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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Aug 1993: Camerer, Sheila

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POM     I'll begin, Sheila, with a quotation that I picked out of the Star last December: "The government is discredited and divided, the military may mutiny, Buthelezi wants secession and APLA threatens a race war. De Klerk fiddles while South Africa burns."

SC     Well I think this is the scenario some guys would like or certainly the government's opponents were fondly nurturing in their breasts but it's not true. I don't think the government really is divided. I think there are different nuances and different emphasis on things. I wouldn't talk about division really and there is certainly violence. I don't think there's a race war. I don't know what you call a race war. Are you talking about whites versus blacks?

POM     I suppose that's what they are talking about here, but it struck me that the first couple of years that I was here that de Klerk was firmly in the driver's seat. He was the man who was making all the running, others were running to catch up to him and that situation has changed in that he now appears to be more indecisive.

SC     I don't think he's indecisive. I think he's very much in charge but the problem is that we are in this transition and things haven't been finally decided at the World Trade Centre. We're trying to achieve certain things, we're trying to get certain things written into the constitution and the Bill of Rights, which is where I operate, and we're succeeding. We're succeeding beyond our expectations in many ways but it's a process and we can't rush out at this point and claim success and that we've delivered the goods because they aren't finally delivered. There's incremental progress and a lot of it hidden from our own support base but in fact we've made commitments to deliver certain things in the constitution and as far as we're concerned we're going to deliver them but it's a struggle behind the scenes to get there.

POM     Those things are specifically?

SC     Well the strong regional government dispensation that we've promised, the protection of the minorities, protection in the constitution against domination by one big majority party, checks and balances. All these things are beginning to take shape but if you look at the first draft of the constitution that was put on the table by the Technical Committee it was entirely unsatisfactory. President de Klerk said in an inner circle that this was quite unsatisfactory, this is just perpetuating parliamentary sovereignty in the first draft because regional governments have to go cap in hand to go and ask for their powers and functions whereas we have promised the electorate that these will be entrenched in the constitution, the original powers will be there for the regional governments should they want them. As you see the second draft, after a lot of haggling and multi-laterals and bilaterals behind the scenes and absolute protests to the Technical Committee, it has gone quite a long way down that road. But you didn't have de Klerk rushing in and denouncing the first draft. That's not the way one can operate to get what one wants in the second draft. So that's the dilemma he's faced with.

POM     So on scale of one to ten how pleased are you with the second draft?

SC     Well it's certainly - maybe it just goes - five and a half, but there's quite a lot lacking still. I'm not intimately concerned with that draft. If you ask me about the Bill of Rights I can tell you clause by clause how we're doing because that's what I negotiate at the World Trade Centre and I would say that we're certainly not 100% pleased with it as it is and there are some very big problems to be resolved. Firstly the whole question of property rights has not yet been resolved and the relationship between the Bill of Rights and customary law which is a very thorny problem. For instance, just to give you one example, in terms of customary law women don't really have equality, married women, they are under their husband's power in terms of control over the property of the marriage and so on and they are legally minors and of course black women find this very unsatisfactory but the Chiefs are trying to perpetuate their positions to dole out land, to determine succession and keep women subservient. Some of the Chiefs actually said at the Council that they don't believe women are equal which we thought was very brazen of them. But these are problems that have to be thrashed out and we are not there yet, we're busy thrashing.

POM     On property rights what's the ANC's position?

SC     The ANC added a rider. Firstly they didn't want property rights entrenched in the Bill as a basic right and we said well that's the bottom line with us. So it's eventually been included but with all sort of qualifications which we find unacceptable at this stage so what we're haggling over now is how to amend the qualifications. They want to deal in that clause with the whole question of restoration of property and restitution of rights to property and so on. We acknowledge that it has to be dealt with but I don't think we agree that it should be dealt with there. It should perhaps be dealt with in another way through the Land Claims Court or Forum or Commission.

POM     Just to go back to the constitution for a moment, am I right in saying that what the National Party wants and the government wants is for the powers of the regions to be spelt out in the interim constitution and for the boundaries of the regions to be spelt out in the interim constitution and that both of those would become part of the constitutional principles that would serve as a framework?

SC     Part of the constitution itself.

POM     But when you get to the Constituent Assembly can the Constituent Assembly redraw the lines, throw the whole thing out?

