the beginning, insofar as the South African regime is concerned this is a vindication of the stand that we have taken that there has been something radically wrong and criminal in the approach of the SA regime towards the whole process of negotiation. We have called for the punishment of all the people who are involved in atrocities in SA and we have demanded an all-party commission of enquiry to look at the whole question of funding, violence and basically misuse of funds by the SA regime.

POM     In the end Malan and Vlok must go?

ZS     Yes they must go.

POM     Will the ANC now become even more insistent of the need for an interim government, that de Klerk simply cannot be trusted to be honest?

ZS     Yes. When we said that last year we got a lot of opposition not only from the SA regime but also from the international community, especially the American government. There were even some attempts to influence some of our friends in Africa, but from our experience and our dealings with the SA regime in the past we felt very strongly that they could not be trusted to oversee the whole process of transition in SA. I think in this regard we have been vindicated. We cannot trust the SA regime and it cannot govern alone. It should be a process, a government of national unity. We might not necessarily call it an interim government but a government in which everybody participates.

POM     Would you see the order of sequence being (i) an All-Party conference that draws up the rules of the interim government, the rules for a Constituent Assembly and, (ii) the resignation of the present government and the new interim government taking over and, (iii) then elections for a Constituent Assembly?

ZS     We are calling for an All-Party congress. In this congress we expect at least the acceptance of the broad principles that are supposed to be in the constitution. We expect some discussion of how security should be continued during the period of transition and we expect a deeper analysis generally on the electoral process for a Constituent Assembly. Of course we expect that some agreement out of that, some agreement in which there would be a government of national unity that would come out of the All-Party Congress which will administer SA during the time of the whole process of constitution writing. Of course there has been no clear agreement on how the whole question of the CA delegates should be handled. I think that is one of the questions that ought to be cleared by the All-Party congress.

POM     Some NP members have said to us that the ANC wants a CA elected by the British system, the first past the post wins the seat, as distinct from proportional representation.

ZS     That is not true, they know that very well unless they are ignorant. We even invited them to our conference that we had on the electoral system where we suggested proportional representation, not because we feel we would not be able to win through 'first past the post' but simply because we felt that almost everybody should participate and be part and parcel of the process. That is why in fact the whole process was discussed amongst us whether we should take the proportions that are there in other countries, like 5% in West Germany. There is a general feeling that we shall declare a little bit lower in SA, up to 3% or 2½% because we want everybody to participate. It is better when they are within the whole process than when they are out.

POM     What is the fallout of Inkathagate, leaving aside the obvious one that the government was the loser, that the ANC was the winner? Where does it leave Inkatha and in particular Buthelezi?

ZS     You see this whole question vindicated our stand to the effect that Inkatha has always been, in our opinion, under the auspices of the SA regime. But as I said, there has been some discussion, there has been some debate amongst us whether we should not accept Inkatha as Inkatha. There has been an acceptance that we cannot wish it away at the present moment and that Gatsha Buthelezi has to be given a chance to test his popularity amongst the people of SA. That has been the stand that we were putting across and working on. Within the ANC it was very difficult to sell to your people and especially to people in Natal, people who have suffered from violence, but that thing has not been discussed again since these revelations. We have not discussed what the attitude of the broad democratic movement would be within that.

     As you are aware, there have been even moves to the effect that Inkatha should be part of the patriotic front. The PAC in Harare had volunteered and had been given the green light by the ANC to talk to Inkatha, to ask them to participate in the PF, but as you are aware at the present moment they have completely rejected that and I think even the PAC is beginning to, according to the statement that they issued, revise their position insofar as that issue is concerned. But I would say at the present moment irrespective of that, one thing that has been vindicated in as far as our stand is concerned is that Inkatha is an arm, an instrument, a creation, a creature of the SA regime and it cannot extricate itself from that. Inkatha lacks legitimacy and Buthelezi, even the patriotic feelings that are there even amongst some of the Bantustan leaders.

POM     It is really very hard to envisage a situation in which there would be a meeting between the Mass Liberation Movements and Inkatha. Where does Inkatha sit at the table? Would it be on the side of the NP or on the side of the liberation movements?

