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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

23 Aug 1992: Molefe, Popo

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     You were just talking about the strategy of the security forces with regard to violence and talking about it at three levels, the level of intimidation they take against leaders of the ANC trying to set them up for being hit, the level they take against people in general in the townships through the violence which then they blame on Inkatha and then the third level during the mass action trying to target individual leaders within the ANC itself. Could you just recount what strategies are at work here?

PM     Well Patrick I think you have already done it yourself. But anyway if I may just add to what you have said. The central issue here remains the question of power, that is what we are contesting, we as the ANC, and the government. Clearly the government does not want to relinquish power and it does not want to accept the consequences of any election that would come in this country. Now typical of all the oppressive regimes, the strategy of this government is to find ways of weakening the ANC and therefore preventing it from being in power and various methods are being used as part of this overall strategy. The first level that we observed since February 1990 was the one of escalating violence at mass level to create a state of fear and panic amongst the ordinary people, to create a situation of insecurity and projecting the ANC as incapable of offering the protection to the people. But at the same time, of course, provoking the ANC to respond violently to that violent situation in which case then they would say, "You see, this ANC says it wants negotiations, they say that they are no longer engaged in terrorist activities but now they have unleashed their MK again to carry out a spate of bombings and shootings of the people."

     So in a sense, therefore, they would also use that to show that the ANC is not genuine in its commitment to negotiations. At one level we would have created that state of fear among the people hoping, of course, that that would lead to loss of confidence in the ANC and that would also then be used by them to rebuild the confidence of the people in the security forces because at that stage of fear, panic and insecurity, helplessness, people would then say, "But send us the army to protect us. Please send the police", and so on. Then they would move in and say, "You see, we are the only party, we are the only force that can protect you. Your Nelson Mandela is useless."

POM     Is this part of the strategy they adopted in declaring twenty of areas of unrest and sending in the security forces?

PM     The declaration of twenty areas as unrest areas is the culmination of that strategy because indeed if they wanted to protect the people ordinarily all round they would not have needed to declare any area an unrest area. All they need to do is to act decisively against any act of violence, against members of the security forces who are implicated but that they have not done. If anything you see now they are seeking amnesty, general amnesty, even before they tell us who those people are that they are seeking amnesty for and what is it that they have done. They don't want to do it, so they just want to make a blanket thing and then simply just throw all the hit squads and murder squads, the Ascaris, protect them within that amnesty.

     So that is one aspect of it but clearly the whole thing has required, it has flown into the face of its architect. It has not helped. If anything it has increased people's confidence in the ANC, united them against the de Klerk regime. It has isolated the homeland leaders. Increasingly they are projected as puppets different from the local government officials in the black areas as the case was in the seventies up to the late eighties. It has not helped. It does appear like there is another level, therefore, at which the strategy is operating. This is the level now of targeting the leadership of the ANC. This strategy started at local level. A number of our branch and regional leaders have been assassinated over the last eighteen months, many of them have died, either attacked in a manner that it appears that they are just involved in car accidents or hit by people in such a manner that the trace is left to give the impression that it was a pure criminal case, a case similar to this one of de Villiers who was giving information to the ANC about activities of the security forces, in particular their role in the assassination of Goniwe. Now that is how they are operating.

     They now are moving clearly to the top echelons of the ANC leadership. This is manifest in the way in which most of our houses are kept under surveillance, our movements are monitored, a lot of individuals using strange vehicles, false registration numbers and so on. Clearly that is in preparation of the implementation of that strategy but they are looking for, as we believe, the decisive moment to act. When that moment comes they should be having all the information. In my case it is clear that every time there was a climate of violence, and I became somehow associated with that situation, there were efforts to move in and act in such a matter that if I die, if I get eliminated, it appears that it is just part of that violence. Let me give you an example. In 1990 when there was violence in Uitenhage between the so-called Ma-Africa(?), the UDF and supporters of the ANC, I planned to move down to help resolve the conflict. As I was moving down to the Eastern Cape members of the CCB were meeting to plan how they could hit me while I was there in the Eastern Cape.

POM     You have this on fairly good authority?

PM     Well, unfortunately they have run away, these people have disappeared but I am sure you can get the next person to tell you the story - to whom the story was told. So one of them who was disgruntled leaves that meeting and he reports. He says, "Please tell Popo to be careful. We have got this fellow who has been paid R20,000-00 to hit him." This fellow was despatched to follow him up in PE where he had gone to. As I was in PE people were frantic around me, they were trying to locate me to say to me, "Please be careful. Don't come back or if you are there stay somewhere else." Then I came back and I met this chap who told me that this was what was happening and he mentioned a highly senior police officer who was Chief of the Security Police at John Vorster Square when I was detained in 1976/77. He said this fellow was also part of this. All those people have disappeared now. We don't where they are. They wanted to leave the country. We don't know if they've left the country and if they have done so, where are they? They have disappeared. We were supposed to have a last meeting with them but they disappeared before that meeting. Now that is just one aspect of it.

     Then there was violence in Alexandra which started again in March 1991, which escalated from March 1991 and I was central there, I played a key role in trying to normalise the situation, intervening with the police and with Inkatha Freedom Party organisers. I got organisations in Alexandra to support our peace initiatives and so on. Shortly after that I got reports of people looking for me and the police themselves also would come at night to my flat, knocking and searching the whole house and so on. They did all that, those things. Now it is quite clear to me that the way things were planned then I would have been eliminated at the height of that violence and it could be explained away by saying: well you know that they have been fighting with Inkatha and he was part of it. At one stage when I was with the police near that hostel there, when people were getting killed, the police were very eager to tell me to go away, they were saying that these people would shoot you and so on. But there's no reason why these people should shoot me while I'm among the police and they don't shoot the police, they don't shoot the journalists. But they wanted to create that story that if these people see you they will shoot you and kill you. Why should they kill me and the police leave them to get away with it? So clearly to me therefore it was part of that process.

     So that happened and I must say that when again these things, during the period of mass action it became clear that the surveillance was being intensified, a lot of strange individuals in balaclavas were beginning to move around my house, some white, others black. It became clear to me that again there was an attempt to use the period of mass action to eliminate some of us and to blame it on the fact that there is a difference of opinion between ourselves and other organisations on the issue of mass action and this, of course, as you would see, would come about after a deliberate and concerted strategy by the government to project mass action as being the equivalent of violence, to say that the ANC is using mass action to return to violence.

     Now all these factors, therefore, indicate conclusively that the regime's security forces are constantly, or elements within the security forces but with the blessing of key police officers, are constantly looking for the opportunity to hit at the ANC. If we look at that picture, all of it, the central objective there is to weaken the ANC. At the first level they tried to scare the people away from the ANC. That did not happen. Now what do you do? The next stage is to look for those people who are keeping the organisation together, hit them with the hope that they might not be replaced easily in the movement. You see, that's what they are doing.

