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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

22 Aug 1992: Jones, Colin

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POM     Colin, since I was here last year there have been a number of major developments. The first one I would like to talk about is the National Peace Accord. It is just almost a year ago since it was signed with great fanfare, Buthelezi, Mandela and de Klerk, and yet this past year seems to have been the bloodiest year in South Africa's recent history. Has the Peace Accord been ineffective and has it been token lip service by the leaderships of the various parties or is it a question of the leaders can reach any agreement they want but they can't really affect what's going on at grassroots?

CJ     Well I think in a way you've answered your question because it is all of those things, I think, to some degree or another. What many of us are feeling more and more is that it's very difficult to have peace accords or to have any kind of co-operation at one level, and this is true of CODESA as well, when we are trying to negotiate and trying to level the playing fields, when at the same time you have what seems to be more and more an agenda which is an agenda of encouraging, creating, constituencies for the election. I think the one actually works against the other. As long as the real intention is to muster support, just yesterday on the news and in the newspapers here we had the Nationalist Party saying very clearly that they have by far the most inclusive support in the country. Now why make a statement like that at a point like this when supposedly nobody is talking about elections? There are no dates that have been set, supposedly we're into the business of peace-making, supposedly we're into the business of negotiations. Very clearly the Nationalist Party is into the business of electioneering and I think that my concern and the concern of many of us is that that the tone that the ruling party sets, that it creates a reaction amongst the other parties to be doing the same.

     I think that, for instance, the fact that the ANC has got its knickers into a very bad knot on the whole sports issue, that it's actually taken up with the Archbishop here, that it's failed to grasp an issue which could really help the nation to focus its attention on pressing issues to be resolved like the violence. It's actually had to bow to the pressures of the sporting man South African public because that same sporting man South African public are potential voters. So they bend over backwards to accommodate people, to be seen to be reasonable and good because that's one way in which they are involved in electioneering. I think my point is that as long as that is the agenda, the real attempts at working at peace, the energies are going to be disaffected.

POM     So what you're saying is that the key negotiators are involved really in two roles. On the one hand they are negotiating and on the other hand they are electioneering and to be successful on one, i.e. electioneering, undermines your capacity to really engage in negotiations?

CJ     Absolutely, and in peace making. That's one element. I think that's a fairly strong element. The other is that there is a big gap between what the people at the top say and what is actually going on on the ground. There's a real frustration among ordinary people that nothing concrete is taking place. The euphoria of February two years ago has now begun to be turned into frustration with everybody. I think as far as the ANC is concerned it's rank and file followers are really questioning the wisdom of the ANC in having negotiated its way so much with strength in exchange for what? There's a real sense that the Nationalist government has not been above board with all the revelations of Inkathagate, with the stuff coming out now, the army's hammer units, all of these things. And these are the recent ones, there have been so many over the past few months, scandals, corruption in state departments. There's a real lack of faith in those who signed the Peace Accord to actually commit to peace given both the track record and the present stuff that's come out and I think we're into a situation in this country where nobody believes in anybody. [None of the leadership actually ...]

POM     A thing that Albie Sachs mentioned which I thought was a rather good observation, is that the government want to drag this process out as long as possible because the longer they drag the process out the more they de-legitimise the ANC, the more the ANC will be seen not as the liberation movement and just become another political party who are wrangling about petty politics and electioneering at the expense of motivating people or inspiring people.

CJ     I think that's a pretty accurate and astute observation. It also makes the Nationalist Party look more of a centrist party, it looks more solid and the more sensible of the parties and that's obviously what they are trying to do. The State President talks about a closed book on apartheid, and so they are just trying to block out the past. We see a real anxiety almost on the part of those in power to blot out the past. The amnesty issue now is another attempt to eradicate memories so that we almost have to again live in a bit of a myth just as we did in the euphoria of 1990, so the state is perpetuating that kind of myth that this is a 'new' South Africa. It's terminology and there's nothing about South Africa really and people are now beginning to make distinctions between what's new and what's real and they talk rather of the 'real' South Africa, let's get to that position rather than talk about 'new' as if the old is past. We're dragging too much of the old, there's too much of the old which has us engulfed.

