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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
23 Jul 1992: Moodley, Strini
POM Recently Pandelini Nefoloyhodwe went to the United States on a tour, basically saying that the position of AZAPO has been misrepresented in the American media or in American decision making, policy decision making circles, and he wanted to clarify what exactly it was that AZAPO stood for and what it wanted to achieve and do. Could you comment on what in your view has been the misunderstanding about AZAPO that exist maybe perhaps here in South Africa and in the international community and what the actual positions of AZAPO are?
SM Well I think that the misconceptions would relate first and foremost to AZAPO's position with regard to a peaceful solution in this country. There appears to be a mistaken notion that AZAPO has no commitment to a peaceful solution in the country. I think the second misconception is that AZAPO is anti-white and consequently, even after liberation, would treat whites as part of the enemy. Basically those would have been the two major misconceptions that the President wants to clear up primarily because the media has projected AZAPO as a radical, left-wing organisation that is intent on the violent overthrow of the state and that it has a policy of Black Consciousness which is primarily racism in reverse and that what we seek to do is to sweep whites into the sea.
POM Again, when Pandelini talked at Boipatong about committing AZAPO to overthrow the white government, in union with other liberation movements, in what context was he using that phrase 'overthrow the government'?
SM On the face 'overthrow the government' is simple. The government that is in power at the present time is a minority, illegitimate regime. Consequently it does not have any claim to democracy and therefore those of us who are at the receiving end of oppression and exploitation are duty bound to rid the country of an illegitimate government. Now primarily what we are saying is that there are several ways in which this can be done. It can be done by virtue of the use of arms and force which is a legitimate weapon in the hands of any oppressed people anywhere in the world. That has been proven not only by what has happened in the recent past but throughout the ages oppressed peoples have liberated themselves from oppressors. But in the context of Boipatong particularly it has become, or let me put it this way, what AZAPO had been saying about the government all along was that it has no commitment to peace, it has no commitment to the transfer of power and consequently what it wants to do is to hold on to power for as long at it can and will use the tactic of divide and rule in order to perpetuate their own power. And therefore in that context AZAPO sees itself as part of the liberation movement employing methods which would be able to dislodge the present government from power.
POM Does AZAPO see armed struggle as a necessary component of any strategy to overthrow the government?
SM AZAPO itself does not bear arms. We have taken an internal decision that we will operate overtly in this country. We would use all the legitimate and lawful means within the context of this country in order to be able to undermine the government and therefore we cannot and shall not bear arms. However, what we do recognise is that there are groups within the oppressed and exploited who have given up hope that the means, the overt means that we are using will succeed and they have opted for violence as a method to overthrow the government. And we understand that. We recognise the thinking behind it and the strategy behind it.
POM So that while you would not bear arms yourself you do not condemn other groups who would see the need to bear arms?
SM That's so.
POM I want to get back to Boipatong. He also said that, "The enemy has been able to divert our attention. Our unity is no more." What does he mean by that?
SM Well since Feb. 2nd when the ANC and the PAC and ourselves and several other organisations were either unbanned or had restrictions lifted, we felt it was the opportune moment for all the organisations within the context of liberation ideology to come together in order to map out a joint strategy which would be able to dislodge the government. What we have witnessed is that organisations have decided that each of them would be able to do it alone, whether it's the ANC or the PAC. They have felt that they have the power to be able to achieve their ends individually rather than to be able to come into some kind of an alliance with other components in order to achieve them jointly. And this has been demonstrated in the way in which the Patriotic Front collapsed and the manner in which several actions that have been embarked upon have been decided individually by organisations which has resulted in the effectiveness of them not being noticeable primarily because one or other organisation did not join that particular action.
POM Do you believe that the ANC is intent on turning this process into one in which there are two major players, itself and the government and that everyone else can participate if they want but that their participation is really marginal in terms of major decision making?
SM That has become very evident in our view. The ANC have taken the position that if it is the one major player and everybody else must be a satellite that revolves around the ANC keeping the ANC's ideology and the ANC's strategy and we think that is a severe miscalculation on the part of the ANC.
POM Was AZAPO invited to take part in CODESA?
SM Yes we were.
POM And you turned it down on the grounds that there were really no issues to be discussed other than making arrangements for an election?
