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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

08 Jan 1993: Gildenhuys, Antonie

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POM     Doctor, the National Peace Accord was signed with great fanfare two years ago this September and yet 1992 was probably the most violent year in South Africa's history and there doesn't yet appear to be any real indication that the level of violence is being brought under control. How do you document the successes and the failures of the National Peace Accord?

AG     We have been in existence, the Secretariat, for just over a year. We were formed in November last year. We've got on the ground the eleven regional dispute resolution committees for the eleven regions and there's about, I would say, close on to an estimate of about eighty local committees functioning. If one wants to measure success I think one has to look at the ground causes for violence. I think there are two. The one is we need a political settlement. There's got to be some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. People are not going to work for peace in a vacuum just for the sake of peace. They will work for peace as part of a better South Africa and until they see a light at the end of the political tunnel I don't think our peace efforts are going to succeed at all. Now the beginning of last year was very promising, then CODESA failed and this caused a severe setback also to our work because the end destination, namely a free South Africa in which all parties can participate, seemed so much further away.

     I think the second basic reason for violence is the socio-economic conditions under which a very large section of the community lives, and that also is not something we can change overnight. Actually it's not very strongly in our hands, we need billions of rands to put it right. In the short term I think the causes are mainly three, I would say. The one is political intolerance by most of the major parties. In that sense we must be careful not to interpret the Peace Accord as an Accord that there will be peace. It's an accord between the major parties to work towards peace, so by signing that they said we will work towards peace by adhering to the principles contained in the Accord. I don't know whether you've got a copy but if not please take this one. It started off again quite well again in the beginning of 1992, the position deteriorated when the CODESA talks failed. We were very successful in eliminating overt violence, in other words marches or rallies disintegrating into violence and this has been replaced by assassinations. We've just become much more effective, much more deadly, the weapons used are much more deadly and what political groups did openly before the signature of the Peace Accord is now being done in secret by the use of assassins.

     So we've been successful on the one hand in stopping the open violence where a group would openly commit violence, but we haven't been very successful with the assassins. We haven't been successful at all. The basic reason again being, as it was said in so many words by quite a few politicians to me, is that in Natal specifically power is control over a geographic area and both the ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party try to establish geographic control. They say if we control an area we also control the voting in that area. This has a bit of an historic significance. If you think back to the development of the Zulu people, they were governed over the years by a King and under the King there were Headmen of the Amakosi (I think you must have interviewed some of them) and they wielded almost absolute power. Land ownership was communal and they told your black Zulu man where he may grow his crops, where he may graze his cattle, where he may build his hut, and the Amakosi also has to give permission for political activity and any political group who wants to conduct political activity first has to pay respects to the Nkosi for the area and get his permission which would normally be granted. Most of the Nkosi are not very literate. They are elected for life and the majority are supporters of the Inkatha Freedom Party and they have been refusing to allow political activity in their respective areas. If you talk to them about it they will tell you that in one or two areas we did allow it and what happened? The ANC chased the Nkosi away, supplanted him by their own man and we're not going to risk that again. On the same basis some ANC leaders, Harry Gwala in particular and some of the others also, are not going to allow IFP political activity in areas where they have succeeded in establishing territorial domination. So we need to foster democratic values that you win through the ballot box and not through raw power in Natal.

POM     To go back on a few things, when you said one of the major causes of the violence is political intolerance and over the last three years we've had this kind of ongoing accusation by the ANC that the government has been complicit in the violence, that the violence suits the government's purpose, that the government is pursuing a double agenda, negotiating with the ANC on the one hand and trying to undermine it through violence in the townships on the other hand. In your experience in the disputes in which you have intervened do you find that security forces, or elements of the security forces, play a significant role in any of those situations or whether it's really between forms of communal violence about political competition?

