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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

31 Jul 1992: Ngubane, Harriet

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POM     You were saying you are doing a lot of work at the moment regarding the whole question of the land. Could you just talk a little about the work that you are doing and the basic questions that are involved in the land question?

HN     In spite of the reform strategy and in spite of the conditions, the government decided that having brought down the very structures of apartheid, as you know, what they considered the most important one was to uplift influx control because that one was terrible on the African people as they could not move freely into the cities without a pass. And then this, of course, was done by P W Botha, he started the idea of the farms and then De Klerk continued along those lines and in fact quickened the pace of change as we know in getting to the unbanning of all the organisations which were banned and return of exiles and release of prisoners. And then one of the things which is part of this attempt at reconciliation and change was the question of land as well as the question of group areas because, as you remember, under apartheid the different racial groups, people were divided into four main racial groups and each group had to occupy particular parts of land and of course distribution was never in accordance with the numbers of the people. The blacks, by blacks I mean the Africans, because very often in American English you might use 'blacks' when you mean coloureds, Indians and Africans; in South Africa we make this distinction which probably is an outcome of apartheid itself because that is how people were identified in terms of the laws of this country; when the Nationalist government came in in 1948 already there were laws pertaining to land affecting essentially Africans, through the 1913 Land Act which set aside 7% of the land surface for the occupation of Africans and they were referred to as 'reserves'. Another law, the Land Act of 1936, which set aside a further percentage to make altogether, with the original 7%, 13% of the land. Then when the Nationalist government came in then they brought in the Group Areas Act which then really did not affect the Africans because already they were living in a group areas situation but the coloureds and Indians were essentially affected by that. And then what I want to point out is that in uplifting the laws, or dismantling the laws which are related to this arrangement, very recently, in fact in 1991, new laws were also put into place. One of them was to deal with the land and that meant that the Land Act of 1991, I quoted from this, I knew that we would talk about it, also set up a commission on land issues.

POM     The Land Act of 1991 set up a commission?

HN     The Land Act of 1991 which stopped the division of land according to race, therefore this was removed from the Land Act of this country and people now are free to live wherever they want and so on and so on. But still it is realised that in terms of ownership of land the black people are still very much disadvantaged and so a way off giving them access to land has to be found which would make it easier and lessen the confrontation. So one of the things that was done, through a statutory setting, a commission was formed, a commission on land affairs to advise the State President on the land that is to be identified and given back to black people, to African people as well as the Indians and coloureds essentially. So a seven membership of this commission was identified and I am one of the seven and our brief is that we should first and foremost identify the areas where people were moved because of the Group Areas Act of 1952 and were removed because they were black and the land was taken to be given to the white people and so on and so forth.

     So first and foremost we must identify those people who were moved and identify the land from which they were moved and consider whether it has been actually used for anything. We find that some of it has not been used for anything and then, therefore, it can be given back to the people. And also that is our first primary purpose and then the second one is to identify - you see in 1936 the land that was to be given in addition to the 7% was decided upon but it was never really released. There are tracts of land which became known as the 'trust land'; that land was supposed to be given to African people. So what we are dealing with now is any government state land which is in existence, we identify this land and then decide how to allocate it to the people, to the black people. When I say blacks, sometimes it's because you will find that some of the land, coloureds for instance, were moved from District Six, if they make a claim then you are supposed to give them something or if District Six is used for something else identify other land for them. Quite a number of Indians in the centres of cities were removed and they also made claims.

     So the way we go about this, we have a structure, a secretariat, we have a section, in fact we are not part of a government set-up. We were allowed to set up our own structure whereby we identify the secretariat and they do a lot of work in terms of looking into their records which are very well kept actually, the names of people who were moved from the land, and the problem is most of the time it's not easy to trace them where they are now. Where possible we advertise as much as possible about this. We have gone into the type of arrangement whereby we let people know in a definite area that we have received; you see a number of people write in to say, "We submit that we also lost land in such and such an area", and then the members of the secretariat go and see this land in accordance with the records as well, which are in the government offices, and then we go as a commission also to see this land. When we have seen this land and then we announce in this area through the radio media or through the newspapers of that area or through just putting up in the shops, in public places, that the commission shall be here, it will be an open hearing for all those who have submitted or those who still want to submit, they should come to this hearing. Then people do come and we hear the various reasons for their claims. That happens mainly if the land has to do with the 1936 Act whereby people have made additional land. We have just had claims like that in Pietermaritzburg Midlands.

