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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

19 Aug 1991: Tugwana, Gabu

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POM     Gabu, first, when we were here last year it was at a time when the violence reached quite enormous levels on the Reef and you had talked, at that time, in terms of Inkatha being involved, or possibly elements of the security forces.  Your own revelations of recent weeks in the New Nation substantiate the claims you made at that point.

     Last year you said it might be elements within the government that were not under control.  Do you think it goes further than that?  Do you think it is that there has been a government policy to orchestrate violence so as to undermine and destabilise the ANC and perhaps strengthen Inkatha, or at least give the suggestion to people that in a South Africa controlled by an ANC government, they could look forward to this kind of violence all the time?

GT     Well, it is true that last time we just made suggestions that Inkatha was involved and on the government involvement, that is elements within the government, but of course because of that suspicion, it was precisely because of that that we went into the research and came across the information which we have since published about how extensive this has been and to me there is no doubt that now the government is actually carrying out a double agenda.  This agenda is to negotiate a settlement but such settlement will not necessarily be a settlement which will threaten to remove all the control of the privileged community in this country.  I say this because, if you notice, the State President did not totally remove people like the Defence Minister, Malan and Police Minister, Vlok from cabinet, what he did was to just demote them.  Now, a demotion of that nature implies that it is tacit permission, it is an indication in fact that they did not really act totally out of government policy.  They may have acted a bit carelessly to be found out, so the punishment is that they should be demoted, that is why they have not been removed, and in fact, if you take seriously the words of our Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, when confronted with information about how he undermined the UN in Namibia by creating scenarios which in the end were blamed on SWAPO, his response was that, if given the chance, he would do it again.

     So clearly, while the government wants a settlement, it is a settlement which they would want to have control of.  In other words, if necessary, they would want to do a similar thing which was done in Namibia.  Although one must admit that now they are placed in a weaker position than if they were not discovered to have a repeat of Namibia.  I am not saying they are going to stop.  Clearly they are going to look for other ways, or other means to do it in a more sophisticated way which will not embarrass them to the international community.

POM     If I were to say directly to you, Gabu, do you believe that this government, implicitly or explicitly, sanctioned a policy whereby the armed forces assisted elements in Inkatha, or special units of the armed forces were used to orchestrate violence, that resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of people, what would you answer?

GT     It is certain elements, but I am saying it is impossible that the actions of those elements would have never come to the attention of the government.  So, in that sense you can't say the government is totally clean in the matter.

POM     Last year you said you doubted whether Mr de Klerk was involved.  You called him a very reasonable and honest person.  Do you still hold that opinion of him or has that changed?

GT     I am beginning to have doubts.  I still believe that he does not necessarily sit in the planning of these acts, but I think one way or another he must have come across, stumbled across information.  So there are two things here: what does he do when he comes across this information?  Does he act on it or does he look the other side?  I would take the last one and say he probably looks the other side provided he knows that he will not, in the end, be implicated.

POM     Today there have been these enormous events in the USSR where the military has overthrown Mr Gorbachev and part of the reason that Mr Gorbachev was moving slowly in certain or in many areas was that he had to watch for what he could do and what he could not do and he suggested all along that that was not the threat, it was the possibility of a military coup.

     Do you think any kind of analogy might be made with what could happen in SA?  That De Klerk can only move so far?  Can you envisage the possibility of the military stepping in here not reinforce apartheid, but to take over?

GT     You can't write that situation off.  If one looks at the Soviet situation, I personally feel - you know, we have held a range of discussions with various people, we felt certain people were generally not treating the Soviet Union like an equal partner.  As soon as they saw a hole then they opened a deluge of water.  I think they were pushing him too far and my sense is that the other people would not take it.  The pace was too fast. Now we are talking of Gorbachev.  You can't, when you are a world power, just within two to three years, get to the back seat like was happening and actually some of us saw that possibility.