POM     I was thinking about that the other day in terms of listening to government ministers talk about negotiations. Even in the larger white community, the larger political establishment, and they talk about it almost in terms of a labour dispute. The parties have a couple of grievances between them, get to a table, they sit down and hammer out a compromise and there's no acknowledgement that the majority have been suffering under this system of government for 40 years, it's been suppressed for 300. It's not a matter of saying we must take that into account when we negotiate.

CJ     Absolutely.

POM     It's just, we're sitting across the table and let's see which man can play the most hard ball.

CJ     It's issues like restitution which don't come out, because restitution actually means acknowledging history and I think that that's an essential difference between the way the blacks see things. As far as white people are concerned they want the exorcism of memory. White people talk about the new South Africa more and more and there's a sense of guilt and a lot of shame about the past. There's also an inability to deal with something, this is a kind of theological observation more than a political one, the fact that that's what apartheid has done in creating a privileged class that made them soft, made people soft in this country and able to deal with any kind of hardship, not just their own but the reality of the hardship of black people. That's why sanctions have worked and as soon as you started putting on the pressure, economic pressure on whites, we saw the white community buckle. And again, as soon as the going gets tough the tough get going and a couple of days ago in South Africa we had reports of an increased number of white people talking about immigration. There is that kind of mentality, there's a mind set, let's just pretend that it doesn't exist. That's why so many white people in this country can say they've never been in a township, they've never been in a squatter camp, turn a blind eye to it. And that same mentality is now operating in terms of a political position that whites will not look at the history. The Nationalist Party is trying to pretend that that's all gone, the book is closed. It's all part of the apartheid is dead.

POM     What the ANC wants in terms of its demands, demands for something reasonable, to accommodate themselves.

CJ     It's not a matter of demands, it's a matter of recognising the history and the reality of the kind of people that have been made as a result of 300 years of oppression and 40 years of apartheid rule. That's deep, it's right in our genes in a way. It's a deep pain that people have experienced and still experience. It's still there and it can't just be dealt with, as you say, as a kind of resolution of a labour dispute.

POM     I think we talked about this last year, again I've no sense, in the 22 years since I've been coming here, of there being any acknowledgement of the wrong that was done, the wrong that needs to be addressed. There's no kind of apology so you can't really have a reconciliation.

CJ     Absolutely. There is no reconciliation without penitence and without restitution and those are words which have been used quite a lot now. The Archbishop has said on more than one occasion to the State President, "If you could only get up and say publicly as the head of state, as one who represents a party which really caused incredible pain and harm, if you would stand up and say, 'On behalf of my party we are sorry. I am sorry for what we have done'." It sounds like a very small thing to do but it can go an incredibly long way but it's fascinating to see how difficult de Klerk finds it, incredibly difficult and hence there is no possibility of real reconciliation and people are constantly suspicious of the depth of his commitment.

POM     Do you sense in the last year a deeper sense of polarisation? Let me put it this way, this is the first time that I've come here where people have said, "Oh, don't go to the townships. It's not safe any longer." Whereas in previous years if you were white going into a township you were OK but now blacks are beginning to turn on whites, they no longer are behaving as they used to behave. I find this with the families. Part of my study is ten families which range from a rich conservative white family to a poor black family living in a squatter camp. I've got every colour and income group in between. All the white families have become more anti-African in the last two years.

CJ     I think there are contradictions in the fact that yesterday an all-white Springbok team was training in a black township. It contradicts what you've said. Here is a team of Springboks, the pride of white South Africa in a way, being able to go into a place like Nyanga and being cheered on by black fans which contradicts that quite significantly. I think a lot of white people are becoming increasingly frightened of what's going on in the townships because it's also true to say in recent years what has been going on in the townships is becoming more public. I think people are just absolutely terrified by what they see there, they fear for their own safety. It's not whites being killed. There are no whites on any kind of significant scale being killed. It's all theoretical, it's all hypothetical at the moment that they might be killed if they would go into the townships. We're not seeing large scale attacks on white people, maybe simply because they are keeping out of the townships anyway. But, as often happens in our country here, it's the perception which becomes in most people's minds the reality. I think it is true to say that there is increasing distrust for the integrity of people, and the motives of the white people and I was going to say that de Klerk has to bear the total responsibility for that because he has shown himself not to be trusted. He has shown an incredible lack of resolve to actually open up and deal with the questions that have been directed at his government in terms of the scandals, the corruption, the killings which his police force have been incriminated in. He's shown incredible lack of resolve, people don't trust him, they don't trust the State President, they don't trust his government and they don't trust the people he represents and he represents white South Africa. And so I'm not surprised at all, I don't think we should be at all surprised if he lets us down because we have an incredible lack of trust.

