About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

03 Aug 1993: Cooper, Saths

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SC     In the 1983 period when it was the rise of mass mobilisation and a few of us who were interacting with many young activists, youthful, teenage, pubescent activists, began to notice that there were quite a few things that were going on at that time, particularly one dominant feature and that was at least six out of ten of those activists were unable to identify with one parent, invariably male.

POM     Could only identify with one parent?

SC     Invariably couldn't identify with another parent, usually male, either because the guy simply wasn't around or they didn't know him at all. A statistic put out earlier this year suggests that 75% of black urban youngsters are born of single parents. Again, that's almost ten years later and ours wasn't any scientific enquiry ten years ago and it was discussion with a range of people within my own Black Consciousness circles and other circles, people in business and other places. So when I went to the States the conversations continued long distance, and with a few people who were in the States at the time also doing sort of short courses or other scholarship things. So when I returned at the end of 1989, beginning of 1990, we began actively to foregather again in groups, triangles, small numbers. We were roundly clear that the institution most devastated by apartheid was the family, specifically the black family.

     When I say 'we' it's captains of industry, other social scientists, legal people, social workers obviously, psychologists fairly significantly, other medical people and so on. We then began to look at who we would interact with and the first order of business was interacting with that elite, academic, business elite, to sound out their ideas. We sounded them out in private discussions and small workshops and so on, held a few events at different universities at different centres, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban.

     Then 1991 saw us move into defining what it is we could do. Clearly we had certain skills, knowledge, experience that we felt we needed to share but not as, say, the social historian or the economist or the business person doing his bit but in an inter-dependent fashion. So we were quite clear that it was going to be, after a lot of debate and some people going on and others feeling that they wanted a more particular focus, we became an inter-disciplinary group so that we weren't multi-disciplinary where you will do your thing according to your discipline, I will do my thing according to my discipline. We would in a sense treat the patient, if you like, together. Whoever did the intervention it would be one intervention informed by these different positions, backgrounds and skills and so on.

     Then we held a few more events with the other practitioners in those respective fields together and we discovered that there was a lot of support for the idea. Of course we came up against territoriality which this country is notorious for. I think more than anywhere else here it strikes you like a cold shower on a sub-zero day. There were those who felt they were family experts or family therapists or family planners and so on. When you say family, you're taking our territory, you're taking the bread from us. But up till then we were totally self-sufficient in the sense that those few business people that were around said, "Look, I will support this and ask so-and-so and they will underwrite certain things." So it was small amounts of money and we paid for things ourselves because it was self-edification essentially that we were doing it for and sounding out our own ideas, crystallising it throughout that period.

     We managed to then move away and say to people, first we were not ideologically bound in any way, we were not a product of any ideological persuasion. We were there probably because narrow ideologies brought us to where we were in this country and we increasingly felt our mission was to get involved in community stabilisation. But how do you get involved in community stabilisation and many communities are inaccessible and there's chaos in many of those, especially the ones that all indications are you need to intervene with them urgently. So we moved away from calling ourselves any community sort of thing and felt that our underlying purpose was to restore basic hierarchies and value systems that were essential to understanding family. Definition of family is very non-traditional, it's saying you need two people living inter-dependently, so it could be two adults, it could be a grandparent and a grandchild, it could be two persons not related consanguinely or in any other way but living together inter-dependently and obviously going right through to the next standard network.

     So we are right now an inter-disciplinary organisation working for community stability through interventions, other programmes, and doing a little bit of research and policy stuff, not as much as we'd like to. Actually it's safer to do that latter than it is to do the intervention stuff.

     So we were approached by the Peace Accord Trust to get involved in providing a service for people affected by mines and, as you know, I did my PhD in youth violence when I was in the States and we've got quite a few other people who are quite expert at intervention in their particular areas. So we brought together this group of people and other institutions and other individuals in this area, PWV area, and went through a training programme for people we had recruited from the community to be involved as trauma councillors.

