About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

06 Aug 1992: Alexander, Benny (!Khoisan X)

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     First of all, perhaps you could start by giving me a birds eye view of what has been going on in South Africa in the last seven months, your analysis of the dynamics of the various factors at play.

!KX     What has happened is that the international climate is really a climate of unipolar world system after the collapse of Eastern Europe, which is a system that is bent on the resolution of conflicts in the flashpoints of the world through negotiations rather than revolutions. It has had its impact on the South African political situation as well and negotiations have started in CODESA.

     We in the PAC have said from the beginning that negotiations are going to be very difficult. Negotiation is a science and negotiations have to take place bearing in mind certain realities, and the preparations for negotiations have to be very proper and have to bear in mind the experiences of negotiations in other parts of the world. The PAC was the only organisation which was thinking along those lines, others thought that they can just jump into it headlong and we make some sense out of it while the negotiations are going on.

     We have said that the negotiators must bear in mind certain realities, one of those, very fundamental to that, is that we have different ideologies, sometimes even different sets of aspirations, sometimes diametrically opposed ideologies and aspirations and objectives. As a result of that, the negotiation process must itself be informed of these differences and thereby know that we are coming into a process with these differences and that at some point in time, when we come to the fundamentals, we are going to have very serious differences and there is going to be deadlock on issues and the process itself must vote for the mechanism to handle those differences and those vehicles which are inevitable and have interlocutors, or interlocutor mechanisms to untie and un-knot these knots which will arise within the process and which are inevitable.

     If the process ignores this, the process will grind to a standstill, a breakdown. We then looked into international situations to try and inform ourselves, and we said that we see the principle of neutrality in the international community where, within the Israeli-Arab conflict, a neutral venue, neutral persons are brought in, neutral interlocutors, to make sure that the process is well and that the process keeps on running; so there is a neutral person to whom you can appeal when the other party does not want to concede to what you believe is very important. You cannot appeal to the person who is rejecting the very point you are making and appeal to him again. There must be somebody you can appeal to and he can appeal too, and you (can't) just reject out of hand something that is very precious to him.

     We look at all those things and we made those views known. We also called for transparency in the process where the media and the public have access to the process, know what is going on. We are opposed, therefore, to deals made in corners of semi-dark, smoke-filled rooms, and we said there must be transparency in the process of democracy, it must carry the people along. Therefore it must not be elitist and depending on views which are elite because you cannot subject the whole country to the whims and fancies of some few individuals. All these factors we looked at, and we took part in the process. We are founding members of the negotiation process, we were there, we took part in the process.

POM     This is the Patriotic Front?

!KX     The Patriotic Front as well as a meeting which was called the preparatory meeting to set the process in motion, to prepare for the process. We warned, we argued, we brought examples of the international community. We got rejected and they said, no, we will just jump into it and we'll make do; and we said that it would break down and we said that we cannot be party to that process. It could break down.

     The regime stretched out the discussions on the peripheral matters for months before we came to the fundamentals. We even went to CODESA I without discussing or touching fundamentals, and there were a lot of breakthroughs and reviews of breakthroughs at these negotiations for months, as they were discussing the peripheral matters. We said wait until you come to the fundamentals, you will break down. They went into the fundamentals and in no time the whole process collapsed. It could not handle the differences of opinion, aspirations and interests when it came to the fundamentals. It just collapsed, it just ground to a total halt. We are saying that the way forward in the negotiation process is to look at the process itself, not the issues, and to ask this fundamental question: what is it about the process that makes it incapable of handling the inevitable differences of opinion, interests and views with which the various parties, with their various ideologies, are coming to the negotiating table?

POM     Let me ask you with regard to that, I have heard two views, I have heard the view expressed that the government wanted CODESA to collapse, that the government has this double agenda of undermining liberation movements through the use of violence, that the longer the thing drags on, the weaker the liberation movements become in their constituencies and the more time the government has to put together across the board alliances. So that it wanted out, it was not ready to go, it did not want to engage in any meaningful either sharing or transfer of power.

     Then you have the other view that the ANC wanted out. That the ANC knew they were not going to get what they wanted but they wanted a test of strength with the government that some people had gone too far. Do you believe either one of them wanted the process to actually stall, or do you think, because of the reasons you have outlined, it was simply inevitable that it would?