     I'm not going to tell you what positions we all made because then we made the decisions according to the claim and the way of the claims and then we recommend this to the State President and next week Monday we are going to the Eastern Cape and people have made claims again there and then we identify the land which is of this 1936 Land Act. In doing that we also, in the case of the new lands which we identify and then people make a submission and then we also see to it that they would, because it's pointless to put someone on the land who is very poor without assistance. It goes with development, so these people must be assisted in terms of the way they can work out, live on the land and make a living out of the land. We don't just take it for granted that that will happen automatically. There are various other things that come in some of the - people in various commercial ventures. Let me give you an example; it may be a cane growing area or people with cane growing experience among the farmers, we work a lot with the farmers, the business people as well, with other commercial people, with the Development Bank as well, who then also see the land and then work out in terms of development what is best for it and we then suggest how the land could be developed. So it goes along with development as well as allocation. It does take a lot of time and a lot of listening very carefully, a lot of reading, a lot of paper work and a lot of judges here among us, of the seven, two are well known judges and they are very helpful in that direction. It may be slow but it is a beginning and once people begin also to know that there is this possibility.

POM     Do organisations like the ANC, for example, make submissions to you?

HN     They are free.

POM     Do you try to work with them in developing some common approach towards the issue of the redistribution, the giving back of these lands or is this just purely the government working on its own?

HN     [Before the law ... was to appoint the commission.] There was a lot of working with all political parties by the Minister of Land Affairs. So they in principle agreed to this type of approach and I am not sure whether what they had in mind was whether they would be the ones who are on the commission. I'm not sure of that. But on the commission are people who were selected, I don't know, for definite experience in the past in various things and also because this is not a political issue as such, it's a case of listening to people who were deprived of land and listening to people who have just been thrown out of the white farms. What political organisation they are in is immaterial. We started with the legal resource people, Legal Resource Centre, whatever, and then they submitted their advice and so on, the way they see how this should operate. The farmers as well, the Farmers' Union, because they were also very concerned that they might be affected because some of the land belongs to the white farmers, particularly those who were assisted by the government in terms of subsidies in famine and they have since failed to sustain that because the assistance from the government has been reduced so the land then falls into the government and becomes state land. But we have a very good relationship with them. We find that they are very good at doing the work on the ground in terms of the type of land and the price. So with that advice from various people we get advice from other people, as I say, from the Development Bank.

POM     Let's say there's Farmer A, a white farmer, and that part of the land that he owns has come from land that was taken from a black family and there is a black family that makes a claim on that land, says that X amount of that land belonged to me. How do you make a determination in that case? What are the criteria that you use?

HN     I haven't come across that particular example. What we have come across is the land that was taken from the people, as a people, which was taken from that portion of the 7% which was allocated to the Zulu people and then they claimed the land which was available because that other portion had been taken and utilised for something else and so they put in a claim on those grounds that it's strictly legal in that it was part of the 7% land and they wanted it back.

POM     They wanted that same land back?

HN     No, not the same land.

POM     They want other land?

HN     In replacement for that land. What we have also come across is where land that was taken away from black people has been developed into something else, say perhaps such as if you take, for instance, Sophiatown. The white people have built there now, their homes there. In that case we would then identify another land for these people if they want land and come to an agreement with them that this is adequate. This does not mean, don't take me to mean that it works well at all. It is not working well yet. We are new at it. The problems are tremendous because each case is different, there's not a single case which ...

POM     And for every claimant you go to the particular site in question, all of you go?

HN     Yes. All of us go, first the secretariat and then all of us go to the site.

POM     Do you have the time to do that for everyone who makes a claim?

HN     This is why we decide on packages. Usually people of a certain area will make a claim.

POM     Together?

