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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
15 Aug 1991: Hendrickse, Allan
POM I would like to take you back to something probably very simple yet very complex. A number of people, a number of different scholars or political scientists or social scientists have defined the problem in South Africa as being maybe about racial domination of the white minority over the black majority or the contest between two nationalisms, white nationalism and black nationalism, or a racial and an ethnic problem, there are differences but within each racial group there are severe ethnic differences that must be taken into account. In fact they would say that SA is a deeply divided society, like some other deeply divided society in Africa, Asia or even for that matter in Europe. In your view, what is the nature of the problem that the negotiators, when they do get around the table will in fact be sitting down to try to resolve?
AH I think the problem is as already expressed by you in the sense that there is the political approach in terms of ANC, PAC, AZAPO, NP, and everybody else, and the reality of ethnic differences. If I look at the ANC for instance, they see themselves as a unit across ethnic structures and so on, but then the reality comes through that the majority of Africans within the ANC are members of the Xhosa group. And then on the other side, you have got the Inkatha Freedom Party, which is also an open political party, but is basically ethnic in terms of being Zulu.
Now, we have had the experience of forty years in the South African circumstances, that take over of the country by the National Party with its apartheid ideology. The unifying factor was the common enemy apartheid and their representatives. So, differences in terms of ethnicity were not important for those who left the country. But for those who remained, they went into a situation of balkanisation as a result of the Verwoerdian idea of separating people in terms of ethnicity, and now with that this emphasis of separation.
I remember talking about a new SA when Professor Hudson(?) from Gazankulu raised the question, in the new SA, if we go for the one person one vote, and a legislative assembly, what happens to this legislative assembly? Because he has come on a road of attaining power in terms of law making, peculiar to his geographical situation. And this is what I am saying, the problem is going to be the political one when we have common ideologies and the experience of separation on the basis of that. Therefore, I would say you have in QwaQwa and Kangwane parties which have been established on ethnic lines. [you have the ... party, which is ethnic, you have got in Kangwane the ... Swazi movement, and so political parties have been established on an ethnic line]. And you are going to get a conflict between the unifying factor, which was apartheid, and the dividing factor, which is ethnicity. And now with apartheid going in terms of the review and the repeal of legislation, the common enemy of apartheid is disappearing, but the division in terms of ethnicity is remaining. Do you see that I am trying to get to the problem that is going to be there?
AH My own problem for instance, in terms of the Labour Party (LP), we have always been an open party in terms of our constitution, in spite of the law that tried to prevent that at one time or another. But basically we are seen, and in terms of experience, as a Coloured party. Now to get away from being Coloured for many people and becoming just South Africans, is going to take us some time because of the fact that we have been separated, the communications have broken down across racial lines and ethnic lines. A broader South Africanism will have to grow before our problems are all going to start disappearing.
POM There is often an analogy made between Eastern Europe and SA, the analogy being that in Eastern Europe for the better part of 50 years, totalitarian communism suppressed ethnic differences and therefore it was only when the yoke of communism was lifted that these suppressed ethnic differences began to re-emerge and to re-assert themselves. Some say that in SA once the yoke of apartheid is lifted, that ethnic differences, which were kind of eliminated, if you were, under the common oppression of apartheid will begin to re-emerge and re-assert themselves. Do you find that?
AH I think this is going to be very true, particularly in view of the fact that in SA there was this emphasis on ethnicity in terms of the apartheid policy. You remember how we were uprooted in terms of group areas and so on, and uprooting across the colour lines. They were uprooting black people and putting them into ethnic camps. So we will even have a greater problem than Eastern Europe because, initially you were saying we have got the emerging emphasis on ethnicity, here we have had emphasis already on ethnicity. Perhaps the only good that can come out of this difference is that it would mean that there will not be a domination of one ethnic group in terms of numbers over the other.
POM It would seem to me, I don't know about your observations, that in the circles of the ANC you cannot talk about ethnicity as being a factor in the future of the country, that must be dealt with. If you raise the question, you are more or less accused of being an apologist for the government i.e. a supporter of apartheid. And that many who are aware of the problem don't talk about it because it is not the politically correct thing to do.
AH And yet it is a reality.
