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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

27 Jul 1991: Alexander, Benny (!Khoisan X)

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POM     Ben please identify yourself for the tape.

!KX     I am Benny Alexander, Secretary General of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), of Azania.

POM     I want to begin with a question that might seem a little strange. I want to go back in time and talk about the nature of the problem in SA, the nature of the problem which negotiators in the future are going to try to resolve. On the one hand you would have those who would say that SA is a deeply divided society with not only four racial groups but within those racial groups a number of ethnic groups and that the problem is really one of developing a proper structure that will ensure that no single ethnic group will emerge as the dominant ethnic group. And then there are those who say it is a question of nationalisms; white nationalism versus black nationalism; and there are those who say it is about white oppression of black people and that must be redressed. How would the PAC view the problem and how would its view of the problem differ from that of the ANC?

!KX     First of all our position on race needs to be clarified. Very simply, it is that we recognise the existence of only one race, the human race, to which we all belong. From that premise we challenge racism and racist supremacy.

     We feel very strongly in the PAC that in its history, that the fundamental question, the main question, is the dispossessed, exploited and oppressed African majority by white domination. But although that is the basic problem, the way people see the solution differs. Hence you find that people across ethnic barriers see their position in the same way and hence they join organisations in spite of ethnic composition, so that in the ANC you will find all different ethnic groups represented and in the PAC all ethnic groups represented along a particular political programme.

     So whilst the situation may be one of white domination the approach to the resolution of that conflict is political rather than ethnic in orientation. That would be our response to those who say that the solution is to be divided along ethnic lines. We say, no, you don't need to do that because that would be a perpetuation of the very problem of apartheid which is separateness of groups, and it would just carry the old problem into the new society.

POM     Many people would look at the experience of the rest of Africa where there have been significant ethnic conflicts in the last three decades since the end of colonial period, where there have been devastating civil wars fought out over the issue of really which ethnic group is going to be the dominant one in the society. Why would something like that not happen in SA?

!KX     The struggle in every country is always the struggle of opposites. If you force people together in order to oppress them, as was the case in Eastern Europe, their liberation will be seen in terms of their secession, and if you force them separately in order to oppress then their liberation will be seen in relation to their unity. People always fight for the opposite of what the one who is oppressing them is trying to do, and in this particular society people are putting us separately in order to oppress us, so part of our liberation struggle has been the need to come together and in fact the oppressed, in spite of their ethnic diversity, are currently looking at forming political fronts and coming together in union. But beyond that, even on the structure of the nation, all liberation forces have called for a unity state and not for a federation, and that must be seen in relation to the historical background.

     Those who have benefited from the separateness of the apartheid legislation, are the ones who are calling for federation, and those who have not benefited from the oppression are the ones who are calling for a union, and one has to ask oneself the question 'is this coincidental?' and one comes to the conclusion that no it is not coincidental, it has to do with their interests and of the benefits they derive from that particular societal structure.

     I am not by this implying at all that integration is the solution to all our problems. In the USA for example, in the 1960s, civil rights campaigns, Martin Luther Junior and all those people were fighting for integration, but today there is a move in the US, a very strong ethnicity arising, and there is a need to form community life and try to find their cultural selves. You see a move there on the part of the African American people trying to identify themselves as a community within that society and seeing themselves in a sort of a separate life in order to maintain certain cultural and historical reasons. So while the move in the 1960s has been to integrate, now in the 1990s the move is to segregate. The very thing they fought against in the 1960s. But is not a legal thing, and it is not a societal thing, it is more of a cultural thing, it is a historical phase that they are going through.

     So we are saying that even here right now, we are faced with a particular situation in a particular historical epoch where we are kept separately and we want to come together and be one and maybe after ten years we may but we don't know what is going to happen. We do recognise, in the PAC, since the days of Robert Sobukwe, our founding father, the existence of national groups within this society, but we insist on the formation of a unity state and not a federation.

POM     So when the Economist of London, an influential periodical in Europe and the US, made a comment two weeks ago that the violence between the Xhosas and the Zulus was really no different than the violence between Serbs and Croatians, you would find that analogy apt?

