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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

09 Aug 1991: Xundu, MO

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MOX     What are we talking about today?

POM     We're talking about South Africa. I'm talking with Canon Xundu on the 9th August.

MOX     I'm now Archdeacon.

POM     You are? Congratulations. Promotion at last. I was going to ask you first about the nature of the violence in the Transvaal during the last year. Increasingly that violence has been portrayed abroad as being violence between Xhosa and Zulu and even The Economist of London which is a very well regarded periodical, said in an editorial a couple of weeks ago that the violence between Xhosas and Zulus in the Transvaal was really no different from the violence between the Serbs and Croatians in Yugoslavia, i.e. it was ethnic violence. Would you care to comment on that?

MOX     Yes, my comment would be that journalists who sometimes have no deep knowledge of the South African situation normally take at face value things which happen. We have always said that the manifestation of violence such as is happening in the Transvaal was imported on this area by the system itself. There has been violence in Natal, yes, over a long period of time, almost without it being questioned. There was violence in Natal which attempted to wipe out all opposition to Inkatha even if that opposition was not necessarily Xhosa. From 1981/82/83 there were violent responses when youths began to make demands about school books and so forth and they were violently abused. And when the students of Ngoya attempted to register their protest against Buthelezi coming to the campus with Zulu impis in his normal visit to the university, there was violence; people were killed, but that violence was Zulu against Zulu. I was saying that the violence which took place even in Ngoya University was a violence which was students resisting becoming non-academic Zulus in traditional dress and this was not a Xhosa/Zulu thing. It was an ideology because Buthelezi was imposing himself and there was tremendous suspicion that the system was colluding with Buthelezi. At the time of the unbanning of the ANC that violence was translated to Transvaal because the system wanted to prove that Buthelezi is not just (in Natal), that he is now leader. His presence is also physical in Johannesburg and in the Transvaal.

POM     There's no doubt in your mind at all is there that the South African government had a hand in this violence?

MOX     I have no doubt in my mind about that. I am certain about that. My experience in Natal showed me that. When I was a Rector of Lamontville Parish, my parish church was vandalised; the police came, caught some people and released them because it was not in their interests to take people of Inkatha and they told the Reverend there, "Don't leave this area, you'll be dead, Inkatha hates you." And I knew it was them also saying so. And they made no attempt to apprehend those people. No attempt. So I am clear in my mind that the Nationalist Party and the police, because I cannot divorce Nationalist Party from the police because the police in South Africa have always seen themselves as the arm of the Nationalist Party. They are not government servants, they are not partisan. They operate in favour of the Nationalist Party and the Nationalist Party, of course, prides itself in that. And so I have no doubt in my mind that it was the police on instructions from certain ministers to operate that act, to show to the world that the ANC does not enjoy the majority that it is said that it is enjoying. And that if they don't take cognisance of Buthelezi, who is their puppet, then there will be no peaceful settlement.

POM     Now do you think this was official government policy that the government approved of this happening?

MOX     I have no doubt in my mind that it was. You see since Pik Botha said, and Buthelezi has also said, that the support of government was legitimate because they were fighting sanctions and Pik Botha said if that happens he would have pitched again. You see the police force, among blacks, especially in Natal and most of the Transvaal, is composed mainly of Zulus and those Zulus when it is convenient by government order behave as if they are Inkatha persons when they are actually on duty. They are carrying weapons because they are Inkatha, more than they normally carry when they are on duty and therefore the government has been colluding right through and there is no doubt in mind that it has been so.

POM     Do you think De Klerk himself approved and had knowledge of this?

MOX     If these matters were discussed in the supreme body which they have as the security group, and if these things were discussed in the Cabinet, how could he avoid not knowing about this? And it has been pointed out time and time again that we believe that there was a third force and that did not make De Klerk change. He said bring evidence. And he knew that it was difficult to bring evidence. It was not easy to bring that kind of evidence because you've got to catch the man on the act and begin to operate like that. I do not want to say that he does not know. I am unable to say so on the evidence that we have. He was a member of the Cabinet, senior one at that and therefore he could have known that there were covert funds which were placed to make sure that they immobilise all persons who are against the progressive forces.

