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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

26 Jul 1991: Mabizela, Stanley

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POM     For the record, could you identify yourself and the position you hold in the ANC?

SM     My name is Stanley Mabizela, a member of the ANC, and I work for the Department of International Affairs as Deputy Head.

POM     Just when we walked in the door, you said that you are more troubled than you were at the time when we were here on our last visit could you expand a little bit on that?

SM     I think we are going through very difficult times.  The last time when I told you about the difficulties we were encountering I think I cited the obstacles that were still there in the way of negotiations. But I also indicated to you that there was a new obstacle, namely violence.  You know how this violence has been characterised? Either as violence that is Zulu versus Xhosa, or a violence between the ANC and Inkatha, or black on black violence.  For a long time we have been indicating, both locally and internationally, that this violence is a planned and orchestrated violence, that the masterminds of this violence are to be found in the government departments of defence and the police.

     I may indicate to you that we were not guessing.  We were speaking from factual information even then.  This is a matter which we have discussed with government at the highest level and that is why Mr  Mandela has, now and again, spoken openly about this issue, because he has raised it himself with the government.  But everything was done to discredit that information. Of course we have suffered a lot of bombardments, particularly from the media, both locally and internationally.  Some of these governments know about this, because we have briefed some embassies that we work with.  They knew what we were briefing them about.  But these embassies, who actually represent their governments, insisted that no matter what the case is, we must not scuttle the talks between us and the South African government.  So if we did not behave in an angry manner in the past, it was because of some sound advice received from friendly governments and organisations.  And of course, we ourselves are committed to the process of solving the South African apartheid problem peacefully.

     So we have persevered despite all those difficulties.  These are the very things we persevere and it continues to be a very, very painful perseverance for us as we talk because we have got to persevere over the corpses of our people.  This is the most painful obstacle we are encountering.  We have, and continue to encounter in this process towards a peaceful resolution of the apartheid problem.  But last week, fortunately last week, independent researchers came out with the truth, that the ANC has always tried to indicate to the world, that the source of the violence in South Africa are government departments.  The two government departments that I have already referred to.  Very, very, very embarrassing information came out.

POM     Which two? Which pieces of documentation are you referring to?

SM     Well, the two newspapers came up with two revelations, the Weekly Mail came out with the role of the police and Inkatha in this question of violence.  They revealed in detail what is going on, including money channelled by the government through the police to Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) for such activities as rallies, etc.  This is what is called slush funds.  The question is, how much really has the government given to Inkatha in order that Inkatha should perpetrate this violence?  The other newspaper which came out with the role of the Defence Force (SADF), is the newspaper called The New Nation.  They revealed very frightening information.  In fact, much as we knew about these things, we ourselves perhaps we don't know some of the things that are revealed by these two newspapers, and today of course you come to SA to find a very embarrassed government, a very embarrassed Inkatha, particularly the Inkatha leader, who is trying to deny knowledge of these slush funds that have been made available to him and his organisation by the security forces.

POM     What kind of political impact do you think this will have on Buthelezi's standing and on Inkatha itself?

SM     I have no doubt, that many people in Inkatha itself know what kind of a person Buthelezi is.  You know, Patrick, many people are members of Inkatha for their own personal interests.  You cannot get a job in that Bantustan of KwaZulu without being a member of Inkatha.  You cannot get even a teacher's post in KwaZulu.  You cannot even put your children into a school in KwaZulu Bantustan unless first and foremost you and your family join, or take out Inkatha membership.  So, as far as I am concerned, this revelation that Inkatha is actually an agent of the South African apartheid regime is really going to downgrade that organisation in the eyes, not only of Inkatha members, but in the eyes of the South Africa public.  There is no doubt about it.  I am happy to say that, the ANC is today a vindicated organisation.  Once more they will know that the ANC is a popular organisation and we love to be truthful about ourselves and to be open.

