This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
16 Aug 1993: Felgate, Walter
POM. Walter, after bilaterals with the government and the ANC and the release of the second draft of the constitutional proposals the IFP responded, "As a condition of our returning to the negotiating process it must be ensured that the decisions to which we objected, which were taken without our participation, are set aside." What specific decisions were taken without your being consulted and which must be set aside?
WF. Firstly the setting of an election date prior to the finalisation of constitutional agreements, we strongly opposed that. We still oppose it because once you've set an election date you put on the negotiating process pressures of time which distort and force things and there's no time to seek the general basis that one should be seeking. That decision is one of them. The second decision was the wording of the resolution adopted by the negotiating council to instruct the technical committee on constitutional matters to draft the constitution. That instruction contained in it the determinants of a two phase system and the whole approach of the technical committee had been determined by that. It's reports, right up to the seventh report it produced, were all reports dominated by the need for a two phase transitionary process. We had fought that right along the line and in the seventh report, which purported to be finding a bridge between the interests of those who wanted a single phase process and those who wanted a double phase process, we rejected their report on a bridging proposal. We went as far as drafting ourselves the kind of report that we believe they should have handed in. So by the time it came to settling the election date and by the time it came to instructing a technical committee to now get on with drafting the constitution, the IFP had had some months of experience that the demand that we were making for the sake of South Africa for a federalism based on universal federal principles had been rejected. We believe that the rejection of the federal option and the seeking of options in some kind of a regionalism which will still leave a central government in a unitary state with the power to withdraw the powers of regions allocated to it in initial negotiations would actually lead to civil war.
POM. So you want a situation in which the powers of (i) the region are spelled out and (ii) that the powers of regions would have to be entrenched in the constitution and not amenable to change?
WF. Yes, in the first constitution. The next constitution must be a constitution which is the supreme law of the land. It must be a constitution in which there are mechanisms, procedures and special majorities to make constitutional changes, that it must be a finalised constitution and it must have a number of safeguards in it which the principles agreed to do not have in them.
POM. Do you also take objection to the manner proposed to take care of deadlocks?
WF. Deadlock breaking mechanism runs to certain procedures which you could, if you wanted to, force through all their paces in a matter of four months and force another general election four months after the first general election in which the majority party even with 51% would be completely free to write its own constitution having no regard whatsoever to the months of negotiation. The deadlock breaking mechanism is anathema to us. We don't know of one constitution in the world which contains deadlock breaking mechanisms. Constitutions normally have special majorities to change fixed clauses, entrenched clauses, but if you don't need those special majorities the amendment falls away. We will not enter into any negotiations finalising proposals for anything else than the normal type of constitutional change.
POM. You said, "We are more than ever confirmed in our original opinion that the negotiating process is veering from incurably wrong constitutional premises and is rushing the country to a constitutional and political disaster." What premises do you think are being used by primarily the government and the ANC in setting up the framework of these talks?
WF. I think historically it works out like this, initially the ANC was demanding a Transition to Democracy Act by the South African parliament and handing over power to a Constituent Assembly which then becomes a constitution making body. That was the proposal the ANC came with to the negotiations before these negotiations were set up. They were contained in the Harare Declaration and then pursued in bilateral discussions with government. The government objected to that procedure and at that time the government together with ourselves vowed that there would never be a Constituent Assembly. The government in the end decided that there is no way forward other than through compromises and one of the compromises was to establish a two phase process in which there will be some of what the ANC was demanding, some of what the government was demanding with the safeguard of constitution breaking mechanisms.
. So the proposals for constitution making mechanisms and the two phase process actually had its roots in a speech that de Klerk made to CODESA 1 Plenary Session. He there announced a compromise proposal and that contained the two phase approach and he did it to keep the ANC in negotiations because the ANC were threatening either that or the alternative was mass action, street action. So the proposal for a two phase process actually came from the government. The proposal for the deadlock breaking mechanism was actually lifted out of the government's constitutional proposals. The government proposed a constitution for South Africa and in that constitution they spelt out the deadlock breaking mechanism. The deadlock breaking mechanism is actually offered by government to ANC to get them to accept their version of the two phase process. We see the government as having reneged on its undertakings to ourselves prior to CODESA 1, during CODESA 1, during CODESA 2 and we reject entirely the notion of making that compromise because that compromise precludes the possibility of there being any real federalism established in the country.