POM     So what happened to De Klerk, the man of integrity? Have you changed your assessment of De Klerk in the last year?

MOX     De Klerk's integrity would only be retrieved if he made a public apology on behalf of the Nationalist Party.

POM     For apartheid?

MOX     No, for the killings. If he made a public apology to say that we have discovered we were wrong supporting Inkatha, as they have discovered they were wrong in making apartheid. Therefore if he knows now, as I believe that he must have known before, except that he may not have been in the administration which has handled specific cases, he should apologise to the nation. Then his integrity can be retrieved. But for as long as he has taken a political posturing of being a party leader, then we're going to find it difficult to say that his integrity is not at stake.

POM     But it would seem to me that if the government and the ANC will be the two major parties to negotiations, that it will be very difficult for the ANC to negotiate with the government when it believes that that government is trying to undermine and destroy it even as they are negotiating. Do you think the climate of trust which appeared on its way to being established last year after the signing of the Pretoria Minute, do you think that climate has now dissipated, that it doesn't exist any more?

MOX     I would say that that climate of trust was at risk even at that time because at the grassroots people just did not believe it was so. The leadership said, OK let us give it a go and take this man at his word, and indeed they did. I also want to say that when you have got two warring factions the fact of negotiations and bargaining counts, because there is a non-peace between these two people. But the ANC is committed to peaceful negotiations. The ANC I think recognises beyond doubt that unless you have a semblance of co-operation and goodwill among whites whether they win on the polls that will be sabotaged to a point where it will not be able to work, that settlement, and therefore we do need to have a semblance of goodwill which comes from whites.

POM     How would the whites sabotage, say, an electoral victory by the ANC?

MOX     How can they now? All the government servants are whites and they are all whites from the Director General, all the police are whites. They can lose those whites, they can tear those things apart and you have to begin from nowhere. And therefore public servants, for them to accept that government, you need to have also the Nationalist Party taking part in those negotiations. I think it's important. The ANC is convinced that we need a settlement and it is convinced that without the co-operation of the party in power and of the people in power, we will have endless violence.

POM     What about the National Party or the government, have you seen any evolution in its thinking over the last year with regard to what it would see as a just and equitable settlement?

MOX     I don't think that at the moment one is convinced because the Nationalist Party at the moment wants to be the referee and the player which makes it very difficult - we would talk to them even at that level a lot. But it was difficult for us, we were trying this because we felt that the state of impasse cannot be allowed to go on ad infinitum, but nonetheless we believe that among the Nationalist Party members there may be people who are convinced that there is need for change; there may be persons who believe that there is need for change; there may be persons who are in the state among the public servants and the police, and I think that De Klerk if he is informed well by the economists and by the industrialists, he would like to have a miracle of a change without going through the pain. And I think that the pain is inevitable of coming to terms with the fact that they have oppressed, there must be a degree to which there must be a distribution of the opportunities and the resources as far as it is possible and thus creating a phasing of white expansionism to an extent to which the whites will feel bad about. And the sad point is that I think what the Nationalist Party has not realised is that although among them there are conservatives who are almost CP in mentality, yet if they took the jump, the leap, they would end up with a majority which includes the African National Congress. So it would end up in a majority in which they would be able even, possibly, to come into an alliance with the African National Congress in order to save their face and also come to a government which will also be acceptable. But at the moment I think they are placing a tremendous burden on the African National Congress. The African National Congress, because it enjoys credibility among it's followers, it may say to the people, we have got to sacrifice one, two and three to save and to salvage peaceful co-existence among our people.

POM     So could that include, I mean some of the National Party people that I've talked to and the government people for that matter, talk in terms of the National Party retaining, having some authority at the executive level of government, i.e. that they can see a situation in which the ANC would be the majority party in government but that the National Party would be a coalition; they would be the junior partner, where National Party members would still retain one or two Cabinet, or maybe three or four Cabinet portfolios and in this way that's what they would regard as power sharing. Do you think that kind of settlement would be acceptable to black people?