POM     Ever since Mandela and Buthelezi met, at least internationally there was more talk of there now being three main actors on the stage, Buthelezi, Mandela and De Klerk.  What do you think this does to Buthelezi's position in the negotiating process?

SM     Well, I don't know about what it does to him personally, I don't know how he sees himself today.  But, as far as the ANC is concerned, we will not stand in the way of Buthelezi coming to the All-Party or Multi-Party conference, which is going to be discussion on the question of a future constitution.  The ANC will not stand in the way.  It will not be the ANC that will judge Inkatha, it will be the people of South Africa who will judge and decide as to what shall be future standing of Inkatha in the eyes of our people.

POM     Yesterday Mandela gave a very reconciliatory interview about the information concerning the funding of Inkatha.  My question is, if you have this kind of incontrovertible evidence that the security forces are working to destabilise the ANC, that the government is following a double agenda, how can you even have a negotiating process?

SM     This is why I said from the very beginning that we are going through very difficult times.  The road to negotiations is very bumpy.  We now know for a fact that Mr  Buthelezi is a real puppet of the South African regime, obviously a big collaborator with the security forces of South Africa.  This is where we shall place him, this is where we shall categorise him.  He is really the enemy of the people of South Africa.  We are busy fighting for the liberation of our people, he is a stumbling block. He is with the forces that are trying to derail the process of liberation.  He is naturally the enemy of the people of South Africa.  We are opposed to his current regime.  So the first step which we are taking now, we are omitting him from the Patriotic Front process that I am talking to you about.  He is not part of the liberation process at all.  He will decide his own position, we shall not block his entry, or his participation in the All-Party Conference, or the Multi-Party Conference, where we are to draw up the new constitution.  We shall not block him.  But we know where he belongs.  We regard ourselves, the ANC/PAC and other organisations, as the representatives of the people of South Africa.  But we don't see him in the same light.

POM     Let me interrupt you there for just a second.

SM     Let me answer another point, you said when Mandela addressed a press conference about Buthelezi, he was very conciliatory. This has been his position since he came out of jail; very reconciliatory towards people, who in the past, have worked with the South African regime.  We have been to all Bantustans by now, except Mangope.  He has met all Bantustan leaders, except Mr Mangope of Bophuthatswana.  And we have won the confidence of most of these Bantustan leaders.  The only leaders who so far have opposed us are Mr  Gatsha Buthelezi and Mr Mangope of Bophuthatswana.  So if you speak about conciliatory voice from Mr Mandela, that is the position which we assumed from the beginning.

POM     Is it the belief of the ANC that Mr De Klerk knows of what is going on here?

SM     I don't know.  I think we have difficulties to understand De Klerk. Mr Mandela believes that Mr De Klerk is a man of integrity.  Now you know I have a lot of respect for Mandela but I have difficulty to accept this statement without qualification.  How is it that a head of state cannot know what is going on in his own government departments?  A head of state normally has access to what is called intelligence information.  How is it that he does not know?  However, what I want to say is that I believe that Mr De Klerk wants to carry forward the process of negotiating a new and democratic constitution with the leadership of the people of South Africa, the genuine leaders.  But I believe personally, and this is my opinion, that he has problems.  I don't think that he is in control of certain departments within his government, I don't think he has control.  Otherwise, how is it that these people have as yet not been dismissed?  We sent him an open letter in April, in which we pointed out what is going on. What is it that we are demanding.  Two of our demands were that the Minister of Police, Mr Adriaan Vlok, and the Minister of Defence, Mr Magnus Malan, should be sacked because they are at the root of this violence.  There is an expression which is sometimes used in ANC circles when we try to explain this violence, they will say, "Yes, there is black on black violence, but there is a white hand that controls this black on black violence."  I think we have been vindicated by this independent organisation or researchers that have come out with the truth.

POM     What would be the minimum that De Klerk has to do to have the negotiating process revitalised?

