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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

13 Aug 1991: Giliomee, Hermann

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     Have you had a chance to have a look at Horowitz's book?

HG     Yes.

POM     Could you give an assessment of it?

HG     Yes. I wrote the review of it, but in essence what I said was that the second chapter was enormously useful where he puts together all the data and shows that it's a very divided society. In that sense it's very useful and also showing how difficult a transition would be and then when he comes to his own proposals, proposing a kind of an electoral system which I don't think the whites are intelligent enough for that. I certainly think it's not a very realistic proposal in a country where about 60% of the population is functionally illiterate. You know we have to grade the candidates, which I suppose most Western countries would have made the problems in using such electoral systems. So in that sense I think the book is perhaps a bit of a disappointment. Even in Nigeria which is one of his prime examples where it is supposed to be working there are grave doubts whether this kind of system really brings democracy or whether it simply becomes a form of patronage where people sell first, second and third President's votes.

POM     I was asking in the context of if tomorrow morning the negotiators from all the various parties were sitting at a table and you were charged with defining to them the problem they had to come there to negotiate and how you define the problem?

HG     The problem which is the problem of South Africa, the problem of? Well it's to try and get trade-offs between numerical weight and existing political weight, between existing class interests and emerging class aspirations, between popular demands and technocratic skills. It is that kind of trade-off.

POM     I mean more in the sense of how Horowitz looked at the problem first. Is this a racial problem? Is this an ethnic problem? Is it a divided society problem? Since the perspectives of many of the negotiators, I mean I'm trying to get reaction to Horowitz's book, perhaps not surprisingly working along very much ideological lines.

HG     Yes. No I think that chapter where he says it's ten different kinds of problems, obviously that is different. I, in fact, defined it in a piece which I wrote in that book 'Negotiating South Africa's Future', it's a conflict between two nationalisms and it's a nationalism on the one hand, both of them are broad fronts or popular fronts, the National Party being the popular front of so-called minorities. But the core of the National Party is Afrikaner nationalism, no longer the domination of the Afrikaners, but which wants to ensure the survival of the whites and a broader white group in a future society. And the other one is a kind of an African nationalism headed by the ANC which wants to replace or wants to shed the colonial heritage of subordination and humiliation. Now obviously when you say that it's that kind of conflict, you're bound to get criticism that people will say this is a very partial view. I still think that is the main dynamic.

     Then of course it is a racial problem in the sense that African nationalism is also to some extent paralleled by the racial tree which to some extent is paralleled by the ethnics in it although we know that these broad alliances are now cross-racial and cross-ethnic. But if I really have to say the real dynamo is two competing nationalisms but it's not of course nationalisms of a similar kind. The Afrikaner one is what scholars call an ethno-nationalism, whereas the ANC kind is the one that you find all over Africa, much more a territorial nationalism where you want to replace your colonial rulers and where you want to install the rule of the majority in this population and where you have a certain intolerance towards ethnic minorities which don't want to dissolve. But that's, I mean I can give you a copy of that, but that is more, I would see this more, that's why sociologists and political scientists always have problems with that. I see that more in terms of the long historical view as to be the main conflict. I think the racial one is breaking down to some extent although much of the outrage of the ANC is still a sense of racial insults.

POM     I want us to look at the ethnic one for a moment because it seems to me that one of the things that Horowitz was saying was that you have a real possibility here of people misdiagnosing what the real problem is and if you misdiagnose it and because you don't appear to be racist by saying there really is fear and there's an ethnic problem here as well or you're more or less saying, well maybe the government they've got the problem right, they've got the solution wrong, that if you mis-specify the problem you devise a set of structures that, in fact, will in time just implode. So increasingly during the last year, at least in the States, the violence in the Transvaal was increasingly portrayed as tribal violence. I think The Economist about a month ago in an editorial said there was no real difference between Xhosa and Zulu violence and Serbs and Croatians in Yugoslavia. Could you address those two things?