POM And yet it is a reality. Do you find yourself in that kind of situation?
AH Yes. In the sense that having been forced together in terms of race classification. The other factor, not knowing people on the other side because of geographic separation makes it difficult to eliminate the fear of others, the fear of domination. I know this is true in terms of the white structures at the moment. It is also true in terms of the so-called Coloured and Indian people as a minority group, the fear of black domination. It is also true within black groups. The fear of the minor ethnic groups, of being dominated by a major ethnic group.
You know, I may have mentioned to you before that I was fortunate in attending Fort Hare University, and we had a combining factor, a common university, as a common factor, we had just about everybody there, and for me it became the new microcosm of a new SA. White, Chinese, Indian, Coloured, Zulu, Xhosa, whoever you are. I mean the fact that ... who is married to a Xhosa girl from the Transkei, shows what happened when we were all together. Gatsha was there at that time, Robert Sobukwe was a personal friend of mine, the founder of the PAC and so on, and this was disappearing. Then came 1948 when the NP took over and said fine, this is no longer an open university. This is now a Xhosa university. Worse still, they separated Transkei from Ciskei, and so you had the ethnic university of the North (Turfloop), you had the ethnic university in Zululand, you have got the ethnic university in the Cape Peninsula (the University of Western Cape), there was, even there, the conflict in the sense that it was ethnic, and because it was ethnic it became a base for bringing a group together in terms of opposing and destroying apartheid.
POM I want you to take what you said in the context of the violence that has permeated the Transvaal for the last twelve months about now. Increasingly, at least internationally, that violence has over the years been portrayed as tribal violence, Xhosa versus Zulu. The Economist, a well respected periodical, in an editorial about a month ago said there was no essential difference between Xhosa and Zulu violence on the one hand and Serbs and Croatian violence in Yugoslavia on the other hand. They are both ethnic in nature.
Do you find that characterisation of the violence in the Transvaal as being primarily ethnic in nature?
AH I think there is a difference in the SA situation. And I say with respect to all participants in the political structures. When the ANC was unbanned and came back into the country, the one strategy was to undermine power structures that had been developed over the period when they were not in the country. Historically, if we look at the last two years since the unbanning, there was the movement in terms of Bophuthatswana, the unrests, which were aimed at destroying that particular political structure, it was tribal, it went over to Lebowa, and we had the problems in Lebowa. I remember that one time when we had a meeting of the homeland leaders and us within the tricameral structure in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela phoned me and said Allan I don't want you to go to that meeting, we have persuaded other homeland leaders not to go. And after debating and thinking about it, the LP leadership decided to go to this meeting. I phoned Nelson the next morning and said fine, I am going to the meeting, but because of the absence of other major players as we saw them, I am going to ask that the meeting be postponed. He said that would be good diplomacy.
But there was what I would regard as physical pressure on the various groups that have been established in Qwa Qwa. There has been the violence against the 'government' of Qwa Qwa. You had the same thing happening in Venda. The fact the uMkhonto we Sizwe can meet now in Venda shows the transition that has taken place. Kwandebele, the position of Enos Mabuza, who moved from the Chief Minister of Kangwane, his resignation and then becoming one of the persons responsible for checking the elections of the ANC conference in Durban recently.
My own position, the Labour Party is the strongest in the Eastern Cape. But came a development of a conflict situation last year within the Eastern Cape in order to destroy the credibility of my leadership, destroy the support the Labour Party enjoys. All people who were members of the Labour Party, were also attacked. Shops, where the shop owners leaned towards the LP, those shops were burnt down. My own church building was destroyed by fire. So, the way I see it is that the violent conflict arose out of the fact that leadership power groups had been established throughout the country by those who were inside the country and the bona fides and the credibility of that leadership had to be broken down so that the ANC could control the situation.
In other words, it was a perpetuation of their philosophy which at one time said we must make this country ungovernable. So that the violence is not only an ethnic one, it is the question of those who have developed the power situation. Like Inkatha has developed a power situation. We cannot write off Buthelezi and Inkatha, but the power that they wielded within the SA situation had to be broken down, so this is where I see the difference between the Eastern Europe situation; those who were outside and were banned, had to destroy the power that had, in their absence, been developed in the meantime.
