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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

05 Aug 1993: Sexwale, Tokyo

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     We'll talk about Chris Hani first and then get to you. He was a very close friend of yours. In fact he told me that the next time I come over that I should meet you. What do you think are the consequences of his death in terms of the Alliance itself and in terms of the broader politics of the country?

TS     I think in many terms the consequences of his death could have been worse. It could have been worse had we not had a very strong leadership. The whole alliance stood to try to say to people hold, hold, we understand the hero (is gone), one of the best sons of this country is dead, and has been slain, but we should be circumspect in our reaction. It could have been worse in that sense, because this country could have broken up into pieces had Chris not operated within a very strong collective. Had he just been a man unto himself, a leader who fought other leaders, but because he was a leader amongst other leaders the collective was able to hold the country together.

     In respect of the alliance I think it has affected the alliance. Not fundamentally but in certain structures thereof, in the sense that Chris was a very critical link, a prominent one, a vocal one, a very respected link between, say, the Communist Party and the ANC. He was seated on the Executive Committee of the ANC for a start and had been, of course, elected to the Working Committee of the ANC but he had to resign because he did not have the time to operate at that level on a day to day basis. But because he was that type of a link between the party and the ANC his departure really meant that we had lost that type of a very effective and efficient link. But that is not to cast any doubt about the current general secretary of the party, it is to state the fact that the current general secretary of the party is not a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC and therefore the link is weaker in that sense, and that sense alone. Most of the time, I think for the past so many years, members of the party's executive were always on the ANC's NEC. I think it is the first time after a decade that we have the situation where that is not the case. But the man who replaced Chris, Charles Nqakula, Charles is a very strong member of the ANC but does not operate at the highest levels of the ANC so it is in that sense that we have a problem.

     But we also have a problem because I think that philosophically Chris was trying to shape the outlook within the party, the Communist Party, in such a way that it should shake the shadow of the past, a shadow that has accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union, a shadow that has come in the wake of the trampling of the rights of people in defence of this country in the name of democracy and socialism. And Chris was hard at work within the heart of the Communist Party, among other leaders of that party to shake the party of that image. One wonders to what extent the party is going to be able shake that image and therefore become a very good ally of that initial cause.

     Chris was also very critical in linking up the masses with the Alliance. He was critical in that as he was a leader in his own right between the masses and the ANC and Communist Party, whatever, including the unions. He was very, very critical, although he was not a member of any union, but as a working class leader he was very much respected by the ranks of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU and every affiliate of COSATU regarded Chris as its own leader, even though Chris was not on the central committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. But then the youth also, and because Chris was very firm on affirmative action, that is the youth and the women, I guess we have lost someone who was a critical bolt in the machine that keeps things together.

     That isn't overplaying the card of Chris Hani. If I was to say that now Chris has gone everything has collapsed that is not the reality; we do say that we recognise that a critical link, a very strong glue or cement, a particular bolt or screw is out and we don't manufacture such golden boys every day, you know, it takes a long time to fully produce a leader, quality leadership such as Chris Hani. Therefore, but because we always struggled as a collective, we have lost Chris but I think the collective can make up.

POM     Let us talk about the violence that has once again been plaguing the Reef in the last month or so. Is this violence - I think you said one night, that this violence was merely defeating the ANC at the point of veering out of control where nobody, neither the government or the ANC nor any other organisation, could dampen it or put it out.

     Would you like to elaborate a little on that and what you think the direct cause has been in the townships, who is responsible for this new category of massacres and murders?

TS     I'm glad you put it that way because you are not the first conference which I have had before the television and somehow many people thought that I said the violence has defeated the ANC and I said it could defeat the ANC, a vast difference; the second meaning is that we still have not reached a peak with the violence but I think once we recognise a process, the process of the violence that has been taking place and has been eating the social order of society and we should not pretend as leadership to be super human. I think we have played our role, we have tried every and any thing that we had, peace accords, bilaterals, multi-laterals, joint operations, all types of things including meetings with the government to prevent the violence and I think we strike an important note if we begin to say, because people have being expecting the ANC to do something about it, if we say we think we are getting defeated, we are sending a signal that violence is now going to come to the whole country and if the ANC finds themselves defeated as the leading force about this violence then one might as well kiss stability, peace and tranquillity in this country away.