SM Well there were several reasons for our rejection of CODESA. First of all CODESA was in our view an illegitimate arrangement, illegitimate in the sense that 97% of the participants in CODESA were themselves illegitimate bodies of one kind or another and there were others, part of the Bantustans or part of the tricameral parliament, or were parties that were established in order to participate in separate development politics. The only organisations that had some claim to at least legitimacy were the ANC and the SACP. All the rest were part of an illegitimate part of the government structure in one form or the other. And what we are saying is that if there are to be discussions for a peaceful solution of the problem in this country then the least that there must be is a two-sided case. That means on the one side it would be the government and all its allies and on the other side it would be the liberation movement and all its allies. That is the least that should happen and CODESA wasn't that. Secondly, the agenda for CODESA was in our view meaningless. It could lead and would lead nowhere and that is why we said that we would not participate.
POM Could you elaborate a little on that?
SM Well primarily because CODESA attempted to talk, for example, about constitutional principles. Now constitutional principles cannot be discussed in a forum such as that. Constitutional principles can only be discussed in the context of an elected forum such as a Constituent Assembly. The whole question of the budget and the finance, the question of the security forces and several of the other issues we felt had not been properly identified as part of discussions if we are to talk seriously about negotiations towards reaching a solution in this country.
POM Am I correct in saying that CODESA would hold a position that the government itself should come under the review of the negotiating partners and they should make decisions about how funds are allocated to different government departments and for what purposes they were being allocated?
SM That's right. In any event CODESA would have no force in the sense that de Klerk should sit in CODESA and talk to everybody there and then go out of CODESA and then jump into a plane and go to Cape Town, walk into parliament and pass legislation which would made CODESA meaningless. And that is why we said it's a waste of time. We're just not going to be able to resolve anything in that kind of forum.
POM So now with the visit of Mr Vance here, I'm sure that Pandelini will meet with him and present the AZAPO position, the AZAPO position for participating in, or for the resumption of negotiations?
SM We don't think what has happened until now has been really anything to do with negotiations. It has been more to do with co-option. What the de Klerk regime, with the assistance of the international community, has been trying to do is to co-opt some of the liberation movements into some kind of an arrangement which perpetuates a minority rule government in this country. What we are saying and what we will say to Cyrus Vance is that it is an internationally accepted rule that if you are to negotiate first of all the playing fields must be evened up, but for as long as the de Klerk regime considers itself the sovereign power and is not prepared to resign then any kind of negotiations will be meaningless. So that the first thing that we would want to see is the de Klerk regime making a clear and unequivocal commitment to resignation. Secondly, that if the de Klerk regime wishes to discuss the legalities and the mechanisms of how that resignation will take place we are saying such a meeting must take place at a neutral venue.
POM A neutral venue being outside of South Africa?
SM Yes. It must be chaired by a neutral co-ordinator. That means the person who chairs such a meeting must not come from within this country. Thirdly, that neutral person must have the weight of the United Nations support behind him or her so that whatever agreements are reached at that venue, at that neutral venue, at that meeting, cannot have either of the parties reneging on it. It must have the force of effect where the Security Council will be able to come in, in an international peacekeeping force, to give effect to those agreements if one of the partners may default.
POM As a practical person, what are the odds do you think of the de Klerk government giving a firm commitment to resign? Most people say that's simply not going to happen. That's fine in theory but in practice that's not going to happen.
SM Well we think that it can happen and it will happen. It depends upon the degree to which we in this country are going to be able to employ a joint strategy that will force de Klerk to accept that the only solution will be for him to resign.
POM What will the elements of such a strategy be?
SM Well we would see boycotts, strikes and other forms of resistance being employed against the regime in order to get them to understand that there is no way that any other solution is going to be acceptable in this country.
POM What I'm just saying is that it has come to our attention during the period we've been here, and we've only been here since last Sunday week so we've talked to maybe thirty people so far, and that is that the COSATU mass mobilisation and strike campaign targeted for 3rd August was supposed to be the beginning of a three week strike but it was scaled back to a week and then scaled back to three days, then two days and now it's down to one day and if this package goes through between COSATU and employers' organisations there may even be no strike at all. But part of the suggestion is that there is no groundswell of support among the mass of the people to take part in prolonged strikes, lose their jobs, have such hardships. Is it your sense that the mass of the people would in fact be prepared to take to the streets for a long period of time, lose their jobs, to lose their meagre standards of living that most of them have, all of that? If you try this tactic and it fails, what's left?
SM Well, we're not talking about this in the context of either the COSATU or the ANC. We've already had discussions with both COSATU and the ANC about this very thing and we've told them that if you want to employ a strategy that will succeed then the route you are choosing at the moment is the wrong one, primarily because we've recognised that if you are to embark upon any kind of action first and foremost you've got to get the support of the community. You cannot engage in action by working it from the top down. Whatever action you seek to employ must be action that works from the bottom up, where the communities themselves will take the decision. So that we have no sense of urgency in the same context as the ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance has because they have made promises which they now realise they're not going to be able to keep.