     So we are offering right now as part of a national violence intervention programme, services to anybody affected by violence. It's a 24-hour service, a toll free nationally accessible number, and the services are provided in the seven main languages. It's linked to a network of over 450 local organisations, some are community agencies, some are professional agencies, church based and so on, that can provide direct service if we call them up and say, "Mr Khumalo will call you for X". Relief and humanitarian agencies as well. It's working fairly OK. At times we get really stretched and at times it gets fairly quiet but it's like the lull before the storm. As you know this last month has been the month when there's been the greatest amount of political violence with a peaking for murders.

POM     Why do you think that is so? Why do you think it's coming at this point in time?

SC     I think it's because of where the political process is and I think it's also the post-Hani factor, it's also the deteriorating economic circumstances. We have statistics that range anywhere from a conservative 40% to a fairly liberal 60% unemployment out there and you have a large percentage of young people out of school, out of work. The statistics there talk about at least four million young people and they don't even count in the statistics of joblessness. The education system is non-functioning in many, many areas of the country and I think it's also because everybody's just putting faith in an outcome from the transition so that most things are on hold. The classic example is business. Business is waiting for other interventions and other things to happen before they can start doing things so that is happening in business which needs to be a very interactive, ongoing activity. You can imagine in other sectors, so in a bureaucracy it's just wait and see.

POM     One thing struck me very vividly in the last couple of days and that is not only are people killed but then their bodies are burnt, in some cases the bodies have been dug up, the graves mutilated and the bodies burnt. It's not just a matter of shooting somebody and their being killed. There's something else.

SC     It's the barbarism that follows it.

POM     What do you think accounts for this?

SC      Padraig, I think that in a very, very bizarre way the apartheid chickens are coming home to roost. You cannot have a system like apartheid which essentially is a denigratory system of human beings, it's denigrated people spiritually, physically, psychologically, and expect that people will come out of that oppressive condition and be normal. Now at the same time I don't want to sound like I'm pathologising the whole of society. I think that there are vaguely pathogenic conditions that are not addressed. You don't just have people coming out of east bloc totalitarian rule and entering a liberal democratic mould and finding that just hunky-dory and comfortable. OK, there are certain lags, there are certain suspicious, there are certain withholdings and other problems in interaction thereafter that are going to happen. It's very enhanced with an exclusionary system like apartheid. I believe that very clearly we are paying the price for social oppression.

     You see, and I think I've said this to you differently before, that there's a small gap between certain abnormal atrocious behaviours happening to you and you yourself being caught up in repeating that behaviour. A classic example would be if you're an abused child the likelihood of your ending up abusing is so much higher. Now in SA we're also a nation abused. In our child-rearing practices force has assumed such a major role. You don't do anything through persuasion and relating to people, you do it by excluding, withholding and by punishing. Now most of us have grown up under those conditions and very few of us see the wrong in physical punishment, the debates about the death penalty, for instance. In this country, I am sure if you did a survey, most people would go for the death penalty and it's because you're so accustomed to violence happening. You think that a way to get rid of certain things is just that type of drastic solution.

     So here the violence has happened to individuals, the exclusion, the social denigration, the economic exclusion and exploitation as well, and it must impact psychically. It's added to by political rivalries, by the very important lack of information access in our society because there are few gatekeepers there for information, usually political gatekeepers, and they will inform you selectively about certain events. So ex-vigilante or comrade group is on the warpath creates havoc. Rumour then assumes a reality in many areas and through fear, through the need to protect, obviously, people are caught up in that maelstrom.

     The level of dehumanisation must not be under-estimated. There has been a wide dehumanisation. You've been now a couple of weeks I'm sure and you've been here previously and you know, for instance, being a white person how a lot of blacks assume a subservient position and that for me is an important immediate indicator of the levels in our society, that people have not only been confined to certain status in the society but they themselves then begin to look at themselves in that sub-human category. For me when actually you commit an act of violence, and it's horrific stuff that happens, there is a certain objectification, there's a certain what I call reification, you treat of the other as less than a human being, you treat of the other as some obstacle in your path that needs to be removed.

