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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
31 Jul 1993: Maduna, Penuell
POM Let me maybe start with a question I would normally ask in the middle, with the draft constitutional proposals that were put on the table last Monday, are you 50% satisfied with them, 70%, 30%, to what extent do you think they meet your strategic goals?
PM It's difficult to talk in terms of percentages but I think on the whole what we have seen of it, because there are parts which are still missing which are still subject to finalisation at the level of the technical committees, on the whole the document meets the ANC's broad strategic objectives. You will remember that on previous occasions I did tell you that the basic strategic objective of the ANC is to get a constitution drafted and adopted by and under the auspices of an elected body, we haven't shifted from that and the document gives us that right.
POM It talks about drawing up a new constitution.
PM Yes, yes, it says in fact nothing in the interim constitution other than these agreed set of principles, constitutional principles, would be binding on the constitution making body and therefore it may, if it deems it proper to do so, start from scratch and make a new constitution. It may not necessarily do that because we are participating in the process of making the interim constitution itself and I want to believe that the input we are making is such that we are saying already what we would like to say when the new constitution proper is being made so that most of the building blocks for the purposes of the new constitution may eventually be put together in the process of making the interim constitution. So in that sense it does. There are slippery patches here and there.
POM What are these major obstacles that lie in the way of progress? Look, I think the constraints really are of a political rather than constitutional nature. I wish that broadly speaking the document as it stands, with of course the remarks and observations that we are going to be making in the process of the debate, will be adopted because then it takes us there, it takes us to the point where an elected body which is going to make the new constitution is elected. Of course you will remember also that we did say to you that what we wanted and what we accepted is that there would be an elected body bound only by a set of agreed principles. Broadly speaking the set of principles has been agreed now because there may be a need to perfect them here and there. We also said that that would be elected at two levels, the national level and the regional level and that is in the document, it's incorporated in it.
POM However, there is an additional aspect, the question of the Senate. In our perspective the Senate for purposes of the interim was not envisaged but from the way it has been addressed the Senate would be a product of a democratic process in the regions and though we would not be too happy with the emergence of a Senate in the interim it's nothing we could start a fire over, if I may put it that way.
POM You say there are no constitutional obstacles, what political obstacles do you see?
PM Before I come to that, then there is another element, the question of regional constitutions. The ANC is averse to the idea that regions must have their own constitutions, we are against that. But then again we are saying that it's not an issue that could actually be allowed, as it were, to disrupt this process. In other words we are saying, yes we are opposed to this and that's our starting point but then again if it's to help this process along and if it turns out that regions themselves, or some of them certainly, want to have their own constitutions to take into account the peculiarities and the particularities of their own regional set-ups then we would go along with it and we think that the proposed clauses in that regard would provide us with a democratic process to get those regional constitutions where there is a desire for them. So in other words we would utilise what is in the document as a fall-back position, the starting point being that we are opposed to the idea.
Political constraints come in the form essentially of COSAG, the so-called Concerned Southern African Group led by Inkatha and the Conservative Party. You know that the Inkatha Freedom Party and the CP have opted out of the process, at least with regard to Inkatha for the time being. I want to believe that the CP itself is beginning to review its position. I've listened to Ferdi Hartzenberg, it's new leader since the death of Treurnicht, this week, I'm not sure whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday, he was already calling for a summit of acknowledged leaders, whatever acknowledged leaders are understood to be. He was already saying that these acknowledged leaders must get together and try and resolve some of the basic problems which they are experiencing in this process in order to enable them to decide whether or not to go back into the negotiations process. I read it in my own peculiar way to be a request, a plea that they should be given some face-saving mechanism of some sort and they think that this summit would be that. I wish I'm right because then you would be debating whether or not to give them any face-saving mechanism. I would say at the end of the day it's the interests of the country that would dictate whether or not we give them some kind of face-saving mechanism.
POM Given their demands that would be really very difficult to do so.
