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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

28 Jul 1993: Fismer, Chris

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POM     Let me start by backing up a bit. The Star last December said: - "The government is discredited and divided, the military may mutiny, Buthelezi wants secession and APLA threatens a race war. De Klerk fiddles while South Africa burns." And then the papers from the last year that I've gone through keep on talking about the National Party how badly split it is, how demoralised it is, talked about an exodus, some of it in the direction of the IFP. What kinds of tensions exist within the National Party and how are they being played out politically?

CF     Well most definitely not the kind of tensions that that newspaper article insinuates. I would not even go so far as to call it tension within the party. Naturally we live in a very complicated time and in a time of high tension in the country. As I have said there are high tensions in the country at the moment and we are dealing with very complicated matters. In some way that reflects even on the debate within the party as I think is quite common in every political party at the moment, a high level of debate on what one should do in particular circumstances, but no way the sort of negative tensions that people speak about and people deserting the people on a large scale and not at all a fiddling with the problems. There's a real serious dealing with the problems and the mere fact that that has been said in December and today negotiations are back on track and the National Party is the one who has been continually committed to the process, never walked out, never interrupted it for some time, never delayed it for some time and we are still there, if one may say, in the final stages, committed to bring about the solution.

POM     Around what issues is the debate in the party?

CF     As the process continues the debate shifts on the issues of the particular moment. For instance at the moment the first draft of the constitution has been tabled, the first draft of the Bill of the Transitional Executive Council has been tabled. So at the moment the debate is around those matters. Violence has been on the agenda always, how one can best deal with that, but it shifts as the public debate of the moment and the negotiation debate. May I just say it's true that we have experienced, if one looks at all the surveys of party support conducted earlier in the year, we have experienced a slight drop in support but the perspective is that all parties have lost support and the only group of people that gain support, if one can say it in that way, are the people who feel uncertain of whom they are going to vote for.

POM     The last survey I looked at was the HSRC's survey that indicated that only 25% of the people who voted for the NP in 1989 would vote for it today.

CF     I'm not sure if there was a survey at that time. I don't think I've actually seen one. But in any case I think that there are others that indicate much less of a decline in support. As I have said it's a tendency that's hitting all parties and it's the uncertain circumstances in the country that contribute to that where people feel in doubt due to the high levels of violence in parts of the country and due to the fact that they don't have a clear picture of how the new dispensation is going to look and the trauma, if I may say, of society in transition, it reflects a certain uncertainty which may show even more towards the government of the day than any other party but I think it's a general tendency and it's part of the moment.

POM     One of the things that has struck me is that when I was here last year ...

CF     More or less which month was that?

POM     I was here in December/January when I saw you but I was here in the previous July/August. One of the things that struck me was how the right had been written off in the wake of its disastrous defeat in the referendum and yet you have now what seems like a resurgence of the right wing and, again, most surveys would indicate that most whites, at this point in time, would vote for the Conservative Party rather than the National Party. How did the right resuscitate itself? What happened between last year and this year that the broad base support that the State President enjoyed has been whittled down to the point where the right again seems to be an electoral threat?

CF     Yes. There has been some gaining in their support. I would debate whether it's really so strong as indicated by some surveys but, OK, the tendency is there and therefore your question is relevant in that regard. I think there are different factors. The one is the involvement of retired Generals in right wing politics, especially General Viljoen, ex Chief of the South African Defence Force, who in a sense took over the leadership of the right where they had either discredited leadership or unimaginative or undecided leadership and he gave a new impetus to what's going on there. I don't think it will last very long because he will fall in the same political cul-de-sacs as any other right wing leader has experienced because they are not providing a viable solution and the same disillusionment will follow for the largest proportion of their support. But there are other factors as well, the frustration with the violence, the frustration with the ambivalent role of the ANC saying on the one hand nice things while the people experience it differently on grassroots level and in particular communities.

POM     Could you give me an example of that?

