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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
30 Jul 1993: De Lille, Patricia
POM. Patricia, let me begin maybe with the hard part which is the relationship between APLA and the PAC. In Northern Ireland there is the IRA and the Sinn Fein, which is its political wing, but Sinn Fein is subordinate to the IRA. What is the nature of the relationship between APLA and the PAC?
PDL. I was saying that the PAC has got various component structures. We've got the women's structure, the youth, the students and APLA is also one of those component structures of the PAC and that APLA is accountable to the PAC as the mother body but when it comes to their operational decisions we are not responsible at the political leadership for that. They take their own operational positions.
POM. Could the PAC, for example, order APLA to stop?
PDL. Yes we can take a political decision as and when, as we've agreed in our last congress, that we are prepared to support in principle the mutual cessation of hostilities and at the moment we are discussing with the South African government around the issue. We are at a stage now when we are going to submit proposals on the 'how' part. How to implement. We've already committed ourselves to a Declaration of Intent of mutual cessation of hostilities.
POM. What if tomorrow morning you were to order (not that you are doing it) but if you were to order APLA to cease and desist from the armed struggle, would they be required to follow that order or would they say, "No we won't do it until there is a declaration on the part of the government over the cessation of hostilities"?
PDL. The Declaration of Intent on the mutual cessation of hostilities between ourselves and the South African regime is very clear. We are now working out the mechanisms. It's a process, it's not a matter of making a point and saying, "Look everything must cease." APLA has got operational structures and therefore we must work out the 'how' part and it's not that APLA must be seen in isolation in this particular case because there are many private armies in this country. The homeland governments have got armies, there are people with other military armies and all that so PAC mustn't be seen in isolation because we are part of the process. There is a technical committee dealing with violence at the moment who are also looking at the issues but besides that there are bilaterals between the South African regime and the PAC on implementation.
POM. Why is the PAC in these negotiations since to a large extent they are not coming out with any resolutions or documents or proposals that reflect your thinking and what you want? Why are you taking part in the negotiations when what the PAC stands for in terms of what it wants to secure is way over what the overwhelming number of delegates to this conference are putting on the table?
PDL. No, no, I think the observation is completely wrong in that it was the PAC who has called for this process. Many people have come around to our position. We have said that CODESA was undemocratic, we said it will not work and we gave the call for a new forum completely and it's at the PAC's initiative that this has come about and what is happening inside here is that we've got 26 parties. When you get into negotiations you must understand that it's not always your view that will prevail at the end. In the process it's also a give and take process, and we are but one of 26 parties here so there's no way you can make as assumption that there is an agreed outcome of this process. It might be so because of all the bilaterals between the ANC and the regime but we are exactly here to see that there is not going to be a prearranged, agreed outcome of the process. It must be debated, it must be negotiated.
POM. So this brings me to the question of sufficient consensus. What in the view of the PAC is sufficient consensus?
PDL. The view of the PAC on sufficient consensus? You see the reality of the situation you must look at here. It isn't a very democratic structure. We have not been elected, we are not elected representatives here so that you can then say that here everybody's vote is just equal. And consensus means total consensus agreement amongst everybody, but sufficient consensus, because we want the process to move forward, it has been agreed that if any issue on the agenda does affect any particular party materially then certain mechanisms must be applied to try and find some kind of consensus. Our problem here with sufficient consensus is not how we understand it to be, but it's the application of sufficient consensus. There we have got a problem.
POM. Do you think Buthelezi had a point in saying that in matters that affect him he wants a veto power or some kind of mechanism to take his point of view into account?
PDL. As far as Inkatha is concerned, we met with them the very first Monday when they didn't return to the talks and they basically said, they mentioned three issues, sufficient consensus, violence and then the ... up front, but on the issue of sufficient consensus they are in a position to quote certain instances where the application of sufficient consensus was not executed in line with the agreed standing rules and procedures.
POM. Do you agree with that?
