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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Jul 1992: Skweyiya, Zola

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POM     Zola, you were the coacher of the working group which had the rather long title of Time Frames and Implementation of Decisions, the Report of the Gender Advisory Committee and the Unresolved Dispute about the Zulu King and other Traditional Leaders.

ZS     No, no, the Time Frames and Implementation, yes. The gender question of course was spread through all the groups to express themselves basically on gender questions in the whole process of CODESA. Insofar as the Zulu King and all of them, that was something that was being taken basically by the Management Committee and who was represented by Jacob Zuma in it.

POM     What were the main issues that came before your particular group?

ZS     Ours was, of course, mainly to ensure that almost all the decisions that were taken at CODESA were implemented and they were drafted in legal form and then ensure that they were passed over to the relevant authorities of the SA government for implementation. They had to move from us, basically, to the Management Committee and to couch it in legal terms and then give it to the SA government and parliament to pass as law as such.

POM     So were there any disputes about how decisions of the other working groups should be couched in legal terms?

ZS     Well there were some disputes at the beginning first of all because to some extent the SA government was definitely against any setting up of time frames for any group. Of course on our side, on the side of the ANC and the other Patriotic Front parties we aimed basically at accelerating the process and ensuring that at least there were some decisions that were taken and CODESA could finish its job to ensure that an interim government is in place as soon as possible and elections for a Constituent Assembly.

POM     Could you give me an example of a decision that had been taken at a working group where you wanted to accelerate the implementation of it and the SA government didn't?

ZS     Well first of all there was once a question that we thought it was necessary as soon as possible, that is the question of levelling the playing fields, that is the release of political prisoners, the return of the exiles and ensuring the neutrality of the media, state owned media as such, especially the radio and the TV. We thought that if some of those questions which were some of the conditions basically of the ANC, if those were agreed to they should be put as soon as possible into place but unfortunately it never took place because of, I would say, lack of agreement between the parties and of course the SA government never fulfilled some of their promises. And, of course, also on that we were also very interested in accelerating was the one Group 3, Working Group 3 which was on interim government, which came at the very last moment actually, the last week that there was an agreement. That also could not take place because of the same problem again because we found that all the agreements of CODESA should not be taken piecemeal as such and that there should be a comprehensive agreement which involved also the constitutional principles and the constitution making body as such.

POM     Let me go back to the release of political prisoners. That was kind of a precondition for negotiations to start with?

ZS     Sure, yes.

POM     In essence that matter has not yet been resolved?

ZS     It has not been resolved at all. It is one of those conditions that basically we feel that the SA government is not very serious about the whole question because it had been agreed to the effect that all political prisoners had to be released and by that basically we really meant for the implementation also. The point of view as far as the ANC was concerned and all the democratic process, it was meant mostly for people who had been arrested because of their opposition to apartheid, but we did after a long discussion agree that even the others that were not necessarily opponents of apartheid should be considered. That is why some of the right wingers were freed. But unfortunately it turns out as if the SA government ensures that only the right wingers were, almost all of them although there are still some others, were freed and made use of that, but very few of our people.

POM     Has there been agreement reached on what a political prisoner is? Do both sides agree on what constitutes a political prisoner at this point?

ZS     I think there was an agreement although it did not reach CODESA. There was not an agreement, an understanding, I would say an understanding that it is all those people basically whom we can say their actions have led them to be in jail where it could not clearly be defined as criminal but they had some political objective of some sort. Some of those problems led in that issue, in that description of that issue which led to the involving of the right wing in this whole issue in the effect that it was said that some of the objectives that they followed were basically political insofar as they didn't want democratisation in SA to take place and that apartheid should remain.

POM     So this basically has been going on for two years?

ZS     For two years. In fact more than that.

POM     With no resolution in sight. And how many political prisoners do you estimate are still being held in prison?

ZS     Well if you take over Bophuthatswana I'm not very sure, it's about 300, I'm not sure. If you take Bophuthatswana, because I know according to Matthews Phosa who has been dealing with this question, there are more than 105 people being held in Bophuthatswana jails at the present moment for their opposition to the Mangope regime as such.