SC     With weighted majorities. It would have to be a weighted majority of both houses. Even that clause isn't finalised yet as far as I am aware. Whether it should be the two houses sitting together, how the second house should be finally determined, it's make up, it's also not finally agreed as far as I am aware. And whether the houses should sit separately on this particular issue the input of the regional governments on this, not only are we saying that it should be changed only through a weighted majority but also that a weighted majority of regional representatives in the upper house perhaps or on the regional list in the lower house would also have to agree to it. And all those things haven't been finally agreed.

POM     Yes, and how many days have you got left?

SC     You can't, as they say in Afrikaans, stare yourself blind against a date. It's impossible. Obviously one's trying hard. Roelf Meyer has already said that it's not going to be able to come before the session in September. We have to wait till November.

POM     Would that upset the ...?

SC     Not necessarily.

POM     Within the National Party, again the accounts I have read and people I have talked to, talk of deep divisions, of uncertainty, of defections to the IFP ...

SC     Marginal defections.

POM     - and some dissatisfaction with some MPs with the marginalisation of the IFP in favour of the ANC.

SC     That is changing. De Klerk came out very strongly that we would regard the IFP as potential allies against our main opponents. He said that very clearly at the Natal Congress.

POM     That struck me as electioneering.

SC     Well that is part of it.

POM     My question would be: are you now at a situation where the requirements for negotiation and the demands of electioneering may start contradicting and interfering with each other?

SC     I don't think so.

POM     On the one hand you're trying to sit with the ANC and work on something sensitive together and then there's somebody out there saying, "The real opponent is the ANC and we want the IFP to come back into our fold."

SC     Well that was I think the approach up to now but the election, congress season is part of the electioneering phase and these congresses that we are holding now preparatory to the election, the ANC sits with the same problem, we all do. I suppose we've just got to take it in our stride because we are electioneering and these things are going to be said and they are probably the truth. We've still got to carry on negotiating at the World Trade Centre in spite of electioneering. But I don't think it's ever phased the ANC so why should it phase us now. I think we've gone quite a long way down the road towards reaching agreement. I think the parameters are in place. I think that's been what we've suffered from in the past. You quoted an editorial from the end of last year but de Klerk has actually said, he's got to be reborn as Rambo, a reasonable Rambo.

POM     As a reasonable Rambo? Just on the question of hawks and doves in the Cabinet, now Hernus Kriel will describe himself to be a hawk, Roelf Meyer he's a dove. What are the major policy issues that divide them?

SC     How to deal with the violence perhaps. The fact that the PAC is sitting at the negotiating council still in spite of all the APLA goings on, the alleged murders, even this church thing. If the police come out laying a charge against these APLA operatives, they are going to be charged with the murders at the church, it's going to be very difficult for us to carry on sitting at the World Trade Centre with the PAC unless they denounce APLA. That's the sort of thing, I wouldn't call that hawkish, that's just ordinary people. Our ordinary supporters would agree with that approach.

POM     With the PAC not being allowed to sit there?

SC     Well no, they must be put beyond the pale unless they denounce the violence or at least dissociate themselves from APLA's acts.

POM     The same situation actually exists in Northern Ireland where Sinn Fein is the political wing of the IRA and until they renounce the use of violence the other parties will not allow them at the table at all.

SC     Well it's actually very difficult to sell to your electorate that you are sitting at the table talking to these people who are running around in churches shooting people at worship. It's almost an impossible thing to sell to any electorate I should think. So it makes our continued talking to the PAC very difficult and I would say if you are talking about nuances, the doves would perhaps be prepared to do it more than the hawks would.

POM     The doves would be prepared to do it more than the hawks?

SC     Well I don't know that they would be prepared to but they haven't been charged with the murders yet. When that investigation is complete I think we're going to be faced with a lot of pressure. Are you going to follow the same format, that you send me my draft?

POM     And you go through it.

SC     Because I usually have amended it as far as I recall, haven't I?

POM     I'll give you lots of time to do it so there's no rush. I'll be doing this through 1996 at least. I have a manuscript due in March 1997 so I am going to follow it through the first couple of years, until the new constitution is in fact drawn up, so I'll give everybody a chance to review all their materials.