     Talking about SA, while I say it is possible in SA, but I actually think it is going to be more possible when there is more delay.  The reason for SA is that SA is not a major power in the world.  It is a major power perhaps in the region, but not in the world, and actually when you even look at what the right wing in SA is looking for, it is not against reform but is more against the format of who is going to rule the country after the reform.  So in other words, if to them it appears that if it is allowed, then they have some little corner where they can stay pure white, they think they can live with that.  But their problem now is that they can't accept a situation where they are going to be ruled by blacks.  Again, here they have no alternative whereas before they used to run away to another place.  When you look at our neighbouring countries like Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, they ran here, but now there is no more place to run to.

     Also consider that SA was a polecat for quite some time, that is why I find it a bit difficult to make distinctions because they are not equal, they are a different kettle of fish i.e. the Soviet Union and De Klerk here.

POM     Do you ever see a situation arising, either through unrest or right wing violence, where the military says we have to step in to restore order?

GT     Right wing violence is a phenomenon which has always existed in the country.  It has existed through official structures and through unofficial structures.  Now in the period of reform, it finds it difficult to exist through official structures, so I am saying violence in this country is not going to end, it is going to be there always.  But if you actually look at it, it grows like a graph.  You find that there is a period where it goes very high, and when it reaches its high, it comes down again; when it is about to reach the bottom, it goes up again, so we are going to go through this process, this cycle, I believe for quite some time.

POM     Last year you were of the belief that if there were a white only election, that the Conservative Party (CP) would win a majority of the seats in a white only parliament.  Are you still of that view or do you think support has peaked and is ebbing rather than increasing?

GT     The timing here will be a decisive factor.  If, for instance, you had something like Ventersdorp, where three white people were killed, then the swing will be CP, but if you are having in a turbulent period, even if you have these kind of violent incidents taking place, isolated ones, then I would say the NP, I am almost certain they would win.

POM     If the election were today?

GT     If it was today, just after Ventersdorp, no I don't think De Klerk will have a problem there in winning.  He would have to seek a coalition with, say, the Indian and the coloured Communities, I think, and then perhaps on that basis he may have a good chance of winning.  But it would not be just clear cut if he was just on his own ticket.

POM     So you see the violence in Ventersdorp as increasing support for the CP?

GT     Yes, because it would be seen in that light.  You see, the white person in this country has always been treated like an untouchable object; incidents like those can raise a lot of tensions and they would think that they are being forsaken for the sake of blacks.

POM     I want to go back to something very fundamental, and that is the nature of the conflict in SA.  Various people believe various things and there are various studies that support various things. You have on the one hand the belief that the problem is entirely racial, it is about white domination of black people and that is problem that the negotiators must address at the negotiating table.  Then you have those who say, well it is that, but it is really the conflict between two nationalisms, white nationalism and black nationalism in the broader sense of the word.  Then you have those who would say, well, there are racial differences, but within each racial grouping there are also ethnic differences, some severe ethnic differences, and these too must be taken into account in arriving at a settlement because if they are not, there may be problems of conflict in the future.

     If the negotiators were sitting around the table here, and you were called upon to tell them what the problem was that they had come to try to resolve, how would you define the problem for them?

GT     Well, that is a very difficult task.  But, I think this country basically is a country which is having a spoilt generation.  You see, we have had our own ethnic education structures where not a true education was given.  Therefore, you would generally have serious problems when you try to explain to certain people that other people are human, because for so many years, for more than 300 years you have made them not to believe that other people were human, etc.

     But to answer you directly on what would I say; I would try to convince them that there are enough mineral deposits in this country for everyone to have enough to make a living. I would tell them that we now have to go to a more challenging and more competitive field to compete on an equal basis, no one would give another one instructions, we are going into an equal opportunity situation and therefore, we will not create any privileges. I would make them understand that everyone has contributed to what the country is today, I would make them understand that whites did not contribute more because they worked harder, it is because more opportunities and advantages were given to them to be able to be on the upper hand, and I would say there is now a need to look at a completely different structure.

     This is how humbly I would put it. I would say that we would give people a choice that you can live in certain areas where you would think that you would feel more comfortable to live, but we will not create rules which prevent other people coming to your area.  If you have problems and you don't like living with those people you don't change or harass those people, or else we will act against you, but you can afford, you are the one who is having a problem, so you should be the one always on the run, but for all of us who want to experiment this new life we are going to have one common rule for the country.

