This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Jul 1993: Alexander, Benny (!Khoisan X)
POM. Ben, this has been a funny kind of year for the PAC, trying to come together with the ANC in the Patriotic Front, the PAC meets with Buthelezi, the PAC are involved in controversy about APLA, the PAC takes part in the negotiations but calls the setting of an election date rather meaningless, the PAC still stands for the election of a sovereign Constituent Assembly. Shall we start with the last one? What's the difference between what you would want in terms of a sovereign Constituent Assembly and what is on offer at the moment?
!KX. Yes, I'm not sure whether what we want is not on offer, but there are basically three positions at the negotiating process. That is the sovereign Constituent Assembly scenario. There are three scenarios which try to unfold. The sovereignty scenario is the one that was adopted by both the PAC and the Patriotic Front Conference in Durban in October 1991. In terms of this scenario you would have a sovereign Constituent Assembly which will take decisions on all constitutional matters following an election on the basis of one person one vote on a common voter's roll, including the geographical territories of so-called homelands and in one country and on the basis of proportional representation on a national scale.
POM. What's the difference between that and a Constituent Assembly envisaged in the current proposals?
!KX. In our proposal, just briefly, that Constituent Assembly would not be bound by any prior agreement, it will not be hamstrung, it will not be fettered and it will merely draw up the constitution. That's all it would do. Now the current proposals by the elite ANC and the regime, they are joint proposals and of course supported by their lackeys, the joint proposal is that there will be an election for a parliament and that parliament would be a National Assembly which would be both a legislature and an executive and write the constitution. But they are open for discussion on this matter, how many days of the week it would write the constitution and how many days of the week it would run the country.
. The Senate, in this envisaged plan of the ANC and the regime, would comprise the leaders of the different organisations or minorities and they would then have certain powers and take certain decisions on the basis of consensus, which is implied veto which each one of them would have in the Senate and that is then what will be understood by the term 'power sharing'.
. This whole arrangement has a number of different names. They call it a constitution making body, they call it an interim government, they call it a government of national unity, they call it all sorts of things. Sometimes they even call it a Constituent Assembly. They also call it a National Assembly. So these are the arrangements. That body then differs fundamentally from the PAC and the Patriotic Front's original proposals in that the demarcation of the country into regions which would be very strong, bordering very closely on federalism, would be entrenched and the Constituent Assembly itself would not be able to change that. The constitutional principles would be firmly entrenched and the Constituent Assembly itself will not be able to change that. So the Constituent Assembly itself then would find itself with a form of state already concluded before the election. The powers and duties and functions of regions and so on, the question of residual powers would already been decided on, whether it rests with the central government or with the regions, all these things. So the Assembly would not have any powers on these fundamental issues on how the country is going to be governed.
POM. Has that proposal been adopted already?
!KX. No that proposal has not been adopted.
POM. But it has been agreed to between the ANC and the government?
!KX. Yes, between the ANC and the regime. They did agree to this proposal and that is why they find it difficult to state why we have an election date, what we will vote for, and that is why the ANC and the regime opposed the PAC when the PAC stated, "Let us make it clear that we are voting for a Constituent Assembly, an unfettered one, to draw up the constitution as it's sole task." And the ANC and the regime have opposed us on this one and, therefore, we said that the date itself was meaningless because you can't prepare yourself if you don't know what you are voting for. Hopefully it will have to come one way or the other, this decision will have to be taken one way or the other before long.
POM. If the National Party, the government and the ANC say, "Listen this is what we're going to do. We're going to entrench these things in a Technical Committee beforehand", it will be very difficult or almost impossible for a Constituent Assembly to change them. Would the PAC at that point pull out of the talks on the basis of there being insufficient consensus for that approach?
!KX. I think the options that the PAC would have are as follows, number one, to pull out of the talks and start a propaganda campaign against the strategy of the ANC and the regime. Secondly, would be to note your opposition, let it be minuted, continue in the talks and continue opposing what they are doing and when you do go for elections seek to get a majority and seek an election on the basis that you want to overthrow the decisions of the ANC and the regime and you want a mandate and that if you do get a majority you would not go and take your seat in that interim parliament, thereby creating a constitutional crisis and thereby forcing the OAU or the UN, or a combination of these two bodies, to come and take your seats in order to not have a constitutional crisis. And then to push through a Constituent Assembly, a sovereign one irrespective of what they have created by virtue of your strength arising from the election and force it on them. And that is another option that we have to look into. Those are the two important options. The first option of course, when you pull out, you can also have allied to that the whole notion of not taking part in the election at all, opposing the election as such.
POM. Do you support COSAG when it says that the ANC and the government reaching agreement on something is not in itself sufficient consensus?
!KX. We do not support the COSAG group.
POM. I don't mean the group of people, but support their position on that point.
!KX. I think they are supporting our position because we were the first to put forward this idea that the two parties themselves do not have a sufficient consensus at all. In fact they are busy now redefining them. Before the end of next week they will have redefined the meaning of the term 'sufficient consensus'.
POM. Good. So I can come back in two weeks and find out what that is? Let me turn for a minute to what was an issue all year and that is the relationship between APLA and the PAC. There have been a number of statements made. "The PAC would stop deals", that was Patricia de Lille. The process of selling that began when Mandela was still in gaol. "The PAC is opposed to any form of power sharing". What do you believe, that there should be a government by a majority and the majority party rules? You had a meeting of the PAC and the IFP last July 19th. Was that to establish common ground or to establish common opposition to the ANC and the government?