We've made no promises. What we have promised is that we are part and parcel of the oppressed and exploited, that we will offer our skills and our techniques in order for the black community to come together in order to liberate themselves. Our strategy, therefore, is to work with the grassroots and when the strikes happen, when the break-ups happen it will be decided by the community themselves. Obviously when strategies are employed you don't have to demonstrate it in a mass stayaway by 40 million people over a period of ten days. We know that will never work. It's never worked anywhere in the world. What has worked is the ability to be able to mobilise the grassroots in order to pick up issues themselves which they will take into the streets. It could have happened today in Durban. It will happen tomorrow in Johannesburg. It will happen in Cape Town. It will happen in East London, Port Elizabeth, on different days at different times in different manners in different form. And it is that kind of pressure combined with other kinds of pressures which we think in the end must break down the resistance of the regime.
POM So this amounts in a sense to a strategy that would make the country ungovernable over a period of time and that the government be faced with sustained incapacity to govern?
SM Incapacitated to govern, yes, I don't like this word 'ungovernable' because it's used quite loosely by others and they haven't been able to use it properly. But incapacitating the government is the way we use it.
POM But the result of that may be more repression rather than recognition?
SM What everybody fails to realise is that more than 80% of the community, more than 80% of the people in this country, are either starving or without homes or without jobs. They have nothing for them. They are at their wits' end, they look ahead of them and they see no prospects for a comfortable life, no prospects for their children to get schooling, even to be able to have a plate of food on their table. Nothing of that is there and this is a reality everywhere you go in this country. Now in consequence of that the people themselves are talking about ways in which they are going to employ their own abilities to overthrow the regime and part of it, the 20 odd people that you spoke to, haven't said, "But the vast majority of the people have waited for this promise from the ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance and they are fed up with them". So if there is no groundswell behind COSATU, the ANC and the SACP, it's because those three have shown that they can't deliver the goods. People are going to think about it. Even if COSATU disappears tomorrow, people are going to think about ways and means by which they can overthrow this regime in order to get the things that are required in order for them to live a good life.
POM That's fine, I understand everything you're saying. What I have a problem with is that it seems to me that the real politic of the situation is one in which a process has begun and that process has taken on a momentum which may be stalled now, it moved to a different theatre when it went to the United Nations. With Cyrus Vance coming here it again changes the dynamics of the process, but the process is still there and the odds are very strong that the government and the ANC and whomever will come back to the negotiating table.
SM Oh yes, I have no doubt in my own mind that the ANC and the government are going to end up in some kind of co-optive government, that none of us are ruling out. In fact the quicker it comes we think the better, in the same way that the Muzorewa/Smith alliance came into power. The quicker it came, the better it was for ZAPU and ZANU. So we think the quicker this happens with the ANC/SACP/COSATU alliance the better for everybody because it will once and for all fairly demarcate where everybody is standing.
POM In that sense do you see an election for some form of Constituent Assembly within the next year?
SM No. They can't afford to take that chance.
POM They can't afford to take that chance?
SM No, not within the next year, and we have seen the document that the ANC and the National Party have agreed upon. It's not going to take place.
POM Who can't afford it? The ANC can't afford it?
SM Both of them can't, both of them can't. The National Party seems to think that it has a possibility of losing. The ANC is scared that the National Party may win, so both of them are playing what you call real politics, which have got nothing whatsoever to do with what is happening on the ground. You see the difference between a process becoming effective and a process failing is the degree to which we have the majority of the people involved in that process.
POM So, again, what I hear you saying is that because the structure of CODESA is flawed, the manner in which it is set up, because the process in its conception is flawed, that everything that flows from that is also flawed and that any 'settlement' that emerges out of what is essentially a flawed process can't sustain itself in the long run?
SM Absolutely. You see let's look at what do the people in this country need? The people in this country want the land, they want jobs, they want education, they want all those things. Now CODESA is not talking about what's going to happen to the land, it's not talking about it. CODESA is not talking about what is going to happen to the big monopolies. It's not talking about any of those things. It's not talking about the things that affect the people on the ground, that when a position is taken or when a constitution is drawn up eventually by a Constituent Assembly the redistribution of the land will have already been agreed upon. It must be agreed upon because if something like that doesn't happen - Those are some of the basic things that CODESA will never ever be able to resolve because the ANC alliance has already accepted that the land will stay with the people who have it now. They've accepted that. And if anybody has the mistaken belief that black people in this country don't want their land back then they have misread the situation completely.