POM     And in South African prisons?

ZS     About 200, something like that.

POM     Do you get a lot of negative feedback like from your own constituency about this matter? I mean after 2 ½ years.

ZS     Of course our constituency is not satisfied at all. You must understand the fact that changing from the position of armed struggle to the question of negotiation was not an easy thing for the ANC to convince our people because they did not believe and they have never had any trust in the apartheid regime. And of course also with de Klerk, but it was mostly the position that was taken by the leadership, to be exact the persuasion of Comrade Mandela and Comrade Tambo to a certain extent that made us to accept the whole issue of negotiating with the SA government. The leadership did accept that but in accepting that fact the people had thought that some of the agreements that the SA government had made with the ANC would be fulfilled and unfortunately this has not been to that effect.

POM     Which agreements would you point to?

ZS     For instance the return of exiles.

POM     That has also not been resolved?

ZS     Not all of them. If you had listened to Pik Botha yesterday, not all of them have returned, not all the political prisoners have been released, some of them very, very clear. I mean they were arrested with arms in hand and every other thing fighting the SA regime. They qualified fully to be prisoners of war. So when this was not kept by the SA regime it necessarily raised a lot of questions amongst our people to the effect that, of course, from the beginning, we knew from the beginning that they will destroy SA, that SA never honours its agreements as such and of course the issue of Namibia recently has shown us very, very clearly that you can't trust them. But now when they did that, of course, the very trust and the credibility of the de Klerk administration in our eyes was proved beyond reasonable doubt that you can't trust them at all so now not releasing them causes a lot of tensions amongst our people especially from societies, from communities where the people come from. I know, for example, quite a number of - in fact they come almost every day some of the comrades that have been arrested on Vula and all of them, their wives and fiancées, they come almost every day wanting to know what is happening with these cases, to such an extent that Comrade Mandela has to go sometimes. Before CODESA 2 the leadership had to go back and tell them that this is the situation, we are going to force these people at CODESA to ensure that at least everybody is free and that they should not go on hunger strike because some of them had already started a hunger strike and that is what saved them, the whole issue. But now coming back again, that is not being fulfilled, it to a very much extent erodes the authority and the credibility of the leadership as a whole and that is exactly what the SA government wants.

POM     And on the return of exiles how many would you say are still to come back?

ZS     I'm not sure how many, quite a number of them have returned. But also there are those, of course, due to the fact of their involvement in the armed struggle, feel not safe about returning to SA until there is a clear indication from the SA government and one question one has to look at is some of the people who returned back who had been given the green light to come back, some of them were arrested and it was only after a long campaign that some of them were released.

POM     I remember around Christmas two years ago the SA government had this form that returning exiles were supposed to fill out with the dates of when he committed his offences and that sort of thing. You were making efforts then to get rid of that form, dispense with that form completely. Are people still required to fill out forms that could be used to either incriminate them or that would be supplying information to the state?

ZS     Yes that's still the same issue but I think the majority of the people that filled in that form some of them have returned but some of them have not received the green light from the SA government that they will get indemnity. What the ANC has been fighting for is a blanket indemnity of all people who participated in the struggle against apartheid.

POM     Are there other preconditions for negotiations that have not yet been fully implemented?

ZS     The exiles, those are some of the main ones. I think there might be some others which are not. These are in the forefront of the eyes of the people.

POM     Sure.

ZS     If the de Klerk administration had just released all these guys, allowed everybody to come in and ensure that there is a movement towards an agreement on the broad principles of the constitution, the concessions that we have made, for instance, on all these other questions on interim government and all these other things, I don't think they would have been problematic for the SA government because if you look into the situation we say, before we have demanded that they should move completely, a government of national unity to be set up, but we say at the present moment that the SA regime should remain, that is the government, the tricameral but that there should become commissions around key ministers which would oversee those ministries until there is an election. Then there is a normal legal constitutional change which would not put the de Klerk administration in a position of where he has to apologise that this has gone on, to the effect that it was unconstitutional. So if they had just done that, because you know the problem - they seemed to agree to that. I think some of the impasses that we have had it would not have been that, completely. I thought some of them were scared that they would agree and why, after there has been that change and those commissions are sitting, they would refuse to move forward and in between we would just agree to remove all sanctions, allowed the whole international community because there would be a semblance of an interim government. You get my point? So we would have no reason to say that de Klerk's administration was not following our policies. And then if they had broken that then possibly we would have found ourselves in a very difficult position because an interim government would have been in place and we would have agreed one way or the other, all of us, to something of that sort.

