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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
14 Aug 1991: Derby-Lewis, Clive
POM When we were here last year about this time there was a lot of speculation that if a whites only election were held that the Conservative Party would probably or possibly get a majority of the white votes and this was kind of a constraint on the way in which the National Party could operate and the limits, defined its parameters of action. In the little time we've been here this year we haven't heard the same kind of talk. In fact the talk is very much in terms of just the National Party government and the ANC. Other actors seem to have become more of fringe actors. Would you just comment on that?
CDL Well if one looks at what is going on the National Party representatives keep on commenting on the fact, or their fact, that the Conservative Party has been marginalised, it's irrelevant, blah, blah, blah. And then we ask the question, if that is so why do they pay so much attention to us? Why does the government's supportive media not climb in at every possible opportunity to have a swipe at us. If we were irrelevant and if we were marginalised certainly their actions don't confirm what their words are saying. The second point that I'd like to make is that it's quite obvious that the Conservative Party specifically is becoming a major problem for the government even from the point of view of our perception of black attitudes because the feedback that we are getting now and some of it is even happening publicly, for example Chief Buthelezi, where black leaders are now saying to Mr de Klerk that the Conservative Party has to be taken into consideration. Some of them are even saying that they believe that Mr de Klerk will have to go so far as to hold a white election because even the ANC's pals, the Communist Party, a year ago this time published African Communist with an article "When is Humpty Dumpty going to fall?" and in that article they pointed out a couple of very significant things. One was that they questioned whether Mr de Klerk could be trusted by the African people in view of what he does to his own people and secondly they queried whether he really now was in a position to talk on behalf of the majority of whites. That was in August last year.
A number of significant things have happened since then. The most important of course is always the question of by-election results and wherever we participate on a party political basis against the National Party they get a thumping. The only thing that saves them at times is where there's a particularly localised incident, like for example in Potchefstroom where our candidate who is a prominent academic at the University of Potchefstroom was informed on the Friday before the Monday nomination day that if he stood for the Council he would lose his job, which puts us in a position where we had a weekend to find a suitable candidate and of course that's an impossibility, particularly where intimidation in a small town plays a major factor. So that excluded, if one looks at Durban for example, where the National Party in 1988 won a specific ward with 1031 votes, the Conservative Party took that ward a couple of weeks ago with a majority of 150 or something like that and virtually all of the votes that the National party lost came to the Conservative Party.
POM Then are we missing something here in terms of, when we were here last year it was just after the Umlazi by-election, the party had a very high profile. There was another by-election coming up in Randburg for Wynand Malan's seat, so it was in the news. Is it just that it hasn't been in the news recently, so when I scan newspapers I don't see it?
CDL Well the Randburg by-election took place and then of course there was the Maitland by-election which also showed a phenomenal growth for the Conservative Party and then there was a by-election in Ladybrand in the Orange Free State in a constituency that we only won because the Democratic Party siphoned off 400 odd votes from the National Party. Nowadays they vote together to keep the Conservative Party out. So we only won that seat with a majority of 70 and a minority in fact of 400. This time we went in and we won it with a majority of 1200 votes. What was really significant about the Ladybrand by-election was that Dr Dawie de Villiers who's as you know one of the senior Nats, held a public meeting in Ladybrand the Friday before the Wednesday election and he said that Ladybrand was not just an ordinary by-election and that the political future of South Africa would be determined by the result in Ladybrand. What Ladybrand actually indicated was that 56% of the voters supported the Conservative Party and 44% supported the National Party. If one takes into consideration the additional fact that the lead up to the election saw us register 760 new voters during the month of March after the National Party had registered 200 new voters in February, when we registered the 760 voters they advanced the date of the election to such an extent that the voters' roll closed at the end of February, allowing their 200 registrations and disqualifying our 760 registrations. That in itself gave a very distorted result from the overall picture point of view and if one takes that into consideration then it was a 60/40 which is virtually what our information has, that we have at the moment 60% of the support amongst white people and the National Party/DP coalition have 40%.