POM. Now Roelf Meyer last Thursday in Durban offered some proposals. He said, "It seems to us that one of the most important things Inkatha leaders want is to ensure self-determination as a Zulu people. We believe that is attainable." First of all was Mr Meyer correct in his assumption that the most important thing to Inkatha is self determination for the Zulu people?
WF. That is not true. It is a misreading of the proceedings of bilateral discussions between IFP and the South African government. We have just gone through a central committee where we, as a central committee, responded to Roelf Meyer's assertions and responded to assertions directed at the central committee. The assumption he makes is that the demand for self determination for the region KwaZulu/Natal can be satisfied by giving ethnic self determination to the ethnic group of Zulus. Now if you look at Zulu history and you look at the whole approach of the Zulu King, it was on the basis that the inclusivity of the Zulu kingdom was paramount. The Zulu kingdom was built up over generations by conquest and inclusion or incorporation. There was never any subjugation. There was no respecter of colour. When the settlers arrived in Durban King Shaka gave them huge tracts of land on which to settle. It never crossed his mind that they'd claim that land independently as 'their' land as opposed to part of KwaZulu land. So for us KwaZulu is in fact the whole of KwaZulu and Natal and more. So when we talk about the Zulu demand for self determination they are demanding self determination for the Zulu kingdom, not for the Zulus in the Bantustans of KwaZulu in its fragmented ten little bits and pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle. If you look at the Zulu approach to self determination, look at the recommendations of the Buthelezi Commission which very clearly spelt out a non-ethnic, multi-party alternative to regional government, look at the constitutional recommendations of the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba both of which recommendations the KwaZulu Cabinet endorsed, the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly endorsed and the IFP endorsed. We have exercised our self determination as the Zulus in demanding that we be incorporated in a united South Africa as a federal unit in a federal constitution. That is what we are expressing in our self determination. We are not expressing any ethnic future. We are not looking for any ethnic answers.
. So when the Zulu people adopted a constitution for KwaZulu/Natal it wasn't a Zulu constitution for Zulu speaking people or Zulu culture people, it was a constitution for the whole of KwaZulu/Natal, for everybody in it, black, Indian, Coloured and white. Now Roelf Meyer has misunderstood that. The drive of history which is saying that that region must be kept intact and must form an integral part and retain its identity in the new South Africa with its own regional government, where responsibility is immediately from regional government to the people, that demand is read as a demand for Zulu ethnic self interest.
POM. So you would be looking for KwaZulu, Natal plus other areas adjacent to KwaZulu/Natal which were originally part of the Zulu kingdom?
POM. You want an end to the fragmentation of the KwaZulu area?
WF. No, no, no. The IFP is quite clear on this matter. We recognise that throughout Africa colonialism and the Balkanisation of African regions/states had to be part of the reality you've got to accept. The original Zulu domains stretch far into the Transvaal and far further south than the river which is the present border. Those boundaries have already been fixed by treaties. They have been fixed, the McMahon arbitration in 1875 fixed the Mozambique / Zululand boundary. The boundary was fixed between colonial governments and Natal and the Cape. Lesotho's boundaries were fixed in history. So we are saying, you can't unwrite those historical boundaries but the areas that those boundaries hem in is KwaZulu. We are claiming that to rationalise those boundaries, where possible with the concurrence of the people, is wise and we are therefore claiming, for instance, that the KwaZulu region in the new South Africa should actually comprehend all the areas contemplated in the regional planning as the ninth region which includes East Griqualand, the Umzumkulu area. We are saying we accept international boundaries with which we were landed and if there is rationalisation there will be rationalisation based on economic factors but with which the people in the regions concur. We are looking at self determination in deciding boundaries. We reject any notion of there being a separate KwaZulu and a separate Natal.
POM. Would that be self determination decided by referendum in border areas? Or how would you draw them?
