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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
21 Jul 1992: Konigkramer, Arthur
POM You were just observing that when we talked this time last year you had made the observation that CODESA wouldn't work. Do you just want to recap the reasons why at that point you thought it wouldn't work?
AK Things have changed quite a lot. I don't think there's much point in our going over the reasons why I thought that at that stage because I think the prediction has come true and the circumstances have changed dramatically again. I believe that at the moment if you look at CODESA all the indications are there that the ANC and its allies first of all couldn't get their way at CODESA and decided long before the deadlock at CODESA 2 that they would bring that negotiation process to a standstill and I think that has happened. There are even stronger indications now that they have no intention of returning to the negotiation table as far as I can see for a fairly long period. Their mission is still to try and effect a simple transfer of power to themselves. Now patently not only is that undemocratic but it's impossible. It's unrealistic and it won't happen.
Given that scenario you are going to get a situation now where the people in opposition to the ANC, I think their attitudes are going to harden. All the indications are there if you look for example at what happened at the Inkatha Freedom Party's Conference on Saturday and Sunday you will see now that there is a very strong determination to resist coercion. They have decided, for example, for the first time to form self defence units which I think is a fairly ominous development and one must not under-estimate their capacity to really get themselves organised. They have also made it clear, and there is every indication that this has support on a very wide front, that they will not negotiate any more until uMkhonto weSizwe is disbanded, the military wing of the ANC. They maintain that the bulk of their people that are being killed, and as you know there are about 208 that have been killed in the last couple of years, are being killed by uMkhonto operatives and they have demanded now that uMkhonto be disbanded by September 14th. The reason they have given a deadline is that is the first anniversary of the signing of the National Peace Accord. Now they in their perception, you cannot negotiate in good faith while you keep a knife up your sleeve, as it were, in the form of uMkhonto weSizwe. That perception is shared on a very broad front and quite frankly I can't see in the foreseeable future how negotiations are going to get back on track. It is always possible that given the United Nations help through people like Cyrus Vance, who I think is very even handed, that it is possible, that there is always a chance that he could try and bring them together but quite frankly I don't see it in the short term.
POM If you look at Buthelezi's speeches at the opening of the KwaZulu Legislature which was really a hard line speech and his remarks to the United Nations and then his remarks over the weekend at the Conference in Ulundi, all of these suggest, as you said, a much harder line, a much tougher stance. What is Buthelezi's goal?
AK I think it's wrong to describe his addresses as hard line because if you look at when de Klerk was at the Assembly, his fundamental problem was, and I think it's a legitimate one, that there seem to be on the side of the government a willingness to debate issues on a bilateral basis with the ANC. Now although there is an understanding, I think, within the IFP and other circles that given the background, given the fact that the ANC has been in exile for some years that you have to make special efforts to try and draw them in. At the same time there were more and more indications that things were being settled bilaterally and that's not only patently undemocratic but it simply will not work in South Africa because the ANC, as it very clearly demonstrated in the United Nations, does not represent black people and therefore how is it possible that you have a bilateral set of negotiations and that was his objection, that you constantly had a situation where, for example, there were multi-lateral and multi-party discussions in CODESA but there was another agenda which was being followed in terms of which the government was negotiating bilaterally with the ANC. And one of the issues that is being debated bilaterally is the question of the existence of uMkhonto weSizwe.
POM So is there an additional significance to the fact that the KwaZulu government itself is not being represented at CODESA?
AK You see one can argue for a long period about how one should actually structure CODESA but I think what is patently clear and I think this is where the problem arose is that you cannot, for example KwaZulu, even Mandela himself, was the government which actually managed to stop apartheid in its tracks. When Mandela spoke in Durban after his release he acknowledged that it was the KwaZulu government which finally stopped Pretoria from implementing its grand plan of apartheid. Now given that scenario, given all the other initiatives, for example the Buthelezi Commission, the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba, that KwaZulu was the one responsible finally to pressure the government into the release of Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC. How is then possible that when it comes to the negotiations that KwaZulu is not represented and yet people like Transkei, which sold out in terms of apartheid, Ciskei also, Venda, are represented by their governments? Surely that is totally untenable? Now KwaZulu's argument, and I think it is a legitimate one, is that the IFP does not represent the KwaZulu government, neither does it represent the KwaZulu people so you have to have a situation, and the Zulus are the biggest population group in their view, that you have the IFP represented as a political party, you have the KwaZulu government representing the KwaZulu government and then the King representing, symbolically at least, the people.
POM If we go back, say, to the offer that the ANC made to the government at CODESA of a 70% threshold for provisions in the constitution and a 75% threshold for provisions in the Bill of Rights, did you think that was a generous offer?
AK No I don't think so and I think that's a side issue. It had nothing to do with percentages. As I said earlier the ANC had taken a decision and there's lots of evidence to show that, for example, their whole mass action programme was debated and accepted before the deadlock at CODESA 2. They had already made up their mind that they were not going to get their way at CODESA, they were beaten in terms of the majority of the delegates at CODESA actually voted against them in Working Group 2 so they couldn't get their way there and in their own perception they had realised that they were not going to get their way in terms of a transfer of power the Constituent Assembly route and so they deliberately created a deadlock.