MOX     I will say for the African National Congress in particular, because we have said that we are non-racial, we take a non-racial option, and the tactics such as those of coming to a coalition in which you are trying to create a climate of trust among all the people of South Africa, it is not outside the imagination and the speculation of the African National Congress. If that settlement is not going to be a dishonourable settlement, if that settlement is coming as having been canvassed adequately with their followers, there would be no problem with us as such because in spite of the coalition the party which enjoys majority would in the last analysis be the party which determines the pace of that. But if you have to get the expertise of whites in several areas of administration which we have not been exposed to you would need to retain the services of some of the highly qualified government servants and if they must be retained, also I think they would have to have confidence in that kind of coalition.

POM     Since 1967 there hasn't been a single country in Africa, with one exception, where power has passed from one elected government to another elected government, either that the governments had become one-party states or the governing party enjoyed such an overwhelming electoral advantage that it was simply re-elected over and over again. So in that sense there has been no democracy. What do you think might make South Africa different?

MOX     OK. When you say that, you include South Africa? For South Africa made it impossible for anybody to come to power other than the Nationalist Party; but the same as Zimbabwe, same as any other country? The mentality and culture of politics in Southern African is that. I don't want, sometimes people want to exclude the whites

POM     No, no ...

MOX     I just want to make it clear for the case. I regard that as crucial. I think that there's one modicum of hope which I have for that because at a time when the African National Congress would have been hardest and extremist, they opted for a government of the people by the people and accepted the reality of the whites being citizens of South Africa. Whereas the Nationalists, PAC and others, were doubting, in fact they broke away because they didn't want that. That's one. Two, we have in the ranks of the African National Congress tremendously highly placed white persons, if that is a determining factor. And we also have learnt a great deal about the facts around leadership and its maintenance. I mean look at the case in which even in the ANC we have been able to set aside Mrs Mandela in the face of Mandela. It was an unpopular decision to Mandela, it was an unpopular decision to many persons who just hero-worshipped Mrs Mandela, but even the MDM which at the time was able to say Mrs Mandela unless she toes the line she will be sidelined. So that there is an overwhelming, I think in South Africa, degree of the culture of democracy. That's one. Two, on the other hand people who have suffered from racism as we have done want to create a climate in which there will be democracy. The churches here are stronger than the churches were in Zambia or in Zimbabwe and the churches' voice here still has a tremendous influence on the people. And if the church still remains and the Council of Churches still remains as independent of government as I hope they will be, the church will still stand out very strongly to create a climate which makes it impossible for despotism to take place.

POM     What's generally called Inkathagate, the revelations of the funding of Inkatha through the Department of Foreign Affairs or through the South African Police, who are the political winners and losers and in particular what does this do to Gatsha Buthelezi?

MOX     Buthelezi has been saying all along that he operates independently of government, that he is opposed to the Nationalist Party apartheid system and he has mobilised people on that ticket in Natal and he has mobilised people on the ticket that he is a true liberation activist and I think that he has bashed the confidence of a number of people in this regard. Whereas people will not hesitate to accept him receiving funding from anywhere else, whether it's in Germany or Holland or anywhere, if he was part of a system which was fighting apartheid and dismantling of apartheid people would not mind, but the fact that he has used our money, the taxpayers money, my income tax, in order to be in an alliance position with the present government, I think it will cost him tremendous, it will make him tremendous credibility problems for himself. He will be like Matanzima, he'll be like Sebe was, he'll be like Lucas Mangope is, and people will begin to say he is a stooge and nothing else.

POM     Everyone last year when the violence began was hoping that the right time for a meeting between Buthelezi and Mandela would come and eventually the meeting did take place but it didn't have any real impact. Why did it not have any real impact on the violence?