!KX     I would find that wrong. The violence is not ethnically inspired, there is ample proof that the government has a hand in the violence and there is a conspiracy, and an order, and a pattern which seeks to give the violence an ethnic character. But the violence in itself was never ethnically inspired. There is also an attempt to make the ANC a Xhosa orientated organisation, whilst it is not that in essence, in order to try and make the lie acceptable, the lie of ethnic conflict.

POM     Do you as an organisation, the PAC accept unequivocally that the state have a hand in this violence, that it is state orchestrated?

!KX     Very definitely.

POM     Do you believe that this orchestration is part of a deliberate plan on the part of the state, or a plan by rebels within the government or the military security complex?

!KX     You see we have just had some revelations which have been described in various adjectives which are uncomplimentary to the state, such as scandalous and such words. There you can see the hand of the state in creating divisions and conflict amongst the oppressed, and the whole story has not been told. I think in the coming weeks and months more will be written and more will be revealed about the hand of the state in the conflict. The violence is similar to that of the whole region. The violence that you had in Angola and in Mozambique, which we refer to as destabilisation violence, and here we have the same violence. It is the destabilisation violence which is to undermine the national liberation movements.

POM     Last year when we talked about this you were more inclined to say that when you looked at the whole pattern of violence in SA over a number of years, a common factor to the violence was the ANC, where you have the conflict between the PAC and the ANC and when the UDF moved into the Eastern Cape you had the same with the other black liberation organisations. Do you still subscribe to that view or have you modified it in the light of what you see?

!KX     No, I have not modified the views. What has happened is that the ANC did not realise that the government has its own grand plan in the violence, so when it used its domination tendencies, like the Soviet Union, to confer in each country the status of sole and authentic representative to certain organisations, irrespective of their ideology, even those which are not communist, as long as they were prepared to toe the Russian line, then you have got to live up to that reputation inside the country and intimidation took place. But it was only up to about last year, when the ANC realised that they were in fact playing into the hands of the designs of the state and the ANC now is making a genuine attempt to try and look more non-sectarian. They have this legacy of intimidation and conflict with Inkatha, AZAPO, and the PAC, [and when the ANC ...] and therefore if the state put up an agency nowadays, besides the ANC, for purposes of creating havoc, then it is very difficult for the ANC to say that it is the state because it has a history of having fought with everybody and that agency will make sure that it points out that you fought with everybody, and I am just one in the line; you are to blame. Unfortunately I don't think they are in the best position to end the violence and to point out the hand of the state in these activities.

POM     You were also inclined last year to believe that the ANC wanted to create a one-party state. Is that still the official view of the PAC, a year after the ANC was unbanned, since most of the organisations have been in the country legally for over a year?

!KX     I think that you do not have a single political organisation in this world who would not like to sweep every constituency, who would not like to be the sole party in parliament. In fact when you fight an election you fight it exactly to try and win every possible seat and be alone there. I think the ANC has now come to realise that it cannot; it has come to realise the fact of the existence of the PAC and its strength, and there has been a lot of sobering up within the ANC, and so we see a lot of stances and statements which seem to reflect maturity on the ANC's part, which we are happy to reciprocate.

POM     How do you ideologically compare and contrast yourselves with the ANC? What ultimately are the factors that divide you into different political ideologies?

!KX     It is impossible to say where we differ with the ANC. Not a single person in this country can tell you where his organisation differs. But the ANC has every possible contrasting view as its official policy. It has a document known as the Constitutional Guidelines, which is an official policy document of the ANC which says that there will be no nationalisation in this country. It also has a document known as the Freedom Charter, which says that there shall be nationalisation. Now you can choose the document that you prefer, but somebody will point out to you what about the other document. So depending on who they are seeking to woo, they will quote from an official document which will say the opposite from the other official document which they quoted yesterday. And that is why it is very difficult to know where you disagree with them, and which document is going to survive at the end of the day.

POM     So when people say that the PAC believe in the more Africanist ideology, perhaps I should ask you about the slogan that has been talked of hundreds of times, "One Settler, One Bullet". Where does this fit in in terms of the development of a non-racial democracy?