     So I am not attacking Padraig any more, with family, with close ones, antecedents, people he's going to leave behind. He may hurt, there may be blood if he gets struck, he may die. I may actually get caught for that and arraigned. All that is removed because I am treating you then as an object. Such is the dehumanisation that happened that at that moment that I commit that terrible violence I treat you just as an obstacle in my path to be removed. When I begin to think about it afterwards I then start using all sorts of other socialisations as justification. "Well he was of another ethnic group and those are lesser beings anyway. He was Zulu and what do you expect from a Zulu?" And all sorts of other stuff that comes in. There could be other racial elements to it and so on. I think that that is directly traceable to the socio-economic regimen that we've had under apartheid, the dehumanisation, the exclusion, the denigration, treating people in that fashion and now that bizarre stuff happening.

POM     Do you see this level of violence continuing?

SC     Oh yes, I think in some instances it's going to rise, it's going to rise because - I think there was the hope previously that we have reached a level of political maturity. I think that was a false maturity that we actually do not have the level of leadership and maturity that is prepared to accept responsibility. It's, "I'm not responsible, it's the other side." If anything happens and it remotely can come back to me and my followers I will disavow that and say it has to be somebody else. So there isn't that earnest look that, look, we're in this thing together, it's our responsibility.

POM     Do you think that the ANC have been particularly derelict in that regard?

SC     I think all the leadership has been. Very few people have acknowledged, I mean Mandela has done that. Mandela has on certain significant occasions acknowledged that there's been lack of discipline amongst sections of the ANC followership and he has publicly stated on a few occasions that there are things that were happening and if they really came to the fore they need to be taken up and discipline would be meted out. However, I haven't heard that from many others.

     For instance, let me throw it across to de Klerk. De Klerk has consistently refused to acknowledge that there could be security force involvement in certain areas and his Ministers of Police and Defence have in a knee-jerk fashion for anything that comes up, refused to accept any responsibility. My child refuses to accept responsibility. Children blame, "Daddy you are not giving me this, I want my lollipop now, you don't love me and it's your fault that I did this or that. I broke this because you are responsible." Children are unable to accept responsibility but it's developmentally appropriate. We have national leadership which is refusing to accept responsibility and that is not one side, it is across the board. There are very few people who are prepared to acknowledge that responsibility.

     What's worse is when we have an outbreak of violence and it may be X side whose followers have been affected. It is a round immediate criticism of their closest antagonist or opponent in that area in terms of the numbers constituents again, that they are responsible, and it carries on that way.

     So I think that the sooner the political process is behind us the sooner will we get on to the real business of reliving, of reconstructing, of reconciliation, of rebuilding that's very necessary. In a sense for the last especially two years everything has been put on hold waiting for this process to deliver in some messianic fashion and that it's going to solve all the problems in all sectors. I think to some extent sections of the ANC leadership have been remiss in encouraging no progress in some areas until they give go-aheads. I can see why politically one would want to do that but at the same time at the level of national interest I would think that that would be a very short-sighted position because as an ANC Cabinet Minister I think I would not want to inherit chaos and a legacy of barrenness. I would want to encourage certain things happening now so that the expectation of my delivery in that new democratic dispensation is not going to be as high. So I think in a sense what that short-sightedness is doing is setting them up to fail because delivery is not going to take place. We've discussed this previously. Housing, education, health and social service delivery, job creation, economic recovery, all those things are not going to happen immediately but clearly prioritisation can help.

     I am a little worried also that the ANC is buying into somewhat of a monetarist type of position that Derek Keys is presenting and things that they're buying into, saying that the highest priority is education, which I have no problem with. The second highest priority seems to be government spending. I have a major problem with that. I would imagine that health and social services need to be a second priority together with economic reconstruction which includes job creation. Those areas, because if we're going to continue having this massive government spending essentially a large part of that government spending is spending on the bureaucracy and spending on wasteful systems. Then you really get that trickle down there instead of development happening in local levels and you have less of a need for management because there's local control, there's local ownership of things. So in a sense it's almost a sort of pact that, well, we're retaining as much of the bureaucracy as possible and it's a vote getting measure as well. So many of these budgets are politically ...