SM     There are three obstacles that now remain.  Mr De Klerk has not moved on the demands of the Harare Declaration of August 1989 and the UN Consensus Declaration of 14 December 1989, except on three obstacles.  The third one really is a new obstacle which is not in those declarations.  He has not yet released all political prisoners.  He has, as yet, not allowed all exiles to return.  He has indemnified about 8000, of all that 8000 about 7000 indemnified people are still outside.  Less than 1000 of the people who have been indemnified have returned home.

POM     So, how many exiles would there be altogether?

SM     He has indemnified about 8000 and less than 1000 have returned and a little over 7000 are still outside.  But the most difficult obstacle is this one of violence.  How do you continue negotiating for a new constitution when your own people are being killed by certain organs within the government, using of course, surrogate forces?  Because in addition to the use of Inkatha as an organisation or a party in this violence, there are mercenaries this country which fall under the Department of Defence.   Here I am referring to the Selous Scouts, which were a killer organisation of the army of Ian Smith, or Rhodesia, or the then Rhodesia.  I refer here to Koevoet, a killer squad from Namibia; I refer to Buffalo Battalion 32, who are Angolan.  These are former military people.  There is also the Bushman Battalion which is based in the Northern Cape outside the South of Kimberley.  We have Renamo here as you well know. Renamo is controlled from many circles in a minimum of three areas.  One of the sections of Renamo has always been controlled by South Africa, trained, equipped and controlled by the SADF. They are all here, and these people are playing a part in the massacre of our people.  All they have to do is to put on a red band around their neck and call themselves Inkatha.  Inkatha has never disapproved of the use of their symbol in the massacre of our people in the townships.

POM     The Economist, which has always been a very influential magazine in Europe and the United States, in an editorial said that the violence between the Xhosas and Zulus was really no different from that between the Serbs and Croatians.  Do you concur?

SM     That statement is untrue and I reject it.  It is not based on facts.  There has never been a Xhosa-Zulu encounter here in Johannesburg where the feud is taking place.  The fight has been confined to the townships around Johannesburg and certain areas of Natal.  The people who have died in Natal are all Zulu.  In Johannesburg, it is a mixed population of Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Sotho, Shangaan, every population group in Johannesburg, in the townships of Johannesburg.  And when these Inkatha people have attacked the townships, they have never tried to look for Xhosas.  They have killed Zulus in Johannesburg, people that are travelling, suddenly, unexpectedly, sometimes this is very early in the morning, around about five am.  How would you tell the difference in features between Zulu and Xhosa?  They look alike.  Just like between Zulu and Shangaan, they look alike, or Zulu and Sotho, they look alike.  So that statement is utterly untrue.  Every nationality, every tribe has died in this violence.

POM     Why do you think a magazine as influential and respected as The Economist would make a statement like that?

SM     I don't know.  As you say, this newspaper, or news magazine, is a respected one in Europe and in America.  We also hold it in high esteem.  It has come to me as a surprise that such a statement could have come from The Economist.  They didn't research their information, and I repeat that that piece of information is utterly untrue.

POM     Let us talk of a larger question, that is the nature of the problem itself.  On the one hand you have people who would say, and this includes many academics, that South Africa is a deeply divided society, a divided society in the sense that the term is used with regard to Northern Ireland or even other countries in Africa or in Asia, because there are deep racial, deep ethnic cleavages, where one ethnic group tries to dominate over the other.  And then there is the definition of the conflict as one where the majority black population has been oppressed by the minority white population, and that negotiations would probably bring to an end that oppression.  How do you characterise the problem? How can people who disagree what their problem is, sit at a table to resolve a problem, when you don't agree on the nature of the problem?

SM     You know Patrick, I don't agree with you.  The Nationalist Party in particular, tries to promote the question of division amongst the black people of South Africa.  Only I have the word of the South African government itself to say apartheid has failed.  What we need to do is to recognise each other in South Africa as South Africans and build a democratic state.  United as one.

