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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

09 Aug 1993: Beyers, Andries

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POM     Since I saw you last at Christmas, there have been some developments in your party. Could you kindly go through what has been the evolution of thinking in your party and what has led to some divisions and desertions?

AB     Well first of all since that time actually our standpoint in favour of negotiations resulted in many other right organisations, including the Conservative Party, also to become involved in the negotiation process which was a direct result of our standpoint in favour of negotiations. Our standpoint was always that we must see what we can achieve through negotiations and cultivate any possibility to get a reasonable form of self-determination through negotiations. I must say that at this point in time we did not make satisfying progress. The major parties are not really doing their best to understand the striving to self-determination of a significant part of Afrikaners in South Africa and that is the reason why first of all the Conservative Party withdrew from the negotiations. We on our part said that we want to stay there because we still think we can achieve more by staying in the process of negotiations than by leaving it. There were also strong feelings and convictions in our party of members claiming that we should also leave the negotiation process because of the fact that we did not make satisfying progress but our Head Committee decided not to do so and still give the process a chance and after that there were defections from our most senior members because of the fact that they claim from the party to withdraw from the negotiations. We have warned throughout, we have told the ANC, we have told the National Party, we have told other interested parties, that by ignoring even the most moderate proposals for self determination like we see it they are actually chasing our supporters into the hands of more radical organisations and people today tend to support those organisations outside the negotiation process, not inside it, because they say whatever you propose they are not going to give you anything. So it makes it very, very difficult for moderate parties like us to keep our supporters with us and the attitude of the ANC and the National Party actually ignoring the self-determination of our people. They directly play in the hands of radical organisations who say there is no sense in following moderate organisations we should rather follow organisations that threaten with revolvers and violence.

POM     Three of your five MPs are now sitting as independent?

AB     We have six and two of them resigned. There is a possibility of a third one but he hasn't made up his mind already, so we are waiting but the other three are standing very firm together. We have the management and the entire party with us in our strategy.

POM     Do you subscribe to the view that the ANC and the government reached some kind of prior deal and they are just using the negotiating council to ram-road that through?

AB     Yes we share that view. Everything happening is more or less a proof of the thinking that there is already a negotiated settlement between the ANC and the National Party government. We are not quite sure about that and that is the reason why we still want to be there to influence the process. We are not sure of that but we are suspecting it.

POM     Do you find anything comforting in the draft constitutional proposals?

AB     Yes, absolutely unacceptable to us.

POM     Unacceptable?

AB     Yes. First of all the deadlock breaking mechanism says that within two years, not after two years but within two years, it can also be within two months, the majority party in the elected constitution body within two months can actually, or within one month, can promote a new text for the new constitution, putting it on the table of the constitution making body and then it says if there is a two thirds majority for that then it will become the new constitution. If not then it will be referred to a committee of skilful people representing all the parties and if that committee cannot reach consensus within one month then the new text of the majority party within the CMB can be tested through a referendum. There they must have 60%. If they get 60% it becomes the new constitution. If not, then a new election must be held and then after that new election the majority party can with a simple majority of one can implement the new constitution along its own will. So you have this situation that within three or four months the ANC, if they get a majority of 51%, they will be in a position to write a new constitution according to the wishes of the ANC themselves, ignoring even the wishes of the National Party and all other major parties in South Africa and that will result in an ANC constitution within three or four months.

POM     So you believe the ANC is in a no lose situation?

AB     A no lose situation. There's no talk of any consensus in this constitution, it's only a constitution that serves the interests of the majority. And then, secondly, as far as regions are concerned it says that after the first month after the new election the new government will elect a commission on regions which will advise themselves on the borders and the powers of the regions. And then it says that after consultation, not in consultation but after consultation with the Interim Regional Councils, the new government will decide on what the powers of the new regions will be and what the borders will be. So you have this situation that the ANC, if they have quite an important representation in the new government, they will be in a position to block this process by not accepting any proposals of that regional commission and have a stalemate situation until a new constitution has been written resulting in the ignoring of the claim of strong regional government by all important parties.

POM     What's happened to the government and the National Party? From what you say it would seem that they have no negotiating strategy, that the ANC has out-foxed them right, left and centre and essentially they have acquiesced and given up.

AB     Yes that's the truth, that's the reason why they are losing so much support, that's the reason why they chased away all their potential supporters like Inkatha, like the Dikonquetla Party, like all the homeland parties actually including the Democratic Party, they just gave in to the claims of the ANC until now. I don't know whether they will go on with that, probably they will try something else. But until now if they support the draft constitution then they have yielded to all and every claim of the ANC.