HG     I would imagine that in South Africa because of our own history of urbanisation we had very much a delayed urbanisation in some cases where large majorities of the black populations stayed in the rural areas unlike places like Croatia or Serbia where you never had something like influx control. A community like this is almost as firmly divided between the traditional rural component on the one hand and its urban employed, stable employed category on the other hand. So I don't think one can understand that type of conflict as you have on the Witwatersrand unless you also see those Zulus living in the migrant hostels as very much embattled, very despised by their urban fellow Africans, perhaps even by fellow Zulus. But what the significance of that kind of conflict is that once it starts it's very difficult for Zulus to remain neutral in such a conflict, even if you happen to be a fairly prosperous, well-to-do, permanent city dweller. It's possible in these kinds of wars that you very often have to choose between warring ethnic factions. So in that sense I would suppose our ethnic conflict, our intra-African ethnic conflict, is slightly more problematic, slightly more complex than the Serb/Croatian type of conflict. Because one cannot leave out of consideration the degree to which the segmentation of the Zulus into urban/rural is also contributing to the conflict.

POM     What I'm trying to get at is, if you look at the pattern of violence in the Transvaal over the year, would you be more inclined to say that the dominating thing energising it was ethnic or that it was political?

HG     Are you talking about the intra-African?

POM     I'm talking about Xhosa, yes.

HG     Intra-African. I wouldn't like to be put in some kind of box, but I would say that the violence as I understand it, in fact I was just photocopying the article, is to some extent a retaliation at the moment that the violence started with the ANC trying to establish itself in the country in the mid eighties as a liberation movement.

POM     This is in Natal?

HG     Yes. In Natal but tackling Inkatha in Natal in order to try and remove Inkatha as a political factor before any negotiations. And that obviously Buthelezi and Inkatha and the KwaZulu Police and also the South African Black Police, whether they be Zulu or not, started reacting because they were under attack. And that sort of more or less, I would imagine it was in 1988/1989, and what you have at the moment is a retaliatory violence, also because people get dragooned into mobilisation, into actions which they often don't want to get dragooned into. Certainly I think the ethnic factor did play a role.

     There was a story which, I don't know whether you have heard it but I believe it's fairly authentic, that there was this soccer match, annual soccer match in a mine in Northern Natal, it's a coal mine, and traditionally the Xhosas and the Zulus sit separately and there's never been any problem but when Mandela was released the Xhosa started chanting "Next year Gatsha will become Nelson's garden boy and the King will become his kitchen boy" and then "Garden boy, kitchen boy, garden boy, kitchen boy". And then there was just an uprising and the Zulus attacked them and in fact all Xhosa labourers had to leave the mine and they went back to the Transkei and the Transkeian authorities had to come and promise that this kind of thing would never happen. So I think the ethnic slurs and the ethnic insults do accompany this kind of battle and that by and large I wouldn't be surprised that of the South African Police there would be a strong component of Zulu speakers within the South African Black Police Force and that policemen, black policemen, black local councillors, would tend in general to see the ANC, if they are not Xhosa themselves, as a basically Xhosa-led organisation trying to install itself as the key political force in South Africa, the main political force in South Africa. Obviously then what one is saying is that violence has ethnic overtones, but I would be reluctant to portray it as a stark naked ethnic war between Xhosas and Zulus.

POM     What about this talk of the double agenda?

HG     Well, I think you asked me a year ago, but I think it's obvious that both sides have a double agenda, both the ANC and the National Party.

POM     Well I mean one specifically which has the ANC saying that the government is behind the orchestration of the violence and the government in fact perpetrated some of the violence. The government on the one hand has been holding out the olive branch but their double agenda was to try to undermine and weaken them and they point to Inkathagate as being the proof that sufficiently showed that Inkatha and the government are linked, and that everything that we've been saying about their link in terms of violence must also be true.

