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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

20 Jul 1992: Derby-Lewis, Clive

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POM     Let me start first with the white referendum and the decision of the Conservative Party to contest it. Did de Klerk's decision in the wake of the bi-election to go for a referendum surprise the Party?

CDL     Not really. We expected him to try to do something to neutralise the effect of the thrashing that the National Party got at the Potchefstroom by-election. What surprised most CP people was the fact that we entered the referendum because in entering the referendum we actually lost the initiative. Had we stayed out of the referendum a lot of us believe that the referendum would in fact have developed into a damp squib. My personal attitude was that we were on the crest of the wave after Potchefstroom and it would be stupid to be involved in anything other than a general election in a situation like that. And as it turned out it was downright stupid.

POM     Who made that decision?

CDL     Well the decision was made by the executive that we weren't going to participate unless de Klerk met certain conditions, one of them being that we also then have the participation in the construction of the question and there were certain other administrative things that we wanted sorted out before we would participate in the referendum. Unfortunately for us Koos van der Merwe threw one of his tantrums and it was actually his tantrum that resulted in the caucus reversing the decision to participate in the referendum. I personally believe that that was part of the role that Koos van der Merwe was playing within the Conservative Party, undermining us from within, and I raised those suspicions but people, you know the Afrikaner is quite strange sometimes, he has a tremendous degree of trust in anyone who is Afrikaans speaking to his detriment sometimes and this was a specific case of where it was certainly to the detriment to place any trust in Koos van der Merwe.

POM     What was his motivation?

CDL     Well you see Koos, we believe, has been for a long time involved with people other than the right wing. We don't know who but certainly his behaviour has been strange to put it mildly. You know, of course, the controversy which surrounded the Koos document? In that Koos document, Koos van der Merwe was adamant that we would never win a referendum and it must then have surprised a lot of people that he was so adamant that we should participate in the referendum. But I'm sure that history will tell what his motivations were. I have my own personal feelings about that. As it turned out the decision was rather in favour of unity, let's unite, the people who oppose participating will stand by the leader, the people who wanted to participate were not as trustworthy and so to accommodate everyone the leadership decided we would go into the referendum. We made a number of tactical mistakes as well. After the referendum result we should immediately have issued a press release confirming what we said before the referendum, which we didn't. Before the referendum took place we said categorically that no matter what happened at the referendum we would consider this one battle in the overall struggle for freedom and we would continue. But I'm afraid that Conservatives generally are very inept at handling setbacks and they certainly don't know the benefit of the media when it comes to that sort of thing so everyone sort of clammed up.

POM     Did the size of the National Party victory, the extent of it, fourteen out of the fifteen regions in the electoral regions in the country, come as a surprise?

CDL     Well it certainly surprised most of my colleagues. It didn't surprise me because I sat down immediately after the referendum and brought out my calculator and worked the realities of the referendum into the result. The realities being that it's on record that both the National Party leadership and the Democratic Party leadership stated categorically that anyone who doesn't vote in the referendum is considered as a no vote. And we know that a lot of people did not go and vote rather than go and vote yes in conformity with the pressures that were put upon them by their employers. So if one looks at the referendum result in terms of the yes vote as opposed to the whole electorate then it casts a completely different picture on the results.

POM     What does it show?

CDL     Well then it shows that in fact four regions brought out a no vote and another four regions brought out a less than 52% yes vote, although they had a majority yes. And those eight regions comprise the majority of territory of the Republic of South Africa. And in fact if one compares that calculation with the impact and the implications of the Potchefstroom and the Virginia results then the political area which was within the reach of the CP after Potchefstroom was virtually the same political area which brought out a very half-hearted yes vote. And the areas which brought out a thorough yes vote were the areas which are traditionally anti-Afrikaner, anti-white in any case. You know, the liberal areas.