POM     Is there any implicit fear in the white community that the violence appears to be pervasive, spreading, endemic and that at some point it will start spilling over into their communities? That black on black violence will become black on white as the next step?

CJ     What I suspect is behind their fear is not so much the escalating violence spilling over so much. That happens. This is happening and has been happening for many, many years now. We've had township violence and I can remember in 1986 and before that going to a place like Crossroads squatter camp, seeing the witdoeke, the vigilantes which were being supported by the South African Police, taking action against squatters in the community, burning of houses, shooting of people. It was terrible. It was there, it was happening. In fact in the Western Cape it is less intense now than it was six years ago. In the Western Cape we've been fairly quiet here, except for the recent taxi war. And yet the perception is that it's different. We've had Boipatong, yes, 39 or whatever number of people it was, killed in one day. That's in one spot. That's pretty much par for the course in South Africa every day and it has been for a long, long time.

     What I think is a concern, an unspoken concern on the part of white South Africans is the lack of confidence in the security forces to protect them. The fact that the police have shown themselves to be implicated and this whole question about who is running the police force, what is the role of battalions like 32 Command, Koevoet and all these other things. If there is what seems to be almost a coup within the police force and the army and the State President no longer, not only doesn't know what's going on in the police force but is unable to address the issues and shows a lack of resolve, then to what extent can they trust the police force to actually defend them, protect them. And so the distrust is rife. It runs through our whole country at every level and this is why we really do need - it's incumbent upon de Klerk to actually start clearing up because it's creating incredible fear at a whole lot of levels in our society.

POM     What do you think happened to de Klerk in the sense that two years ago he was in charge of the new South Africa, it was reform this, reform that and he always seemed to be seizing the initiative and at worst you would describe him as a very astute politician, knowing how to play his hand to his own maximum benefit and one would have thought that just being politically astute that he would have made some overt attempt in the last 18 months or two years to deal with the violence if only by firing some police officers or having them suspended or having a special Board of Enquiry into the conduct of the police yet he's really done nothing except say, "Bring me direct evidence." There's one point of view that he's not in control of his security forces, that he is constrained, that there's only so much he can do, that he can't fire senior people across the board or he can't afford to alienate key elements within the security forces, and that may not be so much an unwillingness to do it as an inability which he can't publicly admit because he would thereby show how ineffectual he was. What's your feeling?

CJ     I would share that view actually. It's a bit of a thumb-suck because there's no hard evidence for it but much of what is happening seems to suggest to me that de Klerk has to be very careful about what he does, particularly with the security forces, both the police and the army. There's always been a threat of some kind of coup from some quarter, and it's not the right wing thing so much I don't think. I think the right wing has been pretty much identified, but I think we have to face the fact that the Nationalist Party of the day is still the Nationalist Party which brought about apartheid. Yes, the decision on February 2nd 1990 was an astute political one and that it wasn't a moral decision and what's lacking in our society is the morality here. We're talking about restitution, forgiveness and all this sort of stuff, those are moral issues really and it's the morality that's absent because it wasn't a moral decision. It wasn't because of the fact that he saw that this was wrong and repented of it. There's not been one word of penitence here, so it was a political decision and the whole way that the whole thing has unfolded is one in which politics and power are the over-riding motivations for he's on about here.