POM Would you see it as ethnic in the sense that Inkatha primary is a Zulu organisation and the ANC is perceived to be predominantly a Xhosa organisation?
AH I don't think that that was the initial point of difference or departure. I think it is now developing to that, because historically, they all belong together. They all belong to the Nguni group. That is the logic of it. And then there have been the various factors; I mean the Zulus were the warriors and were right on top and the Xhosas were subservient to these warriors, and then the Xhosas themselves were again divided into various groups, the Pondos the Thembus, the Fingos, the Fingos the lowest of them all, hence I am saying it is not just a question of tribalism and ethnic difference, but certainly more political. But that which started of political has become ethnic.
POM I would like to look at that in the light of what is being called 'Inkathagate'. Since last August the ANC first of all said that Inkatha was the hand behind the violence in the Transvaal, then it became a third force and then it became elements in the security forces and then it became the government itself, where Mr. Mandela ended openly saying or accusing the government of having a double agenda; the olive branch of negotiation on the one hand and on the other a planned campaign to orchestrate and deliver violence that would kill ANC supporters, kill people in the townships and weaken and destabilise the ANC.
Then came Inkathagate revelations of the funding and stories by various former members of the security forces are coming forward of hit squads or whatever. To most of the people in the ANC to whom we have talked, this presents proof that the government has had a double agenda all along. What are your observations?
AH Can I say what is applicable to the government is applicable to the ANC also? They themselves are still busy with a double agenda in terms of talking peace and negotiation with the end product of complete taking over of the government of the country. They are as guilty as the government is. One regrets that. I have got no problem in a sense with Inkathagate, except that I think it was not correct to make it covert, because the government, like any other government throughout the world, has secret funds and secret one thing or another. I think the SA Foundation is also being funded by government sources in some way or another and other like organisations. I mean we have always objected to the amount of money the SA government spends in the Department of Foreign Affairs, the number of people they bring here. That is also secret funding. There is no specific account for all that. So, I have got no problem except that I think with Inkatha we should have had it as open and not covert. We have not as LP received any funds whatsoever.
POM I want to go back to, I mean let us deal with the double agenda of the government. Do you believe the government has been pursuing this dual course?
AH Yes, I have got no doubt in my mind. The historical facts find that they of course are claiming it was per force of circumstances, that certain things had to be done. But, either way I would find myself in an invidious position and say fine, certain actions one could condone, other actions one could certainly not condone. But they must also bear the total responsibility in the sense of cause and effect. If there had not been apartheid there would not have been this resistance.
POM Do you believe that the government of Mr. De Klerk had a policy, not perhaps a precise policy, but nevertheless a policy that condoned the use of special units of the security forces to orchestrate violence and make it appear to be violence between Inkatha and the ANC?
AH I am not in a position to comment thereof. I think that this has been overplayed by the media, it has been overplayed by the ANC as well. I believe that there could have been government involvement in this situation. We are always concerned about the fact that people died in jail, suddenly slipping on a bar of soap and things like that. The incarceration of people. But I would not put the total blame on the government and say this was definitely their main purpose. I would support the one idea that you must bear in mind that we were in a state of war in terms of what was happening. From my own experience, I sent Nelson Mandela a telex last year.
POM That would have been at about the time of the violence in Port Elizabeth?
AH That right. I sent him a telex. The problem of violence I would say on the one hand, yes government instigated, on the other hand I would say also government did so as a response to a violent situation that had been created.
POM You said you sent a telex to Nelson Mandela?
AH I sent a telex to Nelson Mandela saying that in the northern areas of PE, we had never in all the years of the existence of the LP, 25 years, had one occasion of violence. Then the ANC was unbanned and branches were established in the northern areas, and for the first time last year we had violence. I had to blame directly the ANC for the violence. Because it was orchestrated as an attack on the LP.
POM Did you get a response from him?
AH No, up to today, nothing. I invited him to address our Congress, up to today, no reply. Written letters, concerned letters sent, telex sent thereafter, another telex and no response whatsoever. I don't believe that this is Nelson himself, I think it is people around him. Because we did have a difference with the ANC leadership down in the Cape Peninsula with regard to certain legislation that we were passing about the people in the rural areas. When I spoke to Nelson about that I said, 'Look I believe your policy is ours also, that people must own land', and we were providing this in the legislation, saying those who can afford to buy can buy, those who cannot afford to buy can hire, those who want to continue as communal farmers can continue, but we had a difference with the ANC leadership in the Cape Peninsula because of that. And that is where contact broke down.