PM You see honest ones among them, and you do collide with a few honest people among them, already acknowledge that it's pretty difficult for any new constitutional arrangement to meet their demands. I mean their demands are, if I may put it that way, wayward demands in many senses of the word. There is no way we can agree to a balkanisation of the country, to a further balkanisation of the country to accommodate the so-called demand for national self-determination of the Afrikaner because then we would have to create an artificial state for them. You only have to look at the crazy maps, crazy and conflicting maps they've been proposing. The CP wants the boerestaat to be in one part of the country, the others, say for instance the AVU, Afrikaner Volksunie, wants it elsewhere and yet Professor Carel Boschoff and others, I don't know what they call themselves there are so many names under which these go, want it in Orania which is not necessarily where the other two want it and so on. So depending on who you are talking to there are so many versions of the demand. For instance, there are those who want it to start from white Pretoria, so wherever you find whites in Pretoria you create an artificial part, component, of the boerestaat, way up to the North Eastern Transvaal. And there are those who want it to start elsewhere and go down towards the Western Cape and so on, in other words meandering its way down to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
PM Now it's something no country would accept. It's something unheard of in fact. We've discussed it with them. We are trying to construct a country and a society where all of us belong and we belong together. In many senses of the word we belong together and we want to keep our country together not merely as ANC but as South Africans. I mean it's unacceptable that because my forebears came from the Shubi sub type, for instance, I should be told to go where Shubi's belong. It's unacceptable. I am a Jo'burger, I regard myself as such and I am regarded as such. I am settled here. I don't think anybody would have a right to say I must go elsewhere. In as much as I don't want to arrogate to myself any power to say Afrikaners must therefore move and go elsewhere. We are settled wherever we are. We constitute communities wherever we are and we would like to lead normal lives where relationships form on whatever basis and they are dictated essentially by the will of the individuals concerned.
POM Let me take for a moment the rise of the right wing. After De Klerk's smashing victory in March, the white's only referendum, the conventional wisdom was that the right was dead, its day was over, it was in disarray, disillusioned and had been trampled on, and yet I come back 18 months later and they seem to have found a new cohesiveness, new direction, you look at figures that show the NP would only get - of all the people who elected the NP into power in 1989 only 25% would now support the NP. So you have a disintegrating NP and a fairly strong right wing emerging particularly under the direction of General Viljoen who's stature as a former head of the SADF can't get rid of the lunatic fringe that always has been associated with the white right.
PM Yes and no. You see you've got to understand that there was a time when negotiations could have delivered and delivered dramatically and at that point De Klerk was very strong. But De Klerk & Co. miscalculated. They misread the mood. They thought that in fact the results of the referendum, the white's only referendum, and I think I did point this out to you last year, they misread those results, they found that those results showed De Klerk's strength, support for De Klerk because maybe of the way he had worded the question, "Do you support the reforms the State President has initiated?" But you see De Klerk forgot one thing and that is that for the first time in the history of SA elections there was the largest ever turnout for both elections and referendum, the largest ever turnout and he must have asked himself, where do all these people suddenly come from? It was the people who want change, who were not necessarily members and/or supporters of De Klerk's party, who said we will use the fact that we are white and therefore we are privileged enough to vote and make decisions in this country, to say yes to change. That's one part of it.
The other part is the failure of negotiations to deliver timeously, all these delays and the violence and the economic problems will naturally alienate a lot of people and in many directions. The enthusiasm that was there when we began this process in 1990 has waned, that is true. People are less enthusiastic about negotiations now than they were when the ANC and others were unbanned and Mandela and others were released.
In other words we lost that rare moment when we could have turned the national psyche round, we lost it, and I did say this to you that, unfortunately, the powers that be had one approach to negotiations and we had a totally different approach to negotiations. They wanted negotiations to revolve around themselves and that has not happened. They wanted to be the driving force behind the negotiations process and processes of change to preserve De Klerk's rule in other words and with all of us revolving in De Klerk's orbit as it were and this has not happened, it hasn't.
There is a crisis of unimaginable proportions in this country in various areas of our lives. I was actually looking at the press yesterday, printed media, where they correctly say that there is a crisis of policing in the country so much so that the police do not feel constrained to do their work. There are people who were assaulted by the AWB on 25th June at the World Trade Centre with the police hanging around and laughing and not intervening at all. There were women who were assaulted there who could not rely on the police, who could not say," 'Arrest this man, he's molesting me." It shows how bad things are.