POM I suppose that if de Klerk sees this as a threat, something he must look over his shoulder at, his behaviour in many respects doesn't validate that, I mean he repealed the Group Areas Act, he's repealed the Land Act, he's done away with the Population Registration Act. I mean he's keeping to his agenda. It's as though you have been powerless to prevent him moving ahead with his agenda as he's defined it?
CDL Certainly, but not at no cost to himself and his party. In fact I was going back over the records from 1986, that was the time when the real pressure started coming on to the National Party. As you know in May 1986 Pik Botha was prevented from holding a public meeting in Pietersburg. That was the first ...
POM I was reading about that last night.
CDL That was the first sign of real resistance amongst the whites in South Africa. So they then started coming under pressure. And if you have a look at the National Party Members of Parliament at that stage and you compare them with the names of National Party Members of Parliament today, you find that dozens, literally dozens of National Party representatives have withdrawn from the political arena. That's pressure. Even Cabinet Ministers are being pressured out. As you know the latest casualty is Piet Claase who was acknowledged in Die Volksblad to have resigned because of the Conservative Party pressure on him. Stoffel van der Merwe was another one. So Mr de Klerk is losing a lot of people that he knew he could rely on. He's replacing them with people that are unknown quantities in the political spectrum and he could be reaching a dangerous stage in spite of what he wants to do.
POM So you think there could be, just to speculate more than anything else, say a level of disaffection arising within the National Party when they see men like Magnus Malan getting demoted or apparently seeing de Klerk giving in to a demand of the ANC, that would further alienate the government from de Klerk and maybe push them in the direction of joining the Conservative Party?
CDL Yes. I don't know whether it would go to the extent of their joining the Conservative Party because they are the most cowardly bunch of politicians we've ever had involved in politics in this country. I mean PW Botha proved that you could quite easily buy the loyalty of the type of people that are still involved with the National Party, and he did this very successfully. De Klerk has just continued it. So these people are not going to cross over to the Conservative Party, but when it comes to the crucial stage it will be interesting to see whether they support him or not particularly when it comes to the question of ANC involvement in the government.
POM To back up a bit, the ANC, when the violence broke out in the Transvaal in the last year, the ANC first of all blamed Inkatha and then later on a third force and then later on said the government had a hand in it and then later on said the government had a double agenda to hold out the olive branch of negotiation on the one hand, to destabilise it on the other. And then the revelations regarding the funding of Inkatha came out and that was taken as proof that the double agenda was really there, that if one dug deeper one would in fact find that the government was involved in the violence in some way. Do you believe the government was, is/was running a double agenda?
CDL No. I don't believe it. In fact I'm convinced that de Klerk has totally lost control of the whole situation. He doesn't know how to handle it, he's operating on an ad hoc basis, he's put all of his eggs into one basket and that's the question of coming to the negotiation table and it doesn't even look to us as though he's ever going to get to square one the way he's going now. I don't believe they were involved. I don't believe that the Inkatha thing - I think the principle was obviously wrong but it was a drop in the ocean. What we are more concerned about is the credibility of the government as far as the overseas community is concerned, and that is specifically with regard to the funding of political parties in South West Africa. That to us is the real issue because our government signed an agreement in New York to the effect that they would not be interfering in the electoral process in South West Africa and I mean involving themselves to the extent of more than a hundred million rand, financing certain parties, we see as a very serious issue. And that's why we referred the whole thing to the Advocate General for his investigation.
POM Yes. Now, even though I know you totally disagree with the ANC, but on a logic level the fact that the government interfered in this manner with the election in Namibia lends at least logical credence to their argument that the government can't be relied on to be a player and a referee at the same time.
CDL Certainly there's no doubt in my mind that with the low level of credibility enjoyed by the government in South Africa that I don't know how they can even assume that role. This is one of the reasons why we consider this whole negotiation process to be a non-starter. I mean who's going to be making the decisions? The minute they think in terms of an interim government then there will be a revolution in this country. There's no doubt in my mind. The civil war will then start, but it will be the whites who will start it off.
POM To go back to where you said that de Klerk had lost control. Does that mean that there may have been what would be termed rogue elements in the security forces who had a hand in orchestrating the violence or what do you attribute the violence to?