POM     I assume most of the civil service would be entrenched in their positions as part of a settlement?

SC     I think that that's going to be a critical part of it. There will be some significant face changes, hopefully not merely face changes.

POM     Do you think the National Peace Accord can be judged to be a success or a failure or is the best that can be said about it is that things probably would have been worse if it wasn't there?

SC     I think yes, it would have been worse if it weren't there. Secondly, I think the proper consideration of its ramifications wasn't taken into account. I remember very clearly a key person in the Peace Accord formation and a leader in the current structure now saying two years ago he couldn't understand where this social and economic reconstruction fitted in. If they had concentrated on that, for instance, they would have recognised more results might have come because you don't get violence in settled areas, you don't get violence in lower middle class areas even. You get violence in working class areas and very impecunious shack settlements and transitory settled areas. So it needed greater forethought and I'm not saying this in hindsight, I'm saying this having voiced this criticism at that time. Now though there is a socio-economic reconstruction and development arm of the Peace Accord which actually can't move fast enough because the need is so great. So that's a very positive development.

     Another major criticism really which has been voiced, I don't think sufficiently, by international and local evaluators is court structures. It has been that it's been largely white and heavily business. Some would say that business needs to be more involved and I would tend to agree with that. However, at the visibility level you need to understand that a person who three years ago called the police in for a local strike is now sitting as the chairperson if the local Peace Committee is not going to have the confidence of those players. Also he's not going to have the confidence of those players when he has to work through his own biases and racial prejudices, when he believes that the problem with the kaffirs down there is - he may not say it in that fashion - but it's expressed in so many other ways in that sort of condescension, that superciliousness that comes off and not seeing the connection between the past and what's going on in the present, just merely looking at it as post-February 1990 phenomenon which it isn't because violence has been happening in a great measure. It's actually a post-1976 phenomenon. Violence has been increasing, it's not been decreasing. Obviously the removal of certain obstacles in February 1990 created further conditions for violence and intolerance but the very lack of tolerance already pre-1990 is a major cause of this.

     I think then that there is another factor and that is that I am worried that it's going to become a peace industry like the anti-apartheid industry was and that you need a Peace Committee agreement in every little tootie thing whereas really you need the development to go on, you need the kids back in the school, you need conditions for people to feel they are rooted, that they belong in an area, rather than look at it as a peace brokery. That for me is another territoriality that is a exacerbating conflict. I know of examples where certain peace efforts have actually bred killers. So I look at those exceptions but they're important in the sense that we don't just think it's the election and democracy stuff that's hotting up now, so many millions of dollars available for that and ECU dollars as well available for it beside American dollars to do it and every Tom, Dick and other organisation is involved in doing elections and monitoring and so on and they, strikingly, people who still wear their Stalinist outer garments and still wear their fascist apartheid outer garments are involved in some of these things.

     So it's a very warped education process that's going to happen and I think that that needs to be considered really because you're going to have more problems created through that mechanism than solutions. I think that probably funders need to be more circumspect in making money available. I know professional colleagues who come and say they've been offered so much and I have no reason to disbelieve them. I know that we've been offered, by certain important agencies, funding if we get involved in electioneering also. That's more appropriately done by certain other groups and if we start getting involved in that type of stuff we're going to create an infrastructure and employ people and then after April they will be doing a little bit of monitoring and report writing and then what? Then you're going to have people on strike, people further disaffected and these would be able people, qualified people, not just your out of work, out of school youth now, probably younger people but ending in a few very disillusioned with processes. And that's a rancour that you can't afford as well.

POM     Do you think that out of this negotiating forum there will be an acceptable settlement that will bring Buthelezi and the right wing back in?

SC     No I don't think so. I think there will always be disagreements about that. I think to ever expect that there will be round acceptance of all these things is foolhardy because you will always have reservations about it. What is frightening though is the type of reservation, really the way that reservation is expressed because that reservation then gets expressed as a war option and threat actually. So I think that these types of groupings, the very nationalist grouping whether white or black will not have a solution that's to their liking and I think that they need to also be realistic and accept that they're in a minority position, not that they're not in a powerful minority position. They're in a powerful minority position because of the havoc they can do and because in a sense some of their actions do capture public imagination even though it may be for other reasons. I think there's a certain admiration that's begun to develop for certain refusals to be kow-towed into the process but the other side of it undermines that.