PDL. Well we also raised that on previous occasions but then you must understand the mechanics of the whole set-up here. We have basically got three groups in caucus blocs, in the set-up inside here. You've got the ANC's front, then you've got the COSAG group, then you've got the regime and the PAC is more or less like a loose cannon, we don't belong to any of those. So what is happening when the ANC agrees on anything, although it's one voice, they have almost got a guarantee of 17 others that will agree with them and Inkatha feels that because of that imposition, Inkatha is basically saying that they are also a major party of which at this stage we are of the opinion that there are no major parties until we all have subjected ourselves to the vote. I can't answer for them but they have got various reasons for them not being happy with sufficient consensus. There is a document available to that extent.
POM. With the draft constitution that was put on the table on Monday, would you say that the PAC were 10% pleased with it? 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%? Not pleased or very pleased or some place in between?
PDL. Well debate has just started on the constitution. We still have to do a lot more work. As far as we are concerned a major problem that we have is that we want an unfettered Constituent Assembly so we don't want that a Constituent Assembly must be in any way hampered in its work by pre-arranged agreements here which will then not let the democratic will of the elected mandated people decide what constitution is decided on. So we have got no problems with most of the constitutional principles. The problem we have is on the issues of the regions, whether you can discuss the powers and the functions of the regions which are non-existent at the moment, and you give them powers and functions now already while you don't have even any agreement as to where these regions will be. We also see it, it's not going to be practical or possible to carve up this country for a transition into different regions. It's not going to work. We feel that the existing boundaries, as it's constituted now the provinces and so on, that must remain in place as electoral boundaries only and then you de-politicise the administration of these provinces. So on that debate we've made it quite clear on the whole thing of SPR (state/province/region) because they must still agree on what they are going to call it in the end, so the term they are using is SPR. Now as I say this is an evolving debate and there is no way you can make a conclusive statement of what exactly you agree with and disagree with because so many committees must still give reports.
POM. Are you pleased with the way this forum is functioning? Do you think under the circumstances it's the best possible forum?
PDL. You know we are part of the process and we were party to designing the standing rules and everything. The main problem is the perceptions outside of this forum, the perceptions by the ordinary rank and file as to what we can achieve here and the perception that the process has not delivered. So we are trying by all means that inside the forum we move as speedily as possible to some kind of an agreement so that we can go to our people out there and say, "Look this is what has come out of this forum". And although we, the PAC, we fought very hard for transparency of the process, I said the media must be there at all times, that has proven to be not even enough. The people out there just don't comprehend, understand how things are being done inside this forum.
POM. Most surveys show that the PAC has been growing in support in the community mainly at the expense of the ANC. Why do you think this is so?
PDL. No I can't say it's at the expense of the ANC at all. What I can say is that because we are pushing for an elected democracy in this country and even the way how we arrive at that democracy must be an open debate. When we have bilateral meetings with the regime or whoever it's always public knowledge and in the case of the ANC there's a lot of things that their own membership don't know at this stage what they have discussed with the regime, what they have agreed on. We are not growing at the expense of the ANC but I can rather say that because right from the beginning, right from the unbanning of the liberation movements we have put a lot of emphasis and manpower and resources into rebuilding and reconstructing and actually putting structures in place that you can deal with. Then of course the other possibility is that, not a possibility, we have always had a growing membership which by either some mischievous or malicious press the media has always suppressed that, but now they are bound to come out and say that these people are growing and they have got a lot of support in the country.
POM. Do you disagree basically with any form of power sharing?
PDL. Yes we disagree with any form of power sharing because we don't think it must be a forced coalition. People can form coalitions but it must be on a basis which is not binding because if you look at, for instance, the situation in Italy where you've got forced coalitions and it's not working. They have elections every other year. We say people must be free to be in parliament in opposition and not necessarily be bound by a so-called government of national unity.
POM. Are you in favour of the idea of the first government being a government of national unity?
PDL. As long as it's not enforced, as long as it's not enshrined in the constitution, that it must be, we must be in that proportion also represented in the government. I think we want to keep the options open that if you don't want to go into this coalition government, government of national unity, that it must be a decision to be taken by us as a party.
POM. There was a lot of talk at the time of Ernest Moseneke's resignation that he resigned because of the activities of APLA and his opposition to them.
PDL. That's absolutely not true. I worked very closely with him for the three, four years that he spent within the PAC leadership. That is definitely not the case. Mr Moseneke resigned because he's a legal person and we accepted that we can use him more successfully in his line of profession than having him inside and it's definitely not because of APLA. He has defended so many APLA cases all over the country.