POM     At CODESA 2 it looked like the government was aligning itself with the IFP, with the homelands' parties, it was like two clear alliances, the government with its allies and the ANC and its allies. Now the government appears to have switched dancing partners, so to speak, and moved over on to the side of the ANC and isolated the IFP and the CP and any other party that has taken part in the negotiations. What strategy is behind that?

AB     Well I think the reason for the behaviour of the government was it's claim, its role as the facilitator of the process. They first of all wanted to make sure that the process go on, that all major parties be involved in the process. But they absolutely over-estimated their role as the facilitator of the process and totally ignored the interests of their own supporters, of their own constituency, resulting in a situation where they know that the first one that should never leave the negotiations is the ANC, and that is true, we also believe that. The ANC actually saw through their weakness and they just laid the claims and got the yeses from the National Party, so they, the ANC, succeeded to hold the National Party at ransom. They know they can do with the National Party whatever they want to do with them. And that is the problem. Now you have a situation that it becomes more and more possible that the ANC in the long run can actually be in a position to ignore the National Party because they are running out of support. They are in the same position as what we are and that is by promoting a spirit of negotiation and by promoting realistic policies you are losing your supporters because of the radicalisation in the white politics in South Africa.

POM     Now as you move through, not just your own constituency, but through the white population in general, how would you find their attitude towards the whole negotiation different than say it was two years ago?

AB     They absolutely lost all confidence in the negotiation process. Not only rightist people but also National Party supporters, people from my constituency, National Party people that voted against me, that organised against me, now are actually phoning me, quite a number of them to attack me because of the fact that I am so moderate and I am so accommodating of the standpoints of other parties like the National Party and the ANC, etc. So I am being attacked from my constituency by National Party supporters saying that I am too weak on the ANC, too soft on the ANC, by National Party supporters, Broederbond members.

POM     What I don't get is that the government now, if an election were held now the government would receive only 25% of the vote it received in 1989, so its base of support seems to be eroding not only quickly but at an accelerated rate.

AB     Yes and that is also the result ...

POM     And that makes them weaker as a negotiating team. They may not be able to deliver their constituency with them any more.

AB     That's the reason why I think the ANC in due course can decide - well it's not important to have, they can only use the National Party because they have the power, but it's not really important to have a settlement with them and they may become aware of the necessity to have a settlement with other parties like Inkatha and the Volksfront, etc.

POM     Where do you see Inkatha in this? Does it play some kind of pivotal role?

AB     Yes, I'm not very sure. I think that Inkatha is playing somewhat not a very consistent role. What is consistent about them is they are playing for a strong federation in the country, but as far as their strategies are concerned they are quite inconsistent. One day they want to negotiate and the next day they want to withdraw. I think there are also differences within their party as far as their tactics are concerned. It seems to me at this point in time Inkatha believes that it is going to get quite a lot of white support and it is also true and they are at this point in time fighting an election against the National Party. White people are regarding Buthelezi to a larger extent, more and more white people are regarding Buthelezi as the only strong man that can stand against Mandela and the ANC. They no more see de Klerk as a strong man who can oppose Mandela but they regard Buthelezi as that man. So Inkatha I think is aware of that and therefore they are concentrating on white politics now and getting support of quite a number of whites in South Africa and they are fighting an election and the National Party on the other side has the responsibility to facilitate the process and they until now did not lay any claim on election strategies, etc. I think the National Party can win back quite a number of supporters again if they now start to represent the views and fight for the views of their own supporters. But without that they are going to be marginalised as a political factor.

POM     At one point they had two key demands, one was that there would be entrenched power sharing in the constitution, which they have given up talking about altogether.

AB     There is no entrenched power sharing. There's nothing.

POM     That's what I mean, they have given up on that and they also talked about having both supporters of the regions, the powers of the regions defined before a Constituent Assembly was elected and they have given up on that.

AB     They have given up on every single thing. Until now, well they say they are still not satisfied with the draft constitution but then they do not spell out what their problems are. They are so vague, they say they also want stronger regional government but it is just a matter of degree. But the point is that they do not any more support that those powers should be entrenched in the new constitution. They have given up on that.

POM     If that remains the way, will you pull out of the talks at some point?

AB     We say we don't know how long the talks are going on. I think probably until early in September. I think we might be there to try to the end to achieve something and then we can withdraw from the talks.

