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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
08 Aug 1991: Gqozo, Oupa
POM Brigadier, I would like to go back in time first. When the negotiators sit down to try to work out a settlement for SA, what do you think is the nature of the problem they will be dealing with? Some people would say that the problem in SA is the racial domination of blacks by whites and another group would say that it is a conflict between two nationalisms, black nationalism and white nationalism, because white nationalism has been in a superior position; and then there are those who would say that yes there are racial differences, but that within the racial groupings, you have ethnic groups and that there often are antagonisms and differences between these ethnic groups, and that any future constitutional settlement must take account of the diversity of the ethnic groups as well as the racial component. In your view, if you were sitting at the table and somebody asked you to specify the problem you were sitting at that table to resolve, how would you define the problem?
OG I think the problem is basically a question of what would be the main priority to be addressed before one could actually hope for a meaningful discussion that would produce results. The biggest problem that would be resolved is to observe the right of each and everybody no matter how small a group they represent. At the moment that political tolerance has not been promising. People have classified each other in terms of numbers, in terms of on whose league so-and-so is; so-and-so is talking to the ruling party you know, so he is a sell-out and a puppet and he is not worth looking to; so-and-so is not radical enough; so-and-so is in this camp and so on. I think that is the biggest obstacle that will actually militate against any meaningful solution.
The third thing would be to observe political tolerance and to understand that each and every person has a right to be heard no matter who he is, no matter how small they think he is. Humility will actually be the code word in all these talks but at the moment there is arrogance, there is antagonism and there is hatred of each other. That is going to have to be sorted out.
If they hurry it up in a certain technical way of eliminating certain contesters in this big race, they are going to come with a solution that is going to always be contested.
POM Assuming that everyone is sitting around this table, and that the chairman of the negotiations says OK Brigadier, what is the nature of the problem in your view that we are here to settle?
OG The nature of the problem is that we must first identify the different groupings, whether they have common points they agree on and they must be classified as a group. In other words, there must be alliances before anything can be done. People must know whether ANC, PAC, AZAPO, whatever other things, Lawyers for Human Rights or whatever, say the same thing or whether self-governing states, homelands, PAC, or whatever, say the same thing, and then try and scale down the different divergent groups to a very bare minimum and by so doing you eliminate the question of debating and throwing this thing backwards and forwards for days on end. You minimise it to a consensus; these people have got very little differences in the make up of a constitution and their stand, that on the main issues they say the same thing.
POM Let me put it in a different way. The ANC says that the main problem is white domination of blacks and the racial discrimination and racial hegemony must be ended and there must be a unitary, democratic, non-racial SA, and to bring up the issue of ethnicity to the ANC is to invite anger because they say you are buying into the government's position that there are different nations within SA and the only ethnic differences there are have been created by the government. On the other hand, there are people who sincerely say there are ethnic differences and these ethnic differences must be taken into account in a new dispensation, because if they are not, they are going to cause problems in the future. Which point of view do you believe?
OG I don't believe in the ANC saying that there are no ethnical differences because they themselves - many people will be justified in saying that they are ethnical in their approach because when it suits them they pride themselves on being dominant Xhosas in the Eastern Cape and they actually want to have the whole two homelands as their strongholds. They are actively propagating that. They are aware also that there are traditional and historical ethnic groups, not formed by any law of apartheid, but historically there have been Xhosas staying in this part of the world, there have been Northern Sotho speaking people staying in Northern Transvaal, up to about Pietersburg and so on, there have been Swazi people staying towards Kwandebele and in the Enos Mabuza area. There have been people in the Orange Free State, in Qwaqwa, they have been, by virtue of their geographical position towards Lesotho, there have been Southern Sotho speaking people, the Tswanas in the Zeerust / Bophuthatswana area, there have been Zulu speaking people, predominantly and naturally, no one herded them to that area, naturally they found themselves there, through the whole interaction of the wars that took place in the olden days.
But now apartheid's only sin was to constitutionalise those things in what they may have thought was actually giving people their own identity, but then they thrust it from top down, and people started now saying that they are being divided so that they can lose their identity as blacks and that now justified the whites saying that blacks are not dominant in this continent, so because of their divided nature, culturally and ethnically, they can be taken apart. So that was a political problem actually, it is not reality. The reality is that these people they are all blacks, but they have different cultures and different customs and different ways of doing things. If we are to have a lasting and peaceful solution, we must take into consideration these things and address them and accommodate them. We may go and opt for a federal system, which was what I have often said I have always propagated, a federal system of government where these people will be given the powers to run their own ways of doing things economically. They could have their own tax structures, they could have their own social government, local government structures, which would be their own social fabric, they could have the interaction between whatever ethnic groups that are in their areas, freely. But then they have that identity as Xhosas who are in the SA federal state.
POM So you really would like ...?
OG I am looking at a federal state of Africa.
POM If the different ethnic groups, if you like, would exercise in a federal system a degree of autonomy, you would be happy with that?
OG That's right. You know the Xhosas here, these are the most peaceful people that you can ever find. I am talking for them because I will be biased, they are very peaceful and forgetting and very forgiving, judging from what they have gone through over the years, the promises they have been given, the land promises they have been given, the fact that the Eastern Cape has been economically depressed for so long and no one ever shed a tear about what is happening here, and all that. And the fact that these guys are so happy when they see somebody talking to them in a reconciliatory manner, these people will accept anybody who comes and reflects a feeling of ubuntu, that feeling that you are a human being and I respect you for what you are and we together can show each other ways of going about achieving success and achieving financial freedom and successes. I think that we here don't have problems. We have whites here who talk our language better than some of us can speak it, we have people here who talk English as their first language and we are completely interwoven, Afrikaners, English, Indians, coloureds and everything, we don't have a problem, we don't see this Eastern Cape region as merely a Xhosa state, or region, but we see it as a region comprising of people who have been here for generations and generations, who have come to identify themselves with the Xhosa culture. But that does not make any issue, we don't actually want to dominate all other people that are here. We feel that each and everyone must be left to feel that he wants to stay wherever he is.