CF     The way the leadership express themselves sounds most of the time very noble and very democratic but that's not what the people see on their television screens and their feeling, rightly or wrongly, that the ANC is very much involved at least at grassroots level with the high levels of violence. There is still a high level of distrust among right wing inclined white people towards the ANC and that sort of irritation at high levels since last year contributed to their growth and naturally, I think, the level of uncertainty in the process as we've had it up till a week or two ago where people haven't had the slightest idea of how the constitutional proposals are going to look, how things are going to work and they just lost understanding of the process. But I am confident that if the process can follow through and people can see for themselves what the results are and how it works that it will be possible to bring more stability in that regard and that a lot of the temporary growth will shift away again.

POM     As early as May Mr de Klerk was making statements that power sharing would have to be entrenched in the constitution to a position of where power sharing was abandoned completely. What accounted for the 180 degree turnabout really in a very short space of time?

CF     Well I have to contest your statement in your question that power sharing has been abandoned completely. I think exactly the opposite. If you look at the draft, constitutional power sharing is as a golden thread running through all the proposals. Power sharing is a concept that can be found in different constitutional mechanisms. Proportional representation in the legislature is a form of power sharing as opposed to the Westminster system. The division of power between central government and regional government is a way of spreading the power or a form of power sharing. There's one particular aspect of power sharing that I think is relevant that you may refer to and that is enforced constitutional power sharing at the level of the Executive in the Cabinet of the central government and may I also say the Executive of regional governments. In the constitutional proposals it is stated that there should also be proportional representation in the Executive there. So it's really only the matter of power sharing, the so-called enforced coalition on the level of the Executive that's relevant here. That has been accepted for the first five years under the name 'government of national unity' so it's part of the next constitution. It has, though, not been accepted as a principle that should be carried to the final constitution. That matter is still open for debate in the constitution making body and we agree that, yes, now for the next five year term, which will be a term of reconciliation, of really building trust and confidence and of bringing together a very polarised community, that a government of national unity is really the answer towards that and that has been accepted by other parties but that's National Party policy in its essence.

POM     Is there any difference really between a government of national unity and a power sharing government?

CF     No, no.

POM     Are they just interchangeable phrases.

CF     It's interchangeable phrases. As I have said there are many different forms of power sharing and very many different constitutional mechanisms to achieve power sharing. A lot of it is already in the constitutional proposals. Government of national unity is a form of power sharing. If the first five years prove that that form of power sharing, that particular form, should again be part of a next phase or part of a final constitution then we will advocate that in the next phase. We haven't moved away from that position and said it will never be revisited. So in my view our aim of power sharing and lately, in 1992 at our constitutional proposals, we've preferred the term 'participatory democracy' as more descriptive of what we mean by power sharing and we think that the negotiations up to now, as I've said, it's a golden thread running through all the proposals of participatory democracy so we tend to believe that we have achieved the goal that we have set ourselves for negotiations.

POM     The Financial Times in June, the beginning of June, did a long special feature on South Africa and one of the statements it said was: "The first post-election Cabinet which will include all leaders with more than 5% of the vote, Cabinet posts will be distributed proportionately and de Klerk will have veto powers over a very limited number of issues. The ANC also concedes a devolution of significant powers to regional governments." Is that an accurate statement?

CF     The part of devolution of powers to regional government I think that part is accurate. If one reads the constitutional proposals tabled at the negotiation forum that's already part of it, already agreed upon. There is not as yet agreement on how the Executive of central government will look and how it will function. It's not part of the proposals that have been tabled up to now so one cannot really say if that is accurate. In a sense one can say that that conclusion as it is stated in that article is jumping to conclusions which have not been agreed upon as yet. But I believe there is more than a good chance that something more or less of that nature will be part of the first Cabinet. There has already been agreement between the National Party and the ANC that for the first five years there should be a government of national unity, meaning that all the most important parties will be part of it.

POM     If you go back to last June with the collapse of CODESA 2, in what way have the government's proposals changed in that period of time? What have been the major concessions that the government have made if they have made any at all during that period of time? And what in your view are the major concessions, if any, that have been made by the ANC?