POM     One thing struck me and has confused me and that is that as early as last May de Klerk in an interview with the Financial Times in London made it clear that he regarded permanent power sharing as an integral part of the final settlement.

SC     He actually corrected that article afterwards if you remember, did you see that?

POM     No I didn't.

SC     He did, he was very fed up with the way it came out because he said they over-stated the point. He then issued a statement to say that he couldn't rule from the grave in a sense and he couldn't go on and on. That's an unfortunate way of putting it, but that you couldn't insist that things be perpetuated long beyond their relevance. What he basically said is that for the interim we stick to power sharing and afterwards it will be our policy that it should continue because in our view at this point in time it's in the best interests of the country that it should be perpetuated but we're not going to be in a position to decree that. That's what he said in his correction.

POM     Then a month later he talked about the manner in which he thought a Cabinet in a government of national unity would operate, where there would be this Executive Committee made up of the three major parties or two major parties or four, whichever might have commanded 15% of the vote in the electorate. And then suddenly all that was dropped. Power sharing, the word ...

SC     Well power sharing is still very much part of it.

POM     What do you see as the difference between a power sharing government which you talk about and a government of national unity which the ANC talks about?

SC     As far as I understand it, the emphasis, but I'm sure you've heard this repeatedly ...

POM     All kinds of different emphasis, you land all over the place.

SC     Anyway, as I see the difference, we would say it's got to be structured in the constitution or at least by way of agreement that there will be proportional representation in the Cabinet, the Cabinet in central government level. I can't remember whether it says that at central government, I think that's not resolved yet what should appear in the constitution, but it certainly says that in one of the drafts I've seen that it should operate at regional level, that there should be proportional representation of the parties in the Cabinet by agreement or by constitutional writ so to speak, entrenched. Whereas the ANC, certainly Mandela has said that he will do it by invitation, having won the election he will then for the sake of national unity he will invite a few of the other leaders to join, which we don't see as acceptable. I think we want it all cut and dried.

POM     In that case, again this issue is unresolved, would he be inviting them as individuals as distinct from representatives of their parties?

SC     No I think, as I understand it, he would be picky about who he asks, but that's not what we agreed to. We don't agree to that as far as I'm aware. I suppose if he was inviting he could invite who he likes but I think he would obviously be rather foolish to invite people who weren't the leaders of the parties concerned. Anyway it's unacceptable. From our point of view that's academic.

POM     When you look at where the government was at last June when the talks at CODESA collapsed and where the ANC was at and where both of you are today what do you see as the major compromises or concessions made by both parties?

SC     I think the ANC basically - a couple of months ago we were back where we were when CODESA broke up and a lot of it has been perpetuated in much more detail now obviously, but if you look at what the TEC, the basic principles involved in the TEC proposals are really no different except for the addition of that committee on the state of women or something, is very similar to what was already agreed at CODESA beforehand. But the ANC decided it was too soon to reach agreement at that point and they became worried or suspicious or whatever so we went into the mass action phase. From the Bill of Rights point of view I think perhaps we've got much more into the nitty gritty than we did. Well we didn't really get into the nitty gritty in my committee on constitutional principles then. I suppose we have gone beyond the agreements reached at CODESA. I think the groundwork was laid at CODESA and there's been a building on that.

POM     Do you think that the way CODESA was structured it was inevitable it would fail?

SC     No I don't think the structures - it was cumbersome, I don't think it was inevitable that it would fail but it was much more time consuming and it was perhaps more difficult to reach agreement because we didn't have the structure, this mechanism of the technical committees to put things before the negotiators, it was all too unwieldy. I don't think that necessarily meant that it would fail, it would just have taken a long time. It's failed because the ANC suddenly decided to fail it, to pull out.

POM     Were there any lessons from CODESA that were learned that were applied to the setting up of the negotiating forum?

SC     Those lessons had already been concluded. They had already agreed at CODESA to streamline the process and have a planning committee or management committee that was much more pro-active and would extend it and the negotiating committee working groups were going to be, in a sense, sidelined and only asked to report on specifics from time to time to a larger management or planning committee. So I think we had already moved towards that structure that we have now at the end of CODESA because it was already on the agendas there that one saw of the management committee. They were trying to see how they could make it less unwieldy and everybody basically agreed that it had to change. We had had notice on our committee, we had certainly been advised that the whole thing might change and the only real addition, I suppose, was the technical committees to make inputs to the council.