POM     Abroad the referendum result received a vast amount of publicity and it was portrayed as people voting for not just reform but for a vision of a South Africa that would be more the vision of the ANC than of anybody else. What do you think people who voted yes, what do you think they were voting for?

CDL     Well I think they were voting in reaction first of all to the most massive media hype against anybody in the world today. I think they were voting for confusion because they didn't really know what they were voting for. If you asked people who voted yesterday, what did you vote for? I guarantee you they won't be able to tell you what the question was. Many people voted for the cricket to continue in Australia. Many people voted to save their jobs because they believed the threats of their employees would be affected. I would say that probably about 30% of the people who voted yes actually voted yes in reaction to the question which was, "Do you give de Klerk the mandate to continue negotiations?".

POM     But even in terms of the mandate, it struck us who were abroad listening to various news accounts come either through the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, most of the establishment international media always portrayed the referendum in terms of it being a referendum about a process in which de Klerk was asking white people to share power with black people and thereby bring about equality. So the term power sharing was germane to the whole manner in which it was portrayed and most of de Klerk's ...

CDL     But he had a mandate for that. You see he didn't need another mandate in terms of the referendum to devise a power sharing constitution. He had that and this is why, I mean people here knew that it was nothing to do with that but they really didn't know what they were voting about.

POM     But do you think anybody who voted yes was voting for negotiations that would result in the transfer of power to a black majority?

CDL     To the ANC? Definitely not. Because even the National Party people today, if you speak to them, will still tell you that de Klerk has no intention of handing over power to a black majority government. We are going to possibly share power they say.

POM     How do you think de Klerk interpreted his victory?

CDL     Well it's very difficult to say, de Klerk obviously as the State President will interpret the victory to suit himself. He, to all intents and purposes, interpreted this as a mandate to continue with what he calls the reform process. Some of his colleagues went a little bit overboard, including Leon Wessels, for example, the Minister of Local Government who said, well he interprets that as a mandate for joint municipal government, etc., etc., and then announced that joint municipal government was going to become a reality. And they managed to trick a couple of municipalities into taking a quick decision into forming joint municipal authorities and then got the surprise of their lives because the areas where they expected it to be accepted were the areas where the ratepayers immediately rose up in arms and threatened their Councils to the extent that the Bedfordview Council, for example, withdrew from the concept of a joint municipal administration with Katlehong and Germiston and a few others at the insistence of the ratepayers after committing themselves to participation. Sandton is ducking and diving. They were all fired up about a joint municipal authority until it came to actually doing it and so they've back-pedalled on that now. But let's face it, any governing party I suppose would naturally try to interpret a vote like that as a mandate for anything.

POM     What has it done to the right? Is de Klerk free of the threat on the right, free of the threat of the Conservative Party, put you out to pasture so to speak?

CDL     I think that was the whole object of the exercise. I think that's why they threw millions and millions of rands into it. That's why they concerted the action with overseas governments, with the overseas media. What was really ironic to me was that it was two Iraqis that generated the whole media campaign to sink us, via Saatchi and Saatchi and whatever, because as you know the Saatchis are Iraqis. Rather ironic that people from that country should come to us to try and help us to get some sort of a democratic solution. One would think they would be busy in their own country, but that's how it goes. It was certainly a concerted action against us and it certainly provided the right with a setback. The Afrikaner is a strange bird. He actually psychs himself sometimes into a negative situation but what has helped us to recover from that has been the fact that all of the things that the government forecast would happen under a no vote have now actually materialised under a yes vote and so people are seeing this and they are becoming more and more aware of how they were tricked.

POM     Like for example? Can you give me some examples?