!KX. Let me start with the latter part of your question. We can't establish common ground with Inkatha because our ideologies are too different. They want a federation of states. We want a unitary state. They are strong free market capitalist advocates and we are strong socialist advocates. We want to have a strong central government with residual powers in the central government and very little powers devolved to the provinces. Inkatha want the opposite things, strong residual powers in the regions with very limited powers in the central government. So we are directly opposed to Inkatha. Our meeting with Inkatha had nothing to do with joint strategies because we do not have joint objectives, we are not of similar objectives. It was merely to try and find out in a mediatory manner why they pulled out of the talks in order to try and address the best way for them to come back. That is all the meeting was about. And they did take our advice. Our advice was that they must make a letter that would be tabled at the council, it must be debated and then it must be responded to. Although their conference took a decision that we must up front agree to agree to federalism and all these things which they want, we cannot say that. It is unacceptable and you merely raise your objection to the question of how decisions are made because if you say we must agree up front, everybody can say the same thing. It's unreasonable. So in the submissions which they did they merely raised their concern over how the decisions are being made. And that we can address and they can come back.
POM. Do you think a compromise will be reached there, that they will come back?
!KX. I think so. I think a compromise will be reached and I think they will come back.
POM. That will involve in some way, again, the definition of sufficient consensus being expanded in some way to be more accommodating?
!KX. That's right.
POM. Buthelezi is on record as saying that if things continue on their present course, that is the ANC and the government making elite arrangements among themselves and really banishing or not taking into account the input of other parties, he said that there's a fifty/fifty chance of civil war in the country. Would you agree with that assessment?
!KX. Yes there is a potential for a civil war. We believe that the country, by virtue of the nature of transition itself has opened the way for untold possibilities for good or evil. So the country is in fact pregnant with untold possibilities for good or evil or we could have a settlement today to bring about peace, stability, genuine and fundamental democracy or it could lead to civil war. The relationship between the IFP and the right wing is a very dangerous one because both parties are armed, therefore there is potential for that. But I think that that potential will always be there if we as the elite try to strike deals that suit us, but if we go to the people and then the people vote, it will become very clear to us which way the people want to go and I think we will have no grounds to stand on if what you say is out of line with what the people voted. I think we cannot have respectability after the election if what you say is diametrically opposed to what the majority want.
POM. You are on record as saying that if there were an election the PAC would win hands down.
!KX. Yes we would win hands down and I'll tell you why. If you look, for example, at the June 16th rallies, I was the most senior PAC leader to address a June 16th rally and I addressed it at Khayelitsha stadium. Khayelitsha is the only stronghold of the ANC in the Western Cape and you find that the rally that I had there was at least six times bigger than the ANC and it was the biggest rally in the country at the Khayelitsha stadium. We are very strong in the Cape. The only area I think the ANC could, the only city in which they could beat us is Port Elizabeth city itself and maybe the town of Craddock, but the rest of the Eastern Cape we would take. So the Cape Province, there we will be stronger than they are.
POM. Why then is there a popular perception, not only in this country, but a popular perception across the world that the ANC is the major player?
!KX. I think in the Free State we're stronger than the ANC. In the PWV area we're more or less equally strong. In the Northern Transvaal we're far stronger than them so the only area that we are really contesting would be Natal. But in Natal we just, even if they beat us by 10%, on an overall basis we would be stronger than them.
POM. Why do you think the PAC is in such a commanding position?
!KX. I think because of the fact negotiations have been going on for two years and all the PAC's predictions about the negotiating process came true. The ANC is more favoured because its policies, particularly economic policies, are less radical than those of the PAC and that is why they are so popular with the media but they are not popular at all with the people on the ground, as popular as they would like to be. We have about 2% of African people with telephones and they come from a particular class of the people and the newspapers surveys are usually polling these 2% and ask them, "What do you think of Mr Mandela and so on?" and they seem to like him. But they are hardly a commanding class in terms of numbers in the country and therefore the superior position of what they say over the poorer classes is hardly anything to go by.
. This is not a unique situation. The same thing happened in Zimbabwe. When President Mugabe became the President people in the West had hardly heard his name and his party was hardly spoken of. We cannot be defeated by people who build themselves on the blood of their own people, the ANC and the IFP. They are not strong survivors, they would be defeated by people like that, people who forced our grandparents to drink oil which they bought in town, soap powder which they bought in town, things like that, people who have put tyres round other people and burn them to death. People with those sort of credentials cannot defeat us on the ground.
. As Africanists the West might know the PAC more because of the publicity that is given exclusively to its military operations. But in the townships we hardly have military operations there. Most of those are taking place outside of the townships. So in the townships we are known for our pro-African stances, the rebuilding of the structures of society, we appeal to students to go to school, clashes with the ANC over the question of where there might be schools or not with the PAC saying there must be schooling, our brief statement of teachers and principals who have been dismissed, the programmes for African entrepreneurial growth and development and meaningful participation in the economy. These are the issues that made us to be popular. We are, of the major political organisations of the press, the only one which has grown in the townships surely on the basis of its ideology.
POM. Let me go back to the fact that if COSAG stays outside, does not come back to the negotiating forum and you see arrangements going ahead with a date set for an election or under the ANC/government scenario, what will be the outcome in that situation?