POM When you look at the violence of the last year in the Transvaal, to what do you attribute that violence?
OG It is exactly what these people want to do that are propagating a unitary state. In the Transvaal in Johannesburg and in all these places, you find a mixture of people from Natal from up north, from the east from the south, from Eastern Cape from the Western Cape, you find them all there. These people, because of the very abnormal situations under which they live, they are there, they have not got their extended families as they used to have, which other people must try to maintain because those are their roots. These people have not got their uncles and their grandfathers and their aunts to actually give them the history of their ancestors, the way they came to be, what is being done in the family, or what used to be done whenever a child is ill, whenever somebody is giving problems in a family, anti-social problems or psychological problems, or whatever. Then they find themselves there, completely being swept under a different culture altogether, a Western culture. They find themselves working with Indian people and staying with them, and they try to mimic the Indian styles, and they try to mimic the American styles, and they get confused, and they are all mixed. The other one is a Zulu, he does his Zulu thing; the other one is a Xhosa, he does his Xhosa thing; these guys psychologically they can't take it. He ends up losing his identify altogether and an identity crisis does the most psychological damage which, whether we like it or not, will actually lead to a person frustrated with himself, not knowing whether he is coming or going, not knowing who his actual people are and he will start being violent.
POM There are a number of views of the violence. One group of people will say that this violence is largely instigated by Inkatha sometimes with the help of the state in order for Buthelezi to project himself onto the national scene as being a leader of equal stature to Mandela. There is a certain group who will say there may have been an element of a struggle for political power but there was a very strong element of tribalism in it too, that it is Zulu versus Xhosa, and indeed, just in the last month The Economist in London, which is a well regarded periodical in Europe and the US, went so far as to say that the violence between Xhosa and the Zulus was really no different in nature than the violence between the Serbs and the Croatians that is now going on in Yugoslavia. What is your comment on that?
OG I would say that this is just a political plot. There has always been violence in the Transvaal. I grew up in the Transvaal mostly, of course I grew up in the Free State, but I worked most of my early days in the Transvaal. There has always been violence in trains only it has not been concentrated on and reported on as it is being now. It has been reported on deliberately to take a certain line, and that line has been imprinted on people and people worked on it very seriously by pumping lots of money and sponsors into making that line stick, and it has happened. The media has actually created the war between the Zulus and the Xhosas. There have always been very serious things in trains. I used to stay there, I used to study, I used to work in the lands in Johannesburg and study with UNISA. I used to be afraid to get onto those trains. When I married, I decided to buy a car. No way will I ever be on a train with my child and with my wife. From then on, I have never been on a local train. There have always been stabbings, people being pushed out of windows in the trains. There has always been rape in those trains, there have always been terrible things that happen ever since I started actually going permanently in the Transvaal and in all these areas from 1972.
So this is all nonsense that is being propagated now, as though this is an emerging thing strictly between Zulus and Xhosas for political reasons, it is being made that way. There has always been violence there, caused by a divergence of people from various quarters and cultures and customs all over SA emerging and coming on to the Reef for work purposes.
POM But when I go to members of Inkatha or the KwaZulu government ...
OG I will tell you exactly what happened with the violence if you will give me five minutes.
POM You have more than five.
OG When the UDF started, it had a following in all these other areas, and in Natal, these people used to say that Gatsha is a sell-out because he used to be regarded very highly as a black leader by Pretoria, and everybody used to say Gatsha is being sponsored everywhere, he is being put on TV too many times and people just did not like it because at that time, whether he likes it now or not, his Inkatha represented Zulus although he denies it. I know he is protecting that, he says his constitution always said it is non-racial and it has no ethnical basis. I don't think he did much to market it beyond the ethnic boundaries.
So many people regarded it as completely Zulu, as a group of Zulus, and the whites also and the press made it worse for him, they did not make it easy for him because they always projected Gatsha as a force to be reckoned with because they used to say the Zulus are the most in numbers, and they used to actually scare other people by saying that the Zulus are going to rule you because they are the strongest; you see a Zulu is big and strong. They actually created this myth and of course the Zulus have always been strong. In the mines the Zulus were always the Indunas. In the mines they used to say Zulu boy at the gate he will clobber you with his big knobkerrie if you don't understand. And he never argues with you, if the boss says you stop here and you stop every car no matter who is in it, he will do just that. They have built in that type of thing and much of this thing, this thing of the Zulus, was built in by whites and the creation of the Zulus as a threat was also built in, so when Gatsha ... his first mentor was an ANC, Luthuli was a Zulu and he started there and all those things. It is true, and he never had any fight with the ANC. But then when the UDF came and it was clear, everybody knew about the UDF, it is an extension of the ANC in exile and it is going to propagate and keep the ANC burning and alive, everybody welcomed it. But then they knew that in order, they were panicking because they knew that Inkatha was becoming very big and they knew that Inkatha may be getting some training, and people started thinking that whatever happened, we will have Zulus to contend with, then they started trying aggressive marketing strategy of membership amongst the Zulus in Natal.