CDL     Well I mean 110 000 jobs lost. That's what they said was going to happen when the CP came into power, that places would close down and jobs would be lost. Sanctions would be imposed. Well, OK, sanctions haven't been lifted, so we still have sanctions imposed under a yes vote. We still have oil sanctions for example. We still have all forms of trade sanctions, those that could have affected us. We've overcome the sanctions problem in any case so lifting of sanctions really has brought nothing. But the lack of investment that was going to be upon us with a no vote is with us now and only an idiot would invest in South Africa under the present situation and not even local investors are prepared to invest in this country so why should overseas investors be so stupid. So all of these factors. In fact the only thing that has happened which, and I doubt whether it would have been negated with a no vote, and that is that a few athletes can go and play sport now. But sport is supposed to be a recreation. It's not the be all and end all of a country's future and so I don't think people consider it as important as some people try to make it out to be.

POM     Among people that we've talked to since coming here, we've not talked to that many but it's been like a cross section, we've only been here a week so far, they talk about the right as (a) being in disarray, (b) of it being split between two wings, one advocating a smaller homeland one a larger homeland and the two views seem to be irreconcilable. That it is in disarray I suppose is the word.

CDL     Yes, certainly, the right certainly was in disarray after the referendum but they've given us a chance to now sort ourselves out. As far as the so-called split is concerned there's only a split within a political party when there's a basic principle difference or a basic policy difference. In the two camps which we have now in terms of the size of the homeland, that's a strategy difference. There's no difference in policy. But there again I, unlike my Afrikaner compatriots, am inclined to take a far stronger view in terms of dissension such as has been created by these five people. As far as I'm concerned and I've put my views to the committee with is studying the problem now, you cannot have a caucus within a caucus. If people are going to caucus together against the rest of the caucus then they must be given a choice: either they caucus together in another party or they behave themselves in our party. That's where you need discipline. But of course the Afrikaner has never been recognised for the extent to which he applies discipline. If you go through the history of the country even in the Anglo-Boer War it was only a very small percentage of the Afrikaner who was actually doing the fighting. The others would come and go as it suited them. They would join the Commandos and when they got tired of galloping around the veldt and fighting with the British they'd buzz off home again. So I mean that's the Afrikaner and that's his attitude towards discipline, whereas I'm of Scots descent and being a military man as well I strongly believe in a very firm discipline and I think that the chaps on the right are now beginning to realise that you only will achieve anything with discipline.

POM     Did the result exacerbate tensions within the party? Was there finger pointing?

CDL     I think what it did was it made a couple of people careless. It made this very small group of people who want a much smaller territory, it made them a bit reckless. They thought maybe this was now the time to play their cards and I think they've made a mistake, personally. I think they will be dealt with at the congress. But what worries me about this whole thing, of course, is that when one studies the various alternatives in terms of territory in South Africa there are almost as many alternatives on offer as there are right wing organisations in South Africa and if one looks at what these chaps have latched on to it's the one which is favoured by what I believe to be military intelligence. I don't know whether you've read the Will Roberts book Africa's White Tribe?

POM     No. Will Roberts?

CDL     Yes he has written a book called Africa's White Tribe and he's proposed as the solution for the problem the establishment of a country called Liberta where the Afrikaner will be in the majority, blah, blah, blah. Now these chaps have come up with exactly the same territory as Will Roberts. Now I have a strong suspicion that Will Roberts' book was sponsored by the military, by the Department of Defence and one of the people who promoted the book was a chap by the name of General Tienie Groenewald who's also one of the strong advocates now of this Boere Afrikanerland which has almost identically the same borders as Will Roberts' Liberta has. So I don't think it's a coincidence that these chaps made their break then. I think that they were prompted into it, that they thought this was the time to do it and all they've done is they've further delayed action from the CP's side until they have another congress as you know.

POM     Since you talked about the security forces, let me switch gears now and I'll get back to questions related to the party in a couple of minutes, is de Klerk in control of the security apparatus of the country or are there senior elements within it that can operate independently of him, elements that he is not in a position to fire or to take stern action against?