The deadlock in CODESA is a very simple issue and it actually revolves around the question of a unitary as opposed to a federal state. The majority of the CODESA delegates finally agreed that the best solution for South Africa was a federal one and also there was a very strong feeling among large numbers of the people that given the authoritarian regime that we've been through from Pretoria, that they were not going to go that route again with some other majoritarian government. And the idea was that you should negotiate the powers of the regions first and the regions would then decide what powers they were prepared to delegate to the top, not where as, for example, happened under the apartheid government where, for example, in terms of the old Union constitution there was considerable autonomy in the provinces but the government, because it couldn't get it's way, for example, in Natal resolved that through the simple expedient of abolishing the Provincial Councils. And so therefore you ended up in a situation where even the elected Provincial Councils were abolished and the government then simply appointed members of the Executive Committee, so there was total control from Pretoria and all the people that were appointed were Nationalists and people were not prepared to go through that situation again. In other words they wanted a guarantee that it would not be possible for any central government to override the powers of the regions of the federal states. So there was a strong desire to create a federation of states in South Africa with entrenched powers in the state legislatures which could not be overridden by the central legislature. That's what the deadlock at CODESA was all about. The academic debates about 70% and 75% really was quite peripheral to the issue. That was the fundamental one.
POM Why do you think the debate is academic when I think most people that we've talked to since coming here would say that the government and its allies could put together at least 25% support among the population and maybe as much as 30% so that they would in effect be able to prevent both the Bill of Rights and a constitution?
AK Yes, but you see what you must not end up with is a situation where a central legislature has such powers and there are all sorts of mechanisms. For example, the government removed the Coloureds from the voter's roll by using the Senate and there are ways and means of getting round these things and that is what we didn't want to go through again, that it would be impossible for a central government to actually override the powers of the regional legislatures. It's always possible. We saw, as this indicated, if you look at what the government did, first they removed the African franchise, then they removed the Coloured franchise, then they simply went even further and simply abolished the Provincial Council and created a total central state which they dominated totally. Of course the ANC and its allies would enjoy nothing more than to inherit those sort of powers and that's what they were after.
POM Why then do you think that the government within a couple of weeks of the collapse of CODESA come back and say they would be prepared to accept the 70% threshold?
AK There are two reasons for that. The first one is obviously one has to accept that somehow you've got to get the ANC back to the negotiation table because if you don't do that then there is only one option and that's to fight and obviously that's not in anybody's interests so it's not surprising that they will do everything in their power to try and get them back to the negotiating table. But I think there is another issue and that is what I certainly feel very strongly about and I'm quite sure lots of other South Africans, and that is that the South African government is making serious mistakes through its appeasement policies with the ANC. Whenever it gives in and then the ANC comes back with bigger demands. Exactly the same as what happened with Chamberlain and Hitler, thinking that you can simply solve the issue through appeasement and that will not work. We've seen it again and again and again, that every time you reach agreement the goalposts are moved and that is an untenable situation and I think that's what we are seeing in the country where we started off at the moment. There is a hardening of attitudes where people are going to say so far and no further, we are not prepared to make any more concessions.
We're going to go through, I'm afraid, a very rough period where I think those who are bent on changing their country through revolution and violence will be taught a very sharp lesson that they will not get away with that. I have no doubt in my mind that that is what these people are planning. We had a lovely case, a demonstration in Durban again yesterday, if you can't get your way you just block the streets of Durban with buses and so you get your way. You can't negotiate in the streets. It doesn't work.
POM Some of the feedback we've got from talking to people in the ANC suggests that the reason they wanted to back out of CODESA was because of feelings at their grassroots that they were in effect giving too much away, that offering veto thresholds of 70% and 75% was in effect tantamount to giving a veto to whites?
AK That is patent nonsense because, you know the demographic figures, the whites are in a minority in every part of the country and they are less than 25% so how can that be? That is just poppycock quite frankly. How can they be given a veto when they are in a minority well below that threshold in every part of the country? That is just nonsense.
POM Not just whites but a group of whites and allies? The government's own polling suggests that.
AK You can't have it both ways. You can't on the one hand say that it's whites and allies and on the other hand say it's a white veto.
POM I think whites and allies, that would be accurate.
AK What that actually means is those that disagree with the ANC and that's got nothing to do with race surely. I fail to see that argument. If they're talking about a white veto how can you possibly talk about a white veto when whites are in the minority everywhere?
POM Then more accurately that they were upset at the fact that the ANC were giving the opposition, to the ANC what amounted to a veto?
AK No. I don't accept that. Let me go back a few steps and say, maybe it's a bit of a generalisation, but I would say to you that if you look at constitution making, at the basis of constitution making is the fact that constitutions are there to protect minorities. That's essentially what they're all about. They have very little to do with majorities because majorities can get their way anyway. Constitutions are essentially about the protection of minorities, that's what it's all about, that lies at the core of constitution making. But, secondly, now you say the ANC are giving too much away.