POM. So he's still there as a kind of resource that you can turn to, to advise you what to do?
PDL. Oh yes, yes, always.
POM. That's very different from what's portrayed in public. What are the main differences between you and the ANC, policy differences?
PDL. I think we have consistently since 1990 called for an elected Constituent Assembly unfettered by any prior agreements or arrangements. The ANC has moved away from that position where we are now because there was a deal made that, also outside this forum, one group said we want a federal state, we want regions and you give us the regions and we'll give you a constitution making body type of thing. And then also on the issue of power sharing, we also differ there with them completely. It's too short a space of time to get into all the different economic policies and health policies and the rest.
POM. You would, at this point, be far more to the left in terms of economic and social policies?
PDL. No you can't place us anywhere to the left or right of the ANC's economic policy because it is not clear exactly what they want. They are not saying socialist, they are not saying capitalist. We're talking about a mixed economy and they themselves have trouble understanding their own economic policy.
POM. Let me ask you about the violence. Every year it seems to get bloodier and bloodier and it would appear that in the townships no organisation has control over the activities of many of the young people, that they do what they want, that many of the ANC self defence units have become gangs, that the returnees don't find jobs. There is a tremendous air of volatility all the time. How do you analyse the violence?
PDL. We see it as a destabilising process and, as you know, the people who are quite good in destabilising the region, the Southern African region, they are even performing better because it's right on their own doorstep and that we see as the main source of the violence. The so-called black on black violence is fomented, a clear pattern has emerged in our country and there are many instances to quote whenever we are on the verge of a major political debate then there's a big massacre or killing, numbers of people, like as happened in Cape Town this week, like as happened in the case of Boipatong and many other instances that you can quote. The first forum meeting of this multi-party process there was another big attack in Natal, the first preparatory meeting of this process there was also a big attack here in Johannesburg and in Natal. The clear pattern is there and think people have come to believe there is definitely a sinister force at play here.
POM. Do you believe that sinister, or third force as it's usually called, is operated with the knowledge and acquiescence of the government or that it's kind of at middle level and members of the SADF and the SAP who are just embarking on this on their own?
PDL. It's obvious that the perpetrators of this violence, they are well trained, they are well financed and the government has just completely failed to maintain law and order. It is the duty of any de facto, illegitimate, whatever, regime to protect its citizens. They have failed miserably. You have seen the thousands of murders that we had over the years, very few people were actually arrested and brought to court. And you look at how effectively and efficiently they dealt with us in previous years while the organisations were still banned. If they wanted to track you down, it doesn't matter if they track you down in a neighbouring state or wherever but they had that efficiency, capability of dealing with us. But now, because it is so-called black on black violence they seem not in a position to track down the murderers of our people. Amnesty International report, if you've seen it, they have now also in a way confirmed that there is a third force or sinister force at play at the moment.
POM. Do you think that the political struggle between primarily the ANC and the IFP is also a contributory factor?
PDL. Part of the violence is definitely contributed to by rivalry between political organisations, yes.
POM. Would you include the PAC in that?
PDL. The PAC has not been involved in any of the internecine violence, so called black on black violence, and even the regime themselves and the churches and many organisations they know and they stated so in public on many occasions. In fact you find in areas where the PAC is strongly organised at grassroots level you don't get this type of violence and we have not been implicated in any of this.
POM. I want to talk for a minute about the rise of the right wing. A year ago when we were here, it was six months after de Klerk's victory in the March referendum, and the right seemed to be in disarray, not knowing what to do and they were being counted out. Yet we come back this year and the right appears to be a potent force given more respectability with the presence of people like General Viljoen. The National Party's base of support seems to have collapsed. One poll showed that only 25% of the people who voted for it in 1989 would vote for it today. The government is split. What do you see happening in that sector?
PDL. I think it's a problem that by postponing the issue, by postponing to confront the issue you are not eliminating the problem. Right now I think everybody, we are aware of the problem because of the fear that these people might have the capacity to be destructive and I surely think they do have. They might be small in numbers.
POM. But they do have the capacity?