     I would make an example of asking each one of them who brought them up, were their mothers and their fathers always at home to look after them, or was it a black nanny? I would ask them who was doing the gardening in their yard, and I am almost certain they will all say it is a black person.  And I would say, why at that stage, we did not have a problem, yet they were working in our families and they brought us up?  So I would say by reason, it is just psychological that they are inferior or we can't live with them.  Let us just begin to teach ourselves to find a way of living with them.

     I would make practical examples in fact, but in the end I would not impose myself on them, I would tell them they were going to run general rules, that the society is open.

POM     This is a little bit off the track, but Patricia and I were having dinner last night and looking around, and it was the usual situation where everybody was having dinner, and this particular hotel was white, or was European and everyone who did the waiting was black and, of course, that situation is duplicated a million times over all over the country. We were wondering what goes through the mind of a black person when they are confronted day after day after day with this situation where life does not seem to offer them opportunity, what goes through their minds when they look in the stores, or the windows of stores, and see these expensive goods and see whites in their Mercedes Benzes. How do they handle that?

GT     Well, it is very difficult for me to explain in layman's language, but I can say to you again, to digress, to answer you through another way: my personal experience is that in 1976 I worked for the Rand Daily Mail and I was a reporter covering the unrest.  I was arrested and kept in jail for three months without trial or charge. At the time of my arrest I was told that they were arresting me under the Internal Security Act.  I wanted to find out the meaning of Internal Security Act, they said no, they use it in two ways;  for elements who are dangerous to the state, those who are threatening the maintenance of law and order and, secondly, to actually provide protection to people whose lives are in danger.  I was classified under the latter, they thought my life was in danger, I was venturing too much to a dangerous situation by the way of my reporting of what I was seeing in the townships, I am endangering my life, so they were protecting my life by keeping me away from the scene.

     I came back after three months and I went back to work.  Six months later, I was again detained, this time for 13 months in solitary confinement and another four months outside solitary confinement in a cell, sharing with other people.  My white colleagues would hear me because I have got this funny laugh, you can hear me from a distance when I am laughing, they said, "My God! Can you still afford to laugh like this after all this?  Why, why?"  I said, "What should I do, cry?"  I said, "I think if you look at the history of a black man, particularly in Africa, I do not know any creature which is so forgiving as a black man, and I think what has made a black face to survive has been this sophisticated way of laughing at all times; whether there is pain, whether there is joy."  That is the only way I can explain it.  I can't explain it.  But I did not have bitterness.  They asked me, they said, "Look the people who arrested you are ministers who we elected, we elected a government and the government chose ministers, so you should be the first ones to be hating, the first ones we should not be talking to."  I said, "No, you don't know what you were doing, and I hope that when I deal with you in this way, when you go home think again about your participation in this system.  That are you really gunning for the right target?"  The answer is there but I can't explain it, but it is the nature of the black person.

     Look at Mandela.  For 27 years he did not have any pleasures of a married man.  He lived on his own, he was at one stage in a quarry, he was wearing shorts, etc., but he has come back and he is talking face to face with De Klerk.  I can't explain it.  It find it there. It is a nature of a black person.

POM     That is paradoxical to me in the sense that many other people have said to us the same thing, that the black person is forgiving.  It is what they would call ubuntu?

GT     Ubuntu.

POM     And yet one looks at an area like Natal and you talk to people in the ANC, or Inkatha for that matter, and they will tell you that a lot of violence that is going on there now is in fact revenge killing; it is a cycle that can last from one generation to another.  How do you equate that the black man is vengeful in some ways with his dealings with his fellow black men, but forgiving when he deals with the white man?

GT     Actually it is very strange, I have often asked myself.  It is actually easier for me to forgive a person who does not know what he is doing, and that tends to be a white or a person of another colour, but it is more difficult to forgive a person who knows what he is doing.  That is a person of the same colour as myself, that is the only way I can explain Natal.  I think the people in Natal are placed in a situation where a fellow black man, under the agenda of a white person is manipulating them to reduce his own to debris, to ashes.  So it becomes more difficult to forgive in a situation like that.  Whereas in a situation of colour, I don't know, I have often spoken with people from abroad, even members of the ANC, they have always said to me, "We find it strange, why are you people so humble almost to oblivion, it is like you can't or you don't want to say 'no' directly to a white person, and you laugh him off and make him look like a fool even when you don't agree." Again, I don't know.  Is it apartheid? Ag, no.  We blame apartheid too much for a long time.  It is something I can't explain.  That is an honest answer.