POM     Do you expect that an election will be held on the 27th April next year?

AB     There are so many problems and the violence is so important a factor that I'm starting to believe that it will not be possible to hold an election on that date and that it will have to be postponed. I think it is even possible that it can be postponed with the co-operation of the ANC as well, because you cannot hold an election in these circumstances where fifty people a day are dying. It is not possible.

POM     So what happens on the right? The CP is out?

AB     Yes the CP is out and the Volksfront is in. The CP is out of the negotiations and out of its support as well. Constant Viljoen took over the CP actually which may result in a more moderate approach, etc. I don't know. If he gets his way I think he will try.

POM     Is your party part of that too?

AB     Yes we are a sort of sleeping partner of the Volksfront because we did not subscribe to its founding document because of the fact that it's founding document says that in their future volkstaat only Afrikaners will have the vote, excluding even white English speakers, excluding all blacks, Indians and Coloureds. Nobody else will have the vote in their future state and we could not support that. So why we stay on the Volksfront is because of the fact that we want to remain in contact with them. We did not subscribe to its founding document. But there is a tendency to ease the Volksfront to a more moderate approach and I don't know whether Viljoen is going to succeed with that.

POM     Is Viljoen the kind of figure around which various elements of the right could unite?

AB     Yes, most definitely so, yes. The problem of that is the only way to unite them is without a plan. As soon as you have a plan then you divide them again. That is a very big problem. Then the problem with such a big organisation is that it normally results and grows into only a resistance movement because if you cannot go out and say, "Well this is my plan", then how are you going to succeed with a plan?

POM     So if elections were held let's say next April, would your party participate?

AB     Yes. Well, we will prefer to participate as part of a broader Christian democratic alliance. There is quite a strong feeling among various smaller parties that this should happen. Even Viljoen said over the weekend that a more or less Christian front must be formed as far as elections are concerned. But then you have this inconsistency and that is that the Front and the Conservative Party said that they are going to oppose the election itself, they are going to try. Hartzenberg said this weekend that they are going to try that the elections will not take place and to disrupt the elections, etc. So it is clear from the Conservative Party's point of view that they do not want to take part in the elections. On the other hand Viljoen who actually is getting their support talked about an alliance, a Christian alliance in the elections. So it is very uncertain what they are going to do in the elections. As far as we are concerned we believe that we should take part but we are small and we should prefer to be part of a broader alliance.

POM     Given what you've said, the likelihood of a constitution really reflecting ANC thinking would be very high. What then? At some point there will be a constitution adopted through one mechanism or another, do you then say we have to live with it because that's the way it has turned out?

AB     I don't think I will ever live with it but I'm not a radical, I'm not a person promoting violence and I think we should in those circumstances also take part in the constitution to get the most preferable representation for our people. That doesn't mean that there will not be other people that will try to disrupt it and will try to make the country ungovernable. I think that will happen.

POM     Do you think that it is a threat that should be taken very seriously?

AB     Yes I think so. You see if people have nothing to lose any more then they are fighting for it and I think we are growing nearer to that point where people believe that they are going to lose everything and then enough of them will be prepared to ignore their own immediate interests and become freedom fighters or terrorists or something like that, especially when moderate leaders, like Viljoen, etc. are giving them the OK.

POM     Would you see the fact that Viljoen was Commander in Chief of the army, that he could draw elements in the security forces who would then strike support?

AB     Yes definitely so. Viljoen is no political leader, he's a very weak political leader, he's not impressive at all and I don't think he has a developed plan and strategy, etc. But he is a very fine and trusted military man and people tend to build their hopes on the General because of his ability to organise revolt, his ability to organise people to use their physical power to achieve something. I don't think that that power must be under-estimated. It is far more impressive than what I ever thought it would be.

POM     So as you look to the next year, how do you see events unfolding from this point through next April?

AB     That is very difficult. Let me put it to you this way, and that is that I think it is still possible for a compromise and the only possible compromise is what we stand for because what the right wants is not acceptable to the black people and what the black people, the ANC, want is not acceptable to these people. So a compromise should be reached between these two powers and that is more or less what we are standing for. I think it is still possible that a solution can be found but if it is not found then you have this problem that in white circles you have quite a lot of skilful people who can turn this country, to a large extent, upside down and if there is no power sharing and if there is no security and no protection of a new constitution then people will regard it as only a take-over by the revolutionaries and they will do their best to fight against that and then everything can happen. I think on the positive note, tone, that the ANC, especially Mr Mandela and some of his moderate advisers, is becoming aware of this danger and they are trying to address it and that is what actually we are asking for and striving for, for a year already. But now that it becomes evident that there will be problems it seems to me they are far more willing to listen to reasonable claims as far as self-determination is concerned.