CDL I think he's lost control within his own Cabinet. I don't think that the security forces for example, accepting, let us technically accept that the security forces have been involved in this somehow or another, which I disagree with but assuming they have, they wouldn't do it without the support of their Cabinet Ministers. So if they have been doing it then Vlok and Malan have been aware of it and this could be why they've been shifted out. They're too powerful to shoot out completely so he's just humiliated them. But as far as the unrest and what have you is concerned I believe that 95% of the unrest is because of the power struggle which has always been there between the Zulus and the Xhosas and this is now giving vent. You've seen Mandela making all sorts of strong statements. You've seen retaliation by Buthelezi, even to the extent where I think now the feelings are pretty sensitive between the two leaders at this stage. But it's because they are only now putting their supporters views in the open. The Zulus will never ever come together with the Xhosas on a government basis. They will rule the Xhosas, yes. They will never share power with the Xhosas any more than we whites are prepared to share power with any of the African nations. It's just not a possibility and it's interesting to note that Chief Buthelezi for example, talking about the negotiation process and what have you and saying that he is coming in, stresses the fact that he comes in as Kwa-Zulu, not as a black South African. He's coming in as Kwa-Zulu and if that's not nationalism, what is? And if Buthelezi goes in with a nationalistic approach there will be other people doing the same thing.
POM Where in that process would you put Brigadier Gqozo in the Ciskei?
CDL Well that's been very interesting. Both he and General Holomisa were very strongly pro-ANC as you know, the chap in Venda as well, what's his name? [Ramashani(?) I think.] They were ostensibly ANC people, but they were trained by our security forces, all of them, and all of them seem to have dug their heels in now against the ANC. Gqozo has warned Hani to behave himself when he comes to the Ciskei. He's not talking as a pal, he's talking as the man in control of the Ciskei to the head of uMkhonto weSizwe and he knows who he is. I see this, therefore, as a sort of a bucking against the fact that he's going to have to surrender power. He's had the taste of power now, he likes it. He's ruling his people, he says his people prefer him as a ruler and now he's talking out of a position of strength and he's talking down to the ANC and saying, listen you can paddle your own canoe somewhere else. So that's going to be another interesting facet.
POM He's formed a new cultural party that he calls the African Democratic Movement and must go to the negotiating table as head of that.
CDL That means he's going in in opposition to the ANC.
POM Well, let's deal with the interim government first. You said there would be a civil war if there are moves made by this government towards establishing an interim government. In that context you have the ANC demand that the government resign and you have the government's preferred option of a kind of a co-optation, they would take members of the ANC or Inkatha or PAC and give them ministerial posts or have them share ministerial posts with members of the government. Do you think even if the government got its way on this that is that they could bring in a couple of members of the ANC and Inkatha or whatever, that that would spark a civil war?
CDL Certainly, certainly. The situation in this country at the moment is so sensitive, I mean Ventersdorp showed this, although it was a totally disorganised effort because the AWB were handling it. But the fact that people were prepared to resist and the fact that de Klerk knew about it, I mean that's why he pitches up there with armies of people, policemen and military people, but it was quite interesting to me to see that in spite of the large police force that he had there that could quite easily cope with anything, he had a military force composed of permanent force personnel, not Citizen Force who normally do the fighting in this country. The permanent army is our training army it's not a fighting army. The Citizen Force and the Commando are the fighting army. They didn't have any of those chaps. The Ventersdorp Commando for example was conspicuous by its absence. I think there were two members, the Commandant and a Warrant Officer. Otherwise the whole thing was controlled by the SAP in conjunction with the Air Force. Another significant fact which is going count against the government is that never in past unrest, even in the black townships, has the instruction come from the police "Shoot to kill". That's the first time that instruction was ever given, was given at Ventersdorp against whites. And all of these things are going to count against de Klerk and contribute to the possibility of a civil war.
POM Let me just go back to the AWB and give you a comparison and ask you to comment on it. In Northern Ireland there has never been any support in the Protestant community for Protestant para-military organisations, the counterparts to the IRA, and in part because they see themselves as a law and order community. They believe in the law, and two, because the police force is 95% Protestant so they would really see any attack on the police force as being an attack on their community. It struck me that perhaps something similar might be pertinent to the Afrikaner, that the Afrikaner sees himself as a law abiding person, it's their police force and if a para-military organisation starts mixing up with their police force that they will not support that para-military organisation, they will say that's an attack on our community. Do you think that's a valid comparison?