!KX     I think that each one went into the negotiation process to try and get his way. The government did not want the process to break down, the ANC did not want it to break down; they wanted to get out of the process, to score out of the process. Because they wanted to score, they came with those differences; the one came to get the other one to back-off. Both of those parties ran into very serious problems because they just could not get the other party to toe the line as such. As a result that was the start of the problems that they are talking about right now.

POM     What is your reading of ...?

!KX     But like I say the fundamental thing is that the process itself couldn't handle that stress that was brought about because of that. The ANC was definitely losing massive support on the ground. It had to get out of CODESA.

POM     Why was it losing support on the ground?

!KX     Because it was seen to be making too many concessions and it was looking over its shoulder to the PAC, which attitude was gaining the PAC much more support. CODESA raised the hopes of the people and said that we will meet by March; they promised the masses, by March we will meet, we will agree on an interim government and in June we will implement it. That is what they said in December. The people said, well, we'll give you guys a chance. The PAC said to the people, they are lying to you, it won't happen. March came and they said no, we can't do it, but give us one more chance, April we will do it. And we said, they are lying they can't do it. April came and the said give us till May, and we said they can't do it, when May came they were faced with the problem as to whether to have CODESA II because they told the people that this next CODESA is going to the last one because when the interim government is put in place, the government will now handle the matter, there will be no CODESA III or IV and V and VI. We said no, there is going to be CODESA III, IV, V and VI. We said, we told you. [They differ and they will not be able to ...] The process couldn't handle the differences.

     Then they met and CODESA collapsed, they had to decide whether they postpone it again and lose credibility or try to have a go with it. They tried to have a go of it. The last seven days before CODESA, night and day, Mr de Klerk, Mr Mandela, all these people were phoning each other, they were meeting, they were trying their level best to try and save it, but they just couldn't. It collapsed and the ANC lost terrible support and the ANC had to withdraw from CODESA, find a way out, because everybody in the PAC was right. CODESA lost all credibility.

     But as you know, on the other hand, also they didn't want a transfer of power to take place, they are not interested in that. They are talking about ten years at least of continued power sharing, transfer clauses, which will allow them, for ten years, to frustrate the whole process and the whole government, and in that manner frustrating whoever is in government, and discrediting whoever has made promises to the electorate and won an election. All this type of mechanism and machinations they were coming up with.

     Now, we were saying that when you look at the scenario of planning at that time, we said that there are basically three scenarios you can look at. There is what we call the 'lame duck' scenario and then there is the 'Icarus' and then the is the 'flamingo' scenario. The 'lame duck' scenario is a scenario where you continue for a number of years, you don't go up and you don't go down, but you continue to negotiate, sharing power whilst negotiating, trying to reach compromises and it continues, this just goes on and on and on.

POM     But there is some kind of power-sharing arrangement during that period?

!KX     Yes, but you don't go one way or the other. We say that will undermine investor confidence because investors want you to go one way or the other. They want to know whether you are going to be a communist government or a capitalist government; what type of government you are going to be; what type of rule you are going to have; what is going to be your investment code. You cannot just say wait, wait, wait, you must go one way or the other. And the confidence of the masses in the process itself will also be lost in such an option. We say that 'lame duck' solution is not an option for us. Then there was what we call the 'Icarus' scenario; Icarus in Greek mythology is the god who decided to go to the sun and put some wings on and when he started off he actually realised, to his own surprise, that he was able to fly. He had outdone himself, and as he got closer to the sun, the heat got so intense that everything just melted and he collapsed and he fell down very hard. You could do that, you could try and make some sort of a quick arrangement, print a lot of money, build houses beyond your capacity, build hospitals beyond your capacity, do all that and everybody will applaud you for the next two years or three years.

POM     Now, who would do that? The government or the power-sharing?

!KX     The government, the power-sharing, ourselves, the party on its own.

POM     And the PAC?

!KX     Yes, you could come into power and do that type of thing and you will get applause for the next two to three years and thereafter, because it is not based on proper economic growth, it is based on overspending and so on, then the whole things collapses and you fall very far, and they'll be great poverty in the country thereafter.