     I think that in all philosophical terms the violence should be understood in the context of a society in transition, conflict will arise, contradictions will be there, sometimes take the form of violence. I think that the violence in any society that has changed is a reflection of the degree of oppression that existed. The higher or the deeper the level of oppression the more violence is meant to be for the leaders to change that situation. But then here we are seeing a violence amongst people who are oppressed. Logically in the South African context, whether under white domination or apartheid where we have that type of society, logically we would have expected in South Africa that blacks would have turned against whites, that's the type of violence that should have taken place but for some strange illogical forces the exact opposite happened. The rule is the violence is found amongst the slaves and it is not the slaves that are charging it, the citadel. Now we find ourselves locked in alliances and we say, but how does it come about? And the only conclusion is the facts that we have, but there is a hand that would like to see the oppressed weakened so that we mustn't challenge the system as they have been doing and we tried to find, even amongst the oppressed who will champion your position, in other words what will people do amongst them now that the situation has transformed to the levels where it is today what it could not do amongst the oppressed directly, you tried to find your own side-kick to do that.

     We were surprised to find that in an organisation such as the IFP, an organisation that was initially started with the blessings of the African National Congress with Gatsha Buthelezi proclaiming himself as the man who would work in the country whilst the ANC was banned and Mandela was in prison and so on, suddenly it has transformed, it became an ally for the Nationalist Party once upon a time but those days are receding. It is now becoming an ally for those who are enemies of the Nationalist Party which would be more to the right, so that it is ally to the AWB, a condition that is worse, anyone who allies himself amongst the oppressed with the Nationalist Party in the manner that the Nationalist Party has been in the past, you know that position becomes questionable because we wouldn't understand why you'd become an ally of the Nationalist Party but it is worse to further align. I believe that there are certain forces that would like to see the IFP, in particular, playing the role of a confusing sector but that organisation is assisted by certain third-force elements both from the police and military, they will assist that organisation and see to it that where it is working it causes violence. When Inkatha is present violence flares and I think that this violence should be seen at this stage in that context not in somebody else.

POM     Do you think that these third force and sinister force is something that is organised either by the government or it's there and the government kind of acquiesces in it, or does the government have control over these forces, that really De Klerk no longer has control of his own securocrats?

TS     I think in the past I would have said that there was a third force and in some other time would have said that the government is involved directly. In other situations it is obvious but I think that a closer examination of what has happened reveals that it's a package, a combination of all the spectrums. The right forces are doing things and the government doesn't know, but those people would come from the ranks of the government and police and the bureaucracy, including certain elements within the cabinet, they would give direct support to this type of force but most certainly the AWB. There are other elements within the right wing completely, and the government is very far away from them being control citizens amongst farmers creating little units of AWB cells right next to cells such as the one that was immediately, directly responsible for the shooting, not for the planning of Chris's death which is something else, but for the shooting. It makes no sense but then there is a second element here.

     I think initially the government had an understanding, and we have evidence to that effect, because before the ANC was unbanned the government called the generals, the army and the police and once they discussed this with the police they were very, very negative. I guess it was the idea of the unbanning of the ANC but they were told, look, you are in charge, you have been dealing with the ANC, you are in charge, satisfy yourself finally, you deal with the ANC, and if anything goes wrong we leave the matter in your hands, but, keep very clear from government. Its forces were at those meetings, the government had given the police carte blanche to deal with the ANC in case it had not yet killed the ANC but in case these people come here and begin to act in a interjectory, "Cut their heads off", in the words of General Martin Smith who was at that meeting and he knows it was said, that, "Let them come back to the country and we can cut their heads off." That was said at that meeting so that the government had known that. They had not directly sat down to plan that, look, when they come back kill them, cull them, it was not actually said at that meeting but that meeting did take place with all the generals from the police and the army and they had to express their concerns. It was that they said OK and everybody was saying, "What? Unban the ANC, but how can we do this?" But compromise, yes, unban the ANC but if it acts in any manner deal with it but also make it very difficult for the ANC to try to expand in this country, let them not use the unbanning now as a gateway towards taking over this country, that was said. They didn't just sit down and say, "I'm going to the ANC, goodbye, thank you."