!KX. In the COSAG group there is a division on this matter. I think Bophuthatswana and the right wing would be prepared to go to war.
POM. By the right wing you mean the Conservative Party, the AVU?
!KX. AVU, yes. The AVF, the Afrikaner Volksfront, which includes all of them. I doubt Ciskei would want to, I doubt Qwa-Qwa would want to or the other guys.
POM. You doubt Ciskei would too?
!KX. I doubt it.
POM. Do you see Gqozo as being very vulnerable?
!KX. No, I don't think they're strong enough in that area. I think the PAC is too strong and the ANC is also too strong in Ciskei. They don't really stand a chance there. But I really do not think that the IFP will stay out of talks for long, I do not think so. And they are not a united group, very pure because the guys are out of talks. It's only the IFP and the CP, and the IFP will come back.
POM. Why do you think the IFP will come back?
!KX. I think because of its financial backers and I think also because of its political backers.
!KX. I would think that certain western countries who back the IFP because of its strong federalism and strong capitalist principles. I do not think those countries would like to see a civil war. The backers of IFP would like to see a political settlement.
POM. Coming to this whole thing of the PAC and APLA. There have been statements made over the year that the PAC, I think it was Jack Serote saying, that the only people who could order APLA to end its violence would be by resolution taken at the annual party of the PAC. There are other cases of where you are on record as saying that the PAC could put a stop on APLA to renounce violence or whatever. There are other statements that say that APLA is operationally autonomous, virtually independent from the PAC. Could you specify for me what it is, the nature of the relationship between APLA and the PAC? I'll preface that by giving you a context of the relationship in Ireland between Sinn Fein and the IRA. Sinn Fein is seen as the political wing of the IRA yet Sinn Fein has no political control over the IRA. In fact it is the IRA that in the end sets the policy. Sinn Fein is accountable to the IRA rather than the IRA being accountable to Sinn Fein.
!KX. Yes, you have the same degree of independence but with the stronger party, the opposite one. That means that like in the Northern Ireland situation the IRA is the stronger one and Sinn Fein accountable to it and in the PAC you have this policy making body in the PAC itself with APLA accountable to the PAC. But there is still their independence, the operational independence of APLA. APLA has no political independence. It is accountable to the Congress of the PAC and its a component structure of the PAC. PAC has four component structures all of which have political independence, operational independence. Our ZANU the youth movement, PASO the student movement, our women's movement, and APLA the military movement. So all four movements are component structures of the PAC. All their operatives are PAC members in the first place and only members of these other structures in the second instance. So the student movement, they are members of PAC first and then members of the student body second. APLA members are also members of the PAC first and then APLA in the second instance. Policy is set by the PAC and they have no different objectives from the objectives of the PAC. That is why in one or two negotiations with the regime the high command of APLA joined the PAC when we discussed military matters and they joined us and the regime wanted them to be full participants in the meeting but the PAC said, "No, they are here in an advisory capacity."
POM. So the PAC leadership or the PAC at its annual conference could pass a resolution calling on APLA to suspend all military operations and APLA would have to comply with that resolution?
!KX. Yes, definitely. In fact we've already worked out. But you see the relationship between us and the army and our other structures is not really a question of just commanding them to stop this or stop that. We work out, basically, programmes and broad strategy together so we have worked out with the high command of APLA under what terms and conditions we would have to manage a cease-fire, because since we want an election for a Constituent Assembly and the PAC as a party, therefore it is inherent that before you can vote there must be an end of hostilities. You can't shoot when people are voting. So inherent in the Congress resolution that we must vote it is already implied that we must stop fighting. But we've worked out how to do that and we've already started to negotiate at the negotiating forum and with the South African regime how we're going to end the armed struggle, before we go to the polls, we've already started negotiating with them. They said that we had to first of all sign a mutual cessation of hostilities between us. That agreement will have to include the following: -
(1). The date the cease-fire comes into operation;
(2) . What happens to the soldiers of both camps, who is going to control them?
(3). What happens to the inventory of the army and who's going to supervise that?
(4). Who's going to supervise this cease fire, which international body will supervise?
(5). Who is going to take political command and who's going to take operational command of the security forces before the election?
. These are very important questions which must all form part of the cease-fire agreement as is the question of elections. When are we going to vote for a legitimate government? That's the other aspect. This is very important. Of course the last part to be included was that both parties undertake to abide by the outcome of a free and fair election, declared free and fair by the international community who will be supervising it, will abide by that even if it doesn't favour any of the parties. And that a single army will be formed after the election, one national army will be formed. But already we have to start the process before that with the cease-fire and so on and before the elections bring together the weapons and so on and then they are controlled by the international community and so on so as to minimise an Angola-type situation where after the election one party decides to take up arms again. All these must be resolved. Now the problem that we've had is that the APLA leadership told the regime at the meeting in Botswana that they have to agree to it, to lay down arms and these terms and conditions because they are fighting for objectives and political objectives are being met through political means and there is no need to fight. So the problem that we've had in negotiations with the regime is that they have refused on mutual cessation of hostilities and they have called on the PAC to suspend its military activities unilaterally and hand over its army for the control by our enemies, and that we say is ridiculous, a ridiculous demand.
POM. If ultimately the PAC is the policy making body in political matters, given the fact that the PAC has not called on APLA to stop its activities, can one deduce from that that the PAC approves of APLA targeting what are called soft targets?