AG     In my view there are three short term causes for violence, the whole relationship with the security forces is one of them, if I could deal with it under that heading. The main one as I've said is the quest for territorial dominance and the same thing is spilling over to the Rand, to this area, where you have parts, in Alexandra, for instance, which are ANC territory and other parts are Inkatha territory and an Inkatha supporter won't venture into ANC territory and vice versa. Hostels mainly are considered to be Inkatha strongholds which exacerbates the violence here. You would have a lot of young Zulu men coming over and living in the hostels, it's part of their culture that the men come singly and they leave their families at home, they try to make as much money as possible and when they have made sufficient they go back, they buy cattle and they almost live like kings. But while they are here as young men thrown together in hostels will do, ANC baiting is one of their pastimes. The whole situation will foster problems. You're no doubt aware of the recent incident at Mooi River where a hostel for IFP supporters and workers at Mooi River Textiles was burnt down, it's the same kind of thing. By making it impossible for Inkatha to return to work the ANC can establish domination in Mooi River.

POM     Just a general observation. In the international media the impression given is that the major agent of the violence is invariably Inkatha and that the ANC is more or less resister or defender of their interests rather than an active agent per se. Would it be your analysis that that is more or less correct or that both parties have a similar degree of culpability?

AG     There are no angels in this game. Inkatha is a very monolithic organisation. They have got a central committee and that central committee says what goes and what does not, while the ANC is much, much more regionalised. And remember, it's an ANC alliance. You've got COSATU, you've got the Communist Party, then you've got the various branches of the ANC each with a very large degree of autonomy so it's difficult to speak of the ANC in the same general terms as one can speak with Inkatha. I would say certain ANC areas are playing exactly the same game, by name again, in the Natal Midlands. It's difficult to say whether it's a defence strategy against Inkatha or whether they also try to establish territorial dominance. I would say maybe Inkatha is slightly more active in this but both do it. Recently I think the ANC has come to the conclusion that they are very close to power and that they've got to work on their image so they are very careful, that's over the last two months only I would say, in not involving in the kind of violence which would reflect negatively on their image. They are also much quicker on reacting on propaganda, Boipatong for instance. There has been similar slaughter of Inkatha supporters, at Crossroads for instance, where there was no outcry simply because the Inkatha propaganda machine is not strong enough while the ANC has got a very well honed propaganda machine. If something happens they've got access to international media and they make the most of it.

POM     Just looking at Natal separately for a moment.

AG     Natal is the only place where you've got the, I would almost say, black against black political struggle. The rest is much more insignificant. Until about three or four weeks ago APLA assumed greater significance but before that the only real significant black against black emanated from Natal and it is over-spilling into the Witwatersrand/Reef area.

POM     If there is a political settlement that does not accommodate Gatsha Buthelezi in some way, would it be your evaluation that he has sufficient power and resources to conduct what would amount to a low level civil war in Natal indefinitely? That the violence would simply become endemic?

AG     There's about five million, give or take a million, Zulus. I would judge the support, rural areas, about 80% IFP, 20% ANC. Urban areas vice versa, about 80% ANC, 20% Inkatha. But the young people are going to towns, they get a better education and by and large they join the ANC. So Gatsha Buthelezi has got a decreasing influence because I think most of the young Zulus of the new generation will be ANC. I'd say of the total number of Zulus it's about fifty/fifty which gives him two to two and a half million supporters. And two to two and a half million supporters can wield a lot of mischief so I think if we don't get a settlement that's going to accommodate him we're going to be in for a lot of mischief.

POM     Could he become a Savimbi of sorts?

AG     No, no he hasn't - I'd say he's got about half of the Zulu nation and it's dwindling.

POM     What role does the King play in this?

AG     It should be a largely symbolic role but the King has come out stronger than he ought to in favour of the IFP and he's doing it on the basis of traditional Zulu values which gives him access to a large number of politically neutral Zulus. But on the other hand it's putting the Zulu monarchy, it's costing it some support especially amongst your strong ANC supporters. But he has a strong hold.

POM     Would he ultimately have, in terms of say rallying the Zulu nation if it became a matter of that around Zulu culture and Zulu tradition, he would be the far more effective symbol of ...?

AG     Yes. He's much more extremist and less experienced than Buthelezi.

POM     We've interviewed him, I think three times now, and he makes statements that are much more extreme than Buthelezi and he sometimes seems far more passionate. I've often wondered at this. Again the popular view is that somehow Buthelezi is pulling the strings of the King. It seems to me that the King stands on his own feet.