     The Nationalist Party, the current government party, did everything to divide the people ethnically, and this division has created what are called Bantustans.  Where the Xhosas were ruling themselves, in fact the Xhosas were divided into two Bantustans called Transkei and Ciskei, the same people.  So they were not even honest about dividing people ethnically.  Some ethnic groups were divided into two.  They created a Zulu Bantustan, which consisted of about, I don't know about how many patches of land.  Most of the barren parts of Natal Province being called the Bantustan. They created Bophuthatswana for the Tswana people and so on.  But these experiments have failed dismally.  And the ANC as an organisation reflects the failure of ethnicity.  In the African National Congress, we have got members from all the groups and ethnicity plays no part in the ANC.  And the organisations of the world against this strategy of ethnicity as promoted by the apartheid regime have the biggest confidence of the people of South Africa.  The ANC goes everywhere in South Africa, and we attract huge crowds in the stadiums.  Gatsha Buthelezi, a proponent of apartheid and Bantustanism, if he is lucky at most he gets about 8000 people into a stadium.

     All the Bantustan leaders are disgraced people.  I mean out of the ten Bantustans in South Africa only two have refused to join the ANC and join the other Bantustan leaders who have thrown their weight behind the ANC.  That is very significant today.  It needs an analysis of the two Bantustan leaders who have refused to join the ANC, and further to work for the transformation of South Africa into a democratic state.

     You see, the leaders of these two Bantustans do not have the confidence of their people.  I think we command more following amongst the Zulus, we the ANC, than Gatsha Buthelezi.  We even have a Prince of the Zulu royal family in the leadership of the ANC.  He was elected in our Congress recently in Durban, popularly, and this is Prince Mcwayizeni Kazulu.  If Mcwayizeni is an uncle of the current Zulu King, when this King, his name is Goodwill Zwelithini, when he was a boy, when he was a minor it was Prince Mcwayizeni who acted as the Regent for him.  And of course, when the King agreed with these policies of Bantustanism, he left and came to join the ANC when we were unbanned last year.  And today Prince Mcwayizeni Kazulu is a leader of the ANC, and I recognise him as I recognise any of our other leaders in the African National Congress.

     Now let us take the second question, why is Gatsha Buthelezi persisting with Bantustan politics?  He is anti-ANC.  My own opinion is this, Gatsha Buthelezi gained tremendously from the apartheid regime.  He gained.  He is a very rich man today, a multi-millionaire from what I am told.  He is the owner, one example, he is the owner of six, not a fleet, fleets of buses in the province of Natal.  He profited.  I don't know whether perhaps when he looks into the future he feels insecure.  I don't know.  But, you take the other Bantustans.  There is a lot of fighting in Bophuthatswana.  At one time, this leader of Bophuthatswana, his name is Mangope, he was overthrown by his own police and army, and was reinstated by the South African army. He is in power, he is supported by the South African army,  in other words, the South African government.  He too happens to be the leader of a Bantustan which is rich in minerals.  I am told he too is very rich.  But you can't say the same of the other Bantustans, like Transkei, Ciskei, Venda.  These are poor lands.  Leaders of Bantustans of barren areas of South Africa.  Bantustanism has got nothing and they think the ANC is coming with the answer.  And so in the ANC group we have the following throughout the country, even in the Bantustans themselves.

     So, that is my position, I do not believe that there is any division in South Africa along ethnic lines.  There is no antagonism, for instance, between races.  Lets take for instance the Xhosas and the Zulus.  You know they are divided by a river.  This river is called Umzimvubu.  This is a border between Natal, which is chiefly populated by the Zulus, and the Transkei which is the beginning of the Xhosa area.  There is peace in that area.  There is no conflict in that area.  The people cross that river all the time visiting each other because by virtue of being border people, they have intermarried there.  There is no conflict at all in the area where the Zulus and Xhosa live side by side.  So when you call it ethnic conflict, you are trying to divide our people where the government of apartheid has failed abysmally.  Our people think of themselves as one, and they want to be one nation.  And in this one nation they want to include people of foreign origins like the Indians, like the Europeans, the British, French, and so on.  So I think that argument does not hold water at all.