POM     If the ANC is aware of that, that many of its top leadership are being targeted for assassination under ambiguous circumstances, do you have set up strategies to reduce the possibilities of that happening and the precautions that you take, for example, would you not have, not a bodyguard, but somebody from the ANC who would be watching your house and watching the houses of other people who might be potential targets?

PM     Well I would not be prepared to go into the details of strategies in that regard. You would agree with me that that is a fairly sensitive matter, but obviously the necessary precautions are being taken. Necessary precautions are being taken. We have said so in our public statements also. We have said that we are aware that this is happening and that the necessary precautions would be taken but I would not like to go into it.

POM     That's fine. I'd just like to know that you are doing something.

PM     Just to add to the earlier point I made about how the regime is constantly trying to create a climate in which the leadership could be eliminated. Now they have the group of their spies, informers who had infiltrated the ANC in exile back in the country. One of them is Twala, another one is Songwane(?). They arrange, get this fellow to arrange an interview with the public media, TV, television. He gives a long interview on how they are planning to eliminate the top leadership of the ANC. He says publicly that we have two hundred men who were trained in Israel and elsewhere who are working together with the Ascaris who have been trained and directed by this government and we are going to hit at the ANC leadership. They say so. And he doesn't get arrested. But the point I am making is that they are at pains to create a third force because they want to hit us and then they can blame it on the third force. They try to form a third force which they have not been able to clearly identify. Now they are trying to use dissidents and spies which infiltrated the ANC as part of that force. And, of course, once it became clear that the international community is going to have an interest in this matter, de Klerk is going to be challenged to say, "Why are you not dealing with this group inside your country because today you are having a mood of negotiations, settling problems peacefully. Why is it that you allow this group of people, that you know who they are, where they live, why do you allow them to undermine that process?" Then suddenly this boy goes back to the media again and says, "No, I wish to withdraw my statement. I wish to withdraw my statement. I was not telling the truth when I said we would kill the ANC. I was just saying it because the ANC has taught us to lie." And the government leaves it. They leave it like that.

POM     This question has surfaced more often in the last year and that is whether de Klerk is in full control of his security forces or whether he is limited in the actions he can take against senior members or whether or not he is familiar with the clandestine and secret structures that operated in the security forces themselves. Do you think all of this, I've said this before but this is a year later, all of this is being done with his implicit blessing or that he simply doesn't have the power to enforce across the board control?

PM     I would find it very difficult to accept that President de Klerk does not know anything. The President of this country has to be part of the State Security Council. He would be part of it, at least before he changed it to call it something else. But apart from that people who were known to be very close to him such as Pik Botha and Barend du Plessis would have been part of that Security Council for much, much longer than de Klerk himself would have been. As a Foreign Minister Pik Botha would have been part of the Security Council. Barend de Plessis as the Finance Minister would have been part of it. Of course Adriaan Vlok was also part of this. Whilst one may not say with certainty that Magnus Malan and Adriaan Vlok would easily tell de Klerk what is happening, but I find it difficult for his strong supporters like Pik Botha and du Plessis, to have kept him in the dark. That is one point.

     But apart from that if you look at the way in which he has approached the issue all the time it suggests that he himself has not sufficient motivation to go to the root of the problem. The way in which he investigates these matters clearly does not show him as a person who is determined to get to the root of the problem. The question that one then asks is, why? If he really believes that these were ordinary criminal offences by members of the security forces who act without the authority of himself and the government, why not deal with them in accordance with the existing laws of the country and ensure that you actually wipe the whole thing clean and you then have a civil service which is accountable? One would have reason to cover up if he knows what a big and ugly can of worms is going to be opened by a thorough investigation. You see that?

     He is now the one who is arguing for general amnesty and he is arguing at a time when there are so many exposés of security force involvement in violence in the country. We want those things to be properly investigated for him to order that they be investigated thoroughly. They start off by denying and he says, "Well, if it becomes necessary I will set up a Commission of Enquiry." But that is what they have been doing all the time. The Commission of Enquiry also depends on the same police evidence and only certain people will be brought before it, it will not reveal the real truth about the situation.

     Take this example: with their information, evidence, that in 1986 two hundred IFP members were trained in the country in the use of all sorts of weapons of war RPG7s, AK47s, landmines, explosives and so on. And then he is satisfied with the explanation that, "No, no we are training them to protect the VIPs within Inkatha Freedom Party." Now if you train people to protect the VIPs why take them to an army camp? If you take a simple security firm here you can send them to be trained in a security firm in Britain or in the United States but why take them to an army camp, why let them train in the use of AK47s, RPG7s, explosives and so on? What has that got to do with the protection of VIP politicians? But he doesn't worry about it. Then he denies that money was given to Inkatha to oppose the ANC. Later on when he could no longer hide that, then he denied that he had given them seven million but later he agreed that seven million was given and to him that means nothing. It's normal. All these things were done by a secret organ within the security forces which is operating at the heart of the strategy, the core of the strategy of the state.

POM     The thing is, can he afford to fire those people? Could he afford to disband them or would he lose the support of the security forces? After all it's only the security forces that stand between you and him. That is the last line of defence if negotiations break down, you have to depend on the security forces. If he loses their support you can topple him from power quite easily. Or do they have enough information about illegal activities that have gone on in the past that they can blackmail him by saying, "You try get rid of us and the can of worms that we open up will be so huge that heads will roll all over the place, possibly your own?"

PM     Well it is possible that he is also scared of the things that he has done as part of the PW regime. I think that is the key factor. But I think the second point may well be that ...

POM     You think that is a key factor, that he is afraid of exposure of what he has been involved in as part of the PW government?

PM     Yes I think so, and then you can link that immediately with the whole question of demand for a general amnesty. It's immediately there because they don't want these things to be known and we already see that a number of army officers who are uncertain about their future, and who also feel that they have been betrayed, are now beginning to spill the beans. Some of them will be leaving the country. They will go to England, the United States and start talking from there. So they have to stop them before it becomes uncontrollable. They've got to contain it. That's why they want a general amnesty now. I think that is part of it.