AG     No, Buthelezi is to a large extent pulling the strings and also having a calming influence. You know that he is the King's uncle?

POM     Yes. Could you give me the way you would intervene in a typical dispute situation?

AG     Let's take the one at Mooi River. A good example is the first Bisho march. That's the one that didn't lead to the shooting. They had thirty thousand ANC supporters going up to the boundary. They said, "We will march into Ciskei and we will deliver our demands at the steps of parliament." The Ciskei government said, "They won't set a foot into Ciskei at all." While they were waiting we settled the problem and we found a win/win situation where they were allowed to go into Ciskei, meet in a stadium close to the border and deliver the petition there. So the ANC won in the sense that they did, as ANC, enter Ciskei and had a meeting and the Ciskei meeting won in the sense that they didn't reach parliament. So we try to do that kind of compromise. In the one that's presently being negotiated at Mooi River we're trying to persuade the factory only to open because if they don't open there will be a big difficulty. We're trying to persuade Inkatha not to kick the ANC people out of their houses and occupy their houses, we're trying to arrange temporary accommodation. We're seeing what part of the hostel is possibly still habitable and can still be used and going from one group to the other and arrange something practical so that the factory can open and the workers can live and be accommodated and go to work on Monday.

POM     Thomas Shabalala is often mentioned as one of the warlords around the Durban area. He sits on the Regional Dispute Committee. How have you found him to be?

AG     He's not the easiest of persons. The Natal RDC particularly has been misused by both representatives of Inkatha and the ANC to score political points. In other words you don't get down to real business, they use it as a political platform and he may be more guilty of that than some of the others. But again it's not only Inkatha, it's Inkatha and the ANC doing that. It's one of their most difficult committees because if you don't have the commitment from your committee members to go for solutions and if the committees are misused for purposes for which the committees are not intended you won't have a great deal of success.

POM     So how would you evaluate your success or performance say in Natal first from the time the Secretariat came into existence?

AG     In Natal we've got a very good staff. There are about eight full time staff members and we appoint facilitators because if you've really got a tense situation to find a solution it is a one man job and we appoint and pay facilitators and there we've been quite successful. I think the killing would have been much, much worse had it not been for these structures and the structures can be quite ineffective but the moment you've got the organisation and you can appoint facilitators you achieve a lot because neither the ANC nor Inkatha wants to be branded as the bad boy. They can't go against the appointment of a facilitator and a facilitator will then actively go on the ground and try and negotiate a solution. But your real actual emergency conflict is a one man job to find a solution. It's not the committee's work. The committee is to get everybody involved and to provide access to all the groups concerned and to bind them together formally.

POM     So in Natal how many Dispute Resolution Committees would there be altogether?

AG     I guess there are about five or six local ones. But they come and go. One of the things that happens in Natal, more than in other areas, is that you form a committee, they operate for two, three months and then one of the parties will say, "We won't continue with this committee until certain demands are met", and then the demands are of such a nature they can't be met and the committee dies. Then you resurrect it after a period and on it goes again.

POM     Looking at the Transvaal and the violence there, along the Eastern Reef and in the townships, between the hostels and township residents, how does that differ in terms of how you have to deal with it and what the issues are?

AG     To some extent it's an over-spill from the Natal situation. Hostels, Inkatha, the permanent residents' houses and so on mostly ANC. Some of the most fierce forms of violence here is over-spill Inkatha/ANC because you've got all the young Inkatha bloods without their wives living together in a hostel and that's a recipe for problems, while in Natal/KwaZulu at least they're with their families which is a bit of a calming influence.

     If we can go to other factors, you've mentioned security forces. I think one of the main contributing factors is the inability of the security forces to enforce effective policing or to perform effective policing and I think one of the main reasons why they can't is lack of confidence between the large section of the black community and the security forces. And there I think one must remember that until two or three years ago the security forces were the enforcers of apartheid and the training of security force members was that apartheid will be enforced come what may and the black man is the enemy. Not in so many words, but that was what it amounted to. And likewise in the black community they perceived the security forces as the enemy. You can't change that attitude overnight.