POM     So you really think that where the parties were in June of last year is basically where they are today?

SC     Well I think we've built on that, but we got back to that point a couple of months ago and we're now building on it.

POM     What I'm asking is who has conceded what?

SC     I don't know that anything has been conceded.

POM     Or what trade offs were made.

SC     In my committee the ANC had agreed to strong regional government with appropriate powers and functions including fiscal powers. That was a minuted agreement in Working Group 2 which I was part of and I remember there was a long negotiation before we got to that point and the ANC fought shy of the fiscal powers but we were only talking about the principles. That principle went forward and is now getting flesh on the bones in the constitution, but that principle hasn't changed. They tried to back off it but they've come back to it. Even in the first draft of the constitution the theory was that they could have the powers but they weren't entrenched. So I think all that groundwork had already been agreed.

POM     Just looking at the short term and then at the longer term, what are the obstacles that you see in the way to this process completing itself successfully?

SC     I think there are lots of obstacles. I think the worst is presently the violence but what has happened is that we are leaving the most difficult things to last which is a good way to approach the negotiations I suppose, to get out of the way those things that we need to agree and the nitty gritty power sharing aspect and what should go into the Bill of Rights, like we've left property rights to the last, I don't know how long this is going to take because we've got to have a bit of lateral thinking I think, find other avenues to address the concerns of either group if they can't be addressed specifically in the documents we're looking at now. I think there are some quite difficult negotiations ahead. I don't know how long they are going to take. I think there are certain things you just can't rush through, you've just got to wait and try and get agreement on them before you can cast them in concrete otherwise what are you casting in concrete? That will lead to failure if you don't get agreement. At the moment if you look at the violence, there are two areas in the country where there's no way you could fight an election at the moment and that's the PWV area and Natal. All the reports you get from the police and security people and the Peace Accord is that we are right in the red light district, zone. It's danger zone.

POM     Do you think the violence in the Reef is at a point where it feeds on its own inner dynamics? Somebody with the IFP who lives in Thokoza said to me that even if tomorrow morning there were a new government and a new constitution in place it wouldn't make a bit of difference, that the violence would continue.

SC     It's not necessary. The parties have to rein their followers I think. This is a political problem as well.

POM     Can they do it?

SC     Well if they don't do it there won't be an election. That's clear. You can't have an election that's free and fair and if any UN observer or EC observer says you can have a free and fair election in Natal at the moment they are lying. There's just no way. You've got no go areas for all the parties, total no-go zones and there's no way we can go and canvass in some places in Natal, or the IFP or the ANC. The place is divided into warlord zones and if you're an IFP person in an ANC warlord zone you're dead.

POM     Or vice versa.

SC     If you move out they'll pursue you and kill you anyway so you might as well just be whatever the boss says because you are actually paying him.

POM     Do you think the ANC is in control of the youth self-defence units on the Reef or increasingly that these kids go their own way?

SC     Well they have admitted they are not. Mandela has admitted he's not in control, that they're doing their own thing.

POM     And in the same way Buthelezi isn't in control of his warlords?

SC     I don't remember a quote by him but I daresay that's true of them as well. I just remember less than a month ago Mandela said that they were not in control of all their people. And the APLA people as well, the PAC. So I think the leaders are failing to control their people.

POM     Would the same thing apply to the police? I've heard increasingly both sides ...

SC     I think the police have a terrible time.

POM     But from both sides, IFP and ANC, that the police were shooting at them.

SC     Well it's easy to blame the police, that's the easy option. From what I see, and I would tend to be fairly critical of police action where I see it fail, like at the World Trade Centre, I see no evidence of that. I think the police have a ghastly time of it trying to keep peace in the townships. Have you spoken to police officers who try and deal with the unrest in the East Rand? They're put in an impossible position most of the time. They're shot at all the time. A lot of them have been killed. Just look at the figures. What police force in the world is killed off like they are? Have you got the statistics of deaths of policemen? They are systematically eliminating the police in certain areas. It's a nightmare. It's 300 or something, something horrendous since the beginning of the year.

POM     Is that right? 300?