MOX     We knew that it would not have impact because we are not convinced that a handshake between Mandela and Buthelezi will change the attitude of the government on trying to show that the ANC is not the major party to deal with. The government was busy trying to cook figures for Buthelezi to appear to be a third party which would be part of the negotiation table. We knew ourselves that the government destabilisation programme, Mandela said throw your pangas into the sea and he appeared to be taking high moral ground and immediately Inkatha pushed violent action even after that week and transported that violence to the Transvaal because it tried to say that unless you take Buthelezi seriously there will be no end of violence. And who was behind the violence in fact except the state, except covert support by Vlok, by Malan and by Minister Botha.

POM     So do you think that this whole Inkatha affair effectively ends any public perception of there being a triumvirate of leaders, that the main players in this are not Buthelezi, De Klerk and Mandela, that Buthelezi has now been sidelined? It's really two players who count.

MOX     It doesn't depend on us, it depends on the people. You see we would say that we would never acknowledge Buthelezi as an authentic person in his own right, we have already said that we can only talk to Buthelezi if he is negotiating at the same table as the National Party because he is their baby in any case, he's not the people's baby. And we are clear that Buthelezi hasn't got the power that he claims to have except that the government has made him have those powers like it did to Matanzima, like it did to Sebe, like it did to any homeland leader of their choice. So he becomes no different from those folks.

POM     Is the question of an interim government now the central question on the agenda. It seems to me that the ANC's argument for an interim government has been strengthened with the revelation that the South African government was funding DTA in Namibia while it was supposed to be impartially overseeing elections there. Do you think that the government will in fact resign and take part in forming an interim government?

MOX     Well there are other props which we believe can still maintain the government not to resign and those props are Great Britain, America and other countries of the west, because America is known to have sided with groups of whatever kind for as long as you don't go cap in hand with them. So South Africa can remain intransigent on this issue for a long time but I know that the big business in our country has felt the cost of sanctions and they probably, like the CBM, came up to try and create a climate in which negotiations take place. I don't think, we believe strongly, that there should be an interim government, that this government should cede power to an authority outside the African National Congress, outside the Nationalist Party, an authority which will take over and take the power of governing South Africa during the interim period. We believe so.

POM     But what I'm asking you is whether or not in the short to medium run do you see the government simply saying, OK we resign, we will agree to become part of a larger interim government. I mean in essence they are voting themselves out of power by resigning. Do you see that happening in the next year, two years, or do you think it will take a longer period?

MOX     I think it will take a long period because you see without these revelations all the time one gave De Klerk the benefit of the doubt. The fact that De Klerk has not been able to sack Vlok, I mean that was the smallest thing that he could do. You ask him to make a big step and he says he must surrender government. He couldn't sack Vlok, he couldn't sack Malan, which means that in the NP and in government departments some people are not convinced completely about sharing power or a democratically elected government which has a majority which may be ANC.

POM     So you're saying that they couldn't fire, sack them or that he ...?

MOX     He couldn't fire Vlok. He could not.

POM     He could not say 'Out'.

MOX     Out of the Cabinet. Anywhere else in the world ...

POM     The whole government would have been gone not just the minister.

MOX     The government would have gone. You're quite right. But here it does not happen. And it does seem to be that some of the western countries, even up to now, are not taking that seriously because it seems to me that they have another standard for South Africa which they don't have for themselves. You see, I think it was this guy from Australia, Malcolm Fraser, who said, "If a majority of whites were oppressed by a minority of blacks the western world would have long made sure that that didn't happen." But here they have got other interests because they are not operating you see, the word Christian is merely a smoke-screen. They are not operating in the Christian interest nor communist interest. It's merely capitalist interest of make sure that our money lies safe for what it is worth.

POM     But what I'm getting at is, you read in the papers today that it looks as though the government and the ANC are getting closer to negotiations but it seems to me that before you get to negotiations you have to resolve the issue of an interim government and it seems to me in the light of what you have said and the way in which the state operates that it's going to take a lot of action before the government will agree to resign and become part of this new interim government.