POM     I would like to take up that point.  You said we have blamed too much on apartheid for too long.  Do you think that, because of that, people excuse themselves of responsibility of their own actions?  What do you mean by that statement?

GT     I think real life is not apartheid.  Real life is what you see, it is what you feel.  I think at times we tend to deviate, we tend to ignore, to avoid a possibility of working answers to our problems by blaming things on apartheid.  And I think if we went to the bottom of everything, apartheid can be overcome. I say this, if you look at the example of the United Democratic Front (UDF) which set certain goals for itself at the time of its formation, to unite all forces, anti-apartheid forces, to get ANC and other organisations unbanned, to get leaders released from jail, to bring back the exiles, to ensure a people's democratic country, they achieved all four.  We are now on the verge of the fifth one, of a people's democratic country and they closed shop having achieved all four. You know why? It is because they were not blaming things on apartheid.  They started tackling apartheid directly, they pulled the bull by his horns and it brought answers.  Whereas before the UDF we used to spend a lot of time condemning, rejecting in statements,  "We condemn this abhorrent apartheid law", "We condemn the harassment of our communities".  The UDF did not only do that, they said look the year is such-and-such the government is saying we must pay R80 electrical bill for lights and services but we don't have roads, so we will stop paying rent.  And they stopped.  People stopped and what happened?  The government, through the provincial administrations, started opening up negotiations.  Negotiations with the government started at a local level, through the service charge/rent boycott.

     I am trying to make an example out of there that when we sit down to tackle the bull by its horns we get answers, it does not help to blame, blame, blame.  Hence I think, again, this had a spin-off even in our case.  Last time when I talked to you, I made some claims that we suspect the government is helping Inkatha, but we went all out and investigated and we came out with evidence because we thought it does not help to make claim, claim, claim, let us look at the cold facts.

POM     Without going into detail, could you explain how the paper went about these investigations and how it developed the leads, the follow-up of the leads, the locations, the documentation?

GT     There were a lot of interesting developments.  I think it had more to do with the people themselves who were involved in fanning the violence, more than ourselves.  I think they started looking around for a credible instrument with which they could come out to speak out, so to say.  Because, through the network of church groups, we were given a hint that there are foreign soldiers who are keen to speak, provided they can get guarantees that they are going to get protection, that they are not going to be killed.  They will give their role and say what exactly is happening in the security forces.

     We went on for a month trying to cultivate this friendship, assurance, while they were still working there.  We travelled to exactly where their base is in Phalaborwa, we are talking of about 600km from Johannesburg.  We are a small newspaper which is funded as we don't have funds, but we sacrificed every cent.  And indeed it paid off because they were able to come out and we were able to check some of the things and they were confirmed although, for instance, the government did not acknowledge that the security forces are directly involved as we have claimed.  But the interesting part is that they removed Malan, which immediately indicated that they were trying to diffuse the situation, they did not want investigations to go too deep to an extent of even identifying Malan at point.  They wanted it to end quite quickly, they moved him.

     On the Transkei thing, again it was the same thing, on how they planned to stage a coup, the SA government planned to stage a coup there.  The people who were working with the SA government were the ones who were the first to want to talk and they thought we were the right people again, through third parties they sent messages and we made follows-ups.  Of course we were suspicious but when we examined documentation, we were convinced that it looked genuine and we went for it.

POM     Can we look forward to more of this?

GT     I am almost certain, yes, because I think we are a credible paper. After all the chances which we have taken I think people basically are beginning to feed us at a certain point.  Mind you, we are not doing this only because we are in a situation where this country is moving towards a new country.  Even in the new SA, if we are still existing, and we still have money, any new government which gets out of step, we would do the same thing.  We are not doing it because it is a white government, we would do it to a black government.