     If you ask security forces, for instance, why don't they contain violence they will tell you, to quote an example, two, three people would be thrown out of a train window while the train is moving, all three dead and they won't find a single witness who saw what happened. There are many reasons for it, mainly that the security police are not trusted, the judicial system is not trusted and it's ineffective. There's retribution by the accused by people giving evidence, there's no effective witness protection programme. The whole law enforcement system is ... and it's not only the fault of the police, it's not operated satisfactorily. There are too few police. I'm told that in Soweto there are two policemen per thousand inhabitants while the accepted norm for Europe is four per thousand and you can't compare these two environments. If you have an understaffed force not accepted by the community and also not properly trained there is no way they can be effective. There's a change of heart and it's improving but there's still a very, very long way to go.

POM     Is there an increasing recognition of the need for community policing?

AG     Strong recognition that the police should serve the community and they also serve on our committees which has helped a lot, because at least it brings the police closer to the communities and both can learn that the others are now also human beings and we've got some excellent individual policemen. But it's a very, very thankless task for the police and it's not made easier, for reasons which are very easy to understand, by the black community.

POM     In disputes that you have dealt with in Natal, there's the common allegation on the part of the ANC that the police operate in cahoots with the IFP. You hear similar complaints in the Transvaal that the hostel workers and the police are working together against the community. Do you find that this is an exaggeration?

AG     I think as far as the KwaZulu Police goes I don't think it's an exaggeration. I think there's quite substantive evidence that they favour Inkatha. As far as the South African Police goes, I haven't come across it.

POM     You don't come across it. So would you find General Buchner a hindrance to the process or a help?

AG     It's also difficult to say that a Commanding Officer of a specific police force is a hindrance or a help. Your difficulty with the KwaZulu Police is that they are perceived to be Inkatha in uniform and I've said that many of the South African Police are perceived by the black community to be the enforcers of apartheid, rightly or wrongly, so the KwaZulu Police are perceived to be the enforcers of Inkatha ideology. But I think the KwaZulu Police generally is one of our obstacles. It's difficult to blame it on the leader. I don't think that will be fair either.

POM     But have you had discussions with him regarding this?

AG     He's no longer there, there's a new one.

POM     He's gone?

AG     Yes.

POM     Oh dear. Another interview gone! Has he retired?

AG     I don't know but there's someone in his place now.

POM     There is. You keep losing people all the time. Every week somebody we interviewed two years ago or three years ago is no longer around.

AG     Whether he's retired or what happened, I don't know.

POM     Looking at the violence in general, would it be your view that the violence must be brought under control before you can have an effective political settlement or that an effective political settlement will itself result in a reduction in the level of violence?

AG     It's a bit chicken and egg. I have said that one of the prerequisites for ending the violence would be a political solution. Also it's impossible to have free and fair elections while the quest for territorial domination, which we have in Natal at the moment, continues because if people are intimidated to vote either ANC or Inkatha depending on who is in control of the specific area it's not going to be a free and fair election. I think, and this is a personal view, we should get to an interim government as soon as possible or at least shared executive power which will then make it possible to reduce violence and then have an election. I think with the present state of violence an election will not be possible.

POM     So that if people talk about an election towards the end of this year, even the beginning of next year, it would be your view that if the levels of violence continue at the levels they are at that really makes the possibility of free and fair elections remote?

AG     Yes. But I think if the progress achieved in the next, say, eight or nine months is significant that will reduce the violence. And now leaving out of account a new card that has recently been dealt, and that's APLA, but the ANC/Inkatha the moment a dispensation is agreed upon between their leaders I think the violence will be significantly reduced.

POM     That's if there is an agreement between?

AG     ANC and Inkatha on how the future South Africa should look.

POM     But if there's not an agreement?

AG     If there's not an agreement you'll either have to go without Inkatha and, you've asked that before, it's going to make it difficult for us. My answer was yes, if we don't manage to pull Chief Buthelezi into an overall settlement it is going to be very difficult. What Buthelezi has done is he has now also roped in some of the other independent homelands and the Conservative Party amongst the white electorate. So he's achieved quite a strong power base.

POM     They're having a meeting this morning, the Concerned ...

AG     That's right, COSAG.