PDL. They do have the capacity to be destructive and even as far as their activities, their open defiance of the law, the way that they have been armed, this year more than five million people, I mean most of them, all whites are armed to the teeth and this is being allowed legally because they can get access to licences. The government has also failed to control the developments. The paramilitary of the AWB and people making provocative statements and attacking. We see so many black on white violence or vice versa because it is the right wing actions and the response of the regime to their actions will have an influence ultimately on the regime's own constituency. They have been dilly-dallying and dealing with the right wing. Like in the case of the PAC just two months ago when they raided, they arrested and many people were put into gaol, they took our documents our computers, everything. They have never done that to the right wing again because they must consider, if we do this to the right wing how will it affect our own constituency? So what I'm saying is the double standards of the regime in dealing and confronting problems, it's not the same.
POM. Do you think there's any way at all that the demand of the right for an Afrikaner homeland can be met?
PDL. It's just strange to us that during the years of apartheid, when they were carving up our country on an ethnic basis, homelands and putting people into different homelands, Zulu, Xhosa and whatever, there was no outcry from the Afrikaner volk at that time to give us our own homeland. They were quite happy to dominate and take advantage because they were protected by law, they were protected by the system. Now that the majority of the people are finally going to decide how things must be done in this country, now they say we want our own homeland. And in our case and in the case of the African people, they didn't even have an option, they were not consulted whether you want Ciskei, you want Transkei, you want Bophuthatswana. It was merely imposed. Use a few black leaders and impose it on our people. Now today the very same people who did this, the majority say now we want our own homeland. It just doesn't make sense. If they want their own homeland they must go outside the borders of South Africa.
POM. It would seem at the moment that there is no way to accommodate the right, that a white homeland can't be carved out. If they stay out of the process and if Buthelezi continues to stay out of the process does the process lose a lot of its meaning?
PDL. Yes. Definitely, definitely. It is very important that the process be as inclusive as possible. I would say especially in the case of Inkatha we have seen already since 1985 the development around political rivalry. You must have seen the press statement yesterday by Chief Minister Buthelezi. It is clear that he is now not only attacking the ANC/SACP alliance but he's also including the National Party and the regime. We would like to have Inkatha back. There are various scenarios that can emerge from them not being here but our major concern in the PAC is that once the issue that they are not part of the process and they feel that they have been sidelined by the process filters down to their rank and file members and they start developing that feeling that they have been sidelined by the process, we're in for big trouble.
POM. So when Buthelezi says there is a fifty/fifty chance of civil war would you rate him as being, at this point if Inkatha does not come back, as being pretty close to the truth?
PDL. I mean we've got civil war already. You just look at the East Rand here. There is civil war, there's a low intensity civil warfare against the African people also. What he understands by his terminology of the civil war might be different but there is civil war already here.
POM. If, say for example, he boycotted elections, declared KwaZulu an autonomous state, that would continue to be an ongoing civil war in Natal between the ANC and IFP and also have destabilising effects on the rest of South Africa?
PDL. Yes, yes, that's one of the possible scenarios that can emerge.
POM. Which is the worst scenario that you can imagine? What is the biggest of all your fears of how this thing can get derailed?
PDL. I think, and most probably many people will share this view, but in the case of Inkatha as an organisation not being part of this process, what they want from this process it's obvious they are not going to get it. They want a federal state up front so this process can't give it to them. So they will then, most probably, I say even if we have elections, say, "We were not party to the rules and what have you", they might have their own elections in Natal and then move away completely from South Africa. There are a lot of implications that can arise out of such a position but then again the civil war situation, the potential that more and more African people will die. I think our people have suffered enough and many people have died over the years, over the past 300 years, and the IFP is also playing on the emotions of the Zulu nation and you don't know how far they can go. There are some Zulu speaking people in the ANC and the PAC, but you don't know how far he can play around the issue of the kingdom, the King, with the other Zulus on an ethnic basis and mobilise support around that.
POM. Which Buthelezi is doing now for all practical purposes. He's playing the Zulu card with having the King out there making very political speeches. The assassination of Chris Hani, how would you assess the political implications of his death and the consequences of it both internally for the ANC and externally in terms of the politics of South Africa?