POM That their followers were saying this.
AK Yes. That's not surprising. If you base your whole policy on violence, coercion, on totally unrealistic demands, if you, through your political process have generated a situation where you whip up people in the streets, you want to protest, you articulate anger, is it surprising? They are the ones that went along and encouraged young people to leave the schools and now they've got a whole lost generation of angry young people. They created those people. It wasn't the people that created that. They created it. Secondly, they went around and they said they must make the townships ungovernable, they must make the country ungovernable. Now it's all very well now when the place is becoming ungovernable and when people are digging in their heels, and then to say, "The people don't want us do these and these things". They were the ones that actually generated that. It's no good now saying the people, the famous people, are the cause of it. They caused that situation.
POM What if the government had accepted the ANC's offer?
AK What if it had? I think it would have run into opposition because the government is only but one of 19 parties at CODESA so if you have an agreement between the ANC and its allies on the one hand and the government on the other you still have at least 10, maybe 11, parties who disagree with it. So you've got to find a way of resolving that.
POM But these 11 parties represent constituencies that vary from very, very small constituencies to very, very large constituencies so I think it comes back to the question we talked about in our first interviews, how do you weight in a negotiating forum where you have a number of parties, how do you give different weights to the constituencies that the different parties represent?
AK I think what you have to achieve, you have to keep talking until there is a consensus which demonstrably is going to have the support of the bulk of the people and in CODESA 2 we had a situation where the bulk of the people present voted against the ANC. That's a fact. Now if they can't win there then where do you go from there? If they are not prepared to sit and compromise there where does one go from there? You then take constitution making to the streets, which is what they are doing now.
POM Do you think that they can mount, whatever you want to call it, a mass mobilisation campaign that would be effective? We've seen a situation where at first there were talks of a three week strike, then of a two week strike, then of a week's strike and we're now down to a 24 hour kind of voluntary stayaway with the co-operation of employers and employees.
AK No it is not possible to do that. They simply would not be able to sustain a strike like that. Secondly, there is no way that they can sustain any strike unless there is coercion because it is always the same story, the way those things are organised is you paralyse the transport routes, you block the arterial roads and then you claim that all the people aren't at work. Now that is the one issue. You can't do that. You can get away with coercion for a while but at the end people are going to resist. That's the first thing. The second one, it's very clear already that with the state of the South African economy as it is, with certainly close to half of the black people unemployed, it's patently absurd to try and organise strikes on that sort of basis. If you have a look at what's going on in some of the big industries right now where up to 6000 workers in one instance have been dismissed because of prolonged strikes, illegal strikes and thousands of people are lining up for those jobs and the only way they can stop that is through coercion. So it doesn't make economic sense and there is every indication already, particularly in the trade unions, that the workers are now beginning to realise and to object to the labour movement being usurped for political purposes. The worker issues are no longer at the top of the agenda in these trade unions and people are beginning to resist. The signs are there everywhere.
POM So do you think this is a miscalculation on the part of the ANC to say, "We walk out of CODESA, we will take to mass action"?
AK I don't think it's a miscalculation on the part of the ANC because I think the ANC has been hijacked by hard liners within COSATU and the SACP. There is plenty of evidence as well that there is a very, very strong feeling within the African nationalist element of the ANC that things have gone too far, that there are many of those people that resisted walking out of CODESA, that resisted the mass action programme, that they have been manipulated by hard liners within the SACP and right in the top leadership of COSATU. Those are the people who have actually called this. I don't think it's really accurate to describe it as an ANC decision because I think the ANC has now got itself into a situation where it's actually being manipulated by this.
POM Who are those who you would point to as African nationalists within the ANC?
AK Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, I would prefer not to go further than that but those are definitely African nationalists I would say.
POM So if their strikes and stayaways really come down to this single day of action, it's like a whimper. Where do they go from there?
AK That would be in my view a very meaningful compromise if employers and labour could get together and agree on a token protest like that. One must also be careful that you don't end up again with appeasement, that you do this once and then the next time they come back again and they say, "Well we don't like this, now we want another general strike and we don't like that and we want another general strike." Where does it end?
POM So in your view you see a protracted period of some months at least during which the ANC will proceed with what it calls rolling mass action of one type or another targeted at this city or this province with the government hanging tough, not moving back to the negotiation table, with the UN, Cyrus Vance trying to operate as some kind of mediator in between, finding common ground between them.
AK Yes, I really can't see serious negotiations starting in the months ahead, I really can't see it.
POM But this goes back to the first point you raised, this is not a process just about the ANC and the government. Here you have one of the most important players who in the last year has been, at least in terms of the CODESA process, has been sidelined. Can there be any agreement between the government and the ANC or even between the government and the majority of the parties at CODESA that does not take account of KwaZulu?
AK No, that is not possible. That is not possible. There is no way that you will have peace and any form of stability in this country if efforts are made and if they are successful to sideline KwaZulu. That will not work. KwaZulu/Natal makes up 25% of the population of South Africa. I'm not saying that they represent everybody but they certainly represent a very substantial majority in my view. That is just inconceivable.