POM     What about intimidation as a factor? During the stayaway last August for example you had, again, two points of view, really two sets of propaganda. You had the ANC propaganda saying this has been the most massively successful stayaway in the history of South Africa. You had the government saying, yes they had high stayaway rates in many areas but most of it was a result of intimidation.

AG     Intimidation is as difficult to find evidence of as is, for instance, third force police activity. I haven't come across it but that doesn't mean to say it's not there. I think also what is intimidation is the threat that we'll kill you if you don't come, That's obviously intimidation, but there's social stigma intimidation. It's obvious that there's been strong pressure on everybody to take part, but to what extent it was coupled with physical violence I don't know. There are a lot of stories but I haven't come across any real concrete evidence.

POM     Now have you looked, along with the Goldstone Commission, into Boipatong or is their a Peace Resolution Committee in that area in the wake of that?

AG     No it's still far too volatile. You've got to get a commitment from the community leaders to work towards peace and we try not to form a committee that will fall apart within a number of weeks or so. So we would rather appoint a facilitator for an area, a Crisis Committee or something like that. It's important to distinguish our function against that of Goldstone. Goldstone performs a judicial function and he looks into past violence and then he makes a finding like a Judge would and he gives reasons, while we try to prevent future violence. We don't make any value judgement whatsoever. We don't attribute blame. Our members are all members of political groups and whatever I say I must be able to defend with all these political parties represented in my committees.

POM     But in this committee do allegations about third forces come up?

AG     It's very much the same as allegations about intimidation. It's continuously made but almost impossible to prove. I think that there are rogue policemen but I don't think it's an organised sinister all-pervading force.

POM     Like when de Klerk made his announcement a couple of weeks ago regarding ...

AG     That's military, that's not police.

POM     - regarding the military, does that surprise you? Were you taken aback?

AG     No actually it gratified me because I was well aware that Military Intelligence is overstepping its mark, but it's a small element of the military. But it's a good thing he did it.

POM     Why would somebody as politically astute as de Klerk, for two years it appeared he could do nothing wrong in terms of making a political move, why would it have taken him so long to make such a move against elements in the military knowing that the pay-back to him from the black community would be very high in political terms?

AG     I can only guess on that, I can give you a few guesses but it's no more than guesses. One is I think he needed to consolidate his power base. You must remember he is as strong as his constituency allows him to be and it takes a lot of getting used to the new route that he has followed for the white electorate. If he does it all at once on one day he may well find himself without a political base. The second reason is that he may not have had the evidence because Goldstone gave him the opportunity to appoint General Steyn who then went in and got the evidence. And that section of the military, knowing they were overstepping the mark, is not going to advertise it to their ministers and specifically not to the State President. I think the latter is the more likely answer. They have been pursuing their own agenda and they are not going to keep the State President informed of what they are doing.

POM     You said two interesting things there. One, that de Klerk has to consolidate his control of his own constituency and if one looks at what would appear to be the peak of his popularity which was immediately after the referendum, he seems to have been on a steady but slow decline.

AG     That goes for any political leader. He's got the honeymoon period.

POM     But there have been political scandals.

AG     Not involving de Klerk personally.

POM     No, but with his government. The economy continues to decline. Fewer white people we talk to, even those who would have been strong supporters of him a couple of years ago, exhibit the same kind of attraction towards him. You have rumour of splits in the National Party itself, some thinking that he is capitulating too quickly to the agenda of the ANC, others saying that he should be moving even more quickly. He had the embarrassment of his own amnesty bill being rejected by what is essentially an apartheid parliament, a parliament of his own creation. And the ANC have reacted quite mildly to some of these things. Do you see a danger of him becoming politically weakened and a corresponding understanding on the part of the ANC that they must have a fairly strong de Klerk in control of his constituency and if he can deliver the goods at his end?