WF. We are proposing that there's firstly a process of multi-party negotiations, then there's a process of democratising proposals arising out of the multi-party process to meetings with cultural organisations, business organisations, professional organisations and ultimately the holding of a referendum to endorse the finalised product. And then we have got a region and we have got a constitution and then, and then only, should we hold an election.
POM. Just to run through his proposals. One element was that they would allow for the regions to determine their own futures, with which you were in basic agreement.
WF. We agree with that but we deny flatly that that is what he is offering us.
POM. Two, the constitution should make provisions for specific powers that could be exclusively exercised by regions.
WF. We say again, we agree with that but it's far too narrow.
POM. The national constitution should provide for regional constitutions?
POM. No because?
WF. National constitutions cannot provide regional constitutions. They must recognise regional constitutions. So the regional constitutions come first, they are finalised. They don't have to be ratified. They are finalised and they are incorporated and recognised by the national constitution which is a different thing altogether because then you can determine their residual power lines.
POM. Do you think forced provision to be made for the development of a regional KwaZulu/Natal constitution?
WF. Yes we agree with that but he wants that to be a process which begins now and is only finalised and rationalised after an election and he wants an election under the present proposed constitution in which there will be a regional election in KwaZulu/Natal, that legislature will then act to rationalise a new constitution. So again he's looking at an elected constitution making body but on the regional level and we're saying definitely no. The next election must be an election in which the region of KwaZulu/Natal is already defined, it's constitution is already settled, it's already democratically accepted by the people and they will then go to vote for that government under that constitution either before or at the same time but preferably before.
POM. How would it be democratically accepted by the people?
WF. By referendum.
POM. By referendum. So you would draw up your constitution, you put it to the people, they accept the constitution and then you have an election?
WF. Yes. We've already got a process which goes way back to the late seventies when negotiations resulted finally in a division of executive power between the Natal Provincial Administration and the KwaZulu Cabinet. The Joint Executive Authority is a first step in amalgamating the executive authorities of regional government in the area and that same negotiation process is now demanding a second phase that we establish a joint legislative authority. We are saying that there is a history of people in the area coming together across race groups and they have already produced substantial advancements in the right direction. Let that proceed, let us adopt a constitution and then let us test that constitution across all colours, across all parties in KwaZulu/Natal. That referendum endorses the constitution and then let us hold an election under that constitution and that constitution commits itself to be a region, that region would be a region in a federal South Africa.
POM. On a scale of one to ten how satisfied were the IFP with either the first draft of the constitutional proposals and the second draft?
WF. We rejected it in its entirety. We're not prepared even - you know there's a third draft? We reject it in its entirety. We're not even prepared to negotiate improvements to it.
POM. Are you satisfied now with how the issue of sufficient consensus is being handled?
WF. There has been no change in sufficient consensus procedures other than making it now mandatory for the Chairmen to go through the same procedures, through the procedures which were there always. So there have been no changes in the substances of the process of reaching sufficient consensus.
POM. So as far as you're concerned sufficient consensus doesn't include clauses as any decision reached must have the approval of not just the ANC and the government but also of the IFP?
WF. We're saying that but we're saying a lot more. We're saying that no decision reached in the negotiation council can have any validity if in its implementation you're going to need people who object to it. We cannot sow the seeds of conflict in the implementation stage and that's where your civil war is going to begin. You can have agreement at negotiating council. You take for instance your forum on local authorities which has run its course, it's been made up of government and the South African Civic Organisation, SANCA. They have produced something and have agreed to something, they have even agreed to a bill. Now we find that 89 Transvaal Afrikaner dominated Town Councils say they will not co-operate. Now how can you - must you go and shoot them? Must you go and arrest them? So they weren't party to the agreement and they were necessary for implementation of the agreement. So we say sufficient consensus must bear in mind that agreements reached will have to be implemented. Every party is an essential party in implementing the agreement and must be a party to the agreement itself otherwise you would not have sufficient consensus. The notion of sufficient consensus is there if the process can go on despite dissent.
POM. Which is quite difficult.