HN     Either together or as individuals but the others who have announced that we shall be there, then the others will come and make their claims and we give them a hearing. So there are various - the point I was trying to make, it's not straightforward. If you take Soweto and also Sophiatown, a number of people were moved from there but a number of them were not landowners so the landlords are the ones who can claim to have been moved from Sophiatown. The tenants cannot, strictly speaking, claim because they didn't really own the land. But nonetheless they can claim for some lands because they have nowhere to live and then this other land which arises out of the trust land can be considered for them. So there is that level when people claim sometimes they don't realise that they need to have been title deed holders and then the others can also make another type of claim of having been deprived of habitat and having been moved from there. That could be considered. Another little problem also is that people get so dispersed, with some it's already two generations, it was their fathers and now that the commission has to process this they are dispersed and it's not easy to tell who should be getting entitlement because of having owned the land in the first instance. But also there is a tendency, sometimes we have come across some areas of lethargy. People have settled now where they are, the areas where they have been moved from are not offering any - it's a big bother to go back and go back to this place and start all over when you have already developed yourself elsewhere.

POM     One of the families that I talk to is a coloured family that originally came from Salt River.

JD     No, I think they came from Retreat and were moved out to the Cape Flats somewhere and they didn't want to go there so they found their own place where they wanted to live because they thought where they were supposed to be sent on the Cape Flats was too dangerous.

POM     Could they make a claim on their original home? They go by their original home in Retreat and see it, and other people are living there.

HN     Well if other people are living there - we haven't yet come across that directly whereby we would then have to face it as to what do we do now. We haven't yet come across claims where there are these instances. For instance, I know people who have been moved in Sophiatown who we have not yet processed, perhaps they have submitted their claims but perhaps we have not yet processed them. Then we shall have to face that one when we come to it, and also there is another one, another little tricky problem. Some of the people were compensated and at the time, obviously it was some time back and that compensation looks very inadequate, but that is a different type of argument, when you say, "My compensation was not adequate." I think people who can handle that properly are those who are, I think, wise enough to say, "OK, we, because we are Africans, we were compensated, were given so much, the coloureds were given so much for the same house, and the Indians given so much, and the whites given so much." If they could find that information, which as far as I know does exist, then their claim today would be, it would be evened up, but we haven't yet also come across that. We have come across white people who were moved and they admitted that they were handsomely compensated, they have admitted that. We have also listened to claimants who are white who want to go back to the land from which they were moved in order for that land to become a homeland. We are looking into that, look and listen to submissions on those issues. So those are the type of things. It will have to grow, there will have to be many of us. We are just beginning, just starting.

POM     This is a statutory body so a new government could pass the legislation, redefine your frame of reference?

HN     Oh yes. Or even just get rid of it. We are quite aware of that.

POM     That's why I was asking, does this kind of approach have the broad backing of most of the major political parties?

HN     How should I put it? There are areas on land measures which can only be discussed at negotiations. The essential work of the committee is essentially to look at people who were removed because of the Group Areas Act. As a secondary thing to it also to look at the land which is available to assist those people who are desperately short of land. The bigger issue of land division in this country is not for the Land Commission. It's going to be part of the politicians - supposing they have the federal system as most of them want to, and then they will draw up the boundaries and in drawing up the boundaries there will be these questions of land. For instance, that is why Chief Buthelezi is quite annoyed and is not going to CODESA because by leaving out KwaZulu as a people, as a government, in other words represented by their King, that is representation of the land. You cannot discuss matters relating to the land without the people who represent that land, the leaders, the people represent the land questions being there. So it's a major thing which will be discussed along those lines.

POM     What are the larger land issues that will become the focus of negotiations?

HN     I don't know actually. This is not in my field but I would think that the other larger land issues, one of them could well be - you know the traditional leaders are not represented and many people don't realise why the traditional leaders want to be represented, because there is a question of from whom was the land taken on conquest? It was first taken from the traditional structure of leadership and as a result even the land tenure was quite different. Even today it is different where it operates. And so that is a very sensitive issue because the westerners just pooh-pooh the land tenure of the traditional structure and I think the traditional structures want more land in their own right, so it's going to be quite a big thing.

POM     And the traditional structure would be communal ownership of land?

HN     Communal ownership of land and use.

POM     Vis-à-vis western concepts of private property?

HN     Yes, the idea is that all farms of land tenure should be accommodated. There shouldn't be one which is just thrown out because it has its function and people should feel the freedom of making use of ... I can see that causing a lot of problems with people who are not Africans and people probably who are, the ANC for instance, because their orientation is very western, or central.

POM     Ironically they would be for the private ownership of the farm by an individual family and they would be opposed to communal land?