POM     For example?

SC     The IFP's refusal to just be kow-towed. I think there are people who admire that but then what it comes with, its corollary, that there's going to be civil war and we will not do things, almost over our dead body type of stuff, that then loses their further credence.

POM     Do you think Buthelezi is somebody who can be easily satisfied or that his psychological make up is such that he paints himself into a corner?

SC     No. I think only at the level of observer rationality does it appear that he's painted himself into a corner. In terms of those people who are following him that's the only way. I think that there's a sizeable body of people among Zulu speaking and white English speaking who are not into the nuances but are into merely the recriminatory substance of what he said, who just hook on to that, we've been done down, it's a sell-out, it's a communist sell-out that's happening, the type of immediate stereotypic conclusions that are reached.

     I think that Buthelezi is not a walkover, he's never been a walkover, and that's where I think the negotiators have consistently failed to recognise that. I think in November 1991 when he raised his first objection to the composition of CODESA, there should have been at that point, and before his objections became public, they should have attempted to accommodate that because there's no way that whatever number of parties that were there could not have reached that sufficient consensus. But I think it was a political position particularly on the side of the ANC that said, well, we don't need to have that Buthelezi around. It's over two years now, well not quite but it's going to be by the time this thing ends and there's going to be a parliamentary session and it's going to come into law. You know hell hath no fury like - and they should have taken that into account.

POM     So you see him staying outside the process?

SC     Well he's remained outside the process and he's been the single veto.

POM      In the event, say, of elections being held?

SC     I think that right now it's very hard for one to predict whether he will remain or go outside the process. Everything he is saying seems to suggest that he will stay outside the process because you can't say those things and remain in the process. But again that's at a level of certain maybe observer logic.

POM     How about the right? Do they pose, I mean after the referendum in March last year they appear to be finished, disillusioned, disorganised, disoriented, out of it, and yet now they seem to have got their act together, they have a respectable figurehead and are making, and polls show, massive white support going away from the NP.

SC     Yes, but I don't think the massive white support is going to them.

POM     It's going to?

SC     It's going partially to them but also more significantly I think to Buthelezi because there's consistence. I mean Buthelezi definitely, you can't fault Buthelezi. There's definitely consistency and there's also predictability. Buthelezi is a very astute politician. He plays things often closer to his chest than his advisors' chests, whoever those advisors may be at the time. There's a very smart political sense there and he's used it to great effect. It's infuriating, it's maddening to those who expect other things to happen but it's entirely predictable, some of those positions, and I think that maybe some of the negotiators would do with understanding him better and maybe being then open to dealing with him in a better fashion.

POM     But if they can't deal with him, if it reaches a point of impasse where they say we have to go on without you?

SC     I think they're going to be forced to do that.

POM     Then can you have elections which he would boycott?

SC     Yes you can have elections but it's going to be under-legitimated in many areas, specifically Natal. Given that it's a key developmental area and it's a major population concentration it's going to be a problem. However, the result of staying out can have the effect of causing severe distress and disillusionment and feelings of betrayal amongst Inkatha followers and others who may not be aligned but once things are in place I would suspect that increasingly people will buy into it. That's going to isolate Buthelezi more, it's going to push him then into more strident positions. So it's going to be that type of dilemma.

POM     But even if there's a fifty/fifty chance of civil war, do you think that's rhetoric?