WF. Yes. And we're saying that that notion must be extended, that sufficient consensus is only there if the parties who are going to implement it are the parties who agree to it. So we are saying that. Secondly, we are saying that the notion of sufficient consensus actually now has been destroyed. It's been destroyed by its abuse by successive chairpersons in the negotiating council who have ruled in favour of the ANC/government clique as a result of bilateral pressures. So we say sufficient consensus on its own is now not salvageable and we're actually challenging the notion in the Supreme Court. Now I was the chairperson of the original CODESA meetings, work groups, that produced that sufficient consensus proposal so I know it's history. I was there, helped fashion it. [It was subject to a ... to make negotiations with.] The minute you use sufficient consensus as a mechanism to enforce a small majority proposal then you've destroyed the rationale for it and the trust necessary for it. So we are saying in the Supreme Court action that the notion is so nebulous that it now cannot actually be defined and we now need to look at it and set it aside as a decision making process. We made a very clear proposal to government for an alternative. They rejected it. The government made a proposal to us which we had to reject so there's a stalemate on the approach.
POM. Would your concept of sufficient consensus then extend back to decisions that had been reached at CODESA 2 and all of those decisions must be re-examined in the light of ...?
WF. No, no. I was a member of the Planning Committee in CODESA 2 when the ANC walked out. The ANC walked out because we couldn't compose the Planning Committee's executive. The Planning Committee's executive in the form of a Daily Management Committee had been composed in a certain manner. There was around the table objection to the ANC and the government's proposal for the constitution of the Daily Management Committee which was the executive of the whole CODESA procedure. When the ANC could not get its way through sufficient consensus at the Planning Committee it then walked out. That was its immediate reason for walking out. It gives all sorts of other reasons now. It says there was too much violence, Boipatong and all of it, but they actually walked out on the technical inability to make sufficient consensus work in their favour at the Planning Committee. So we accept that sufficient consensus has a chequered history. it is a difficult concept to apply anyway. They objected strongly in one place and the whole negotiation process came to a halt because of it.
POM. You wouldn't be looking for a review of decisions, do you regard decisions taken at CODESA 2 as being binding on you?
WF. We never said that.
POM. OK, so then you would want a review of all those decisions?
WF. No. We're just saying the negotiation process produces compromises for specific ends and specific circumstances. If you change the circumstances the compromises to achieve them automatically fall away then you can't carry those and expect compromises to be built on the basis of compromises that failed. So we are saying that while there is a great deal of wisdom which has come out of the CODESA proceedings we can't regard any of the decisions made at CODESA as binding on anybody. And indeed the government and the ANC are also flouting the decisions made in CODESA.
POM. If you stay out, what options do you have, what options do the other parties to the proceedings have?
WF. We've got no intention of staying out. The negotiation process is the only process we have got, it's the only way forward. There is no alternative to a negotiated settlement. All we are saying is that there is a fundamental malady in the process. It's very essence is fatally flawed. We are saying, "Stop gentlemen, let's fix that up first and then we can go on". So we are having bilaterals with the government and the ANC on a continuous basis attempting to address the problems in the negotiating process. We are not removing ourselves from the process. We are remaining in negotiations even now. We have exercised a democratic right to withdraw our possible assent for anything that the Planning Committee now intends doing until we have sorted this out.
POM. But if these bilaterals don't result in proposals that will meet most of your objections, must all your objections be met or, again, will you compromise points along the way?
WF. There's a lot of room for compromise provided that we are not forced into only making the compromises that can be made within a two phase system. We are adamant that there shall not be a two phase system and we are not prepared to make any compromises of any kind to bring a two phase system into existence and to make it work.
POM. If the government and the ANC say, "Well that's too bad, we're going to go ahead with the election on the 27th April"?
WF. We invite them to go ahead and we've said to them, "Feel quite free to continue without us. You are quite free to make your own decisions. You are quite free to go ahead without us but we will mobilise on the ground massive rejection of what you're doing."
POM. You talked about unleashing the wrath of two million.
WF. No, that was an utter misquote. It was totally mischievous. I never ever said anything of the kind and I've rejected it across the air, across television. I've rejected it in writing and it still persists. I've never ever once said anything of that kind.