!KX. I want to say one thing, that if you look at the latest report given two weeks ago by Amnesty International on violence and the abuse of human rights in this country you will see that they put the blame primarily on the regime. If you look at the reports of the Human Rights Commission, an independent body which monitors the violence on a case by case basis, you would see that well over 70% of the incidents are due to the direct action by the South African regime and their forces and therefore we have a responsibility as the people's army to defend the people. If they shoot our people two days before the elections we have to defend our people two days from the elections.
POM. Now I fully understand you targeting members of the security forces, even ex members of the security forces, members of the police, the army and whatever. What bothers me is the targeting of ordinary people perhaps for no other reason than they are white.
!KX. No, we have never targeted ordinary people, never. There's not a single incident where we have targeted ordinary people. There was one incident, the Eikenhof killings, south west of Johannesburg, where children were boarding a school bus and they were shot at and the police immediately said that that is APLA targeting these children. The APLA high command immediately issued a press statement saying they have never done such a thing, that is not our policy. They continued to say it was APLA until they arrested the people responsible and those people responsible were members of uMkhonto weSizwe, the military wing of the ANC, who are currently standing trial for that incident. There is only one incident in the country where white children, in the past 30 years, have been shot at and the ANC was responsible for that.
POM. But the PAC, APLA says it will continue it's policy of targeting soft targets, that is unarmed white people, ordinary people?
!KX. No, APLA activities are not activities aimed at particular race groups. Most of the security forces which have died in highly publicised incidents have not been whites at all. The people who were killed in Dobsonville were, all of them, African soldiers and policemen and other incidents. So it is not correct to say APLA only attacks whites. APLA attacks people of the system which are attacking our people. Now when APLA, the point I want to make very clear, APLA does not as a policy target civilians. If civilians die in an APLA activity it will be because they were caught in crossfire not because they were targeted. Now sometimes you find that the Selous Scouts, which are very active in the Eastern Cape, the Ascaris which are very active in those areas, and the mercenaries which are employed in the system, sometimes APLA gets the word that they are at a particular place and APLA would go there and attack them. Sometimes you find that they run into civilian places, into places where civilians congregate and APLA will attack them there too. But the reason why APLA would attack that area is not because they were targeting those civilians, but these civilians were just caught in the crossfire. APLA has never once gone out of its way to attack civilians purely because they are civilians.
POM. But the killings in Kingwilliamstown?
!KX. If you read the press reports about that time you will see very clearly that the security forces were in there, including Selous Scouts and they are involved in the violence in that area and that APLA had been on their trail for a long time. No, APLA didn't go there to kill civilians. No sir. Some of the people who died in that incident were civilians but they were not targeted because they are civilians, they were caught in the crossfire. Even the people who shot back at APLA there in the last incident in East London, those people publicly came out and said that they are members of the former Rhodesian Selous Scouts. They said clearly and made it very clear who they are, which forces they are, and they are involved in the violence, fanning the violence in that area. In fact one of them said so.
POM. I want to relate this question to the resignation of Ernest Moseneke which abroad at least was perceived to be his lack of willingness to go along with the activities of APLA. Could you comment on the circumstances surrounding his resignation?
!KX. Well if you look at all Moseneke's television interviews you would see that he is a very strong advocate and defender of the right of the oppressed to defend themselves for the purposes for which APLA take up arms. Mr Moseneke never ran away from clearly using his articulation to defend the people's army. So it's not true that he resigned because of that. Moseneke resigned because, and we've had discussions with him long before his resignation, because he knew that this year he would have to decide one way or the other. He had hoped that we would go for elections this year and he knew the pressure that would be put on a Deputy President during the election year. Just before his resignation we had sent him to one country to go and speak to one of the Presidents and he was the most senior black advocate on the Transvaal Bar and he is the only one at the moment who is wearing silk, who is a Senior Counsel. He had to forfeit some of his cases here because he was delayed there and we wouldn't allow him to come back before he had concluded his task and he knew that he could not do both, he could not do justice to both professions. He had to take a decision one way or the other and this year, 1993, he thought was going to be the election year and he knew that he would have to be fully involved in the legal profession where he is also an activist on the rights of African lawyers and he is also a leader in the Law Association there and he also plays an important role there in the form of the judiciary and everything else. So he had to decide which way he was going to play because he had a broad role in each respect and he's highly regarded in both respects and he had to take a decision one way or the other. We had hoped that he would announce that he is through with the legal profession now because we knew he had to make a decision one way or the other, but either way it was going to be a great loss. So he decided to go for the legal profession because there are more political activist people than there are lawyers.
POM. Does he still provide strategic advice to the PAC?
!KX. Oh yes very definitely. You know that he's playing an important role in the drafting of the constitution? His input is very major there in the negotiating process. In fact if he was Deputy Vice President I doubt he would have been allowed to play that important a role in the constitution. The question of self determination, the papers that were drafted by the Technical Committee, his input in that was very major. In the putting together the whole issues of drafting and so on he's played a very major role.
POM. Would you see him in that role as still being an advocate of the PAC or as being neutral?
!KX. He's supposed to be neutral but of course he believes very strongly and he's a former Robben Island prisoner and he is a committed freedom fighter, so he will definitely have a bias in favour of the oppressed and will want to make sure that the settlement is as meaningful as possible for the oppressed and in that respect he could favour the PAC position.