CDL     Well you know de Klerk as a political State President can never be in the situation in South Africa where he would have the right to hire and fire as he pleases. The SADF, the security forces in fact have always been a pretty independent body with the task of maintaining state security but then of course state security doesn't mean National party government security and I think that's where people can become a little bit confused with the whole thing. I believe that the SADF operates in a manner in which they believe to be the right way to ensure the security of South Africa. I don't think that it would extend to having units operating independently, waging private wars in terms of this proposed third force. A third force to me is far more likely to be the instrument of communism than of capitalism and in fact this is an old trick of the communists. I think we are in a situation here where the communists now think that the country is weak, it's almost on its knees, financially certainly it's on its knees, economically it's dying and I think that all of these things are generated to create a climate of instability which is certainly not conducive to attracting overseas investment. I don't think that the SADF guys would in their wildest dreams do something like that because the first thing that is then in jeopardy in a collapsed economy is their own jobs, particularly in view of the fact there's supposed to be no further threat existing in Southern Africa.

POM     Now the ANC for example would maintain that they are in what they would call a low intensity war with the SADF but in particular with the SAP.

CDL     I don't think that's true. I think that they're in a high intensity war with the leadership element of the Zulus because they know that if they want power in South Africa they will have to deal with the Zulus and what we are experiencing in this country now is a high intensity war between the Zulus and the Xhosas, there's no doubt about that. One mustn't be smoke-screened or misled by the fact that you may have the odd Sotho or the odd Zulu or the odd Jew or whatever in the ANC. It's quite obvious that the ANC is a Xhosa dominated organisation and those Xhosas who dominate it are also predominantly communist. There's no doubt about that.

POM     So you would see the bulk of the violence or practically all of the violence being attributable to the power struggle between ...?

CDL     Absolutely. Zulu and Xhosa and their allies.

POM     And others. Coming back to politics, the Koos expulsion, was that straightforward expulsion that happened in the wake of the referendum or as the result of actions that he took after the referendum?

CDL     It was as a result of actions he took after the referendum. He flew in the face of caucus discipline again and in fact he should have been disciplined two years ago. Had I been the leader of the party I would have thrown Koos out at least two years earlier. When he produced the Koos document was when he should have been thrown out because that Koos document was nothing to do with CP policy. In fact it was an obvious Nat document and I am sure that he even produced it in conjunction with the Nats.

POM     Again, it's been suggested when I've asked other people or seen it in commentary about the CP loss and some have attributed it to the fact that you didn't have something to offer. In other words you could talk about a homeland and you could talk about the right to self-determination but you couldn't say this is the homeland and this is how it will look and this is how we will bring it about and these will be the mechanics of operations. You were offering an abstraction which in the end people couldn't identify with. They might be able to identify with it as an abstraction but their hearts told them that it wasn't possible.

CDL     But you see now that demonstrates my previous point and that is the extent to which people were confused over what the referendum was about. The referendum was nothing to do with the CP's alternative. We weren't fighting a general election. The referendum was clear and de Klerk said it's clear, this is the question: I want a mandate to continue the negotiations which I set off on February 2nd 1990. It was nothing to do with CP policy or proposed territories or anything like that.

POM     So what was your strategy? What kind of strategy did you develop to urge people not to vote for him?

CDL     Well you see that was the problem. That's why I said to go into this thing was fallacious because how do you develop a strategy to tell people to vote no for a negotiation process? I mean everyone negotiates, including the CP. It's an impossible situation and so from my point of view the obvious solution was to not participate because through not participating the DP wouldn't have participated because there would have been nothing at stake then, and for de Klerk to drum up support for negotiations which he was conducting already would have been extremely difficult. In fact he would have really bumped his nose badly. I had no constructive suggestions personally as to what sort of strategy we could come up with to promote a no vote. It was just an impossible situation.

POM     There was a vacuum?