It does not at the same time necessarily mean that the right wing is growing much more cohesive and so on. It doesn't, because the right wing is incapable of saying which way it wants to take this country. Everybody in this country accepts, except the right wing itself, that balkanisation of this country and the separation of races and so on and so forth has been a disaster. Everybody accepts that in this country. They don't want it. The majority of the people in this country, both black and white, don't want a perpetuation of apartheid on a different pretext. They don't want it. So the right wing is not going to benefit as a matter of necessity from the crisis De Klerk's government is facing.
POM Does it worry you that De Klerk appears to be ...?
PM He's growing weaker and weaker.
POM - that as the chief other partner in the negotiations that he might not be able to deliver his own constituency?
PM You see it worries me for two basic reasons. One, you would like to be able to say to yourself you are working with a man who has the capacity to deliver, as you say. And his capacity to deliver has been eroded and seriously so. That's one part and the other part is we cannot afford the chaotic state of affairs that we find ourselves in in terms of governance. We can't afford it, we just can't afford it. The country is going to the dogs as it were. You would like a situation where there is a relatively strong regime exactly because in order to reach the point where you can have a free and fair election you need good governance. But we certainly don't have that. His capacity to govern has once again been eroded drastically. So those are the two reasons why I worry about the erosion of his capacity.
POM Some polls I've been looking at show that a lot of support for the NP would in fact go to the CP or would go to the IFP. There more whites in the IFP, it's the party of second choice.
POM Can we talk about the IFP for a moment? I know I talked to you about this last year. First of all on the question of sufficient consensus, in CODESA 2 it seemed to me you had two players, the government and its allies and the ANC and its allies and when both the government and the ANC agreed upon something that was sufficient consensus. If they disagreed then there wasn't sufficient consensus. Under the new formulation you have three blocks, ANC ...
PM Not necessarily.
POM Well you've got ANC and allies, government and allies and COSAG and in COSAG you have ...
PM Who are the allies of government?
POM At this point I don't know. You've just got the government.
PM That's another problem.
POM The government, ANC and allies and COSAG and within COSAG the IFP which has always regarded itself as being a major player.
PM Yes, in CODESA 2 the lines were clearer than they are now but the government camp is in disarray so much so that there is a fight over leadership in that camp. There was a time when they were, relatively speaking, together with the IFP and so on but it was only a matter of time, and I am sure I did tell you, that the crisis is such that they would be forced to part ways and this has happened. Yes, COSAG is a factor and there's no doubt about it. Then again it's untrue that, it's not correct that COSAG is so significant that there can't be movement forward without it. Of course once you begin to talk in terms of political weight COSAG has problems. COSAG does not have a following on the ground which is significant enough to enable it to be a threat to that process. It's not. It can only be a spoiler which it is. It seeks to spoil and even in that direction it is failing by the way. The two leading components of this thing, of COSAG, the IFP and the CP, opted out and they thought that the show would collapse. It didn't, it didn't and we are continuing, we are having discussions there and in fact sufficient consensus is going to be achieved.
POM It's going to come out?
PM Yes it's going to come out, it's going to come out and we will forge ahead. You see if IFP especially is not careful where we will actually argue that those who do not co-operate in the negotiations process, who prefer to stay out, are not going to be maintained at the cost of the taxpayer. That one is coming and there is no way KwaZulu can survive without our taxes. That one is coming, it's certainly coming.
POM So you see in the end De Klerk being able to pull Buthelezi back into the negotiating process by saying, listen, if you stay out there I'm pulling the financial plug?
PM That is if De Klerk wants to. He doesn't strike me as a person who wants to threaten any one of them because he doesn't have the muscle to do so, he doesn't.
POM Has this turned into a process where, not necessarily a process, basically in CODESA 2 where things had to be hammered out between the government and the ANC, to this time round where really everyone has switched partners.
PM Put it this way, there won't be any agreement even today if government and the ANC don't agree. But the same does not necessarily apply with regard to the relationship between us and COSAG. You can't say we will ignore the government now and agree only with COSAG. Neither can the government say so, neither can COSAG say so. That's interesting. But any agreement not supported by the two would collapse with or without COSAG.
POM To me after 12 months you appear to be operating more like partners, loosely defined partners in the process than as adversaries, with regard to the government.