POM Just to be sure that I heard you right. You said you have seen a document, an ANC document?
SM It's an ANC/National Party document which structures what is going to happen after the first 12 months, after 18 months, after three years, after five years and after ten years.
POM Nowhere in that did it mention?
SM I think after five years there was going to be an election. The interim government will be an appointed thing which will go for about five years.
POM But the ANC would argue that it was over these very issues that the talks broke down, that they were not prepared to accept an indefinite duration for an interim government.
SM You see if you're an excellent playwright you can write a script which will create the impression that these wars are going on. We think that's just actually all non-arguments that are going on with them there. What was it over? 75% as against 70% as to the constitution? So CODESA is already discussing a constitution without even yet having run for elections. So they've already agreed. OK CODESA, you've got the tricameral parliament, you've got CODESA and you've got the homelands so we're going to choose people from there, there and there and all of us will come together in some kind of a Cabinet and there will be a rotating presidency, this will be the interim government and this is how we're going to go from now till then and in the meantime each of us are going to be able to restore peace and then we will be able to have elections for municipal, regional and national. Unfortunately I don't have the document with me here, but we have a copy of the document. You will see all the diagrams and everything drawn up.
POM Could you get me a copy of it?
SM I could try.
POM I'd appreciate that. Again, what I hear from you is that this deadlock is really a sham, part of an elaborate con game that eventually the ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance and the government are going to get back to the table and cut a deal and that they will proceed with sharing power, with an interim government that does not have a definite time limit and finding reasons to postpone an election for a Constituent Assembly.
POM In the context of an election, given the level of violence as exists in the country, here, all around the Reef, the intensity of it, is there any way at the moment, in the here and now, that you could have free and fair elections?
SM No way.
SM Not in the context, not in the present context. Impossible.
POM So in essence now you would say that the ANC and its partners are talking about the need for an election for a Constituent Assembly, but the reality of the matter is that the conditions that exist, given the level of violence, makes an election impossible?
SM Let me put it this way. If an election is called by de Klerk on the CODESA floor, that election would never be fair and free.
POM Let me give you a scenario. Let's say these people get back to the table within two months. Let's say they cut some kind of deal which goes half way between what the ANC and its partners want and half way between what the government and its partners want. The government have already said we'll accept 70%, they've backed down from their 75%. They find some formula to close the difference. There's an interim government which is formed on the understanding it will last no more than three years. There are elections announced for next September. Do you think elections six to nine months from now could take place?
SM Well it could take place but it will never be fair and free, it will never be fair and free.
POM It will not be fair and free because?
SM Primarily because the people who would be in control of the elections would be the people in the interim government and the people in the interim government would be people who have a stake in those elections themselves. All of those parties, the ANC, the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party, all of them see intimidation and violence as a key element in securing support for themselves. That is crucial to their survival in this country and consequently in the build up to the elections they will make sure they use that kind of intimidation and that kind of violence in order to get the votes that they want for themselves. So by no stretch of the imagination can that be declared a fair and free election. The only time you will get a free and fair election in this country is if you quarantine all the security forces, you bring in an international peace keeping force which will have the right to be able to disarm anyone from within any party that uses those arms and those people in order to intimidate communities.
POM So you would see the UN, a UN presence somewhat along the lines of the UN presence in Namibia with a peacekeeping force, a monitoring force.
SM Much more forceful. Anything short of that would not work.
POM I think most people would see that not happening. The UN don't have the resources and they're very slow to get involved in situations. The man who was in charge of the Namibian programme said there never will be another UN operation like that one, we don't have the resources to do it, we're not anxious to do so. South Africa is still regarded as an internationally based sovereign nation. But my problem is not that I disagree with anything you say, my problem is that I don't see it happening.
SM [As things stand now we see that, we very much ...] But as I say again, that can change and the point, the one major problem I've always had with analysts in this country is that they make the assumption that black people have no capacity to think, that black people are like sheep, they follow the first thing that comes around and they just follow it and blindly do what they are told to do. And we are convinced that that is not so. We are convinced that the black people have the capacity to see through a lie when it's being fed to them and they seem to. For example, the line of the ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance has become a lie. That is why COSATU has to stand up and endeavour to be as radical as it can be because it knows with each passing day thousands of its members are beginning to question what is happening. And so it has to try this kind of show in order to keep its forces with it, to satisfy the demands of its own forces. But for as long as COSATU doesn't honestly give effect to those things the people are going to see through it and they are going to desert COSATU in droves and if they're unhappy with COSATU they will create their own and I think that is the element that everybody misses, that people on the ground are definitely going to want to take things into their own hands. If the international community is not going to assist, if the de Klerk regime wants to resist a solution that is in the interests of the majority, everyone will have to face the consequences.