     Then there is a third solution, which we call the 'flamingos', where you come together, you try and sit down and work out a system which reflects the will of the people, democracy, get participation through democracy involved, get the people's shares in the participation, in the building, come with realistic plans of economic recovery, growth which takes off slowly and realistically but which is lasting. You will be faced in that scenario in the short-term with a bit of discontent, people saying that there is a black face but it is not doing any miracles in the short-term, but you have to carry them along by participatory democracy, at least you have legitimacy and therefore a counter-revolution will not easily have a conducive climate because there is no legitimacy, then you move with that type of 'building in democracy' process.

     But CODESA is not based on that type of scenario. It is based on the 'lame duck' option which has no realistic hope of survival.

POM     Let me take you back to, first of all, the offer that the ANC made of 75% veto threshold for adopting the Bill of Rights and 70% for items to be included in a constitution. Now most polling information that I have seen shows that the government could put together something between 25% and maybe 33% of support for itself and its allies, or whatever. So, by making this offer, the ANC were really making an offer that amounted to giving the government and its allies the potential, or as close a potential they could get, for having a veto over what would be in the Bill of Rights and what would be in the constitution? Again, in your analysis, (1) why did the ANC go that far? (2) would they have been able to sell it to their constituencies and, (3) did the government blow it by not accepting the offer, did the government let the ANC off the hook?

!KX     Let me first come to the question of why they did that. They did that because of two reasons: (1) the option of going back to armed struggle is dead, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which supported it, Albania, all those communist parties, the Ethiopian government supported them, Marxist governments overthrown, where do you go back to? The option is no longer there. You have to round up on that level. Then financially the ANC has built in an infrastructure with a running cost of over R2 million per month and it is not getting in as fast as it is spending it. The regime wanted the process to drag before they go to an election, to impoverish the ANC.

POM     Well, that is what I was asking, did it suit the government for CODESA to collapse or to string out this process?

!KX     They wanted to string it out over a long time so that it can impoverish the ANC, it knew that the ANC's money is limited, and Mr de Klerk said so at one meeting, I don't know why he did that. He actually said the ANC's money is running out. The ANC could see that it was running into all those types of problems and it had to give in to parliament somehow or other. It was even hoping to offset some of its expenses in CODESA and other ways, by getting some of its officials salaried in the negotiating process, getting them into departments, you know, a government department, and working there and so on for a while, and in that way try and cut costs down. But it just could not make it and it ran into all those types of problems.

     Then we come to the question of why they had to make such an offer. But may I say that it is absolutely incorrect to say that the process came to a standstill because of that issue, that the ANC was let off the hook on that issue in fact. Yes to a certain degree the regime could have, if it had agreed on that, it could have tied the ANC into a serious knot because if you bear in mind how many of our people, about two million of our workers are living on farms with their families, to which the liberation movements do not have access to recruitment, which the government would use to vote for them. Give each guy and his wife alone there in a home, then there are four million with his wife and if you still have children which are voting age, how many are they? If we get there we are trespassers, we cannot get access to them.

POM     So the farmers would be in control of these black voters and have them vote for the NP?

!KX     Already also they were building a conservatism amongst the oppressed by changing the political agenda, from an agenda for freedom to an agenda of peace at all costs, because people are tired of seeing death and destruction. They want a settlement. Anything, even if it is not really what I wanted for freedom, but as long as it gets rid of this death and destruction and fear. So through the process of destabilisation, they were building conservatism amongst the masses.

POM     The government was doing this?

!KX     Yes.

POM     So even if the government had accepted the offer?

!KX     I am saying the growing conservatism amongst people was also making it easy for the NP to start recruiting, so they were really outdoing the ANC. They were taking some ANC support away, the ANC could analyse all of this. On the other hand, it was seen by, that is now the moderates, that people were becoming more conservative and were vulnerable to the NP's equipment, and its more radical people were saying that you are making too many concessions and were coming to the PAC, so it was losing on every constituency that they had. The only way they could deal with this was to try and really get out of there and Boipatong could not have come a moment too soon for them, because there was an issue they could grab onto and say, because of what happened at Boipatong, we are pulling out. But there were massacres before Boipatong, whilst they were negotiating.