CDL     Absolutely. It was an absolutely no-win situation and we knew, those of us who opposed it, we knew there was no way we could win. Koos van der Merwe also knew there was no way we could win and yet he was the guy who was really instrumental in obtaining the participation through his recalcitrant behaviour. And that's why I say he should have been chucked out long ago because he was only busy with one thing and that was undermining the CP and you will remember his statement clearly after he left and said, oh he couldn't possibly belong to a party that had got no strategy. And yet until he was fired he was in charge of our strategy for at least three years prior to that. Strange situation. Treachery of course breeds rather strange characters.

POM     Looking at CODESA 2 and the collapse of it or suspension of it, whichever you wish to call it, what's your assessment of what's going on there?

CDL     Well it's very interesting. I think that the ANC probably thought well now they don't have to worry about the right any more, it's now between themselves and de Klerk and now they've got to destroy de Klerk. And their strategy of withdrawing from CODESA was because they are trying to get concessions because de Klerk has given them concessions. Every time they throw a tantrum he gives them further concessions but the fact that they've withdrawn and their subsequent statements has made it very clear that at no time were they ever involved in negotiations which would lead to what de Klerk said was going to come and that was a power sharing system where everyone would be fully represented. We said at the outset the ANC are only interested in one thing and that's power. And they want power in a black majority situation. If you study what the Americans have said time and time again, they want the same thing as the ANC do. They're not interested in power sharing and we're going to see this in the future.

POM     When they make proposals that there would be a 75% threshold required for any provision to be included in the Bill of Rights and a 70% threshold for a provision in the constitution, within their own membership they got a lot of negative feedback that these proportions were tantamount to selling out, that they weren't acceptable. Now in the ANC the grassroots was saying you are either giving the whites a veto or you're giving them very close to a veto and most polling results that I've seen suggest that the Nats and their allies, and that might include in an election the Conservative Party and Inkatha and what have you, that they could in fact put together 25% of the electorate, that they could in fact stop provisions from being included in a Bill of Rights and that they could perhaps stop provisions being included in the constitution. One, were you surprised that the ANC made offers that included those rather high thresholds and, two, were you surprised that the government rejected them and, three, were you surprised that within a couple of weeks the government came back and said we'll accept them?

CDL     Well yes, your last question first. It was obvious that the implications of what the ANC had agreed to came through to the National party government and they realised that they were then on to a good thing.

POM     That they were on to a good thing?

CDL     Yes. And the ANC were actually helping them with their proposals. But I think that this whole thing was just concocted. I don't believe the ANC had any intention of sticking by those proposals. I think that it was thrown out as bait with which to hook the government and I expected them to renege on it because the ANC have not made one single concession and stuck by it since the whole negotiation period has started, the whole process has started. Every concession that has been made, real concession, I'm not talking about insignificant stuff, every real concession that has been made has been made by the government.

POM     But this would have been a big concession. It would have been the biggest concession of all.

CDL     Right.

POM     In a sense the government blew it.

CDL     If they had accepted it straight away the ANC would have been in a hell of a tricky situation but I think that the ANC expected them to drag their heels because they've been dealing with these guys, they're not fools. The communists are the world's experts when it comes to manipulating people and they are the people behind all of these tactics. I have an idea that they knew that was going to happen.

POM     But they subsequently, after the government said OK we accept, the ANC then said the offer is off. So if the government had accepted the offer in the first place they would have had the moral and strategic high ground and the ANC would have been in a difficult position.

CDL     They would have been in hot spot because there's no doubt that for the ANC to get a 75% support was impossible. They could never get it.

POM     So my basic question is, did the government with all its clever negotiators blow it?

CDL     I believe so, I believe they got too clever.

POM     What were they holding out for?

CDL     Well who knows? I think that they actually didn't understand the implications of the ANC offer. That's the only comment that I can make in view of the fact that they blew it under those circumstances. It even surprised us.

POM     So who were the political winners and who were the political losers?

CDL     Out of CODESA? There's only one winner and that's the right because we've said to them these things can't work, they will not arrive at a situation where there will be any meaningful power sharing because the ANC want total power and of course CODESA's collapse has been to our advantage. For people to say we're in disarray and the Nats tell people the CP is no longer a factor, they can't get their act together, blah, blah, blah, we know that the Nats have got very, very serious dissension within their ranks.