POM Most polling surveys that have been done would suggest that a majority of blacks would be quite prepared for there to be a period of government in which there is power sharing between the National Party and the ANC/COSATU alliance. You don't believe this is true?
SM Who believes those polls anyway? Who conducts them? Who's in charge of them? I've read some of the questions. You go up to a person and say, would you prefer anarchy to a government in which there is ANC, National Party and Inkatha Freedom Party? What am I going to answer? I can't say, yes I want anarchy. No right thinking person can say, yes I want anarchy. So everybody says, yes, OK, well if it's against anarchy I'd rather have a shared government National Party, IFP and ANC. And 75% of blacks say yes that's what we want and you all think well blacks will be happy with that. It's a complex thing which you ask the question. Go and ask all those guys who conducted the surveys to give you the list of questions that they ask and you'll find all those questions were loaded, they were loaded to elicit the kind of response that the people who drew up the survey actually wanted. Those kinds of lies are an insult for the intelligent black people.
POM Do you see this struggle still almost in its former state?
POM You see that there will be some kind of partnership between the government and the ANC, there will be an interim government, there may or may not be an election but if there is there will be a lot of violence, it will not be free and fair and the people themselves in time will become dissatisfied with the results that come out of the whole process and will begin to empower themselves at a local level, take matters into their own hands? Is that basically your scenario?
POM The violence, I remember two years ago when we first talked about the violence and you laid a lot of the blame on the ANC and claimed that over the years the ANC had used violence and intimidation against the PAC, against AZAPO and that it would use it against the IFP and that it would not surprise you, that there would be a struggle for political power between the two would not surprise you. Have you revised in any way your analysis of where the violence comes from?
SM I don't think I said that the violence was only the responsibility of the ANC. I did say that the violence was a strategy of the government but that the ANC had allowed a portion of the blame to share primarily because the ANC felt that it could achieve its aims through intimidating and through the use of violence against people and communities that had identified with organisations other than the ANC. I have not revised that. I think the ANC still continues to use intimidation and violence. In a sense what has happened is that if one looks back on it the Nationalist regime in creating the separate development institutions saw the opportunity for exacerbating the divisions by using the political differences that existed in the country. Evidence is beginning to emerge where it was the government and the police that participated in fuelling the violence between AZAPO and the UDF in the Eastern Cape. Policemen have now admitted that when it came to the death of (Matthew) Goniwe and the other three, where at that time the Black Sash and the UDF were blaming AZAPO for the deaths and actually did go out to kill AZAPO people in retaliation against them, evidence has now emerged that it was the police that killed those four. So that what I am saying is that the regime used political divisions to excellent effect, to fuel violence in this community and primarily because the ANC would not rule out the use of violence in order to intimidate members of the community who do not belong to the ANC. They must sense the ANC has sewn the wind and has today reaped the whirlwind because the IFP when it was formed as the Inkatha Freedom Party began to use the very same tactics against the ANC.
POM In international circles it might be true, but the conflict between the ANC and the IFP here in Natal is very much cast in terms as the ANC being portrayed as the good guy and the IFP being portrayed as the bad guy. The ANC does engage in violence but most of it defensive with the IFP being overwhelmingly responsible for most of the violence. Do you think that's an accurate characterisation of the situation?
SM It's accurate insofar as the IFP has been rather vicious and more often than not it hasn't attacked ANC people, it's attacked innocent people. It has actually driven people who belonged to no organisation into the arms of the ANC simply because when it went into an area and said we want you to join the IFP, people said, no we don't want to join the IFP and then when the ANC went to them they said, no we don't want to join the ANC, and the IFP then presumed that this was an ANC area and proceeded to attack innocent people. And the only one who could defend them were obviously the ANC. So people ended up becoming part of the ANC simply because they were protection against the attacks of the IFP. So in that sense that's the way it stands out. In many part of Natal the ANC is painted the good guy and the IFP the bad guy.
POM Boipatong. Do you think the ANC alliance stole it, that they were able to manipulate it for their own purposes?