POM     That raises a parallel that I found interesting.  We have talked to a large number of white liberals, people who have spent all their lives fighting apartheid, many of them academics, and asked them whether they thought that ethnicity played a role in this whole conflict and they would say yes it did.  And I would ask whether in social gatherings or professional meetings they would bring this up and they would say, no it is a subject which is rather taboo because if you brought it up you appeared to be the apologist of the government; they would think, well, the government is right, they have just got the wrong solutions, so rather than having to be put in that situation of being accused of being pro-government, they just say nothing.

     Would you care to comment on that and then, secondly, what do you believe with regard to ethnicity?  Is the potential there for it to be a real problem, not just one created by apartheid, but a problem in the sense of the way it has been a problem in other countries in Africa?

GT     I don't know.  People say the problem is ethnical, I honestly do not believe that it is the case.  You know we live in an industrialised country and, therefore, we spend more time together with people of different ethnicity without conflict at workplaces.  You know you spend at work at least - in a normal environment, not like at this paper where we spend 14 hours per day - but at work we spend a minimum of eight hours with a stranger, and you put another hour, the ninth hour for travelling to work and home.  Now, you have these nine hours with strangers.  You actually have less time to spend with people who are in your traditional group at home.  I don't believe that that should be the case.  But clearly what has happened here is history, is that because it has been seen working in other parts of Africa, in Nigeria, in Biafra, and a number of other places, that became an agenda of this government to foster that type of thing.  That is why they were envisaging something like eight or nine homelands.  That is why we have Bophuthatswana today, having its independence, Transkei, Ciskei and Venda.  There was going to be Ndebele, Swazi and there was still going to be Qwa Qwa, they were going to have all these homelands to try foster this ethnicity, so it is not ethnicity which has been a choice.  When I say has been a choice, I am making an example out of the fact that when you look at Inkathagate, you see that there has been a deliberate manipulation of events here, that people had a problem with the ANC and they thought, well, what could the answer to the ANC? Let us build a super tribe, a very strong tribe which will fight along traditional lines, so they started building Buthelezi and he fought in the way he has been fighting, starting first with Inkatha as a cultural organisation, but later on when it became unpopular in the world to stand on the ethnicity ticket, then he threw it open to other people of different races, but still remain with the ethnic name of Inkatha.

     The second question which you raise, what was it again?

POM     It was, do you believe there is potential for ethnicity to be a major problem?  According to you, you don't.

GT     I don't think so.  For instance, we have a body, CONTRALESA (Congress of Traditional Leaders).  Chief Maphumulo, a Zulu, was killed in Natal because he was a member and a leading voice there.  And this Congress of Traditional Leaders is having Chiefs as members, they belong to different tribes, but they have been able to form one organisation.  How do they tolerate each other to a degree of forming one organisation?  Therefore, what it means to me is people can afford to find a common way of tolerating each other if there is no outside manipulation, they can understand each other.

POM     What about the first part of the question, this conversation that I have had with liberal whites, who say, "no the problem with ethnicity, I would prefer not to bring it up", where do you think their perceptions of ethnic problems comes from?

GT     I feel sorry for them because this country has been most unfortunate because all information was through the screen, the TV.  The government owns everything, means of information, radio, TV, newspapers, and because of that they have believed what they have always seen.  People have not been trained, even the education system has not trained people here, whether black or white or another colour, to think for themselves, to be objective, to be a probing community.  The education has always not trained people properly.

POM     A lot of these people would be white academics, physical scientists, sociologists, progressives, people who have worked in the area.

GT     But they can't be neutral.  When you live in a certain environment, you cannot claim total indemnity to the circumstances around you.  They are bound to believe that because that is what they have seen around them, and I feel sorry for them, but I don't want to blame them.  I believe a lot of enlightened blacks, blacks who would have at least had a minimum of high school education, don't have a problem of living with their neighbour, but blacks who would have a problem of living with their neighbour are those who are less educated, because those things are used by our leaders to say your opportunities are being taken by this Zulu speaking person, by that Xhosa speaking person.  Because they don't have their own education on the ground, or their sense of query all the time, to be inquisitive, to be constructive, then they are believing what the leader is saying.  That is why if you look at the Inkatha membership, people who are very educated are not associating with Inkatha.  Right deep in Natal, lawyers, doctors.  It is only people like businessmen who want opportunities, who would end up taking that membership, but people don't believe in Inkatha.