     But the other element which, of course, is there, as it becomes increasingly evident that if we went to an election we would emerge with an ANC government and that before that the ANC government was beginning to involve the international community in our affairs, the United Nations and so on in terms of monitoring and they could also begin to investigate and the way in which we would investigate at that level would no longer depend on the South African Police. We would have to use our own independent investigators. That must be striking the kind of fear in the hearts of the security forces especially key people involved in this strategy of violence that has never been experienced in the history of this country. In a sense they see themselves, the whole thing that they have been busy building all these years, collapsing. They see themselves now left with no future. And of course the continual reportage in the newspapers about the possibility of the Nuremberg type trials. That is also striking fear into the hearts of these people. They now have reached a stage where some of them probably begin to feel, "But what is there for us? What is there for us? We stick to what we have been doing, continue eliminating them. We are still at war because what future do we have?" They do that.

     That is why even after Dr Gluckman had reported that at least, I think he said (80% or 18%?) of the cases of deaths in detention were caused by the police. After he had reported that, one would have expected that they would say, "We're getting into trouble, let's stop this." But he reports that shortly after that a few people died, another two and another one died. Today in the newspapers I see that an ANC member has died in detention. It shows that now they have reached a stage where they say, "We don't care. We will continue. We would kill them. Do your damnedest."

     Now that then brings us to the point you raise about whether de Klerk is able to control them. He's afraid of the exposures which involve him but, secondly, within that security force they have might have in fact built a Frankenstein, a monster that they are not able to control. A monster that would overthrow them, that would stage a coup and simply say we don't recognise any agreement, not even that election. This monitoring of our houses therefore and surveillance of our houses may well be linked to that. "When we decide to go for a coup we must be able to pick on every one of those ANC members on the same day, on the spot, or if we have to eliminate them, eliminate them." That information of our movements, times, the vehicles we use and so on, would be essential for them when that moment comes. So there is that problem.

     I actually think that de Klerk is really scared. If you look at how SWAPO looks at the question, I was listening to an interview by the Foreign Minister, Gurirab, he talks about the civil service. He says, "You know after long negotiations and stalling for ten years of the process we discovered that the issue that mattered most to these people was not so much the constitutional questions but more the question of security. They were worried that there would be mass dismissals, retrenchments, that they would be almost overnight be replaced by a new civil service dominated by black people." He says, "We had to say to them that we would not take away your jobs. Only those who have attained pensionable age would go."

PAT     Its in their constitution.

PM     Did they put it in their constitution? So in many ways I think we are faced with that situation in our country. Ours is even worse because in Namibia at least they accepted that it was not their country they were merely ruling, but here they believe that it's their only country, they have got nowhere else to go. The question of their future becomes therefore a critical one. If you have to even get to a point where you can begin to establish a national security force accountable to the people of the country, an integrated country, this question of security of the individuals becomes key.

POM     The logical conclusion of what you're saying about the violence is that these elements in the security forces who are afraid of an election that would result in an ANC government, that would subsequently establish investigations that would expose what goes on, what do you do if you prevent an election? And the way you prevent an election is you keep the violence up so that there is never a time when the atmosphere is free of violence to conduct a free and fair election.

PM     Yes, because they know that the elimination of violence is essential to holding a free and fair election and what they will do is to escalate this violence so that the time does not come to hold an election. And if you listen carefully to what Chief Buthelezi, his theme recently is always on the fact that unless violence stops we can't hold an election. You see in the territory where he has virtually got a one-party rule he is not making any efforts to stop that violence and report after report shows that his security forces, the KwaZulu Police, are involved in the killings, the killing spree that is taking place in Natal. But he is constantly harping on the theme that there has to be peace in order for us to hold a fair and free election. Why is he saying so? He is saying it because it must fit into the strategy of the forces that are orchestrating this violence but it must be put in such a manner that it echoes the views of the United Nations General Assembly in that consensus declaration and the consequences, on apartheid and its destructive consequences in South Africa as well as the Harare Declaration and so on.

POM     Did the ANC get what it wanted out of the UN Security Council debate and the subsequent visit by Cyrus Vance and his recommendations and the number of observers in the country? A number of people have said that the government came out relatively better, they got the homeland leaders there and they weren't treated as the pariah at the UN they way they used to be in previous years, there was no blanket condemnation of the government and its policies. There was an even-handedness and whatever the ANC had to say was counteracted by other voices like Buthelezi and Brigadier Gqozo and others so that it didn't appear - you know what I mean?

PM     I think those are very naive people, ignorant of what the objective of the ANC was when we went to the United Nations. The central objective when we went to the United Nations was to get the Security Council to agree that we should have a monitoring force coming into the country, monitoring group coming into the country. The Secretary General sent a representative and having done so they should look at whether they should not investigate the role of the state and the security forces. And we also, of course, in that context wanted to ensure that the Security Council remain seized with the South African question until we attain a non-racial democratic South Africa. We did not go there to get the Security Council to condemn the South African government. We debated this issue in the NEC and the NWC. We would not be so naive. When we were still banned, we were not able to operate in the country, we would have taken that sort of a line, the old line of isolating them and getting them to be bashed and so on, but you could not logically do that if you wanted the United Nations to agree on a monitoring observer group in the country because if you did that then the South African government would have said immediately, "On what basis do you want to come to our country? You have already judged us. You have passed your judgement and now you want to come into our country to do what? [You say we are ... already, so why do you come?]" The United Nations itself would have found it difficult to take a decision on that issue, they would not have agreed on it. Britain would certainly not have supported it, the US, I don't know what intelligent government would have supported that sort of approach. But they want to project it as if that was our mission at the UN.

     Secondly, we knew that these Bantustan leaders were all going to go there. We knew the lobbying that de Klerk was trying to do, also trying to stop the monitoring group coming into the country. At least we know that he had approached five countries before we went to the UN. There might be more, there may be others who did not tell us that they had been approached. So we didn't even want to stop the Bantustan or the CODESA parties going there. If they went there to corroborate the evidence of the South African government, as part of an extension of the South African government, well and good. For us there was no question as to the recognition of the homeland leaders by the UN. We knew that that issue would not arise and their participation there would not mean that they have been recognised. It would be just like any other individual that the UN could call in if it believed that it would help it decide objectively the issue at hand.

     Now if you look at the problem in that context, therefore, you would then understand that the ANC made tremendous progress. We achieved that objective of getting them to come into the country which the National Party has been trying to stop altogether. And, of course, they made it clear that they were not recognising the homeland leaders. They still talk about a united, non-racial, democratic South Africa. They talk about it. They threw out that resolution at the UN so there is no way they would recognise the existence of independent states within South Africa. Secondly, this last session of the United Nations Security Council has taken that process forward. Initially they had wanted to send thirty people. We intervened as the ANC, we said, "That is too little, we want more." Without saying to us that we will do what you want us to do, give you the numbers you want, they gave the latitude to the Secretary General, Dr. Boutros Ghali, to decide on the numbers and quite clearly there will be more than thirty. I think it's quite clear.