Your problem also was that in the Cape Peninsula, the antagonism and the violence that was evident from the UDF side, which saw itself as the ANC, a representative of the ANC and the Labour Party down in the Cape Peninsula.
POM So, your view would be that the government may indeed have had a hand in the violence, in terms of fanning it in order to undermine the ANC, but that the ANC on the other hand, have been conducting a campaign to undermine other independent parties, such as the LP or homeland governments?
AH There is no doubt about that. You see, what was meant to happen is that a combination of minorities was going to be more important than the powerful ANC structure and they had to destroy minorities, and yet, as I said just now, the forty years of emphasis on ethnicity is going to take another forty years to eradicate. So that there is still going to be a combination of minorities as opposed to either Inkatha or ANC.
POM Some people would say that the ANC's call for an interim government was strengthened by Inkatha, not so much by what happened with the government funding of Inkatha, but because of the money that it gave to the DTA in Namibia after they signed a declaration in New York that it would not involve itself in any manner to shape the election. So this was a pure case of where they violated an agreement they had entered into.
AH No, I would certainly condemn in the strongest way that interference in what should have been a clearly democratic election by the people of Namibia. On the other hand again, SWAPO had all the foreign resources at their disposal. And this is what is our concern at the moment, where Inkatha has got monies from Congress, ANC has got more money than that from Congress and there are minor groups like the LP who are not getting, but are dedicated to peaceful change in SA, who have a history of participation and having contributed towards the change in SA, and not a single cent from the US Congress. Although they had said the establishment of that fund was to assist those dedicated to peaceful change in SA. So that, in the Namibian situation, although I do condemn it strongly, I still have sympathy with the fact that the minority parties within Namibia did not have the funding that was available to SWAPO.
POM But some would say the point is that the government cannot be trusted to be both player and referee in the process. Where does the LP stand with regard to the call for an interim government.
AH We looked at the question of an interim government and then we said, what does the ANC mean by interim government. It means that parliament must cease. In other words, within the political authority vacuum, the ANC must now assume the power to administer and run this country, and on that basis, we will not agree to an interim government. What we will say is that we look at the multi-racial, democratic association of people involved in the political structures, a multi-party conference or congress, but we will certainly look more at what arises out of the multi-party democracy, a democratic conference, the question of a Constituent Assembly.
Now, what we are saying particularly is closer to the PAC's line of thinking. We have got greater understanding about what they mean by a Constituent Assembly. The purpose of that Constituent Assembly will be to work out a new constitution. But while the Constituent Assembly is there, parliament will continue to exist so that parliament can be, like in the Namibian situation, the SA parliament made the decision to accept a new constitution. That can happen and thereafter comes your question of elections for a national assembly.
POM In your talks with the PAC what did they indicate was their position on an interim government?
AH I think they were certainly not in favour of an interim government because that would be the question of handing over to the ANC.
POM Is there any other political party in this country which sees the ANC as being in pursuit of establishing power?
AH That is in terms of their double agenda. While they say they are looking for a multi-party democracy, they are actually looking for ANC control of the country.
POM Are there any other points of convergence between yourselves and the PAC?
AH I think particularly in view of the fact that we had a close association at one time in terms of Black Consciousness. Amongst the simple Coloured people it was the Labour Party, after contact with Steve Biko, Barney Pityana and these people, which drafted Black Consciousness as part of their programme, and went to the so-called Coloured people to convert them to a political association in terms of the BCM. We found they also agreed.
The problems we discovered, or experienced were that because we were in the system, the PAC would not talk to us. Because we were in the system the ANC would not talk to us. Then I found the gate opened when Nelson came out, we were invited to meet him on more than one occasion. That was not the position of the PAC. They were the ones who said, 'We don't talk to you as a Coloured group', or what ever it is. But after today's meeting, we have rediscovered points of agreement under which we grew.