POM     So they were able to exploit Boipatong, brilliantly in fact?

!KX     Brilliantly. What has happened with this week's stayaway is that they were able to recover to quite an extent more than they had hoped they would recover. About 80,000 people took part in their marches and things like that, and the demonstrations. It was much bigger than they had hoped it would be. It was not what they claim it is, they claim it was four million. There were people who could not go to work because there were no taxis running and because they were blocking the roads.

POM     But in your view was it a successful stayaway? Do you think they can legitimately ...?

!KX     I think they have recovered to a certain extent yes, but they will again lose what they have recovered because Mr Mandela does not want to listen to those people who say let's come up with a better forum than CODESA. He wants to go back to CODESA and will run back into the same problems and, may I say this, and this is the big lie about CODESA II, that it broke down on that issue that you mentioned. There was not a single agreement, it was not on that issue, there was no agreement on the homelands, the re-incorporation of the homelands. The homelands were in fact convincing the ANC that they should remain as regions in power so that the dissolution of the homelands was not agreed upon. The release of political prisoners was not agreed upon. Senior ANC members are still in prison, like one of the military leaders, McBride, Robert McBride is still in prison. Exiles are still having difficulties, many exiles are actually leaving the country, rather than settling. The violence was still continuing, the destabilising factor was still continuing there.

     A lot of other items, the least of which was the political prisoners, many other issues were still outstanding and were not resolved. As a result of all those things there were a lot of things not agreed upon.

POM     So, in your view agreements at CODESA really are nothing?

!KX     They have agreed on nothing!

POM     Yet the ANC would say that, as I understand it, that part of the PAC's reason for not supporting the stayaway is that it was not aimed at overthrowing the regime, yet it seems there were very specific demands, one of which seems to be a priority on your agenda; that is an election for a Constituent Assembly and an interim government in the meantime. So an interim government, have an election for a Constituent Assembly and let's do them both as quickly as possible, and that assembly will draw up the new constitution, no more negotiating a constitution in CODESA, no more spelling it all out beforehand, an elected constitution will do so. What disagreement do you have with either of those two things?

!KX     We don't have a problem with that, but we are saying that you won't get that type of agreement in CODESA, because they say you have to go to CODESA first in order to convince the regime to agree to that, and we are saying you have to negotiate outside of CODESA.

POM     My understanding is that many people are saying, I get suggestions from members of the ANC I have talked to, that the CODESA process has run its course, the next process will be different.

!KX     No. You see, in order to get to the election of a Constituent Assembly and those things, we must meet in a forum to discuss that. We are saying that CODESA, with its structural difficulties, is not the right forum to discuss getting to that. So therefore, if the ANC had only said that we will discuss this with the regime outside of CODESA, which gives them the advantage, which gives them the power to block the process, which gives them all those things, but at least outside of that process we will get into another forum with them, and in a new forum we will discuss those matters with them, then the PAC would have had no problem.

POM     So what you are objecting to, why you did not support the stayaway is not because you did not support the objectives of the stayaway, it is because you did not support the vehicle or the process that was used to try and reach those objectives?

!KX     That is right.

POM     You want interim government.

!KX     We want another transitional authority, and the international community involved.

POM     Sorry?

!KX     We want the international community to be involved, and the international community cannot run a government. We want them to be involved in that.

POM     That would be on the table at the negotiations?

!KX     That is right, that is why I say we need a forum where really we can be able to push through this stuff. We want, of course, the election for a Constituent Assembly and then we want an election thereafter based on the constitution, coming from the Constituent Assembly for the government. There is not much difference between ourselves and the ANC on that score, except to say that as a result of Boipatong and the continuing murders of our people there is a view now on the part of the masses, a very strong sentiment which we cannot ignore, which is the people want to see the regime resigning and gone altogether, no compromise, no joint interim thing, they must just go and make space for the liberation movement to take over and to go ahead for the Constituent Assembly.

POM     But is that a feasible option?

!KX     I think that for the moment, when the duck is still there, it seems to be feasible, but when the duck goes out, I don't think it will be.

POM     You said the armed struggle is no a longer feasible option for the ANC, their financial base and support in the USSR is gone, what makes it a viable alternative for the PAC?