     No, there was a strategy because they also were afraid that the ANC would come here with all the soldiers of the ANC coming back home as exiles and then you would have insurrection so in planning for that, they had geared the police under carte blanche to have secret plans, secret operations so that the budget is still there for the army and the police for secret operations. We ask ourselves, what is that project doing? What has it financed? But that is the celerity of the part of this, so if you say does the government plan this type of violence, it is easier to say no, but what if I took yes, by saying that people of the ANC get out of control. But it is a carte blanche thing. What do you mean if it gets out of control? Do you mean kids marching, do you mean marches in towns by workers, do you submerse to defending that type of thing but then I come to direct government complicity? This was planned that they left the table open but right now they are saying, "Guys we didn't mean it in that sense, that is what is happening right now, don't be harsh, we didn't mean to do that. Yes, yes we know the ANC is acting in a certain way, but we didn't mean that we should just go and shoot almost everywhere."

     This is the crisis the government is dealing with because this unbanning of the ANC was not said, "Unban the ANC and finish them off inside the country", no, but neither was it said, "Unban the ANC and let them just have a holiday, make them run for their money and then we act out how to deal with it." But now it was left to every police group to entrap the ANC and then we have all these reactions and this comes from the top, and from time to time I think De Klerk is busy now trying to say, "No, no, we didn't mean it like that, in hostility", the hostility that goes back to that hostility that was there at that meeting of the unbanning, the unfinished discussions, because others had different views of this discussion and there are people saying, "We told you so", others say so there is dissension, this is what the government is giving it like, the past strategies of that meeting, that discussion, are dawning and people don't mean the same, the same aspect.

     The government has got intelligence services both in the military and national security. They have infiltrated almost every organisation, business group and so on, heaven knows what is happening and we know that and they know we know that. They get all types of information, all types of information about instances that are going on, they don't answer. When they investigate they find that all this leads to very high offices and these offices say, "What do you expect me to do I'm trying to translate our own agreement and I am not going to sit back when the ANC is acting", certainly the government has got information of what has happened. It is unable to act or unwilling to act because of the pressures, because acting means really axing certain top officials both in the army and in the police. It hasn't been very easy for the government to deal with this stuff, it never was possible for the government to deal with any General or to deal with the police and I'm talking about the guilty parties. General van der Westhuizen has been caught red-handed as having planned the murder of those activists, Matthew Goniwe and those with him, but the man is still the head of Military Intelligence, nobody can touch him. It will be interesting to see how far this thing goes. I think, there is no question about it, they are in a crisis and I think they now want to get out of this situation and go to an election as soon as possible, they are desperate, as much as we are desperate, but in the past there was a lot of acquiescence, there was a lot of saying, "OK, interpret what we have said before these people are dead", but everybody has got their own interpretations, that is the crisis that we are facing.

POM     Most opinion polls now show that only about one in four of the people who voted for the National Party in 1989 would vote for it today and there is widespread dissension and division within its ranks, in the cabinet itself, there is talk of the possibility of splits so it appears to be increasingly in a weaker position, those within the government and its own constituency. Do you think in that sense that the only people that you can rely on to back them are in fact the security forces, which was implemented in the actions that you can take about them.

TS     I doubt if you can ever rely on them now in the current context of today with the backdrop of what I have just said. I doubt if De Klerk can ever rely on secret forces, he never was a friend of secret forces, his tradition doesn't come from the secret forces, certainly he is not a man that is known in the army, certainly he was never in charge of the police. They accepted his leadership but my own analysis shows that De Klerk is not a man to rely on secret forces. The opinion polls that you are referring to say that if you are white now you would be willing to vote for De Klerk. I think he is to blame for it, inactivity, indecisiveness, this is like a physical approach that he was taking; against the ANC in discussions, but try to draw, pretend to be a skilful negotiator against history, try to draw blood from stone, he tried to get the ANC compromised so that by the time we go to the polls, to the elections, the ANC overall majority is reduced, so that is their strategy. The ANC was leading by far and if that election is held then they are compelled to come and lead under a constitution that is, by and large, stronger to those people who are agreeable to the ANC. How do you do that? Try and delay the process so that by some stroke of luck your opinion polls bring it down and then you hold the elections when the ANC is cut down to size then it can't have this majority and then everybody has got a say in the constitution. It's simple but all they have left.