I mentioned that Robert Sobukwe and I were fellow students, studying Social Anthropology at Fort Hare University, and that in the latter part of his life there was again a close association, when he moved from Robben Island because of his health to Groote Schuur Hospital. He arranged for us to meet him in hospital. Once he was released we met periodically in Kimberley, where he had his legal practice. In terms of ideas, I think we have a closer philosophical association with the PAC than with the ANC.
POM I remember you telling me last year that after Mr. Mandela was released, you had good access to him, in fact you met him on four occasions in a very short period of time. But you seem to be suggesting that relations between the LP and the ANC have become more strained.
AH That was true as it has been reflected just now, particularly because of differences down in the Cape Peninsula and the hard line that was taken, not so much him as an individual but the influence of the other guys. But differences have developed between them now also. The UDF was controlled by the new Unity Movement down in the Cape. And the New Unity Movement of course is a Trotskyite.
POM I am talking about the last 18 months. You said that you and Mr. Mandela?
AH Relations have become more strained, particularly the attack on the LP in the Eastern Transvaal last year, and the Boland. (That is the platteland, the rural areas). There was the whole question there of unrest.
POM [Can you ??? the ANC now to ???.] No negotiations until an interim government is formed, and by an interim government they mean that the present government resigns, transfer power to an all-party government, but essentially this state must cut itself out of existence. Do you think that there are any circumstances under which Mr. De Klerk would do that?
AH He can never. As I said, you must bear in mind that the ANC has not got the national support that people, particularly outside, think they have. Alfred Nzo, as Secretary, in his report was quite open when he said that the ANC has not broken through to the Indian and Coloured communities. Therefore they have not had a measured support as other people have had in terms of elections and one thing or another. And in terms of this mighty ANC, even their Congress in Durban was not what we expected it to be. We had 4500 people at our Congress last year in Cape Town.
I would say that the ANC have enjoyed the historical upper ground, it has been the mother of all liberation movements in the country. If you were against the government, if you were against Inkatha you were pro ANC. It had nothing to do with the economic policy, the housing policy, social education, you were just pro ANC. But with the unbanning, they became more and more just another political movement, just as the LP was. They have also in the past jumped on bandwagons in order to promote this idea that the ANC is the alternative government. Till today I do not believe that the ANC is responsible for the 1976 Soweto uprising, but once it happened, the ANC hijacked it. In my hometown the students had no contact with the ANC whatsoever yet it was seen as the ANC organised the whole thing.
It has been very ... in the past, whereas organisations like the PAC, AZAPO have always in a sense been ideological pure, saying this is our policy. Whether you agreed with them or not, you knew where they stood. The ANC did not have that position. I belong to a senior citizens group, which is against apartheid, he belongs to a Sunday School group which is against apartheid. We are both against apartheid and we don't support ANC. There is no unifying factor other than that thing. When the ANC was unbanned they had that impression. I think what has happened now is that they are realising that they do not have what they think they have. Therefore they are now talking to the homeland leaders. They are only talking to the homeland leaders because they now believe the homeland leaders were doing the correct thing, or whatever, and they realise that if they bring in Mabuza of Kangwane, they bring his supporters with him. If they can get the LP on their side they bring in the LP supporters too.
POM So their strategy in other words is to destabilise and undermine other independent power bases?
AH Particularly last year, this was so. You could see it in the homelands. I mean, I for one would not say that Inkatha has been innocent in the unrest and the violence and so on, and we could argue until tomorrow morning about who is responsible for the violence in Natal. But there is not Inkatha in the Eastern Cape. We had violence in the Eastern Cape last year. There is no Inkatha in the Boland, yet we had the violence over there. The common factor has always been the ANC. They have got the money.
POM Why don't we go back to the interim government because this is where, it seems to me, the ANC has drawn the line.
AH Talking about drawing the line, I think they are putting the ultimatum that they got over the last year from Eastern Europe in terms of saying the things that people perhaps like to hear. You see, their problem is while they were absent, expectations were raised, and by their presence, expectations have not been fulfilled and therefore unless they can clip a high demand, and a public impression of being this force that is going to change the history of this country, they become irrelevant. So they are going for the public image of being the hardliners; it is the interim government or we don't talk to you. In the meantime they are talking. We are never going to reach a peaceful settlement in this country just with the ANC. It is a question of - I like to say it in terms of grip and grab. While everybody else is gripping to what they have, the ANC wants to grab that power in terms of the interim government. If that does happen, then you are just going to have a reversal of those who have grabbed before, and the violence certainly is going to continue.