ZS     I think we have both heard that the stand that Gatsha has been taking has been trying to make himself understood and accepted as independent of the NP and to a very large extent he worked hard to do that with some bit of success with the assistance of the mass media in this country and internationally. But after this scandal it is not possible. Generally he is unacceptable to many people, but as far as the ANC and as far as I am concerned I think if Inkatha wants to join in the elections and stand alone it can do so. We are aware that from certain quarters whereby Inkatha and some certain Coloureds from the tricameral parliamentary black parties, there are moves that they should join the NP and jointly form a government. We don't know how far true that is but if they do so it would be doing a Muzorewa act in SA.

POM     After the meeting this year between Mandela and Buthelezi again the international media talk of having three major players, Buthelezi, de Klerk and Mandela. But, do you believe that has been altered and maybe has been diminished to a certain extent, that he is now seen as a puppet of de Klerk, not a player of any status?

ZS     That is quite correct. In fact he lacks the legitimacy to be a leader amongst our people. The general feeling is that he is more nearer a favourite of the government more than any of the other Bantustan leaders and in fact that is what they have been voicing. While they suffer from lack of cash to run their Bantustans our research suggests that Inkatha has had more resources at its disposal than any of the others. There are complaints from all of them that they are not treated even-handedly by the SA government.

POM     One thing that I am trying to clear from year to year is the evolution of any of the government's idea of majority rule, or the government's idea of the kind of government structure that it will settle for. The question I asked last was whether or not you think the government has accepted one man one vote universal franchise and the inevitability of black majority rule. When I say black majority I will tell you what I mean, I mean that you would have an ANC that would be comprised of Africans, Coloureds, Indians and whites, just like your Executive Committee in proportions that blacks would in effect dominate, not dominate but would be in the majority. Do you believe that the government of the NP expects the inevitability of that?

ZS     I don't think they do as far as I am concerned. First of all let me stress very clearly, the NP has not come out openly and clearly on what it wants constitutionally more than whatever it has come up with so far. We were promised late last year that by December/January Judge Olivier's proposal would be out and we have been waiting for them. I was asking them last week about it, asking when they are coming back to us. I have not been able to get him in his office as well. So, so far the government accepts statements of individuals within the SA regime, Gerrit Viljoen sometimes and sometimes de Klerk himself are among the few that have come out to say what they want but they have not been as clear as the ANC is on its positions.

     As far as we are concerned, from what they have said so far, they still, although they are not so firm as they used to be on group rights, but there seems to be some desire to ensure that the privileges of the whites are not threatened by majority rule or democracy as such and they would like to entrench that in the new constitution. They would like to maintain that through different mechanisms. One of them is that although they have accepted that there should be one person one vote insofar as the lower House of Parliament is concerned, but they would like at the same time to have a second chamber in which these interests, their interests, the interests of the white privileged group are protected through a veto by any of the different racial groups in SA, in which whites would have the right to veto anything, in which blacks in general would have equal representation with the Coloured community.

     In other words, the basic principle would be blacks would get a parliament which would be very weak. We would not be in a position to carry out redistribution and empowerment of the black majority. Laws that we would pass could always be vetoed by the higher house, Senate, or whatever they call it. These are some of the things that are coming up. Of course generally, as I said before, all this centres around the questions of the economy and the question of preserving their status.

POM     So, do you see them as trying to write into the constitution provisions that would protect the structure of the economy and their own economic interests. The impression that has been conveyed to us by the NP people that we have talked to again goes back to they see power sharing where they would be a junior partner.

ZS     Where have they ever seen that? What they want to ensure is that there are some whites representing their interests in parliament, not only in parliament but also in the Cabinet.

POM     That would be unacceptable?

ZS     Where has that ever happened anywhere in the world? We will all go and vote and if we win the majority, unless we are in coalition with them which would be something else, but if it were a democratic process of voting, one person one vote, and winning over power and majority in parliament, I don't think why we should. If we give them, for instance, some seats in the Cabinet why should we not give that same privilege to Mangope in Bophuthatswana or Gatsha or someone else? Why should whites be special?

POM     One member of your NEC with whom we talked put it very bluntly and said, "What this process is about is stripping whites of their power and they know it". The question is that would you echo this sentiment without using the words?