!KX     If you go to the ANC rallies the first slogan you will hear is, "uMkhonto we Sizwe shaya amabhunu" which means "hit every white, hit them all". In AZAPO and all other organisations they have also got "shaya amabhunu". Now the difference and the crime the PAC members seem to have committed is to have translated this into English, because the leadership of the ANC and AZAPO are never asked to explain the meaning of and why they say "shaya amabhunu", but because the PAC members say it in English, we are always asked to explain why our members say such a thing. But I am sure if our members had said it in an indigenous language we were not going to be asked this question. The real question that should be asked, rather than asking why do the PAC people shout this English slogan, we need to ask why is it the masses of the people shout this slogan in their various languages across the board in the national liberation movements? Then you will come to the conclusion that the masses, for lack of the political sophistication of the leaders, will not hate an abstraction, they hate an association, and they do not see a white man as a white man, but they see him as a white man boss, as a white man oppressor, as a white man exploiter, if you understand.

     So what must be done to break down that view of a white man? It is to break down that association by breaking down apartheid, by breaking down oppression, by breaking down exploitation. That way you will be breaking down the association and of course the attitude and for the slogans then it is followed by everybody. The PAC ideology tells us that there are two categories of white person here. First of all those whom you can refer to as Africans because they have made this their home and they say they owe their allegiance here, in the same way that an American can be either white or black, is the same way an African can be white or black.

     So there are those people that say they owe their allegiance here and they live here and this is home. Then there are those who are here merely for purposes of exploitation. They constantly tell you that, "One of these days we will be leaving. I am just doing this and that and I am going one of these days", and those people are people whom you can regard as settlers, they are not Africans. And it is that phenomenon, that settlerist phenomenon which we are opposed to and there are many whites who are opposed to that as well.

POM     So when you say settlers you are not referring specifically to Afrikaners?

!KX     No, not to all whites as such, we are referring to those people from Europe who have a particular anti-African, purely economist, short-term goal here, and who see themselves as leaving sooner or later once they have amassed enough wealth. Those people are settlers.

POM     Before I leave the question of the violence, is it the belief of the PAC that De Klerk himself is knowledgeable about this grand plan, or that he simply is not in control of parts of his own government?

!KX     I think it would be very difficult for such a grand plan to leave the ground without Mr de Klerk's knowledge. Somehow or other he must know about it and if he did not know about it, and the plan itself was not known or visible, he could be excused, but if the plan is visible and the consequences are seen there for everybody to know, certainly Mr de Klerk must act in a responsible way and enquire. If he does not enquire then he is responsible. He is not doing enough to say that he does not know. It is impossible to say that he does not know because everybody knows, it is visible, the whole world knows it is so visible. So, we cannot say that he does not know. There is nobody in the world who does not know the violence that is going on in this country. So he knows, the same way that I know and everybody else in this country knows that there is a plan. But, you might say it is whether he is knowledgeable of who is executing it and how and so on, but the process of the plan is known and the plan itself is visible. Whether he knows or not, I think as the head of state, he has to be ultimately responsible for the blame.

POM     In terms of the fallout from the government funding of Inkatha, what effect do you think it has and what did it do to the stature of Buthelezi as one of the triumvirates of the main players?

!KX     Well, first of all let me say that we feel that Pik Botha did a good job of trying to justify the spending of this money. You cannot compare assistance that a liberation movement has received for its refugees, for its camps, for its military training with a political partisan spending of state money inside the country. There is no comparison. Also, his attempt to recruit the views of the Attorney General to try and justify this spending by alleging there is no irregularity, the only thing is the Attorney General, when you have got the money, whether you followed the regulations laid down by him for taking hold of the money, that there are certain forms that have to be completed in a particular way and signed in a particular way. How you use the money, for what political purposes you use it, is outside his scope. So the fact that he says that you filled in the right forms to get hold of the money does not justify the spending or the objectives for which you have used it as long as you can say that you used it not for your own use, and, of course, I did not steal it, but I used it for political purposes. It is a secret fund.

POM     What impact will it have on the government? Will it ultimately mean the resignation of Vlok and Malan or what?

!KX     No, these people do not resign.

POM     They are going to bulldoze their way through and say we have done it in the past and we are doing it again?

!KX     In any other country - this is a lesser scandal compared to previous scandals - in any other country in the world if a hundred people die, and continue to die every week the minister responsible for the cause of those deaths, as a result of international outcry would have been fired long ago. But Mr Vlok was not fired for the violence. In any normal society, they would have gone for a number of issues in the past and they survived all those things. I think that a lot of white people will not demand that they be fired because of the nationalistic nature of the situation.