SC     I can't remember the exact figures but when you compare with before it's far more than it's ever been and it's an appalling statistic.

POM     The Goldstone Commission said the primary though not the exclusive cause of violence was the political rivalry between the ANC and the IFP which it seems to me the ANC have never accepted. They still talk in terms of the government behind it, government here, government there.

SC     They say that every now and then. They know jolly well that's the reason.

POM     Do they admit it in private?

SC     Yes. It's so obvious to everybody. Yes they do. The ANC guys I know they certainly never deny it. They don't rush in and say, "Well of course that's why the violence is -" but it's clear that that is the case. Even with the best will in the world if the police wanted to do anything they couldn't manage it. You should go and talk to some people, I had a long chat to the Attorney General in Natal when I was down at the Congress, now the Attorney General is in terms of our law independent from government, they can do what they like. They said, "Just too dreadful", they can't even protect the witnesses, they just get wiped out.

POM     What's the name?

SC     Well it's McNally in Pietermaritzburg and I spoke to his number two down in Durban. McNally is the boss but he's situated in Pietermaritzburg. I didn't speak to him I spoke to the chap in charge of the Durban office, McAdam or something. I'll get it from my secretary. You should go and speak to him, he's like a tap that's turned on. An absolute nightmare tale really. This guy is not a political person, he's a poor old chap trying to run his cases. All murders by the way. They have never had a murder tally like that to deal with, cases.

POM     A year ago when I was here de Klerk was riding a crest or had been riding a crest, the crest had begun to fall a bit, the smashing victory in the referendum. And then the right ...

SC     Expectations were raised then.

POM     The right appeared to be dead, demoralised, divided and I come back this year to find that right now one of every four voters who voted for the NP in 1989 would vote for it today and you seem to have a resilient right united for the first time under a respected figure like Constand Viljoen. What kind of a threat does the right pose to the process?

SC     I think it is a major political threat. I don't see it as a threat in the violence arena because I think that ET (Eugene Terre'Blanche) and the AWB are really as pathetic as they ever have been but they are having the best time they've ever had now because of the tremendous levels of violence and I feel sure that there are certain elements in the ANC at any rate, and no doubt the PAC, that see endless violence as the best way to power. I don't believe all of them are striving to reach a negotiated settlement by any manner of means because if they were we wouldn't have these levels of violence. The violence in Natal started when the ANC tried to basically invade in the mid eighties, early to mid eighties, when the ANC started really getting organised in Natal and the only reason there's violence there is because the IFP fought them off. We're still looking at that. So I think that there are elements in the negotiating parties that don't see it as in their interests to have a peaceful situation because obviously if the right wing really gets up and going you're going to look at blood bath situations again. If they carry out their violent rhetoric we're going to be a very unhappy country. I don't think they will. I think politically they are still weak really.

POM     Would you move more towards a situation where perhaps they are a terrorist threat than an armed uprising?

SC     The thing is I think people like Viljoen and the Volksfront are perhaps more of a problem because they use violent rhetoric a lot and if they actually do go in and start killing people and taking the law into their own hands I do think that that would be very unhappy, but politically they are still midgets or pygmies because they have got no political point to make. There's nobody out there who really believes in an Afrikaner volkstaat. Even the most dedicated Volksfront people know that it's a miasma really, and on that I can tell you I've had many conversations with right wingers and it's just all nonsense. So they have no political solution to offer. I think that's an inherent weakness in their situation and they feed on the violence like all radical groups do.

POM     Where does that leave the CP?

SC     They're the political pygmies.

POM     They are really marginalising themselves.

SC     They're being taken over. They've got a leadership problem. They've had one for ages because Treurnicht, although he was an intelligent chap, was old and gaga and sort of not really showing any direction and Ferdi Hartzenberg is the most discredited sort of windbag of a politician I think. He has no charisma, he has no following really and that's why everybody is looking to Viljoen to save them.

POM     He's kind of stepped into the vacuum?

SC     He has. But they have no political platform that anybody would take seriously and they are going to be overtaken by then.

POM     I want to couple that with Buthelezi and the whole COSAG set up. Yesterday I met with Walter Felgate and there was just no way they were going to go back into talks until their demands were met. There wasn't even a possibility of it.

SC     Not all of them agree with Felgate. I think you must be aware of that.