POM. So would you expect the draft constitution, I think which is being released next week, do you believe that that will include a number of ...?
!KX. I've not looked at it yet but it has come, it has arrived as well as the Transitional Executive Council, both.
POM. Heavy weekend reading.
!KX. Yes. I just wanted to see if that's come. I didn't even see what has come in but one of the things that I know is that the draft transitional constitution will have to be debated very seriously and next week there is going to be a very intense debate.
POM. Would you expect this draft constitution, because of Moseneke's eminence and presence and advocacy of the PAC, because of his being Deputy President in the past, would you expect it to reflect a lot of PAC thinking?
!KX. Yes I would expect it to. It already does as far as the question of self determination is concerned. It sees self determination as a anti-colonial independence act by oppressed people, the right to self determination. It doesn't see it as a secessionist option and that is why we find that even the draft position papers by the Technical Committee basically reflect our position.
POM. Do you expect this document to reflect a unitary government or a federal government? A unitary government with powers that would be devolved from the centre or a federal system in which certain powers would be entrenched in the regions?
!KX. I would expect this transitional document not to say anything about it and leave the debate for the Constituent Assembly. I would see this document as levelling the playing field between the haves and the have-nots, those who are in power illegitimately and those who seek power and levelling the playing field as they move towards the drafting of a constitution. I would see whatever arrangements are contained in the documentation being of very limited duration and terminating at the election of a Constituent Assembly. I see all structures emerging from this document as being structures as being aimed at levelling the playing field and enabling everybody to play an equal role in the transition to a new order until the election of a Constituent Assembly. What this document will say about an Electoral Commission, it will be a Commission which will involve the international community which will supervise the first election. The further elections will have to come from a new document which will arise from the Assembly. The control over the media, the electronic media, I already know what the document is going to say about that. The document is going to say that there will no advertisements, political advertisements, because that's what we've already agreed, so that those who have more money don't have an advantage over those who don't have. There will be political broadcasting of positions of all the parties with equal time given to all those who are taking part and so on. These things are all aimed at the first election just to level the playing field. Thereafter the Constituent Assembly will come up with fresh legislation on the same issues. Of course it will be informed about what it wants but also how it will be exercised.
POM. How long would you give the Constituent Assembly to write the constitution?
!KX. We would not want to put a minimum period, but we would put the maximum period that it must sit and we think it should not sit for more than 18 months. I think that within 18 months it should be able to complete the constitution.
POM. Would you then have fresh elections under the new constitution or would the Constituent Assembly turn itself into a National Assembly as it did in Namibia?
!KX. In principle it should go for fresh elections.
POM. It should go for elections.
!KX. The assumption must be that there must be new elections. If the Constituent Assembly completes its task within two months or three months after the election and people feel that there is no sense in going for another election two months after the previous one, the outcome is likely to be the same, there is consensus on that, then the Constituent Assembly can turn itself into a National Assembly based on that.
POM. It would be a National Assembly in which a majority would yield power, it would not be power sharing?
!KX. No not power sharing.
POM. When you come down to the question of majorities to enable a proposal to become of the constitution do you side with 51% or as in most other countries go with two thirds?
!KX. Well we would think that for the Constituent Assembly that is the first majorities we are debating about. In the Constituent Assembly, in order to pass the clauses of the constitution we would go for two thirds.
POM. Two thirds of the members of that Assembly would have to agree that in a new constitution there would be a unitary state and the rule would be majority rule?
!KX. Yes. So you could win the election and get 40% of the votes and with the other parties still having 60%, the rest are the 60% and you are the biggest party but that 40% which makes you the biggest party will be a far cry from pushing your will through and that is necessary because the constitution itself, you are working to be the government, but on the broad consensus of the people as a whole as to how they want to be governed and therefore it is fair that you will have to make some compromises.
POM. So you see Cyril Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer congratulating each other on historic breakthroughs and the election date is set and everything is in motion and moving towards that, arrangements are being made for the implementation of the TEC, are they deluding themselves a little bit?
!KX. Well they may bring some peripheral issues in from time to time in the discussions and there are major breakthroughs on these issues which are really of no consequence, they are fundamentals. There has been no breakthrough. The first breakthrough will come when you agree on the powers of a Transitional Authority. If you agree that it will have full legislative and executive powers that would be a breakthrough. If you agree that the Constituent Assembly will be sovereign that would be a breakthrough. So these are the breakthroughs that we're looking at. If you agree that you must meet every Monday at 8 o'clock in the morning that is not a breakthrough, even if 100%. They have the same problem and that is that their constituencies feel that they are not doing well and for that reason they have to have breakthroughs all the time. The National Party is just about disintegrating at the moment. Their disintegration couldn't have come at a worse time for them. Some of them have left to join other parties, some of them are still joining other parties. Grassroots membership of the National Party in Natal, the Free State, the Cape Province and in the Transvaal are just moving off to the IFP in large chunks. Right now there is talk about 25 members of parliament wishing to cross the floor.
POM. To the CP?
!KX. To the IFP and various others, but wanting to leave the NP.
POM. I've read a couple of articles since I came here, they are published mostly in The Weekly Mail, and individually and collectively they suggest that essentially the ANC caved in to what the government wanted, i.e. that there would be a federal system with powers of the regions defined beforehand, much of those powers will be entrenched, boundaries will be set beforehand, and that it will be very difficult to amend any of these things in a Constituent Assembly. Do you read the situation that way? Do you see the ANC as having caved in?