POM So in your view then there has to be a new negotiating forum created?
AK Yes. There has to be. There is no other way. The other thing is if you look at, we have to keep talking until we get, as much as we may dislike and detest people like the Conservative Party and the AWB and these people, they are there and one has to somehow try and come to terms with them otherwise you are going to sow the seeds of trouble for the future. As unpleasant as it may be you just have to do it.
POM If one looks at the last year from the time of Inkathagate and subsequent revelations?
AK What do you mean about Inkathagate? What does that mean?
POM The government funding of Inkatha, the manner in which this was played in the media.
AK You see one must be careful when you use things like Inkathagate. That's a very emotive term and one must actually look at the facts. As strongly as one might disagree with that, and I do, but to call it Inkathagate like Watergate, it has very specific connotations. The controversy over the funding of Inkatha, there is no evidence at all to suggest that any state money has ever been used to fund Inkatha. What happened was that a peace rally which was addressed by the government, some officials of Inkatha accepted money to finance that rally but it had nothing to do with the political movement, Inkatha. But it certainly tarnished it's image, of that there's no doubt. But I think one must look at it in perspective.
POM What I was going to ask really was that two years ago when we were here the situation was always talked about in terms of there being three major players, de Klerk, Mandela and Buthelezi. This time one hears much less about Buthelezi.
AK I don't agree. Let's have a look at the facts. Why is it then, if what you are saying is correct, why is it then that the Secretary General of the United Nations not only agreed to meet with Inkatha in Africa but also extended a personal invitation to Buthelezi to visit him in New York, which he did? Buthelezi was invited to address the United Nations. How is then you can say he is longer mentioned? It doesn't make sense to me. Secondly, if you look at the people who wield real power in this country, which is still the government, why is it that, for example, both at the United Nations and in his reply to Mandela's memorandum which culminated in their decision to withdraw from CODESA, why is it that the government then said that there must be talks between Mandela, Buthelezi and de Klerk if your analysis is correct? No, I don't accept that. In fact I would say the opposite to you. I would say to you that if anything the IFP has grown much, much stronger.
POM It's growing stronger across the country?
AK Yes. All the signs are there. If you went, for example, they've just held their conference as I began to tell you at the beginning on Saturday, Sunday, there were between 15 and 20 thousand people at that conference which was unprecedented. I've never seen anything like that and they were from all over the country. All the addresses this time, for example, were translated into Sesotho and if you went around, I mean it was everywhere, you could here Sesotho being spoken which I had certainly never heard on that scale before. So that shows, in my view, that not only is the party strengthened but it's managed to draw support from very, very large numbers of non-Zulus. What I personally see in that is that you are beginning to see a situation where forces who are tired of being pressured and intimidated and coerced by the ANC rallying around a force which they perceive to be capable of standing up to the ANC. That's what I think is happening. They may not in every instance even agree with its policies but I think they are rallying around a strong man who they perceive to be capable of standing up to the ANC. That's what I think is happening.
POM I want to take you back for a moment to the whites' only referendum. Were you surprised at the extent of de Klerk's victory?
AK Yes and no. I had no doubts in my mind whatever that he would win it hands down but I didn't think he would get as big a majority as he did. I think that was quite exceptional.
POM What do you think whites thought they were voting for when they voted yes in the referendum?
AK I think there's no doubt that the majority of white people had come to the realisation that apartheid was untenable. They didn't want to go down the Rhodesia road. They had seen that all before and I think there was a realisation that things had to change dramatically and de Klerk had changed very dramatically. I don't think there can be any doubt about that. I think that's what they were voting for, a shared future in which hopefully violence would stop.
POM The reports of it in the United States, whether through the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post or the clipping service that I get from South Africa, all spoke of it as a referendum on a process in which de Klerk was saying that whites should share power with blacks. It was talked about in terms of power sharing. Do you think that whites were voting for some negotiated form of power sharing? The words 'majority rule' or 'transfer of power' were never mentioned even by the ANC, they never said, "Hold it, this is not what the process in our view is really about. It's about something entirely different." Do you think that this is what people thought they were voting for and that there would have been a different result if they thought they were voting for some form of majority rule?
AK Well it depends on how you define majority rule. If, for example, you were saying that we want to retain the Westminster constitution, the winner takes all constitution, then I'm quite sure that whites would have said no. But that's not the question that was put to them and I think there is a realisation among, in my view, the majority of South Africans, and when I say the majority it's got nothing to do with race, that the sort of Westminster winner takes all situation in South Africa (a) is not possible and (b) it will not work. There is sufficient power among those who disagree with that concept to make sure that it doesn't happen and that's what the current impasse is all about because that's exactly what the ANC and its allies want. They want first past the post politics to be supreme and that's not going to happen. It will not happen.
POM Do you think a constitutional model somewhat structured along the lines of that of the United States would be an acceptable model?