     So in that context, therefore, I think we have continued to occupy the high moral ground at the level of the United Nations, we have recaptured that initiative which everybody thought we were losing to the regime. Then I think, finally, what is important is that the United Nations Security Council was emphatic on the fact that the South African government carried the largest responsibility to stop the violence, which was important for us. "It is your responsibility as the government to stop violence." Other parties must co-operate to facilitate that process but central responsibility is of the government. That is important for us, very important.

POM     I would like you to take me through your analysis of what went on for the last year. Just about a year ago the National Peace Accord was being negotiated, in September it was signed with great fanfare with Buthelezi, Mandela and de Klerk all putting their signatures to it. Yet the National Peace Accord appears to have been a failure, this being the most bloody year in South Africa. You had CODESA 1, a lot of agreement and goodwill generated. You had CODESA 2 that moved to deadlock with many people suggesting, again to us, some within the ANC, that had the government accepted what had been an offer from the ANC the 70% threshold for items in the constitution, 75% threshold for items in the Bill of Rights, that they might have had a lot of difficulty in selling it to their constituencies. You had disaffection between the grassroots and the leadership, the negotiators. The grassroots feeling the elites had gotten out of touch with the people, they didn't know what was going on. You had other rumblings of disaffection. You had the impasse and then you had Boipatong. The ANC withdraws from the talks, adopts a much harder line. Mass action moves from the back burner to the front burner. You put forward a whole new list of demands. You engage on the two-day stayaway on the week of mass action. Then there are suggestions of make-up between de Klerk and Mandela, then that stops again. Within one month you had Mandela saying de Klerk was a murderer and also saying he was a man of vision of courage. What's your analysis of the dynamics that were operating in your own movement over the last year and how the tensions within it are being resolved and whether you think you have come out of the mass action in a stronger position than you were when the talks first deadlocked last June?

PM     Clearly when the negotiation process began, up to the July conference last year, that is our 48th conference, there was great uncertainty, a great deal of ignorance as to what was happening at the level of CODESA amongst the ordinary membership of the ANC. Let me not say CODESA, at the level of the negotiations between ourselves and the government. I think since national conference we managed to close the gap by and large. We were able to carry the whole movement with us in the process of negotiating to gain acceptability of the process amongst our people. One method that contributed extensively in this regard was the fact that we are now able to set up structures which linked the national negotiators with all the regions of the ANC. We established a National Negotiations Forum to which regions would regularly send representatives, so would other formations like COSATU, the party, the civics and so on participate, so understanding what was happening at CODESA began to deepen and the whole movement began to gel together.

     But not only that. It is at that level that proposals as to what should happen in the negotiations with the government were discussed and approved. Recommendations would come from there to the NWC, the NWC refines it and sends it back and says this is the line we are taking. So in a large measure, therefore, we began to take the movement with us. There are no serious divisions within our own ranks but unfortunately that confidence that was beginning to build up was frustrated by the way in which the government handled issues, especially the issue of violence and the critical constitutional issues at the level of CODESA itself. We would say, we've had a long background of Peace Accord, CODESA 1 and how the talks collapsed ultimately at CODESA 2, certainly the creation of the National Peace Accord was a very important milestone in our search for peace. We don't at all regret that we set up that structure.

     However, I think as the case would be with any other grouping of people that starts something new, you would always detect loopholes and weaknesses as the whole thing unfolds. For example, when we set up the Peace Accord we did not address very critically the question as to how are we going to ensure that the investigations, monitoring mechanisms are effective, objective and independent. We have largely had to rely on the South African Police Force as a mechanism to investigate that aspect pertaining to violence and that became a very weak element. It became the Achilles heel of the National Peace Accord but we still believe that it is an important initiative and we must look at ways of strengthening it. Even when the Indian Judge, Bagati(?), was brought here we could not oppose it but we knew that he too would still have to rely on the evidence of the South African Police and bringing him on to the panel was not going to be helpful. It just brought an added element to observe but as to the ability to go to the core of the problem that did not equip him, it didn't empower him to do so. So we would have to look, therefore, at how we investigate the issue of violence. As I say we are still pursuing it. Patrick, let's stop a little bit.

POM      Would there not be any truth in ...?

PM     In the suggestions that there is a struggle for power within the ANC?

POM     A position of approach of strategy, not power for ...

PM     Well in any organisation before a strategy is finally adopted it's debated and when the discussion starts there are always the different approaches which emerge. In any party some may take a very radical approach which may move in a particular direction and others take a different one and that is not strange, it is normal in any political organisation. Just to give you an example, when we were debating this Wallabies tour whether it should proceed or not, clearly there were people who were saying, "We stop it now! These racists are insensitive. We asked them to observe a moment of silence for people who were killed and murdered and they refused to do so, so let's stop it." So it starts there and then we debate. At the end of the day we say well let's allow it to proceed, give them one more try, one more chance and see how they behave this time and even if they behave differently we now look at the officials and the players. We can't punish people on the basis of some lunatics who are sitting there in the crowd and do their thing. It might well be members of the CCB, it might be AWB, it might have been your Witwolve group there who just want to undermine the position that the ANC is taking. But can you throw away everything on the basis of fifty Witwolve people who by picking on a very emotional issue manage to get people to shout and sing with them. We can't act like that. Let's look at those who are an organised force, the players, the officials, the way they behave will determine whether they can have more tours and test matches in the future.

     As you can see now we start from different positions but ultimately we emerge with one strategy. It is normal. I am surprised that many people, especially in the western world and even the government itself, want to look at the ANC as a homogenous group as if everybody in the ANC must just be the same, everybody must think the same way, all of us must drink tea without milk and without sugar, all of us. We are like any other community of people. Others would prefer cocoa, others would prefer coffee, others tea without milk but with sugar, there's tea with sugar and milk. We are that sort of an organisation where all of us agree that at some point it is necessary to drink one of these things, coffee or cocoa, we have it together at the same time.

     Now that is what is happening in our movement. We are united around this issue. Look, you name them if you want you say there are the hawks and the doves because of that. When in January parliament opened we decided as the ANC to organise the biggest demonstration that Cape Town had ever seen in support of negotiations. The PAC was organising its own separate demonstration to say negotiations are bad. We said that negotiation is the best path to a democratic and peaceful South Africa. What did the PAC get? It could hardly get 1000 people. We packed that Parade in Cape Town and we said to the government, "That parliament is not parliament of the people. Close it now. Let's get a new parliament of the people which would include us." And all our people were behind us. The masses down there wanted CODESA to proceed. So we are still united as a movement.