POM     This interim government would still have been one in which the present Cabinet kept their portfolios but they would be under the supervision of councils which would be composed of?

ZS     The different parties within CODESA.

POM     The different parties within CODESA. Now as a result of CODESA, the deadlock and the collapse of CODESA, were all the agreements that were reached in the other working groups - are they all not just on hold?

ZS     They are on hold.

POM     OK, but they don't really have to be gone back and renegotiated?

ZS     It depends now on the conditions. The way it is though at the present moment, I think for instance there has been a lot that has been agreed to in CODESA which if I were the SA government, for instance, the re-incorporation of the Bantustans to a very much extent the question of, as we have said, the interim mechanisms of government and very much also in working groups, that means of the three groups that were working they mostly agreed to some of the things except the second one which was the constitution making body.

POM     Just within your own working group which were the major agreements reached?

ZS     I think mostly it was Working Group 3, transitional government.

POM     Could you just run through what has been agreed there and what were the main issues of it?

ZS     They had agreed, if we had agreed and carried out what has been agreed, that was the setting up of an interim government and in between that the present constitutional form, that is the presidency, the tricameral remains, and that there would be these commissions who would oversee, answer some questions on elections, the question of the army and the security forces, the budget and all other questions on local government and all these other things in which all parties would participate one way or another. If that had been taken it could have gone forward. And of course the one on Working Group 1 which was the release of all political prisoners, the return of exiles, restructuring of the media and setting up of an Election Commission composed of independent personalities within SA. If they had carried that out we would have, even if they had agreed to this question also on the broad, even if you look at those constitutional principles in general they were broad enough, you get my point, to allow all parties to discuss those questions in the Constituent Assembly. For instance, it did not say whether SA would be a unitary or a federal state, it did not say the form. But all these questions were being considered so that they should be looked into.

POM     Two things on the negotiations puzzle me. One is, and part of this is one of the questions that I raised in Boston, the fact that a 75% threshold veto was arranged for a bill of rights and secondly, but definitely secondary, the 70% provision for the constitution. It seems to me that you have put a great emphasis on a bill of rights all along particularly in the policy document that was released on the rights of health, the rights of jobs, the right to housing and second generation rights that would be opposed by the NP and the government but you would be using the bill of rights as laying the social and economic foundation of the state and by giving this veto, as it were, of 75% you put it perilously close to allowing the government to not ...

ZS     They seem to have accepted that. I mean the diplomatic pressure, not to accept it.

POM     And the 70%.

ZS     And the 70%. But I must say they had no mandate to do that, our people. They were doing it without a mandate from the ANC, our negotiators. The general thinking within the ANC has been the question of two thirds, that is 662/3%.It was more a question of, how could I put it, wanting a settlement of the situation as fast as possible.

POM     Why wanting a settlement as fast as possible?

ZS     They wanted progress in the whole process of negotiations.

POM     But the ANC wanted progress as fast as possible?

ZS     No, no, the ANC wanted but our people - let's come to the fact this way. Decisions in the ANC are taken by conference and the National Executive Committee carries out that conference on broad policy, it decides. During that time when we were negotiating this question in Working Group 2 a basic understanding within the ANC was that it was two thirds majority.

POM     For both a bill of rights and the constitution?

ZS     Now without considering the facts that are there, they agreed to 75% for the bill of rights. They put it forward that 70% should be for the acceptance of the whole constitution and all the questions that come around that. These figures definitely did not reflect the general feeling of our people, they were not policy of the ANC but our guys in the negotiations, in the Working Group 2 felt that by so offering such they will necessarily move the SA government to accept the whole package of CODESA. The argument afterwards became very, very clear to the effect that, for instance, the question of the 70%, no matter how popular the ANC is, really it has shown in Namibia, that it would be very, very hard for the ANC to get 66% - 67%. Definitely, we must look at our people, definitely. And 75%? This is our basic question that we are putting across. I heard you asking that question in Boston. I mean our socio-economic principles are gone for ever. For ever, there is completely nothing. You just have to put Inkatha in the NP and some few people and then they would be able to make 25%.