CF     Yes, that is a very interesting question. I think to a large extent we succeeded to continue negotiations more or less in broad terms on the basis that has been laid at CODESA. There has not been a real fundamental shift away from that apart from one thing and that is the ANC's concession of moving towards acceptance of strong regional government. They have ridiculed that concept in the earlier parts of negotiations, or given a very lesser importance to it than is the fact now. I think that was the major contributor to negotiations getting on track again and bringing us to the point where we are now already working on the first drafts of a constitution although we are not as yet completely satisfied, nor are they themselves, but at least there is a draft on the table. That was the greatest shift. So it was a shift from only strong unitary government to what one can describe now as a constitution with strong federal characteristics. Our shifts I don't think have been really - in principle we had not as yet agreed at CODESA on percentages of majorities for change of the constitution. Since then it has been agreed that it will be two thirds in most of the instances. Maybe objectively one can say that's a move but on the other hand we haven't had a final position on that at CODESA. We said the matter should still be debated. The ANC wanted a final answer then they walked out of CODESA 2. But that maybe is part of it.

POM     But the deadlock breaking mechanism proposed in the constitutional proposals that are being debated now call for if there is a failure to reach agreement on the constitution that there will be elections.

CF     First a referendum.

POM     Oh there will be a referendum first?

CF     Yes.

POM     OK, and then following a referendum, new elections?

CF     Yes if a referendum does not get the 60% answer.

POM     Yes, and then there will be a new election and 51% would be required. That's something that was totally unacceptable to the government.

CF     At CODESA. It has not as yet developed to the point of really debating that situation. When the ANC decided to get out of CODESA and have their campaign of mass action that continued for about six months because before they really became involved again in trying to get negotiations back on track and the signing of a Minute of Understanding between the ANC and the government followed, it's they who were away. If negotiations continued at CODESA and the ANC had not had their six months breakaway mass action campaign the negotiations could have led to some sort of a deadlock breaking mechanism. There wasn't at that moment as yet a decision on the deadlock breaking mechanism. And it's not to say that the deadlock breaking mechanism that is now part of the Technical Committee's proposal will in the end be accepted as such. We have some reservations on that as well that may be discussed and will be part of negotiations as they continue now.

POM     This is from the Weekly Mail at the end of May with the heading, NP STRATEGISTS STEAL THE CONSTITUTION, and it says: "This week the NP strategists scored a major victory when the ANC agreed to refer, among other decisions, on the structures, powers and functions of regions to a Technical Committee. The effect of the ANC's concession is that the final decisions on regions will now be taken by a multi-forum representing 26 different parties, not by the democratically elected Constituent Assembly where the ANC would be in a position to force through its decisions. The ANC's concession on the issue is seen as a determined effort to keep Inkatha locked into negotiations. The IFP demand strong regional government insisting that the form of government be determined before the election of a Constituent Assembly. The NP strategy is to lock as many pre-conditions as possible so that the ANC will not be in a position to dilute them once it is the majority party."

POM     Do you think that's accurate?

CF     Yes I think that's more or less accurate. If one had to take the goals that we've set for ourselves in negotiations two years ago at our federal congress of our party, in a booklet, the principles that we set out in a booklet called "Participatory Democracy in Constitutional Government", something like that, and if you measure the results that are now being attained at negotiations I think we've achieved about 90% of our goals, 90% to 95%. In comparison with that, if you do the same exercise with the ANC and compare present results with their initial proposals, the Harare Declaration and documents like that, I think they have achieved much less and they have moved much further from their original position on principles than we have done. But that's not to say anything good or bad about any party. Objectively that's good, that was what negotiations were all about. The position at the moment is that as far as regions are concerned we think there should be greater clarity in the first draft of the functions of regions than what are being spelled out in the draft now. That's our view from within our own thinking but it has the further complementary factor that it can also more effectively enable us to persuade Inkatha to get back into the process which is very important.

POM     Talking about that for the moment, you know in CODESA 2 you had two actors, the government and its allies and the ANC and its allies and they were operating in an adversarial or a competing situation. This time round you have three blocs. You have the ANC and its allies, the government and its allies and COSAG. This leads me to two questions. One is, has Buthelezi got a point when at CODESA it was taken that the definition of sufficient consensus was when the government and the ANC agreed on something? Has COSAG got a point when it says that that's no longer a fair definition of sufficient consensus, that it must be broadened so that their concerns that the government and the ANC simply can't railroad past them?