     But, as far as Buthelezi and Inkatha are concerned, certainly they deserve a proper investigation. There is no question that the status of this Chief Minister was greatly enhanced through this money, from the start of the violence. That is why when people talk about his importance, they never talk about his importance in a positive sense, as able to contribute. They always talk about his contribution in a negative sense. Without him there would be bloodshed; bring him in because we don't want blood; bring him in, we don't want carnage. So, certainly he was made to look, to appear as important as Mr Mandela, and he has a far less constituency than the PAC, but he was made to appear, because of the violence, more important than the PAC, they say that the most important people in this country are Mr de Klerk, Mr Buthelezi and Mr Mandela and the PAC is never mentioned internationally. But I think that he has been dented quite considerably.

     I do not think that Mr Buthelezi has been destroyed or fatally wounded politically precisely because he is based in Natal, which is largely rural, where a large number of the people do not watch national television, and they do not read newspapers, and also it is tribally linked to the whole question of the King. The King lends his weight to the movement although he himself is not a member of Inkatha, but the King has made it impossible to distinguish between himself and Inkatha. I think in terms of mass media in this country and mass perceptions internationally, his image has been dented considerably.

POM     Last year you talked about why the PAC would not enter into negotiations until some of your preconditions, which differ from the ANC's, were met. First could you tell me what is the opinion here now about those preconditions, then relate that to your taking part in this Multi-Party Conference, the Patriotic Front?

!KX     In the first instance we are party to the United Nations Resolution, [on the Consent of ...] we are not part of it in the sense that we sat in the meeting and therefore are bound by the agreement, but we actually sat down, Gora Ibrahim, the PAC Foreign Secretary, with Thabo Mbeki of the ANC until the early hours of the morning actually wording the document on the resolution in terms of which Mr de Klerk is supposed to do a number of things before we are able to negotiate a settlement here. At the same time we are also saying that we are prepared to go to the Patriotic Front and see what the others have to say on these matters, those organisations which are not represented at the UN. As for now, more directly the question of negotiations is understood in the following way by the PAC: ...

     First of all the SA government is an illegitimate government, and as such we are not prepared to negotiate with the SA government.

     The second reason we are not prepared to negotiate with the SA government is because the problem in this country is not a bipartisan problem, it is the problem of everybody, and for the life of me, I cannot see how the PAC can sit down with the SA government and solve the problems, leaving out the ANC, leaving out the CP, leaving out AZAPO, leaving everybody out. What the SA government wants to do is to say, we want to make agreements all over the place, agreements with the ANC, agreements with the PAC, agreements with AZAPO, agreements with the DP, agreements all over the place.

POM     But the government also said it is ready to engage in a Multi-Party Conference where all the parties will be brought together.

!KX     But its initial point was to try and use that tactic, so it got the ANC closer. They also approached the PAC asking us to come and negotiate on the question of a Constituent Assembly. So they wanted to go further with the PAC than with the ANC and get a better agreement and a much more substantial agreement with the PAC than they ever had with the ANC. You can see the divisive consequences of this, of course. If we were narrow minded we were going to say let go there. We will come up with a superior agreement to the ANC's and go around all over the country saying that we have a superior agreement to that of the ANC; we are better negotiators, we are better representatives of the masses, but that would be playing exactly into the hands of the De Klerk strategy, of dividing us.

     So we have spoken to the ANC in Harare. We said to them, let us form an alliance, a front, and let us agree that there will be no negotiations with Mr de Klerk's government on a bilateral basis by any one of us. We will form a front and we will convene a conference of all parties in which even the NP can come as a party, but not as a government. People come there as parties, and then they can sit down there, then we will negotiate. So the principles must be very clear:

1.     The PAC is prepared to negotiate;

2.     The PAC is not prepared to negotiate with the NP government on a bilateral basis.

     Coming out of that is the question of who we are prepared to negotiate with and the answer to that is that we are prepared to negotiate with parties in a conference set up for that purpose.