!KX. Yes and that is one of the reasons you find that the rallies of the ANC are getting smaller and smaller and smaller because that is the perception on the ground as well, even within the ANC.
POM. Do you think the government has effectively, at this point, out-negotiated the ANC and that it is the ANC who is making the concessions rather than the government?
!KX. Yes. Let me just give you briefly the scenario that the government is saying and that is indeed the scenario which I'm holding. They want to have a federal system, the weak central government. They want power sharing. They want all these things contained in the interim constitution. They want property rights protected so the status quo remains and all this type of thing and they have been able to win the ANC over on most of these points. In fact once the ANC has agreed with the regime on the question that the parliament itself will draw up a constitution and that there will be legislation in the Executive and with the Senate having representatives of the different groups having veto powers and sharing those powers, and also putting aside one day a week or so to draw up a constitution, you can see that the National Party will go at the end of this process and tell the white population that we are going to vote for a new government. And the ANC will say that we are voting for a Constituent Assembly. And the government will be able to prove to the people that the ANC is lying.
POM. But if the government is doing so well in the negotiations why is the National Party on the verge of disintegration?
!KX. It's disintegrating from the ground level. Part of this is because negotiations are taking place on a full time basis, almost that there is no end to these negotiations. Three years to prepare for an election. So they are going into the fourth year but still we have nothing to show.
POM. Do you think at this point that the Conservative Party would win an election right now, would they get more votes than the National Party?
!KX. Yes, they will get more votes than the National Party because those who are more liberal thinking are already abandoning the ship. The only people who will remain loyal on the top structure of the National Party are those who believe that they stand a chance of winning a parliamentary seat, but most of them know that if you go for a pure majority, proper democratic set up, they would not stand a chance so they are already preparing themselves for alternative employment and opportunities and activities. Those who believe strongly that they want to go back to parliament or believe that they are career politicians, those who believe that they must go and join organisations which have a chance of winning and who will come out strong in the elections. Due to the association of the ANC with the Communist Party some of those who are Christians feel that they would rather join the IFP and those who want to remain with a white party feel they should rather join the CP.
POM. Is your estimation at this point that the IFP nation-wide is gaining in support?
!KX. Yes it is gaining in support particularly amongst whites because its conservatism. It's a very conservative organisation.
POM. Finally, just one or two things. The Sowetan, I think on the 8th June this year, went over polling data and showed that the PAC was now the second largest party in the country in terms of popular support. I think it had the ANC 55%, it had the PAC at 30%, it had the National Party at 25% or something like that and showed that that increase had been increasing over time. Do you think the increase in that support had anything to do with the more visible operations of APLA?
!KX. No, no. That support is the support of the upper middle class because those are the people who are being polled. They don't poll the masses and the reason for that ...
POM. But it showed that support for you was increasing.
!KX. Yes, I would think of the small upper middle class section of our society. That is so because of the ANC's position on the civil service, the judiciary and the military. They believe in guaranteeing people jobs and we've worked it out and we tell the people that if you allow a situation where the judiciary are the judges and which judiciary at the moment is a white, conservative, male sexist institution, they are likely to reproduce after their kind and that will take us over 100 years really to infiltrate that institution. And that is going to be very dangerous. And when the people listen to PAC's arguments they say, "No, that they don't want". Then the PAC has a point there and they are the people in the legal profession. Then when you look at the civil service where the ANC is also prepared to guarantee jobs there, for the whites, the PAC then would come and argue correctly that if you allow white people to vacate their positions through retirement, death or dismissal through misconduct, then it will take at least 40 years to replace them. So it means that you are still going to have the same civil service that you've had before even after the next three elections and there's no opportunity for those if you are capable as you are. And the people see that and so they would like to see a programme that is much more drastic than that of the ANC and that is why they say the PAC has a more realistic approach in dealing with these issues and making opportunities for them.
POM. How do you view the consequences of Chris Hani's assassination? Is it just one of these political things that has happened in the country over the years or does it have consequences that will bear on the future in a more fundamental kind of a way?
!KX. Well it did save the West in the first place because if he didn't die he was going to take over from Mr Mandela and Mandela is nearly 75 years old, he's on his last legs, and therefore Chris Hani was going to take over and you could have quite a communist leader of the ANC. So certainly the West is not too unhappy over the fact that the ANC will not be led by a communist after Mandela.
POM. What consequence does it have in terms of the internal politics of the ANC?
!KX. In terms of the internal policies, it has led to a radicalisation of the society and particularly the youth and the youth was very, very unhappy about the fact that there was no defence from the ANC, that they continue to die in large numbers, we continue to have massacres. When did you arrive?
!KX. Sunday. I'm sure you must have seen in the news every night how people are being killed and the ANC says that the army must not take up any arms in defence of the people. They will just act on a moral level and say that it is wrong, for people to die it's wrong. That's not good enough. But the most telling thing was the death of Chris Hani and the anger was very harsh and that is why we find that the response of people at the funeral and the rallies was really unprecedented, not because the people believe in the voice of the ANC but because the people were angry at the system and they were venting their anger and their frustrations.
POM. In terms of the internal politics of the ANC, who do you see as, if not Hani, who in you view is most likely to be Mandela's successor?