HN     It depends on what at the end their policies are because they speak of nationalisation of the land. That is communal at another level, the level of the government owning it and deciding how people live on it. But also it depends if they take up the individual ownership. I don't think any of the leaders so far, PAC definitely believes in the land going to the people, I don't know whether in a communal sense or in an individual sense. AZAPO believes in that and ANC was believing for a long time in nationalisation of the land. IFP believes in various types of land forms, land tenure, available to the country, to the people, so that people should be free to move around. So that would be a contestation obviously. First of all the Nationalist Party believes in private ownership of land completely.

POM     What would most landless Africans, rural Africans want, just in your view, if they had a choice of becoming part of a traditional ownership structure or individual ownership structure?

HN     There are very far reaching benefits that they would get from communal land in this sense; as Africans we have a problem of benefiting one person at the expense of the others and if I have, for instance, those are the problems I have right now where I have a house, I have children. How can I just give this house to one child and therefore let those who can, who have the ability, have western style of ownership of freehold style of ownership but let also the others since we all come from poverty, let there be some communal land and the ordinary man on the street in the rural areas would prefer the communal land because you are secure. If you are out of employment no-one is going to grab your land as a payment for if you have had a collateral, because there are children or older relatives or whoever has access to this land because given market facilities and other things there's a lot of activities that happen in the countryside, such as some people diversify, others produce crops, others commercial crops, others bring machinery, others plough for others who don't have tractors or grind for them and all that type of thing, and their bakkies, carts and things for them, so there's a lot of business within the rural setting once people have better land and once people have access to markets.

     All along when people talk of the backwardness of rural Africa, particularly in Southern Africa, people forget that the land for a start has been so small that is put aside for them compared to the rest of the people and if the land is a bit better, like in Swaziland where I worked for many years, there they have more land because they have been buying it from the white farmers, the willing sellers. If they are willing they buy it so they are able to have larger farms, each family has a larger arable area. And people go and work in South Africa, and people go and do other things and plough back that money in their farm but they are constrained by the fact that even if you produce your crop, your cattle, your livestock, you can't if you don't have the markets because the markets are controlled by South Africa and the markets favour white people. The white farmers are highly subsidised and the price structure is controlled by South Africa arising from Customs Union, arising from rand monetary areas and so on. So if you calculate, in fact this is one of my researches which I wrote about, you calculate the input and so on of producer maize at the end of the day it's not worth it. You sell it for less than what you spent on producing it. And so people simply don't produce these things for selling, they rather do something else, so are eventually interpreted by developers as people being unable to utilise the land.

     We need the whole package of being equal so that the black people are just treated like the white people. Southern Africa has always had this discrimination. In fact discrimination goes much deeper than one sees it in terms of separation, in apartheid. It's in those protections of the white people, when they are protected the person who suffers is a black one. What I am saying is the first thing a black person would look at is what size of land is he going to cultivate and whether he is free to do what he wants with that land and whether the markets are open for him, whether there are roads, infrastructures, in his area and then definitely he certainly would opt for communal land.

POM     He would opt for?

HN     Most people, the people of the countryside they would opt for communal land because they don't even have money to buy the big, large land and it needs maintenance of great order in that you are for ever expected, once you enter into that situation then you must pay taxes against it for the communal land tenure, your taxes are in the rent, you don't necessary pay tax, it belongs to the informal ...

POM     Which promotes a more efficient agricultural sector in terms of production and productivity?

HN     As I say, I can't answer that one because of the market structure which has now been incorporated in Southern Africa because of - yes.

POM     Am I hearing you correctly in that you are saying that a lot of what is perceived as being Africans unable to produce, not only unable to produce or to avail themselves of modern technology or whatever, is due to the fact that they are making rational decisions so it costs them more to do so than they would get back, so in a way they are behaving on a very economic, rational basis?

HN     Absolutely.

POM     And this is not taken into account when development agencies develop their massive schemes of development, they don't look at these hidden costs and the way these hidden costs discriminate against the rural African.

HN     Yes, that's what I'm saying.

POM     Now how does that work here in South Africa? Say if I am a small - is there such a thing as a small black farmer?