Then when they got there, they used a very wrong tactic because they merely intimidated Zulus into joining UDF, and Zulus are a very proud nation, they believe in tribal ways of doing things: the Chief and the King and everything should be respected, the local laws, rules and local social ways should be respected; and if people just came from Johannesburg, they came there with their price and everything and just said that if you don't belong to UDF you are a sell-out etc., and they started castigating the leadership of Inkatha and Gatsha, etc. There started a process from the Zulus who said you can't come here and tell us to join you. You are boys, you don't have a house, etc. In proper Zulu custom a man can only call a meeting and talk to men if he is grown up, he has integrity, he has got image, etc. But now you send one child to come a address elderly people and tell them this and that and that, then they said, no we are not taking this thing. And then there was a lot of conflict and then the fighting started. The Zulus said, we will show you boys, this is not the town life here, we will show you. And they started fighting. Then the AK 47 started creeping in, then everybody started making cultural weapons sharper and sharper, and then this whole thing started with all these people from outside being infiltrated back, the cadres encouraging stayaways, just to cripple the people and show off that we are more powerful than you are, whatever you may think.
This is completely just a situation where people objected to being intimidated and to being depleted. This is Natal. But then what happened, the same ANC people now when Mandela came out, the same ANC people started in the mines and everywhere, everybody started brandishing T-shirts, saying Mandela is out and he is going to lead SA and everybody who has been giving them shit, or whatever is going to suffer. Then they started telling these guys, your Chief and your King are going to be tea boys and garden boys of the ANC, of Mandela. And that really made people mad, and it spread. And when these people objected vehemently, then there were a few who said OK, you guys, Zulus are very strong because they always come together, they are a very close knit group, I know, I have stayed with Zulus in the barracks, you cannot penetrate a Zulu group, you can't. They stick together and they stand together, that is their strongest point. And now in the mines in all these places, they simply said, you guys come here with your nonsense, we want to work here, you bugger off back to Transvaal and then there was this thing now, that alright your utterings are that you want us back to Transvaal, so all the Zulus in Transvaal must fuck off then.
That started the whole thing. Fighting for a stronghold. Then they said OK, you come from Transvaal, you come and talk your nonsense here, go back to Transvaal and leave us alone. Then the ones here went back to Transvaal and said those guys said we must all go and there will be deep trouble if we don't leave their areas in the mines, then when they went to the Transvaal, they said now you guys here, every Zulu, they said it in their meetings, and they went to meetings from place to place, all the Zulus must go back to Natal otherwise there will be a fight, then people said nonsense, we did not go and start the fight there, so they started fighting even in Transvaal.
Basically that is what happened.
POM Do you think that at some point turned into an ethnic conflict of sorts? Would you agree with The Economist that the fighting between the two groups, Xhosa and Zulu in Transvaal is really no different from the Serbs and Croatians?
OG No, I wouldn't agree. It is not a completely ethnic thing because these days, in the Transvaal or all over SA, the most easiest language to speak is Zulu. Am I right ? The most easiest language to speak is Zulu. So these people when they come to fight people they talk Zulu and that gives the impression that even the Sotho, the Tswana, the Shangaan who is there is a Zulu; they are not. Everybody in that area, to show how dominant Zulu became in our country, everybody speaks Zulu. So whoever fights people there, fights Zulus, and this is not true. The fact that they say people who came to attack certain people in a vigil somewhere in Sebokeng or somewhere spoke in Zulu so they are Zulu people and Inkatha, that is nonsense.
POM I have talked to people in Inkatha and the KwaZulu government. Their view of the problem is that the ANC is a Xhosa dominated organisation; that the ANC sees the Zulus as the biggest threat to them and that what they want to do is to divide and knock out the Zulu nation so that they, the ANC, can go on their way to establish a one party state. What would you say to a Zulu leader who said that to you?
OG He is also following perceptions painted by the media. The ANC may have predominant leadership of Xhosa speaking people, Hani is Xhosa, Mandela is Xhosa, Sisulu is Xhosa, Mbeki is Xhosa, I can go on, but that does not mean that the whole organisation is Xhosa. I can tell you if it was not for Holomisa, they would not even have had more Xhosa speaking people in their organisation. For instance people are very few except for those people who ran away in the 1970s and left the country for Lusaka and Zambia and all these countries, except for those people who have come back as exiles now, the people that have stayed here, very few of them have been convinced that the ANC is the answer for our future. They have noted with disgust and disappointment the ruthless nature of the ANC when it finds opposition. Little opposition.
In the Transkei the people there, mostly are peace loving, moderate, normal people who don't really like what is happening there, and that is not said in the newspapers. They don't like it. They feel that Holomisa, because he is a leader, and now he has got these MK people dominating the whole security establishment, they cannot even say it because they will be lynched, they will be intimidated, they will be victimised. Now they must just let it go and hope for God's sake that somebody, somewhere, will someday see their plight. But here in Ciskei, people are stronger than that, they don't want it, they know that this leadership protects every citizen as a right and a duty of the government, to protect them and let the rule of law take its course. No-one will be forced into going to any meeting and be forced to take an ANC card.
So, what is happening here, it actually shows that the ANC may have leadership predominantly being Xhosa, but that does not mean that the ANC is predominantly Xhosa. I have seen a lot of marches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other places, where there is no predominance of Xhosa speaking people. These marches, here you will never raise such a march here. If you raise a march here, you will only raise marshals, who are also confused, they don't know exactly what they are doing. They are being told if you don't join the ANC you are going to be shot when we take over.