POM     Who would be the leading dissenter?

CDL     Well Barend du Plessis of course was the leading guy and now suddenly he's gone, which wasn't a surprise, not to me anyway.

POM     And who would be - if I wanted to talk to some dissenters in the party?

CDL     In the NP? I actually do have a list of these guys. You could go to Steenkamp, for example, of Umhlatuzana. He's a man who although not very senior seems to wield quite a degree of influence.

POM     What's his name again?

CDL     Steenkamp. He's the MP for Umhlatuzana, it's a Natal constituency.

POM     So the right's the winner. How will this express itself? How will the advantage that you think you have reaped from this ...?

CDL     How is it going to benefit us? Well we believe that there's got to be an election and we believe there's going to be a general election before any sort of constitutional proposals are brought forward. And in the event of a general election de Klerk is going to get a thumping with the support that we're getting now certainly. Unfortunately there's nothing coming up, there's nothing that we can really measure support against in the immediate future in terms of by-elections.

POM     Does your party, for example, do polling?

CDL     Yes.

POM     Who does not get a read on the ...?

CDL     Yes and that's why I say we're the only beneficiaries from the collapse of CODESA 2.

POM     So for the next four or five months you don't see the ANC and the government getting back around the table?

CDL     Not at all. I don't even think that the United Nations envoy is going to have any success in generating that either.

POM     Do you think the government seriously wants to get back to the table?

CDL     Yes, yes, but I don't think the ANC seriously want to get back to the table.

POM     Well if the government blew the best offer it can get would that not mean that any offer that would be put to them now will be less than the offer they already turned down?

CDL     Certainly unless this is part of their strategy again to create a situation where in spite of the fact that they don't get agreements with the ANC on a power sharing system that they will then turn around and say, well we did our best, we couldn't get it, the world is pressuring us, we're going to have sanctions if we don't hand over to a black majority regime and that's it. Arrange a one man one vote election and then the shit will hit the fan. We'll have the worst revolution Africa has ever seen because people are preparing for a revolution in South Africa.

POM     So the militant right is ...?

CDL     It's not only the militant right. Some of the most militant people today are people who six months ago were preparing to vote yes.

POM     Is Eugene Terre'Blanche still a factor, the AWB?

CDL     I don't think so. He's never been a factor.

POM     Where is the power now?

CDL     The power now is within the Conservative Party and everything that's going to happen in the future I believe is going to happen under the auspices or under the umbrella of the Conservative Party.

POM     That would include para-military organisations?

CDL     Could include that. I think that if people didn't prepare to defend themselves they would be rather stupid. Of course we have the advantageous situation in South Africa, as you know, where every white male does military training so we have a very well trained population which could easily be mobilised in the event of a revolution.

POM     This again comes back to when I talked about the police and I'm not making an analogy, but in Northern Ireland at one point when the British government began to take measures of reform that weren't popular with the Protestant population one big question was whether they could rely upon the loyalty of the police since the police was essentially a Protestant police force. It was a big policy question. Here again, from what one hears and sees, is that a considerable number, higher than average number of middle level and lower level white police officers who would probably be supporters of the Conservative Party ...

CDL     I'm sure they would be.

POM     - rather than the National Party? So this comes back to, does de Klerk have the ability to control the police force and elements within it who disagree with him politically? Can they just either not carry out orders or do their duty as they see fit in the interests of the state rather than in the interests of the NP?

CDL     Yes, well I think he's not got to the situation where as a result of various things that he's done he's lost the support of the security forces. In other words if there were to be an attempt to overthrow his government I don't think you would have a spontaneous, instant reaction on the part of the security forces. I think that you may see the thing run first before any security force action is taken. I don't think that he can rely, and this is why I believe they are so ready now to have a UN presence in South Africa, I don't think they can rely on the security forces any more in terms of effecting their policy in South Africa. I think they've estranged the security forces.