HG     Well if that has been the double agenda then the government has been very miserly in expending money on that, the kind of amount spent is certainly very meagre if you think of what ultimately is at stake. I would have imagined much larger resources being put behind Inkatha. Obviously I would argue that because you've got the black councillors and the black police and the homeland governments, especially KwaZulu government, finding themselves as being branded common enemies along with the South African government of de Klerk, that there would be a tendency of police officers to see the ANC still as the enemy. But this new thing about training centres to try and attack ANC, that is still within the context of the war that was actually going on in the mid eighties between Inkatha and the ANC. I doubt that de Klerk having started to negotiate with the ANC would willingly back a double agenda and channel resources to the ANC. Certainly I would be enormously surprised if he is now being caught out as having lied when he said, 'Look I knew nothing of this until I read it in the Weekly Mail'. It seems that he's put himself so much out on a limb in his denial. But I would imagine that certain Cabinet ministers, like Vlok and Malan, probably knew of some actions but it was never really a Cabinet issue, that it was a deliberate Cabinet decision to destabilise the ANC. But then on the other hand the ANC is virtually, was very frank about its own double agenda, that negotiations is just a site of struggle in which they want to effect the transfer of power and that its negotiations is the new site of struggle and the challenge is not to get to power by constitutional means but simply to have this as a base for a new mobilisation against the state. So the ANC is also quite clearly engaged in a double agenda. It is not like Solidarity in Poland, carefully contemplating ways in which it could come to power constitutionally.

POM     Sorry, I'm missing something. One the one hand the ANC?

HG     Saying quite clearly in the words of some of their spokesmen that it is simply using the negotiations as a new site of struggle and that the purpose of the negotiations is to try and effect a form of transfer of power through revolutionary means. Sorry, it's now bothering me. Let me just see because otherwise it's in the photo-copy machine. 'The key shift in the ANC's strategic orientation is that we see it's now possible to pursue the same goals we pursued through armed struggle, namely the transfer of power to the people, the fundamental transformation of South Africa we see as now being possible through negotiations'. That's the primary orientation of the ANC at the moment. Then it goes on that it's basically a question of using negotiations as a base for mass-mobilisation.

POM      What is this an article of yours in?

HG     It's an article in English in this Journal called Die Suid-Afrikaan, which unfortunately I haven't got the photo copy of in the car, so I can't promise you a copy.

POM     Is that available in book stores?

HG     Are you seeing Andre du Toit or not?

POM     I hope so. I haven't set something up yet.

PAT     But isn't that magazine in Afrikaans?

HG     No, the article was in English.

PAT     Oh there are a couple of articles in the magazine in English?

HG     I think you can take my photocopy. I'll make another one tomorrow.

POM     I was going to ask you about that, two different kinds of language out there. You here just talking about the transfer of power and Pallo Jordan said to us we must strip this whole thing down.

HG     Strip the whole thing down?

POM     You must take away all the rhetoric and all the posturing that this is about the transfer of power. We know it and they know it. That's very, very far, a long way away from getting institutions in which different communities share power.

HG     But you know you can't say that to the outside world really. You have to portray, at least the ANC must be portrayed in negotiations as acting in good faith, that it wants to have a broad based arrangement in which all the major parties in South Africa would feel that they have a role to play, that they want to maintain the conditions for economic growth and stability. Because if Jordan, and I think Jordan's right, that if you really want to do that kind of thing that will be more or less the end of the economic base and it's possible that the ANC may in five or ten years come to power, but there will be very little left of the type of wealth and prosperity of South Africa that we know at the moment. I certainly think that the country will go into a very deep trough and it's not quite certain to me that it will ever emerge from that.

POM     So do I detect that you're more pessimistic this year than you were last year?

HG     I think I've never been overly optimistic. I expect a very difficult transition.

POM     Well I'm scared of pessimism.

HG     I'm a fatalist, I'm not a pessimist or an optimist.

POM     But, two things, there's a huge difference between a government having a hand in orchestrating violence which means the killing of large numbers of people and a political organisation saying we are using really legitimate constitutional means, i.e. mass mobilisation, consumer boycotts.

HG     Yes that is true. Well mass mobilisation is not simply fairy picnic-style politics, it entails a fair degree of violence to get people to engage in consumer boycotts, to get people to engage in stayaways and that kind of violence again leads to retaliatory violence. I mean a consumer boycott as we envisage it, say the Dutch boycotting South African oranges is a very different kettle of fish compared to a mass action launched in the townships in South Africa. And so then you are in fact with such mobilisations, you do, in fact, invite in the security forces to become involved and to try and pre-empt future successes.