     And the Nationalist Party is concerned about being the major political force in the country. The violence has worked to the detriment of everybody other than the Nationalist Party. It's only recently that this question - this is why the issue of Goniwe and the others who have been assassinated becomes a very important one because it will show to what extent the state has been involved in the violence. This is why it is no accident that the state is pushing so hard for an amnesty deal in which its own forces will be indemnified against any punitive action. And it's lack of morality, the fact that it is basically politics and de Klerk is a politician and not a moralist. I think that's why the situation has wound down and people have become totally disenchanted because it lacks any kind of integrity. There has been a growing sense of being appalled at how the world is prepared to go along with that, like the United States. Bush talks about all these high moral things, democracy, and it's obviously political manoeuvring. So there's a great sense of disenchantment and distrust.

POM     When whites voted yes in the referendum, what do you think they were voting for and what were they voting against?

CJ     I think it was a very white election. The choices were between, at one level, a right wing position and a more centrist position. It wasn't like an election in which you have a choice between the ANC and the PAC and the Nationalist Party. It was a choice in some ways between the Conservative Party and the Nationalist Party, those were the two options. You voted yes, which was a centrist position or you voted no which was the right wing position. So at one level it was a very simple choice. In terms of what those parties stood for we entered an era in which it wasn't fashionable, indeed it was extremely unfashionable to be seen to be voting for right wing sentiments. And de Klerk, given his profile and so on, was by far the obvious choice. In fact in the church, given the choices, we had to say if you were going to vote at all you had to vote for de Klerk. The choices were very clear between right wing politics or something else. Whatever the something else was.

POM     I'm asking you in the context of every report which came out of South Africa, the BBC or The Guardian or the New York Times or whatever, always talked about it in terms of a referendum on a process that was about bringing about a situation in which whites would share power with blacks. I suppose what I'm asking is, were whites voting for reform and power sharing but not for anything they would interpret as the transfer of power or for majority rule or for anything like that?

CJ     I think they were voting for participation of blacks in the process rather than transfer of power. In the back of their mind that was what it was about, that they could no longer hold blacks out of it, but not so much majority black rule or anything like that. And as things have unravelled and as the power of black people is seen and the way that is has been manifested in the violence is a sign of the power that blacks have and the strikes that occur, that's also quite significant. There have been some very significant labour actions which have crippled sections of our society, like the hospital issue recently. Now it's an emotional one because we're talking about sick people and people dying because of not getting medical assistance but it's frightening to white people to be able to see to what extent black people have influence in society, could actually grind itself into a halt. The mass action was very frightening to watch, extremely frightening to them because the thought of having an ongoing strike and stayaway made them realise that the economy could well crumble. So I think that is a real fear among white people now about a future black government. Some of it's real, some of it's not real, some of it's perception, some of it's propaganda which is successfully, to this point, being pushed by the state.

POIM     I want to go back to the violence for a moment, and again we talked about this last year, about the ANC's belief that the government has this dual strategy of negotiations on the one hand and violence on the other to undermine them. Yet you had the Goldstone Commission coming out and saying there's no direct evidence of state complicity in the violence, trying to place all the questions of violence in the larger context of apartheid, but also singling out the Inkatha/ANC political dispute as being one of the major contributors towards it. I find that the ANC will not acknowledge at all that they have any responsibility for any part of the violence. They involve Inkatha either because Inkatha is carrying it out or because Inkatha and elements of the security forces operate in concert who are carrying it out. Do you think they are removing themselves from responsibility for any part of the violence and they if they continue to do that, if they continue to say it's Inkatha and it's the state, it's not us, that they will find a resolution of the violence more difficult?

CJ     I think that there's a problem on the ANC side which exists because the intention of policy I don't think is one to actually create and instigate violence. I don't think that's an official policy, whereas some of us in the church and elsewhere would say it is very clearly part of the state's strategy to keep it going at least. I would be very surprised if any commission looking into it would directly implicate the state. The way in which they have operated has been through subversive, covert actions and that's the way most governments operate. They're not going to leave evidence all over the place, balaclavaed policemen, I have actually seen with my own eyes balaclavaed guys sitting in taxis, policemen sitting in taxis in Nyanga at the bus terminus during the taxi war last year. I've seen it and there are plenty of independent monitors who will have signed affidavits which have been produced and given to the police.