     So in pursuance of that strategy, quite clearly, they delayed the negotiations, and we were three years down the line, with a delay, with no action, but we desperately realised that we must get out of the quagmire because we are in the quagmire. You see, the expectations that the ANC could be brought down completely, its leaders should be distracted because they were in negotiations, they were confused as they were voting for so many people, and the Nationalist Party were able to pick up pieces. Yes it was, analytically, yes it was possible if you looked at it in theory but in practice it was not what was happening. In practice people were not blaming the ANC for the slow down in the negotiations and we also projected the image of the people who were desperate do to get the negotiations going. People did not end up blaming us. Of course there was little doubt, to a certain extent, where just 54%, according to the last opinion poll, said that they would. But that is massive compared to the next party, it's quite massive but they are losing more - you see this is not like the ANC is going to lose and they are going to gain. In fact the exact opposite has happened, they are losing as we lose and the winner becomes the right wing, the right wing is rising, and in that desperation De Klerk is now acting in a panic.

     But I think that the divisions that we see in the populace, as reflected by that opinion poll you just referred to, are not just mechanically left there, it is a direct process. The security forces are even more divided so that they are not outside this division that you refer to, arising out of that opinion poll. It also affects the people, so if you go and try find out how many people out of the security forces would vote for this man, or vouchsafe for this man, or protect this man's government, there is a question in my book and I think that is the reason why you can not adequately utilise this force, especially the police, the South African Police, it can no longer call on this union. The night they came and bashed in the Trade Centre, the police were there, what did they do? And what can you do to them because they watched? There were 600 police on duty and they were told 48 hours before, what could he do?

     The other day De Klerk himself was having a public meeting in a hall, it was broken up by the right wing and the police were there and did nothing. You could actually see that they don't think about it. Everything indicated that the police stayed away and left the right wing to have a field day. And of course we know very well that a lot of the police, a lot of people in the army favour the right wing, and I'm going to give you an example why I say this. We have had a number of policemen, black ones, moving out of the police, joining a trade union in South Africa where none is legal within that service, the police, it is called Popcru, Police and Prisons Union. These are police who are moving out and joining Popcru, because they find a new way. The question is why are these police moving out and setting up their own trade union? It is because the police force is not acceptable to them. I was visiting a march in PE of police, black police, who have decided that they are standing on the side of democracy in PE. Now if the black police, for some reason, are acting in that way, joining Popcru, there is something wrong in the SAP, but on the other hand you don't find a right-winger leaving the police force and setting up something new because they are sick and tired of the police force. It tells you that the right wing have taken over the police, that is why the black police and the coloured police and the Indian police are now beginning to see a new concept.

POM     What happened since March of last year when De Klerk had his smashing victory at the polls, and it looked as though the right wing had been discredited and destroyed and it seems that from last year it has risen from under the ashes of the past and resurrected itself in a more formal, coherent and organised way than in the past and it would seem that with the Committee of Generals, Secretary Generals, the unions have a respectability that they lacked before. What do you think accounts for the rise of the right wing and for the general hardening of white attitudes?

TS     I think that there is one critical factor, there are two basically. One critical factor is that 2nd February 1990 heralded for this country a great hope, there was rejoicing. Countrywide, nationwide, the international world accepted what De Klerk was doing. Mandela came out from prison, and I had spent 13 years with him, we came out and all stood behind Mandela as he became the marketing specialist of De Klerk, to say, "Mr de Klerk, I think this is an honest man, he is a man of integrity." It looks strange today, but that is what was said by that inner circle, he is a man of integrity. There was euphoria, there was hope, people thought that their dreams were going to be realised. At that time all that had to be done was to unban the ANC and other organisations, immediately engage them in fruitful negotiations, in objective negotiations that could end at some point with a victory as quickly and speedily as possible. With the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations, the return of exiles, and the release of political prisoners, which we were, the euphoria in the country completely drowned any rivalry that would disorganise the country. They were hit in the solar plexus, it was a shock, and they lost their breath, I put it that way.