POM Last year, when I asked you about the reaction of people here to the release of Nelson Mandela, you said they were overjoyed, everybody was, and you spoke of the people here as being predominantly supporters of the ANC. My question is, has that changed since then?
OG I will tell you exactly what happened. We, in the Ciskei were proud of the fact that Mandela is a Xhosa, me included, everybody included. We were mindful of the fact that this man was arrested and tried and sentenced for what he believed in, which we think if we were in his boots at that time, we would have also felt the same. I have had the privilege of reading most of the literature about the formation of the ANC, the factors leading to the formation of MK, why it was formed, what frustrations went into that, and all that. I would have felt the same because there is no use in speaking to people and every time you leave the conference, they make another law to make sure that what you agreed on does not happen. You know, they passed repressive law after repressive law to ensure that there was no way that these guys could do anything, and to crown it all, these people were superior militarily, they could enforce these laws. So, we thought that this man must have been given a chance, because he was trying to get the blacks also represented, instead of these commissioners, who knew nothing about how we feel to represent us in any electoral situation.
So, we were all glad, to tell you the truth, we were disappointed by Mandela. We thought that Mandela when he comes out would be assertive as a leader, he would stop all these different, divergent moves, organisations and structures, he would say, people we are all blacks, let us stop all these many leaderships, PAC, UDF, AZAPO, BCM, etc., many want to get leadership for which each and everyone of them is a big politician. Everybody is a politician, from street level right up, so we thought he would call these people together and say, let us stop all these things, you have been supporting me in prison, you wanted me out and you did everything, so I am out and you must listen to me, you know, and he would be in front in the progress that has been made already up to now, and we would take cognisance of that and say there is a responsible man, this is where we are going now.
But he started acting and behaving just like the boys in the streets and the schools. He started really showing no, no, or yes, or no, this way or that way, so it was all systems go and I think that everybody started seeing how these people were forcing into everything, were forcing them not to go to work, were forcing them to leave their jobs, were forcing them to go to meetings and go to marches and go to this, were forcing the students to leave classes, were forcing everybody to do all sorts of things, and when we looked at who was doing that, we found that it was the people who we knew traditionally in our society to be very useless people, irresponsible people. They were all heroes in the ANC. You all know in your township, or in your neighbourhood, the people you grew up with, you all know; oh he is useless, he has neglected his family, he is just a thief, he is just going around. Those people, that type of people we know in the society to be worth nothing have been heroes and they don't put back in the society - a criminal who has been sentenced can't forgive the society and whenever he can get the chance, he gets back at the society for what he thinks it has done to him. We know, we found this thing predominant. We know people who said now Mandela is out and this new military government is progressive, it understands the language of the struggle we are going to fuck you up, all of you who have been giving us trouble. They told the business people that they got they had never done anything for the struggle, they had struggled and suffered.
These are the things that went wrong and shocked the people. The small children, they did not even kill the sheep or the cattle decently, they just hacked them as they moved, they forced the old men to come to ... They cut wires and the fences of farm owners and said, You don't own these farms here, Sebe just gave you these farms, and the poor man has paid for the farm. And all sorts of other things happened. The ANC people started saying in their residents' associations, if you are not paying so much for being a resident, you can't pay that, they did not want to pay R10 a year for Sebe's political party, now they have got to pay R12 per month they have got to pay R7 per month, they have got to pay R3 a month all in one and the PAC comes also, they tell them ... You know all of these guys find themselves really being messed up. Then they started asking, what is happening, who is the government, what is happening? These people tell us the government is nonsense, we are the people's government, the people's power, etc. The rent offices, the people were intimidated like hell. You give these people a house, you do that, you do this, we don't pay this or that. They started destroying all the meters.
POM Parking meters?
OG No, electricity meter boards. They started jamming them, they started stealing all the post office copper wires. Enormous wastage has been done. They jammed the electricity. The people who work in the electrical section, they started just playing around and jamming everything, and the water works people started just doing things in the water works and water would be stopped. They were in power, if the people did not want to go to a meeting they would block the water. And people started being very dissatisfied. People started telling people in the factories, these factory people, understand that they have been (what is the language that they use?) exploiting you. Now we are going to make them suffer, you don't have to work, when you come back just don't work. Then production suffered, then after three weeks of go-slow and being completely arrogant to these people, making meetings in the factory floor, staying there and telling them, the white, or the Indian or the Chinese people, you can't tell me anything, you bloody whatnot, and then that started being very bad for me because these people were attracted here, they were wooed to come here, to come and invest here and create jobs, and then after two weeks of that thing going, on, these people being afraid even to come and report to us, because they know their factories will be burnt, they were told, We will burn them. And then what happened, these people said we want increases, and the employers said, I have just lost so many contracts and you want an increase? What the hell, people, what do you want? I will give you increases!
When you look at who are doing these things, it is just somebody who is writing a book about what is happening in Soweto and all those things and then he wants to do it here. These people started really making life very unbearable for the people of Ciskei, then people started being afraid of talking to us. We are the people who actually liberated them. I took a hell of a lot, I took a big risk, I would have been shot to pieces that day, or during that time, when I took it upon myself to say, Look, this is enough, this country is not going to be plundered further than now, we are going to have order here, and the military is the only group in this country, or in any country that can actually put its foot down and say this is going to happen this way.