MOX     Oh yes it's going to take time. De Klerk has become an ordinary NP leader. He has reduced himself from a position of a statesman to that position and I can see that when we have ourselves to use all the other strategies that we have like this whole thing to go into guerrilla warfare.

POM     Sorry, resorting to guerrilla warfare has really gone now. Do you not think that's really, that phase is over, going back to the armed struggle is not viable?

MOX     The thing is that the climate, I'm not saying that that's the option. That option is being pushed on us like it was pushed in 1962. Here you are honestly negotiating with the government, the government at the same time is stocking arms to kill people in the townships. Where do you begin? Where do you end? In 1962 we were faced with the same position. Those people who said they don't want the smell of blood said that we must surrender and negotiate. If we hadn't gone into sanctions, in spite of the weakness of the army of the ANC, if we hadn't gone into sanctions we would never be where we are with all the players in the capitals of the world, we would never have been where we are. It had to take sacrifice on our side.

POM     What other instruments of pressure does the ANC have to force the government into real negotiations by forming an interim government?

MOX     Our options are, well, limited into one. There is a time when you have got to say if these people want to govern and they want to govern at all costs, let them govern over our dead bodies. That's a very tough option to take because if we go into the streets with the present climate of the government, which is not going to be changeable, and if we begin to be ungovernable the government is going to begin to kill as they have been doing. That option is an option which is a tough option for any political leader. That option is an option which is part of the things which must be thought of. Also we will have to think of again mounting a guerrilla warfare, painful as it may be. And you say that will not happen but the climate is changing. I mean what made these guys say that we must go to the negotiating table in Zimbabwe and others, is because they were feeling that the possibility of a war against them was at stake and the thing is now the government has abandoned all morality. What do you do? You have got to seek allies and if allies drop you we will fight it by ourselves by making protest, by defying all laws, by not paying tax and let the creditors wait again. That's the option we are left with.

POM     Do you think it will have to go to that length before the government resigns?

MOX     I think so because I can't see De Klerk ceding power. The events of the past few weeks have shown me that De Klerk has no intention, or the power the right wing within the NP is so strong that there is nothing De Klerk can do about it.

POM     To switch for a minute to another relationship, that between the ANC and the SACP. Is this a problem for the ANC?

MOX     It has never been a problem with the ANC.

POM     Is it not a political problem for them now in terms of attracting members, in terms of recruitment?

MOX     In the first place on the ground we are recruiting people for the ANC and also the SACP is recruiting people for its own membership and some of the persons who are also ANC members. And the fact of choosing, of taking the SACP for those people is not a deep analysis. All they want is to strengthen all forces which are against apartheid. There is no collision of ideas between the ANC and the SACP at the moment.

POM     Well it seems to me that one of the things that the ANC would be trying to do is to broaden its base of support. It has acknowledged that it has trouble with the Indian community and with the coloured community and among whites. I've talked to a number of whites who would be regarded as being progressive, liberal whites, but who put a question mark behind their decision to join or not join the ANC because of its relationship with the SACP.

MOX     Let's look at that in its own right and say that in terms of our history, to look at the SACP, to talk of the SACP, is it the fact that it is atheist or is it because it is offering a socialist approach? And if it is first of all to say that it is atheist I don't think in South Africa under apartheid rules there were whites who took God seriously.

POM     Sorry, you don't think there are?