     So I've got no doubt about state complicity, absolutely no doubt. One might not have cold, hard evidence and so on. I've no doubt about it that it is going on and one day it will come out in the wash. It's also very clear to me, and from our monitoring in the Natal area, that Inkatha, and the Boipatong massacre, that one couldn't be covered up, it is a very real, that it's policy on the part of Buthelezi to coerce and intimidate, beat these fellows into submission. I think on the whole though that the ANC doesn't have such a policy. It happens and there may well be people in the ANC who are doing it anyway for whatever reason but on the whole it's not quite the same thing. What the ANC cannot, however, do is say because it's not our policy therefore we can't accept responsibility. That's not on. They have to accept responsibility for the lack of control. But I think that differs from the state.

POM     Do you see them being unwilling so far to accept that responsibility in a real and tangible way?

CJ     I think it would help them a great deal if somebody was able to say, look we have a problem here and this is our problem. It's not our policy to do it but it's happening and we will ensure that to nail this one down. But to go away and say, look it's not us, it's them, is not helpful. Someone needs to act with some integrity and courage here. The state's not going to do it, that's very clear. Inkatha's not going to do it, Buthelezi can't. It's not in his nature, personality to do it. And if anyone is wanting to maintain the high ground here, or regain the high ground, the first one to say that it's us and we're sorry and we're going to do something about it, is going to come out with the most credibility here. I think at the moment politically none of those can actually say it. I think that the ANC have an added problem that they've got the young lions who are frustrated, they are angry with the way in which the ANC has bargained away most of its chips already and has not produced anything.

POM     Just to bring violence to one more level, there's this debate over - can you have elections if the level of violence continues at current levels? And most people you talk to say no, that you couldn't have elections that would be regarded free and fair in the sense that elections are free and fair. On the other hand if you don't have elections it adds more fuel to the violence. Some people say that as soon as you've announced the date of the elections the violence will cease, a la Namibia. Do those who don't want elections, if you say we can't have elections until the violence de-escalates and then those who don't want elections will make sure that violence never does de-escalate, how do you read that situation in terms of when one can have elections and must the violence be brought down to, and this is the phrase that's used in Northern Ireland, it's an awful phrase, can the violence be brought down to an acceptable level?

CJ     It's a difficult one. I'm of the opinion that an election has to happen, in some form has to happen in order to level the playing fields, but from a political point of view I think that as yet there is no clarity in terms of where the support it and it's still early days, far too early for de Klerk to really know what his power base is. He doesn't know the real extent of black support for the Nationalist Party. He would be taking a big risk if he were to call for an election of one kind or another now. I think that he might well be prepared to take a risk. I think that an election is going to be called when the violence is at its peak rather than when it's down because that would be a better time for de Klerk to call an election. It's to the advantage of the Nationalist Party and I want to predict that rather than see a de-escalation of violence we're going to see an escalation of the violence and then we're going to have a call, and I wouldn't be surprised then if the Nats come out looking pretty good. That's the cynic in me speaking.

POM     Do you think that the government wanted CODESA to fail? Put it in this context, it's almost what you have said. At the one level when one talks to those who participate and one looks at what happened it would seem that the ANC were out-negotiated all along the way, they made concession after concession. They were slowly being manoeuvred into a position of going to accept that CODESA would write an interim constitution that could only be amended by a Constituent Assembly. They went as far as to offer a 70% veto threshold and one wonders what happened to them. Were the government just more clever, more astute, more experienced?

CJ     I think that having created a kind of election atmosphere, in a way, without ever setting a date, just by the way in which the state was operating itself, it was clear, they wouldn't have the advantage, for instance, of having a local by-election in which it could be tested. Then, of course, what is virtually a mini-election in which it could test it's strength amongst the white electorate in the referendum, that created for the ANC and everyone else a real problem. How were they to prove their strength? De Klerk came out saying, "The majority of my people in South Africa are behind me."
He's had some successes, small successes, in Coloured townships, I think in Johannesburg in the Witwatersrand area. He's had rallies in the Western Cape here and there's been support, even if it wasn't great. There was a very interesting phenomenon, there were such creatures as Coloureds Nats. It had gone out of its way to win over Labour Party members of parliament and make them Nats. And so it's building up this image of being a non-racial party. But it has all the means by which to do that and to test its strength which put the pressure on everybody else.