POM But there is a second reason to believe that there would be an enormous backlash in the white community if de Klerk were to announce that he had cut this government out of existence.
AH Yes, there would be.
POM What do you see happening? Mr. de Klerk does talk about the need for interim arrangements. Do you think there would be common ground here, or do you think the all-party conference would come up with something new? You would be part of that all-party-conference, so would the PAC, will there be a general consensus that there ought to be some interim arrangement that would be 'neutral'?
AH As I said, the one thing that we are saying is that there must be no capitulation in terms of just giving up and giving over. If there were to be an interim arrangement, we would compromise, say, around a cabinet structure, but with the retention of parliament, until such time that your new assembly could be elected in terms of one person one vote. In other words, it is first your multi-party congress, then it is your Constituent Assembly, to be approved by the parties at the Constituent Assembly. We will come with our federal structure, hoping to get some form of consensus to compromise in terms of a new constitution.
POM The Constituent Assembly would be one elected on proportional representation?
AH That is right.
POM Do you see the all party conference as being the one that would lay down the guidelines on the constitutional principles?
AH Yes, the guidelines.
POM So you would have three structures; the all party conference to lay down constitutional guidelines and making suggestions as to what the interim arrangement should be in terms of bringing other parties into the government, but the sovereignty of the government would not be in question, and then you would have a Constituent Assembly, and after that you would have the elections, and then you would have the new constitution developed by the Constituent Assembly.
AH I would say one of the major factors is that we see the Constituent Assembly as having the sole role of purpose of formulating a new constitution. We would say 'OK guys, go and sit on one side, formulate a new constitution and when you are done, come back', and this would have to be approved by the existing parliament. The ANC talks of a Constituent Assembly which replaces the existing parliament until you get a new one. So the Constituent Assembly would be running the country at the same time as it is drawing up a new constitution.
POM Back to Inkathagate. What do you think has been the political fallout? In the real world of politics, who have been the winners, who have been the losers, in particular, what has it done to the standing of Buthelezi in the black community?
AH I think that he has lost, but not as much as people think he has lost. He has not lost within his own base. That was demonstrated by his Women's Brigade. That is still the question of ethnicity. He has been tarnished by the fact that this has happened because somehow or other, even if there is no knowledge of it, there must be an idea of what is happening, and talking to people outside, there are some of those people who said to us that they can't see how this money was used for that rally, for the two rallies because the rallies were supposed to be peace rallies, and not anti-sanctions. There is one group of folks who claim to have totally financed that particular peace rally. Whether it was R250 000 I would not know. That is part of the history from the PW Botha era. The conniving, using the armed forces, using the police etc.
POM Before you had a situation of where you had Mandela and de Klerk and then you had Buthelezi saying he was the third player, that there are three major players here. Then he and Mandela met and there were photographs in the international media. Now what we hear abroad is that his reputation has been diminished, he is more seen as part of the NP alliance, that in the larger black community his standing has been diminished, it is no longer three big players, he has slipped down in the polls.
AH I would say that support for Inkatha, there is still support Inkatha, that has not changed. They do it I think in terms of relations with other organisations and also internationally. They have these allegations thrown at them as often as we are accused of being in the system, that Inkatha is a puppet of the government, and since you have got money from the government, we have been correct all along. I know that is not true. Because of Gatsha Buthelezi, KwaZulu is not independent today. But that argument can almost be supported now, look they have got money in that sense they are right. But he was a government also at a totally different level. The government seems to have been negligent of Inkatha. They were prepared to drop Inkatha just like that. There was Buthelezi saying no, we have not received any money, and at the same time you had ministers making statements saying yes, we did give Inkatha money. It is almost as if the government was prepared to sacrifice Inkatha.
POM Let us come back to maybe a more fundamental question.
POM Does the government know what it wants? Does it have a clear strategy on how it intends to get there? Are its actions consistent with the plan it has, or are they confused?