POM     I think that's what staggered me.

ZS     That's horrible.

POM     That's such a blatant give-away on basic principles.

ZS     That's the principle, that's the question.

POM     But the rationale was to get a deal?

ZS     To get a deal as fast as possible without looking at the implications of all this. As I said, they had no mandate. That's why we had to come back at that policy conference and say we ain't moving from this.

POM     Why was there this tremendous emphasis on getting a deal through as fast as possible at the expense, or what appeared to be at the expense of principle? Why was that, as far as I can see, the prime consideration?

ZS     Yes I think so. As I say it had no ...

POM     What was the rationale of trying to get it through?

ZS     I just cannot answer that question at this present moment because it might have caused a lot of problems for our people, completely. But as you can see in our policy conference it became that there is no way in which it can move, that 662/3%.

POM     So if the government had said yes?

ZS     It's horrible. We would have been in terrible trouble. That is why once de Klerk said - you know I was watching and he was on TV, I was just outside coming from the toilet and the guys said, "There's de Klerk." He was talking, there was this guy, Delport was Deputy Minister and he was sitting with Pik Botha, when he just did this, and then he just did this sign. I said, "The thing is over." He just did this talking to Pik and made this sign on TV to this effect that they are not moving.

POM     Even when the talks ended, deadlocked, you had both Mandela and de Klerk putting the best face on it.

ZS     That's when they didn't want to show the country that the whole thing had gone to pieces.

POM     But then as far as your own organisation is concerned when you went to your policy conference then there began to be this - you began to feel this backlash.

ZS     No, no, the rationale there, our people in Working Group 2 wanted to be seen to be reasonable, that they had gone far enough for the SA government to meet them half way. But, of course, our question was about the whole thing, the very thing that we have been fighting for for the last 80 years has gone completely and forever.

POM     Obviously the SA government has blown the best deal it could ever have gotten, so when you see negotiations resuming, which they will have to do at some point, what would be the main issues to be resolved? What would be the main understanding, do you think, regarding the issues to be resolved?

ZS     Of course it's the whole question of democracy. It is very clear that SA despite all its problems and peculiarities have to conform to the broad accepted principles of democracy which are not only practised in Africa but right through the whole world and the SA government has to accept that. Of course our position is quite clear, it's that we want, as I have said before, we want to entrench basic human rights, individual rights into the constitution but also to ensure one way or the other that some of those rights, collective rights, the question of religion, language and culture and all such things, are definitely set out in the constitution. Because definitely this whole question, this 25% that was left over plus 30%, means very, very clearly that the NP would be in a position to veto any movement that goes towards empowering our people and it shows beyond any reasonable doubt that that is what they want. They are more interested in their selfish aims, selfish demands of the white community.

POM     I want to relate that to the trip which you and other members of the Constitutional & Legal Affairs Committee took to the US and perhaps other places where the question you were asking, at least in Boston, was how do you use government intervention as a tool of social and economic restructuring. After your visits to all these places and numerous talks with people in the US, Europe and wherever, what have you learnt? What have you learnt with regard to how government intervention can be effective?

ZS     First of all from the US we have learnt one question. While we always had the impression, that is the impression that is given in this country, to the effect that the states in the US, the individual fifty states, have so much power that the federal government is not in a position to carry out any decisions that would affect the powers of those states irrespective even if national questions are being raised as such. What we learnt there is the fact that there is a move basically, which we heard all right, which shocked us very, very much, that there is a movement towards all the states recognising that there is a need for the central government, that it can override some of the powers. I think it is the same situation in Germany and also the question of the regions, that is the power of the federal government, for instance in Germany to be able to transform resources which it has got through taxation, whatever it is, whatever decision, to poorer regions to be able, for instance, as I said, in SA there is this region which is PWV area, around Cape Town Western Province, and around southern Natal, which are more developed than any other in this country and there are worse regions. For instance, if you look at North Western Cape, the Northern Transvaal, Transkei, there is very little in the Eastern Cape of development. So what we thought it would be, irrespective of the fact that we at present have agreed to the demarcation of SA into regions, I don't know how many regions, that's something that we think should be part and parcel of the negotiations, that we will leave the central government to have overriding powers whereby you could be able to transform or to take resources from one region in order to have a level of development right through the whole country. Not that one part of the country becomes poorer than the other. From Northern Natal, from the Transvaal to ensure that Northern Natal and South Eastern Transvaal do get some resources. Some of those questions.