     In other words structured organisations were completely flattened although the Conservative Party was the opposition party, it was like they didn't even exist because there was a new ray of hope made. Some life of hope and they started going forward, but then little did we realise that that was not the plan, it was to reduce the old days of white reign. De Klerk tried to trap the ANC in endless negotiations; because of the crisis let's send Mandela - no, lets send him to the Transkei, he said no, let's send him to Lusaka. When the President came up with all these strange offers he said no. "Can you just sign a document that says that you forswear violence?" he said no. "OK, can we release you, you can stay off Robben Island like Robert Sobukwe", he said no. "Can we release you to Cape Town so that your wife, Winnie, can move from Brandfort?" he said no. It was as if they were trying to find a way of using Mandela without a government body. The contradiction led to a position where PW Botha, had gone as far as saying I can release Mandela but won't unban the ANC. But those people are saying in the cabinet that you can't do that. "If you release him he will affect the ANC and we will be the laughing stock", because the ANC was virtually unbanned by people with flags and all sorts of things at the time when they were supposed to be banned. They said, "You are really going to make us all look stupid."

     There was talk in the cabinet, it was settled in front of television cameras when De Klerk was speaking as the world was watching. He said, "I am releasing Mandela and I unban the ANC", that's the spirit of 2nd February." We talked with him also from in prison but now obviously that's all, the argument was just about how to release Mandela, that's all. But the trick was release Mandela and the ANC and get them in discussions but don't settle for what they want. We must try not to accept certain compromises, major compromises, compromises that would affect our own democratic strategies and principles. It has been a long winter of discussions, the integrity is something that has been forgotten, something that never existed, it is dried up. So actually what happened is that because they dragged on and these discussions or negotiations were inconclusive for this long, the confidence that the world community had in the process started to wane.

     The prospect of the lifting of sanctions started disappearing; even if you lifted them, so what? The confidence with South African businesses themselves had in the future, post 2nd February, started also going down and investments were dried up from the South African community so the level of gross domestic investment also and business property investment sank and they slowly started eating the investment because of the uncertainty that was created and violence also accompanied this process as various forces were now discovered so that violence visited this country, in the wake of the unbanning of the ANC. The confidence in the country was shattered, and the country was being turned into mass action. It was at that time that the right wing, because of this delay, reorganised. It was able to catch back its breath and took advantage like all demigods, the Hitlers, the Mussolinis, and those dealers of Japan. There must be some confusion, some indecisiveness in their country, stagnation of some sort both in the form of politics for a demigod to come out and demigods started reorganising. De Klerk saw the clouds of danger and we warned him that if you are not careful this is the road that we are going to go down. We are close to the president, deal with the right wing.

     He decided to hold a referendum, we quietly supported that referendum, but frankly we issued statements that our people are not to oppose. We said it is a racist referendum, we don't need that in South Africa but if it is going to prove a point let us allow it, so effectively because we didn't oppose it, we were in support. We said to our people don't interfere with it because we didn't want the right wing to emerge with a victory that can harm the main negotiations. So that thread of the right wing was silenced once again, thrown into utter confusion by that referendum. Only in the Northern Transvaal did the right wing have its tail up, also by miracles but because it won by about 15%, that was the low vote, the real vote was the other percent, that's what we had and if that was not sufficient to say to De Klerk, you nearly had a problem, it made him a bit stubborn and arrogant. He thought that now I've got it, support. The right wing is not a threat to me, I can still delay the ANC instead of using the outcome of the referendum as an impetus to push us forward because people supported what we were doing. He tried to use that support for the Nationalist Party policies, not support for the Nationalist Party reform, you see it was a trick, instead of translating because the other whites who voted 'yes' were not necessarily Nationalist Party. He tried to interpret by treating South Africans as though this is a support vote for the Nationalist Party policies and positions at the negotiating table.