For instance, there is no need for us to fight them now on the issue of the Constituent Assembly because that was agreed last year in September at the Mandela/De Klerk summit, the Record of Understanding. So on that issue there isn't a major problem. With regard to the principles as well there is a broad meeting of minds. With regard to the concept of an interim government of national unity there is a broad meeting of minds. The details are not yet agreed. They want one thing and we want a different thing but we use the same language so why fight them on whether or not you need an interim government of national unity when that is already settled? Rather fight over detail. And there are many issues in fact where there is a meeting of minds and this is natural, this is necessary in this process.
POM If you look at both the ANC and the government and take what both of you have put on the table before CODESA collapsed, what concessions do you think the ANC has made in the succeeding year and what concessions do you think the government has made in order to keep the process going?
PM You see with us I think those who said this were quite right, we haven't made many concessions because there was nothing to concede to the apartheid regime. For instance, we have not made any concession with regard to the CA, Constitutional Assembly, we dug in our heels and we are getting it. We have not made any concession with regard to an interim government during the process of constitution making and so on, but we have been prepared to acknowledge that it may not last only for the duration of constitution making but for the first five years. If that is a concession so be it but it's something dictated by reality rather than extracted from the ANC by way of a concession. It's the reality of our situation that dictates that. Also of regions, I know a lot of people believe the lie they tell about us in many respects. They say, for instance, that the ANC wanted a strong, highly centralised situation with very weak regions and so on and so forth. That's never an ANC policy. I have actually been involved in the making of ANC policies for over a decade. I have never come across an ANC policy that says you need a strong centre that would sjambok all of us into line. That's never been ANC policy. On the contrary. There are all the ANC documents which began to query the very basis of the SA constitution, parliamentary sovereignty, and that's very interesting because you would have expected that an ANC government would benefit from the continuance of parliamentary sovereignty. We would be the sovereign who would decide what to do but we were amongst the very first ones, not even the DP can claim this, to say no, this is not appropriate, it has been used against us, we would not like to use it against others should we come to power. The concept of a 'regstaat', the concept of a constitutional state, of constitutionalism is not foreign to the ANC, it is not new. When the Kobie Coetsee's were already talking, I mean were still criticising those who demanded a bill of rights in the eighties, the mid eighties, the commitment of the ANC to a bill of rights was there for all and sundry to see. In fact my research says that the whole commitment dates back to 1925.
POM So when you see these headlines like, "ANC shifts its stance on regionalism", this was in Business Day in July. It said, "The breakthrough in constitutional negotiations is on the cards following significant shifts in regionalism by the ANC in its submissions to multi-party negotiations. The ANC's new positions will go a long way towards accommodating the anxieties of COSAG and in particular Inkatha. The one issue that will have to be negotiated carefully will be the relationship between the centre and regional government. Inkatha and others in COSAG are demanding among other powers, powers and functions which implied that regions would also have their own constitutions and that the powers, functions and duties will be entrenched in the new national constitution." Is that right?
PM I always shrug those quotations off because they are not a true reflection of our situation. You see I know we have had a lot of spokespersons who would say all sorts of things trying to articulate ANC policy but ANC policies are not made on speakers as it were. They are deliberately made by policy making structures and not by individuals. Some people might have said all sorts of things in the process of speaking on our behalf. I have actually agreed that you could easily quote a speech by X and a speech by Y and so on to prove or sustain your theory. But just stop there. Is it not true that the yardstick of ANC shifts should be the ledger of those who are making demands on the ANC? They have never been made on De Klerk and Co. Nobody is now saying De Klerk must do this in order for us to move forward. They are saying the ANC has to move in order to move forward because they accepted that the ANC dominates the political scene. Assuming, for instance, that that was correct, then Inkatha would be there and participating robustly and actively in that process. They are out exactly because when they carefully read ANC positions they find nothing new. We have never had to say we now accept that which we didn't accept, namely that there will be strong regions, regional governments, because we have never had a position which dictated that they should be weak vis-à-vis the centre.
POM But in CODESA the government and the IFP wanted the powers of the regions to be spelt out and the borders of the regions to be drawn up in a non-elected body and the ANC was against that.
PM Yes we are opposed to it.
POM Are you still opposed to it or will the powers of the regions be enshrined in the interim constitution, the boundaries of the regions?