     And of course another thing in the US which we did learn which shocked us is the question, I think it was in Boston, that they insisted that the central bank, that the government should play a very, very important role in the central bank which is something that the SA government in general is against at the present moment.

POM     They want to keep the central bank independent?

ZS     An independent bank. At the present moment it's under them, it's under the state, very much influenced by the state but when in their political constitutional proposals they would like it to be independent and not to be tied to the state.

POM     So you want the central bank to be firmly under the control of the state?

ZS     Yes, like in Germany and in the US. Also the question of local government in general, I think especially in Chicago, the role it plays in delivering the goods and how it should involve the ordinary citizens in decision making. And of course especially in education which we raised also in Chicago and at the Hoover Institute. Of course at Boston one of the things that became very, very clear to all of us, the economics department and the local government departments of the ANC, we saw the need for co-operation between economics and the constitution. That was definitely very, very clear. In fact in the next two months or something like that we want to have a meeting between the economists and the Constitutional Committee which will be able to evaluate, etc., what we learnt there and how we can work together. That is why the paper that we got at Boston is very much important to us. In fact we should be able to circulate as soon as possible to all our people before they come there.

POM     What I hear you saying, I want to make sure I'm getting a summary of what your thoughts were correctly, was that for government intervention to work in massive economic and social restructuring you must have a strong central government and to the extent that you have a constitution that devolves powers, significant powers to regional structures and undercuts the capacity of the central government to play this function and it also undercuts the degree to which you can bring about a redistribution, a more equitable redistribution of income. Therefore the bill of rights in entrenching the basic principles that would underpin the economic and social foundations of the society are one component of it and the second component is a strong central government where the powers are devolved by the central government to the regions and not by the constitution to the regions.

ZS     Agreed.

POM     Have I gone too far?

ZS     We have agreed that the constitution should devolve some powers to the regions but also the overriding powers of central government should remain, as they remain at the present moment in SA. [and they have remained for the last -] But you see we are also sensitive to SA, to SA after apartheid, more than 40 years of apartheid and more than 300 years of colonialism, of divide and rule, to the effect that there are regional sensitivities that one cannot ignore within this country. Hence we insist basically on the need for regional government, that the people in those regions should be given some powers to decide their lives.

POM     For example you'd point to? Like regional?

ZS     Regional governments. We cannot run around the fact that ethnicity has a role, so one way or the other it has influenced things in SA. As youth we always said that we're all South Africans, I mean coming to this age, and especially coming from Africa, outside SA, former exiles, and also interacting with parties in the Patriotic Front we have felt and we do feel that at least these regional tendencies should not be ignored. Hence we have agreed to this division of SA into ten regions as the ANC and the DP are saying. And that is beginning to be the question now in the ANC, how many regions should it be? Whether they are accepting this question of breaking it into ten parts or some other people say it should be smaller, that's not very important. But the question should be exactly coming face to face with those problems.

     Let's look at the question of Natal. Gatsha Buthelezi and to very much an extent Inkatha has been propounding this ethnicity question of the Zulus. Personally I think the general feeling is that the ANC does not want afterwards to find ourselves in a position like, as I said, the Soviet Union or some of those small countries. But in other constitutional reconstruction of SA if we take into consideration these issues, if each and every region feels it is to be within SA and finds something that is positive.

POM     You said something that was really very interesting to me because last year one of the questions I asked everyone I interviewed, 120 people, was that of ethnicity and particularly in the light of a book written by a man called Donald Horowitz. Have you seen that book on constitution making and SA? If you haven't I'll get you a copy of it. It's worth reading.