     The negotiations didn't get anywhere because now he was using the crowd of whites as though he was using that against the ANC and other parties at the negotiating table. The situation faltered, we have now arrived at the position where the right wing got up on the ropes again and this time it has organised itself far better, structurally stronger, it has militarised, the generals are in, people who didn't have integrity like the windbag, Mr Terre'Blanche, he is just a windbag, he is now off the track, he is playing the warrant officer supporting role, the danger of these people becoming generals. There you have another situation. De Klerk decided that there is no way he can deal with this problem, there is absolutely no way, so that is exactly what happened, an attempt to trap us into inconclusive negotiations and try to misuse the goodwill of South Africans behind the process as though they were in support of positions put across at the table by De Klerk.

POM     So do you see the right wing as being a very real threat?

TS     Yes, right now it is no longer a joke that had to be put out in a referendum because that referendum we knew for sure would be defeated. It is no longer a joke! The economic uncertainty, the fear of violence, complete lack of support from the world, South Africans feel like they are in an abandoned ship and people are beginning to jump off. That's the stage at which we are. There is no other political strategy to stop the violence, it is a national peace keeping force perhaps later to be supported by an international peace keeping force. We, and I want to put it very clearly, we shall have lost the advantage, the initiative, violence is going to come and will cripple this country, there is no Mandela who can stop it, it is going to produce its own warlords. That is what is happening. People will go behind you, not because you are talking politics, they will follow you because do you have ammunition to supply us, because between themselves and death stands their own fear, that is where we are going if we can't solve this, if De Klerk is out the peace process will be affected.

POM     We visited some families for our talks here and in Thokoza, and we were there the other night with a family who are very prominent in the IFP, and if you heard their catalogue of how they have been attacked by the ANC or by Xhosa speaking people or by the police, police have become the enemy too, and you saw their rage and their anger and people coming in who have been burgled out their houses, and then they think that no matter who becomes the new government that this violence is at a point of irreversibility. That just means they don't see this government, or whatever government, and just as you said, it would become a warlord situation. Is De Klerk as aware as you are of the imminence of this state of affairs?

TS     He has a better intelligence. He has the best. He is much more aware of this situation below us but that is the government of the day. He is the man that is supposed to be defeated on the 27th of April and I think he is playing a game of survivor, a game of trust, still hoping against hope. All dictators, all governments that had to go out eventually thought that they would still survive even the night before they collapse. They are all like that, they are all like that, and most dictators are literally caught in the end. You know people don't understand why dictators are always caught in the end, they don't fly away six months before the collapse, they are all like this, the last plane leaves the night before, the last helicopter leaves from Saigon on top of the American Embassy. But even the last day before the Vietnamese forces take over Saigon the general still hopes that it is still OK, after people have run away with their own ships, no pistols, no ammunition, nothing as peculiar as the situation is. I think De Klerk knows what's happening but there is this hoping against hope that things will improve until the last hour with many dictators, many don't flee, many are caught and are killed because they still believe that things are still all right. In the end they are fed with information by people who rule themselves, who don't believe in government, and if De Klerk doesn't realise that then he must think again.

POM     During Codesa you had the ANC and the government as kind of adversaries, the ANC and its allies and the government and its allies, those two parties kind of bargaining between them in competitive ways. This time around does the government seem to have switched dancing partners? Is there in effect an alignment between the government and the ANC?

TS     An understanding, not an alignment, I tell you why, it is the government that is moving closer to our position. Certainly we are not going to be moving further to them. And what positions am I talking about? If we change our strategy to say the government must be removed, and the government changes from its position of saying we are there and they have accepted that they must go. They have accepted elections. Something they have accepted, the fact that we must talk with the ANC, talk with the communists, talk with the terrorists, as they used to call us, it is then that they have accepted the issue of elections. They have accepted when you say you are illegitimate, you are racist, you are a minority government, you are not the representative government. They have been saying they are, for all the forty years they were saying they were correctly chosen. They were not chosen for that position. They say yes, there should be an election now where we have to say include everybody, not your own type of elections through which you tried to legitimise yourselves but elections based on a national poll and not racial. It is then that they accepted our position, not us accepting their illegitimacy, it's been accepting their own illegitimacy as well.