MOX     There are whites or coloureds or Indians who took religion seriously because their religious conviction would not have permitted them not to love their neighbour as they were not loving their neighbour. The NP was coming back with overwhelming majorities and winning so-called English speaking whites which means that the bottom line was not so much whether they were atheistic, the bottom line was which person has got the best guns to defend this country as far as they were concerned. The NP ensured that. So it was not really Almighty God which was the issue in my own personal analysis. The SACP has not even begun, even among its recruitment programmes, to talk about dialectical materialism and the fact of God and non-God. All they are saying is that they want a government which seeks to control the economy as far as it is possible and therefore I am saying this is a facade for Indians, if the Indians want to choose, if the Indians think and the coloureds think it is better to choose a racist NP as against a government which talks about ushering a programme of one man one vote in a South Africa which is unitary, then they can face their consciences. We can't help that. There will always be those differences and we can't help that. But we are not going to forsake a friend and betray a relationship with the SACP merely to gain uncertain votes; we are not guaranteed even of those votes. Nothing guarantees those votes on our side. And we have had whites in this country and we were oppressed by the whites in this country, if the so-called liberal groups did not enjoy the support of the whites even when they were espousing a policy different to the NP, like the IFP, Democratic Party, they have never enjoyed white support. Never have they enjoyed coloured support or Indian support. Coloureds all went to the Labour Party and so it was a degree of Indians going to the House of Representatives, of Delegates. So by what measurement are we saying that there is a degree of authenticity in that voice or in that propaganda voice merely to destabilise the ANC and the progressive forces and relationship in terms of transfer of power? This is my question.

POM     So you would think that anybody who raises this question of the relationship of the ANC to the SACP is really raising a red herring?

MOX     Yes I would think so myself. The whites in the church here think I'm a communist. I can argue myself until I'm blue in the face but there are whites who will say, "Xundu the communist." There is nothing I can do about it.

POM     Well last year I talked to Bishop Lekganjani of the Zionist Church and he was very anti-communist and I assumed that the Zionist Church is the largest church in South Africa. Is that right?

MOX     Yes.

POM     And a very conservative church from what I understand. If Bishop Lekganjani was to instruct his people not to vote for the ANC, not to join the ANC because of its ties to the Communist Party, do you think that would have an impact on members of that church?

MOX     I mean we had members of those churches in the UDF. We had members of those churches who were joining the party as individuals. If Chikane one day said in the pulpit that people must join the ANC they wouldn't join the ANC because Chikane said so. If Bishop Hurley, who is a popular Bishop, stood up and said people must all join the ANC they won't join the ANC because he said so. So that is not an issue of contention. If that Bishop is against communism what did he do all the time to fight? That's the question I want to ask because oppression in South Africa is a reality and what did he do all the time to join those forces which were against oppression? There were liberal parties in this country which operated, there was the Democratic Party which if he wanted to join he could join without choosing, but if he wants to join the NP he must join the NP. But I don't feel that we are going to be blackmailed by those groups which in the bottom line have existed and not addressed apartheid issues.

POM     Last year, from abroad, the media coverage of the ANC indicated that it was following a very zigzag course which would make a demand, set a deadline, the deadline would go by, they would pull back on the demand, reiterate the demand, give another deadline, but it appeared to be uncertain and unsure of itself. In the west at least the perception was that De Klerk always had the initiative, De Klerk had the high ground. Do you think first of all that there is an accurate assessment of what was happening here and has that now changed in light of Inkathagate?

MOX     I think that I would support that view. If you are going up a mountain you take zigzags because you are going up a mountain. You take what is best in trying to conquer that mountain, that's one. Two, the ANC got unbanned and it had to find membership, it had to reach for membership. It was speaking all the time on behalf of just spectators and audience but it had to get a proper specific mandate and they were being forced by the government to make certain decisions which had not been canvassed properly and at the same time the ANC was recruiting, in the Natal conference they were already taking the line of talk to Inkatha. People were not entirely convinced that that was correct. They were not convinced and therefore in order to maintain that membership also the negotiating time had to make sure that they take their time. Because what the government wanted and what the western peoples want was for us to jump onto the bandwagon into the government side and then lose all our followers and then it becomes, "The ANC have sold out on us, they will do nothing to retrieve that for us."