POM     Who would you identify in the ANC as the moderates and who as the radicals?

AB     Well I don't know them very well but according to our negotiations with them and talks, I regard Mr Mandela as quite moderate, although he himself says he's a radical, and Thabo Mbeki and Cyril Ramaphosa to a lesser extent, Jacob Zuma, etc. The more militant ones are Joe Slovo, Joe Modise, Pallo Jordan, etc.

POM     Do you think that there is an internal battle going on within the ANC?

AB     I think there was one but the National Party did not utilise that. I think there was a looming fight against, or a rift in the ANC because at a certain stage the moderates were quite eager to get a settlement and they say the radicals were standing in the way of a settlement. But with the yielding of the National Party to all the claims of the ANC I think the possible rift between members of the ANC has disappeared because it is not necessary any more. They are going to get their way anyway.

POM     To get back to Buthelezi for a while, if the constitution that was put on the table was unacceptable to you, it is equally unacceptable to him. Do you think he will come back into the process or that he is going to take a hard line and insist that unless his demands are satisfied he will go his path?

AB     I think he is going to come back because of the fact that the ANC and the National Party will have to yield to some of the pressure as far as the regional government is concerned, etc. and I think he is in a position to get his will and that will bring him back so I am quite confident that he will come back.

POM     What does he want and what would he settle for?

AB     He wants strong federal principles, a federal constitution and everything to be cleared up before.

POM     So that the boundaries of the states and the powers of the states would be settled before people went into elections?

AB     Yes, at least his own state, at least his own region. I don't think he's very concerned about the rest but as far as KwaZulu/Natal is concerned it is clear that he wants autonomy there and a very large degree of self-determination for that region and he will settle for that. And it may happen that the ANC will also be satisfied with that because there is a possibility that the ANC go into that region and win it as well.

POM     There's still a war going on in that region. Would the leadership, the Harry Gwala's of the world, accept the ANC making a deal with Buthelezi that gave Buthelezi a special position and special privilege? They have turned on the national leadership before.

AB     If they have confidence that they are the majority in Natal, the ANC, then I think they will settle for that arrangement because then afterwards it can be rearranged and be brought back in a more - they can take away some of their regional powers afterwards if they have a majority in the region. If they do not have confidence to have a majority I think they will try to prohibit any such arrangement.

POM     Do you see the election for a new constitution, the adoption of a new constitution, an interim government of what's called national unity? Do you think the violence in the country will continue to exist after that or that once an election is held that at least the kind of violence that is taking place now in the townships will diminish?

AB     Well it depends on the constitution. If there is hope and accommodation of the reasonable aspirations of all the major groupings in this country I think things will calm down. But if the Zulus and the Afrikaners are not accommodated to a certain degree, if they feel they must be the enemies of the new dispensation and this new dispensation, there will never be a real peace and there will be problems. I think in the light of that the leaders of South Africa should come together and talk again about this process and the problems. I think it is possible for us all to find each other and I cannot see why people are ignoring even the reasonable claims of others. And until they all agree on that we have problems. At this point in time it seems to us that the ANC and the National Party believe that they can go it alone without the rest and I think that is going to create very serious problems.

POM     If there were an election and you participated in the election under the present understanding any party that receives more than 5% the vote in that election would be deserving of a seat in the Cabinet, if your party received more than 5%, one, do you think your party would receive more than 5% and, two, if it did would you take a seat in the Cabinet?

AB     As I see it my philosophy is that you should be there where you can promote the interests of your people, by the lack of any other power. I say that it is in the interests of my people, the people that I represent, to be part of the mainstream politics and to have your voice at all levels of government. Therefore, I say that, yes, I think we must be available. I see the future in this way, that this storm of democratisation, this wave must go over South Africa. There is no way we are going to prevent that and then after the wave is over we should reconstruct again, look at the interests of our people and also look at ways in which the self-determination of our people in a specific area, if they want to, can be developed, etc.

POM     If that's what you want, if everything is a trade off in negotiations, what do you think you might settle for? What would be an acceptable outcome even though not the best outcome for you?