Then these people started saying, You talk to the government about us, you are a sell-out, we don't even recognise these homeland puppets, then it became worse. And then we started having problems with the ANC people. Then I started trying to talk to their leaders, but they kept on sending me regional people, that a regional member would come to talk to me, Govan Mbeki and Mhlaba would come to talk to me, they would send somebody from the NEC. And then when they come here, we tell them these things, they say, Oh. They are so shocked we have talked to them. We then hear afterwards, they never come back, we hear that others have said to them that, You are from Johannesburg, we are here in the region, this man will listen to us, you don't tell us, they can't even control their own people, can't even give leadership direction.
Then we had problems. Then I started telling them, Gentlemen, if you can't handle your guys, I am going to act now. Unfortunately, I will have to use the same legislation that you guys have been saying we must not use, I am going to start using section 17 because your guys are very suppressive, they are very inciting in their meetings, they are very insulting in their meetings, they have no respect for authority and for law and order. They are destructive, so gentlemen, I am going start using the powers of the law, and I started using these. Then they started saying, OK, now I started getting the coups. You know I suffered five attempted coups. People say there were no coups because I started having the best intelligence people around, started getting them. Everything happens with our full knowledge, we always know things because we are well established now. We have got sources that work all over. We know exactly what was somebody saying when and how. So these things start and we leave it because we want it to go up to the last, when we will chop these people but unfortunately there are so many leaks, because people are uncertain, because people don't know where their loyalties lie exactly, people don't know what their future is going to be; people don't know whether the ANC is not going to really become a government and fuck them up. So we can't get rid of those problems. And then every time we foil a coup, the Lawyers for Human Rights and all these people, because they get money, they see that these people are all criminal elements, they will always make problems, but they will get money for defending them. So the lawyers this side have all given themselves soul and body and spirit over to the ANC, not because they like the ideology, but because they see the advantage of getting money from these guys.
POM So, in a year, am I correct in saying that you have moved from being a strong supporter of the ANC to being the opposite?
OG In actual fact, they have moved away from me, by these things I am saying and I had no option but to look after the people's interests. As I say in many interviews, I could have chosen to be their friend and a hero, because when I used to say 'Viva' to the people's government, Viva ANC! Viva Mandela!, everybody used to love me because you must be with the times, you must be with fashion. I always say it is a fashion and it will pass, it is just a fashion. We will always be here with our feet on the ground. I will not be swept around, I will always believe in the liberation of all South Africans, not only blacks, because as soon as you do it that way you are actually not going to avoid having apartheid in reverse and racism in reverse in the long run.
POM If you were invited to the negotiating table, you would go in your capacity as what?
OG I am now a leader of the African Democratic Movement. I have started a political movement which is actually going to prove to these people that I have a power base and it is going to take root like hell.
POM You have already launched it?
OG I have not launched it, I have just announced it, because before I announced it, just when I was planning it, it leaked out and the ANC started flashing it all over the papers, saying it is an Inkatha in reverse, in disguise, so I had to announce it and say, People please, you have given it so many names, it is this name. You have given it its manifesto already, let me give you the right one, this is the one. You know, we are going to start recruiting openly, we have been trying to do it underground to see whether it may stand for what this party stands for and what this party believes in. There were those who said there was no need for this and asked why I did not launch immediately, they wanted me to launch, and no matter what happened nobody was going to lead it except me, because they believed in me they said, If you are not there, we will not even think of it.
POM Is this the basis of the nature of your dispute with General Holomisa, of the marred relations between you, when he made allegations of you having ...?
OG He is very scared of the capabilities of my intelligence officers because they are experts. They are scared, they know that in the last three coups they were foiled by the capabilities of my intelligence.
POM Were the coups orchestrated from outside?
OG Especially from Transkei, because all the people that found it unpalatable that I should turn my back towards co-operating and being a puppet of the ANC, left because they made certain unlawful things in this country and when they were cautioned and interrogated, they were warned, Look here, we have not got enough proof to nail you, but we have got enough evidence of your activity. The law is a strange thing, if somebody says we are going to take over, if there is no case where you hear him in court saying that, these lawyers, the law will say you can't say he did if he says he did not. So, we find ourselves more and more in that and the fact that I also wanted to become fair, I adopted the Bill of Rights, which is a mistake I should never have done that because they are capitalising on the Bill of Rights. You can't take the man's rights and just unilaterally just say he is guilty. So they look at the Bill of Rights and hit the government thereby, very much. You have claims of unlawful arrests, whilst the police and the security people actually had reason to question that man. So many people escaped and as soon as they escape, they are taken by the Transkei government. They make their plots there, they are all defended by ANC, top lawyers, everything, and Holomisa is in the midst of all these things.
POM So do you see these coups as part of an orchestrated plan on the part of the ANC, using General Holomisa to overthrow your regime, by using a regime that would be more dominated by the ANC?
OG As long as I am here, they will never stop vilifying me. As long as they have not got a man of their own here, they will always give Ciskei trouble, but as long as I am here, I am going to carry on providing for the people, developing the infrastructure of the economy of the Ciskei, developing the industrial capability of the Ciskei to give people work opportunities and provide them with a standard of living which can make them own houses and pay for their children's education. Now they want to burn all the schools, according to their meetings.
POM Burn them all?
OG Yes, they say it is because I have put out an instruction that schools should be places of learning, schools will not dabble in politics, as such I will not allow the school buildings to be used for political meetings because thereby they will identify with politics. I don't want this at all. Now they say they must burn all of them. That is the destructive nature of the ANC.
POM I also heard it said, and this is by way of verification, that you have replaced many of the top people in your administration with South Africans. In the Finance post there are two at least. Is this true?
OG It is true.