     Then let's look at the other question which we raised. I am saying to you, obviously before the July conference there was that perception that we just agree to what the government says and we are getting nothing out of it. But the reality is that we got a lot out of this government. We got this government to sit for example with the South African Communist Party, with people they regarded as terrorists, sit there with them. We got them to release a lot of our political prisoners. We have got now in the country, as we are talking now, at least we have over 13,000 people who have been in exile are back in the country now. We got them to allow the United Nations Commission for Refugees to come into the country to deal with that issue. We got a whole lot of other things, the list is just too long.

POM     What in that perception to get down to the ...?

PM     We got them to accept that the body that draws up the constitution should be an elected one. They have accepted that. We've got them to accept an interim government. What they have tried to do initially to be the referee and the player. We got them out of that idea. Because they control the state media, the way in which they present these ideas are different and it might well give the perception that we have abandoned our positions. We have never abandoned them. On the issue of regional government we in the ANC have always supported that. We supported the idea of regional government right from the beginning because we believe that is the way in which you can empower the people, the masses down there. We want a strong local government, strong regional government and a strong central government. But what we do not want is a central government that is subject to the veto of the regional governments. We want regional governments who have sufficient powers to deal with matters that pertain to their immediate province of governance but we do not want what this government is trying to say, to turn those regional governments into a house that would veto the decisions of the National Assembly. That we have not agreed to. We have said that at CODESA we would agree on broad constitutional principles including the whole question of the Bill of Rights. There's no agreement that we have ever reached with the government to entrench the powers and the boundaries of regional government because if we did that we would in fact have started drawing up the constitution at CODESA and decided for the Constituent Assembly. So that we have never accepted.

POM     Many observers suggest that the government and its allies could put together about 30% of the vote in an election and therefore to offer them a threshold of 70% agreement before any item could be included in the constitution came very close to giving them in fact a veto power in the Constituent Assembly, or potential veto power in the Constituent Assembly.

PM     Well that could have created that problem but we had also looked at the deadlock breaking mechanism which was built into the agreement. We are saying that if we accepted that we might not have been able to get the 70%, we could probably get 51%. What then do you do if that is the situation? We then said if that is the case we then take the matter to a referendum, get the people to decide.

PM     I was saying that clearly the question of offering 70% as a threshold to adopt or change a constitution was a risk on our part and that was the initiative taken by our negotiators. They were really at pains to get the process to go forward. The matter had not been discussed, we had not mandated them on this issue at the NEC but they thought perhaps they should make this offer and maybe take the flack when they come back to us, take the flack if it was necessary to take it. That then, of course, was a clear demonstration of the extent of commitment of the ANC to the process. As you correctly point out it would have created serious problems because it would not be easy for us to win that 70%. To get the 70% we would probably have had to bargain with a lot of parties, persuade them and get them to agree to come over to our side. It was going to be a difficult thing but as I correctly pointed out we had also looked into the possibility of us not being able to get that percentage and we looked at a deadlock breaking mechanism that would be necessary.

POM     So now the government turns it down and there's the impasse.

PM     The point I wanted to make earlier on is that from our side we want regional governments, obviously, to be provided for in the constitution, but not the sort of regional governments with a veto and we would not want to define the boundaries of regional government at this point in time. It's a matter that would have had to be tackled by the body that draws up the constitution, which body, as we have correctly stated, would be a Constituent Assembly in which parties with sufficient support would participate. Those who don't show any significant support would obviously fall away. Those parties would then draw up that constitution and the boundaries. But the government does not want that. It wanted to pursue the earlier proposals of the National Party which wants a two-chamber parliament with a Senate that has a veto power. A Senate that does not recognise the majority that the party that has won the election commands. It would merely look at parties there and say, "Look, we don't agree, two or one party does not agree, you can't move forward." So effectively, therefore ...

POM     Haven't they abandoned that position?

PM     They have not. At a public level in their speeches they were saying they had abandoned it but at CODESA they stuck to that position. That is why CODESA 2 deadlocked. CODESA 2 deadlocked because they wanted the house of minorities, which would be the house of losers, to have the veto on the National Assembly. They wanted guarantee at CODESA level even before the election was held that if they lost the election they would continue to govern the country. That is the sort of guarantee they really wanted. No self-respecting people would give a guarantee to a political party that is in power, that when it lost an election it would continue to govern. It would govern and the party with the mandate of the majority of the citizens would be rendered a puppet of the party that has lost. We can't give that sort of a guarantee, but that's what they were asking us to do at CODESA. That is the first point. And if you look at that point then you find there the fact that the National Party and the de Klerk regime, they are one thing of course, their separation is a technical one. They want to talk about democracy but they do not want to accept the consequences of democracy. They deliberately made CODESA 2 deadlock. We tried our best to get them out of it, offering them, as you said, 75% threshold for the Bill of Rights to change or adopt it. We said two-thirds majority to adopt the constitution or to change it. They rejected it. We go further to say 70%. They still don't want it.

     Now you would know, a well experienced politician, that it is very difficult for any party anywhere in the world to win two-thirds majority. Very difficult. So two-thirds majority was sufficient to do that and there is no reason why, and it is conventionally accepted, universally accepted, as a principle. I don't know why the National Party does not want that principle. They don't want it. Before we arrived at that position we looked at the precedents in our own country. We said, well when they adopted the 1910 constitution, the Union Act of 1910, they did it by means of two thirds majority. When they declared this country a republic they did not require two thirds majority. They did it on the basis of a simple majority, 51%. In 1983 they adopted their constitution on the basis of, I think 66,6%, the 1983 constitution, the tricameral constitution. We are saying to them that we have all these precedents but we don't want to go for the easiest, we want to go for this one that says two-thirds majority and which is universally accepted. They don't want it. Now what sort of democracy do they want? They want to talk about a South African democracy. We believe democracy is democracy. You can't have a South African version of democracy which is not based on the wishes of the people. Democracy must reflect the wishes of the people, the majority.

POM     How do you contrast your understanding of what democracy is with their understanding of what it is?

PM     There is no question of them not understanding what democracy is. It's a question of, the key question is that the National Party as the ruling party, in fact the leaders of the National Party are concerned about their own interests as the leaders. They are trying to take care of those interests, trying to protect those interests as leaders now. The guarantee they are trying to get out of this is that they as leaders of the National Party they would continue to influence and dominate the government. That emerges out of CODESA. That has got nothing to do with their understanding of democracy. It has to do with selfish interests of individuals. These chaps have read books, they have met with governments, they know how systems operate. But if you take them back, you go back to Dr Verwoerd, the Verwoerdian period, you will understand that they deliberately concocted an idea of democracy which was intended to keep them in power and there for ever. They started setting up these little homelands because they could say to the world, "You say we're not democratic? We have given them a vote. They have chosen a vote in Bophuthatswana, they have chosen a vote in KwaZulu, they want to have a vote in the Transkei, they want to have a vote in Venda, in Qwa-Qwa and so on."