HN     Yes there is, in fact people own land in this way in Natal. I'll talk about places I know. I've worked in Natal and I've worked in Swaziland, in fact in development with the British Government as a Social Anthropologist and I advised the British Government and I worked in Lesotho with the United Nations. In South Africa the situation is much more painful and rigid. They have very little land there, very little land. But even then it's very interesting that very recently the sugar people, the Huletts Company, cane growers in Natal, came up with a scheme whereby precisely what I'm talking about, the marketing question, whereby they were going to include the Africans who produced sugar cane and then they assisted them with how to do it. They sent their extension workers and assisted them with ploughing, tractors for ploughing and so on, and at first of course paid for those things and they would get sufficient at the end of the day when they remove the cane from them and take it to where it is processed and then they get so much money and that deduction - to the extent that you will find last year that these small cane growers together made a profit of fifty million. So it happens, and most of them are women by the way. Their husbands are working elsewhere, they are working in Johannesburg. They are overseeing this activity. So it must be a package. They should not be let down somewhere.

POM     And are these farms communal?

HN     They are communal farms. Once you have been given a communal farm no-one can take it away from you. It's guaranteed in the traditional system. But at the same time if you want to move away and then you go elsewhere and while you are living on it you show signs of being not interested at all in developing it, say for five consecutive years, then the people in the community come together and say there are people who need the land and so-and-so is not using his, so then it is, with negotiation, given to someone else. And if you move away from the area therefore you forfeit that. This is why, therefore, it is possible to keep it, to have an access, for a long time because people do other things. Some of them move away and come and live in town, others move from one area to the other and there is always land available. But even in ... in South Africa is very, very small but hopefully if things work and some of the land is allocated for communal usage and others to freehold and others whatever, so as to have all the systems and see which one fits the people better.

POM     Say I'm from Natal and I'm a migrant worker, I'm the husband of one of these women who works on the cane farm and I leave here and I'm living in a hostel and the government says, "We are closing down the hostels and are going to build family units and we want you to take your wife and family and bring them and live together as a family." If you as the wife moved with the children would you then be forfeiting your land? So in fact from the point of view of a hostel dweller it's more important that his wife and family live there at home than put in some kind of house?

HN     Absolutely.

POM     So saying build houses for every man, but all the families being together is like a misunderstanding of the nature of the family structure and its relationship to the land.

HN     Absolutely. You see that's why they are surprised - nobody is saying - the hostels are - that they were an indication of the period of apartheid at its worst. No human being should live in buildings which have open toilets, which are horrible, where there is no privacy, but one is saying they should be upgrading them. They should not force everybody to leave, to bring their families. Those who don't, because there are quite a number who say they don't want to bring their families for these reasons, because it's their security. If they lose a job any time then they have nothing to live on. At home there is not only the wife and children who are there, there is also an extended family who are altogether agreeing these activities, say in the sugar cane field, and all together are having this other form, system of economy to enable this family (to survive). So actually what it is doing, it is doing welfare work in an extended way through kinship, relationships, which can never be the case for everybody in the city. The houses are only for nuclear families, whereas in the countryside Africans, in fact in anthropology this is well known, in Africa the basic system is kinship, they organise and fight, organise in principle of the society is kinship and to take that away just like that without understanding, without even beginning to understand what it does to the people, is doing a lot of harm.

POM     If, say, the ANC closed the hostels and built family units, let the men build family units, that would kind of suggest that they are out of touch with ...?

HN     I've read a paper by Wilmot James, he is a Sociologist, Professor of Sociology at UCT, on this very policy. He has since produced a book, I can't remember now, it was published this year.

POM     Is it a recent book?

HN     It's a recent book, yes. But when I paged through it, he left that out which I had seen in his earlier papers. To answer your question I had better use his material because he was looking at the capital, at the trade unions and then at the workers as individual workers, migrant workers. At that time the trade unions wanted the mining companies to put up houses, family houses for the workers and the mining companies were not keen to do this for all these reasons; you don't need Wilmot James to tell you this. It suits the mining companies to have so much labour at its command coming from Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, you name it, Zimbabwe even. And therefore they know that most of these people are not keen to remain with their families in the city because they actually belong to their home countries like Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. That's one thing, but more importantly they are just not keen to spend so much money on housing since they have a lot of labour which they get cheaply. The trade unions aim for this, for having the family houses built was to have stable workers who are in the city, who are commuters in the city with their families, who then would be easier to be organised in trade unions.