     So operating in this election atmosphere, the ANC had to do some back-pedalling, hence the bargaining away of a lot of their power in order to be seen to be reasonable, the support of the sports tours, the rugby tours, the Olympics and the cricket, World Cup cricket thing, in order to be seen to be reasonable and so on. All of this and then CODESA itself, the Peace Accord at CODESA. It's almost for me mind boggling to think that anybody in any party could be so politically cynical and clever, diabolically clever in a way, to be able to create, seem to be creating opportunities for negotiation and co-operation and peace, setting up the ANC, setting up the other parties and then undermining them in a way in which the other party has to react in anger and then be seen to be recalcitrant and the people who are not wanting to co-operate.

     So that's the pattern, that's why we can't afford to look at memory, we can't afford to look at our history because that is the way the Nationalist Party has always operated. It's underhand, it has a dirty tricks campaign department, it's never been acting with integrity and I think the key clue to all of that is the failure of de Klerk and his government to actually apologise because that would mean an acknowledgement of what's past and all they have to do is eradicate it. It's fairly successful, this whole blitz, the media campaigns, de Klerk a reasonable, smiling, affable person prepared to open up and talk, "My door is always open", and you just have to watch for the buckets as you enter.

POM     Do you think that had the government accepted the ANC's offer of the 70% threshold, had the government said yes, that the ANC would have had a real problem selling the deal to some of its constituency, that the negotiators had gotten out of touch with the grassroots?

CJ     I think that's always been a problem in the whole thing, that the negotiators aren't in touch with their constituencies. It's got a lot to do with the leadership here and I'm afraid that the more we talk about democracy the less democratic the processes are.

POM     Let me give you a good example. One of the families that I interview is a Coloured family who had been forcibly removed from a place in Salt River down to Retreat and there is an awful lot of bitterness and anger, they still fear the ANC, fear of African domination in the future. I asked one of boys about Allan Boesak and he said, "He's very much admired but I don't like him." Why? He said, "Well he lives out at Constantia and homes out there cost R300,000-00 and anybody who lives in a R300,000-00 house and says he supports the struggle and all that just simply isn't, I don't believe that person." It was a contradiction between - is that the kind of phenomenon that's there in a larger way, not taking Allan as an example, but just leaderships tend no longer to live among the people, but to lead more exclusive lifestyles, to behave as elites, sending their children to private schools?

CJ     I think that has much to do with it. To a large degree the liberalisation of the process, of our society, by allowing the freedom of association, the freedom to call political meetings and all this kind of thing, has worked to the disadvantage of the democratic movement in this country because we moved too quickly into a normal, parliamentary kind of system in which the MPs, the ministers were taking the decisions and not consulting. In the informal days of oppression and the lack of liberties, decisions were made by the people. There was a very interesting process going on which I think was unique in many ways, that the leadership came from down below and that discussions took place across a broad section of civic associations, individual organisations, the mass democratic movement and so on. It was happening there so the people felt at least that they were participating, that their opinions meant that they could be involved.

     Then came February and there was almost a kind of abdication of that on to the shoulders of the very idolised leadership who then proceeded to be out-manoeuvred by the state. Some people, I think, are saying we did a better job at resistance and sticking to the moral high ground than the present leadership. But the gap has so grown in these two years that there is also a sense of powerlessness on the part of the ordinary people who have had tremendous power in their unity and who are feeling that not only are they not able to influence the situation through mass action. That's why the mass action thing may be successful because the ANC at least recognised the fact there was power to be mobilised then.

     As long as people are isolated, and this is where de Klerk, I think, has a very definite strategy here, that he creates situations where the leadership tend to have to out on a limb in order to react to the situation he's created. That further separates leadership from people, that's the old divide and rule thing. That's always been the strategy of the Nats to divide and rule at any level and at every level and one of its clearest strategies seems to me to be to divide the leadership of the anti-apartheid forces from the support on the ground and it's working, to a degree it's working.

POM     So you see the mass action as a necessary thing for the involvement of the masses, the people?