     So that is the vision of democracy that they concocted, a vision of democracy that said that the people of Alexandra who live, who are part of the central metropolitan, that they should be given a little poorly starved funded local council that must administer a very poor area that is not developed and so on. That would then give to the world a semblance of democracy, they hold their election. But they have got no choice as to what system they want. Now that has got nothing to do with whether they understand democracy or they do not. The reason is that they want to be there in power then they can continue to be as corrupt as they have been, take the taxpayers money and do whatever they want to do with it. They have given money, for example, Koornhof's Department of Aid and Development, he just takes that money, money meant to assist the poor people, to buy toilets for them or to service the sites on which they live, to build sewage system and so on. He just takes that money and the government says, "Well Dr Viljoen is not to blame." Gerrit Viljoen is glib, his juniors are responsible so he must continue to be in government. His juniors can be dealt with. That's what they want.

POM     So is it your belief that in effect the government wanted the CODESA proceedings to stall, to stop?

PM     I think so. The government deliberately wanted to stall the CODESA process because they have not yet achieved the objective that they set out to achieve, the objective of going into an election with an ANC that cannot win. Things are moving too fast for them, they have not done enough to cripple the ANC so they must stall the process hoping that maybe as the weight would be divided some of us would say, "You see that nonsense of yours at CODESA is not working, we are breaking away from the organisation." You have all these sorts of things. What is now clear is that - by the way, between you and me, I suspect that the government is trying to create as many parties as possible who would support its system of federalism and it is hoping that it can overwhelm us at CODESA on that instance. But that again is not a solution. I suspect that this group of the CP five who have resigned are going to set up their party, they will go there and they will support this concept of federalism. I would not be surprised if they allow these criminals and others to set up another party which calls itself a breakaway of the ANC and it also says it wants federalism. So they will do what they did in Namibia to try and put pressure, but that can only help them to delay the process. It will not help to solve the issue because if you want stability in the country, real reconciliation, you must just address the fundamental aspirations of the people, of the majority. We are a movement that matters in this country and unless we are part of that process, and it's a serious process, there's no way in which this government can create any peace.

POM     Let me ask you a question on a slightly different level. It struck both of us in the 2 years that we have been coming here pretty regularly that there has not been any real acknowledgement from the white community or its leaders, not just individually but from its leaders collectively, that they have done serious wrong injustices to black people for the last 40 years under apartheid and for the last 300 years under colonialism and the whole thing is, "Apartheid is behind us, we're in a new South Africa therefore forget the past." And they come to negotiations as though it were a labour dispute. You've got a set of demands, I've got a set of demands. We sit around a table and we bargain and reach a compromise and that's the solution. They don't take any account of the fact of the injustices, of the moral questions, of the huge injustices that have been perpetrated on your people for 300 years in general, for 40 years specifically. So they look upon what you want as demands not as things that must be done to bring about justice. Do you get from your dealings with them any sensibility to the awful injustices that they have perpetrated on black people or are they just saying, "Hey Popo, let's sit down and negotiate. We'll negotiate and reach a compromise and that's the solution"?

PM     From amongst the ordinary white South Africans that we interact with, some of them, former members of the army and the police force, some business people, they said that's not acknowledgement of the wrongs that the whites have done previously to the blacks, but as far as the government is concerned clearly they are not prepared to acknowledge that. Even when they say to us, "Apartheid is dead. It's a system that cannot be resuscitated", but right at the back of their minds they remain committed to it. They still see themselves as a group of whites, a minority, that the National Party can still claim to represent whites in this country. When it deals with constitutional issues it wants to deal with guarantees for whites as a group. They don't want to look at whites as individual South Africans. If they were looking at them in that context then we would be able to easily address the issue on the basis of the Bill of Rights that we are looking at. We have white members in the ANC, the IFP has got white members, the DP has got white members. I suspect that the PAC might be having some white members. Now on what basis would the de Klerk regime and the National Party claim the right to be the custodian of the interests of the whites, to be speaking for the whites? But they are still doing it because they are wedded to this idea of seeing themselves as white even when they look at an election that would come they look at it through the spectacle of apartheid. They see themselves going there as whites and losing as whites, overwhelmed by a black majority, a government that is being set up as a black majority government you see.

     That's not a problem we have got. We're not interested really in parading members of the National Party, ministers, as people who are guilty, who are supposed to be confessing daily on television. But I think that recognition can be reflected in the way in which they conduct themselves. Look at this. We organise a huge demonstration, we go to the Union Building. Our President addresses about 150,000 people there. Later on de Klerk comes, he speaks to the press, standing out there at the Union Building and he says, "Well, we are ready to talk to Mr. Mandela. There is no need for him to come here to the Union Building and talk to me from down there. He must come to my office. My door is open to him." Now you still see that paternalistic attitude reflected in that. He does not imagine himself going to an ANC office or going to a venue of the ANC's choice. He still sees himself as a big boss who sits there and the ANC comes running to him to talk to him in his office. A typical statement made by PW Botha, "My door is open. Let him renounce violence. Let him agree to go to the Transkei. Let him dissociate himself with communism. Let them separate the ANC from the Communist Party. Then my door is open for him." De Klerk is still thinking the same way. That is a problem we've got. We have a serious problem.

     I think we mustn't really just look at the problem only as a problem for de Klerk's regime. We at the ANC have a major problem. First and foremost it's clear that the majority of whites in this country would vote for the National Party. That is not unexpected because we have not had enough time to interact with them, to get them to understand. They have had fifty years to indoctrinate them as to what the ANC is, for them the image of the ANC is one that the government has created for them. Now, we have to change that image. We have to take practical initiatives. We should help allay the fears of whites. We would begin to remove the stereotypes and begin to get these whites to think as South Africans. We would have to get them to begin to see an ANC government, or a possible ANC government, as a government of the people of South Africa, not as a black government. It's a mammoth task that we have to undertake to achieve that objective. We have to assure them of their security in a future democratic South Africa, it's going on to do that.

     And I think the way in which we have tackled the issue of sport, amongst others, would assist to build up that process. For example, if we had easily said because they sang Die Stem at Ellis Park when we said they should not do so, we are now punishing them, we re-impose sports moratorium. I don't think that would have helped us. It would not have helped us. If anything it would have deepened their anger of even those who are beginning to accept the ANC as an organisation that is concerned with the interests of South Africa, their interests as sports people. If we had acted in that manner, punitive manner, it would have sent strong signals to them. It would have said to them, "You as whites cannot hope for any future under an ANC government, cannot hope to be protected. Any time they want to hit you they would hit you"' It is precisely so because we are dealing here not with a constituency like an American constituency with people who are liberated mentally, who read, who interact with anybody. You are dealing here with people who have been captives to the Afrikaner propaganda organs, television and so on. They can't think for themselves, the way in which they see things is the way in which television projects them, the way in which the TV projects them, the way in which they are told in their schools. Nothing more. Nothing more. So we have got to find a way of removing all those cobwebs.