PDL. Well Comrade Chris Hani was a very respected leader in the country so it's not only that the SACP or the ANC lost a leader but I think the country as a whole lost a very credible leader. What we've learned, certainly from his death, is the amount of anger it has created especially among the youth. After his death and in the week leading up to the funeral it was clear that, as political leadership, it was very difficult to constructively channel that anger. That has also shown to us that the situation is so fluid, so volatile that any action like that can go any way. To the ANC, especially amongst the ANC youth, he was also, if not the only, national leader that they actually listened to some of those youth, and he had certain plans for them like the National Peace Corps and Service Corps and things like that. I just hope, we even brought that idea into this process so as to take care of his ultimate ambition of having the youth controlled in some way. Also as far as the economy of the country is concerned, what happened during those few weeks after his death, the economy was badly affected. The Stock Exchange, the foreign exchange and all of that and ultimately we have come to really accept that all these changes that people refer to in this country have really been artificial. I think as leadership of the liberation movements we have become very lax and complacent to think that this regime is genuine, that we're more into a changed political situation. But there again for a mad person to go and kill a popular leader like that, it really, really shook the whole country.
POM. Let me go back again, Patricia, to APLA and the shooting or targeting of soft targets, like of ordinary people. The IRA, for example, have two kinds of targets. They have the British Army and they have anybody who belongs to the police or to any arm of the security forces but they don't target civilians. Do you not think that just the targeting of civilians has had a detrimental effect on your own cause?
PDL. You mean on the PAC cause?
PDL. You know I'm not the APLA spokesman and I don't like speaking for and on their behalf but what I can say is that, again, I know some people phoned and they've claimed some responsibility and say APLA has done so. Up till now there have not been arrests in those incidents even though APLA claimed responsibility where people were arrested, they were found guilty in a court of law at the end of the day. OK they claimed responsibility, it has also been proven in a court of law that they are responsible. You take the Eikenhof incident, for instance, immediately when that happened Hernus Kriel the Minister of Police just started accusing APLA and said APLA is responsible only to find two days or a week later that some ANC members were arrested for the killing. Thereby he wanted to create the perception or the impression that APLA has now shifted its initial type of operations from attacking the security pillars, the security forces of the regime to civilians, but it has never been the policy and certainly the PAC don't support the killing of any civilians whether they be women or children.
POM. To go back to the youth again, in many of the townships the youth are nearly out of control? What kind of a problem do they pose for the political process?
PDL. The youth constitute the majority of the membership both in the ANC and the PAC, the situation and the level that we are at at the moment and it is very difficult in a leadership position to actually control and direct these youngsters. They call them the so-called 'lost' generation. I don't think they are lost completely but because they have been victims and quite young victims of a very oppressive system they want change and they want change immediately. They don't seem to have the capability to reason or, you explaining to them that to be able to achieve, to come from point A to point B you have to tactically do this and do that before you can achieve that. It's like a one-way thinking, we want to get there as soon as possible. And then of course the whole debate amongst them, about the voting age. PAC and ANC Youth League has just come together and they started a campaign jointly to campaign that the voting age must be 16 when the official position of the ANC is 18 and the official position of the PAC is 18. So there's this kind of, I can't say disobedience, but they always don't want to adhere strictly to their own party policy.
POM. It's like a parent and a child.
PDL. Yes, exactly. You say don't do this.
POM. Do as you're told!
PDL. Yes that type of situation.
POM. I hate to repeat this slogan because it's been repeated so many times but "One settler one bullet", forget about the one bullet. Who do you define as a settler? Who is a settler?
PDL. A settler like in - there are many organisations in this country, there is the 1820 Settler Foundation. There is the Settler's Way, it's a highway in Cape Town named after the settler community. It is those people who came to settle in this country and forcibly remove the indigenous people from the land, but then some of them were born and bred here and in our definition and the way we define it, we define our membership in the PAC on the basis of those who are loyal to Africa, who pay their allegiance to this country. Those people are Africans and a settler is as defined in any colonial situation.
POM. Were all white people settlers?
PDL. No there are not only white people who are settlers. You look at for instance the Indian community.
POM. But are all white people settlers?
PDL. No, they originate from the settlers who came in in the colonial days. They've got European culture, they've got everything from where they come from.