!KX     Because the PAC is running on a smaller budget, a much smaller financial budget. We have all our needs met very sufficiently, as you can see our offices, we have moved to better offices, bigger offices, we have a staff of about 52 people at our headquarters, we don't need a bigger staff than 52, we will resist attempts. I will propose at our next meeting of the executive just for one or two more people to be employed and then a freeze on employment. But there is no end at the number of people to be employed. We have our regional offices furnished and equipped. We can handle that. There are a lot of things which we can indeed handle as the PAC. As a result, our backers, financial backers, are still in existence with the exception of one country, Yugoslavia, from where we got the Scorpion pistols; we have to buy these now on the world market and from other sources, but it is still the best urban war weapon. We are saying as long as there is violence, you see the violence, we define the violence not as political violence in general, we see a pattern and a programme and objective in the violence. It is a destabilisation war against the African people.

POM     So you agree with the ANC in your analysis of the violence?

!KX     Exactly. There is a destabilisation war going on against our people and you cannot, in the face of a war confronting you, not fight. The one thing the PAC is all the time asking its members to do is not to allow the regime to manipulate our members, by the manner in which they attack, to assume it is the ANC or AZAPO or Inkatha, but to hit back at the regime, whether they use hostel dwellers, we hit back at the regime, hit back at the security forces.

POM     When we talked first about the violence, this is in August 1990 ...

!KX     I am saying that is the primary manifestation of the violence. The regime is able to attack the ANC in such a manner as to give the impression it is Inkatha, sometimes it is Inkatha. Sometimes they attack Inkatha in such a manner that makes it very clear that these are weapons associated with the ANC and it's not long thereafter when the ANC people will actually go and revenge Inkatha and Inkatha will counter-revenge the ANC.

POM     You don't think the Inkatha and the ANC are in fact engaged in a real battle between them?

!KX     It is a battle, but I am saying that that battle between the ANC and Inkatha, first of all there is nothing the ANC has that Inkatha wants, there is nothing that Inkatha has that the ANC wants, like political power, like government departments, like the army, the SADF, like the state treasury, the diamond and gold mines, etc., they don't have. If I fight with Inkatha and I win, what will I get? What will I win? If the ANC wins, what will they win? What is it that you will get if you defeat them? What will I get if I defeat the ANC? Nothing. So, I am saying that there is bitterness and revenge, that is what they are fighting. They are fighting bitterness and revenge. You killed me, I must kill you.

POM     Inkatha would say they are fighting very specifically so that they do not end up as a one party ANC state that will dominate over the Zulus.

!KX     But you fight against having the ANC winning me, by winning more people on my side than the ANC has.

POM     You were saying the ANC were off your people in the eighties?

!KX     Yes. Let me say this. From the beginning when the ANC was first started with the violence, with Inkatha and AZAPO first, in the early eighties, before 1983, when they came with the necklace murders and things like that; at the time the ANC did those things they did not know that the regime itself had a programme which was already (under way at home). They thought the programme of the regime is just with Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Angola and Namibia, only there, they didn't have a destabilisation campaign against the masses here at home, only in the frontline states, so we can go in here and do whatever. But the regime already had its plans in place and the ANC was playing right into their hands. They were able to raise up in no time vigilantes to fight against the ANC. In this way they played into their hands.

     But at that time the ANC said they are responding with their propaganda machinery, would destroy them through propaganda. They did so to the Witdoek vigilantes and they did so very successfully, they actually got a bad name, bad image and they were happy about that, and they thought that's it, we are succeeding propaganda-wise. But the regime started intensifying their war and later on the ANC began to realise, hey, we have a real war on our hands, we are playing into the hands of these people, we must get out of this thing and bring an end to this violence. They then started to withdraw genuinely from that type of war, but then they found themselves so engrossed in this thing which was primarily state inspired, and they found themselves in a programme from which it was difficult to extricate themselves.

     At the moment the ANC is genuinely trying, I believe, to get out of the violence, I believe they are genuinely trying to get out of it but they find it difficult. They are too deeply inside. But the violence does not come, at this point in time, primarily from the ANC, it comes primarily from the regime, and the ANC has played into their hands, and thereby assisted in the climate of the violence. But I don't blame the ANC today for the climate of the violence, not primarily, only in the secondary sense.