ZS     No I don't have it.

POM     But the argument he made, you don't have to agree with it but just for the argument he makes, the argument was that there was an ethnic factor in SA, that it had better be taken note of by constitution makers because if it wasn't it would pose possibilities of conflict in the future. What I have found, one of the difficulties of talking about ethnicity here is that it is such a loaded and emotive term that if you suggest that there might be any form of an ethnic factor you're accused of being an apologist for the government, you're really saying what the government said. It was the government who created ethnic differences, it didn't perceive ethnic differences and yet has your experience as you travel throughout Africa and have seen what's gone on in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and how deeply held these differences can be and the irrational manner in which they seem to emerge, have they made you re-think some of the issues around ethnicity?

ZS     I think we are watching it. I think so. I mean we don't have to run away from that factor. I know it's a very loaded question within the ANC but we would not come out openly to say there are ethnic factors. The basic policy of the ANC is still to unite the African people and to direct their anger against apartheid not against each other. But we do recognise the fact that there is the language problem which needs to be resolved and that to a very much extent apartheid has affected the thinking of our people. Secondly, basically we as the ANC, that's one of the questions, when it came out of the illegality we divided SA into 14 sections so that each and every small region should have some say at central level, that is at National Executive Committee, because we were aware of many problems that not necessarily each and every region would be able to put its people at the NEC because with the development both politically, economically and otherwise the regions and the different parts of SA have not developed at the same rate. Hence we ensure that each and every region, the chairperson of that region and the secretary become automatic members of the NEC of the ANC. This has to a very much extent given some satisfaction, first of all, to the regions as regions and of course to a very much extent answered some of the national questions, the ethnic factor and all these other questions which emanate themselves basically in some of the policies of individuals and also the SA government.

     If you look at SA now, according to the ANC, it has been divided into three regions because of the ANC. That is basically six people in the NEC are automatically members of the ANC. The cake has been divided into four regions. Basically six people within the ANC itself, basically we of necessity basically come from the Cape and in the Western Cape there is a possibility to a very much extent that one or two people at least or one will definitely be Coloured coming from the Western Cape looking at the membership of the ANC and all these other questions. If you come from, let's say for instance, the Free State, you are sure that four will come from the Free State. The Northern Cape also, basically two people will come from the Northern Cape which makes it ...

POM     Diverse.

ZS     Diverse, a mixture of ethnicity, region and every other thing, languages and everybody around. And then you come to areas like this, Johannesburg, you can never be able to decide who will be there but at least Jo'burg has been dominating the PWV, the whole process because of the industrial office industry and commerce that is centred around this area. And, of course, all the other regions and definitely when you look at the Transvaal basically it's quite clear that at least two people will come from Northern Transvaal, whoever they are, and basically that is very interesting for us basically, definitely. So to say very, very clearly that then the people from Venda wouldn't be represented and people from ... one way or the other. And that is to be taken care of by everybody and everybody accepts those things.

     Now the question is, are those 14 regions of the ANC economically viable? That was the question. We found that some of them were not economically viable as such and hence they had to be re-cut in such a way that there was an economic centre in all of the 14 of them which would be able to develop in order to develop that section of the people inside. Hence we moved down to the question of ten regions instead of the 14 which comes close to the position again of the SA government which has nine regions. As I said it becomes nine against ten which is, I think, a very small difference as far as I'm concerned.

POM     The big difference will be on the powers. Do you see some of the real conflict arising over this whole question of the power of the regions versus the power of the centre?

ZS     Yes, that's what the basic question is. The SA government wants to make the central government as weak as possible in the constitution and that the regions should be semi-autonomous as much as possible. We maintain that it is not fair to do that. While we recognise that there is a need for regions we feel very strongly that the central government should be given certain powers in order to allow it to be able to empower and to be able to re-divide and redistribute the resources of the country through all the regions of SA and that is one of the main questions that we have at CODESA. In other words if people are saying it is more a question of whether we are standing for a unitary state or how much unitary the state should be or how much better than it should be. It's more a question of being academic at the present moment but it's that we have accepted the fact that regions should be empowered and should have their own governments and that the central government should have some overriding powers over the regions as such. To a very much extent that can lessen the tensions that exist.