     Now, let me give you a flow chart, an imaginary flow chart, in which I explain to you the sequence of things according to the way we see it, from now to a new society:

1.     Patriotic conference.

2.     The convening of a pre-Constituent Assembly conference of all the parties.

3.     The election for the Constituent Assembly.

4.     The Assembly itself.

5.     The introduction. The election for a new government in terms of the new constitution.

6.     The next point would be the induction of the new government.

     Those are the steps that we subscribe to, to give you a little bit of a breakdown on the steps.

     Let us come to the question of the Patriotic Conference; what are we going to do there? We are going to take a decision on the Constituent Assembly and on the modalities for transition and the steps.

POM     Does that include consideration of proportional representation in a Constituent Assembly election?

!KX     It can consider it but it does not have to agree on that.

POM     What would the position of the PAC be on that?

!KX     We would go for proportional representation election on the line of parties not individuals, counting of national individual votes to determine representivity rather than the number of constituency representatives.

     So, there would be the Patriotic Conference which would deal with the above matters. Then we would go to the pre-Constituent Assembly, to which everybody would come and would debate issues such as at what day must we have the Constituent Assembly election; how would the Constituent Assembly reach agreement; would it be by simple majority; the transitional modalities - would there be a need for an international agency to play a role; the question of the media, who controls the media during the term of elections and how is the media used; the question of the security forces, its role during the time of the transition; the age of voters; the massive task of establishing a voters roll; the supervision of that; all these things would be discussed in the conference.

POM     But would the SA government continue during this point to be the SA government?

!KX     This is only a conference to discuss the future. The government is still there. We are just discussing the future. Therefore the SA government would still be in existence, the NP can come to the conference. After this conference we would call a conference of parties, a pre-constitution conference where you work out modalities, and at that time the government is still in existence. From there you go to the election of the Constituent Assembly itself where you have now your democratically elected representatives who would now come into the Assembly. In that Assembly now, they would debate the constitution and they would come up with a new constitution. The Democratic Party say after that we need to have a referendum for the adoption of the constitution by the people. We are not opposed to that but that is not our position, but if they insist on it we are prepared to compromise.

POM     You position would be that if it is passed by the CA it is sufficient?

!KX     Yes, it would be sufficient. But if others feel, say, no let us still go for a referendum, I think that we have been starved of democracy and taking a big gulp of it in a short time will not do us any harm. From there onwards of course you have the elections in terms of the constitution now, and from there onwards you have the new government.

POM     What is your reading of the government's position with regard to new government structures? Let me give you a couple of scenarios we have been given:

     One is that they will envisage not an interim government but they would have people from the ANC, perhaps the PAC, become part of their government for a period. That you might have a multi-party conference or even a Constituent Assembly or whatever, that would draw up a constitution, but out of that would come a government arrangement which would be a power-sharing one. That is to say the NP would be the junior partner in a coalition in which the ANC or the PAC would be the major player, but they would actually have cabinet posts and exercise power at an executive level. That is one scenario and that is what people tell us is what the government wants.

     The other group says, well they want that but after this kind of post-Constituent Assembly government, the first freely elected government in the country would be a government of national reconciliation and then the second government after six years or whatever, would be formed by a simple majority.

POM     What is your understanding of where they appear to be in terms of what they want?

!KX     Having listened to all you have to say makes it easy for me answer that question because I will just quote you. Mr De Klerk has said he would like to have a multi-party conference which is convened by this government. This conference would give them to understand that whilst they are the government, in a future election they would also be an electoral opponent and the way they play their cards would also constitute point scoring, so they are also in the game of political point scoring as an electoral opposition in the near future. They would be the convenors and therefore they would sit in the chair and this would also be to their credit. They would have convened it in that they want it to come up, in that conference, with a constitution itself.

     We envisage a very long negotiation table, because he intends to invite numerous organisations there, the consequence of which would be that the national liberation movements would only be two amongst maybe two hundred or three hundred totally, and in which the role of the ANC and PAC would be totally trivialised. He would be the big daddy over all of us there. In this meeting he would put forward constitutional proposals to the effect that there must be a two-tier parliament and he would justify this to be in line with normal western democracy. Without the word 'western' he would be saying normal democracy, and he would use the US as an example where you have a House of Representatives and the Senate. He would also use the British model where you have the House of Commons and the House of Lords, then he would say to us that we should have two houses, a House of Representatives and a Senate and in the Senate there will be group representation, a supreme decision making body and he will be careful not to use the word 'race', but it will be implied in whatever he will say, in which whites will be defined in such a manner as not to appear as an racial entity but either as a cultural or other sort of entity, and they will say that for each group guarantees must be built in to make sure that there must never be this domination of one group by another, that we have suffered under, never ever be, and therefore it must be part of the constitutional premise.