CDL Yes I would say so. In fact the Afrikaner is very law abiding. And of course the security forces are on the side of, on our side. I mean they are our people. I was very surprised that the attack launched on the SAP, in fact I was present and I intervened in a specific area and I stopped it. But I mean I wasn't present as part of the AWB. You know the Conservative Party, this has been played down dramatically, we had our own public meeting at Ventersdorp at 4 o'clock in the afternoon at which about 3000 people attended. What we intended doing was to show de Klerk who has the real support and we didn't have to go into a hall surrounded by policemen to hold a public meeting. We actually held it outside in the open. We proved our point. After that most of our people left. Most of the Members of Parliament had to go to Natal for the Natal Congress and the other people just dispersed. I stayed on to see what was going to happen and I was one of the last people to leave. I attended the SA Police Conference very late that evening at which ...
POM That's their Press Conference?
CDL That they had a Press Conference in Ventersdorp after the thing was over where it came out that this Brigadier de la Rosa had given the instruction to these people to use live ammunition, full ammunition and to shoot to kill. Fortunately the police fellows chose to ignore that command otherwise I think we would have had a massacre there.
POM So do you think that if there are continuing moves towards an interim government of some sort that the government may lose the support of local security forces?
CDL There would be no doubt in my mind. They would then, I believe, start questioning their whole role in the situation. To whom do they owe their loyalty? To the government of the day or to the state? The government of the day is supposed to be representative of the state, of the people, the voters that put them in. There's no doubt that the de Klerk government is no longer representative of the people that put them in and I think that the security force people are going to have to take a decision one of these days.
POM To give you a very small sample, part of what I'm doing, I'm also going around and talking to specific families, kind of identify maybe about ten families from strong supporters of the CP to strong supporters of the Communist Party and every mix in between, to date have their attitudes changed or don't change over time. Patricia and I were in Zeerust about two weeks ago and talked to a family, a man with a business, a farmer, prosperous, really nice person, but very strong Conservative Party, was even slightly to the right of it, and yet in talking to him and his wife one came away with the impression that while they disagreed strongly with everything that was going on, that they in fact felt pretty powerless to stop it, that they know major change was on the way and there's no rolling back of the clock. What does your constituency expect of you? This comes down to the question of partition along the lines suggested by the CP. We can find almost no-one who says that's realistic, that can work. What realistically does your constituency expect of you, what do they think you can deliver?
CDL First of all they want law and order, they want stability. They know we can deliver both of those. My personal constituency, Krugersdorp, has already experienced how we maintain law and order in Krugersdorp. We were the only town to stop a march of the ANC when they had this recent attempt to hand over petitions at all of the prisons to get the release of these so-called political prisoners. We stopped the march. I called out a group of my people, we were armed, the 150 of us confronted more than 1000 ANC members and we went to the Police Commander and told him what we were going to do: that if they allowed this march which had been rejected by the Municipality and by the Magistrate, if they allowed it to take place we were going to stop it.
POM Through the use of force?
CDL Through the use of force if necessary. Yes. We were going to block the road. That's what my people expect from me. Another thing they expect from me is the guarantee that they will enjoy the right to sovereignty in their own country. Whether they agree with where the country is going to be or not is a technical point. We are not even prepared to say how the borders of the country will look because until we get into power we have no control over developments regarding land and it would be folly to turn around and say well, these are going to be the borders because immediately Mr de Klerk will come in and say, 'OK I'm going to declare a new black development area for Xhosas', and then he'll turn around and say what a crowd of idiots the CP people are. So what we say is that we are prepared to negotiate. You see a lot of our information doesn't get through to our people because we've got no medium of communication. We don't have the access to the Afrikaans media, the English media and very little access to the other media.