POM     It seems to me then you've got two sets of things going on. On the one hand you have the ANC believing, at least from the people that we've talked to, I mean really believing, that the government has been pursuing a double agenda, that they had them suckered for the past year, that they trusted the National Party too much, going along with their designs for a transfer of power and the government saying the ANC has its own double agenda and they're trying to use the negotiations for the transfer of power and we're talking about the sharing of power. So there are two entirely different, they would appear to be two entirely different sets of perspectives out there.

HG     Yes, no obviously, and also that the ANC, one can say that this whole furore about Inkatha has been largely over-amplified because it suits their strategy of having interim government quite well. This whole sense of outrage is very well orchestrated because about a year ago they had started to mobilise for interim government, Constituent Assembly and when they could get no support abroad for those demands they kept it on the back burner but now this was a God sent opportunity and the problem is just that the government says no to interim government, what would they do then? I can't see how the government can in fact accede to the demand for the interim government.

POM     Do you not think that at least the demand for one helped to strengthen, leaving Inkatha aside, but by the government's actions in Namibia in funding money to the DTA?

HG     I certainly think it's a more plausible demand now, but still a more plausible demand does not always mean that the demand will be granted because if de Klerk grants that demand that's the end of him as far as his own constituency is concerned. I think Namibia, of course, the funding of parties in Namibia, I mean whether you would now have to, whether you would think automatically that the same kind of thing will happen in South Africa is problematic. I would imagine that the entire future election will be held under close scrutiny by the international community. That there would not be very much scope for these kind of shenanigans.

PAT     I would imagine that it would be hard to have a more microscopic view of the elections than the UN had in Namibia.

HG     Where they had such a good view? Well I suppose it'll attract quite a lot of interest. But Namibia was so minute and about 100 000 UN observers for about 500 000 voters, but I would imagine that the elections would be fairly well scrutinised by the international community. Well I certainly think some kind of legislation is possible that the state may for instance fund political parties in a future election but the quid pro quo may be that the state would say then no outside funding for parties. But I think one should see the entire demand for an interim government as part of a political strategy and Inkathagate fits that very nicely.

POM     What about the NP's strategy. Does it have, or the government, does it have clearly thought out strategies with the variations in tactics?

HG     Well I think the whole strategy is obviously to get the ANC to make as many concessions and compromises as possible in the negotiations and show that the election, or that the constitution and subsequent election will be seen as a sell-out by the ANC and that there would be no mass enthusiasm for this election. The government would want to do everything in its power to have this election seen by the mass of the black population as a liberation election. So it would want it to be very much a humdrum election, sealing a certain pact which has been made beforehand, and for that it will have to sucker, not sucker, it will have to negotiate in such a way that at least part of the ANC is prepared to enter into the election. They probably hope that a split in the ANC will occur at that stage, that some people in the ANC would feel that too much has been compromised in the negotiations. I think all these other tricks of destabilising the ANC, funding Inkatha, that again I think they got a huge fright in this particular case. It seems the Brits were very angry about that and I don't think they'll try that kind of thing again. And I fully believe the reports that de Klerk was very, very angry when he first heard about that.

POM     Is there any suggestion that the NP is pursuing a dual strategy, on the one hand preparing the ground for some kind of coalition with the ANC, sharing power with the ANC, and simultaneously building up alliances with parties like Inkatha?

HG     It's got two options here. It's not a dual strategy. I think it's two options that it considers constantly and I don't think it's finally made up its mind yet.

POM     Do other people within the NP believe that the NP could couple together a coalition that would in fact defeat the ANC?

HG     If it's an apathetic ANC, if it's the ANC which feels that it has compromised too much, an ANC, I mean the ANC is not known for organising people to get them to become members of the ANC, to become paid-up members of the ANC. It's quite possible that the ANC won't be able to get its act together in registering voters, getting them to the polling booths. For them to be able to get the people to the polling booths they must really tell them you are voting for your freedom, your vote will mean your actual freedom. But if it's a kind of an election where people say, well you know it won't change much, then I certainly don't think the ANC will get sufficiently large numbers out that the election will be seen as a devastating defeat for the NP and will remove much of the ANC's base for future bargaining.