PM No, no. The shift, if it's a shift at all, was the acceptance that you may have to do some of the work prior to the election to get things to move forward. But the proviso is and has always been that the final settlement of all these constitutional questions belongs to the elected body and that's what the document we are discussing says and this is why these chaps are saying, no, no, no, then if we can't entrench this we have not got anything. That's the argument now, not so? Exactly because the so-called shifts are not shifts, accepting that in fact in order to be able run you've got to learn to walk. It does not necessarily mean that you are then saying I am going to be crawling for ever. You are saying I will crawl, walk and eventually run because that's the nature of things.
So even here, OK, we had our internal debates within the ANC about this and largely the debates of the ANC are transparent. You can tell who holds what view in that regard and eventually what comes out is what you can call ANC policy. There was a view in the ANC that everything that belongs to the Constitutional Assembly belongs there. If that was a shift at all it was a shift in terms of the debate within the ANC where there was this view that everything that belongs to the CA belongs to the CA and keep it there, keep it to the CA. But then there were those of us who looked at it differently, who were saying, no, look, you can't cast your policy in stone or for that matter in iron because you may have problems especially as you interact and interface with other parties. It's now obvious that there is a problem with regard to the issue of regions exactly because most of the parties in that process lack what you could call a national character in a new setting.
You could look at all parties to determine whether or not they have a national character. You begin to realise that there are only so many parties which have a true national character and presence. Even Inkatha is essentially Natal based and rural Natal based basically. It's got a presence in some parts of the country, especially the Pretoria, West Rand and Vaal regions, naturally because a lot of people are working there from Natal, but essentially they are still very much Natal oriented, they come to Johannesburg as migrant labourers to work. They come to the Reef to work. After that they go back home. So Inkatha is essentially confined to Natal, to rural Natal. It doesn't have a national character. There are parts of the country where there is no Inkatha presence at all.
You look at others, the homelands based parties, Mangope for instance. His party is confined to Bophuthatswana as currently defined in the constitutional order, nowhere near Cape Town, Durban and many other parts of the country. You look at many of them. You would actually realise that when you are talking about a true national character and presence as a yardstick, you are then talking of the ANC, the NP, the Conservative Party and the Democratic Party basically. OK the PAC has a presence here and there but it too does not have as national a character as the ANC has. For instance, it can't compete with us nationally. You could have a small study group calling itself an ANC branch in Durban.
So you've got that problem. Now you had to accept when addressing that problem the reality, the political reality that at the end of the day when the chips are down the majority of parties would pin their hopes on regions. Consequently they would like a reassurance that the regions are going to be strong enough not to be dominated by the centre. In other words if anything that tells you that they have conceded, that you can take the centre as long as you do not dominate them in the regions politically, because then why raise the issue of regions at all if they are strong at the centre because we would all be concentrating on the centre, we would not be concentrating on the region.
POM But you could have strong regions where the powers would be devolved from the centre to the regions, you could have stronger regions if the powers of the regions were entrenched in the constitution and could not be taken back by the centre.
PM You see we know from experience in this country that entrenchment of regions and regional powers never meant anything in the 1909 constitution, Union of South Africa Act, the Act of Union, it didn't mean anything because the centre could take those powers away as and when it wished to. But exactly because of that experience the ANC's orientation from the very word go was that in fact you would have to entrench those powers. Let them have regional and entrenched powers some of which could even be exclusive regional powers if you could clinically define them and the others, of course, would be concurrently exercised with the centre, in conjunction with the centre that is. So that was accepted.
Now to say that you have to define them, identify and define them and do all that prior to the setting up of an elected body was and is unacceptable to us even today but we have said that the process of identifying can start now, the process of drawing the boundaries can start now but then the finalisation of that process belongs to the appropriately mandated body. We have not shifted from that, we have not.
POM So it would seem to me that last year that the government were trying to get this interim constitution put together and which would be as full as possible and they were hoping that this would go before a Constituent Assembly and that the Constituent Assembly ...
PM Would just endorse it?
POM - would just maybe amend something here and amend something there and endorse it and it would sail on through. That's gone and now you have a situation where there will be an interim constitution but with the clear proviso that when you have an elected Constituent Assembly it can start if it wishes from scratch, it can take this entire interim constitution and throw it into the rubbish and say that's gone, let's really get down to the serious business of drafting a constitution which would be a breakthrough for you.