SM I don't think manipulate it. I mean that thing happened as a result of - primarily a decision by some elements of either the IFP or the police force or a combination of both to simply attack innocent people. I don't think the people belonged to the ANC or were ANC members. This was an attack launched on primarily innocent people. In the aftermath of CODESA the ANC used it for political propaganda, but, yes, well, it's in keeping with the political programme of the ANC. The political programme of the ANC is to take power in this country and it will exploit that kind of situation.
POM Again, maybe going a bit further and this refers to some of the things that we talked about, you talked about a COSATU and an ANC where people on the ground are increasingly questioning what the leadership is doing, where there is discontent. Many people have said to us, within the ANC, that if the government had accepted the deal that was offered of 75% veto threshold for a Bill of Rights and a 70% veto threshold for a constitution that they would have had real difficulty in selling that to their membership and that elements in their membership, and particularly activists, were outraged that such a generous offer was made to the government. You have then a call for mass mobilisation and then Boipatong happens and they can use it as an occasion to bring together the disparate elements of their movement to create once again, or attempt to create once again, the impetus to generate mass momentum.
SM No I wouldn't rule that out. Except that for the ANC it would be a dead end because it would engage in this mass mobilisation only to get negotiations back on the track and they're probably going to end up having to accept the offer made by the National Party. Even if the National Party backs down and accepts their offer, the ANC are still in trouble. They are still in trouble because what are they going to turn round and say? "No, no, no, now we want 51%. It's got to be 51%"? Which is going to put the ANC in trouble. So the only way by which the ANC can recoup its lost credibility, or its losing it fast, it's losing credibility, is to be able to pull out of those negotiations. If it stays there I give the ANC 24 months and it will end up like Muzorewa. (Muzorewa was what was called the United African National Council or whatever).
POM Let me turn to something entirely different. This is racism, the Indian community against Africans. Part of what I'm doing is having a number of families of different racial backgrounds, different socio-economic backgrounds. I think I have about ten families, and I talk to them in depth twice a year, from the kids through the grandparents, extended families. And I had been missing an Indian family and somebody took me to a family last night who were interested in participating and in the course of it just the degree of pure racism that existed between Indians and blacks became abundantly apparent and one of the men who was there said he went to the launch of this movie called, Mississippi Masala and he said when the Afro-American kissed the Indian girl, he said you could have heard a pin drop in the cinema. People's unbelief that such a thing could happen. Is this racism deep? Is the racism that exists between Indians and Africans greater than how Indians might have perceived themselves to have been oppressed by apartheid?
SM I think there is a great deal of deep racial attitudes which are negative, negative racial attitudes in this country, very deep, even including amongst the Indians and the Africans, particularly here in Natal. That has it's own political and socio-economic history. It is reflected obviously in attitudes of Indians towards Africans and also the other way round. Whether it is going to result in an explosion between the two ethnic groups is another factor. I suspect that whilst amongst the older community, the older generation, there are still deep-rooted differences, I suspect that amongst younger people that that is beginning to disappear. I'm not sure to what extent the example of Mississippi Masala was true. I haven't personally seen the film yet but an 'Indian' person, and I use that in quotations, saw the movie and told me it was an excellent movie. He enjoyed it, it was funny, opened up his eyes to several things. I'm not sure whether the person you spoke to is exaggerating a point or telling the truth. I'm loath to believe that you could hear a pin drop. I think insofar as the relationship between men and women are concerned, that has altered dramatically, particularly amongst young people. And in the movie houses you only find young people. It is very rare that you find older people sitting in the movie houses these days.
POM Just to come back to a couple of things to wrap up. How does AZAPO see itself? What do I mean by that? I mean that if you read most books from various black organisations or if you talk to many people they will say, "AZAPO? Oh yes it's supported by intellectuals and the Black Consciousness Movement but it has no base of support, very few people turn up at its rallies, it's not an organised important constituency as such"' What would your comment on that be?