POM. So if they go ahead with the election, would you contest the elections?
WF. We are not prepared to contest the election for a two phase system, for an interim government in a two phase approach.
POM. So then they have their election?
WF. They can't have an election. How can they have an election? It's not only the IFP. Something like 50% of the electorate are going to say no. That course of events is going to lead to such conflict in the country there's no prospect of having elections for a two phase process. We just won't take it. No South Africans will take it. There are two ways of testing whether or not - one is to go to the polls and see what results there are and the other one is to see whether you can have a poll. We're not talking about revolution. We're not talking about armed insurrection. We're not talking about violence. We're just saying it won't happen, it can't happen. There's just too much against it. And as the months now begin ticking away you find each month will produce avid evidence and build up to make it impossible.
POM. What would you point to at this stage that makes it impossible?
WF. Firstly, under the circumstances that it is producing, the kind of violence that you have got in the East Rand will not be curbed. You will not be able to curb that. The proposals for a two phase process go hand in hand with the Transitional Executive Council and all its sub-Councils. They are going to be rendered totally worthless and unworkable. We've already got, for instance, as I mentioned earlier, the forum of local government which produced a bill ready to go through the paces in a special session, it won't work. It can't work. So you can have these wonderful solutions in the negotiating council and forums and everything else but they won't work because the people won't allow it. They go hand in hand with a joint peace keeping force. There will never be acceptance of a joint peace keeping force in which MK actually dominates and there is handing over executive power as far as the control of armed forces and security forces are concerned. South Africa will not tolerate it. Yet that's part and parcel of the two phase process. Let's put it this way, government will not be able to govern during the negotiation process because government will fall. There's no way in which the government can actually force those things through so the government is going to attempt the impossible and it just won't happen and there will be people's resistance and there will be institutional resistance to it. Ultimately South Africa will say no.
POM. Some people argue that, I've heard this quite frequently, always of course from people who don't agree with the IFP, that all that de Klerk has to do is to pull the financial chain on the KwaZulu government and he can haul Buthelezi and the IFP into line.
WF. We invite him to do so. We really do invite him to do so because, so what? The Civil Service doesn't get paid, they don't work. That's what it's going to be. You're acting against the people, you're not going to act against the KwaZulu government or against the IFP. It's the people you're going to act against and those people are the people opposing de Klerk. So you are saying that de Klerk can get his way by putting some financial pressure on the people. Let him try and see. Nothing would make - no, that's a dangerous statement to make on record, but let me make it. Nothing will be better for the solidarity of political support for the IFP than de Klerk trying to cut off the water and the electricity of KwaZulu.
POM. That's like the US bombing raids over Iraq. All they do is unite the people, they don't do anything to undermine Hussein. Increasing there appear to be two overlapping elements in the strategy. The one is that the IFP is a national party and you want to play alongside that, that you will organise in all parts of the country. And then alongside that you have the IFP as a regional party where the whole concept of the Zulu nation is at the core of its strategy. How do these two converge?
WF. They don't have to converge because they are misrepresentations of one central reality. We are a party with a strong regional support base and that regional support base is important in our national work. The ANC is a party that's got a very strong regional support base in the Transkei and it is important for the party at the national level. Regional bases do not preclude national importance, in fact they enhance national importance. The IFP is very well aware that if it attempted to draw a laager around KwaZulu/Natal and retreat in that region and try and become a big cog in a small pool there against a hostile government and against internal opposition it wouldn't be four or five years and it would disintegrate and it would turn into nothing. The future of the IFP depends upon its showing at the national level and the strength of the IFP is dependent on its ability to prove to the region that it can hold its own at the national to benefit the region. If it sinks back into the region and leaves the national field open for opposition to that region there will be no future for the region or its people.
POM. What percentage of the poll do you think the IFP would have to generate in order to be taken as a serious national party?