CF     I agree with your basic stated position that there are three blocs now more or less, but the matter is not as simple as that because amongst all these blocs there are grey areas. In some instances we tend to agree with the ANC or they agree with us and there's grey areas between those two blocs where in fact they agree with each other. On other aspects we may agree with some of the views of part of the COSAG group so it's not absolutely enshrined groups with no overlaps between their views but more or less one can simply state it in the way that you have said. I think as far as COSAG parties argue for strong regional government, or the term that they prefer 'federalism', we can find ourselves in agreement with a lot of what they say but their approach to the process we have great difficulty with. We think it's not constructive. We think it's delaying the process unnecessarily. We think it's not contributing to a solution and we question their motives in the way that they handle themselves.

POM     When you say their 'approach', their approach being?

CF     Their approach of now breaking away from negotiations, of not attending when the first draft of the constitution is discussed and the fact that within their ranks they have parties with completely different views. The fact that the Conservative Party is part of their ranks and the Conservative Party does not want the sort of federalism that we're talking about. They want some form of racial confederation of different states which we cannot associate ourselves with at all and therefore it creates a strange disparity within the ranks of COSAG and it makes it virtually impossible for us to associate with COSAG and, as I've said, Inkatha's approach, especially Inkatha's approach to the process, we find irresponsible and unanswerable and we cannot associate ourselves with that.

POM     On the first point do you think that the definition of sufficient consensus must be somehow broadened to be more inclusive?

CF     It should be more clearly defined or a process should be created to deal with situations more effectively where there is not full consensus. Naturally sufficient consensus is a vague terminology and I think they've got a point, it can create problems in the process.

POM     It's accepted that if the government found something totally unacceptable sufficient consensus wouldn't exist? And it's accepted that if the ANC found something totally unacceptable sufficient consensus wouldn't exist, but if IFP take a walk the ANC and the government say, "Well, tough, we're going ahead."

CF     Yes. Sufficient consensus has been defined as more or less something of the words 'enough consensus for the process to move ahead'. Now naturally it brings in, even if it's in the back of the mind, something of a political judgement on the matter as well and if there is a judgement that Inkatha is by always just trying to either derail or delay the process at some stage, one should ask oneself the question of whether it's politically wise to let them keep the process hostage or whether it's not more important for the process to move ahead. Sometimes we get the impression that Inkatha don't have the confidence to enter an election and therefore they want by all means to delay it and if that is the case, and I must say their tactics ever since like, for instance, withdrawing now when the draft is on the table which they should debate, strengthens that view that maybe they just want to delay the process and the process not getting to a point. The political answer to that, in our view, is that we would like them to be there, we will bend over backwards to get them back, we think it's in the interests of the country that they should be there. But the process must move along.

POM     If COSAG stays out of it and boycotts the elections next year, would that pose great difficulties?

CF     Yes it will complicate matters. May I say I don't think COSAG as a whole will stay out, parts of it will stay out. One could have said that right from the beginning. Right from the beginning I think it was impossible to accommodate the CP and what they want. In many respects what they want is constitutionally impossible and I expect that the chances that they will participate are extremely slim. Inkatha is a different matter. What's on the table I think they can live with. I think it's the sort of proposals that in maybe a refined way can get them back into the process. I think they can get substantial support, enough to be part of government on all levels, especially a very strong part of government in Natal. I think in the end they will participate and we will do our utmost to try and assure that. It will complicate the matters extremely if the process will have to be concluded and Inkatha is not participating. There is a severe danger for the country in that and we should try to avoid that by all means.

POM     Let me give you one scenario. There are a lot of divisions between the ANC leadership and the ANC leadership in Natal who are engaged in a brutal war with Inkatha and many of the leadership, Harry Gwala in particular, in Natal were against any meeting of Buthelezi and Mandela. Do you think that if the ANC agreed with the government to a form of federalism that was acceptable to the IFP and Buthelezi that the ANC in Natal simply wouldn't go along with it, would think that they had been sold down the river and that in fact the war would continue?

CF     Yes that is a possibility and one is not encouraged by the ability of the ANC leadership to deal with the sort of views that one hears from people like Harry Gwala. If one can ever talk about lame duck leadership there is an example of lame duck leadership. They are just not in a position to control him and that poses some threat of whether they will accept it. But that's not the only threat to the ANC in keeping themselves together in a new dispensation. There are more divisions in their ranks than in only the approach of the Natal people towards this whole issue.