AK Yes. Yes. I think that is what we need. I'm not saying it has to be identical but it has to be federal in nature and very strong powers in the individual states. And you know yourself, if you look at the American constitution and the way it operates, it would be exceedingly difficult for a situation like that to work in the current climate because the person who has supreme power at the end of the day is the President and yet he is frustrated all down the road, isn't he now? And that's messy but that's what democracy is all about, isn't it? You can't force your will on people who won't accept it and that's what we have to get to and I'm afraid it's messy but that's what democracy is.
POM What did the referendum results do to the right?
AK I think they were devastated.
POM Do you think it has eliminated them as a political threat?
AK No I certainly don't think so. I don't think so. I think they represent a very considerable constituency. You must remember that even if one gets away from what people may or may not believe, once you've had 40 years of apartheid, 40 years of supreme authority where you could force your will on everybody, where the whole culture was that if you couldn't get your way you called in the army and the police, you can't get rid of that overnight. That's not going to go away in a hurry. Those people are sitting everywhere. They're sitting in the civil service, they're sitting in the police, they're sitting in the army, they're sitting everywhere and it's unrealistic to think that's just going to go away. You've got to work through it, you've got to change those people. But they certainly got a very big shock and there's no doubt in my mind that a lot of the more moderate conservatives would have drifted away from the party and will continue to drift away from the party because they will have accepted that they were beaten, that the majority, in that election, of whites actually didn't agree with them.
PAT There was some suggestion that Buthelezi and Inkatha were meeting with people from the right. Was that a form of dialogue?
AK That was just party politicking. The international press of course were immediately here when he met with Andries Treurnicht and they read into that that there's some sort of alliance. That's total nonsense because they abhor those policies. It was Andries Treurnicht who was responsible for the 1976 riots. He personally. What the IFP and Buthelezi, who I think is a great Christian, is that he accepts that you cannot wish those people away, you have to talk to them and the purpose of the meeting was to persuade them to join CODESA. They were present again at the Inkatha Conference on Saturday and Sunday this week and again Buthelezi pleaded with them. He said, "Now that CODESA has been deadlocked and you made a mistake and we've got to start from scratch again, don't make the same mistake again. Come in now on the ground floor and negotiate. That's what it's all about." But there is no similarity of policy and certainly no possibility of any form of alliance with those people because they are totally different.
POM In terms of the constituency which your newspaper serves, was CODESA a major issue or a side bar issue or did the fact that the KwaZulu government was not a participant in it make you look at it with, I won't say a jaundiced eye, but with a different eye?
AK From my newspaper's point of view we didn't really take, we supported and we continue to support negotiations, but we didn't take any particular stance other than we believe the King and the KwaZulu government should be there. But as we saw it certainly reflected in letters to the editor and so on, what troubled me a little was that the majority of the people didn't actually know what was going on because most of the negotiations were taking place behind closed doors and there were very little bits of information coming out. And that's the thing which troubled me personally, that, as I saw it, certainly the bulk of the people didn't know what was going on. So we didn't take any strong editorial stand on it but that was the feeling that was coming through. Dozens and dozens of letters were coming here asking what on earth was going on, why aren't we told what they are debating all about?
POM Was there a strong backlash among your readers at the exclusion of KwaZulu?
AK Oh yes, oh there was, there definitely was that. There was a very strong feeling that how can any negotiations stick when the Zulu King and Buthelezi are not present. There was confusion about that and I think the average person didn't really understand the finer technical points. Particularly among blacks when you have disagreements, the way you deal with those is you meet face to face and it's very difficult for a normal black man to try and understand how you can possibly reach agreement when the main protagonists are not there. It just doesn't make sense.
POM How about the violence which is now going into its third year? One, are levels of violence in Natal down or do they continue at the levels they were at in 1991 and 1990? In other words has the National Peace Accord had a significant impact on this area?
AK It's had very little impact and the reason for that is quite simple, that it hasn't worked. The Peace Accord was signed but the follow through has been minimal and it simply has not worked. The other thing is, as you well know, there was also the meeting between the ANC and Inkatha on January 29th on which it was agreed that there should be joint peace rallies. Buthelezi then invited Mandela to address peace rallies and Mandela initially agreed and then under pressure from Harry Gwala and about 100 of his followers who went to the head office of the ANC and persuaded Mandela not to go to the peace rallies because Gwala and company argued that there would be a blood bath if that happened which, of course, is nonsense. Be that as it may, although Mandela personally had agreed to it he then pulled out and quite frankly I don't see a solution to the violence unless the leadership are publicly seen to be addressing violence and publicly seen together to be calling on their followers to stop the violence. Unless that happens I'm afraid you will not stop it.
POM I know the way that the liberal press has created Buthelezi over the years, he's seen as the pariah figure, he's painted in terms of a caricature more than anything else, but this recent report of the International Commission of Jurists which I understand to be a respectable body, you would disagree?
AK I wouldn't disagree that it's a respectable body but certainly that report is patently, patently biased. It came here, it never even met the IFP, no senior leader that I know of and we've analysed it and what they've done is they've taken selected incidences and then claimed those to actually demonstrate that the IFP is actually responsible for violence. We could spend a whole day and I would go through that with you and for every one report where they claimed the IFP was responsible I could show you ten where the ANC was responsible for it. That is patently absurd.