POM     But do you believe that there is a sufficient basis in the ANC that makes that a real possibility? That there are so many deals that would be ...?

HG     Actually I don't know the ANC itself well enough. I only know the NP characters fairly well, have a sense of what they will do. But they will not transfer power. They will certainly not negotiate the kind of a constitution which will allow Pallo Jordan to present it as a transfer of power or to say that the election will signify the transfer of power and bring the new revolutionary force to power. I just can't see any of them doing that.

POM     So you don't think that anyone within the NP is really accepting or thinking in terms of the inevitability of black majority rule?

HG     Well it depends on what you define as black majority. First of all who are the black majority?

POM     An ANC government.

HG     There may be a government where ANC members may be members, but certainly what they envisage is having a strong enough representation in Cabinet, strong enough leverage over Cabinet that that majority would not be able to transfer power, to change the fundamentals of South African politics except in a fairly gradual way.

POM     Do you think that they would want to see that as part of a permanent settlement or as part of a transition period?

HG     I think de Klerk certainly would want to see it. I had one or two interviews with him and I think that he is reflecting the view of the Cabinet in that he would certainly want it to be seen as a transitional phase but not one that will have a clearly delimited time span, so that he would say by 1998 we will come at the end of that transitional phase and then we go, say, into black majority rule. So he will say to the ANC, look we can always negotiate again but this is what I can at the moment deliver, I can agree with you on such a constitution. We may have another constitution at some time in the future but he will not let himself be bound by a specific time limit. ANC talks about 18 months and things like that.

POM     18 months for a?

HG     For a transitional government.

POM     OK. We're making a distinction between an interim government and a transitional government.

HG     Yes. Perhaps I'm confusing the two issues here. The ANC I should rather say would want to work with a very specific, very limited time frame. Even if they go into negotiations, say, look OK we've got a compromise constitution now, but then the ANC says OK if it's such a compromise we will only want this constitution for X number of months. Whereas the NP would say, look if you do that kind of thing you raise all kinds of uncertainties. You will simply have to, we will prepare to negotiate again one day but this is what we have for the moment and we regard this as the constitution of the day.

POM     Do you think, just backing up on that, it seems to me that the case can be made both ways, that for the kind of negotiations that would take place here an element of trust may be necessary? Negotiations are better off when we don't have trust, I mean is trust necessary to negotiations?

HG     No you mustn't buy a house because you trust the previous owner. I think you buy something because the structure is such that you have some confidence in it. I always think of Graham green's Quiet American, that gives me rather a character with bad intentions as it's those with good intentions I fear and distrust. It's trust, I can't see how that could really affect your basic position in negotiations because obviously trust is in human beings and they may die tomorrow. How can you build an entire structure of a future constitution on trust?

POM     Well maybe put it in terms of a year ago much was made of the special relationship that appeared to exist between Mandela and de Klerk.

HG     Yes, I was always very worried about that.

POM     And the much bandied about phrase of 'De Klerk is a man of integrity'. Now that's gone.

HG     Well, very good, that's very good that it's gone.

POM     So this process is more independent of them at this point?

HG     It should be. If it would last it should be independent of any transient political fears. It must be some kind of structure that does not depend on the goodwill of certain political leaders. But that's much more Mandela that went on about this kind of trust of de Klerk and I don't think de Klerk himself was really so much playing that up.

POM     Have you in the last year seen any evolution in the government's position with regard to power sharing, moving in new directions?

HG     I think it's become tougher. I think it was still in 1989/1990 they simply didn't know what to do and how to get the ANC to accept it. I think it's now much more confident of bringing in - well I haven't spoken to anyone since the scandal broke but I think it's more confident of getting a kind of result in an election in which they would still be able to exercise quite important leverage in any future political system. They were really a year ago fumbling around and not having any kind of clarity where they are going to and what they are going to do. Now they're getting a bit tougher, they're getting a bit more convinced that they can pull something off. One will have to see when they start talking to the ANC.

POM     What would be their assumptions in thinking that way?