OG Let me put it this way, in the police we don't have people that are qualified to run the police; we have people that have been placed there because they were friends of Sebe, so I kicked them out because they were making a bugger up.
In Finance, we have people there who are very good in finance, because they did all the courses, but they have not got the managerial capability of actually managing people. So you had a mess of things there. You have not got a supervisor who has got the nerve to say 'no', to say 'yes', to say 'work', to say 'I want these things within next week, they must be ready by then', so you had things dragging. You have now the whole country, its economic upliftment and development, being tied to a man that is there, who has got a big post, but does not have the conviction of that post. He does not have the guts to actually manage people. Who can't say, You there, you came late and you are drunk, you go and sleep and we suspend you or we do this.
So, I need people with character, people who know what they are there for and people who understand the mechanisms of finance. So I have got those people there. In the police, I have policemen who are afraid of the ANC people, who can't even help who is suffering, my people are suffering. If a policeman feels that this case is involving so-and-so, he is a big MK trained man and now I am going to die within two days, then he bloody just leaves thing and he won't even ask. The poor people, he does not care for. This is the nepotism and corruption which this military government set out to destroy and see people not being classified as 'this one is not important, his case may not be followed up', the same day they see these people the same people who offended or killed their children or whatever.
So I said to them, you guys, I have sacked a lot of policemen, because I said, every time I find an incident where a policeman failed to do his duty, I call him, I call the people, I call the residents, I call everyone and say what happened? No this policeman completely sold out of the people. He is being paid to protect the people, he took an oath to put his life last and the people first. People used to phone the police station, Please come we are being attacked, and they would never go, so I sacked the whole police station one day. I sacked the whole bloody station, there were 22 people there, I sacked them all, I said now you fucking go to the ANC because they are your bosses.
You know, gentleman we need, we need leadership that can be firm and know what is right. Because otherwise the whole nation will suffer because of a person that is being paid for not doing his job and he wants to be a friend of the criminals and he wants also to be a friend with the government, and he also wants to be a friend and respected by the nation. So we can't work like that. So I brought General ... He is a very strong man, he has got character. He knows his job and he can see the tricks of the police.
Now you have a Commissioner of Police, he hears these things, but he is too scared to take action against those policemen because then he is going to be hated, then he says to the township they may harm him, burn his things. Nonsense!!
POM I want to go back to ...
OG That is why I took ... not necessarily because of the ethnic connotations, because I can't look further in the same colour of blacks for people who have these experiences, I don't have them. And most blacks now are so timid to take responsibility. Most of them are so timid, I am almost the only miracle in this whole bloody place, I don't care a hoot. I take what should be done, and it should be done, it will be done. I told the people, I even told them that gentlemen, if Hani comes in here after what he has done and comes in my country, he must first prove his (credentials), they must tell me that I wish to come there on such and such a date and such and such a time, I will be driving such and such a car, I will be having so many people, here are their identities and this is my itinerary. Then at the entrance to the boundary, I will get people there, security people who will escort him in, who will take him to where he goes, if he wants to address people, I must see the text of his speech and he must be under (surveillance); people will be there to take videos of what he is going to say. I don't say he cannot come and canvass people in Ciskei, he can come, but if he comes, it is possible Hani will have MK bodyguards, like James Bond and they will be making a lot of noise, and if he does that, I will take it as a declaration of war. I will take it that his are armed and they have come to invade my country and I will shoot him.
The papers took, "I will shoot Hani", that was the main thing and everybody forgot what else I said. I feel that no one is above the law, not in Ciskei everybody will definitely act normally, correctly.
POM I want to take you back to the ongoing violence in the Transvaal for most of this year where Mr. Mandela, first reluctantly, and then increasingly more vociferously, has said that the government is involved in aiding Inkatha and orchestrating this violence, that the government is trying to use the violence to undermine the ANC in the townships. In the light of the evidence that has come out in the last couple of weeks, regarding the government funding of Inkatha, the police funding of Inkatha, and the affidavits given by former members of the security forces, that they were in fact engaged in operations, either in training members of Inkatha, or supplying them arms, do you believe that the government has been involved in this violence, that what Mr. Mandela says is substantially correct?
OG No. Who is Gatsha's friend? Very few. Whatever friends he has, the ANC people are by all means, through propaganda, through misinformation, through disinformation, making sure that they don't get recognised. I myself if had to go overseas and say - if they hear about it, they will make sure that they ... they have got powerful friends and money. They can make sure that where I go to a place there are problems everywhere. Who is their friend, who gives them money, who gives them support, who gives them all these AK 47s, who gives them all the three million rand that they used to buy leadership houses, who gives them Slovo's multi-million mansion in Johannesburg, who gives them Aziz Pahad's million rand house he stays in?
What has Gatsha? Gatsha has got just a conviction and his integrity as a leader that wants the best for his people. Now who should help Gatsha? Who? Why should Gatsha not have friends, and which other government would be prepared to help Gatsha if he had financial problems? There is nothing wrong in what happened.
POM You don't think there is anything wrong?
OG I don't think that if the government said that this man is healthy, maintains law and order and sanity amongst our people and this man's operations are costly and he has not got money. The ANC has got millions, millions, they get weapons, they get these things, we know they get weapons. Why is anybody not saying this?
POM Are you making a distinction though between ...?
OG Not this latest Inkathagate, we are just talking about whether they were involved in the violence.
POM All along there have been allegations and affidavits produced, and whatever, Mandela has said the government is involved in a double agenda; on the one hand they are holding out the olive branch of negotiations, and on the other they are helping to orchestrate this violence against them. There are elements within the security forces that are involved and are trying to weaken the ANC in the townships, show that it can't control its own people, so that people say, Oh look at the ANC, they can't even protect me in my home.