POM     How have you assessed the ANC's performance over the last year?  Again in the United States it often seems that the ANC was making demands and deadlines that passed and somehow the initiative seemed to be in the hands of De Klerk. But on the other hand there was acknowledgement at your own national conference that the ANC had had trouble attracting Indians and coloureds and people in rural areas and that they were becoming more and more perceived as an urban-African party?

SM     Patrick, the ANC has got its strong points, but we also have our weak points.  Patrick, it has been a very, very difficult fifteen months.  I think we were fifteen months back in the country when we had our National Congress in Durban from the 2nd to the 7th July 1991. At that Congress the official state of memberships amounted to 760,000 paid up membership; I am not talking about following or supporters, but paid up membership.  There are two things about the ANC as far as building a strong organisation, we are not going to aim at an organisation which is going to have a paid up membership of about three million, one million.  What the ANC aims at is to build a very efficient organisation.  Because one thing we know is that once the numbers are very big, it becomes very difficult to manage an organisation.  So, as far as membership of the ANC is concerned, we are going to aim at efficiency, at competence organisationally.

     Now, let's just examine what the ANC has been up against since our return.  The moment we returned to SA last year May, the first meeting between us and the government was from the 2nd or 3rd to the 5th of May 1990.  That is when our work began to re-establish ourselves.  From that time onwards our organisation had to conduct negotiations with the government; talk to business people, talk to our people, talk to leaders of Bantustans, coloureds, Indians.  All this worked towards the re-establishment of the ANC on the ground.  Re-establishment of the ANC means for the ANC that we must have structures that reach right down to the grassroots of our people.  Our policies are based all the time on how our people see this programme.  We consult all the time.

     Given the level of violence which was unleashed upon our people by the third force, I personally cannot blame the ANC for whatever strengths and weaknesses it has displayed.  It may have been a weakness on our part to have concentrated on Africans, I think this is what happened, instead of concentrating equally on all the population groups.  But I think that possibly was our weakness why we have lost membership, but we do not have as many whites in the ANC as perhaps we should.  The same applies to the Indians.  The same possibly applies to the coloureds.  I think concentration of membership was on Africans.  We have done well at that level.  But when we assessed this membership of 760,000, we recognised that there are not as many Indians or coloureds or whites as we should be having in the ANC.  We have a considerable number of membership in all these other nationalities and we recognise that weakness and we have resolved it.  We decided in the conference to put more emphasis on recruiting and attracting these other three nationalities into our organisation.

POM     What about personally, you've been back now since July, when you arrived back you must have had certain hopes and expectations?  What has happened to you personally through the year?

SM     We are under no illusions.  We did not come here trusting the Nationalist Party government.  We are treating, and this is the official position, we are treating the current stage as a terrain of struggle, except that it has taken a new character.  The struggle has take the character of a peaceful struggle instead of guns and explosions.  I am under no illusion because there are forces, still there are forces all around us, a few of our people have been killed by these forces.  I have counted to you the type of people that are used to kill us.  And many of our people have died since we returned.  We have condemned these kinds of killings.  We condemn the violence and we have done a lot, even when have gone into the type of talks, you know, the type of serious efforts to stop the violence as the ANC has done.  Gatsha is not concerned.  He reached an agreement with us, but when it comes to its implementation, it has been the ANC which has been struggling to implement peace and end violence in South Africa.  We have worked hard.  We are featuring even in funerals.  We visit people in hospitals.  Helped people to bury their dead, that type of thing.  No other organisation does that.  And that is why our people have got confidence in us.  They have confidence.  But even in this current situation we know what who are the culprits.  We are going to go back to De Klerk and say we have been telling you to stop the violence because you have the capacity.  And we will ask him, now that your men have been exposed, how is it that you continue to keep them?  I don't think that we will disrupt the talks, because already we can see, it is not difficult to see that the only time when this violence will be stopped is when a government representative of the majority of the people of South Africa has taken power.  We are going to continue.  We will talk to him and continue to say these things. It is one of the things that we are working on.