     Therefore, the ANC had to deliberately take a slow march in order to make sure that they are going along with the people at every stage. It was difficult to consult, it was difficult to have meetings and at the same time the ANC could not just take popular decisions, it had to make sure that it had membership which gave it the proper money to do this. Therefore, De Klerk was coming with TV, with all the government machinery, and was making plausible statements which shocked the world because the NP said so. But in point of fact he did move along with his government. How much ground has he covered when you consider him against what was taking place on the ground, the destabilisation. We have always said that South Africa is responsible for the destabilisation of the progressive forces. Whilst he was talking to the ANC he was slapping it on the face through Inkatha and through other forces which they are using, through the Security Police. They were talking to us and they were continuing with that programme.

POM     What about the Conservative Party and then the militant right wing? Do you make a distinction between them? Last year there was a lot of speculation that a lot of white support was moving away from the NP to the Conservative Party and if you had an election that the Conservative Party might even emerge as the party with the majority of seats in a whites-only parliament. Yet this year I don't hear that. The Conservative Party seems to be floundering in the water. Is that a correct perception? Or what is your perception of what's happened to the Conservative Party?

MOX     I think the reality of the Conservative Party is that they realise that even if they went into power they would not be able to stop the ascendance of people who are against apartheid in South Africa. The people would become ungovernable. They would be left with one option, shoot and kill. And they would have to face the world on that. Two, they realise that they are not likely to impress anybody to lift sanctions as a party and therefore they cannot deliver an alternative to what the NP is doing in point of fact. They, to me, appear to be a bunch of disgruntled politicians in the same fashion that you have the ANC and the PAC. The PAC says ultimately we want a non-racial government but at the moment we say one settler one bullet. The ANC says that's impossible, we don't want that. We say all South Africans must govern together and therefore you have all those contradictions which are taking place and I think that the Conservative Party realises that it will be impossible for themselves to apply what they are talking about in 1991 or 1992.

POM     Do you think people, whites even who might have sided with the Conservative Party who don't like what's going on, know that change is inevitable and that when the Conservative Party talks about a white homeland or partition, that's being unrealistic? Do you think there's any element of, like what the CP holds out as an alternative, i.e. partition is simply totally impractical, that even Afrikaners who don't like the changes know that what the CP is offering is simply pie in the sky? Do you think there's any element of that at work?

MOX     I think that realisation is true. You see some whites feel that the best option to take is a soft option in which they will remain in control of the economy and power but pretending to go along with the ANC even if you are the wrong bedfellows and to hope that in that regard they will continue to control the economy and the power.

POM     So what they're really after is economic control, not political? They cede political control in order to hold economic control?

MOX     That's right, that's right. I think that is my reading of most of the whites. I mean even in liberal institutions like the church the whites vie for control immediately. [They don't mind you as long as you've got ... and four whites ...] So it was a great idea but it couldn't succeed and the reality of that democracy has been achieved, a vote was taken and four out of three voted against the idea. I've experienced that with the church. Whites want to be the Treasurer, they want to be the Trustees, they want to be members of the bodies which absolutely control. Africans sometimes get hoodwinked even in the church and that happens, even Desmond Tutu. They slip, they work their way into positions of control, even with him. Unless you are vigilant and deliberate every day, every day you must look; what did those guys say? Say that again, or every time you find that this happens.

POM     This is true of the white churchmen? The churches are a reflection of the society?

MOX     Yet it is. I mean in this diocese they have got tremendous respect for the Bishop and others but I know when it comes to the crunch that that is how it will go unless you expose it every time, say I know what you are doing now. And they say, no, no, you're seeing the forest for the wood. You say my experience has taught me. You have got to be vigilant. You can't afford to go in peace when a big issue is being discussed and you go into the toilet you'll be in trouble because decisions will be taken.

POM     You've kind of dumped that on me. I thought the church might be a little bit more advanced.

MOX     Yes. The society in which you live has affected the church tremendously. That is the plain truth.

POM     Well I'll leave it there for this year. I'll be back again. In time I'll send you, I'm a bit behind, but I'm doing transcripts of the conversations and I did 160 interviews last year. They all lasted an hour so I never thought how long it would take me to get somebody who could transcribe it.

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.