WF. I think the current estimates are that we are running at something like 9% - 10% and has come up in terms of those polls, that type of measuring, it's come up from 4% - 5% to 9% - 10% over the last four or five months so there is in terms of registered movement a doubling of the poll strength. We are saying that if you look at the polls and you look at their methodology and a lot of them are dominated by telephone interviews because it's the only way you can do it in the time that you've got available to you, you've got a very skewed result against normal distribution of IFP support. We are saying that there is going to be a minimum of 20% IFP national showing and that depends on what happens between now and the elections and it depends what kind of constitution we're running under. If it's a constitution in which the election is fought on policy issues, on bread and butter issues, we'll walk it. If it's an election fought on who is going to govern the country and the whole of the election itself it turned into the last phase of the armed struggle accompanied by intimidation and violence then we don't know how we're going to shape, nor do we do know how anybody will shape.
POM. But if it were for a Constituent Assembly you would not participate in the election?
POM. It has to be under the final stage of the constitution process.
WF. Again the emphasis is not because the IFP are looking at vote counting. The IFP sees quite clearly that there is going to be civil war that the government and the ANC are trying to force on us. That will benefit nobody.
POM. Say if they were to accommodate you to the position of where compromises are reached on both sides that are acceptable to both sides and where you've clearly got your way, do you think that the ANC in Natal would accept the verdict of the national leadership or would they simply say, "We've engaged in a war here for ten years, we simply don't accept what the ANC at a national level has done. We're going to go our own way, we're going to continue this war"?
WF. That latter scenario would be the scenario that would emerge. I don't think the Midlands region and the South Coast region would accept a national settlement which is a compromise away from the two phase process. The only way that one can look forward to a united South Africa is eliminate the two phase process entirely in the negotiation process and then proceed to establish one or another form of federal future.
POM. Then it would be, in a sense, impossible to hold elections in Natal since this war would be raging?
WF. Oh yes it would be.
POM. It would be possible to hold them or it would be impossible?
WF. It would be impossible to hold elections if there was a situation in which the region of KwaZulu/Natal, if the ANC's Midland and South Coast regions in the KwaZulu/Natal region, took to the armed struggle to oppose it.
POM. Do you still hold the belief that the ultimate aim of the ANC is to establish a one party state?
WF. I don't know. One must be very careful on that. The ANC is dominated by the need to seize power, to control power entirely. It will then make decisions and the decisions will work out in terms of the kind of pressures that are brought to it from workers and from the dissenting radicals in its youth and in its lower echelons. So how that compromise would work out I don't know. Whether you're talking about a one party state or whether you're talking about a multi-party state of the kind that South Africa was before apartheid was ended, you're still talking about monopoly of political power. Certainly I don't believe that the ANC are going to move away from monopolising political power either in a one party state or a multi-party state.
POM. A year ago de Klerk was riding high after his victory in the referendum in March and this year one comes back to find the government apparently in disarray and fragmentation within his party, his support in the public falling more and more. What do you think has accounted for his rather precipitous decline on the one hand and at the same time after the Conservative Party appeared to be in tatters, demoralised and divided after their defeat in the referendum and this time they appear to be more cohesive, more coherent in what they are looking for and under better leadership with Constand Viljoen at the top?
WF. I would really like you to ask that question. Let me comment just for the record. From an IFP perspective we do not see Afrikaners divided between the National Party and the CP. Those are not to us the two poles of Afrikanerdom. That is a dispute within a dimension of Afrikanerdom. I think what is beginning to emerge now is a real division between the alternatives of de Klerk and Constand Viljoen and the Volksfront and the CP is part of the Volksfront. Now forget the personalities of it, we're not looking at personalities, but the emergence in Afrikanerdom of a Volksfront/CP faction is significant. There's a consolidation of parties and I think there's something like, at the beginning of our first discussions with the Afrikaner parties in COSAG, I think the official count was that there are 46 separate Boerstaat type organisations. The unity movement had been taking place quite importantly but with the emergence of Constand Viljoen that has speeded up the whole unity movement in Afrikaner opposition to de Klerk and that Afrikaner opposition to de Klerk is more and more incorporating dissenting voices and dissenting true blue blooded Nationalists.