!KX. Cyril Ramaphosa.
POM. Yet a couple of weeks ago Peter Mokaba came out in favour of backing Thabo Mbeki for Sisulu's position as Deputy President?
!KX. Yes, they can do whatever they want to but I think that the more entrenched interests in the ANC are in favour of Ramaphosa, including Mr Mandela himself. For that reason the ANC does not have a good choice. It has to take the best of two bad choices because both men are not popular on the ground, but the popular people are not capable enough. People like Mr Harry Gwala, if he was healthy he would have won on votes. If Winnie Mandela did not have all the negative publicity around her, she's much more popular than both of them together. Many others are more popular. In fact one of the interesting polls that was done within the ANC as to who should take over from Mr Mandela within the ANC, the man who came third was the PAC President. The PAC President - third! From within ANC ranks and to lead the ANC!
PAT. I just want to ask a question. Do you feel that the PAC was more responsive to the anger on the ground than the ANC was organisationally in that responsiveness?
!KX. I think the ANC was smart enough to realise that the people are angry and for that reason they organised bigger rallies. But that anger cut across the board politically and so you found the PAC fully taking part and so on. Yes, the PAC has grown very strong especially in the Eastern Cape as a result of this and following the death of Chris Hani you found that people are very unresponsive to attend ANC rallies, even ANC members. Their rallies are much smaller.
POM. Do you see General Holomisa as being more of an ally of the PAC rather than the ANC?
!KX. No I see General Holomisa as being more of an ally of the ANC than of the PAC but the members of his Military Council, the majority are more responsive to the PAC than ANC and his soldiers are more responsive to PAC and the people in Transkei itself. The General's own views are more in line with that of the PAC than that of the ANC. He's a very good friend of both organisations.
POM. Just a few last things, the position of yourself, again going through all my readings, there were suggestions that you were being dumped as head of the PAC's delegation at the negotiating council because you seem to have made what I think were called 'blustering statements about APLA', or whatever. Are you still a delegate to those talks? Are you still in charge of the PAC delegation?
!KX. What happened in our response, the party made it very clear that those were lies. What the report said was that I am no longer going to be at the negotiations at all and that I would be dumped as the head of the negotiating team because of my support for APLA. But the party made it very clear that in the first place I am not the leader of the party's delegation. I have never been the leader of the party's delegation, I couldn't be removed from a position which I don't hold. The leader of the negotiating team was and still is the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.
POM. Who is?
!KX. Willie Seroke, the leader in constitutional affairs, and that I am in the Planning Committee not because of my PAC membership but there's a ten person committee which comprises ten leading politicians who come in their own right to do a plan and that is in that capacity that I am there. The PAC has no control over that appointment. So I was appointed by the process itself, ten of us: myself, Cyril, Roelf Meyer, Colin Eglin (of the Democratic Party), Zam Titus from Transkei, Pravin Gordhan, Joe Slovo, Rowan Cronje, Mick Webb and there's a tenth one. Those ten of us went forth and I retained that position and when they said I was out of negotiations that was untrue because the very next day I was there and I'm still there today so those reports were not taken seriously. In the PAC it's also a well known fact that the majority of the people in the PAC support its army, so you can't discredit me by virtue of my association with the army. Those are issues which makes you popular, not which make you unpopular. So these are the issues.
POM. When you look at the year ahead, gaze into some crystal ball, what do you see happening?
!KX. I think that the people will have the most say of what's going to happen. It's really ANC and the NP because if they are going to continue to use their allies, their ball-boys so to say, to push through this sufficient consensus thing and push the National Party programme, then they are going to find themselves at loggerheads with the PAC and with many other parties.
POM. Including COSAG, so in an ironic way but for different reasons, COSAG and the PAC could be in joint opposition against the National Party government and the ANC?
!KX. Yes you will find us in joint opposition for different reasons. COSAG because they feel that the central government is not weak enough and us because we feel that it is not strong enough. Because they feel that the regions are not strong enough and we because we feel it's not weak enough. They because they feel it is not too blatantly capitalistic and us because we feel it is not too blatantly socialistic. So we may find that type of a problem. That is why we are saying in the PAC that the only way to really solve the problem in this country and to make those who want to make trouble lose respectability is to have electoral process because if 90% of the people vote for a particular issue and you oppose them you don't have respectability politically and therefore you cannot go and mobilise even international opinion or any other opinion because the people have spoken. You must abide by their decisions. But it is very easy if we as elite, as the political elite, try to just make some settlement and threaten each other and issue statements against each other and so on, we are able to create a lot of chaos and I think at the moment the political leaders are creating more chaos than being helpful and I think that the sooner we put the process on the electoral level and allow the people to make a decision the better.
POM. Lastly, and thanks very much for the time as always, after the whites only referendum last year and the massive defeat of the Conservative Party, most people that we spoke to last year said that the threat on the right was no longer really a serious threat. There might be an incident here or an incident there but they didn't have the capacity to derail the process. Do you think in the light of the last year that that assessment should be changed? Do you think the right is a much larger threat than previously thought?