ZS     The main task of the whole process should be the democratisation of SA and redistribution of resources to all South Africans. But also at the same time ensuring that we look into the concerns of the white community of this country, whom we need. How we do that is something else. I don't think it can be written into the constitution as far as we are concerned. Those are some of the things that people have to look into. They have to be negotiated and discussed with the SA regime and other parties.

POM     When you look at the progress of the ANC in the last year, from abroad at least, it appears to follow a zigzag course, they would set deadlines for things, deadlines would pass, they would make demands and state again deadlines for those. It seemed that the initiative appeared to be in the hands of the government.

ZS     That is exactly the problem. That is exactly because the SA regime is in control of power at the present moment and is using it in order to ensure that what it agrees with is carried out. There is a deeply ingrained mistrust of different ... amongst the blacks in this country and despite whatever agreements we might have had, I think most of which have been brought about by the influence of Mandela, but generally I don't think the statement that de Klerk is a man of integrity was ever really accepted by the vase majority of us, including ANC members. But even at that time the majority of the people felt very clearly that Mandela should be given a chance and also de Klerk. Possibly they could come up with a solution for the SA problem. I think that mistrust of de Klerk and the white regime in SA has been vindicated insofar as SA is concerned.

     So, especially, as I said before, in carrying out the agreements that have been made we accepted at face value what de Klerk had said would happen. First of all the release of political prisoners, the removal of all repressive laws, and the return of exiles. Instead of him carrying out these agreements the whole question of violence was intensified against the ANC. It is quite clear there were two options left for us at the time. Either we said let them all go to hell, let's continue what we are doing and fight and forget about the whole process of negotiations, or we could by all means use the space that we had won through the struggle of our people in order to broaden our influence among our people. It seems very, very clear that despite the elusiveness and the way in which the de Klerk administration did not stick to the agreements, the best thing for the ANC was to ensure that we deepen our contact with our people and our organisational ability within SA and also strengthen ourselves through the mass support that we had. Of course it is quite true from an outsider's point of view because there are two constituencies that we had. These were the constituencies of the people that had been directly involved in carrying out the struggle in this country and most of them had been victims of apartheid, that is mainly the question of the release of political prisoners and the return of exiles. It is quite clear that the de Klerk administration has not been carrying that out. It is quite clear that the ANC leadership has been under terrible pressure from the membership of the ANC inside the country and also from the people from the two other constituencies that is the exiles and the political prisoners.

     The aim of this dishonesty by the regime is to erode the authority influence and the integrity of the ANC and its leadership insofar as our people and membership are concerned. This has been coming also from outside, not only from America, but also from other borders. On the basis of the foregoing the ANC has been on a zigzag course.

POM     Do you think now that you have a new executive and working group in place, a new leadership structure, that less of that kind of zigzagging will happen in the future?

ZS     First of all the ANC has rooted itself in SA. We are not depending on a leadership that was elected about 30-40 years ago. People feel very strongly about those that they have elected, who are people that they know. As such they would be accountable to the people. So, I think it was resolved at our conference that positions that were accepted by the conference would be carried out by the present NEC and there would be less of the zigzag that has been observed.

POM     Do you think too that because of the revelations of the past couple of weeks and your confirmation in your viewpoint about what the government was up to, that you will have a more sceptical attitude? That is, if you set a deadline for something and it is not met you would be less likely to find the government explanation of it reasonable?

ZS     As I said, the SA government by its tactics has made things a little bit difficult for our relationship. We would be right when we say we cannot trust them. We are quite clear that at the present moment what we have got to do is to ensure that the whole process of negotiation continues and that we expect de Klerk to say the same thing. By so doing one thing that has happened is that while in the past we thought that some of the problems that SA faces which are peculiar to SA could be solved without the involvement of the international community, I think from my personal point of view at the present moment some of the demands that we put forward in the Harare Declaration for more involvement of the international community, especially in observing and monitoring the process inside SA, is very necessary at the moment because as far as I am concerned, and I think quite a number of our people, the de Klerk administration cannot be trusted and it is the injection of that external factor that would ensure that the whole process of negotiation is exonerated. I don't think dragging our feet on the process of negotiations is going to be useful to any of the parties concerned because the situation in the country is deteriorating very fast. Compared to what it was when I came here in June last year it is now very bad . Many people are losing their jobs, the violence which was not only planned by the de Klerk administration but also the criminal elements have made use of it to a large extent and if the economy of this country continues to decline then one can expect worse things to come. So the acceleration of the whole process of negotiation and the solution of the whole problem in SA is very useful and necessary for all parties concerned, not only the ANC but the SA regime itself.