AG     I think from the ANC's point of view, they need de Klerk. So they can't react in a way which could make de Klerk lose his constituency because whoever will come in his place in such circumstances will be much more difficult to deal with than de Klerk is. Secondly, the ANC, I think, considers itself and quite rightly too, as a government in waiting and they have got to make sure that they have the ability to govern and that they have got sufficient support to govern also from the white community, because if the whites just abandon the country, as has happened in Zimbabwe, it's going to have a very negative economic impact and the ANC will not be able to deliver what it has promised. I think it's very difficult for any leader to preside over a period of transition. One will say you go too fast, the other will say you go too slow. He's inherited a Cabinet and a security force apparatus and a civil service which was put together to enforce apartheid and not to promote his own ideas and the conversion of that must necessarily take place and must necessarily produce scandals.

POM     What about ethnicity as a factor?

AG     I think it's over-emphasised. It is a factor but not one of the large factors.

POM     I say that in the context of we have gone out to the hostels in Thokoza in particular and talked to residents there and they all talk in terms of ...

AG     The Xhosas and the Zulus?

POM     Yes, Xhosa and Zulu. That's the language they use and they see the ANC as not attacking Inkatha per se but as attacking the Zulu nation. Is this propaganda that they've got?

AG     I think so, but you must remember that 50% of the Zulu nation support the ANC.

POM     But do you think there is, as in Eastern Europe where ethnic differences were kept under cover as a result of the brutal suppression of communism, but then ancient differences surfaced in savage ways when that lid was lifted. Do you think there's any possibility of a similar kind of situation developing here?

AG     Not as strong as that. I think we've got a great binding together of religion which you don't have in Eastern Europe, you've got a variety of religions while most of the blacks here are Protestant Christians and most of them are very religious. I think that's going to help a lot. Then I think most of the blacks, possibly the Zulus and the Xhosas as exceptions, are not aggressive types of people. And then the ANC has managed to forge a reasonably effective organisation from a host of different ethnic groups. They've got their problems also, various local committees getting out of hand, the regions not toeing the party line and so on. But the mere fact that they managed to forge what they did out of the great variety of ethnic people gives me a lot of hope. It is a problem but I think it's a surmountable one.

POM     When you look at the recent elections in other parts of Africa that were in transition to democracy, one of the key ways in which the votes ultimately seem to break down are along ...

AG     Ethnic lines. If you look at South Africa the only possible ethnic split is Inkatha. None of the other political groups has got any ethnic basis whatsoever. Afrikaners are totally split between the Conservatives and the others, the white people also. Your Sothos are overwhelmingly ANC, Xhosas overwhelmingly ANC, Swazis overwhelmingly ANC. It's actually only the Zulus where you have the split and there it's a fifty/fifty split, and you haven't got that kind of competition anywhere else in Africa.

POM     So as you look to the next year, how do you see the work of your committee expanding? Are more resources being put at your disposal? Are you working more closely with ...?

AG     Yes, we're getting more resources. We're working basically on the Dispute Resolution aspect and the dispute is your kind of ANC/Inkatha disputes and the Brandville Hostel is a good example. Then you get hour homeland disputes where homelands don't allow political activities, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei particularly where we continue to have to go in. I think Transkei is also now getting on to the list. Then thirdly, you've got the conservative controlled Town Councils who also don't allow political activities or marches and there we've been very actively involved. And then, fourthly, and that's the last of the short term causes of violence, is economic circumstances. We're getting more and more violence being committed not so much for political but for economic reasons. The taxi war is a very good example and we will get much more actively involved in that to try and get a solution. The reason for that is too many taxis and too few passengers and some of the taxi operators saying that the best way to secure custom is to employ hit men to decimate the opposition.

POM     Eliminate supply?

AG     No, eliminate the opposition taxis because they've got all the routes worked out and the people are trespassing on each other's routes. For instance the Pietersburg people can bring passengers to Johannesburg but can't take them back and that immediately halves your profitability. Likewise taxis from Johannesburg are allowed to enter Pietersburg, deposit passengers but not pick them up and if they try to pick them up they're shot. There's quite a bit of talk that train violence has also got a link to the taxi industry because the more frightened people are of using trains the more they will use taxis. And then for pure economic necessity you're going to have robberies, which is happening. And there we will also try and get involved and their function will be to try and work out some police/community confidence, because the moment they have got confidence in the police you can start policing an area and then the community will come up and assist the police in keeping the peace. But at the moment they get no assistance whatsoever and the thugs and the robbers have a field day.