POM     What are the divisions in their ranks that you see?

CF     The difference of approach in the alliance, SACP, the Communist Party, and their particular approach, the approach of COSATU and the whole labour movement.

POM     The approach of the SACP is?

CF     Well I think the ANC leadership and what they have committed themselves to in negotiations is so far away from any form of communism that it must create an intolerable situation for a communist party to be part of such an alliance, otherwise it's a complete misnomer to call them a communist party any more and I think there are some true blue blood communists in the ranks of the Communist Party who would find the direction things are developing in intolerable and they would try to do something different, more in a classic communist revolutionary approach. But I don't think that's a very big element. The bigger threat is the relationship between ANC and COSATU and what will happen with that relationship after the first election when the ANC becomes a very important part of government and I think history has shown that more than often there are strains developing then if such a party had been in close liaison with a labour movement before the time.

POM     To go back to CODESA and the present. Again in CODESA the government and the ANC were adversaries, so to speak, and now they are allies, so to speak. It looks as though the government or the ANC switched partners in the middle of the dance.

CF     I think that's putting it too strongly and it's a wrong understanding if I may say of the process. We and the ANC are negotiating partners like we are negotiating partners with all the 26 parties represented there. We and the ANC have a shared commitment and understanding at the moment, they didn't have it all the time, a shared commitment and understanding of the necessity that we should negotiate and we should come to an agreed upon settlement. That's as far as the relationship goes. As far as political allies we are in fact opponents. They say we are their most important opponent in the coming election and we say exactly the same about them. Once we have a constitution we are going to fight each other hopefully in the same way as political parties fight each other, for instance, in Britain or in America or in any other democracy, hopefully not in the sort of way that the ANC is fighting the IFP. But in the process of writing a constitution it needs the commitment of both to make the process succeed and both sides understand that and in that way we are having bilaterals, talking with each other as we have bilaterals with other parties and talk with them. Unfortunately there is a sort of an ambivalence in this process which makes it very difficult sometimes for observers to understand but even more so difficult for ordinary members of the public to understand and they then get the view on all sides of the political spectrum that we are sort of allies of each other, which would not be the correct analysis of the situation. It may develop after an election amongst some of them, some of us, but it's definitely not a factual situation at the moment.

POM     You talk about the SACP, looking at the march on Bisho where I think 28 people were killed, what were the political consequences of that march? To what degree did it affect the process?

CF     It did affect the process. Just as an incident like Boipatong affected the process. Last year I think those two incidents are two incidents that can really be highlighted as incidents influencing the process. This year there are other incidents again that in some way influence the process, the right wing invasion of the World Trade Centre, the attack on a church last Sunday night, are the sort of incidents this year that I think will have an effect on the process. Boipatong and Bisho were the two incidents last year which sort of signalled the exit of the ANC out of the process and the entrance of the ANC back into the process, or just in the reverse order.

POM     Exit after Boipatong?

CF     Exit after Boipatong and entry after Bisho.

POM     Why do you think they came back into the process after Bisho?

CF     I think Bisho, if there is a distinction of doves and hawks in the ANC that incident proved that the confrontational route will not help the country and in the end it will also not help them and it's a matter of getting back to democratic negotiations, peaceful negotiations. So I think the incident sparked off the winning of the doves on that issue within the ranks of the ANC.

POM     How about the assassination of Chris Hani?

CF     Oh yes, that's maybe a major event this year that influenced matters.

POM     How do you think the consequences of that play out both within the ANC itself and relating to just the process that's going on?

CF     The death of Chris Hani was really a very tragic thing. That contributed also very much to a polarising situation in the country. It slipped my mind in your previous question about what contributed to the surge again of the right wing in South Africa. I think the Chris Hani death and especially the funeral afterwards and what went along with the funeral, that also contributed to the disillusionment of a lot of white people in their own minds, in the way that they have experienced the behaviour of the people after the funeral, in the funeral, as part of the funeral.

POM     You think it was influential in moving whites?

CF     It polarised people.