PM That's it.
POM Buthelezi talks about there being a fifty/fifty chance of civil war, he's dragged out the King, had the King making political statements that the Zulu nation is under threat. You might say that he's playing the Zulu card.
PM And it won't work.
POM It won't work?
PM No. At the last two big rallies, which are called imbizos in Zulu, each one is an imbizo, at the last two imbizos we are told even by the press, which is not necessarily closer to the ANC, that when Buthelezi started speaking and whipping up ethnic emotions people would start leaving. It's one thing to be told Your Majesty the King is calling you to an imbizo. Those people who are still steeped in tradition naturally would go to the imbizo, no doubt about it. But those same people may not necessarily be the followers of Buthelezi. If anything, on both occasions Buthelezi has exhibited a good degree of desperation and of course exasperation, but essentially desperation.
POM Is he driving himself into a corner, proud man that he is, he leaves himself no option of how to get out?
PM Yes, that's it. I mean, for instance, nobody would believe him when he says that there is a threat to the Zulu nation, so-called. There isn't that threat, who's threatening it?
POM Given his character do you see him backing down?
PM Well he may not back down on that, he may not back down on that but he would have to mobilise people against a visible threat. There is no threat, nobody wants to take away the Zuluness of a Zulu if you like it. Nobody wants to take it away and people begin to realise Buthelezi is nuts, Buthelezi is mad. You've never heard of this, that a politician stands up and says, "I am a natural leader, the only one with the right to speak for Zulus." Not even the King, in other words, has that right, and he says, "No power on earth can take that right away from me." In other words not even the King has the power to speak for you, I was born to lead you, he says so, and "I was also elected to lead you", and so on. It's very interesting that you get a politician who says that and who says if you don't accept that then there will be a civil war, "I will start a civil war." He denies that he's saying so. He says Zulus are going to be offended and so on and so forth and they will start a civil war, but he means he will start it. But how does he start it when in fact in terms of human and material resources he's not well equipped? We have been arguing that in fact the violence which they ascribe to the so-called conflict between the ANC and Inkatha is essentially traceable to the third force and it's visible now that it's much more than a third force. There is collusion between the white right wing, which is even to be found in the echelons of the state, and Inkatha. It's beyond doubt today that there is that collusion and it is as a result of that collusion that you find this violence. The arms are coming in through the third force and through that collusion and so on. In other words the problem is that of the right wing, black and white, getting together because, again, the white right wing is both English and Afrikaner and even beyond those, I mean the Janus Waluzes from Poland who killed Chris Hani here are Polish. Who's the other man, the monster of the violence, I am sure you read about him also who was killing a lot of our people, who died in police custody about two, three weeks ago? He was Zulu speaking, he was from the Vaal, he was working with them, with the so-called World Apartheid Movement.
POM Do you still see this third force as having its origins within the military and that it's still being given the OK by the government?
PM Let's put it this way, they may not necessarily be given the OK by the government as a collective but the incapacity of the government to control them contributes towards their strength. You see the government is divided, in fact we were told divided even with regard to their relationship with the IFP. There is a good presence and feeling within the Cabinet, the De Klerk Cabinet, there is a good presence of those who feel that they have to work out a better relationship with Buthelezi. They are there who would even threaten De Klerk that if he moves too fast and too far they would opt out and join Buthelezi in Natal. We know about it. Consequently, De Klerk felt constrained to go to Buthelezi this week and say to him that there is no way we can conclude the constitutional debate and we can actually have an election in this country without you. In other words he is saying, "For my purposes you are indispensable because I've got a crisis in my own camp. I need you desperately." So you've got that problem.
Now it's a fact that the weapon that killed Chris Hani was one of the weapons that were stolen in 1990 from the arsenal of the SA Air Force, if I'm not mistaken, Defence Force or Air Force, I can't remember now, but it was stolen from a government arsenal in Pretoria. You know, I have said to some people if you want me to believe that, that you can actually walk in to an arsenal which is heavily guarded and steal weapons, then I would have to grow much older than I am to start believing those stories. And the government's inability to trace those weapons is interesting because people who confessed to having been involved in the whole process of changing those weapons were given indemnity without returning the weapons. There's a chap called Piet Skiet Rudolph who was given indemnity by De Klerk but he didn't return even a bullet. There were many others who were allowed to keep those weapons. So the crisis is much deeper than meets the eye, that's what I'm trying to say, it's much deeper.