PK     Would you say that in other parts of the African continent that politics have not been driven by ethnic nationalism, particularly in those countries where one-party rule has been lifted, or is in the process of being lifted, or can you say what role ethnic nationalism has played?

GT     I don't have much experience with outside SA, but I would take a chance and say generally I would expect if people belong to a tribe which is dominant, surely they would want to use that ticket.

PK     Which is the explanation that many of these academics make.   They look at other parts of the continent or for that matter, other parts of the world.

GT     I don't have much experience there, I don't want to make serious commitments on that, but I have said earlier that I believe when this system was being drawn they also looked at models outside and those things had to be done on a basis of historic trends, what had happened in other countries.

     I believe here in SA we have a great opportunity.  An opportunity that we are the last in the region to have independence.  We have a chance where we can learn from all the mistakes which have been made throughout the continent and I believe the example we will take is not a disastrous one, it is the one which will make this region to be a model, to be successful, to be multi-party, to be a country where everyone has a stake, and I think it is possible that we can also overcome the cycle of poverty, because there is enough mineral deposits to try to be able to transform.  If the people who are at the moment agreed to participate in that development programme, because if we go on the present premise it is going to be impossible to achieve that because they already hoard too much.  The country is so big and there are only four to five people owning 80% of the resources here.  They must find a way of saying 'thank you' for this ownership by contributing towards developing the ones who are less privileged.  An example is a paper like ours, which has been funded by the Europeans.

     The European community has now decided that it is going to cut our finance.  We, who live from hand to mouth, should be shut down, when we do so much important work, and the big newspapers, which are profit making are not even caring about investigating the type of story which we are investigating because they are scared that business will feel frustrated, they will feel unhappy that they are projecting our government the way which we have done.  They feel also that they don't know finally when the negotiations end, who is going to be in control, so they are still nursing the situation.

     I find it crazy.  I think in a new SA there must be some kind of available resources, no strings attached, to help develop small projects like these, particularly projects which are participating in the development of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society.

POM     But do you see the resources coming from abroad, or that they would be made available by a new government?

GT     I am saying those resources, if they can no longer come from abroad, a new government should throw something into a basket and that can be drawn with no strings attached by projects like ourselves, which are projects which are a vehicle for change, which are a true watchdog.

POM     I want to go back to Inkathagate for a moment.  Who, in your view, were political winners, the political losers, and in particular, what has it done to the standing of Buthelezi?

GT     In this game we don't have any losers or any winners in the current situation. But I think it is important that the hidden agendas should be put on the table.  I have earlier made a remark that we have a great chance of learning from our mistakes and I hope he has also learnt from his mistakes, and I think this peace plan is going to be adopted by everybody, and if it is adopted by everyone, and in fact, just to remark on that, I am happy that those exposures happened because I think the negotiation plan is going to be quicker to sign by all parties involved in view of these revelations and I think that would serve as a sample of showing that people can tolerate each other in one country, except one group which is the competitive one in the whole thing, they have not signed this document.

POM     Do you think Buthelezi's standing within the broad community has been weakened?  Is he regarded the same as before?

GT     His image is finished, but with people who are having a level of up to high school education.  But those with lesser education, they will still believe in him unfortunately.

POM     One thing that it has done, that you brought up earlier, the government's funding of the opposition parties in Namibia, that has strengthened the ANC's call for an interim government.  Do you see any circumstances in which this government would resign, would put itself out of existence to become part of the all party government?

GT     I don't expect it to do that, but there is going to be more and more increased involvement, which they will not stop, of governability by people who are outside the government structures.  Let us take an example out of this Value Added Tax (VAT).  VAT, everyone, right now the trade unions (COSATU) were saying they will have a strike, and the minister says he asked them to call a meeting.  Now the ANC says, well, we are busy with negotiations and need to raise this issue. So I am saying one way or another, this interim government is beginning to show its face, but in a very, very subtle way, it is not in the way it is being demanded.