     They have drawn a constitution in 1961, the constitution of 1910 which gave birth to the ANC. The 1910 constitution formed the Union of South Africa. It was a sell-out constitution because it never included the overall majority of the people of this country who are black. We were left out of that constitution. Two years later we formed the ANC in 1912. They changed the country from a union to a republic in 1961 and passed the Act that allowed the changes to the constitution, banned the ANC in the same year, and in 1961 we resisted against that and formed our guerrilla army. In 1983 because of the blows of sanctions and the guerrilla army and so on, resistance by our people inside the country, underground operations and so on, they tried to trick the constitution again. It was the 1983 tricameral constitution that included now, tried to rob us of the support that we had over the populace, bringing in the Indians and the coloureds and still leaving Mandela's people out. It has failed, that is what we are changing today. Last week they agreed because they are amending for the sake of legality. Why do they amend what for all those years they believed is correct? It was unthinkable for them to amend this constitution for the sake of the elections. We merely agreed to amend the constitution because we don't want to draw a new constitution. They wanted us to draw a new constitution then. You see the amending of the constitution comes with us but we can't draw a new constitution because they want to preclude the tasks, or should I say the mission, of the Constituent Assembly that has got to be elected on April 27th, which is the date if ever it materialises. To preclude it out of the drawing of the constitution, that is what they had decided; the constitution must go, that which they had altered is not accepting something new, something that was existing. It is that cunning, you know chickens are coming home to roost and we have decided that the Constituent Assembly is just not just there to govern on the basis of the current constitution, it is to draw a new constitution. This piece of paper that has brought our party to today must be thrown out.

     Now if you talk about new partners, new understanding, it is the government that is getting through it. It would be another thing if we were accepting the government's constitution, we are accepting their illegitimacy, we are moving the other way. That is why, it is for that reason that there is a clash between the IFP. The point I'm saying is that it is not us accepting their illegitimacy, accepting racism, accepting apartheid, accepting their constitution playing down the role of the Constituent Assembly, it is not us. It's them accepting things the other way around, but as they accept this they want little provisions, amendments, powers, it changes us, the arguments, you see it's all about argument about who the government is going to be, its all about an argument that is going to be non-racial. If you read the declaration of intent of all the parties there, that is a position of the past, that is why we fought so hard, so that what we are seeing here is that the struggle is not about the new constitution, it is certain amendments they want to attach to these new provisions, to these new principles rather, not provisions, new principles that are going to govern this country and are no longer their old provisions so they are trying to bring certain clauses that will still cover the period.

     So if you talk about current approval of the position, effectively it is the government accepting the democratic direction. It is for that reason therefore that the government itself has shifted away from the IFP, the government has shifted so that the IFP has shifted on from the government. The government has shifted away from the IFP, it has left the IFP and Ciskei and all its people, its own surrogates, in the lurch. Ciskei and Buthelezi now in their desperation they have decided to shift closer because those people are saying, "Come now, we are the new whites that can lead you", so they have gone to those people.

POM     Since I have been coming here for the last four years the question I have asked everyone in government and ANC is, is the process about the transfer power or the sharing of power? The government says to a person over the years that it is a process about the sharing of power, and to a person people in the ANC and PAC say it is about the possible transfer of power.

TS     It is very easy to say the sharing of power or transferring of power. We are of course, talking about transfer of power. The new constitution controls itself, the new government will speak for itself. Power is being altered to shift, to transfer, to move radically for the minority in the country to the majority, otherwise if it was an election about the minority, yes, power would be shared. But, if in elections a non-racial majority wins, you see, if power was being shared by the minority, amongst the minority who elected themselves, we will take that minority and we will put it within the old majority as part of society. Now that is the decision they need processed, the majority of this country, power has transferred from the minority. If you hold those elections power transfers immediately by virtue of the elections because power is not the cabinet. Power is not the cabinet, power is the people of this country. Clinton comes out of the power of the American people, that's where power is but if Clinton is chosen by the state of Alabama alone, power is in the hands of the minority. But if all the states of the United States participate in the election of the president, it is the people's power.

     April the 27th signifies the transfer of power in the true sense of the word, not the result of that transfer with the polls that were run, the decisions, no. Power is decided on the day of the elections, that's when power is seen. That is when you are empowered as a government and if you've got the overall majority of what a hell of a power is in your hands because many people stand with you, the day of power in any country is the day of the elections, that's it, but if it's one state or one group of society, the whites, then power is still a minority power, the transfer of power on the 27th. Right.