POM. So is there a specific group when you say 'one settler'? Is it somebody of Afrikaner root who has been here for six generations, an English speaking person who has been here for two generations?
PDL. No we don't get into that final detailed analysis. When we speak about settler/colonialism we go back and we look at where the whole issue started, where it came from, not that you can say now this one is not a settler because he's English speaking or what. I don't think the intention is even to get into such detail.
POM. Your position has been that you want a sovereign Constituent Assembly, no interim constitution or whatever, do you think it likely that you will participate in elections next year or boycott the elections as being flawed?
PDL. No, no, we will partake in the elections, definitely. Definitely. We'll try and work very hard to get a substantial percentage of the vote to then say that look, an unfettered Constituent Assembly will write a constitution on the will of the people.
POM. Do you think that the language in that first draft which talks about that there would be an elected Constituent Assembly which would draw up a new constitution from scratch?
PDL. We're very happy with that. Total revision.
POM. Thank you ever so much. Is there something obvious that I should be asking you that I haven't asked?
PDL. I think the issue which is surfacing, and very strongly so, in liberation politics and in politics in general, in the country's agenda, is the gender equality issue. Although a lot more has to be done around that area, and I'm involved in a few of those institutions and organisations, we want to make sure that we do gain some rights for women now, even during the period of transition. Therefore we have supported a sub-council on the status of women in the political set-up because that is a massive constituency in the country and they are composed of more than 52% of the population, so I think maybe in whatever you're writing try and bring in that kind of balance.
POM. One last question. Do you think at this point there is collusion between the government and the ANC, that they by and large have decided what the outcome of at least this process is going to be, are they in cahoots with each other and they are just going to push through their own agenda and get on with it? They try to bring everybody else on board but if they don't come on board they are essentially saying "Well the train is not stopping".
PDL. Now that we are discussing substantive issues here, most of these deals, although we are not aware what kind of deals there are, it has been exposed, it has put the ANC in a very, very terrible position amongst its own rank and file. We only discovered now that we are getting into debating these issues that they have made a lot of compromises which are just not acceptable to the ordinary rank and file. So in this forum now they have to find a way of telling their rank and file that in fact they have not made these deals but on the other hand the process would not have moved at all if the regime did not get any guarantees from the ANC.
POM. Who do you think, in the last year, has made the more concessions? The ANC or the government?
PDL. I would say the ANC because what this whole debate is all about here is not how we are going to get the best deal out for the majority of the people in this country. The debate here is how to get the best deal for the regime out of this whole set up, so in that line the ANC has made a lot more compromises than the regime themselves.
PAT. Do you think it's possible to have the election by April 27th?
PDL. We are optimistic that it will happen. It might not be what we would like it to be but if we can move to get at least democracy expanded in this country to the majority to have a say in the future of this country. The 27th April, it must come.
PAT. So part of what you are saying is that there might be an election but it might not be what is conventionally called a 'free and fair' election?
PDL. Yes. The Transitional Authority that will come in place soon, that will look at the levelling of the playing field, and the eight sub-councils that are going to be established, they will have a massive task of trying to level the playing fields. I don't think you can achieve it in such a short space of time but I am sure they will try their utmost best to at least bring it about because afterwards, if my party is being affected, I didn't have equal access to resources for voter education and my members did not come to the polls because they were not fully educated and briefed about voting, I can say my party has been unfairly affected by this and therefore the result is not free and fair and people can come with many such quotations and examples to say the elections will not be free and fair. The emphasis with us has been put on the international community. At least they must be able to verify the authority of the transition vis-à-vis the powers of the government and we must make sure that the government does not exploit the resources of this country for their own party political benefit. I think in the next two or three weeks, at least I am hopeful, that we will have been able to move forward.
POM. Must the violence be brought under control before you can have elections? We were in Thokoza last night and the people we were talking to laughed at the idea of there being an election on the 27th since IFP supporters and ANC supporters daren't even go into each other's areas so you can't have free canvassing of votes. In the townships that are bitterly divided in this way how do you see the election process working?
PDL. I don't know, really. It's a question I can't answer because if it should get worse we shall definitely have to assess the situation as we go along. But as you can see it's getting worse all the time.
POM. Thank you ever so much for the time.