POM     Continue to talk to him and negotiate if Vlok and Malan are not sacked?

SM     Yes, we might even do that.  But there is a need to take another look at this situation.  And I think our people are very, very objective.  I think by that time we shall be knowing more about De Klerk himself inside that government and we shall take the decision, whatever decision we are going to take, on the basis of our assessments.  We want the change.  We have been the ones who initiated the transformation, even though through the hostility of the press in SA, people are beginning, particularly overseas, people are beginning to see the change as being brought about by Mr De Klerk.  It is an unfortunate perception.  We are the initiators of this transformation.  I will say why it may not be the right thing for us to deviate from that position, it will be a principled position.

POM     If again this week the ANC reiterates its demand that Vlok and Malan go and then next week, well, you let it slide again, we will continue to talk to you, it seems to be result of a weak and indecisive leadership, that you are taking a back-stand.  My point is that if the on the other hand the ANC insists that before the negotiating process can continue, talks between the government and the ANC, on a constitutional settlement, Vlok and Malan must be fired and measures taken to end the violence in the townships.  If that is your position this week and then next week you say, "Well, the important thing is to get on with it, the sooner we can conclude negotiations the better", so you are not worried about that, you talk to the government and that would be seen as having a public posture and then having a different negotiating posture.  I believe you are open to the accusation of

SM     I understand your position, but whoever has been involved in negotiations of this nature, the history of Africa is full of this experience.  In matters of this nature you cannot avoid compromise, and our people understand the position of the leaders of the ANC very, very well.  You cannot win 100% in issues of this nature.  You must make concessions, you must make compromises, and this is what ultimately leads to your goals.

     And so the ANC will call for the resignation of Malan and Vlok, but we shall not make that a matter of principle.  If we feel that we can reach our goals by compromising and lead our country to democracy, that to us will be more important than destroying all the good work which we have achieved up till now.  Because if we turn our backs on the negotiating process, what shall we have reaped from that?  Because we can only prolong letting the racists rule SA.  We can only prolong what we want to get away from.

POM     Do you think that at this point, the process is irreversible because the only option open to both sides is to negotiate?

SM     No, I don't think you can say that.  In fact the process is in danger of being reversed by people like Magnus Malan and Adriaan Vlok who command the security forces.

POM     Could a point be reached, if things don't improve, where the ANC might consider resorting to the armed struggle again?

SM     The only thing which could make the ANC resort to the armed struggle is if what has been achieved so far is reversed.  We are very worried, we do not know what is the agenda of Magnus Malan in particular.  Magnus Malan the Minister of Defence.  All the other ministries are making the necessary reforms and changes and preparations for change.  Magnus Malan has not moved an inch.  He rejects, for instance, the integration of the ANC army, uMkhonto we Sizwe into the South African Defence Force outright.  And that is why I say I do not know what is the agenda of Magnus Malan in all that is going on.  All other ministries are beginning allowances, making changes, reform, preparations for change, but not the SA army.  That is one area which could reverse the whole process unilaterally. I want to emphasise that as long we can continue forward, then the ANC will move for that goal that is moving forward.

POM     Two questions.  You mentioned the experience of African nations in attaining their freedom, is it actually true that since 1967 power has never passed from one elected government to another elected government in Africa, where parties in power have instituted one party states and even where there have been free elections it's been in places like Botswana where one group is so big that it has a permanent monopoly of power?  What do you think would make SA different?