SC     No, no, look, there is a medium level conflict in this society but it's not just civil war. OK last month more people died than in probably Bosnia and so on where there are war commissions, yet it's not a civil war in your classic sense and there's a confinement to it. Except for one or two outbreaks in certain places like St John's Church in Cape Town, Kenilworth, it's largely restricted to excluded shack, hostel, very low or no income townships. Soweto, the upper class areas of Soweto are not affected by violence but the lower class areas are and will be. There's a class phenomenon as well to a lot of the political violence. And who would be part of the civil war? Because certainly those people who would support the ANC, and it would be the greater majority of this country, would have voted in a particular way. Who then would that group of IFP people left behind who did not vote and who would choose to fight than surrender, who would they get their support from? Very unlikely bedfellow of the white right wing but the white right wing itself doesn't care too much for any of the IFP followers, they needed some of its leadership. It's just a marriage of convenience. So how are they going to engage in this civil war stuff? They're going to, yes, create urban and other terror but not a civil war condition. A civil war condition will arise if you have a total disintegration of security forces which up to now you don't have but come April next year you don't know.

POM     The police have once again come to the fore of things, they don't show up in time. In Tembisa it's like 40 minutes have passed before they've responded to anything. I've had two complaints from the hostel dwellers of police firing into the hostels. They're saying the police are the enemy, not so much the ANC, it's the police. Where do you think the police lie? I've interviewed Hernus Kriel and he's very smooth. He was on Agenda last night and he was very smooth. He's so smooth one has to start laughing. Where do you think the police lie particularly with regard to their political affiliation?

SC     Right now with de Klerk the majority of them.

POM     With de Klerk?

SC     Yes. A significant number will stand by and watch while things start happening and a significant number would stand for maybe other narrow nationalist groups doing certain things. But I think that come the election that's going to start evening itself out because people will realise well actually we do have a change in government, we don't like it but they're something there. There's going to be greater tension in the police force. In some senses it's a little easier with the defence force than it is with the police force because the defence force hasn't been intimately involved as the police have in day to day stuff and there is a greater professionalisation in the defence force than there is in the police force. I am not disavowing that there is the same level of propaganda input but I think that, you see, their involvement in day to day situations makes them more vulnerable in the police force. So I would see the police force as a major point of transition and tension in the next nine months and it's how that's going to handled in a way that sensitively addresses the racial prejudices and fears and a complete de-politicisation of the police force. I think many indications are that police force work is going to end up on a local and regional basis that's a more community orientated institution.

POM     It's the rage everywhere from Los Angeles to Johannesburg. Looking at the last year from positions which the ANC have adopted in June last year and positions which the government have adopted since June of last year up to today, can you see any significant changes in the positions of either? Who has made the concessions in the last year?

SC     I think both have. I think de Klerk's lack of understanding that 5% difference closed the door, CODESA closed on that inability to move that 5%. The government has given concessions, if they had agreed to that 5% or said let's look at it, not a no-no position, and accepted the compromise because government did not accept the compromise. I think there was a willingness more on the ANC's part to accept it, to consider compromise. That's cast this country into a further spiral of uncertainty, adding to violence. On the other hand the ANC has come remarkable way in terms of recognising that there needs to be regional autonomy and in some areas which I wouldn't have imagined they would have given consent to. What is singularly missing is the mechanisms of many of these things. We've got a major blueprint for a democratic constitution, what it means in practice is anybody's guess. So the operation is bad on how it will be working and so on, and I can accept that its guiding principles we're talking about.

     But the ANC has moved considerably, I think to the point where Mandela has said to Andries Beyers of the Afrikaner Volksunie and to Carel Boschoff who wants an Afrikaner homeland that the door is not closed and actually guiding their hand in presenting it in a way that's not going to be unacceptable. The ANC has got to play a very fine balancing act there. It's chief negotiators have accepted certain compromises largely out of an understanding of the critical nature of where this country is at now and that there's a major disillusionment in all sections of the population, the need for movement and breaking the political stalemate which has created lots of unhappiness with militant sections of the ANC. That's been used by other figures within the ANC to lobby for their own positions in the post-Mandela era.

POM     How do you see the camps in the ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance breaking down?

SC     Look, the SACP I don't think will break down in any way because largely the SACP realises itself through others. It's altruism, it's capturing certain key people in a certain condition, shifting positions within that institution of the organisation. That's largely how the SACP has operated while at the same time going for a straighter action. Most of it is an indirect action and support.