. So I think one is looking at Afrikaners saying to de Klerk as President, and some of his Cabinet Ministers as leaders, that you are misleading the people. I think that's really what it is, it's not just two camps but it's a fermentation taking place. I think across the length and breadth of Afrikanerdom as such there is a genuine shedding of racism, even on the right. There is no future for racism in Afrikaner thinking even on the right. There is an Afrikaner metamorphosis taking place which is going to be important and how that finally expresses itself in party political terms and organisations one has yet to wait and see. But Jurie has after 20 years as a National Party member of parliament, and a very senior Member of parliament, has crossed to the IFP not because he hates Afrikaners or is personally opposed to de Klerk, but he is seeing (and I'm not speaking on his behalf) but he represents a new breed of new South Africanism coming out which is going to be there. I shouldn't talk on behalf of anybody. I'm saying that's the IFP perspective of seeing, and we're dealing with both sides, the CP side as well as the National Party side, we're seeing a ferment taking place in Afrikaner society which is going to make a fundamentally different kettle of fish politically speaking. Would you like to comment on that Jurie?
POM. Your name again?
JM. Mentz. I just wanted to say that it is true that if you look at the history of the Afrikaner over two or three centuries you will find that it was necessary for them, they've got plenty of leaders and they have been following, smaller groups were following their leaders and they weren't united behind one leader. I think the main group was the CP leader and then de Klerk, as being Afrikaners leading the two largest sections. Now with General Viljoen coming on to the scene all these splinter groups of Afrikaner leaderships have now joined forces behind him. They have accepted him, for the first time they have accepted somebody as their leader. Now you will have Viljoen on the one side with the Afrikaners, leader of the Afrikaners, and you will have de Klerk on the other side as leader of the Afrikaners. But the support on the one side for General Viljoen is growing and the support of the Afrikaners for President de Klerk is becoming less because of the fact that they have become dissatisfied with how the negotiations were going and the further it went the more of these people got together behind one leader to oppose the direction. But I just want to make the point that there's no lack of leadership among their two camps. It's outstanding leaders to come forward, small and big leaders. But these different parties or groups have been bridged now by General Viljoen and they are for the first time in their history saying "All right we'll go for this one and we'll follow that one".
POM. You're also opposed to power sharing at the central level. True?
POM. So how do you see the central government operating?
WF. The central government would be a more democratic government in which the ruling party is the majority party at the central level and would form a Cabinet and then the ruling party would elect a President or Prime Minister or whatever you want, and the same at regional levels. Power sharing is only an expression of executive weakness. It can never be an expression of strength. You only have power sharing where you cannot have a united executive and the strength of a power sharing executive is dependent on the continuation of the lines of division which make it impossible to form one united executive. So the power sharing formula has the adverse tendency of cementing the divide in the legislature which is incapable of actually forming power sharing. As soon as one or other party in a power sharing formula can gain their own independence, range of strengths, they will break the power sharing so it's just a passing phase. So the power sharing for us is a continuation mechanism for conflict.
POM. Did you see in CODESA there were like two power blocs, the government and it's supporters and the ANC and its supporters and they were kind of operating in adversarial roles? This time round there are least three power blocs, the ANC and its alliance, the government and its supporters, and COSAG and the government or the ANC seem to have switched dancing partners. They were adversarial in CODESA 2, they now appear to be much more jointly together.
WF. Following CODESA 2 which worked on the assumptions that flowed from de Klerk's two phase proposal at the Plenary at the end of CODESA 1, following that and following the mass action of the ANC in August that same year there was another bosperaad and a number of agreements reached in ongoing bilaterals between the government and the ANC. What one sees at the negotiating council is supporters of compromise proposals in those agreements. You don't have, as you had in CODESA, you had an ANC/Communist Party bloc versus the government and friendly parties bloc, as we put it. That bloc on principle has disappeared. There's now a strategic determinant so if you're looking at negotiating council the people who are in that compromise and will gain from that compromise are forming a group around Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer. The people who are opposing that compromise form another group. Now who is actually on whose side on what issues depends on how they are reading the compromise. So it's not simply a political divide that there was in CODESA.
POM. Do you feel that you've been let down by government?
WF. We were betrayed. Not we as the IFP but everything we stand for, liberal democracy has been betrayed and threatened and put under threat by what government is doing. Liberal democracy is not going to survive if the compromises between the ANC and government actually are implemented.