     And he will then say that we need to have veto power; certain groups must have veto powers over each other, and they will use their veto powers in that parliament to make sure that you don't do anything that is against their interests or anything that seems to redistribute their benefits. Thereafter, this is what they are thinking, once that is agreed upon and they already signed and developed good statements made by some leaders in the liberation which they can quote, "Mr Mandela says all his life he fought against white domination and he fought against black domination", but he never mentioned which black man dominated whites that he fought against. So they will quote all these things in their arguments.

     Thereafter Mr de Klerk will say now it is time to talk about the constitution and we must understand that this government cannot go, I don't have the power, as the President I was not given the power to declare that the constitution is null and void; I have no such powers, and the only people who can give the powers for the current constitution to go must be the people who put it in place, which means that legally there is no other way to get rid of this government. So therefore we have got to go through a referendum to the people who are voting currently for this government to give me the powers to get rid of it because I do not have those powers. And then he will say, let us have a white referendum, and then of course if the constitution is not made in such a way as to secure their interests, whites will say NO! And De Klerk will say, gentlemen, there is no other way, I don't have the powers, so we have to go back to negotiate the thing over again.

POM     So you believe in essence that the government is not sincere, and that de Klerk is not to be trusted, and they are playing an elaborate game for the end result of maintaining white privilege and power?

!KX     I would say yes. And I would say that secret operations you would engage in to destabilise the national liberation movements if you regard yourself as being in a war situation with them. Once you regard as inevitable the fact that white domination will go and must go, then you do not engage yourself in your conduct in private operations against the inevitable. So I think that the involvement of the state in the violence and in the divisions that are going on and the Inkathagate scandal clearly show that they still intend to be around for a very long time.

POM     Do you think that the ANC have been somewhat suckered by the government in the last year, duped by the government?

!KX     I think the government has out-negotiated them, if I can use that term. I think that it has become very clear that they are very poor negotiators, all political observers were agreed during the time of their conference that they are going to be in trouble when they are cross-examined by their members because Mr de Klerk got the most out of the negotiations and I think Mr de Klerk has been more cunning and he has played his cards better than them I think on the question of international status. Before the Inkathagate scandal, De Klerk was doing quite well for himself compared to the ANC.

     I think also Mr Mandela was very poorly advised. He went to Britain on the heels of Mr de Klerk. Mr de Klerk asked for things which he knows he can get, so he came away positively. Mr Mandela came two days later and asked for things that everybody knows he cannot get and he got away from there with nothing and Mr de Klerk was seen as a man who gets what he wants and Mr Mandela was seen as a man who does not get what he wants. They sent a representative to the US and they sent a communist, which is poor strategy, you don't send a communist to the US, it is bad news; they sent Chris Hani there and it was not good for their image to send a communist, they should have sent someone who is not a communist there. These are just poor strategies. That is why I think that they did not do well.

POM     Do you think they made a mistake to suspend the armed struggle?

!KX     Yes because you see, De Klerk has made very clear his intentions. He has all his cards, all his aces, all his very important cards in his hands. The ANC has given away everything. It is another poor strategy that is used by the ANC. Mr Mandela spoke the other day at an interview with the Star, I don't know if you saw it, in which he said upfront that he is prepared to sacrifice everything. Now, those are just poor negotiation tactics because even if you are prepared to compromise on certain levels, you never go around saying upfront, "I am prepared to compromise this way and that way, but I want to negotiate." Mr Bush and Mr Gorbachev never say what they are prepared to compromise away upfront. It is poor, poor advice and poor tactics and Mr de Klerk never says what he is prepared to give away; he just says this is what I want and then he goes and it is hard bargaining until you get to somewhere, and the PAC does not give away, it does not tell anybody what it is prepared to compromise, we just say this is what we want and this is what we fight for.

POM     Two last quick questions. One is on your own growth in the last year. The ANC now talks about having 760,000 paid up members, being acknowledged as the largest liberation political movement. Where would you put the PAC? I mean it has been put to us that if you stay out of the negotiating process you are increasingly in danger of marginalising yourselves.