POM     Oh yes but this is their policy at the moment in terms of the resolution that they passed at their Central Committee over the weekend. What worries me I suppose is that none of this would be done without Buthelezi's approval.

SC     Well Felgate has, we all feel, undue influence on Buthelezi and there are certainly other characters like Ben Ngubane and Joe Matthews and even, well Chief Gumede is perhaps more in the radical camp, but Frank Mdlalose, I would think that they don't quite see it the way Felgate does, so I'm told by them actually. Matthews said to me, "Look, the ANC is desperate for a deal and we've got to squeeze every ounce of concession that we can get now out of them because later on it's going to be too late." So there is that element.

POM     Let me ask you related elements of that. Let's say the ANC is desperate for a settlement so over the weeks the ANC begins to meet most, an acceptable level, of the IFP's demands and a bargain is struck. Given the relationship between the ANC at the national level and the ANC in Natal which has always been more rebellious and cantankerous and which ensured in the first place that Mandela and Buthelezi did not meet, do you think they could ever accept a settlement that would appear to make Buthelezi the victor in KwaZulu/Natal?

SC     Well let's see. They are going to have to actually accept that there's a regional dispensation in Natal, a strong one. There's just no way otherwise. Then there won't be a settlement.

POM     But Buthelezi would in effect be accorded a special position?

SC     That's why eventually I see the second draft moving into a situation where the rights would be entrenched but all the regions could take them as they wished so they wouldn't all have to exercise the full spectrum of regional powers. There would be some sort of tax adjustment I suppose or subsidy kind of incentive, whatever, from central government to do or not to do things. But there must be in the constitution the right of Natal/KwaZulu to be a virtually autonomous regional government if they want to. There may be other regions that also want to. There must be a federal structure in that constitution. Anything less I don't think is going to fly quite honestly.

POM     Your use of the word 'autonomous' or 'semi-autonomous', you go to the brink. You're giving as much power to him as is possible within a federal arrangement.

SC     Yes, well we use the word 'autonomous' every now and then in our consultations. We say 'autonomous' but we're not confederal which is what he seems to have. We believe in federal.

POM     What if Buthelezi stays outside, what if he says, "I withdraw, I will not participate." An election goes ahead on April 27th? Or could it go ahead?

SC     It's impossible to go ahead. We're actually going to have to organise Bop into the picture as well. They have been saying that sort of thing for the last year. Now they are beginning to say that the federal structure that comes out of this document doesn't look too bad to them now. There's going to be quite a squabble over the boundaries as far as they are concerned because for some unknown reason they want a bit of the Free State to be in the North Western area. That's because they've got a bit of Bop in the Free State. These things haven't been resolved. I don't believe - if you look at the worst possible scenario of support for the IFP you are still looking at 10% countrywide. 10% of the voters. There's no way you can ignore that and then you can add the whole of Natal, all the whites in Natal, to that rebellious situation because the whites in Natal are very close to Buthelezi and so are, I would say, still the majority of the Indians. It's a lot of people.

POM     So if he stayed out you would see one couldn't have elections on the 27th April?

SC     Seven million blacks in Natal and nearly two million whites, that is 700,000 whites and 700,000 Indians, so it's 8 - 9 million people.

POM     Wouldn't the ANC insist the process must go forward?

SC     They're not going to insist anything. They can't insist. They can take to the streets again but that's not insisting. There is no way you can have a constitutional solution without Natal being part of it and KwaZulu.

POM     Could you see a situation developing, given the violence that is on the Reef, and the seeming inability of anyone to bring it under control?

SC     I disagree. I think the government could bring it under control but then it would have to implement draconian emergency regulations which I think is still unlikely.

POM     But then?

SC     Well if the political process doesn't work, I mean this negotiation process, then I think the government does have that in its back pocket and it may have to but it certainly doesn't want to.

POM     I've heard some cynical people say that this is part of the election strategy. You come in and you clamp down on the violence and you run as the party of law and order, that you're the only party that can in fact bring peace to the townships.

SC     You've heard that from the ANC. That's their big worry I think. They've told me that often.

POM     Just a couple more Sheila.

SC     No that's fine. Sorry I'm not really looking at my watch. Usually we have a very nice chat at home. I don't know how this happened. I don't know why we didn't this time.