As I was saying, we're talking about borders. Once we become the government we will then sit around the table with the elected leaders of the different nations and we will consolidate their territories. Until we are in power we can't do that. Until we do that we won't be able to tell the people where the final borders are going to be. And I think that's probably where the uncertainty comes in. But that's a technical point. The basic point is that they expect us to ensure that there is a territory for them in which they can exercise their right to self-determination and have sovereignty. They are not going to surrender their land and we are not going to allow that to happen. They are looking to us for leadership in this regard. We didn't know this in fact until quite recently. We saw ourselves as a political party but the people actually saw us as a 'volksbeweging' (a people's movement). And we only discovered this as I say very recently and we are not acting in terms of that and we're getting involved in more and more things. As you may have seen the Farmers' Resistance Movement is headed by a CP Member of Parliament, we have just taken over the Orange Free State Agricultural Union as well. One of our MPs was elected as President and we are involving ourselves now in a lot of extra-parliamentary moves which are aimed at reassuring our people and showing them that right now we are going to lead you, now the question is under control.
POM I'd like to come back to question of the use of force. If I understood Dr Treurnicht and I heard his remarks yesterday, he was saying violence must not be used, we must move away from violence. Then you talk of your community being a law and order community, but you also say that in Krugersdorp you went to the police and said if they don't stop these people we will take matters into our own hands and use force. So you were saying, 'We will step outside the law.'
CDL No we didn't say that. In fact we were enforcing the law because the legal representatives of the people in Krugersdorp, the Council and the Chief Magistrate, refused to grant permission for that. We were within the law in protecting the town against that march.
POM Can we broaden it slightly, the question is whether one repudiates violence period, or say we repudiate it to an extent but if we see the law being broken well then if we have to use violence to enforce it we will. We will work outside of the authorities. The police saying in this particular situation, it seems to be to be kind of ...
CDL In conflict with what the leader say? No, no, but you must remember that everything that Dr Treurnicht says is based on the whole situation of our having access to the democratic process and he criticised what happened in Ventersdorp from the democratic process point of view as well, although he asked people not to come to meetings with weapons. He criticised de Klerk and said, 'You call yourself a democrat and you're a democratic party, what sort of democratic party invites people to a public meeting and then when they get there there's a little sign on the poster saying 'Right of Admission Reserved' and unless someone wears an 'I Love FW' sticker on his lapel he's not allowed in to the meeting.' That's not democratic. What sort of democracy is it when you have a public meeting and people try to ask questions inside the hall and they get manhandled and they are not allowed to ask questions? What sort of democracy is contained in the fact that when a group of people want to pass a motion of no confidence at a political meeting addressed by a politician that they are not given the opportunity to do that? We're being denied the democratic process. And then they must take responsibility for what happens, the government. But we are committed to the democratic process and we've told him, we want an election because at the moment he is not governing in terms of his mandate. There's no doubt about it and unless he gives us an election he is then denying us the democratic process, then we will go over to other tactics. Then violence becomes a possibility.
POM OK. So if you continue to be denied what you deem to be proper access to the democratic process then the use of violence to bring about that process would in your view become justified as a last resort.
CDL Yes. Certainly. Because no nation is going to sacrifice its territory without a fight. No self-respecting nation.
POM In the next week I'll be seeing Koos van der Merwe who I know over a number of years having met him in the States at a congress some years back and I said I wanted to see a copy of notorious Koos document which he said he'd be more than happy to show me. Could you tell me anything about it and what happened within the party?
CDL Well I didn't see the Koos document.
POM Maybe I'll mail you on a copy.
CDL I have access to it, but in the middle of the fuss I didn't even deem it necessary to see the thing. He hasn't circulated it to everybody. He only spoke to a very small group of people about it and it really wasn't on the table as far as the Conservative Party was concerned. I don't know what he was trying to do, commit political suicide, I don't think he's that stupid. In fact he's not. On the contrary he's quite a clever bloke.
POM What was he proposing?
CDL Well he was virtually proposing, according to the information that I have, National Party policy, regional governments and federal system and the CP can't win the government and this sort of thing. Anyone who belongs to a party in his right mind doesn't put things like that on paper even if he thinks them. So as I say I don't know what his motive was but he certainly cooked his goose because people look at him now with a very, very serious degree of distrust.