CJ     Yes. I think there are two levels at which it was necessary. One, it is necessary for the people to feel part of this whole process, a massive show of support throughout the country, in the cities. It is also necessary for Mandela, I think, to have a show of strength, to show his support. The problem is it's no good just standing up there and saying the right things. Just as there's a disillusionment with de Klerk at the result of the referendum on the part of whites who are really concerned now about whether he's going to produce the goods. They voted yes but what's he produced? So Mandela is going to have the same problem if he doesn't stay in touch with his grassroots now they've been called on and shown their support. It's not going to be enough for de Klerk and Mandela to stand up and say, "These are our people." The people want to know that they are more than just cannon fodder, more than just numbers in an election.

POM     Do you think that the stayaway was politically successful and by that I mean has it sent a message to the government, was the government surprised by the extent of the stayaway, impressed by it do you think to an extent that it will hasten its desire to get back to the table? In other words that it would realise the extent of people power?

CJ     I think that it probably concerned them deeply to see that even given the successes in providing the ruling that there's still such a massive show of support. Just this morning I think there were some recent figures that the ANC still has majority black support. It didn't actually give figures, on the television news this morning they mentioned something about Inkatha support which interestingly talked about something like 29% among black people, black people who support Inkatha. They didn't mention any ANC but they did say that the ANC had the largest support of the black community and they mentioned that the Nationalist Party had the most multi-racial support. It was obvious that it was another piece of SABC propaganda, just saying enough to create an impression. It's a sadness to see that still going on.

POM     I'm amazed when I come back every year and find reporting on news on SABC there is absolutely no change.

CJ     For a time they mellowed, were quite respectable by allowing different opinions but they are very quickly getting back into their old mode. It's very noticeable. Just to get back to your question, you were saying?

POM     The ANC, I could see mass action, two aspects, one was Mandela needing to get back in touch with his constituency to re-involve it and to pull the disparate, fractious factions of his own party back into a coherent unit. The other thing was to put pressure on the government. Do you think that it has been successful in exerting that pressure?

CJ     I think that the government has a very real problem there because there are two things that have happened which are causing it problems. One is the result of that stayaway, the show of black solidarity. I think the ANC did come out with that and regained some of its lost strength there. I think it's immediately been very stupid in terms of the All Blacks thing and now it is talking about withdrawing its support from the All Blacks at a meeting just a couple of days ago I gather which shows something of its confusion. I think they're just crazy when it comes to that, stupid actually. But de Klerk has another problem and that is all these revelations about government involvement in assassinations together with the mass action results must be making de Klerk think again about his strategy. And what bothers me is that rather than at a time like this back off and say let's just cool it now, let's cool the violence, let's at least try and get everything out in the open now, that their strategy is to cover up.

     I think that what we're going to see is a real push on the part of the state to get the amnesty thing through, it's going to create situations which are going to force the ANC to actually accept that amnesty thing and that the ANC's hands are not by any shot clean of blood itself. They are going to have to accept the amnesty thing and I also think that we are going to see some major diversions which are going to refocus attention on something else so that the effects of the stayaway are going to be dissipated, the effect is going to be dissipated. I think part of that might well be we need to be watching what Inkatha does because so often Inkatha is used as the diversion. I was very concerned about the ominous happenings of yesterday when there was a mini massacre, some five people including a baby shot in KwaZulu. It just seems very ominous to me that that sort of thing happens at a time like this.

POM     Does Buthelezi have the capacity to be a spoiler? If the government and the ANC got together and hammered out a deal and Buthelezi, the Zulu nation - we talked two days ago to the King and he was more hard line than Buthelezi on this issue of the Zulu nation, in their not being involved and lack of consultation. Could they say, we will not accept this agreement, and to that extent make it largely unenforceable in Natal?

CJ     I think that's a very likely scenario.

POM     Some people say to me that the way you deal with Buthelezi is simply pull the financial plug and he's gone. That seems too simple.

CJ     I think to what extent the state keeps him going certainly finance and the media. I think maybe history will sort this out in a way, that crooks tend to eventually shoot each other and I don't really think that the NP/Inkatha is going to self-destruct. In a way Buthelezi has, I think, a real problem with power and that is going to be his undoing because he's going to want so much that even the NP won't be able to keep him happy. And then they're going to have to deal with him.

POM     OK I'll leave it there. Thank you again. It's always a pleasure to talk to 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.