SM I'm always amazed by that comment. I think it's more of a wish that I have found prevalent among academics and particularly white political analysts, and probably some black ones too. We have as AZAPO a presence throughout our country. I think it's been acknowledged by both the ANC and the PAC. [There was a time when they would have said, "Ah, AZAPO, what ... '] But today the ANC has realised that wherever it goes it finds AZAPO, we are there. We have never been into populist politics and consequently we do not measure our support by the number of people we can bus in to our rallies. If AZAPO had the kind of budget the ANC have we would be able to get ten times more people into our rallies. It's not a problem. If I had the money I can get free buses and put them everywhere in any township and I'll get a lot of people. So what I am saying is that we have branches throughout the country. Those branches can be as few as 25 to fall in line with the constitution or they can be as many as 5000. We have regions in excess of 16. We have a membership of paid-up people in the region of about 150,000. Now when I say paid-up, that means they paid their R10-00 above R5-00 at the beginning of the year. Outside of that we have people who have not paid up who are far in excess of the number that has paid up, that would be something like, I would estimate, in the region of about two hundred to two hundred and fifty thousand. Now these are people who are not into simply marching down the streets for the sake of marching down the streets. They are people who are engaged in one form or another in community projects, in recruitment programmes and in other phases of building up our structures. We are talking about building up solid structures. People who, if I walk into this office, I know this office here is a structure of AZAPO. It works at many levels. It works at the level of recruiting women, it recruits youth. It works with youth and women. It works with all kinds of people. There are people who belong to the ANC and PAC who come into this office and we have embarked upon a particular strategy which we think in the long term is going to work out in our best interests and we are thankful that there is this attitude, that 'don't worry about AZAPO', it gives us far more space in which to operate.
POM The second thing is that in the last year there have been two stories coming out of South Africa. On the one hand there's been the story of CODESA which seemed to be moving along successfully, from one agreement to another and great hopes and promises have been invested in it both here and in the international community. On the other hand you have the story of violence. Violence escalating, increasing violence, out of control. One would think that one was talking about two entirely different countries. My question would be: must you bring the violence under control before you can embark on meaningful negotiations, even along the lines that you talked about? Must they operate in tandem or will negotiations, you've already said negotiations along the lines that are being conducted already won't solve the factor, but which should be addressed first?
SM It's not an easy question, not an easy answer, primarily because in the final analysis the violence is being employed in order to break down the resistance of the black community so that it will accept any settlement as long as there is peace. So that when you say CODESA and violence, or talk about the two of them, you're talking as though you're living in two different countries, the truth of the matter is that is not so. The violence is crucial to the success of CODESA because if I can be in CODESA and I can unleash forces from whatever quarters within CODESA, on innocent communities, shoot them in trains, shoot them in taxis, shoot them in their homes and I am spreading terror and I am creating the alternative to terror, the desire for this to stop at any cost. So that even if the settlement does not give me all the things I want I'll accept that settlement as long as there is no more killing. I think it is naive to see the violence in isolation from CODESA. Those are interlinked in our view.
POM De Klerk, any observer would have to look at the list of allegations brought against the police of either misfeasance, malfeasance or of being at the sites of incidents of violence and either doing nothing or participation in acts of violence, and be compelled to agree, as Mandela says, either de Klerk by acts of omission implicitly endorses these acts of violence by the security forces against the black community, or that de Klerk is simply not in control of his security forces, he would have to agree generally with that statement. Do you think de Klerk is in control? Do you think de Klerk is in a position to make the kind of sweeping changes in the security forces that would be required to make them accountable to civil authorities? Or are there elements in the security forces that are simply too powerful for him to risk taking that course?
SM Let me put it this way. People seem to think that in this country individuals control parties. I think de Klerk is part of a particular kind of bureaucracy that has been, it's almost a tradition that the National Party and the Nationalist government, when you ask about de Klerk, what you're asking about is the Nationalist government and you're asking whether the Nationalist government with all its security arms, all its arms intact, that it is united. My own reading of the situation is that there certainly are undercurrents within the Nationalist government which indicate a resistance against the shift towards showing a liberal face but I think once they get behind closed doors there certainly is agreement, in my view, that the dual strategy, the Machiavellian strategy as I understand it, is the one that is being employed by whoever it is that controls the Nationalists. It's the Machiavellian strategy. Today we'll show them the velvet glove. The nailed fist can continue to do its work but it must not be seen to be the responsibility of de Klerk who is now the new, what do you call it? Golden boy. He's the knight in shining armour. He must look clean for this new revised National Party. So obviously if a couple of policemen are given an instruction to hit a particular area, kill a couple of people there and they slip up and other policemen who don't know about this catch them out, de Klerk says, "Well, you know, I know nothing about that. These guys are out of hand and they will have to be dealt with by the Courts"' I think that's all by design.
POM Do you think that if he were to clean house?
SM He can't.
POM Because the party would turn against him?
SM Because his party is so structured that it is designed in order primarily to protect the interests of the white minority and they have agreed that in order to protect our interests we've got to ensure that the majority of the people who are the greatest threat to our privilege and our security must remain destabilised. One of the elements that we are going to have to use in order to ensure that destabilisation is to continually wreak havoc and violence upon them. So it's not a question of de Klerk being able to stand up and say, "I'm going to clean house tomorrow". He can't.