POM What do you think the National Party wants, will settle for if it can settle for something, and do you think it has a strategy to achieve that objective, that it's implementing one phase after another?
CDL I don't believe so. I believe that they have already committed themselves to handing this country over and the only thing that they are trying to do now is to keep the people who voted them into power in the dark for as long as they can while they implement the process. We in South Africa are not strangers to what is happening in this country because if you study what happened in Rhodesia, if you study what happened in South West Africa, those are blueprints for what's happening here, it's exactly the same. If you study what happened in Iran when the Shah of Iran was deposed it was exactly the same formulation. This formula has been used all over the world so we know what this government is up to. But we also know that they are trying to keep the people in the dark as far as they can because they know that if too many people become fully aware of what is going on too soon then there will definitely be a big problem for them.
POM So you think they are actually engaged in a transfer of power?
CDL Yes. We're convinced that they're arranging a transfer of power because there is no way that they can share power. It's an impossible situation.
POM Well it's not in the nature of either governments or political parties just to hand over power to an adversary. You're in politics because you want power. What's in it for this government to say, OK we will un-empower ourselves, we'll hand everything over and we're looking for a quid pro quo, it's yours, goodbye. Why would they do that? It's not rational.
CDL Yes but you know sometimes politicians don't act rationally. When one looks at what General Smuts did after the war, I mean he had the country on a plate and instead of concentrating on his people he turned his back on his people and tried to become an international politician. League of Nations and all of this fame and of course the British made him feel so important he even sat on the British Cabinet during the war. Smuts was a clever man and he was tricked. De Klerk is a political mediocrity and I'm convinced that he's been tricked by these leaders into believing that he's going to be something that he could never ever be.
POM Tricked by?
CDL By the Thatchers, by the Bushes and these people. Mrs Thatcher came to see Dr Treurnicht and gave him the same treatment as she gave de Klerk and PW Botha. PW Botha balked at her treatment, de Klerk cracked completely and collapsed under it, Treurnicht also just listened to her and at the end of the meeting he said 'Mrs Thatcher we obviously will agree to disagree.' That's all he had the opportunity to say to her. She wasn't interested in listening to the CP's point of view, she was determined to put her point of view and that's how she operated.
POM All the time, everywhere. That's Mrs Thatcher.
CDL De Klerk gave under that pressure. Treurnicht didn't and that's why he's in this situation and he doesn't know how to get out of it.
POM Yes but there are a lot of, must be, ambitious politicians in his party, men who like power, like the exercise of power, men who want to retain power. What I'm getting at is why does one willingly give it all away and get nothing in return. I mean if you said to me, well what they're really doing is giving away political dispensation in order to save their economic power, I'd say, OK I understand that, that's when one is making choices that are rational. But to say we're simply handing over political power and with that economic power to the majority and are saying we want nothing in return?
CDL Why did Smith do that in Rhodesia?
POM Because the minority was in a very, very different situation. Not an indigenous, no Afrikaner population, very, very small, the proportion of whites in the population was extremely small, the guerrilla war had been a successful guerrilla war. Here the government never had an armed struggle. You would call the ANC, put them in the forefront, the vanguard of a freedom fighting movement anywhere in the world. It was more tokenism and symbol than anything else. So the situations were different in terms of the forces operating. So why is this government simply saying ...?
CDL OK. Now bearing that in mind, why is the ANC the other major role player? Why did Vorster desert the Rhodesians? Because he was totally misled by the real mastermind in our government of all the downfalls of Rhodesia, South West Africa and here, and that's the Foreign Minister Pik Botha the only man who comes unscathed out of this other fiasco, the funding fiasco, the man who played the major role in it. And then you must ask the question that we ask, what hold has he got? Who is he representing? Those questions I suppose history will answer. Until we have access to the government records and what have you, we can't answer those questions, but that they are doing exactly the same thing there's no doubt. Why they're doing it is a difficult one to answer but it was done in the same way that Vorster deserted the Rhodesians, in the same way that we deserted South West Africa, not only the whites but all of the others as well except the SWAPO people who are now in the green benches. Why? And who is the key? Every time the key was Pik Botha and he is now the key here. You hear now after his wife had this accident last year that he was going to retire from politics, but he's still there. And why is he staying on so long? If I knew those answers I'd tell you exactly what's going on. I have my opinion. I believe that he's an agent of the Council on Foreign Relations, the people who are the One Worlders, they're trying to effect a One World Government in South Africa. Bush is outspoken in favour of a new world order and I believe that's Pik Botha's aim and maybe they've convinced poor old de Klerk that he's going to be an important figure in the new world order, which of course he obviously won't be because he hasn't got the capabilities to be.