POM     My question is: what's happened to the National Party in the last year and to de Klerk where his popularity is slumping?

SC     It's the whole process that's the problem. I said to him at the beginning that we're not delivering the goods, we can't actually go out and say, "Look we've got it for you", and we won't be able to do that until the negotiations have reached some sort of conclusion, or certainly not until the TEC is in place. That's the way we see it, that as soon as we've got what we've said we're going to get we can go out and sell that fact. We're beginning to say that a lot of what we promised to deliver is already in the agreed part of the documentation at the World Trade Centre.

POM     On this issue of sufficient consensus, another issue that Inkatha and PAC have taken up too, in CODESA 2 you had the government and its allies and the ANC and its allies and they played adversary roles and then you had the meetings in the bush with the government and the ANC, the lines open between Ramaphosa and Meyer and in this situation you seem to have one in which the government and the ANC are for the most part sitting on the one side of the table with the IFP and COSAG on the other, but there are now three power blocs rather than two. Since sufficient consensus was defined the first time around as if the government walked out or the ANC walked out it meant sufficient consensus wasn't there, in this case should the same principle apply that COSAG should have a similar veto really over what goes on?

SC     That hasn't been resolved yet.

POM     That's another one to be resolved. The list is growing.

SC     Exactly. All the difficult things are really now very much on the table. Well they were there, they just weren't addressed because why bog down the process before you've got any agreement at all.

POM     Chris Hani's assassination. What impact did that have?

SC     One of my old opponents.

POM     Pardon?

SC     One of my old opponents is part of the plot, Derby-Lewis. Dreadful chap.

POM     Yes, I had him on my interview list.

SC     I don't know if you're going to get access to him.

POM     I've been trying to get to him to do him in jail. He's a dreadful man.

SC     Maybe you can speak to Mrs. She was the brains behind him anyway.

POM     I remember one day in Cape Town when I was interviewing him, she came to the office and said, "In a liberal area", because the squatters had set up a squatters' camp in people's front yard and she said, " ... made in the last 24 hours, people's political convictions changed immediately there was a squatter living on their lawn." But she did, she seemed even tougher than he was.

SC     That's really not true. You see every time these problems crop up people immediately take a position like that but six months later it's as if they discovered how to uplift the squatters and, "We must do something for our squatters." It's amazing how people adjust in South Africa to these new problems.

POM     What impact do you think his death had on the broad political spectrum, or has it had any?

SC     I think it did. It certainly polarised people for a time anyway. It certainly gave impetus to the radical youth, they have come to the fore more. It's given Mokaba a bit of a platform.

POM     It polarised blacks and whites?

SC     Yes, I don't know that it did that because since then you've had, I don't think you can say blacks and whites, because since then you've had the World Trade Centre incident where all the negotiating parties really it created a sort of solidarity among those who are part of the negotiating process and those who are trying to wreck it and the wreckers are white but there are a lots of whites inside the process as well. I think those sort of distinctions are really superannuated now. It certainly assisted the radical black youth leadership to get a higher profile.

POM     Did that make whites more nervous?

SC     It certainly made whites nervous.

POM     I suppose what I'm getting at is that I've found the ANC to be very proud of the way in which they managed the funeral, that it could easily have been a conflagration and there wasn't.

SC     I think it caused a lot of whites, I'm sure it caused some emigration because it scared the whites silly. Not so much the murder but even those who believe the process should go forward, in the funeral proceedings - it was on all day and a lot of people, a lot of white housewives sat watching it with increasing horror. There was a very negative perception of the future I think as a result of Chris Hani's murder, added to the depression.

POM     Yes, that's what I find interesting. That the ANC are proud of how they managed it and then on the other hand ...

SC     Only a few people were killed here and there.

POM     There's a perception on the other side not entirely different but very different in fundamental respects.

SC     It certainly didn't cheer anybody up. It added to the general gloom I think.

POM     The APLA killings, what impact have they had?

SC     Very negative.

POM     Have they benefited the PAC?

SC     No, but they've dented us, dented de Klerk. Judging by the response I get. They have dented de Klerk as a leader.

POM     Is that right?

SC     Well absolutely that this can be allowed to happen, that people can't even go to church, that innocents are mowed down on the golf course or in the golf clubs and in hotels and churches. It's created a tremendous lot of uncertainly and fear.