!KX. The problem the right wing had was that the people who were involved in their leadership were also involved in some type of criminal activities, violent brutality and they were regarded as more maverick type of people and so they had no respectability and therefore the people said that with the liberation movements they have Presidents who have some respectability, people like Mr Makwetu, Mr Mandela and others, Mr de Klerk for the National Party was able to conduct himself, even if you disagree with him, but in a very well poised manner. The right wing didn't have such people and therefore they cannot really mobilise themselves with political respectability. Now they've had the Generals who have a high degree of respectability amongst whites coming in to take over the leadership and that has brought respectability to the right wing cause. And because of that you find that they have now become a very strongly organised force and they are becoming more organised by the day.
POM. Therefore a threat to be taken very seriously?
!KX. They are therefore now to be taken quite seriously, yes. But I must also say that when it comes to military formations I have yet to read of a coup which involved even 50% of a country. Military coups even against military dictators usually take place because of a few people mobilising and mobilising well. That is what happened with the Lesotho coup of 1991, Mali and many other countries. Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by about 500 soldiers in an army of 10,000 but they were well organised and so it's not a question of whether the majority of the army support the right wing but whether they are sufficient mobilised and organised within the armed forces to constitute even a serious threat as far as even the possibility of a coup is concerned. And the answer to that is, yes, they do particularly when you bear in mind that six billion rand has been put aside for operations. The National Intelligence Service and Department of Military Intelligence still continue with their operation that is called Operation Thunderstorm and it's still got Operation Iron Fist, which they've used against the PAC recently, and so you can see that these people have vast resources available.
POM. Last, last question on the arrest of the 73 members of the PAC on the eve of the crucial session at the negotiating council. It would appear, at least publicly, that Roelf Meyer certainly didn't know about it, that De Klerk didn't know about it until after the event, that it was an action taken by Hernus Kriel himself more than by the government. What's your assessment?
!KX. I think my assessment is that Hernus Kriel himself did not know fully what was going on. He was briefed by the Generals and the General Staff briefed him in a particular way that misled him. But basically you come from a system, and I always say this, that any country in Africa and elsewhere which has security forces which once tasted political decision making will always be faced with the problem whereby security forces once having tasted political decision making will not simplistically return to the barracks and remain there unless the organs of civilian rule are in place, legitimate, strong, delivering the goods and are popular. Where the organs of civilian rule are extremely unpopular, incapable of delivering the goods and there is vast discontent, an army which once tasted political decision making you can always get them to come back to save the situation.
. And then you have their high level of political involvement. Mr de Klerk had his National Security Management System where he established a parallel system of government with 500 committees on regional, national and local levels and in the early 1980s the parliament was just a front, decisions were taken in the National Security Management System. Mr de Klerk said he's going to unbundle that whole thing and more rely on Afrikaner intelligentsia, academic and business, which he did but still vast amounts of money were made available to the Department of Intelligence and National Intelligence Service for their programmes and they can use their own political involvement and political programmes which are more intelligence orientated than structural and for which they are not accountable to the state because it is doing the covert operations, not be accountable to parliament as such. They can use that either to try to overthrow Mr de Klerk to take over or to try and destabilise his position in order to help him become stronger and the latter is in fact what they are doing.
. The Operations Thunderstorm and Iron Fist, which have not been revoked, are being used at the moment, and were used against the PAC as well to try and really beat the PAC with a stick in order to weaken the PAC, take away all its machinery, make it administratively crippled and so on. They told Mr Kriel that they are going to deal with criminal elements who operate under the guise of PAC and Mr Kriel told Mr de Klerk the same that they are going to act against criminals and Mr de Klerk's expected response was that, "If you want to act against criminals you can act against them, you don't even need my permission." This is an assumption in any country that you can act against criminals. And then when they said go ahead, when they acted against PAC political activists which were not involved in any military or any other activity but pure administrative activity then there was extreme embarrassment and it against exposed the role of the security.
POM. So the objective was, of the Generals? What was their objective? Did they want to bring the talks to a halt or did they want the PAC to withdraw from the talks?
!KX. They wanted the PAC to withdraw from the talks so that they can push through certain things more easily because already they feel that the ANC has been convinced on a number of issues on federalistic principles and other things like that. The PAC is an obstruction to this whole thing. They wanted to deal with the PAC. But now a new dynamic with so many Generals meeting was, as the Weekly Mail reported some time ago, the formation of the Afrikaner Volksfront when the Generals met and in fact they took a decision that they would not support the National Party, they would support the right wing and the Conservative Party and others and they will actually lead them publicly. They haven't decided whether they will form a covert army, they decided, "No, let us make use of the existing structures which are available." General Constand Viljoen last week, and even this week, said that whites should go and join the existing commandos where you are given free training and free weapons so that they would then be under the leadership of the Generals. So they are really now going to go to another phase of organising people militarily under the guise of self defence, but indeed proceeding to bolster itself up. We must also bear this in mind even in our own activities, military activities, that we don't allow them to have some reason to mobilise themselves militarily under the guise of defending against the PAC because the consequences of that would be very far reaching.
PAT. What about APLA joining the combined forces to maintain some kind of order during the election time?
!KX. Well that is going to be another thing altogether, it's not going to be a combined force it will be a new force. It's going to be mainly the youth of the townships which will be called the National Peace Corps. The amazing thing is so far the only army we could agree on to be part of that is APLA, the only army we can agree on in the negotiating forum. We can't agree on the SADF, the SAP. The ANC is dead against the KwaZulu Police joining in and Ciskei Defence Force and those people. And the IFP and the KwaZulu government is dead against the MK joining in, so the only army we can agree on is amazingly APLA.
POM. Thanks very much.