     If you have a situation where people are not completely proletariat, they strictly don't want to deal with a completely proletarianised person. The type of person I'm talking about with access to land is not completely proletarianised so is not alienated from the land. He has an alternative means of life. So the trade unions have their own reasons for that. They want the powerful trade unions which are impossible to organise in this country because of this situation I'm talking about, people who come from ... and then ... people don't want, some of them do want to live in the city but a number of them don't because of these reasons. Can you imagine if the men who come from Lesotho to work in this country, in the mines alone, 24% of the men in the mines are from Lesotho and in Lesotho itself 60% of the men work in South Africa? In other words you would have the country depopulated completely. So the honest way of doing it is to have single flats or whatever which give the person dignity, a bedroom perhaps, a bathroom and a kitchenette and that type of thing and then a person can be visited by his wife from time to time, but not to bring the whole family. That would make sense. And also have family houses for those who want them because one is not saying that all people don't want them. I'm saying that there are some people who are very different in this type of system also which is owing to the perception of the economic structure. If you give up, these people will be really stranded, if you give up this having access to land in the countryside.

POM     The impression I would have would be that the liberation movement has been urban oriented. The emphasis has been on townships and mobilisation, you hear about it in the townships. The major political figures that have emerged are urban trade unionists. Is there a possibility that rural South Africa will get lost, sold out in a new South Africa, that the rewards will go towards the townships and that some kind of basic fabric in the society itself might be destroyed?

HN     Destroyed. Yes. That's what this war is all about, that's the whole point of this violence.

POM     The whole point of the violence?

HN     Yes, the violence is a violence which is between the thread of this fabric whereby the people who are resisting being part of an ideology which the liberation movements put across, most of them have a base in the countryside and then the fight is about that. That's what this fight is about. Where it's going to lead to we don't know but this is what it essentially is.

POM     This is denied of course?

HN     Mm.

POM     In the political circles it's like pointing fingers at A, A is to blame, B is to blame, C is to blame, but no-one is talking about what the underlying nature of what this conflict is.

HN     Exactly.

POM     Am I correct in hearing you saying it's really about two different value systems? One that would be kinship oriented, communal, family orientated, maintaining bonds with the land versus, for want of a better word, modernisation, nuclear family?

HN     And lack of security. Lack of security. There is no indication what this other system, which is the western system, provides for ordinary man. In the white society most people don't realise that the apartheid system was a very highly welfare system where they provided social security for the white people in a big way. Hence the protection, hence all these subsidies for farmers, all these various forms of protection and so on which the blacks have never been part of. The only security which blacks have had emanates from their traditions. Then perhaps they will give up some of these ideas in relation to communal land and various other things and kinship if there is a definite offer emanating from the modern system which they see tangibly. They haven't yet seen it. They haven't. It's a case of losing the little bit you have for something that is not letting go anyway. As far as it goes we have become entirely controlled by it, forces in which you have no say. All these people who are fighting for their identities and so on they have a say in their lives back home, they are part of the organisational structure in their lives back home. In the cities they are not part of anything so they feel they have no say at all. They are just nobody in the cities. I think this is something which is being completely ignored.

POM     It is. I was just going to ask you that obvious question, why hasn't this kind of analysis entered the public debate at any level?

HN     This kind of analysis cannot enter the public debate at any level. I have been asked by some people to write about the participation of traditional leaders in this CODESA. I was told that was read and that was officiated. I have been asked also to give evidence to the Goldstone Commission regarding the hostels and then things got out of hand with all the Boipatong and so on and so these are the type of things. You don't get a hearing if you talk like this because the powers, the amazing propaganda machine the liberation movements have, particularly the SACP and the ANC, they have an amazing propaganda machine even in this country to promote their own standpoints. Anything which is putting across a point of view which is not part and parcel of their thinking is not listened to. That is why this war will not end because they are not listening, the fighting is going on.

POM     It's been one of the most productive hours that I've spent. Would it be possible to get a copy of the submission that you made to CODESA? Did you make a submission?

HN     Yes I made a submission to CODESA. I do have a copy of that.

POM     Do you have any other papers that relate to these issues that you've been talking about?

HN     I wrote a paper which I used to give an oral submission to the Goldstone Commission.

POM     I would appreciate it. The violence has been one thing that I've been asking, like 120 people, my official list of politicians, public figures, clergy, whatever you want to call them, I've asked everyone every year about the violence, the causes of the violence. What I get back are the standard responses that the more you examine them the more they don't hold up. If you look around you, I can come in twice and three times a year and look around me and say what I hear doesn't make sense with what I observe.