POM     When you came back you must have had certain hopes and expectations. In the year that has passed, have they been met or not met, is it more difficult than you thought?

ZS     As I said to you, there is a general feeling among ordinary ANC members that one could not trust the SA regime. I remember in Lusaka everybody had been looking at their performance, not only during this period but from the beginning of our history with them, the history of colonialism and apartheid in SA, how they have never met any of our agreements with them and we did not expect them to fulfil Groote Schuur. I am talking about the ordinary ANC member in SA. As I said to you earlier, since Mandela had so much confidence in this situation the leadership of the ANC said let us give them a chance. So, when we came back we had that feeling of giving them a chance. Unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, it was dashed at the airport when we were all arrested and kept there for 48 hours until a lot of negotiations had been completed. But despite that when we saw the feelings of our people here we just got involved in the whole thing. But as I said to you, when the question of the violence started and especially when it started in the Transvaal where it had never existed before, and the way it was clear that some of the people who were carrying out the violence were not necessarily Inkatha, they were SAP and some of them foreigners, it became very clear that the S A regime could not be trusted.

     It also became clear that the only answer for the ANC was either to go back to the bush, to the armed struggle, or to strengthen ourselves politically and ensure that the negotiation process continues. So the whole feeling was that the whole process of negotiations is a struggle in itself. We do not think that the SA regime will necessarily give up power. Our only answer is to ensure that we strengthen ourselves amongst our own people. I think as the situation stands at the present moment we feel very strongly that we were morally right and that de Klerk, like all white leaders, is not to be trusted, I mean his regime, that his regime has a double agenda. It is up to his administration at the moment to prove that it can be trusted.

POM     Realistically there could be no going back to the armed struggle, is that the position?

ZS     I don't think, personally, there can be anything that we would get out of that at the present moment. But we cannot give that up so easily. The ANC has a strong cadreship of people who can fight, who are trained to do that. But I don't think it can be the main element of our strategy at the present moment.

POM     Realistically at this point the government has no other option except negotiations. Do you agree with this view?

ZS     No they don't.

POM     In that sense do you think the process is irreversible?

ZS     I would not say it is irreversible. If we could trust the SA regime I would say it is irreversible. There are many ways in which they could build our confidence in them. They could, for instance, ensure that the exiles return, ensure that Vlok and his henchmen are removed, ensure that all the criminals that have been involved in the atrocities against blacks are punished and put up an all-party commission of enquiry into the question of misuse of funds and the question of the violence in SA and the involvement of the SA government and security forces in this. It is quite clear to all of us that Gatsha has been a tool that was used by them.

POM     Finally, the Conservative Party and the AWB. A year ago there was a lot of apprehension about a possible right wing backlash and they don't appear to have materialised in the form of a manner which has increased support for the CP. Do you think the CP as a player increasingly stands to become irrelevant unless it comes into the process? Could the process just go on and leave them behind?

ZS     I do not want to give you a positive answer and say they are irrelevant but I think we would wish that the CP would participate in the whole process of negotiation just in the same way we have been saying to other black groups like the PAC and AZAPO and all of them that it is not very useful to stand outside and shout and that the best way is to get involved. I think for the CP it would be very useful for them to become part and parcel of the process. I cannot say they are irrelevant because we have not had a chance to test de Klerk's popularity within the blacks, especially after all the recent crises within the white community of SA.

POM     Say some last thing that lets us leave here on an optimistic note.

ZS     I would say the best thing that we can do at the present moment for all parties is to ensure that the negotiating process does proceed and proceeds as fast as possible because the more we drag our feet, the more problems we will encounter. The basic question at the moment is not only the question of the removal of obstacles but to ensure that the real process of constitutional negotiations starts. That is the duty not only of the ANC but of all South Africans in general and those who have patriotic feelings towards this country.

POM     Thank you very much.

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.