     So, I am saying the government is going to concede.  It is not going to resign.  It is going to continue to involve people before it takes positions which affect everyone, to involve them one way or another.

POM     Some would call that a form of co-option.

GT     I would not take it as co-option because they would not be making the decision alone because they would know that if they make the decision alone it won't work.  So one way or another, by going to the other parties, it is not co-option, it is to involve them in debate.  I see actually the all-party conference converting later into this interim government we are talking about, because there is a great possibility that this all-party, if people are nominated there, they can become, for instance, a constitutional committee and being a constitutional committee of this country, I would see them as the highest power structure in this country because they would be drawing the lines and at the end of the constitution, what can they do? They can be converted into something else, perhaps into some kind of interim administration, depending on how their constitution is accepted, and I believe that because it will be projecting a thinking across the spectrum, there is a strong possibility of this being converted into an interim structure.

POM     The ANC seem to have made this a real issue by insisting that on an interim government, in the true sense of the word; the government cedes its sovereign authority.  If the ANC continues to demand that, that the government puts itself out of existence, do you see that as a stumbling block to negotiations?  Do you see any condition in which De Klerk could say, "OK, I dissolve the government"? Would that provoke a significant backlash in your view?

GT     I think that would provoke a backlash, but I think they would strike a compromise.  I don't think that it would create an end to the talks.  Look, the ANC cannot afford to go back to the bush, and the government cannot afford to go back to right wing, here is something common between the two of them.  So in whatever they are doing, they have to find a compromise, they must strike a compromise whether they like it or not.  But now what is going to be important is who is seen to be having enough goodwill because that goodwill will count when it comes to people going to vote because they will see who was really a fighter of peace, who was a real honest person, who people will feel comfortable with in terms of honesty, how honest was each party; so that is what will decide who will become the government.

POM     But that kind of goodwill is enormously absent at the moment.

GT     That is true.

POM     What are the minimum steps that the government would have to take to start restoring a measure of goodwill?

GT     They must take themselves to the dry cleaners to be washed.  I am not sure, clearly there is no question of the fact that the government needs to do something about this whole image and the only way I can see them cleaning themselves, as I say, they must go to the cleaners and to project more flexibility in some of the demands they are placing before their negotiating partners.

POM     Do you think the NP, or the government, has a carefully thought-out strategy as to what it wants and how it would like to orchestrate events to get there?

GT     You know that first story we ran on this man, part of the security forces, says after the unbanning of the organisations, they were told that the fight is not yet over, this is the beginning of the fight, they are now going to fight differently, they are not going to fight an enemy which they can't see any more, like they were fighting against a banned organisation.  They are now going to fight physically with an enemy they can see.  So, there is a plan in place.

POM     What is that plan designed to achieve?

GT     That plan probably has two things: to retain white control at the least, and to install a moderate black government at worst.

POM     When the government talks about power-sharing, what do you think they mean by the use of that phrase?  They say we are not talking about transfer of power, we are talking about a sharing of power.  My first question is: in reality are we talking about a transfer of power?  If not, what kind of sharing of power do you think the NP is hoping to achieve?

GT     I think they are looking at the power-sharing style.  In other words they do not wish to see a unanimous win by any party.  They know that they cannot win themselves, but power-sharing means that they will have other groups supporting them like Inkatha, the homelands, the independent ones, and some of those which are not independent, that is the power-sharing they are talking about.  They are talking about appointing people they know when they go to vote there, who in parliament would, if it came to a vote, vote on their side.  That is the power-sharing they are talking about.

POM     Do you think they think in terms of being able to win an election in alliance with the parties you have mentioned, Inkatha, the homelands, etc?

GT     I think they are hoping so, but they are also aware that the ANC is vying for those parties as well, except for Inkatha, the other parties the ANC is definitely vying for them.

POM     Lawrence Schlemmer has said that his polls consistently show that the majority of people, including the majority of the supporters of the ANC, would be quite willing to accept a power-sharing government which would consist of some kind of an alliance between the ANC and the NP, where the ANC would be the dominant partner in the alliance and the NP would continue to hold a number of portfolios in the cabinet.  What do you think?  Would that be an acceptable outcome?