POM     Is this the way people are beginning to project what the future may be like?

SC     They're saying, "But you're not looking after us. Buzz off." I mean I've had endless letters denouncing me from my own constituents, and de Klerk.

POM     Do you think if these people are in fact charged formally in Cape Town that this will become an issue at the ...?

SC     No, well I certainly tear up those letters. I think if we don't manage to make some headway, if the police do their job well and manage to track down the suspects and so on I think it will certainly be helpful to white perceptions of whether there's any future in this country. Because that sort of incident really dented everyone's view of de Klerk and of the future and the possibilities. I think it would be very good if they were caught and charged because this is what the government has promised. They will go out of their way to do everything possible to bring them to book. But then you're faced with a situation whether you really can afford to go on sitting talking to their political bosses.

POM     Can you foresee a situation where elections do take place and there is a Constituent Assembly, an interim government, but there is still such a degree of instability in the country that foreign investment will just hold back for quite a period of time?

SC     I don't know, I come across a lot of foreign investors and bankers because my husband, Alex, represents a foreign bank and I still think that the perception, I mean it's beginning to dawn on people I think that after twenty years of predicting our end we're still running around flourishing in one sense. At least we're doing a lot better than anybody else in Africa and the economy seems to be turning the corner, industry carries on. There is some possibility and what they seem to want to see is a government of national unity. I think since I spoke to you I've done a couple of official visits to Germany, I had to speak to endless groups of businessmen and they all wanted to see Mandela in the government with de Klerk. That to them seemed to be a reinsurance policy.

POM     I think I'm nearly there. The civil service. I would assume the government would in its negotiations protect the civil service as far as possible, that people are not going to lose their jobs or be kicked out on the streets as soon as a new government takes over. That's in one place. On the other hand you have a lack of qualified blacks who could take over key positions in the civil service. How must affirmative action work in that regard since you could have a government of national unity but if you've got a hostile civil service your administration is going to get nowhere?

SC     I don't know that they would be hostile. The way I read it, talking to senior civil servants at any rate, they all feel that they want their pensions secured but they will carry on serving the government whatever it looks like. I think that maybe it's more the middle level civil servants. I don't think any new government could afford to get rid of the top people in civil service. Judging by what the ANC has said when I've been around they would like the civil service to continue but it's been indicated to me that the likely route is for it to be extended to accommodate people from the other parties or certainly the other communities as it did in Namibia. The Namibians told me proudly when I was there that they haven't fired a single civil servant, they have just added some under training programmes and so on, on the job training. I am sure you're going to get that pattern here. Perhaps at the lower echelons you might have a change but I think we'll become bigger.

POM     More bloated.

SC     Yes, it must be the way to go.

POM     Well the ANC seems to be doing that in Shell House too. How do you feel? Do you feel more optimistic than you were last Christmas, about the same or what?

SC     Did we speak last Christmas? Oh well I must have been round Germany then already. No, the violence depresses me. I feel that we're in danger of creating false expectations with this blimming date. I know that the ANC needed a date and I think we felt realistically we could aim at a date but it's created even more fear among people, I think, that aren't necessarily pro-ANC. There's going to be some sort of ramshackle, cobbled together solution and we will run into an election and we'll all be killed. People don't have faith in an election in a violent situation. I am worried about the violence being part of the process, or being inside the process. I feel we are making great strides and we are really getting quite close to obtaining the sort of things we have promised to deliver, but it's like a dash of cold water when you come out all euphoric and then find that the atmosphere is breaking up outside. No, that's an exaggeration but it's just somehow the atmosphere inside the process is very different from the one outside it and it's actually difficult to bridge the gap at this point because you haven't got concrete things to say and I think people's perceptions are very negative at the moment. But I'm not negative. I actually think that we are going to get there. I don't know whether we'll get there on 27th April. I'll tell you one merciful thing, thank God these overseas experts that were brought into this committee about the election date, a Goldstone sub-committee or something, mercifully said it should only be on one day and that would be a public holiday. There was some crazy talk about it being a 3-day - it'd be an absolute riot. Anyway I do hope that sort of sensible view prevails.

POM     OK. Thanks very much for the time.

SC     Cheers. I'm off to the hustings!

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.