POM Did the paper run some articles on that?
AK Yes we did.
POM Would it be possible to see them?
AK Yes we can give you that.
POM That would be terrific. The other major allegation being made continually by the ANC is that of government collusion in the violence either by omission or whatever. Do you think there have been a sufficient number of cases where allegations of the SAP not doing something or not making arrests are justified?
AK No, no. I don't accept that at all. Let me just turn the argument totally around. For example there's a battalion in Natal known as the 121 Battalion, the Zulu battalion. Now that has become a darling of the ANC. Now the reason for that is - and when it's being withdrawn under pressure from the IFP there has been an outcry. They don't want 32 Battalion, they don't want this battalion, they don't want that battalion, they don't want the Defence Force in the townships but this particular battalion, for example, they created mayhem when it was withdrawn. Now the reason for that is very simple and few people actually look to the history to actually understand why this happens. 121 Battalion, the so-called Zulu battalion, was a creature of apartheid, it was created as the nucleus of the apartheid KwaZulu army, as the Transkei and all the others have their armies, KwaZulu doesn't have one. The Zulu King and Buthelezi were adamant and they said, "We will have nothing to do with that battalion". They then went along to the Chiefs and they tried to recruit the Chiefs. Chief Buthelezi and the King had told the Chiefs that they are not to have anything to do with that. Now, the South African Defence Force then recruited the dregs of Zulu society into that battalion and they poisoned their minds arguing that the Chief Minister and the KwaZulu government were a bunch of communists because all they wanted to do was protect them and these people didn't want Zulus to join this army and so these people were poisoned, they had their minds poisoned by this.
And of course once the tables have now turned after the speech of February 2, when these people got into the townships they, of course, had a golden opportunity to settle the score because they now perceived Inkatha to be a bunch of communists and the enemy and so they went around slaughtering them with AK47 rifles and R1 rifles, not AK 47S, R1 rifles and of course the KwaZulu government and the IFP objected and there was ample evidence to show and they were withdrawn. Now has that story ever been told? Have you ever read that story internationally? No. But that is a creature of apartheid and it now turns on the very people that blocked apartheid. No, I don't accept it.
There is no doubt that there have been serious transgressions on the part of the army and the police. In some of the cases it has involved IFP people, for example the Trust Feed case, but that had nothing to do with the IFP as a party. IFP supporters were involved, sure, but there were other cases that were also not mentioned. The South African Police attacked, and there are many cases, but the one famous one was when 13 IFP people were butchered, were attacked by the South African Police and they were killed, all of them, some of them actually fleeing from the house and the house was set on fire. 13 people were killed and those South African policeman who were acting as agents of the ANC were convicted and they are sitting in prison. So it's not a prerogative of the IFP.
POM I want to take the phrase you used, "there have been some serious transgressions by the security forces". Is de Klerk in complete control of his security forces? Could he tomorrow morning say, "I'm cleaning house. Whether there are units here that are partial to the ANC or the IFP I find allegations of transgressions made, I am going to suspend senior officers, I am going to take action that would be seen by the people to be serious action", as would be done, for example, in other countries?
AK But hold on, there's a slight difference here. One must not be unrealistic. First of all you have the legacy of apartheid, that's difficult to get rid of as I said before. But secondly, and I think this is much more important, the African National Congress and its allies have deliberately targeted policemen for murder and they continue to do so. Policemen continue to be murdered. They had a campaign against the KwaZulu Police which started in July 1990 which persists to this day where people, the KwaZulu Police, for example, for many, many months could not even sleep in their houses, they had to sleep on the lawns because they were constantly being attacked with AK47s and hand grenades and rocket launches and heaven knows what. Now, given that background it is unrealistic, I think, to expect that that the police as individuals are not going to react to that. So it has nothing at the end of the day to do with de Klerk because if these people are targeted for murder, this I think is what is happening is that you have a situation now where police have been targeted, they continue to be targeted. Last week there were two policemen abducted in Warwick Avenue and they were murdered, two people were murdered in Lamontville the night before last. If that campaign continues, if they continue to target the police, they have issued very detailed guidelines on how to prevent the South African Police from going into townships including the setting up of roadblocks, including the digging of trenches across the road, including how to actually use stones and petrol bombs to attack them. Now if that persists then I am afraid it is very, very difficult to see how de Klerk is going to stop that. How is he going to stop it? It's not in his hands. If other people incite murder against you are you not going to defend yourself? It matters not what whoever is employing you at the end of the day says or doesn't say. You're going to defend yourself.
POM Where does Boipatong fit into all of this? There was a period, and again what I'm looking for here is your analysis, where you had the deadlock at CODESA but you had both de Klerk and Mandela putting the best face on it saying it was a deadlock but nevertheless they thought something could be worked out. Within a week you had the ANC walking out of CODESA, the collapse of the talks, you had Mandela making what amounted to vitriolic attacks on de Klerk, you had this kind of polarisation. What happened in that month to move Mandela from a position of, "We can still talk, we can still make progress", to his position of, "We will not talk to the murderers of our people. We have gone far enough, all the deals are off. There are a list of 15 demands that must be met before we will go back to the negotiation table."