POM Going back for a moment to what loosely became known as Inkathagate, who were the political winners, who were the losers and what, if anything, does it do to Buthelezi?
CDL Well I'm convinced that that was devised to do Buthelezi a lot of harm because Pik Botha doesn't get on particularly well with Buthelezi because Buthelezi is a nationalist, he's a Zulu nationalist, and Pik Botha doesn't like nationalists. He wants black South Africans, he doesn't want Zulus. And when you look at how the information was leaked, it was leaked in London to the Guardian newspaper. It wasn't leaked in South Africa. The Guardian newspaper passed the information on to The Weekly Mail. Who has access to London? The SAP in Durban or the Foreign Affairs department of Mr Pik Botha? To me the only guy who came out of it unscathed was Pik Botha. He was the only winner and he only won in his own personal capacity. He won nothing for South Africa. There were lots of losers. Vlok and Malan, they were so humiliated that I'm surprised that they still show their faces around the chambers of power.
POM Would the fact that de Klerk would humiliate them in that way, would that not suggest his control of his Cabinet rather than the fact that he's lost control?
CDL No, this guy's, he's a - what would you call him? I heard somebody say the other day that they visited him on behalf of the farming community and he's a megalomaniac. He had Vlok with him talking about law and order, no, it was to do with squatters, had an interview with him. Vlok was with him and de Klerk was the man of the moment. Nobody else was allowed to talk. He was telling them I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that, I'm going to do the other thing. When Vlok at one stage tried to offer suggestions he stopped him immediately and carried on. The whole thing of power has gone to his head and he thinks he can do this and get away with it. I don't think he can. I think if those guys have got an iota of backbone they're going to do something but you see there are so many ambitious people in the National Party, Barend du Plessis for example, Dawie de Villiers now with the trick to bring the Coloured MPs into the NP caucus to get himself a power base.
POM But if they're going to voluntarily hand over power the ambition of all these men is for nothing?
CDL Yes but maybe those men think it's not going to happen. Maybe they think they will be able to prevent it. And that only time will tell.
POM I was going to ask you, the ANC has now been nearly 18 months unbanned, how do you assess its performance over the last 18 months as a political movement?
CDL Well I think they've had quite a rough time partly because the media have focused so much attention on them, built them up into something that everyone expected great things from and then they brought themselves down to size when it was obvious that they're just what we thought they were, a bunch of terrorist murderers staking a claim to something that they do not deserve and that is government in this country. These opinion polls that they regularly bring out to show what a marvellous support the ANC has, they used to bring the same thing out to show what marvellous support the NP had, and it's dwindling and I'm sure exactly the same thing is happening with the ANC and the deeper we get into the so-called new South Africa the more the Africans, the Tswanas, the Sothos, the Vendas, the Zulus are going to realise that their only salvation is in sovereignty in their own territory.
POM We've heard two scenarios of what the NP's strategy is. One is alliance politics. You line up the Coloured votes, you line up the Indian votes, you line up Inkatha and maybe Brigadier Gqozo and in fact you line up enough ancillary parties that you are able to win an election in a coalition and govern. Part of that strategy was to weaken the ANC and to show that the ANC couldn't protect it's own people and therefore part of that would be helping Inkatha in the townships to undermine the ANC. That's logical, it makes some sense. The other one is that the NP says what it means about power sharing, that is that in any future government, say an ANC government, it would be an agreed settlement that it would be a coalition government where the NP would continue to hold a number of important ministerial posts. It would be a partner in an alliance, albeit the junior partner, but it would continue to exercise power at the highest level. Do you see or not see either of those as feasible strategies?