     COSATU is going to face a critical decision making and that is going to be in terms of what leadership they can really afford to be chosen for the ANC's list. That's the debate that's going on right now that may really mean that COSATU is going to be affected drastically because if its key leadership is going to be taken away to be part of a national list of possible candidates for an Assembly after April next year, they are going to have a problem, not that there aren't others but that shift in terms of installing that other leadership must happen before April, it can't happen on the eve of the election. Then I don't know whether some of those people chosen will be prepared to give it up now for the gamble of a political role rather than a union role. I think they're going to struggle and I think in a sense they're going to be following Cyril Ramaphosa's example because Cyril Ramaphosa hasn't given up the Secretary Generalship of the National Union of Mineworkers. He's on loan to the ANC for three years of his duration as the ANC Secretary General. And the others are in a holding capacity. So I don't know to what extent the others who are in a holding capacity are also chosen for the national lists but there is that stuff happening right now.

     Then I see very significant unions, the Clothing & Textile Union, the Commercial Catering Union and the Metalworkers' Union really pushing against the position which the Union of Mineworkers has of a continued closeness to the ANC after April. These are the three unions which are very powerful and intellectually put forward very sound arguments. They are saying they cannot be linked with the ANC once the ANC is in government. I think that that is going to result in some major differences assuming very different forms than COSATU. I don't know how COSATU will be able to carry that to the post-April period.

POM     Is anybody in control of the country or his constituency? Is Mandela in control of the ANC to the extent that he can order and get stamped out the violence that emanates in the townships from his side? Can Buthelezi order and have stamped out the violence that emanates? Can de Klerk control the police?

SC     We talked about this the last time as well and I was of the feeling then that any meeting of these great minds could never just put an end to it. I am more convinced of that now because of the singular inability of key leadership to impact positively on the violence. If anything they impact negatively on the violence. Their calls have either been totally ignored or they've been laughed out the door. Where they've been taken seriously it doesn't matter because those are not violent areas anyway. So I would say none of the key leadership is in control of any of their forces and that would include Constand Viljoen. So we have a country that somehow is managing to govern itself by default, by different power plays and local and national government and some provincial government happens. So things are working but they're not working by any essential ...

POM     Exercising authority.

SC     No. I think you can see that also when the police force displays its total inability to deal with certain situations, go on this major attack against the PAC leadership and then come up with a handful of charges for unlawful possession of handguns, not one single 'murderer' or saboteur or killer has been brought to book through that exercise and it seems to have been an exercise mounted with the complicity maybe of a particular minister or junior minister but really with total incompetence and lack of any referral back to Cabinet. And then you had the spectacle of de Klerk standing up in parliament and saying they knew when I'm pretty certain they didn't know.

POM     The news that this is?

SC     Oh yes, if they knew they should have produced a standing order or a cable or something to say, "Yes, I was notified of this. I'm aware of it", and so on. They wouldn't have allowed so many days to elapse before responding and they, when the attack took place, would have been in the first position to issue a statement that this attack took place because of, rather than leave it to the Chief of Police or then the Minister and so it tells you that very few people are really in charge and segmentally certain things are happening, some people are in control.

POM     Do you see any possibility that the date of the elections could be postponed?

SC     I think that that's a possibility. I think though that more postponements are going to add to the serious undermining of the political process post election. I think it's important to have the election as soon as possible.

POM     But if they were postponed, say, for three months or until June, do you think that would have a severe impact on the ANC? It would be one more time that they didn't deliver, that the election itself is still down the road.

SC     No I don't think so. I think though that there is a frenetic desire on the part of key negotiators that are proposing this current process and outcome right now to get it out of the way, it's in their interests. I don't think though that it's going to work to the interests of anybody else if it were postponed by three months. But you see I don't see what can happen in three months that can't be achieved in nine months between now and then. The sooner that date is agreed upon and gotten out of the way the sooner can political parties be free to consider their own campaigns and so on and the sooner we will not be confused by the negotiation process and an election process because that's very confusing.

POM     OK, thank you. Do you have any publications?

SC     We've been so involved in the intervention side in the last six months that we've actually only put out little pamphlets, not any publication.

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.