HG     I think they are much more confident that the west will back them in their insistence on the power sharing arrangement, that that kind of thing is necessary for the economic system and for the future economic trade with the west and that the west will not want to see a fairly unfettered black government in power here in South Africa.

POM     A year ago there was a lot of talk of the threat of the Conservative Party and if there were a whites' only election it could possibly get more then 50% of the white vote. That seems to have receded a lot, no?

HG     Afrikaner support has come down.

POM     The Afrikaner support for ...?

HG     For the NP has come down quite considerably.

POM     It has? Yes.

HG     It's now 45%, it's well below 50% now yes.

POM     So the Conservative Party can now say that it is the party of the Afrikaner?

HG     Yes I think it's credible to say that. I think the DP support among Afrikaners is about 5% to 7%, perhaps still very evenly divided. But I think for de Klerk it's quite a blow not to be the undisputed leader of the Afrikaners any more.

POM     Is there any, I mean have I been missing something in terms of not hearing them opposing the kind of threat they were supposed to oppose a year ago?

HG     Whose threat? I don't follow you.

POM     The threat of a whites' only election.

HG     Well not much progress has been made with respect to actual negotiations within the government and the ANC so we're not much further down the line. Most of the stumbling blocks are now removed but the ANC obviously will take a very strong stand over the next year or two. Then we come closer to 1994/1995 and there could be some panic.

POM     But would you regard the Afrikaner, I'll come back to Inkathagate and Buthelezi, what did that do to him?

HG     I think those that love him would love him more and those who hate him will hate him more. I think Buthelezi has predominantly a rural base, the organised rural base could be partly as the result of coercion. He's sure to get out at least a million people to the polling booths, which is more than the NP can itself get to the polling booth. I think Buthelezi's international credibility is largely in tatters I would imagine. I doubt that he would be received again by Bush and by Major in their offices. But internally, especially in the kind of conditions where it's what I call a disputed election, an election in which there's a lot of question marks hanging over it whether this is the real thing or not, let's say humdrum type of election, there I think Buthelezi will do very well. If it's a liberation election then Buthelezi won't figure at all.

POM     I'm having trouble with - can you actually see a situation of it being a humdrum election? Do you think that the ANC will in a way implode on itself and say after all that ...?

HG     But it is not necessary for that. Look at Poland. In that June 1989 election the poll was below 60%. One almost assumes that people will come out in great numbers and that they will realise that they are now voting for their freedom. In the case of Zimbabwe where you had high polls that was in the final phases of a war, of an actual war and people are actually very tired of the war and they will do anything to end the war. And in Namibia you had so few people that you could get all those forces out. And South Africa spent about R100 million there to get people out to the polls. That's R50 per voter. I would imagine that in South Africa it'll be much different. One can't predict actually that there will be mass enthusiasm. Certainly I think there will be sectors of the African population that will be filled by great trepidation. Certainly I would imagine that all the white farmers will tell their labourers, and that's about one fifth of the African labour force, that if the ANC wins the election they will sell the farm and their workers will be without a job. So I think we've got our own kind of almost historic projection of what this election would look like.

POM     In one thing you're saying it's a dichotomy of sorts and that is on the one hand you're saying the NP has become a lot tougher in terms and more confident in terms of what it can look for and get in terms of power sharing, and on the other hand that the CP appears to be mopping up more of the Afrikaner vote.

HG     Yes. But if you have got a low proportion, say if you have a low threshold in a proportional election system, 5%, a party must get at least 5% of the votes before they can get seats in parliament (like the German system), then the whites are going to back the NP, they're not going to refrain from voting because they can't vote for the Conservative Party. The whites will realise how important it would be to support the NP. If they have the Israeli system where you've got a 1% cut off point then it's possible that the CP will also be in the election and after the election they will try and make a deal with the NP.

POM     What about the Indian and Coloured vote?

HG     I think there's a large proportion of both communities who are still undecided. Of those who are decided quite a substantial majority support the NP. The ones that I've seen are 24% of the Coloured people supporting the NP and 8% the ANC. Indians I would imagine would be the same kinds of proportions. I haven't seen the recent poll. But there seems to be, but Helen Zille could perhaps tell you more about this, there is a sense in which the Coloured people with apartheid now having been removed see themselves as having returned into the fold and fearing too much the uncertainties of an ANC government.