POM     At the very beginning you talked about the lack of political tolerance. Is enough being done to educate people in South Africa about what democracy is?

AG     We've got training sessions. We've got about 2500 committee members serving on our various committees and we've got syllabi put together and we will send trainers to the various areas then they have a weekend workshop with the committee. We've had a million rand donation from the Danish government to augment that. We're going to give greatly increased prominence to that. Then we've got an advertising campaign, you may have seen some of it over the Christmas period. We've got international monitors which helps because their presence makes it much more difficult for a group to be overtly, shall I say, intolerant. Then I think, and that's not the Secretariat's work, that's John Hall's work, to get the implementation of the Peace Accord much more effective and deal much more effectively with transgressors. In other words people making inflammatory speeches, which is prohibited, that they be brought to book much more effectively and much quicker. But you can preach democratic principles until the cows come home, if you've got the warlords operating and you can't bring them to book, can you have a great deal of success?

POM     So to summarise you would see the two major political areas of violence are (i) Natal where for all intents and purposes there's a civil war going on.

AG     Yes, low intensity.

POM     Nevertheless that's one, and the second would be in the Transvaal and many of the townships mainly between supporters of the IFP located for the most part in hostels and communities which support the ANC.

AG     Yes, it's an over-spill of the Natal situation.

POM     And they're both about the control of territory since the control of territory is ...

AG     Gives them access to votes in the territory.

POM     You have the vote if you control it theoretically. And these are the major areas that you would be concerning yourself with on the political side.

AG     On the political side. Then we've got the police/community relationship which is as important. We've got to build that up so that we can have effective policing and then thirdly, and this is also as important is the criminal violence, taxi wars, robberies.

POM     Is there a lot of criminal violence that is conducted that is shovelled under the general heading of being political violence when it's not, it's done in the name of politics when it's not politics?

AG     Yes. But you will have in an area, especially squatter communities, all civil authority has broken down and the little that remains is seen as apartheid structures. You will have self protection units forming. These will then generate into gangs and they will execute robberies and so on.

POM     Are gangs a real phenomenon?

AG     It's increasing because there's no effective policing.

POM     Is there any area of gangs becoming a new unit of organisation for young people?

AG     It's not as bad as some areas in America for instance but we must be very careful that we don't get to that kind of thing. There's various solutions mooted. One of them is that one should totally reorganise the police force and make it community based and not centrally controlled. That will have to be looked into.

POM     That appears to be the coming thing in many places. There's a lot of talk of that happening in the United States, again in inner cities where the police enjoy no trust or no confidence amongst the population.

PAT     Just two questions. Frank Chikane. The churches were revisiting their relationship with the police and considering becoming fairly active in the community as peace monitors. Can you tell us what has happened with that and what the relationship between the two is?

AG     I've attended a meeting between leaders of the various churches at which he was present and we've told them, that's myself and John Hall, that we've had a very strong input from business, not as strong from the churches. And I've mentioned before that I think one of the factors that's going to prevent us becoming a second Eastern Europe is the unifying force of the Christian religion which is supported by the vast majority of South Africans and the Church should start to a much larger extent playing an active role.

PAT     And why do you think they are not?

AG     It's very difficult to say. Most of our committees have got co-chairpersons, one would be a black religious man and the other would be a strong white business leader and each time the business leader wins for getting things done, actively promoting and so on. I think it's possibly the nature of training and the whole personality thing. Most parsons or preachers will not be active organisers or strong people for getting things done, which businessmen are and especially those senior people we are very lucky to draw into our committees.

POM     Do you think there's any element, to follow up Patricia's question, that ...

AG     Let me add, there are some exceptions. We've got some excellent chairpersons such as Bishop de Bruyn, for instance, in the Eastern Cape. He's one of the best we've got. But by and large we get much greater support from the businessmen than from the church.

POM     There is a perception that we've run into that the South African Council of Churches is like a fifth column of the ANC.

AG     ANC affairs.

POM     And that therefore there is a reluctance of itself to align itself in a neutral way when it is already on one side in a sense.