AB     What would be acceptable for us is strong regional government and the demarcation of a region with strong powers where we in future will have the possibility to live there in a state where there will be more or less western civilised standards, etc. and one of those possibilities is part of the Cape Province where people with a western civilised character are predominant and I think in such an area there will be a future for my children. But I don't think I will ever be happy and my people will be happy under a government whose policies will be determined by the wishes of the toyi-toying masses in the streets. I don't think there will be any happiness or stability and order in such an area.

POM     Do you not think that the ANC, people like Ramaphosa, are aware of the need to rein in the masses?

AB     Yes I think so. It all depends on whether they are going to succeed. We only look into the good face of the ANC. They still, at this point in time, need the parliamentarians, the white parliamentarians to give them the power. They need the National Party. That may be the reason for their moderate approach. But after we have lost all power and the ANC have to render the goodies to its militant supporters then it is also possible that we can see another ANC with another face because then they will not need the National Party and the whites any longer.

POM     Do you think the National Party needs the ANC in the same way that the ANC needs the National Party?

AB     Yes, well I think so. The National Party has gone already so far that I think it is in their interests the sooner the election takes place the better for them because they are losing support on a major scale and actually I think they are going out of support so it seems to be that there's quite an important faction within the National Party that will opt for an alliance, an election alliance as well with the ANC. I don't think there's another one that can save the National Party than the ANC.

POM     Which is a big change from a year ago.

AB     Yes absolute change. And I think that will also split the National Party up.

POM     You expect defections, a split in the National Party?

AB     Yes I think it is possible that there can be a break because you have the Roelf Meyer section that will be available for an alliance with the ANC. Then you have the other section that will never be available for such an alliance.

POM     That would be people like Hernus Kriel?

AB     Tertius Delport, etc.

POM     What impact did the death or assassination of Chris Hani have on the political situation, or did it have any at all?

AB     Yes it has. It seems to me that it was a very important factor and it contributed to the radicalisation in South Africa between the left and the right. Although I didn't think it was true before I think it helped the right to a very large extent.

POM     Helped the right? In what way?

AB     To show muscle. People more and more believe that violence is the answer and moderate approaches like negotiations, etc., etc., are only time consuming and it brings you nowhere. Many white people are referring to that deed as a proactive sort of action which is necessary to show the ANC that they are not going to get their way. But I think it helped the right, the far right, the AWB and the Conservative Party, to persuade people that you can actually only effectively bargain through those efforts because they say that after that and after the siege of the World Trade Centre people were more available to listen to Afrikaners.

POM     So you think their actions at the World Trade Centre actually helped the right?

AB     It seems to me so. I thought it would not but it seems to me it was true. It helped the right, everything that is radical helped the right. The radicalisation as such of the far right, I'm talking about the far right not the moderates. But, yes, I think in that sense it helped them very much.

POM     Where would you place the APLA killings in this regard? Have they had a profound effect on white opinion?

AB     Oh yes, absolutely. Well the vision is and the attitude of the people is that because of the fact that the ANC hold the National Party ransom there is no power to the police and the security forces and they provide actually the ANC supporters with the means to have the guns, to have the AK47s, they made it possible for them and now they are trying to kill our people with the very guns that the National Party allowed them to keep. Yet there is no proof whatsoever today in South Africa that the process of negotiation brought us to an acceptable settlement, that is the problem. That is the reason why people absolutely lost any confidence that through negotiations we can actually have stability, order and stability in this country. They believe to the contrary.

POM     That's the white population?

AB     The white population.

POM     I want to go back to what's been going on in the townships on the East Rand in the last couple of weeks. It would seem to me from some of the people we've talked to in the ANC that they will admit that they are not in full control of these cadres, of youth who just go rampaging on their own and to whom a negotiated settlement means nothing anyway. They don't know what's going on at the Trade Centre or the issues at stake. At the same time talking to government ministers you get the feeling that they are not quite in control of the police, that the police in any given situation can act as they will and not be brought to account or whatever and that there's a similar situation prevailing within Inkatha about the warlords. Buthelezi can say what he wants and Mandela may say what he wants and de Klerk can say what he wants and they tour and go round and make all kinds of joint pleas, but that that violence has a dynamic of its own which will be very difficult to extinguish. That's true?