POM     I've just got a couple more things Hermann, time's getting on. The SACP/ANC alliance, is this proving to be a real problem for the ANC or is it more something in the minds of whites?

HG     I don't know. I've always found it very difficult to judge. There's someone in London who I spoke to two weeks ago, in Cambridge, who has just completed a book on the SACP, he's Stephen Ellis who was editor of African Confidential, and that's borne out by some local people here that the SACP is very much the organisational backbone of the ANC, that without them there's not much of an ANC in an organised form apart from being a symbolic force. What that means is that you've got quite a considerable number of people who are in strategic positions in the ANC movement who oppose attempts by sections of the ANC to strike a deal with, say, the capitalist sector, start to use the Chinese term, start joint ventures, start joint companies, that kind of thing, and because that is seen as selling out to the enemy. So in terms of its relationship with the private sector that is very problematic and certainly until there is some kind of clarity about the whole issue I think the private sector will have grave doubts about any incoming ANC government. I think it will lead to a huge flux of capital out of the country, cash and Stock Exchange crises and so on. So, yes, I think the SACP is not simply some kind of bogey in the minds of whites, I think it is a factor and somehow at some stage there will have to be a parting of the ways within the ANC. I just think that all the emphasis by whites on the ANC makes it much more difficult for the non-communist ANC to part company with the SACP part.

POM     Is this process now irreversible?

HG     Well we can never go back to pre 1989 days but we can have a repeat of 1984/1985 when quite a significant section of your society felt that the election was a fraud. It hasn't produced the right results, we have got a fraudulent constitution, and mobilise against the constitution, mobilise against the election. But the level of violence will be on a much higher level than in 1984.

POM     So at this time next year will there still be squabbling or impasse over an interim government? One can't on the one hand see this government giving up sovereignty, that seems to be just, as you said, transferring of power. On the other hand it is something which would be even more in the mind of the ANC now given their beliefs that's what the government's real agenda has been all along.

HG     Look, I think there is a chance of that. There is a real chance of that, that you would still have squabbling but this time within the institution itself, in Cabinet, in various joint committees, all-party committees, and it's possible that within these all-party committees a certain chemistry could develop in which there would be a realignment of forces. But I'm not particularly hopeful that we will be much further down the road in a year's time.

POM     You're beginning to sound like me on Northern Ireland.

HG     Yes. I suppose your Questions of Nuance has been published with a new edition with that last chapter?

POM     It was in a condensed form in the last chapter. I had to condense it down a little bit more.

POM     His problems are ... problems John didn't like about the FDLP.

HG     Funny, he thought that this collapse of the all-party talks in Northern Ireland, that it was to be expected but it had been necessary to go through this whole exercise and that the next time around it will be the real thing.

POM     I would have been stunned if something had come of it.

HG     [Yes, one is stunned nowadays by political ...] I would never have predicted that de Klerk will demote Malan in such a humiliating way. I was stunned. Who knows, perhaps Northern Ireland could do that thing?

POM     Was that a reaction that was shared among your friends and colleagues?

HG     What?

POM     That they were stunned by the demotion of Malan.

HG     Yes. We didn't think that de Klerk would touch Vlok and Malan, no we certainly didn't expect that, none of us expected that.

POM     So he always manages to surprise?

HG     Yes he certainly does, that he certainly still does. He constantly surprises me in his major moves. And obviously now in retrospect it seems to have been the right decision. I've got a friend just come back from a Swiss government tour and he tells me that the Swiss government is highly impressed by what de Klerk has done, and I would imagine that Britain also would be quite happy. I don't know what, whether Miss Tutweiler of the White House will give that a nod of approval or a nod of disapproval.

POM     OK, we'll leave it there.

HG     Yes, OK.

     [At the end of the interview just before we left Hermann said that he had been totally stunned by the demotion and the humiliating demotion of Magnus Malan and stunned by the demotion of Vlok and he said this was a reaction shared by his colleagues.]

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.