POM     So, when you talk about the violence between the PAC and the ANC in the 1980s you see this as having been inspired by the regime?

!KX     No, it was not inspired by the regime, but it was exploited by the regime. By virtue of the overtures we did at the leadership level with the ANC to try to diffuse the situation on the ground, what maybe brought an end to the violence between PAC and ANC is that the PAC people started (giving) their weapons to the ANC. The ANC saw these guys are very well armed and very well trained because they could not defeat us anywhere, there is not a single place where the ANC defeated the PAC, they saw these guys are very well trained; that of course makes us not a desirable opponent. But secondly, on the leadership level too, we came in and we started talking about unity and so on, and that also made our people say, no, let us work together here on the ground. So the PAC is an undesirable opponent for anybody in this country, nobody likes to fight us. The regime is condemning us every day for fighting with them, they do not want to fight with the PAC, they prefer to fight with the ANC, they are prepared to fight with anybody else but they don't like to fight with the PAC.

POM     When you say they don't like to fight, what do you mean by that?

!KX     They hate any skirmishes. There have been many skirmishes between the PAC and the regime, our army APLA and them. In not a single incident was there hot pursuit, that they challenged us and we ran away from them, not a single incident where we attacked them and they were not armed, we attack them every single time when they are armed and they have arms in hand. Every skirmish, in every conflict, every contact, they are attacked by us when they are fully armed. They end up running away. Not a single time did the regime say the PAC soldiers are in such and such a vehicle and they left in such and such a direction. They do not know in which direction our people leave because they were not there when they left, they were either dead of they would run away. We are superior trained and superior armed for purposes of urban guerrilla warfare.

POM     Do you see yourselves as conducting a successful campaign of urban warfare?

!KX     I think there is a lot of controversy as to whether the PAC is successful. You now have about 50,000 full time soldiers and about 150,000 fulltime police, a permanent force police, the police are much stronger and that is why people who talk about the possibility of a right wing coup or this other coup, are talking about a police coup. We can't have an army coup here, the police would just overthrow the army, the police are stronger than the army in this country. The PAC is fighting mostly against the police and then also against the army. If you ask me whether we can do it, it is likely that you will get an answer which may be regarded as propaganda.

POM     Well this book won't come out for four or five years yet, there is still time.

!KX     When you talk about what the regime is saying from the receiving end, all the academics are not on the receiving end, the army and the police are issuing statements very regularly saying that the PAC is demoralising us, the PAC is killing us, the PAC must stop and all this type of thing. They are at sixes and sevens about the attacks from the PAC. If you look at their responses, that is what is important, not what I am saying.

POM     So do you see yourselves engaged in a long war of attrition, that you will just keep hammering consistently and methodically?

!KX     No, no, no, not at all. We believe that there is no contradiction between war and politics. Politics is war without bloodshed and war is politics with blood. We see no contradiction between the ballot and the bullet; you must fight to use the bullet and you must attain your right to use the ballot. So at the same time as we are fighting with them we are also talking with them. We met on the 10th March, with the SA government in Abuja, Nigeria, and not so long from now we will meet again with the SA government. We have agreed on a summit between the PAC and them to discuss the Constituent Assembly, the way forward and so on, but we are meeting them outside of CODESA. Yes, those routes are indeed open for the PAC and the regime, and we are both committed to following that route, so we will talk to them, we will negotiate with them, and we have no problem, and we made it very clear to people in this country that we will negotiate with the SA government, there is no problem negotiating with them. The only problem is we are not going to negotiate with them at CODESA, but the fact that we are not negotiating at CODESA does not mean we will not negotiate with them. So we will negotiate with them as we are fighting. We will fight and talk or if they don't want it that way, we will talk and fight.

POM     Do you have a problem with homeland leaders attending the negotiating forum?

!KX     No, no problem. We have no problem with the homeland leaders being there. AZAPO says they have problems and other people say they have problems; there is no problem there.

POM     Your real beef with CODESA is not that people like unelected or non-representative homeland leaders and non-representative leaders of political parties with a couple of dozen followers may be sitting at the table that is convened under the authority of a SA government?