AH I think they are pretty confused at the moment. You must bear in mind that the NP no longer has the support that it had amongst white people before. They have got the English speaking support, but they have got a diminishing Afrikaans speaking support, or Afrikaner support. Whereas the NP was an Afrikaner party at one time or another, they are no longer a party for the Afrikaners. And therefore, they have lost every by-election. Ladybrand, they are going to lose. Now, what we are concerned about is that they are looking for support from the Coloured community and hence you find that within our own parliamentary structure, they have been exceedingly active in terms of buying over parliamentary members of the LP.
POM And successful too.
AH Successful yes, the carrots are there. I can't dangle the same carrots. That has to do with the future also.
POM Are they trying to cast themselves as anti-racial?
AH Non-racial, etc. We say to them that the oppressor can't become the liberator. It is absolutely impossible. They try to create that image. The past is gone, it is a new NP, it is open in membership, etc., when in fact they have just written over the word prostitute and changed their address.
POM Does the NP believe that it could usher an alliance of parties that will in fact defeat the ANC?
AH Yes, they believe they do. They cannot be trusted. This whole thing with the LP has shown us. We have not been seen as potential allies of the government. We are participants. We invited FW de Klerk to our conference in December, till today it is still the biggest gathering he has ever addressed. His own party cannot offer that. So why not try to get the LP on his side? Because we opposed him on certain issues. They are not prepared to tolerate opposition. Then again with PAC, they say that they have had meetings with other people in the system, and there appears to be this thing about a Nat and LP fight. The NP has not changed, you cannot trust them. They are still there for white power and white privilege. Look at the Group Areas Act, Chapter 7, the Retention of Norms and Standards which was incorporated into that. They said to us that when they repeal the Group Areas Act they will bring something in its place to protect their areas. In terms of Norms and Standards there is no race built into the bill. But if I come and live next door to you and you do not like my way of life you can have me removed. So it is still the same.
POM In one way they don't sound an awful lot different from the ANC. You are saying the ANC is out to destroy other independent power bases in order to consolidate power in its hands, and you are saying the NP ...
AH The ANC is moving from the outside trying to get inside, and then they realise they won't be able to just do so, they have to get up on their hind legs and start talking to other people as people, not as senior partners talking to junior partners. The government is in a position where they are the government. They have got access to all the instruments and powers of government. I listened to Eugene Terre'blanche and Barend du Plessis on Sunday night, I don't know if you saw that, a report on Ventersdorp. Barend du Plessis was using information that he could only have received from the security police, "We have information that at a meeting you said this must happen". Now, I don't have that kind of information about the NP because I am the LP. That came out so clear. They were able to order 2000 policemen to be in Ventersdorp. We went through hell in 1984, during elections, we got 20-50 cops to help us. But 2000 policemen! There are a lot of decisions that were made along the way in terms of logistics to get 2000 policemen to Ventersdorp.
POM They have a broad strategy that they still think they can maintain power?
AH No they cannot.
POM Where does power go?
AH Power will have to be shared almost on the basis of coalition of different political parties. No political party, let us take the ANC, is going to receive a majority vote. The NP is not going to receive a majority vote. The PAC is not going to receive a majority vote. So, there will have to be a coalition of forces to form the new government in SA.
POM That coalition could it be just between the ANC and the NP?
AH That could be true. But you can't forget the 6 million people who are Zulus in the Inkatha situation. Initially they tried to break Gatsha in Natal. The government's history, NP history was, initially with the homelands developing (which was Verwoerd's idea), was that the number of people would balance out. The Coloureds, Indians and whites in the urban areas would be the same, more or less as the blacks in the urban areas. But that failed. But they are still looking for support in terms of numbers. Numerical support. Black, white, Coloured and Indian. We have accused them of ganging up and therefore the point is made, and certainly I emphasise that they cannot be trusted. Once they discovered that they cannot manipulate the LP, they set out to destroy the LP. In terms of the present situation, the LP controls the House of Representatives, the new constitution cannot be written without the approval of the House of Representatives, which means without the approval of the LP. Therefore, although this is our own creation, the tricameral structure, we must now take control of the tricameral structure from the NP, so that when it comes to change of legislation in terms of a constitution, the House of Assembly is controlled by the NP, the House of Delegates is controlled by the NP, and the House of Representatives, so that none of those would have the veto right and hence their strategy now of taking control of the House of Representatives.