POM. To me you seem to paint a very bleak picture of what lies in the future. If as the government and the ANC have said they will go ahead with you or without you and you're suggesting that you will have a civil war.
WF. You're predicting a civil war?
POM. On the other hand if they do take account of most of your grievances you've got a situation in Natal where the ANC in Natal will simply not abide by anything the leadership does and will continue its war against the IFP.
WF. If you've got the ANC in Natal acting on its own or acting unilaterally and you've got settled conditions or settling conditions in the rest of the country then it becomes an unrest situation, a security situation which you can actually manage. It's only the extent to which it is part of a national evolution of violence and a nationally orchestrated development of a violent front that it becomes unmanageable. So if you're looking at dealing with the dissenting ANC voice inside the KwaZulu/Natal region we can do that but we can't do that if that is part and parcel of a wider MK strategy and if that opposition there is not part of a well orchestrated national opposition, using that as a flash point for national objectives.
POM. I just want to get one thing right so I wrote it down in my notes. In any federal structure do you envisage powers entrenched in the regions, residual or confirmed powers devolved from the regions to the central administration rather than a situation in which powers are devolved from the centre to the regions?
WF. In essence, yes, while we recognise that in actual practice we will have to end up with a form of federation in which it is not as simple and clear cut as that. We say that's not because of anything inherent in the KwaZulu/Natal region but we say that in other parts of the country there are regions which still are in the process of formation and the concept of residual powers only comes into focus when a region has clear perceptions about the powers it is prepared to devolve upwards to a central government and everything else will then remain with it. We can't make that decision on behalf of other regions so we're looking for asymmetry and I'm sure we're going to end up with a compromise solution on federalism which is going to be difficult to define at the moment. But certainly it will not be possible to retain the very strict requirement of all residual powers adhering in the regions.
POM. So if I were to ask you, where do you think the country will be a year from now?
WF. A year from now I think we'll be back in negotiations.
POM. The election of April 27th will not have been held?
WF. It's not possible to have an election. I cannot see how there will be elections on 27th election. There will not be elections on 27th April. Or alternatively it will be such a farcical election under machine gun protection that it won't be worth the result that it produces.
POM. Who among the people you have negotiated with impresses you, either on the government side or ANC side? Who do you say, "I disagree thoroughly with him, what he's saying, but he impresses me", either the intellect or the figure of the argument or the skill of negotiating itself?
WF. Ramaphosa is impressive, he's very impressive. By far I would see him impressively as the strongest person in the whole of the ANC, including Mandela. He has behind him the impressive Valli Moosa, as somebody who I have a great deal of admiration for. His mind is very lucid. Thabo Mbeki, one has got as great deal of respect for because again he has a very lucid mind and he has a very inherent diplomatic skill.
POM. And on the government side?
WF. I'm impressed by Tertius Delport. He's got a grasp of constitutional reality. He's got a grasp of current day politics. I'm impressed by Danie Schutte, impressed by his integrity, his ability. I think they are the two in the Cabinet who would shine out the most. The National Party has got a very wide range of impressive leaders. There are leaders who at regional and provincial level quite easily could take their places at the national level. There's a glut of competent leadership in the National Party so it's difficult to confine one's attention to the Cabinet or even necessarily the caucus. There are some very impressive political leaders in the Afrikaner community.
POM. If you look at where the ANC were a year ago, at the time they walked out of the talks, and where the government was and where those parties are today what concessions or compromises do you think each side have made.
WF. The only concessions the ANC have made are concessions to government to achieve what they want from government and the only concessions the government have made on regions are concessions to the ANC to achieve what they want from the ANC. They have made no political concessions in the open debate. The concept of regions being determined by a constitution making body which will start de novo looking at every clause in the constitution and finally deciding upon the validity of regional negotiations, boundaries and structures, is totally rejected and it doesn't represent any compromise towards the IFP position. There has been no compromise towards the IFP's position that I have discerned.
POM. OK. Thank you ever so much. In a few months I'll have a transcript for you. I'll be living in the country so I'll be coming around more often.