POM     Yes. Whites went more right wing?

CF     Yes and the anger of the murder contributed to a polarised hardening of attitudes among some black people, so it was polarising to both sides, white people moving to the right and black people moving or polarised more to a radical position on the left. That was one of the effects of Chris Hani's murder. It also contributed in some sense to a realisation of the ANC as a real major role player. It's difficult really to get all the messages from the Chris Hani murder quite clearly because there is some ambivalence in some of the messages. For instance, the leadership of Mandela I think was strengthened, the way that he conducted himself and the way that he addressed matters. His position was strengthened. On the other hand it also contributed to a realisation that the ANC as a movement don't have control over all the elements under their umbrella which led to a loss of confidence amongst others in the ANC's ability to really disaffirm their own people in their own ranks. There are many messages in that situation. I think it complicated the matter tremendously.

POM     Do you think, just on that latter point you made, the fact that it doesn't appear that the ANC is in control of many of its self defence units in the townships is a major problem down the road, that maybe both Mandela and Buthelezi, in the case of Natal it really makes no difference what they say, the violence has developed a dynamic of its own and they can call on people to make peace but the call will be ignored.

CF     That's definitely a threat that we as a country are experiencing at the moment and maybe in some way, Tokyo Sexwale said the same on television last night when he said that the ANC have the feeling that they are losing, that the country may be a sinking ship, that was I think more or less the terminology that he used, and that the ANC can't do anything about it. What I read in it is that their acceptance that there is such a large proportion of the community which they cannot influence or control, which is an unfortunate situation but it reiterates the point that we should do our utmost to involve the broadest spectrum possible in a solution.

POM     One or two people suggested to me that one of the consequences of Hani's death would be that it is more difficult to sell a settlement to the youth, that Hani had the ability to have some influence over them, that there's nobody within the ANC who has a similar capacity.

CF     Yes, I don't think, as with life in general, that anybody is irreplaceable and it may well be that other people develop who have that sort of influence, a positive influence. The name of Tokyo Sexwale comes to the top of my mind again as somebody that can replace Hani as far as that influence is concerned, but it's a tragedy that where it seemed that Hani moved more towards a peaceful approach to matters and he had that influence over the youth it was even the more tragedy that he had to be killed.

POM     One paper wrote: - "The balance of power shifted to the ANC, Nelson Mandela not de Klerk issued a televised appearance for calm, a tacit admission that only Mandela could prevent the descent into chaos. De Klerk controlled the State, Mandela controlled the nation." POM     Do you think there is symbolism in that?

CF     That was very much a symbolism that some newspapers tried to attach to the situation at that time which I don't agree with. What is true is that, yes, Mandela played a positive role in that situation, in my view. But the anger at that stage was amongst his members within his party and naturally it called for a bigger role for him to play in such a situation than for de Klerk. If the National Party supporters feel angry and want to do something irresponsible in that state de Klerk will play a more important role to calm them than what Mandela will have to play. So that was an ANC affair, of an ANC leader that had been killed, so naturally he had to play a more important role in that, which I have appreciation for. But to attach all the symbolism that people did due to that very logical situation I think was an over-estimation of the situation. But that's the perception that had been created by the press.

POM     Again, looking at turning points or things that influenced the process, how about the APLA killings, the deliberate targeting of whites?

CF     Yes, that can also be written on the list of factors really for striking a lot of white people and has the tendency of them for moving to more of a polarised right wing position.

POM     Just some quick last questions and thank you for the time.

CF     May I just say that if I mention these factors that led to more a surge in right wing support, it's not that I agree with that, not at all and we will do our utmost to convince also the white public of South Africa that that is not the way that we should react to these situations and our whole campaign in the elections will be to convince them that that approach and the way that they are reacting to matters will not help in bringing about the solution and will not be in their own benefit and that we in fact should react completely to the contrary as in the way that some of them have reacted.

POM     Do you think there's any way in which the aspirations of the CP for a white homeland can be accommodated?

CF     Yes I think there are compromises that they can make in their own minds that can make the situation bearable for them.

POM     Like for example?