POM I want to deal with that first, do you think that there is truth in that allegation, that there are elements in the security forces, in the government that have been involved in encouraging and providing assistance to the violence?
OG This is a very serious thing that you are talking about now, and if I may say now my personal opinion, I don't say it is factual, but I say it is my personal opinion, human nature is strange. There are people within the government structures, even including security forces, who empathise with the ANC, am I right? There are. I am saying there are. They would, if they had the chance, take a document and give it to their ANC friends. There are people within the security forces who would help the ANC people to gain free passage at certain serious places to gain whatever they want to do, be it sabotaging, be it discrediting, be it whatever, to gain political momentum. There will be in the same breath people within these same forces who would favour Inkatha as opposed to the ANC and would like to help Inkatha on certain matters to actually prove that they are also strong. In the same game, it is only whites, the people that would help Inkatha would be more credible people.
POM They would be more ...?
OG They would be more credible people. People who are more constructive. But the people who would actually go for helping the ANC against Inkatha, within the same structures, would be so unscrupulous that they will never be caught.
What I am saying here is that, Inkatha may have people, individuals in these structures who say that, Nonsense man, I am not going to allow this ANC to bugger around these people in this way, in the same way, he will do whatever he can do to assist them. But in the same way, ANC people may have people too who actually have helped them but they will be so unscrupulous and so shifty that they will never be caught because they are paid and Inkatha may not be paying their people and may disappoint a lot of people.
What I am saying is that these people are there but it may necessarily be that it is policy, but there are, through human nature, people who would help Inkatha when the chips are down. There are people who would also help the ANC.
POM Again I detect a kind of a shift in your positions from last year. Last year you said ...
OG I did not favour Gatsha's position.
POM You said some harsh things about Gatsha.
OG Yes, I did not favour his position.
POM You said De Klerk's biggest threat is from the right, which includes most of the police and you said there is the same percentage of right wingers in the SADF as there are in the police, and you would be worried that Gatsha, you said, was ... by them. You said if he did not give people the idea that Zulus were supermen, there would be trouble. In his vendetta to try to pit himself against Mandela, he should be ashamed of himself, he is dividing people.
OG I really believed that.
POM You still do?
OG No, I really believed that. I really believed that. I will tell you why I believed that, it was always the perception that was sold to everybody, but until I saw this man and I talked to him, and I asked him pertinent things, and this man exposed many, many, many sides of himself in the long history of the struggle, then I realised that - I said it, I said it immediately, I said it openly, I said that this man has got very little due that he began. This man should get more credit than what he is getting. People must make themselves a favour, instead of just getting perceptions from the papers and some people and everybody, make yourself a favour, talk to the man yourself.
POM So that is a definite shift?
OG I am definitely sure about this man now. I am definitely sure also about Mandela. It is different. I had completely different view about both these people.
POM What about De Klerk? Last time you said of De Klerk, I am talking on behalf of many people when I say we regard De Klerk as a hero of this era.
OG OK. De Klerk has disappointed us also in many ways, but he has got a lot of things done. De Klerk should get the credit for having actually given all the people their right to speak their minds and in the same way has made it possible for certain people to be demystified. People now see them for what they are. He has actually helped me because now I know, I think I know, what is actually happening here because people are actually exposing themselves daily.
POM I will return to that in a minute. The ANC having called for an interim government, now the revelations that have been called Inkathagate, where you have a situation where the SA government poured lots of money into the DTA in Namibia during an election which the SA government was supposed to be overseeing; it was supposed to be impartial, overseeing the election, making sure that it was fair, but on the other hand they were shovelling lots of money to other parties. Do you think that gives more credibility to the demand for an interim government, that the government can't be both player and referee, attempt to be impartial, overlooking everything and a player at the same time?
OG I think that this must be looked into within the context that SA, before De Klerk, was definitely stuck and it did not wish to part with power. It did not want a socialist government as Nujoma was. They did not want Mugabe this side and SWAPO.
POM Mr. De Klerk was President when the elections took place in Namibia.
OG No, he was not yet President. It was still PW.
POM When the elections took place in Namibia?
OG Was he? When did he become President?
POM It was only last year.
OG I am not sure now, was it last year?
POM Yes. Well let us assume.
OG Yes, let us do that.
POM If De Klerk was President, and this kind of aid went to the opposition parties in Namibia, at a time when the SA government was supposed to be behaving absolutely impartially, is that a strong argument in favour of an interim government?
OG No, it is not. I would say the NP was correct for a change. Somebody must see these things in perspective. I am not saying that I am qualified to say this, but I think that DTA was long known to be a South African party. \ We know that DTA, all the officials who were comprising that were actually South African, and you will forsake your group which you want to win. They wanted DTA to win and they had to support it. They wanted it to win for a good reason. They wanted the Southern Africa to start there and thus to have very little security threat of a hostile government taking power just on the doorstep. I take it militarily as well and I understand it. They had to do it. It was never a secret that DTA was a SA party. It was never a secret.
POM Are you in favour of an interim government?
OG No. I would never favour an interim government because the interim government implies that we here cannot do things ourselves, somebody from outside, an UNTAG type of thing, that would not work. We here must get ourselves together and agree on the way we will deal with the phase of interim.
POM Last year, you made a couple of observations about the right wing. You said they pose the biggest threat. You said talks probably would not be underway this year because you see the right wing doing everything possible to forestall the talks. Has the right wing been a factor in the last year?