POM Right now do you have such veto power?
AH Yes right now we have that veto power.
POM There is constant talk about power sharing. What is your understanding of this term?
AH I think their understanding of power sharing I would symbolically say, I have got five apples and you have five pears, you give me four of your pears and I will give you two of my apples. In other words, they are saying we are going to share power but we will retain control. They are looking for continued control of the country.
POM Do you think that if an agreement was hammered out and a constitution drawn out in which the two major players would be the ANC and the NP, and in which they agreed to share power, with the ANC being the senior partner, the NP being the junior partners with the NP having some important Cabinet control. Do you think if a package like that was presented to the country that a majority of people would go for it?
AH No. You see, you are going to find that the ANC will, in your election for an open Constituent Assembly, not have the support that they purport to have. They have never had a measured base. They were supposed to get a million signatures. They were unable to raise a million signatures. I think this is their problem. [hence their emphasis on ...] look at their approach to Allan Boesak, who is seen as being an acceptable leader amongst the Coloured people. Some of them were prepared, although he was not a member at that time, to appoint him into their NEC, and you are going to find that they don't have the support that they give people the impression that they have.
POM Thanks for all the time Reverend, I appreciate it.
AH We have an interesting factor that the ANC has now indicated that it accepts the question of regionalisation. Which is also the government's regionalisation, but I think there is going to be a difference. But the Democratic Party, Inkatha and the LP are all saying federal structure, which is different. But it would appear as if at this stage, when one views the situation, as if there will be consensus on the federal structure.
PAT Did the PAC discuss the Patriotic Front with you? Would you go as observers?
AH No as participants. They say they have not formally sent invitations to anybody. They did have a financial problem. They don't have the financial base that the ANC has. The ANC was given R86 million by Sweden. But the PAC, I believe are now short of money to finance that particular Patriotic Front. They are going to have a problem. They want it to be as widely represented as possibly. Parliamentary, extra-parliamentary, trade unions, religious groups, it is going to be so big that I don't know how they are going to handle it. But they have said very firmly that the one thing now is the date. They are now postponing the date. They cannot make it for the 23-24 August. So the next date is probably in October, but they have given us the assurance that we are as LP, being invited.
It was interesting talking to them today. They have a clearer understanding of the function of the multi-party congress, the Constituent Assembly. You see they say it is impossible to have a vacuum, whereas the ANC says the government must resign. And then who becomes the government and who decides on the transitional government, or whatever you want to call it? You must bear in mind that Ventersdorp is a foresight of what can happen in this country if you are just going to steamroll over people. Treurnicht has in a sense become weak in the knees. He was part of this Afrikaner instigation during parliament. But in his condemnation of the violence of Ventersdorp, one can see him backtracking. But unless we can convert more white people, we are in for trouble. Whereas we know the black on black violence, we are now starting the white on white violence.
POM What particular role do you see for the LP as a whole?
AH We are in a very difficult situation. While we were fighting apartheid, we had in the absence of the ANC, PAC and other groups, a positive role to play and emphasis on the destruction of apartheid within the system. We have done that. Now our future role, I always say, would be a temporary one, because of the fact that unwittingly, and not voluntarily, we have become Coloured because of the fact that the House of Representatives is elected by Coloured people. But we do have that particular role to play. To bring them the Coloured people, like the ANC is looking to do through Allan Boesak, to bring the so-called Coloured people into the political situation, in terms of finding that position in a totally new SA. Again there is this question of group areas. As I said at some stage, the laws have been removed, but apartheid is alive. There are still separate schools, separate pensions. The government has said to us they will not open everything, and you see how we are struggling to get schools open. There is a backlog of 157 schools.
POM Who is Eugene Louw, the Minister of Interior? What is he in charge of?
AH Home Affairs, he is Minister of Home Affairs. Home Affairs covers the radio, SABC, television, immigration, more than anything else, and the Department of Interior, marriage licenses.
POM But he has no hand in Education?
POM Thanks for all the time.