!KX     Well first of all I will start with the latter statement. Everything in this country which has happened has happened towards the PAC analysis. We have not marginalised ourselves because our analysis has been scientifically arrived at and has proved itself correct.

     Last year when the ANC negotiated the release of political prisoners and they made an agreement in Cape Town to the effect that from 1st September only ANC related prisoners would be released and PAC must come and negotiate and people said if PAC does not negotiate they are going to marginalise themselves and their prisoners would remain behind. But we said we know the SA government, our prisoners will all be out before the ANC's prisoners, without negotiating; and people said that was wrong and it would not happen that way. We said come next year and the ANC prisoners would still be inside, and today we have only a handful of prisoners left; all of them have been released without negotiation, without compromise and the ANC still has more prisoners than us. So we have not been proved wrong, we have isolated ourselves by that.

     They also made an agreement which is widely publicised to the effect that from October the ANC exiles would come in by December, most of them would have been cleared to come in, unless they themselves don't want to come, and they said that only related to the ANC, the PAC must come and negotiate or they would be marginalised. Today we were able to get our exiles in without compromising anything and we are doing quite well, and December has come and it has gone and their exiles are still there. Nothing has happened contrary to what we have said. Everything happens towards our analysis and our tactical superiority, and our ideological superiority and analytical superiority over the ANC is clear for everybody to see. We are not analysing ourselves. We would never take decisions which are suicidal to our party. We know what to do and what not to do.

     We are going to take a position, in the PF conference you can take a position, we are going to push a line to try and make that PF makes sure Mr de Klerk does not convene the next conference. We are going to be there. We are not against negotiations, so the question of PAC not being involved - I don't know where people get that from. But the fact that we are not prepared to sit down on a bilateral position with Mr de Klerk does not mean we are against negotiations because we are manoeuvring.

     As of now, I can tell you last week we had a meeting with the DP parliamentary party and they told us that they are prepared to accept the PAC's view of a Constituent Assembly. Also I led a delegation of the PAC to meet with one of the homeland governments, Qwa-Qwa, they are prepared, another big parliamentary party has also said it is prepared to come along with the PAC's programme and the flow chart as I outlined it to you. At the end of the day the PAC will be able to push Mr de Klerk and Mr Buthelezi and Mr Treurnicht into an anti-constituent tripartite which they won't want to see in the same light but we will force them to speak with one voice and the rest on our side. So the PAC will still emerge within the next month as the main party which pushes the side towards that, and even drawing, much to the amazement of many people, parliamentary parties in behind the process.

     The only compromise the DP seeks from us is after the Assembly to agree to a referendum, and we won't have a big problem compromising with them on that. After compromising that, then they are with us, so PAC will still emerge as the party which is able to mobilise everybody and push through the democratisation of our country.

     One thing that we don't want in this country is a settlement which is very fragile, which is open to doubt. You see, there are many issues on which you can play certain political games, but there is one issue on which everybody must be loyal to, and that is the constitution because if people are not loyal to a constitution, you have a revolution on your hands. Even an opposition which loses the elections in that constitution must be what you call a 'loyal opposition' within the system. But once people feel they must oppose you outside of the system, you are dealing with a force now, and certainly we would not want to have a situation which is so open to challenge that you have a situation here where you have coups and counter-coups every six months.

     If you don't want to have those every six months you must understand that we are highly militarised society. Inkatha for instance, Inkatha as a party may claim not to have an army but as a Kwa-Zulu they have a police force, they have everything; the PAC has an army; the ANC has an army; the AWB has an army; each homeland leader has an army, so every leader in this country has a personal army, so if you are going to try and get a settlement with so many people with armies you are going to make sure that you have a settlement that is so democratic that the cost of destabilising that society must be too high for anybody to contemplate, because the masses are so clearly influenced by what is being done that nobody would be able to destabilise us with support from the people. That way you must make sure that it is completely democratic with an electoral content as you move away. And my saying you must have an electoral content does not mean that you are saying you are going to lose. It merely means that you are saying you are prepared to take the same risks as everybody else and even if I lose the first time around, I exploit the weaknesses of the government and the second time around I will try to make sure that I win the election.

POM     Thanks very much for your time.

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.