OG The right wing has been unbelievably very quiet. Comparatively speaking, they have been unbelievably very quiet and well behaved. If you look at the start racist exchanges of words from the ANC and the other people, you would swear that the right wing would have been more vocal, but they have been quiet. So I don't think that within the era when you saw me and now, I don't think the right wing really ruffled feathers, significantly. They have been quiet and protecting in a most civil way. Andries Treurnicht has been registering his protests every time there was anything and except for Terre'Blanche's, rhetoric outbursts now and again on TV, they have been very quiet, but they have made their point, that should the government sell them down the drain to a communist government there will be bloodshed. Of course, they have been training their people, they said it; that we have the right to be worried about our future.
POM We also talked last year about ...
OG I think now I am more accommodating of everybody's right to be heard.
POM In that connection, last year you said you were encouraging political party organisation throughout Transkei and encouraging political parties to come to the front and not to be meeting behind closed doors or surreptitiously at night. Has there been a great upsurge of political parties here in the last year?
OG No. People have been dominated by the ANC. The ANC has been making sure that no one else here is welcome. Hence now there are outbursts when I start the African Democratic Movement, that I will definitely contribute to a lot of potential violence if I start with this thing because they don't need another party here. But listen, it is the people who say democratically everybody has the right to actually say I think I have potential followers.
POM Do you think that there should be at some point a referendum here in Ciskei to allow the people themselves to decide what they want to do, whether they want to go back and become part of a new SA or whether they want to be part of SA, or whether they want to maintain their independence?
OG I think here, this thing that you are talking about, what is it?
OG A referendum would be very unwise. The ANC would intimidate a lot of people. It would not reflect the exact feelings and aspirations of the people. I am looking at an option here. The ANC claims it is dominant in this region, I claim the silent majority is dominant in this region, and those are the people that I want to come up, through the vehicle of my movement, and I have established this movement in their own request, through their own demands. These people, towards the end of this year, it should be coming clear whether the people here will give a mandate to me because the ANC will not get a mandate from the Ciskei people, it will get a mandate from all over. We know their mandate, their mandate is already preconceived, it is prejudged. The people say they are democratic, but I say they are autocratic. They say we want a unitary state, and no one here has been asked whether he wants a unitary state or not, but the people here in Ciskei will have a chance of saying, we follow the leader of this government, who is Brigadier Gqozo, whom we have asked to come and lead us our movement, which will say what we want, then a referendum will be out of the league.
POM What would you think is then the political fallout of Inkathagate. Do you think it has harmed Buthelezi in a serious, and other national black politicians?
OG No, I would not say that, because everybody realises that Buthelezi could not be compelled to the ANC when it comes to funding. He had no one to fund him and naturally he is a South African and if the South African government feels it has the right to support him, although now it has been taken together with the extent of accusations linking it to violence and Pretoria, it is a little bit unfortunate although we know it is not an issue. So I feel that the silent majority are there. They are not worried about Buthelezi having taken money there. But in the perceptions of the group that travels along with the ANC, of course, it is being implanted, whether they like it or not, they must raise their fingers and say Inkatha is a sell-out.
POM If evidence did emerge that Inkatha had been supplied by, and that the government had been involved with Inkatha in the violence, would that change you?
OG It would not. I will tell you why. Many people don't like the ANC's violent ways. They would definitely like to see somebody who can be helped to stop them. I for one, would like to get somebody with guts enough to say 'if you do this, you are going to get second best'.
POM And last, but not least, question. Do you think the ANC wants to establish a one party state?
OG They definitely want to do that. The ANC has got its children. It is the ANC, AZAPO, AZASM, they are all ANC. Naturally, they are going to call the ANC in four different names, but it will still be the ANC. It is cheeky. It is what they will do. And it is just the ANC, don't even think about anything else, it is just going to be a one party state. These guys are very treacherous.
POM Lastly, last year you said at the end of the interview, "I wish I knew what the NP and ANC agendas were. At the moment we don't know it, and the way I see it, things are slow, I wish De Klerk who has the key could move faster." Do you still think De Klerk has the key and do you know better now the agendas of both the NP and the ANC?
OG I will tell you an honest fact, I wish I could have a very heart to heart talk with FW De Klerk and ask him what exactly are you guys playing at, because now you give almost every credibility to Mandela, to an extent where every little decision that you have made over the past year has been just based on the opinion of Mandela alone. What is actually your game? And what do you think of the people that feel that you are letting them down, you are selling them? Have you got the right really to really ignore us at the expense of the ANC? Is the ANC a power that you make it to be? But then I have asked these things in various ways to various officials. Then they said, "The ANC is very powerful in the perceptions of the international world and we must play well otherwise all these things are going to be taken off us by others." Of course, I feel that they are giving too much to the ANC and it is giving the ANC a feeling that they are the only people here that should actually be ruling and in actual fact, that is giving them such arrogance as displayed by Mandela last night on TV.
I don't think a single leader of any single group in SA has the right to feel that he is speaking on behalf of all blacks, nor is FW at this stage of the game. He must definitely, before making a decision based on a meeting he has at 12 o'clock at night, when Mandela just picked up a phone and phoned him, and tomorrow morning, he is decided, this is going, this is happening, no, no, no. I feel that I still don't know what the NP is doing, and definitely for the ANC, no one has spelt it out, but it is bloody obvious.
POM Well, I will leave it at that. Thank you. Do you have any literature on the African Democratic Movement?
OG Yes I do.
POM Could I get some to take with me?