CDL I can see that their strategy would be this alliance thing because they tried it in SWA but what surprises me is that they can believe that it can work here after seeing what happened in SWA. In Rhodesia they tried a similar experiment of alliance politics and the alliance works fine until the first election, the first real election when the real power comes out. And who are the people going to vote for? They won't vote for the NP. No matter how hard they try to convince people, when it comes back to the national emphasis if a guy says I'm a Zulu and you vote for me he's going to get the Zulu vote and the Zulu vote is the majority vote. And this is exactly the same as what happened in South West Africa. They voted for white people, they voted for Coloureds and Reheboths and all of these people and they had the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance as you know, and what happened at the first open election? SWAPO walked in.
POM Do you think that the ANC would have a level of support in the country?
CDL Who knows? Who knows? You know when it comes to African politics, intimidation is the factor, not the level of support. If you can frighten people, that's how Mugabe successfully came into power in Rhodesia, he frightened the blacks into believing that if they voted against him he would know from a certain coloured ink on their hands that they voted against him and they would be in serious trouble. That's Africa and do we want this in South Africa? I don't think that this government has the power to ensure fair elections any more, I don't think they can maintain it. They can't even maintain law and order. How can they ensure a fair election? We don't even have fair elections in white politics. How are they going to guarantee fair elections in black politics?
POM As you look down the road what do you see happening? When I come back a year later and what I'm seeing in a way is more change, a government that is now talking about some interim transitional measures which it wasn't talking about a year ago, I'm seeing the ANC maybe chipping away and getting their agenda, the government in one respect or another seeming to meet their demands or come close enough to and it's change. What do you see?
CDL Well I'll say that when we see them sitting around the negotiation table then we can talk about what's going to happen. But I'm not confident that they're going to get this negotiation process going unless they make major concessions to the ANC.
POM An interim government of some description would be a pre-condition?
CDL That's right. If they do that who do they think they're fooling that we're going to have an alliance government in this country or even that we're going to have a coalition government because even if they enter into a coalition with the ANC it will be quite obvious to the people who's going to be pulling the strings. And the white nation in their right mind is not going to allow this to happen. They know that when the security forces are handed over to the black majority government we're in a different ball game. Then we may as well start packing up and going and making a new life somewhere else, because then we're wasting our time and they'll stop that before that.
POM In terms of meeting the ANC's demand for a coalition, sorry an interim government, how far could the government go without risking this enormous backlash, violent backlash, that you predict would take place?
CDL I don't know whether it's going to count on anything more than the government does. I think it's going to depend now on how quickly they call an election because the pressure is now on. The white nation now wants an election and the longer that they delay that election the more the pressures are going to build up. That's what I see developing. And you're going to see a lot more resistance in the white political arena than has ever been seen before.
POM So when I come back here this time next year what should I expect? What kind of situation should I expect to see?
CDL Who knows, who knows? Only time will tell.
POM Will it be more chaotic? Will there have been more widespread white violence?
CDL I don't know, I don't know. The economy is so bad that that could have a dampening effect on the violence situation. I can't see our security forces improving under the two smurfs that they've appointed now as Ministers of Law and Order and Defence. I mean the one guy was a choir boy and now he's the Minister of Defence. Can you imagine any government in their right mind doing something like that? So only time will tell, and time will tell how effectively the white nation is going to be able to adapt to extra-parliamentary resistance politics from the old traditional question of the parliamentary option. That's what's going to determine it entirely. But I think the other players are now going to take a secondary role.
POM They're going to take a what?
CDL A secondary role. I think now as far as the whole future is concerned will depend now on to what extent and how quickly white resistance develops.
POM So I should look forward to more white resistance?
CDL I think so.
POM Not a very pleasant prospect.
CDL Not a pleasant prospect, no. But white resistance is a lot more peaceful than warfare and if these people think that we're just going to sit back and let them take over they're backing the wrong horse.
POM Is there any question that I should have asked you that I haven't asked you, something obvious?
CDL I don't think so. I think with the questions that you asked me, I in any case gave you the information that I needed to give you that you didn't ask me.
POM Thank you very much.
PAT The master politician!
CDL I wouldn't say that. Maybe you should rather say the well trained politician.