POM I've been working in Thokoza with hostel dwellers and IFP people, listening to their concerns and how they see things, and they always talk about being intimidated by Xhosa speaking people and they say that in Thokoza at the moment there's no way you could have free and fair elections, that somebody from the IFP couldn't walk into an ANC area and campaign, somebody from the ANC area couldn't go into an IFP area.
PM You actually interviewed hostel dwellers? Because there are also Xhosa speaking hostel dwellers who were forced out of the hostels by people who were not staying in the hostels. I am sure you've got those stories, that people, unknown, came in, took over the hostels and drove out some people who were not Zulu speaking there, who were not necessarily Xhosa speaking either, but then they went to live in the shacks and so on and so forth. Now that is a different problem altogether. It's got nothing to do with whether or not you're IFP because it does not necessarily follow that because you are Zulu speaking you are IFP. There are millions who are not IFP in Natal and there are hundreds of thousands who are ANC in Natal and that is where the violence has essentially been concentrated. Natal accounts for more deaths in this violence than any other part of the country and yet Natal is Zulu speaking, so Zulu has been killing Zulu there. That's very interesting.
Then to come back to this, it's very interesting that in fact it's easier to start this violence in the informal settlements and the hostels where people are living in real dire straits, in real abject conditions of poverty and so on than it would be to start it in settled communities, whether a person is living in a small four-roomed house or in a big mansion in a township for instance. The violence always emanates from those hostels and the violence is always between the hostels and the informal settlements, the shack dwellers and so on and so forth.
It's interesting that in fact in some cases shack dwellers are Xhosa speaking and yet in others shack dwellers are Zulu speaking. Now the question is where do they come from? Some were staying in these hostels and they were driven out by certain elements. We have cases like the Madala Hostel in Alexandra where people took over literally and the government didn't intervene and instead the local government of Sandton City continued paying rent for its workers who were no longer staying there when they knew that there were people who had taken over completely and their workers were staying in the shacks and so on outside the hostel. But I'm not concentrating on that one.
I want to come back to this, that in fact the conflict is not between the ANC and Inkatha. We have nothing to fight Inkatha for. We mix with Inkatha people, we meet them. I've never felt like smacking Themba Khoza or Humphrey Ndlovu or Gatsha Buthelezi himself when we meet on numerous occasions. We have nothing to fight them over but the people who banned the ANC who forced it to take to the formation of uMkhonto weSizwe, MK, the people who did untold damage to our people, who fought the ANC, they never stopped that war. At certain levels like De Klerk's level and so on, yes the war stopped but a deliberate decision was taken, we know about this. One of the chaps who used to be with them came out, Basson, from the army and said a decision was taken to continue with the fight against the ANC and so on.
The fact is that some people take advantage of the ignorance of a lot of our people and say to them that the ANC is Xhosa speaking, which is untrue. ANC is the most non-racial and non-sexist organisation you can get in SA today. We have white leaders elected by blacks. I'm not talking about whites who were inducted by Gatsha Buthelezi into the Central Committee of the IFP as soon as they resigned from the NP, I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about people who were elected in their own name and right, whites, blacks, Indians, Coloureds, women, they're all elected and in their own right as leaders, they lead this ANC and there are Zulus, there are Xhosas, there are Twanas, there are Pedis, there are all sorts of things. Gatsha can't claim that he has such an organisation. I think there is only one Shona speaking person in Gatsha's leadership and he's not a member of the Central Committee and that is Matthews. That's true.
POM Do you think that even if the level of violence is at the level it's at that elections will go ahead?
PM Well elections must go ahead. You see the government will have to act against the violence and of course the parties will have to support it in acting against the violence and the parties will have to act also against the violence, I'm trying to say. Stamp it out. Those who are responsible for our security and those who have the wherewithal doing nothing about it as they currently are create, exacerbate the problem because there are people who know they can kill us with impunity. I was saying in fact, while we were waiting for you to come up from the lift, it's interesting that for the first time the Minister of Law & Order, Kriel, went and laid a wreath because whites died. I'm not saying it's better for whites than for blacks to die. Violence is bad no matter who the victims and targets are, it's bad.