POM     This brings me back to an earlier question I asked and that is, is de Klerk in control?

CDL     He's in control of the government, yes.

POM     But he's not in control of the security?

CDL     Depending on the situation. He can't rely on them certainly. But you know to be in control and to be able to rely, he can't rely on them to do what he used to get them to do in the past and that was even to brainwash people doing their national service and so on. That's no longer happening. So from that point of view he can't rely on them for support any more. He's never had control over them, they control themselves. The security forces are a pretty autonomous body. I don't think he's ever had control over them in the past.

POM     What about Buthelezi? Again, a little over a year ago, before Inkathagate broke, the political scene was usually described in terms of there being three major players, de Klerk, Mandela and Buthelezi. This year one hears almost or little talk of Buthelezi as a national political figure. Are there now 2½ major players, 2 major players or is he still a wild card out there?

CDL     If we're talking about major players there's one major player that's never mentioned in South Africa and that's the right. The right's a major player. The right is a major player in terms of what they can do with their members. We've already seen attempts to bring South Africa to a standstill through strike action and so on. Unsuccessful. But the white right has never attempted to bring South Africa to a standstill and I believe that of all of the players that we have in the scenario in South Africa the white right is the one that could bring things to a halt in South Africa and that makes the right a major player. Buthelezi, he goes from lukewarm to hot depending on the scenario in the country. But Buthelezi is a powerful factor. I consider Buthelezi a far more powerful factor than Mandela for example. Mandela is a media factor. Buthelezi's got the support of the people. De Klerk is a media factor. Without the media hype I wonder what sort of support de Klerk would have. If he had the type of media support that Treurnicht gets I wonder whether he would poll .1% of the vote in the popularity poll. It was interesting to see there was a recent poll where Dr Treurnicht polled something like 9% and he pulled even ahead of Pik Botha which was quite a significant poll because anything that shows any of our people as being something higher than the darlings of the press on the NP side, you know things are happening.

POM     How do you read the UN? The debate last week, again, who do you think were the political winners and losers out of the whole issue being raised before the Security Council?

CDL     I think confederalism was the winner as a result of that debate although of course they won't admit it. But once again three of the major players, Gqozo, Mangope and Buthelezi made it very clear that they weren't going to be excluded from anything, and Buthelezi wasn't there talking on behalf of the so-called black South Africans. He was there talking on behalf of the Zulu nation, he made it clear, as did Mangope and as did Gqozo make it clear, that they were speaking for their people. Mangope was even more open about the whole thing than anyone else when he said he believes in a confederal system. You see if they take all of the intimidation and coercion factors out of this whole thing there's no doubt in my mind the people will opt for confederalism once they understand what it's all about. Buthelezi, for example, I don't think really understands the whole concept of confederalism. He's been fed a lot of information by the Yanks on the federal system and so he talks in terms of the federal system but he doesn't realise that in a federal system his King is going to be subservient to whoever is in control of the federal government. When he realises that, and I think King Zwelithini realises that, when Buthelezi realises that then he may even sing a different song. But there's one very serious disadvantage as far as all of these people are concerned and that is that Pik Botha has got them over a barrel because he can cut off their money supply tomorrow and if that happens those people are really going to be in serious problems. And so we're not getting a true reflection of the support situation in the country because of this coercion.

POM     Some people would have said that for years the UN was more than sympathetic to the ANC, that it endorsed revolution not resolution against the South African government, and yet last week it had a relatively soft resolution passed, one that could easily be embraced by most South Africans and that wasn't as sharp or as hard as the ANC would have wanted and it was being portrayed as a victory for the government rather than the ANC.