!KX     No. Even if we go to CODESA and homeland leaders pull out, it will still be unrepresentative because we have not been voted for. We are saying that we cannot discuss just the PAC and the ANC and the regime sitting down together, we cannot draft a constitution.

POM     There is a difference between drafting a constitution and negotiating.

!KX     We can only negotiate when must we vote for a forum that would draft a constitution and then even the homeland leaders must go for elections.

POM     What I want to clarify is that you are saying that the reason you did not support the stayaway was because it would have meant going back to CODESA, even though you agreed with the objectives, but that it would not matter where the forum is as long as the agenda is the right agenda, the agenda is two-fold, the date for the Constituent Assembly, for elections for a Constituent Assembly, and the date for an interim government.

!KX     But you see I am saying that the mechanisms of the forum and the orientation of the forum and the structure of the forum must lend itself to handling the differences we will have on those agenda items, and we are saying that without breaking down, otherwise it becomes a useless exercise. We are saying CODESA is not that type of forum, even with the correct agenda, it cannot handle the differences that will arise from the parties.

POM     When I read the public rhetoric of the PAC it is all about overthrowing the regime and this, that and the other. You are talking in a very practical way about finding mechanisms to break deadlocks, which is another way of saying mechanisms to achieve compromise when you can't. So, on the one hand you are saying we want to overthrow them and on the other, you are saying we must have a negotiating process that provides proper mechanisms to allow deadlocks to be broken, i.e. proper mechanisms to which you compromise. Compromise and overthrow are two words one does not usually use in the same sentence.

!KX     Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. When people come to the negotiating table they take certain political postures, poses. Those postures and poses are irreconcilable, that is your starting point, you must admit that. The NP say, "I want this", the ANC say, "I want that", and the PAC say, "I want the other", and the PAC says, "I will not do this", and the NP say, "I will not do that", and the ANC says, "I will not do the other"; those are the public postures that we take, but those postures are nothing more than a reflection of certain interests that we have. Those are but the cloaks and the clothing of the interests that it hides, and those postures are irreconcilable. The last time I spoke to you I gave you the example of what happened in the Middle East, with the Israeli-Arab Camp David Charter, the Egyptians said that the Israelis must move out of this area, the Israelis said, "We will not move an inch from that area." Those are the postures that they took, both postures irreconcilable. That how it got started, it started at the end of that, that these two postures are irreconcilable and I must not waste my time by trying to reconcile them, because you can't. The one must make way for the other.

     But both things reflect underlying interests. So what we do is forget about the postures and deal with the interests that underlay them. What is the Israeli interest? Israeli concern and interest is that if I can allow the Arabs to come into this area they will threaten my superiority, they will build military bases and all sorts of things there close to my strategic installations, they will come right next to me at my doorstep; I can't allow that. That was their concern. The Arabs concern was that, historically, and rightfully, this is my piece of land, it must come back, I have fought the British over this matter before. I have fought many other people over this matter, over hundreds of years, so I am not going to give way. Those are the interests that were underlying there. So Jimmy Carter said, "Fine, forget about the postures, talk about interests now"' The Israelis must give back the Arab land and the Arabs must undertake that this land will only be used for industrial and residential purposes only. No spying, no, that is difficult to monitor, no military bases, no aircraft, no military aircraft, nothing in this area. And he said, "That is the issue I am dealing with, the interests, the underlying interests." He did not care about those positions they took and once he was able to resolve those interests and find a compromise on that thing there, at the end of the day at Camp David they signed the papers and they seem to have compromised, but none of them have in reality compromised because they Arabs did not really compromise, they got their land, the Israelis did not really compromise, they did get the security thing to their satisfaction.

     So I am saying that whilst we talk about coming to terms and compromise, it does not necessarily mean that you give up your demands, but in that sense it does mean that you have been able to come to terms in the manner that you were able to satisfy your needs and your interests.

POM     Ok. So, your interests would be?

!KX     This would be without crushing these concerns. That is at the end what it means. The word 'compromise' might be used; in real terms you have not compromised.

POM     So your interests would be?

!KX     Those interests are covered.

POM     What are your interests? How do you make a list of your interests?

!KX     Our interests are first of all, democracy; secondly ...