     How do we do it? Certain practical measures which send certain signals to them would begin to go some way to allaying those fears. But related to that of course is also the question of the need to create a government that reconciles the people of the country. We might win overwhelmingly in an election but we want to be able to govern this country. We want to be able to govern. We must win the confidence of those fellows there in the civil service. A significant number of them must feel that they have a future in that government. If they don't then they become easy victims of elements who want to stage a coup, who want to undermine the government. You ask them to do certain work for the government, they steal money, they frustrate all government programmes because they don't believe that government is a government that is working in their own interests.

POM     That can make you ineffective?

PM     Yes, we can become ineffective. So you win the first election, the second one you are gone.

POM     The trick here is to lose the first election? Let the first government take all the blame. Just a couple more questions. I want to take what you said about allaying the fears of whites and bring you then into the process of getting them to see you as being non-threatening to their security and interests. One thing that very definitely makes them feel insecure is mass action, stayaways, actions that affect the economy. I would like you to address that and, secondly, how you think the government saw the effectiveness of mass action and whether or not the mass action achieved one of its political aims in, I won't say forcing, but in making the government more willing to come back to the negotiating table on the basis of some of the demands that you have laid out. One, the impact that has on whites, how it makes them feel alienated, that you're destroying the economy, that it's destructive?

PM     I actually think it has had a positive impact on whites. Firstly the idea of mass action itself rallied the business people behind the ANC. We managed, for example, to get SACCOLA group, organisations are actually the Consultative Business Movement and others, to make exactly the same demands that the ANC was making against the government, end violence now. Proceed with the process, create democracy, a democratic government. They want an interim government immediately and they want the government to agree to an elected constitution making body. That was very important for us.

PM     I was saying that the mass action has had a positive impact on whites, especially the business sector. Morally they have found it difficult to support the demands that we made during our mass action campaign. Clearly the business community was worried about the damage to the economy that the mass action could effect and they tried to limit it, they tried to reduce it to one day action which some of them would support but others were not so keen. But ultimately they accepted that it had to go on. I think it is something we can build on. They did not agree with us on every issue but they have supported our political demands; end to violence, creation of an interim government now and the progression to the creation of a Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution. Those they see as fundamental to creating, as necessary, of course, for economic growth and creation of employment.

     As far as the government is concerned, obviously it remained stubborn but I think the demonstration of strength that the ANC was able to manifest during this mass action indicated to the government that it simply must move. And I think also the mass action was important because although the government had hoped that that period would project us as an organisation with no discipline, unable to control its supporters. They were trying to encourage violence so that they could blame it on the ANC. All those things failed. None of the things that they predicted actually happened. If anything, they, as the government, the security forces, were seen causing problems for the people marching, demonstrating.

     I think just after mass action it was clear that the pressure on them was increasing. They were making frantic efforts to reopen negotiations with us, to regain the moral high ground that they had lost. But, of course, the difficulty we have with the government is that it is more interested in misleading the world that they are talking to the ANC rather than addressing the key problems, the key demands that we had made to them. For example, de Klerk immediately releases a statement that gives the impression that he will soon be meeting with our President and that negotiations would start. Very low profile meetings to discuss the issue of political prisoners. Then they turn it into a huge meeting that means that the negotiations between the ANC and the government have resumed. Now clearly they could only do those things if the mass action has begun to have an impact that projects the ANC in a positive light.

POM     Do you think part of their strategy is in trying to turn all these small things into big things and then when you say these are small things not big things we're not going back to the negotiating table until our demands are met and until you address them in some way? Do you think they are trying to, again, to the face of the world, trying to show you as being the unreasonable people here?

PM     Obviously they are trying to do that. They are trying to project themselves as very serious about negotiations, wanting to start the process immediately. If you look at the papers today, de Klerk says we will definitely be having a democratic government within the next two years, we will be sharing power with Mandela. But how does he know that he's going to share power with the ANC? Is it not a question of choice of the party that wins as to whether it wants to share power and with whom? But he is still projecting that line of the National Party, we will be sharing power and so on. But also he is trying to use this thing of general amnesty to show that the ANC is not interested in resolving issues urgently, that the ANC is not even interested, is not even concerned about the interests of its own members who are in exile and who are in jail. The line that they have been taking is that the ANC members are going to benefit out of this general amnesty. There are many of them in exile who fear coming back home until these matters are resolved and as soon as the ANC accepts this idea of general amnesty all of them would be able to come home. So clearly it is therefore part of the strategy to give that picture to the world, but also to try and use that to create tension within the ANC itself. They probably are hoping that by arguing in the manner in which they are arguing they will be able to alienate a lot of people from the ANC and maybe some of them could then support them in their schemes against the ANC when they come into the country.

POM     Two last things. One, in negotiations, negotiations are comprise, some things you compromise on, sometimes you get most of your way, sometimes they get most of their way, what is the one issue, do you think, which in your view is nearly non-negotiable, from your point of view?

PM     An elected constitution making body is non-negotiable.

POM     Last. You came out of the policy conference with the mandate that this should be a body that would use a sixty six and two thirds percent threshold and that the powers and boundaries of the regions should be decided by parliament, not enshrined in the constitution.

PM     By the Constituent Assembly, it would be decided by the Constituent Assembly.

POM     Are those pretty much non-negotiable too?

PM     Yes it is non-negotiable. At least for now until conference decides otherwise.

POM     So your negotiators can't at this point go on and go to 70%? Their mandate is set and clear cut?

PM     Set and clear cut, that's what they must do now.

POM     On the length of time for an interim government or a provisional government. Would that be 18 months for a Transitional Executive Council or an interim government? Till you get to the final constitution?

PM     Well, we want it to be as short as possible. We really wanted it to be - yes, we wanted it to be 18 months.

POM     At most? At least or at most?

PM     At most. 18 months. But you see issues of time frame also to a large extent also would be dictated to by the reality on the ground. For example, we had said we wanted a Constituent Assembly by December as a target date, an election for a Constituent Assembly. The reality is that you can't now do it. We want an election very soon but reality may dictate otherwise. We may well have to wait for nine months.