POM What I call the Buthelezi/Zulu factor. Again some people have suggested to us that if perhaps there was an accommodation, a revised CODESA between the ANC and the government as main players at that forum, that if it was a settlement that was not acceptable to Buthelezi that it would be virtually impossible to implement it, at least in this part of the country. Does he have, within the narrower context of what's going on at the moment, not the longer term, a kind of veto power?
SM I think the Nationalist Party knows exactly to deal with Buthelezi. All it has to do is stop the monthly cheque. Just take away his budget altogether and Buthelezi will be finished. He can't do anything. He won't be able to do anything. Buthelezi has become what he has become primarily because he's been provided with the funds, he's been able to pull people together on the basis of the money he has at his disposal as the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, and that is why he looks as he does. Take away all that money, funding, and he would be like a fish out of water. Unless of course the Americans move in and pump in a couple of million dollars to him, and the Germans, I don't see him getting anywhere. So what I think will happen is that Buthelezi will fall in line with whatever arrangements are made because whoever it is who is giving him the money will tell him, "You do it, otherwise there's no money." And he'll do it.
PAT I have a question and it has to do with ... in the international community ... and what appears to us ... the acceptance he's got in the quarters of ... in the Kremlin, in Nigeria, in Kenya, Mozambique ...
SM That for us is a most serious problem and we've wrestled with that time and time again in order to try to find an alternative by which we can bring about some kind of mechanism in order to resolve this. We haven't been able to come up with it. We've looked at the OAU, we've looked at the United Nations, we've looked at the non-aligned nations and we've evaluated that in the final analysis it doesn't matter whether it's the OAU or United Nations or the non-aligned movement. The only way by which we can gain some hold over the international community is to be able to get them to agree that whatever is agreed between the two parties, the only time they come into it is in order to enforce the agreements that are reached. Not to come into the country as Vance is coming into the country now in order to be able to say to us, "Look you naughty boy, I'm going to hit you because you're going out of line. I think all of you need to get around the table and talk about this that and the other." We don't think it's for the international community to put us in our places but we've got to put ourselves in our places and we are saying it's a two-sided thing and that the international community only comes into it when we call for it, not for them to come into it as they are coming in now in order to try to revive the negotiations. And that's what we're going to tell Vance. We're going to tell him in fact he shouldn't be here.
As far as that meeting is concerned, we have already earmarked certain African countries and we have looked at certain African leaders who we think still have a degree of credibility, who are people that we think are trustworthy. We have earmarked a few of them. And a meeting of the nature I've talked about would take place in a country like that. It wouldn't be just any country or the United Nations coming in or that kind of thing.
PAT With a UN Security force to back it up.
SM And also that whatever agreements are reached there would have to be acceptable and invoked by the Security Council.
PAT What do you think happened with the OAU Resolution at the Security Council? The ANC are vilified? The government?
SM I think that the ANC thought that because - let me say I think the ANC was naive. I think politically the way in which they went about it demonstrated their naiveté, that they went into that kind of meeting blindly expecting that everybody was going to support them not realising the degree to which de Klerk had made the breakthroughs he has made internationally. And that in effect the vast majority of countries in the Security Council would actually support de Klerk. When we sat and analysed it the only conclusion we could come to was that either the ANC is too naive, or either their political advisers are leading them into a trap or that the ANC has accepted that the only way by which we are going to be able to get the negotiations back on track in the form of CODESA is to let our people in the country see that the United Nations accepts CODESA and that the United Nations wants us to go back to CODESA, so that when Pravin Gordhan goes and speaks at the next ANC meeting, wherever it is, he will stand up and say, "We went to the United Nations and the United Nations said we have to go to CODESA and we've got to sit in CODESA", hoping that by some miracle people are going to say, "Oh well if the United Nations wants it that's fine. We're not going to have any more mass action. We'll sit down and wait for you to deliver the goods through CODESA", which again is a demonstration of naiveté.
But in the final analysis, some of our people have been to some of these meetings where the ANC have been trying to painstakingly explain its participation at CODESA and we've deliberately got people to ask them the question, why do you go to CODESA? Why don't you do what AZAPO is doing? And the stock reply from the ANC is that, no, AZAPO is very clever, they are waiting for the ANC to achieve everything and then AZAPO can come in and make the most of it. We are saying it is right in the sense that we're waiting for the ANC to go right over the cliff. It's on the edge of the cliff now and we think it's about to go over the edge of the cliff, not that we want to go into CODESA once they've done everything. We want them to go into CODESA and be destroyed by CODESA because that then will resolve all the confusion that was created.
POM Thank you.