GT     Yes I think so.  I have just said earlier on that I think we will have to learn from the mistakes by other African countries.  We don't want a Mozambican or an Angolan solution where the white people will run away after independence. We want an example like Namibia where, even when SWAPO took over, still they have quite a large section of white people staying, they never moved.  So I think in this country we would want that because that guarantees lasting peace, otherwise, with the ANC being dominant, it would have the RENAMO-like people always chasing it like happened to FRELIMO.  So, it is important to give way to a kind of a shared kind of administration in this country.  Anyway we can share the skills.  I think our people are very skilful in terms of negotiating on their own.  I think the white people have had an experience of direct administration. Whether they were administering correctly or wrongly is another matter, but they have had direct experience in this field.  I think they can compliment each other.

POM     Must this process go forward more quickly, or more slowly?

GT     My sense is that it should go faster because the more delays happen, the more Ventersdorps where more white people are going to die, and when they die you are going to have the right wing again getting a platform of recruiting the white community. So the best way is to get them by surprise whilst they are still fighting and they find that it is the end of the road.

POM     Thank you very much.

PK     What are you going to do about your funding since it is no longer the priority of the European community?

GT     They are saying they are now funding education projects.  We feel that we are an education project as we have a role to play to educate our society to be more tolerant, to be more understanding.  We run an education feature, eight pages of education in our paper.  But clearly it is not seen like that, so we basically think that with the collapse of Eastern Europe they decided to employ the theory of charity begins at home.  They decided to help Eastern Europe more than help these little blacks down there: who are they?

POM     You talked last year about the youth.  There was this potentially explosive generation of young people out there who have not learned political tolerance.  That has not changed very much has it?

GT     I think with this proposed peace monitoring that is going to come to an end.  There have been quite a lot of improvements.  It is actually rather adult killings than youths attacking each other now, but I think, because this creates space for accountability, etc., this peace plan will work.  I think the government will also go out of its way to ensure that it works because already it has lost credibility by being associated with violence, so it is up to them.  As I told you last time, if they want the violence to stop, it can stop, and if they want it to continue it will continue.  I was saying this on the basis of our suspicion, but clearly we have confirmed that they are involved.  So they can make it stop or continue because they are in power.  That is why the peace plan is also proposing joint monitoring; it is almost like the interim government, joint administration of security forces.

PK     Does it make sense with all this going on about Inkatha? The way I read the story yesterday, the one hold back on the peace plan is if Inkatha once again stalls on the cultural weapons?

GT     I find it strange that Inkatha is trying to make this an issue, the traditional weapon.  The traditional weapon has always been there, but it was never carried to rallies and people never went to feasts with traditional weapons, they were just carrying them for a specific reason.  So I think they are trying to get psychological advantage over their opponents because people know what they can do if they are carrying these weapons.  So for them to try and stall on this issue, particularly now when they are discredited, it would be a great shame.  They would have missed the train.  I will expect them to resist, but in the end, I don't see why they won't accept it.  They have no more credibility, there is no more ground and they will be seen as an element which is responsible of being against peace.

PK     Do you think it is one more attempt to make an appeal for the uneducated mass of people that he says he would continue to support Buthelezi?

GT     It is another attempt to draw attention to what Inkatha really is, what the leaders of Inkatha are aiming at - just overrunning everyone.  These guys are trying to push themselves into a place at the negotiating table more than anything else, they know that their membership is a forced membership, it is not as credible as it looks on paper, so they created the spiral of violence.  I said to you last time that the violence is aimed at stretching out the working group between the negotiating partners and the government, by so doing giving the government more time to plan ahead. Actually it happened. The working group was the one which was taking statements when there was a conflict somewhere; they are sent to take statements.  They are no longer concentrating on thinking ahead on what to present at the next meeting.  Usually they come there unprepared. So the government was just winning all the time, but the exposure has pushed them back now to think of a different way.  I don't know if they are still going to destabilise the situation but if they continue, they have to be smarter than they have been.

POM     OK, thanks very much.  It was nice talking to you.

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.