POM In some of the townships do you think the violence has gone to the point of it being out of control?
PM I don't think it's out of control. It's deliberately allowed to continue and thrive and so on. They did it to us at the World Trade Centre, I'm telling you. There were two or three days before the WTC attack by the AWB that this was being planned. Intelligence was available to all of us but they did nothing about it, nothing. Not because De Klerk wouldn't have liked to do anything about it but because at the critical levels in the police force the right wing is strong. Nothing was done.
POM In fact it's his base of militant nationalism. He's more reliant on the security forces to keep him where he is than anything else.
PM Yes, that's it.
POM Just a couple of last things, and thank you as always for the time. A question which I asked everybody every year was, was this a process about the transfer of power or a process about the sharing of power? The ANC always said it was process about the transfer of power and the government always talked in terms of the process being the sharing of power. De Klerk was in London giving an interview to the Financial Times in June and he talked about the need for entrenched power sharing in the final constitution and a couple of weeks later they dropped all references to power sharing, it was no longer an issue. What is the difference between a power sharing government as you think the government perceive it and a government of national unity as the ANC see it?
PM You see the government has always presented the notion of the sharing of power as a permanent solution. That's where the problem lies. We see the interim government of national unity as facilitating change in the country and in fact planting the seeds of democracy in the country. Beyond that parties would form coalitions as the political situation demands which is normal and natural in a democratic order. And, yes, power sharing coalitions and so on and so forth is the same thing and it's dictated by the reality of your situation. But when you present a different connotation of power sharing you then create problems. In other words De Klerk & Co. all along saw power sharing as a means of entrenching NP rule. They were prepared to share power with others because power was theirs. They were not prepared to accept that the locus of power could shift to others.
Now we know the locus of power is certainly going to shift to the ANC. Now the ANC says despite that, the political situation is such that you need to form an interim government of national unity, if you like, to share power with others who shall have won at least a certain percentage. From an official position at the moment we can say the percentage is 10% but I've heard my President, maybe quite rightly so, argue that that percentage itself is not cast in stone, it's negotiable. We will be guided solely by the interests of the country at the end of the day. We may lower it or put it further up so it's negotiable. What I am trying to say is we see the interim government of national unity purely as a means to facilitate the process of turning things up and round in this country. We accept that not a single party has the capacity single-handedly to turn things round and turn things up in this country in the economy, in the constitution and in many other areas. We need one another but then we must co-govern this country purely on the basis that we have visible and proven support in the form of an election.
POM Two last ones. The political impact of the massacre at Bisho and the political consequences of Chris Hani's death?
PM Well, you see, depending on what you mean by political consequences, we have suffered tremendously, of course, by the death of each person, be it Chris Hani, Tambo or those whose names we only come to know when they are already dead. We suffer tremendously as a result of that. It's quite costly in many ways for us but we have not allowed these recent deaths, these recent massacres to stop the process because we want to believe that an interim government of national unity would deal with the situation much better than the current government. It would have sufficient legitimacy to do what has to be done to turn things round and we want to get there. So we are actually saying all the time, look, let's not allow ourselves to be provoked to opt out of negotiations, the solution is to be found in negotiations. We need a settlement, the country desperately needs a settlement.
POM Did Hani's death, was it a way of speeding up, was it understood by government and everybody else that the process should be speeded up in the aftermath of his death?
PM Yes, yes. It actually said in clear terms to us that there is a threat to the process developing.
POM And the threat is?
PM The threat of course comes from the right wing, both black and white. So the longer we delay the settlement the worse the situation is going to get. It can't get better.
POM OK, good point to stop. Thanks again for all the time. I think I'll spend more time at the WTC, it's easier to see or to get an idea of what's going on. What's the debate there next week?
PM We are continuing with the human rights section for two or three hours and after that the constitutional debate continues.
POM Will Cyril be out there next week?
PM Yes. I think for all intents and purposes all of us are supposed to be there every now and then. We take turns there because in the nature of things you can only do so much so you are given your own little area to take care of and you are accountable for it. So what I was doing yesterday was part of what I'm accountable for.
POM Thank you.
PM Don't mention it.