SM     Because of the kind of constitution that we are propagating.  I don't know whether you have seen the ANC documents on the future constitution.  There is a constitution for SA based on one man one vote, and in the constitution the human rights, and all other kinds of rights, are stipulated and guaranteed in a Bill of Rights.  To make sure that nobody is denied by the state, that Bill Of Rights will be defended by an independent judiciary, as opposed to the present kind of judiciary you have in SA, and one of the things we stipulate is that SA will be a multi-party system of government so that the people of SA will have the right to throw out any government which is letting them down.  Fortunately in SA there is no single group which can dominate the government.  You will see when the figures ultimately come out.  When a proper census is done in the future you will find that the Zulus and the Xhosas are probably the same in numbers.  But that can be neutralised by other groups. There is a third nationality, incidentally, the Sothos, which could be the same number as the Zulus or the Xhosas.  In addition to that, we have go other nationalities here.  We have got the white nationality, consisting of multi nationals from Europe, you've got about two and a half million of coloureds and about two million Indians.  So that it is going to depend on what each party gets; tribal parties are not going to be a success but those parties that transcend race or nationalities are going to be the determining factors.  We are not going to have a party of the Zulus.  Gatsha is failing dismally, as recent documents have shown, that in the only province where he has a following he is failing dismally to attract membership.  He is being deserted by people of his party going back to the ANC.  And so you've parties here, like the NP, the ruling party which transcends all nationalities.  The NP actually is growing, even amongst the blacks of SA incidentally, particularly amongst the coloureds.

     So in answer to your question, that won't work in SA.  It won't be like in the rest of Africa. I agree with your analysis of what has happened in Africa.  This is what influenced the ANC in 1986 to adopt the multi-party system of government as a policy.  It is because of what we observed in Africa.  We are against tribalism as an organisation.  We are against a one-party state, and we stayed in one-party states.  It was possibly that experience which caused us to follow the kinds of policies we are advocating.

POM     With regard to where the government is on the question of new structures for government, do you accept now that the government accepts the inevitability of there being a government probably led by the ANC, or the ANC and some other party, in which the majority of the cabinet positions and probably the State President will be black?

SM     Yes, I certainly do.  When we speak informally about why we need a Constituent Assembly to write up a new constitution, alright, they don't accept a Constituent Assembly advocated for by the ANC and the PAC, but they accept that there must be a mechanism to draw up a new constitution.  So there is no problem.  It is accepted.  As far as I am concerned it is a difference in words, not in principle.  For instance, if the ANC should find that the government has got a viable and correct alternative to the Constituent Assembly, why not accept it?  Even on the question of the interim government, the ANC speaks about an interim government, the PAC speaks about a transitional authority, and the government speaks about a transitional mechanism.  There is no difference in principle between us.  I think the cabinet of De Klerk wants to move forward.  He has accepted the inevitability.  It is going to take real hard work on the part of any of the parties in SA to defeat the ANC.  We are well ahead of all of them in terms of support.  But they have started on a very scurrilous path of using our alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP).  They are trying the attract the churches away from the ANC.  And the violence of course, has reduced the big numbers that used to attend ANC rallies.  These are the two things they are using.  And, of course, this violence and the campaign against us, attacking our association with the SACP, has really frightened, particularly the white section of the population, away from the ANC.  But we are working on plans to counter this and it is not our intention to break our alliance with the SACP.

     I do know why sometimes the SACP cannot be seen as an organisation that knows that communism and socialism is in disarray, disgraceful disarray all over the world, I think, we might one day find that actually there is no more an SACP, that we will have an ANC that has been joined by former members of the SACP.  Those people have fought with us, side by side throughout the struggle, have sacrificed like any member of the ANC or structure of the ANC. I don't know if I have said this to you, but Mandela says, "Until you have destroyed our enemy, this alliance will stick, but beyond apartheid, the ANC and the SACP will go their separate ways because the programme of the ANC is different from that of the SACP." We will go our separate ways like the alliance that was formed during World War II between the United States and the Soviet Union.  Once the common enemy was destroyed, Hitler and his nazism, that alliance broke up.  The same will apply to SA.

POM     I am intrigued by the schizophrenic manner in which the government sees your suggestion that on the one hand, Mr De Klerk accepts the inevitability of rule by the majority, or the majority of the cabinet will be black and the State President will probably be black, and on the other hand De Klerk is somebody who has either knowledge of or control over covert operations going on within his own government.  How do you reconcile the two?