HN     And also of course apartheid structures come into it because the hostels, the horrible hostels, when they were built they were made to be occupied in terms of ethnic groups and then the hostels were always resented by many people. Even the planning of them, they were put in the centre of townships or at the edge of the township and most married people were married that to have single men next to their homes is not good for the family life. All those things were really wrong in the planning. And then with the advent of - you know of course the only political party which existed within the country which was not banned, but at the time it was not a political party, it was a political cultural movement, Inkatha, objected to sanctions precisely because they argued that it anything that harms the black people should not be encouraged because they are already very much down there in terms of deprivation. This of course meant that the ANC and Inkatha were clashing on this issue and then the propaganda made him, you know, this horrible type of person who goes with the government. It's just by coincidence, it's not as if I think, if I read what he used to write on this. The whites were worried about sanctions about their purse and their money and so on and the image. Buthelezi was worried seriously about the poverty which is going to increase when people are unemployed, so these should be separated.

     And then when the country was to be made ungovernable, which was a foolish thing of the ANC, the starting of it was not against the white community, it was all those black people who were in positions such as policemen, councillors, whatever position, these were attacked and then of course that is what you always hear, then the fights are going on and on and on arising from that. But also AZAPO was attacked and a number of people were killed. When they made the country ungovernable the idea was to get everybody who is not properly conscientised, get conscientised in order to be anti the white people in this country at that time, at least anti-government. I don't know why they killed AZAPO because AZAPO and PAC are very much anti-white but if you look at that you will realise that it's not only of being conscientised and being anti this, but it's to be part of them, to control you. And then Inkatha people were the last ones to be attacked and they put on tremendous fights since then and then the hostels then which are occupied by Zulu speakers were sitting targets because it's known that here are the people who come from the group of people who are against our policies. Then the fight continues and continues.

     The important thing now is that the hostels are to be disbanded and the people thrown out, those who are not working. The hostels have become not only part of the fight by the Zulu speaking people, but practically all the hostels have become a refuge for people who suffer destruction arising from their homes being burned, attacked; in their situation they come and hide in the hostels, particularly those occupied by the Zulu speaking people are very popular. People who seek refuge go there because they feel that they get protection. The government was unable to stop this wave and then people had to rely on self-protection. So now there's going to be a very, very serious crisis if they fence off the hostels and then because it would mean that they are saying the only reason, the violence only emanates from the hostel. That would not be looking at the situation broadly, that it emanates from deep seated perceptions and whether you fence the hostel or not ...

POM     Won't change the perceptions.

HN     Yes.

POM     That's my hour up. My first hour is up. I said I would only take up two hours a year. I would love to get my hands on the papers.

HN     Can I send them to you?

POM     I hope this doesn't mean that I'll only have 45 minutes the next time! It's been a pleasure to meet you and thank you, you've opened a whole new dimension.

HN     It's very complex, very complex and I think we need lots of sober discussion without being emotional about things, just talk about them. You know the tragedy of this country is that the white people don't know the black people at all. The black people have an idea about the white people better because they work for them, they see them and so on, but the white people don't know the blacks, completely. And it's a terrible thing. For instance I see very often very, very good articles, one by Heribut Adam and the other by Anthony Johnson on the political situation in this country. Their analysis is fantastic, but when it comes to blacks one of them takes the view that in assessing the voting trends they are not political at all. They have no idea. Can you live in a situation like that all these years and not be political? They will turn up for elections in their numbers. They are going to get a shock. Only of course they might not get transport because there will be elements that will threaten the taxi drivers and so on. But those are the questions that must be worked out. Therefore, they take the blacks very lightly as a factor in this country in the coming elections.

POM     Didn't Namibia have 98% turnout or something?

HN     Mm. When they talk to ordinary people who might not even know English, their conception of what is happening - after all whatever happens, happens to them. They know who does what to whom and therefore they are very clear what type of a person they want, what type of people they want in government. Probably some of them would want FW. But they are aware of politics. But it seems the international world has decided that it should be ANC who run this country. ANC does not talk to ordinary people, it talks to the international world, they speak English all the time. So there will be surprises still. FW has a way of talking to the people in his own way and other people of course. Who knows perhaps even PAC might come up.

POM     They seem to - I don't think they're going get over 50%. Every political party thinks they're going to get over 50%. Thank you ever so much for taking the time and I will look forward to seeing you next year.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.