CDL     OK but what did the resolution really say and what was the question before the UN? The question was how to end the violence. For them to turn around and say, OK, when they knew that the Zulus were responsible for Boipatong, they knew that the ANC had been responsible for numerous killings of IFP people, for them to turn around then and say the government are guilty of perpetrating the violence, what is their action further then? If they do that they already eliminate any sort of co-operation from the government's point of view in terms of ending the violence. So it was really a wishy-washy thing and I don't think that very much can be read into that.

POM     So looking at the next several months, knowing how impossible they are to predict particularly in this country, you don't see the government and the ANC getting back to the negotiating table any time soon?

CDL     I don't, I see escalation in the conflict situation.

POM     More violence? Do you see more mass action on the part of the ANC?

CDL     I do, I do unless they get what they are demanding. That is wage levels far in excess of what they're receiving at the moment and either of those moves will be bad for South Africa because if there's not mass action and violence which will reduce the level of confidence in the country there's going to be escalating wage levels without ...

POM     - the productivity up.

CDL     That's right, and that's just going to put us further down into the doldrums and put more and more people out of work and that in itself will create an explosive situation.

POM     So when and where do you see the crunch coming?

CDL     Well August may be an important month. I think the longer we go into this situation that the government have plunged us into now the worse it's going to become, the more disillusioned people are becoming. We move around mostly in right wing circles obviously, but we also do have contact with the liberal areas and those people who six months ago were raving about how they were going to vote yet to keep the CP out are now coming to the CP and saying, why the hell don't you do something? But that's the way it goes in politics. But people are really totally disillusioned and what is really concerning to me is the number of young people particularly who are leaving the country. They only do that when they feel there's no more hope and we can't afford to lose those people.

POM     Sure. Let me leave it there for the moment. We end on another hopeful, optimistic note. Thanks very much for the time. Coming out here to visit you, it's beautiful.

CDL     It's a pleasure. I don't think there's anything to be optimistic about at the moment in the country unfortunately. We'll be fighting it.

POM     If, say, tomorrow morning suddenly the SABC announced that the government and the ANC negotiators have put something together over the last couple of days and they had agreed to what they nearly had agreed on, 75% threshold for a Bill of Rights and 70% threshold for a provision in the constitution, for there to be an interim government along the lines they had decided on and an election for a Constituent Assembly where these thresholds would be exercised, would you be agreeably surprised?

CDL     No, no, I'd be very disagreeably surprised because as far as I'm concerned handing over to an interim government is just as bad as handing over to an ANC dominated majority regime and I personally believe that something like that would trigger off the revolution.

POM     That it would?

CDL     Yes it would trigger off the revolution as far as the whites were concerned. I think the whites would then become involved.

POM     Even though you were surprised that the ANC made the offer of 70%, 75%?

CDL     You see what we're talking about now is interim government and we're totally opposed to interim government, particularly something which is aimed at replacing the present governmental system with a so-called one man one vote system.

POM     What if the present government were to stay in power but that you had an election for a Constituent Assembly to draw up a new constitution and that these two veto thresholds were the agreed upon thresholds?

CDL     Well it would depend on who is going to vote and who is going to represent whom. That's the whole crux of the problem in South Africa, who is going to represent who? We demand representation by our own people without interference from anyone else, the way any self-respecting nation would prefer to be treated.

POM     So are you saying that even if there is some arrangement made for an election for a Constituent Assembly that the CP would instruct its people not to participate in it?

CDL     No, no. We would demand and with those demands would go certain actions which I'm not going to elaborate on now obviously. But we would demand that before anything further takes place that de Klerk go back to the electorate who supposedly elected him to have this mandate which he says he has, with a constitutional alternative as he promised. I mean he gave a solemn undertaking that he would present his constitutional alternatives for approval by the white electorate. That's the crux. I mean to pull any stunt now, one man one vote and transitional government, interim government, we don't accept that. We want an election where our people can decide whether they even support his constitutional proposal. That was the solemn undertaking that he gave and that's what we want met otherwise there's going to be hell to pay.

POM     OK thank you.

CDL     It's a great pleasure.

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.