SM     It is a tricky situation.  You see there is a right wing in South Africa, black and white.  There is a white right wing, and part of this right wing has infiltrated, in my view, the structures of De Klerk.  They have tried to infiltrate the ANC.  We have got names which we are using because they have been discovered by the intelligence system.  They were infiltrated into the ANC and they are very good sources of information for us of what is going on in the right wing.  And these men are not sent by Mr  De Klerk's Nationalist Party, they are forces of the right wing, but of which is in De Klerk's Party.  It is an intriguing situation.  It is a very delicate situation.  That is why I say we are frightened by what may still happen.  This process can be reversed.  Not by us, but by the right wing.

POM     Where would you place the Conservative Party now?  Do you think the whole party is dwindling and in danger of becoming an irrelevancy, or do you see it still as strong?

SM     The right wing party is there.  It has the sympathy of a section of the white population but certainly not the majority because they have no answer to the problem.  There is nothing positive that they are pointing at except to call for a return to apartheid only.

POM     Do you see them as becoming more irrelevant if they stay at that level?

SM     I don't think they can be classified as irrelevant because they are part of this right wing.  The right wing includes the army, very important sections of the army.  Even if they were in the minority, if for instance there was to be a coup in this country, the right wing would occupy the upper hand.  Because they will have the army and the police behind them.  Those two structures are decisive.  We would be in big danger.  We would be the weaker opposition to what the right wing would command in terms of government structures.

POM     Finally Stanley, I want you to answer a personal question.  You were in exile for how many years?

SM     For 24 years.

POM     You have come back to SA, how would you describe your experience of this first year, and what surprised you, what didn't surprise, what did you expect, what didn't you expect?

SM     I have experienced both good and bad.  It is good, for instance, to note that at last the white people of SA have come to their senses.  They have come to recognise what they were doing to us is wrong and that De Klerk is right.  It is encouraging to note that both black and whites are promoting the process towards moving to a normal and democratic SA. But what is also bad, are the actions of the right wing.  The right wing has cheapened the lives of blacks in this country.  Thousands of people have died in order to prevent the success of this process leading us to a democratic SA.  That is very painful for us blacks, but our people have to learn discipline because they are obviously schooled and taking the advice and leadership of the ANC.  No blacks have turned on whites, even those that are personally affected.  They are aware of the change and that possibly that the change is going to be a painful one.  That is why the ANC continually holds rallies urging people on the regional level, and even on the district level, people to talk to them in order to understand what is going on.

POM     Have you been treated differently by whites since you have been back?

SM     Not really.  However, there are areas where I have been treated in a manner which was to point out to me that I am a black.  I have been insulted in many parts of the country.  If you go into the countryside dorps, they will not serve you in the bus, for instance.  This is in the countryside in particular.  They are very rough.  But we have always chosen the path of non-confrontation.  We have always left such places.  We have retreated, got out of the place, got into the cars and left.  Because they can be very aggressive.  But at the same time, the whites in the major cities, like Durban, like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, there is no problem.  I can get into any hotel at any time, call for what I want, a meal, a drink, no problem.  True there is still a lot of cautiousness in the way we speak to each other.  There are some people who will come over to you and ask if they can sit down at your table and have a drink, and they are welcome.  They will talk to you and befriend you.  But there are others who will refuse to talk to you even if you are sitting side by side with them in the bus, they will refuse to speak to you.  In fact they will half turn to give you their backs.  So this is the situation.  It is like it is all over, but the racism particularly strong in the countryside.

POM     Stanley, I am really appreciative of your time.  Did you get a copy of the transcripts of the last interview.

SM     Yes, I did.

POM     Good, I will send you a copy of this one in due course, I think six weeks.

SM     I don't know why you need to waste your time sending me that; I will wait until the book is out.

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.