POM     Now will education be one of the functions that will be, national education, a central government function?

ZS     Yes, you know some powers would be given to the regions from education but also the central government that becomes very, very clear, that should have a say on the question of education because if you look basically, let's look at the North Western Cape which is one of the most, used to be ... it's underdeveloped at the present moment, it would need some support. If you look at southern Transvaal around Bloemfontein, at what is happening except that Bloemfontein and the rest of the country is not all farms. So if all the taxing of the industry and commerce around the PWV area, Natal and all these other places, could ensure that some of that money is redistributed to some of these poorer regions that would help. These are the powers that we see basically the central government should have.

POM     Have you looked at the EC Regional Fund redistribution mechanisms, of where they take, say for example, a poor country like Ireland, for every rand it puts into the EC in terms of tax money it gets six back so the peripheral regions are the big winners because it has a conscious policy of redistributing?

ZS     That is Ireland?

POM     No, the Economic Community has a conscious policy of redistributing its resources to the poorer regions. Ireland is one of the poorer regions, it gains on a basis where for every dollar it pays into the Economic Community it gets six dollars back. So there's a huge benefit, it's one of the countries that gains the most out of being a member of the EC and it might be something that you could look into, it's what they call their structural formulas, the basis they use for it. Portugal is another big winner. The poor countries are the big winners which is why the poor countries in the EC are against more member countries coming in.

ZS     What is it, the structural ...?

POM     It's the structural fund. It's the fund that redistributes money from the centre to the peripheral regions, the poorer regions.

ZS     No we have not.

POM     I'll get you some stuff on that if you like and send it on to you because it's one of the reasons, for example, why the poor countries, people who are opposed to Eastern European countries becoming part of the EC are the poor countries of the EC because they see part of the money that they are getting as poor countries being redistributed to other poor countries which means less money for them. It's one of the few cases where there's a formula that's very highly directed towards giving resources back to poor regions of the economy.

ZS     Yes, well if we could have something like that, that would help, it would help very, very much because it would encourage the rest of the people of all the areas of SA as such.

POM     I think I will leave it at that. Just what I was hearing from you is that the flavour of your questions and debate in Boston, it seems to me that you're putting your finger on - yes you have regionalism but without strong central government and you can't use the government as that key springboard to jump start the economy in the wake of a new government and you must jump start the economy. That's what you'll be judged on. I wouldn't like to be the ANC if it took over in five years from now if the economic conditions are more or less the same.

ZS     Anyway, we're finished?

POM     Yes.

ZS     My problem is that the latest round of talks on ...

POM     Vivienne Schmidt.

ZS     My problem because we are at the present moment going to - where does one get her?

POM     Write to her at University of Massachusetts. She's in the Department of Political Science. Maybe a clearer way of getting her would be if you wrote care of me because I don't know her exact address, just put her care of me and I'll make sure that she gets it.

ZS     The present question is we are doing what we have to do. We don't necessarily think that we would take the French model that is the question of the devolution of power in a state like SA. I've not been able to get through to her for some information which she gave me but I think in the next two months we will have devolution. At the policy conference.

POM     You want specific information on the devolution?

ZS     Devolution of power for the regions and decentralising, a unitary state, etc. [Because if you look into the ... I don't whether they've got one.] In principle what I've been saying in the policy conference has been accepted, that there should be regions but how they are going work becomes very secondary. The important thing now, before we just looked at a central government but now we have to come back to regional government, to local government. And, of course, local government I think is getting a little bit more attention at the present moment because first of all of interacting with the countries around here, for instance Zimbabwe and Namibia who have the same issue because they also forgot about, did not take local government into account, but also on the question of regional government it's becoming very important. [and the ... is also doing something.]

POM     I think that last point where you said you've got to tie in broad economic policy with your constitution, which are related because the outcome of one depends upon what's in the other.

ZS     That is what would be very good for us.

POM     To get that worked out. Thanks very much.

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.