AK Well I think first of all, as I said right at the beginning, the ANC and its allies were already planning to pull out of CODESA long before that deadlock arrived. Now you ask specifically what brought Mandela to that change and I would say to you that Boipatong was a terrible and despicable incident but certainly it wasn't an incident which justified calling off negotiations. What happened is it was seized on by the hard liners in the ANC and Mandela was put into a position where, as I say, I don't think he's master of his own destiny any more. Those are the real backgrounds. But, for example, why was there no outcry one month before at Crossroads? 30 IFP people were murdered. It wasn't even mentioned in the international press. Now would that have justified the IFP mounting the barricades and saying, "We will never negotiate again because of this despicable murder of our people by ANC people", and they were ANC people that murdered them. It didn't happen.
But you see, let me make an observation with regard to Boipatong, what the ANC, and this is one of its problems, apart from the hard liners within it it's actually living in the past. It sought to internationalise Boipatong as it did Sharpeville. Now the world has changed. The Soviet Union has gone, that whole power bloc has gone. It's not possible to go and make the sort of noise as they did in the 1960's with Sharpeville and get away with it any more. It doesn't work that way. They thought that exactly the same they would go there and Mandela personally and the ANC took very, very serious steps to block the other participants from speaking, using India and Zimbabwe to try and achieve their goal. The protested at Buthelezi's presence and all the other CODESA people. What they wanted to achieve was to internationalise it and to pillory the State President and Buthelezi in the United Nations and pin it all on them. It went sour. They didn't realise that the world has changed, that it's not quite that easy any more, that in fact they are more even handed. As I said to you, Boutros Ghali, I think to his great credit, was actually even handed and said, "No ways, we're not going to have a situation where one side is given the opportunity to attack the other and the others don't have a chance to respond."
POM So you would have seen, looking at what happened at the UN, looking at it both in terms of real politick and also its symbolism that the ANC was the loser here?
AK Absolutely. They were the loser.
POM And the winners were?
AK Well the winners I think were the international community because they actually were very even handed. I don't think it's going to solve the South African problem in the short term. I hope Cyrus Vance is able to - but what it did achieve, it demonstrated, I think, very even handed policies on the part of the major western powers and that also, I think, showed the world very clearly that the ANC doesn't represent black people as it claims to do, or is not the sole representative because I am quite sure they were surprised to see the depth of opposition that the ANC experienced at the United Nations.
POM Is the Goldstone Commission held in high regard in KwaZulu, as being an even handed attempt not to attribute blame but to analyse individual acts of violence?
AK The Goldstone Commission, its last report, to my knowledge the IFP was the only party that came out unreservedly saying, "OK we are prepared to accept it, we are prepared to accept it. We were wrong in many cases." They had reservations and they expressed them but they certainly did acknowledge that it was fairly even handed although they didn't agree with everything whereas the other parties, particularly the ANC, totally rejected it. They had to shift their ground afterwards but, yes, I think there was acceptance that it was an attempt to be even handed. The problem with the Goldstone Commission is that in terms of its brief it can only investigate violence from February 2, and Justice Goldstone has said that it's really quite futile to try and apportion blame, to try and look back and find out who was the real cause of it. I think that's a serious shortcoming because the seeds of the current violence in South Africa are rooted in the policies of ungovernability, of driving the children out of the schools, of singling out KwaZulu, on attacks on the KwaZulu Police. Now you can't just say, "We're going to ignore all that", particularly since those policies again are being reinforced right now, they are busy trying to do it again to render the country ungovernable. Now how can you not investigate the actual foundations of that and particularly when people are building on those foundations? I believe you have to do that.
POM For much of the last year there were two stories coming out of South Africa. On the one hand was the story of CODESA and there was apparent movement and despite setbacks it seemed to be moving ahead and progress being made. And the other story was the story of the violence, continuing, unrelenting violence. Can there be serious negotiations? Can negotiations work while the violence continues at the level it is at?
AK No it cannot.
POM The violence must be brought under control.
AK It's got to be brought under control. There is no way that you can have proper negotiations and peace until the violence stops. It has got to stop and that is why you have to, you have to make the National Peace Accord stick. It has to be given teeth. Until that happens there will be no peace.
POM In that context, in this part of the country would it be possible now or at any time in the foreseeable future, whatever that is, that you could have free and fair elections for a Constituent Assembly or any other national election?
AK No, that could not be possible. You have got to address the culture of violence that has taken root in South Africa. That has got to be done before you are going to have peace and before you are going to have proper elections. There's no way you can have elections with the current levels of violence. I can't see that.
POM I think it was Van Zyl Slabbert who has suggested there should be a CODESA on violence, that violence should be elevated to the level of ...