CF     Like accepting a federal constitution with strong regional government. Yes, there will also be strong central government but there will be strong regional government and there will be a possibility of freedom of association and freedom of movement of people and if they want to lobby a political case that in a new dispensation Afrikaners should move to one particular region and get into a majority there and then play the major part in ruling that region as part of a federal South Africa, I think that's the compromise that they can go for and which they should accept in their minds. And that's the sort of thing that has been stressed by government spokespersons of what they should do. It has also been mentioned by Mr Mandela as the sort of thing that they should concentrate their mind upon.

POM     The death of Dr Treurnicht, what impact did that have on the right? Did that make the right go more right?

CF     Yes, I think effect that it had was that he had been a sort of umbrella figure amongst a lot of right wing people and in the vagueness of his statements always he succeeded in keeping them together. His death created a vacuum initially which has been filled now by General Viljoen. But it made them move away very fast from speaking about the rights of whites in the country into speaking about the rights of Afrikaners. They have made that shift in their policies. It made them move quite dramatically and fast and in a sense strangely a bit unnoticed into claiming the largest part of the country as white South Africa into accepting a small Afrikaner Volkstaat somewhere. They have made that jump as well and it was noticed. I noticed that that shift only came about after the death of Dr Treurnicht.

POM     So in fact there's very little difference, the fact that they were in negotiations at least until they walked out, in the end there were very little differences were there between the CP and the AVU?

CF     Yes, yes. Very little.

POM     To summarise a couple of things. You are saying, one, that the government has dropped its demand for enforced permanent power sharing for the moment, that there will be power sharing in the interim government and the National Party will play a major role in that but it's not yet clear how ...

CF      It will be in a final constitution.

POM     - how it will appear in a final constitution. It's not yet clear how the interim executive will work.

CF     Just the one correction. We have not dropped power sharing as a whole. As I've said there are many constitutional mechanisms for power sharing and a lot of them have been included, also in the principles for a final constitution. It's just on the matter of enforced constitution for the Executive that we have accepted that the debate is still open as far as the final constitution is concerned.

POM     And second, that the ANC has accepted that the borders of regions and the powers of regions will be settled before a Constituent Assembly, will be settled by one of the Technical Committees?

CF     Well I don't think one can say it so specifically that they have accepted that the powers will also be determined before the time. It's not yet very clear from the draft constitution and one will see how that debate develops and what position they take on it. What one can say in principle is that the ANC moved quite a long way in accepting strong federal characteristics in the constitutional dispensation for the future.

POM     Just as a matter of play, do you think that the draft constitution on the table now meets more of the National Party's goals as when they originally developed their strategy than the ANC's?

CF     Yes, yes, without doubt.

POM     Lastly, the PAC. Again I saw reference to some polls that showed that the PAC had now jumped into being the second largest party in the country, behind the ANC, and that their base of support had increased with the operations of APLA. Do you think the two are connected, that there's a relationship between APLA killings and increased support for the PAC?

CF     I think what one can say, and that relates to Inkatha and the right wing as well, that in the phase of uncertainty that we've experienced in the last six months that that uncertainly was good breeding ground for parties like the PAC, the right wing white parties and Inkatha and in that sense the whole situation of the high rate of violence, the high rate of criminality, uncertain position in negotiations that helped those parties and if once gets more constitutional clarity and the major parties, we and the ANC, can propagate the success of the negotiation process and we can move towards democratic dispensation, I think one will then experience that the middle spectrum of parties will then gain support again and the radical parties on the edges will lose support.

POM     Do you think there's any possibility that it will not be possible to hold elections on April 27th, that the date may have to be deferred?

CF     I hope that will not be the case, it would be detrimental for the country, it would complicate matters and as far as possible within the range of having free and fair elections we should do our utmost to keep it more or less to that 27th April.

POM     If the IFP stayed out, if the Conservative Party still stayed out?

CF     There's still enough time to convince them to be in. It's very difficult to say what the situation is now. As I have predicted before I think the IFP will participate and the white right will not participate.

POM     OK. Thank you very much for your time. I'll be back, maybe more frequently now that I'll be living here but it's easier. In all the previous years I was doing in seven weeks about 100 - 120 interviews, every hour was accounted for and with so many people who cancel or don't show up or whatever it gets very frustrating.

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.