AB     I think that is true that Inkatha doesn't have control of their supporters and the ANC not at all. I think the situation is not so serious as far as the police is concerned. There are some police who will not obey orders but I think more or less the police is the only force under discipline and it can't be said that they are not under discipline. They are under strong discipline and I think they behave themselves very well. There are also some, to a small extent, some of the police who are not accountable but I think that is not very much important. As far as joint control is concerned I think it is a way to negotiate on certain areas in South Africa where a security force under joint control can operate on the condition that if they do not succeed and if it is not in the interests of peace and order and stability in the country, the police can go back there. But I think there is room for joint control over a specific force, a Peace Force, but in certain agreed upon areas. Generally speaking I think we are running into a state of relative anarchy in this country. I'm very concerned about that.

POM     So when Chief Buthelezi says that there is a fifty/fifty chance of civil war would you go along with that?

AB     Yes, it all depends. I don't think there is any possibility of a real war but I think there is quite a possibility of a war as far as sabotage and terrorism is concerned.

POM     So would the first government that takes over, first so-called democratic elections held in the country result in a situation where the first thing that government would have to do would be to clamp down, declare a state of emergency in order to provide for stability, that stability would become more important than democracy?

AB     They will have to do that, it will be needed. I don't think it will succeed but they will have to do that, there is no doubt about that. I think the only solution is first to get the leaders to agree and to have a new plan. They all forced everything and they rushed everything through at the World Trade Centre. It cannot be in the interests of South Africa and it cannot promote real peace and order and stability. The communities are so far from each other that a new plan, a wise plan should be drawn up.

POM     Have you found people who in other times would have belonged or who were in fact members of the Democratic Party having shifted in their views from where they were three years ago?

AB     It seems to me at this point in time that the members of the Democratic Party are slightly more right than the negotiating members of the National Party. I saw that their reaction on the draft constitution was actually a fierce opposition to the fact that there are no entrenched federal principles in it. No entrenched federal principles in the draft constitution. I think there is quite a move, yes, or perhaps they stood where they always stood and the National Party, negotiating team at least, passed them by on their way to the ANC.

POM     But from what you say it seems to me that if a new government emerges out of this process that it will still leave the country very deeply divided.

AB     With this draft constitution which implies that ignorance of even reasonable aspirations of quite a number of cultural groups and peoples, I think it will make it impossible for the new government to run the country smoothly. I don't think it is possible.

POM     In which case there is no foreign investment and without foreign investments the economy can't recover to any great degree so everybody gets worse off.

AB     Yes. It's absolutely needed that one should get a settlement between all. You have this problem in this country that all the international help is going to the ANC, all the financial help, millions of rands, while other smaller parties who also have solutions they are not being given that and they are not heard. So you are getting an imbalanced result at the end that only results in the ANC getting its will and that will not solve the problems of this country.

POM     So, finally, if you had to summarise and analyse events since CODESA 2 collapsed last June, what major turning points would you look at which are key to the way the process is now developing?

AB     It seems to us that in December with the Record of Understanding, there you had a major turning point where the National Party unilaterally agreed with the ANC on certain principles after which they have already left their principles as well, but at that point in time they (the National Party) lost their influence over their natural partners like the IFP and all other smaller parties. Until then the National Party was a very strong factor against the ANC but with the Record of Understanding they chased those people away and I think after that the negotiations went in drastically new directions in favour of the ANC.

POM     Any other turning points?

AB     Now I think we are going through a phase where there may be another turning point. It seems to us that the National Party are more willing, I don't know whether it's even with the consent of the ANC, but they are more willing to listen to the right. When I talk about the right it includes Inkatha and us, etc.

POM     COSAG.

AB     Yes I think we can see in weeks to come some movement to satisfy the claims of important groups like the IFP and the Volksfront for instance.

POM     And the impetus for that you think will come from the government?

AB     Yes I think they realise they have problems, and the ANC also realise it. I think they realise it.

POM     So in conclusion looking at the next year, are you optimistic, pessimistic?

AB     At this point in time I'm quite pessimistic but I also have expectations that realism will triumph over anything else and we will reach a solution because it is so needed, it is in the interests of all the people. I think it is quite possible and the leaders themselves are actually very moderate, all the leaders, so I can't see why can they not come together and stand together and create a solution which will accommodate the reasonable aspirations of all people. Nobody is asking for unreasonable aspirations, for racism and apartheid, etc. I mean the CP is asking for that but their supporters I believe will not support that any more. But at least you will have to have the accommodation of reasonable aspirations which actually boils down to a strong federal constitution with strong powers to the regions and empowerment of people in such a way and procedures to protect the first constitution.

POM     OK, thank you ever so much.

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.