AK Yes. As I said to you, and that implies that you have to not only address the culture of violence but you have to address the causes of violence and they are not only political. There are large numbers of causes and you have to address those things. The other thing is this that given the current levels of violence, you can see every day major people disinvesting from South Africa, more and more businesses going to the wall, so more and more unemployed people. There is no way that you can have peace in that sort of situation. It's just not possible.
POM Has the economy of the greater Durban area suffered significantly since we were here last year?
AK Yes very significantly. Just in the tourism industry alone there's been a phenomenal drop off in tourism because of the violence.
POM So looking at that global ball, what do you see as the major developments within the next year?
AK I think we're in for a very rough ride.
POM Are you more pessimistic now than you were a year ago?
AK No, maybe not pessimistic but I had no illusions.
POM It's going to be tougher than you thought it might be?
AK Yes. What I have seen, what has saddened me particularly is to see how the ANC has been totally taken over by the hard liners particularly in the Communist Party because I believe that people like Nelson Mandela are essentially reasonable people but he's allowed himself, for example, to come to Durban and to make a public statement after his release thanking Buthelezi and the IFP for being responsible for his release, thanking him for blocking apartheid, acknowledging that they were instrumental in blocking Pretoria from implementing and then to go to the United Nations and describe Buthelezi and the IFP as surrogates of the government. Any intelligent person must be able to see, surely, it's the same man. It's not what others are saying about him. He said it. Now what does that tell you? It shows the man has just lost all sense of proportion and that can only be because others are pressurising him. He wanted to meet with Buthelezi. He agreed publicly, he telephoned him, he accepted it. Then his lieutenants in his own words threatened to throttle him and he pulled out. Now is that the stuff of leadership? And that's what worries me. I believe that until you get a split in the African National Congress, that the radical Marxists are removed from positions of influence and actually go their own way, I can't see any serious negotiations starting.
POM And de Klerk meantime, you think he's firmly in control of both his party, the government and the situation?
AK I believe so, yes. But with the proviso, for example, as I said, people say he has the power to stop the violence. Well, sure, he has the power. For example, if he declared a state of emergency and instituted curfews which is not acceptable internationally and certainly a lot of South Africans wouldn't accept it, yes sure he could do it if that's what people want. If that's what they ask of him I'm sure he could do it. But that's not the road to go.
POM Let me just twist that last question. If it were blacks killing whites at the rate blacks are killing blacks would the reactions of the government be different?
AK That is a very difficult question to answer but what I would say to you is this: that if that happened whites are more than capable of defending themselves. That's where the real problem is, it's not what the government does, it's what whites would do and the ranks of the Conservative Party and the radicals would swell and de Klerk would be very quickly in a serious situation so I don't think it matters. I think it's actually not a very good comparison to make. Let me turn the tables around from my point of view and say to you this: if you had a representative black government in Cape Town, let me tell you all this violence would stop very quickly because there would be no pussy-footing, there would be curfews and the people responsible would be hunted down ruthlessly. Now whether the international world would accept that or not I don't know, but I can assure you that's what would happen. I have no doubts in my mind that that's what would happen.
POM OK, thank you once again for being so stimulating. If you could put your hands on the rebuttal reports that you did to the commission that would really be very helpful and then we're seeing Buthelezi later in the week and what I don't have is either a copy of his remarks to the UN or of the speech he gave over the weekend.
PAT What was the conference like?
AK It was amazing. I was amazed. There were between 15 and 20 thousand people. I was really amazed.
PAT Very different from last year?
AK And particularly in the current economic climate. Those people came from all over the country. There was a bus load from Cape Town. Now I would estimate that it's nothing under R3000-00 for the bus alone. Now that's amazing. It must be one hell of a commitment for people to do that.
PAT At this conference, what were the points of debate? Were things debated, were there different points of view?
AK Oh yes. That was also a very interesting phenomenon which I found very encouraging. The infusion of white and Indian and Coloured blood there has had a dramatic impact. The whole black people are essentially more reluctant to take on the leadership and voice their feelings. Now other race groups are not quite that inhibited, they will quite openly state - and you can see that coming out. For example, in the work groups there was fairly strong criticism of the leadership which I found quite amazing.
PAT On things like policy orientation?
AK On policy, mainly because of what they perceived to be weakness, not dealing with the ANC. For example this decision to form defence units, there's no doubt that came from underneath.
PAT So the same kind of dynamic that happened in the ANC conference, saying you're not being tough enough, we're being victimised out here and they're doing the same thing?
AK There's no doubt that that is what is happening. OK, we didn't actually deal with the facts in this one but I'll give you a copy of it. You see we haven't given many of the facts but they blamed the IFP and the government, now if you contrast that with the Institute of Race Relations, they are internationally respected and you can get its reports, they have researched and found that for the vast bulk of the incidents of violence the perpetrators are never identified and yet the ICJ comes in and in two weeks and promptly just finds out who is behind it all. All right, let me try and get some of this stuff together. The United Nations, that's interesting, this is to the National Council which wasn't all that well publicised but it was very interesting. There's a copy of the address. Now the United Nations one, we published that in Zulu, so we must have had an English version. Let me see if I can find it.