POM     Buthelezi, he sits up there in Ulundi, bitter and brooding, saying that the Zulu nation and the Zulu King will not be party to any agreement made at CODESA at which the Zulu nation is not represented. We saw the King last week. He sounds more hard line than Buthelezi in terms of being left out of the process and what his nation would not agree to. Does he have the capacity to be a spoiler? Does he have the capacity to make any agreement that might be reached at a forum like CODESA unworkable in his part of South Africa or is he a big bluff and what the South African government does is pull the financial plug on him and say, "Fall into line"?

PM     Any organisation has the capacity to create problems for us. I think the King Zwelithini has got the capacity to create setbacks for the process but that would be a temporary one.

POM     The King more so than Buthelezi?

PM     Are you talking of Buthelezi or the King?

POM     I'm talking about both.

PM     Well both of them have the capacity to create problems. But as far as the King's problems are concerned those could be resolved. The problems he raises are not different from the way in which Chiefs in other parts of this country would behave. Someone is pulling the strings and they are made to act in a manner that the one who is pulling the strings wants them to act. The King is dependent on Buthelezi for his livelihood. He gets his salary from him. All the other Chiefs get their salaries from either the homeland leaders or from the government. And anything that hits their stomach very hard would influence them in the direction of the one who pulls the strings. As soon as circumstances are created which would assure the King and other Paramount Chiefs, other Kings elsewhere, that their authority is not at stake they would drift away from those positions. For example, one of issues that we think must be addressed seriously at CODESA level is the question as to from where must the salary of the Kings and Chiefs come? We think that that has to come from an interim government of national unity. You remove it from the National Party and the homeland leaders so that royalty, as people who are not supposed to be partisan, can remain independent, not be the pawns used by certain political parties, or certain homeland governments. I think once we address that his problems will be addressed adequately. That of course would have to be coupled with recognition of his role as a traditional leader, that we continue to respect him as a traditional leader, him and others. What, however, we are not prepared to do, is to take one of the traditional leaders and place him above the others simply because be belongs to a particular tribe. We reject the whole notion of them claiming, both Buthelezi and the King, claiming to represent the so-called Zulu nation at CODESA.

     Given the opportunity in Natal we can demonstrate in fact that we've got more supporters and members in Natal than Inkatha Freedom Party. I'm sure we can demonstrate that. It is precisely because we can demonstrate that, that Gatsha Buthelezi is making it difficult for our people to speak freely and to hold meetings. If he was that powerful he would not worry about marginal groups, fringe groups, which he is trying to make the ANC to be. He would not worry about it. He worries because the strength of the ANC is posing a threat to his influence in the region. He believed his propaganda over the years that he was powerful, he was controlling Natal. When the reality on the ground indicated otherwise then he wants to ...

     So we are saying, therefore, that obviously the fact that they do not support the process can cause problems for the process but if we can achieve the joint control of the security forces, state budget and we are able to monitor what happens effectively, even Buthelezi would not be able to do what he is doing. He is doing these things because he has got the tacit support of the government. He's got funding that comes from the government. Of course now he has established himself, I think, financially. He must be quite strong. He's got support from the United States, Germany and other parts of the world but he would not survive long as a government without the support of the South African regime. The same would hold for Oupa Gqozo of the Ciskei. He has got no mass support, no base at all. He is surviving because he's got the army and the police, all of them financed by the South African government.

     But you see it's not in our interests to encourage the course of direction, the line that Buthelezi is taking and the consequent actions that he might take to undermine the process. We don't want to encourage that. Our approach would always be one that seeks to draw everybody to the process, to try and get them to support that process. Experiences beyond our borders, in Angola, in Mozambique as well as even Zimbabwe, demonstrate conclusively that it is not so easy to suppress an organised, hostile and well armed group of people. They may be bandits but as long they are organised, well armed, they have the resources, they have the capacity to destabilise the country for many, many years. That is why it is important for us to seek to resolve the issues now than to wait for the time that Mozambique has waited and was ultimately compelled by circumstances to negotiate with bandits, was compelled when it was almost collapsing to talk to them. We wouldn't like to see things such as those that had happened in Angola. I think in Zimbabwe Mugabe has been quite clever. He moved quickly to unify ZAPU and ZANU. That has helped a great deal to end that violence.

POM     Last question. You talked about elections. If levels of violence remain at their current level can you hold free and fair elections or are you in a situation in which if you do not hold elections you are going to even add more fuel to the violence?

PM     We have to think very carefully about it. Already initially when we formulated what later became the Harare Declaration and principles adopted in the resolution of the General Assembly on apartheid and its destructive consequences in Southern African, we had imagined that we would be able to create a measure of stability, political stability, before we went into an election. But given that other forces are exploiting that principle to delay the process, to make it impossible for us to hold an election we have to think differently because the longer we are unable to hold an election the more frustrated people are going to be, the more attitudes are going to crystallise, bitterness is going to set in, violence is just going to escalate. If you would have observed before the mass action was embarked upon by the ANC we were beginning to see pockets of people who were now beginning to defy even the ANC and the government, who were beginning to say, "If you can allow these hordes of men to carry spears and dangerous weapons, we have the ability to do it also." They were beginning to go to meetings with those things.

     So what therefore would happen if you delayed the election? You would then have a situation that gets completely out of hand. You are going to have all the supporters, the majority of the supporters of the ANC, deciding to do the things that they see other opposition groups doing. They are going to hit back. The government is going to try to act against them. Violence is going to escalate, police are going to be killed. Their houses are going to be burnt out. So there's going to be that general situation of lawlessness and disorder. The more the regime tries to suppress people the greater the violence in response would be. Polarisation is going to increase. White fears are going to deepen. Capital is going to leave the country. Investor confidence is going to be completely destroyed. More whites are going to leave the country.

     So in fact the longer we wait the more we create conditions of anarchy, chaos and the more we damage the country and the economy. So it is therefore important that we now begin to strike a balance between the need to create relative stability and the need to prevent escalation of violence, the need to bring an election. We think that now we have begun persuading the United Nations to move into the country that might well be the very beginning of now dealing with those areas where violence is escalating. Gatsha Buthelezi has been denying that he is involved in violence. He denies that his police are involved though evidence proves otherwise. The South Africa government is also denying it. We know that there is extreme repression in Bophuthatswana and in the Ciskei. We could begin to, in addressing the whole question of creating peace, look at what are the strategic areas in which UN monitors should be deployed, but it should not only be monitors. Perhaps you would have to address also the question of peace keeping. So you would have monitors but you would also need to bring in peace keeping forces, the sort of people who would also have the authority to act on the spot. If, for example, you see hordes of people who are just killing others there's got to be a way of stopping them. Those are matters that would have to be addressed but for us we think the question of the elections cannot be delayed any longer.

POM     OK. Thank you once again.

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.