AG     There is that perception. It's not all that strong. The only two areas where there is a significant ANC/Inkatha conflict is Natal and Wits/Vaal. It's only two out of our nine regions. The others, it's not a large factor. And then the Afrikaans churches are also contributing and the Methodist Church, the Anglican Church, not so much with the SACC, but in their individual capacities and they get across very well. It is a factor in some areas but also exaggerated I think.

PAT     Do these facilitators, which I would assume are some white mediators, do they come from the business community, the labour community?

AG     Just before I answer that, I think Frank Chikane specifically has got a strong ANC connotation, but somebody like Desmond Tutu hasn't. And Desmond will attack anybody he thinks needs to be attacked. We get more involvement specifically from him, I think he gave us a lot. You say who are these mediators? There's quite a number of professional facilitating companies for instance and some others who have concentrated on labour disputes and we use them in paid capacity because they've got lots of experience.

PAT     Are they mostly white people?

AG     I'd say about fifty/fifty. Quite a few Indians. But they're trained labour negotiators and to a large extent from the side of labour and not from the side of management. I think they are our main source. Then senior businessmen and also Attorneys. But it must be somebody who can spare the time because our payment is not all that generous.

PAT     An activity of love, public service.

AG     Yes it's absolutely that. But we get quite a few retired people. One of them is the ex-President of the Association of Law Societies, Mr Mansell(?). He is one of the most senior Attorneys in Johannesburg who has helped us. There are some others we've used, church people also. But by and large it's professional negotiators drawn from labour negotiation.

PAT     I've one other question which is not related to this, which is the reference you made to the international monitors from the OAU, the UN International Committee. It seems that when Mr Omiya(?), I'm not exactly sure who he was, was moved out and others were brought in, the Norwegian was brought in, that the Secretary General of the UN was not all that satisfied with the performance of his team here, that there had been some commentaries about the international monitors trying to figure out what their own terms of reference are, how they can be most effective? Do you think this issue is part of the evolution of the defining of the relationship that developed between you?

AG     I think it is a bit of evolution but the main reason is the government said they must be observers. You can look but you can't participate. While the ANC says they must be monitors and the term monitor is much wider than the term observer. Now the UN has gone out of its way not to define the function to the point of dotting the is and crossing the ts, they've left it rather vague in the sense that they will observe. Mr. Omiya followed that to the letter and to some extent also Ms Angela King, while some of the other groups, specifically the European Community and the British Commonwealth has got involved more deeply and they are also trying to play a facilitative role. Much also depends on the personality of the observer concerned. There's one in Klerksdorp from Russia who is about the strongest person in that whole area. She's in with the ANC and in with the Conservative Party, enjoys the trust of everybody. She's a United Nations person. While others don't have the personality to become involved that deeply. But I would say a facilitator, a more active facilitator would be useful.

PAT     This is a whole new territory for the OAU, I mean the OAU does not typically go in for this kind of thing.

AG     No, but they have given us very high profile people and they get along well.

PAT     I do have a question, on their terms of reference, have you defined their terms of reference in any way?

AG     In terms of observers? No. No we steer clear of it.

PAT     You just welcome them in a sort of collaborative way?

AG     Yes. We meet them once a week formally, the leaders of the four groups and then to the extent that they have complaints, and they usually do have. They say the police in this area have been highhanded and this is happening in that area. So there is a formal get together where we look at complaints, observations, strategies.

PAT     They're operating on their own, not as part of your set-up?

AG     No, they're operating on their own but in collaboration with us. So they're allocated to our various local and regional committees. Each one of their members will be designated to an area and to one of our regional or local committees. At top management level we meet once a week.

POM     So they are spread over the eleven areas?

AG     Yes.

POM     And within those areas they are free to observe what they want to observe and then to report?

AG     Yes, but access to them is not necessarily through us. If anybody wants to talk to them direct they can. But we give them infrastructure, we give them assistance, they work through us. If they come into contact with potentially explosive situations they will inform us. We set up meetings, facilitate discussions particularly with government but also some of the other political groups.

POM     OK, thank you ever so much for the time and for doing it at such short notice. We'll be back again in probably too short a period of time just following up. It's fascinating that each visit we make is so different in terms of perceptions and content and shifting of attitudes and tones and subtleties. It's really very exciting.

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.