POM     Democracy being defined as?

!KX     One person one vote on a common voters roll.

POM     Period?

!KX     Period.

POM     That is democracy?

!KX     The rights of individuals being covered in a Bill of Rights, not groups. When you say freedom of religion, all the Catholics can meet together. Individual rights can be used for group purposes, but it won't be a group to us. Freedom of cultural expression as individuals. So you put forward those types of things as far as I am concerned.

POM     Is it different in any way from the ANC's definition of democracy?

!KX     I don't know what the ANC says from morning to night. The ANC says one thing in the morning and the other at night. I can disagree with them conveniently from the weakest avenue. These are some of the issues. The land question is very important. That must be resolved. The people must get land; land for agricultural, for industrial, and land for residential purposes. The landless must be given land, they too must get a slice, and share in effective participation in the running of the economy. Socialisation processes must be put in place which will ensure the development of the people as a whole.

     These are matters which need changing. When I throw mathematical figures at you which seemingly are irreconcilable, you have to do what the mathematicians call find a common denominator and translate all those figures to that common denominator. What are the common denominators here? We have three common denominators in this country: (1) we are all human beings, all members of the universe; (2) we are all living in Africa, we are African people; (3) we are all social beings and not just economic animals. Around those three common denominators we must resolve the country's problems. It has implications of the nature of the state; how we govern affairs amongst ourselves, how we live together, all those things hang around those three common denominators. It can be done.

POM     Just a couple of final, final things. Do you think the government will be impressed by the success of the stayaway?

!KX     No. The stayaway was not successful at all.

POM     But it exceeded your expectations?

!KX     In terms of the number of people that participated in their marches, we thought there were more people than anticipated. We thought they would have less people than the 80,000 to 100,000 people who joined their marches. But it was not successful because success has nothing to do with the number of people who take part. Success has to do with what they achieve. If you bring ten billion people to achieve something and they fail to achieve it, they have been unsuccessful, all of them. The more they were, the bigger their failure. If the PAC gets 99% of the people in this country to walk up one street and down the other street and they achieve nothing in that process, it is a failure, it is a useless exercise. As long as the ANC want to use CODESA as their route, as a vehicle for achieving their objectives, and they use mass action to try and get people to strengthen them in CODESA, or to get CODESA revived, as long as they try to do that, they have wasted their time, irrespective of the number of people involved.

POM     Buthelezi. Is he a potential spoiler unless the concerns he expresses about the need for representation of the Zulu people are recognised?

!KX     Yes, yes, he is definitely a potential spoiler.

POM     Do you think both the government and the ANC are ignoring him at their peril?

!KX     No, the ANC is not ignoring him, the ANC tried to neutralise him but it is riding a tide with Buthelezi. It is a very difficult situation. We in the PAC are all worried too and for that reason we decided not to tackle it, but to ignore him. We cannot work with him, you discredit yourself, we cannot work against him without getting yourself involved in a useless battle at the cost of many people's lives. The only way to handle Buthelezi is to ignore him.

POM     What do you think will be the result of this two-day stayaway and this week of mass action?

!KX     We are not betting on this. There have been many stayaways.

POM     Will the talks be revived?

!KX     Yes the talks will revive, the ANC does not have any other alternative, they'll go back.

POM     By the time I come back to visit you again, will there be an interim government?

!KX     When are you coming back?

POM     Say in six months? About Christmas.

!KX     Talks will be well on their way to an interim government by the time you come back.

POM     And for a Constituent Assembly?

!KX     Yes.

POM     Well in that sense then the objectives of the stayaway will be on the way to being achieved.

!KX     No, we will meet with the regime as well because of the intensity of our armed struggle and things like that, they are likely to realise now that they cannot push their own way through. There are various factors that will militate against them, not only from the international community point of view as well.

POM     Do you think any negotiating process that reaches 'a solution' that is implemented but which leaves the PAC out is in the long run, or even in the short run, an unworkable solution?

!KX     Yes it will be an unworkable solution because as we said to Mr. Silas Vance his stature of a statesman will be proved in his ability to find a forum where both left and right and centre can sit down together and reach an agreement on the constitution or on the route to a constitution making body. That is what is important here.

POM     OK. Thank you.

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.