     Now, what comes after the 27th is a government. We of the ANC have merely said that this transfer of power comes a shock to all people that have been thinking that power must merely remain in the confines of white rule. How do we address this shock that may lead to counter-resistance, counter-revolution, that we undermine the new-fledged democracy because it is very fragile in these first days after power has been exercised? Leaders must emerge out of that power. How do you now address the fears and the concerns of those people that have always, that have enjoyed this power alone, who'd be shocked when they realise that, in fact, they never were about the majority. We said that if they lose by a dignified margin, get 5% at least or more, we would include you in our cabinet, that's all. We would include you in our cabinet when decisions are to be taken by consensus; you have no veto. That is all we are saying but that mechanism is a mechanism of trying to push in the shock, it is not power sharing. Power belongs to the party that has won because it has been given by the people, the overall majority of the people.

     The other thing is power does cross the line about one vote, somebody had to cast one, that's how power is exercised, ridiculous as that looks because how do you say really a decision is taken on a basis of one but if those are the numbers you've agreed on, stick to those numbers. Here we are saying that once power has shifted in that sense we should avoid the shock. There is no shock to Bush, Bush passes the baton to Clinton in an acceptable manner and American society continues, that what we are trying in that society, you know. The fact I am making here, the point I'm making, is that on that day we have to push it. This is the essence of leadership. Please, we say, you have lost, you have lost by 4%, you are worse off, but you have got 5%, we will take somebody and put him in our government, and this type of a system has been seen in many parts of the world, that is called coalition where you can't govern alone. We are not saying that we cannot govern alone so it is not a coalition., What we are making is that this is not done for the sake, it is not a coalition, it is for the purpose of national unity that is why we call it not a coalition government, but a government of national unity. The strategies are very simple, the closer they are to you, defeated as they are, the less harmful they are, you have better knowledge of these people because you know where they are. Leave them out and you last saw them during the day of elections, you never know what they are doing out there. De Klerk had to throw away this man, bring him in.

     I tell you what, let me put it this way, the government said when we proposed this question of government of national unity, they have said the ceiling should be 10%; those who get 10% of the electorate and upward must be included inside the government. We said you are making a mistake. The opinion polls indicate that only you and us are above 10%, therefore it is going to be a government of the ANC and the Nationalist Party, we cannot allow that, that is going to cause us problems. So that here we are on the third concept of power sharing. We are not sharing that power with anybody, we are exercising that power but in a responsible way, in such a way that it is not even a coalition because we can do it alone but we have decided that let's not do it alone, the society is still new, but we said for only five years. We want those five years therefore as a confidence-building period. You know it is very critical so that those who are afraid of the new South Africa must see that nothing happened, the next elections don't have the same government. You lose, you lose. We are not afraid of because we have created confidence and indeed we must create confidence so that the pressure of the national reconstruction, those things are critical, those are the most critical five years for the ANC because that's the five years of nation building. What you do in those five years will determine as to whether in the next five years we do away with this concept because we want to govern. [The best way to show people this is how it works is to try at the next election to win, then we're out. The minute we get 10% or 25% we are out, we have won.]

     But people are less afraid because they know after all its OK, we saw Mandela, we saw his people, it's OK, it's non-racial, it's non-sexist, it's OK. But they don't know, they are just poor people, they are frightened. So I don't think people should misconstrue the quality of effective and understandable leadership that knows the dangers there are in sharing power. Certainly with this non-shared power because why call our people to vote when they are going to devolve that power and give it away? People say that in that cabinet of national unity, decisions will be taken on the basis of consensus, and you know there will be less fear and another thing, remember, you can't pick up your tail like a scorpion in that cabinet especially if you've got 5%. I mean the nation will be laughing at you and at that time remember everybody is exposed that this one does not give support. People that are pretending and are wanting to give an impression that they have support, we are part of those people. Lets go to the test of the elections, we are all talking the same about Gatsha Buthelezi. We are talking about a man who has realised that they hold four percent of this country after all but the ANC has included him.

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.