About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

21 Aug 1993: Mayekiso, Moses

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POM     Would you agree with the COSATU, ANC, SACP election alliance? Is that right? The fact that unions should be involved in politics?

MM     No, no. What we are saying is that we are in the alliance and NUMSA wants to see the ANC winning, winning the vote and NUMSA is behind the ANC and our resources, human and financial, to make sure that the ANC wins because so far we believe the ANC is the party that's going to win. Once we put the ANC in power, that's what we are in alliance for, to get rid of apartheid. So that the format or form of this alliance will change once the ANC is the government. Once the ANC is government we won't need for the labour movement to be in this type of the alliance, the alliance that we have today that is a political alliance. At this NUMSA or COSATU cannot take up political campaign without the alliance. What we are saying is that once the ANC is in power that type of an alliance should go so that the labour movement can be able to take up political issues independently, independently of the party that is in power, because it may need to take up issues against that particular government. So if it's an alliance they'll have to strangle the trade union movement independence. So we are saying, yes, the ANC is the party that we have to assist or help to be able to deliver. Therefore the sort of relationship alliance and through the reconstruction programme that is adopted by the alliance but not the present political alliance. So then, that's the difference. We are not saying then, get rid of the ANC, we are saying get rid of these forms.

POM     Which is accepted by the labour movement from political parties so that you can take stands, political issues.

MM     A stand. Political issues without being strangled by a political alliance. So, now what has the political alliance done? We have an alliance around the reconstruction programmes, and alliance around housing provision like through the programmes, and so forth. That's what we are proposing.

POM     Has COSATU taken that up yet?

MM     They've sort of said that and that a major shift, and that will be discussed at the next congress.

POM     You are not going to run, be on the list of the alliance for people who will be standing for election next April? And if you do find yourself to be elected, do you think the kinds of policies you advocate in terms of reconstruction and nationalisation and things like this are different than what the ANC propagate, economic policies?

MM     The ANC is led by the Freedom Charter, that's its basic policy. The Freedom Charter is talking of active, or an active reconstruction programme around the issues of the land and it also talks about nationalisation. So, in a way NUMSA is following an ANC programme by talking nationalisation. So unless the ANC changes from that and they say they are no longer following the Freedom Charter.

POM     It will be too difficult to find a way for nationalisation in any ...

MM     In any of their papers. Which is a major shift.

POM     Just what I'm getting at.

MM     And we are saying that, yes, we believe that voice must get to the government. That voice especially of nationalisation and we believe in mixed economy and if we are to be able to deliver there are some industries that need to be nationalised if we are to deliver to the poor and the working class of the country. Take, for instance, in the delivery of houses. You can leave intact the monopoly of building materials if we are to have affordable houses. You cannot leave, take the land, you cannot leave the land as it is now that where 13% is occupied by the very poor, the black people, and without those people revolting, saying that why we did fight for liberation if we didn't get the land? We are saying that there is land monopolised by big monopolies, like Anglo American, there is land that is monopolised by the government. So, all lands must be made public so that those who want to produce food, those who want to work on the land must be able to have an access, easy access to that type of land. Not that then we are saying that land must be redistributed to black people, no. We are saying to those people, black or white, who want to. And with the biasedness towards affirmative action small farmers be also given subsidies. So those are the two major examples that I can put through to you.

POM     But do you think that this seems to be part of how, why the ANC's statements are more careful, than to ... like nationalisation because of the desire to ...

MM      Yes, well first and foremost I'm a trade unionist and I'm also a civic man. So I represent the poor people on the ground who are in need. So therefore we must voice the voice of that constituency. This the ANC might be ducking and diving now because it wants to attract foreign investment, it wants to attract the internal big business and then we are saying that therefore we must imitate the ANC. The ANC has reasons to do that. As civics we don't have a reason to do that. As unions we don't see the reason to do that, we represent solely those people. Once they make a policy of nationalisation, that policy and advocate and persuade and influence people towards it.

POM     So politically it's a counter move from COSATU to one for office, can you do that? Let's say COSATU adopts your resolution between ANC and the SACP after the election and let's say you have 22 members of COSATU who are elected will they be there as representatives of COSATU, and as members of the ANC, members of the SACP or what?

MM     We will be there as members of the ANC but with the backing of the labour movement. So, but what COSATU wants once we are there, we are not COSATU we are ANC, we have to represent the ANC but with the biasness towards the constituencies that put our names forward. We are not put by the ANC forward, we are put by COSATU and therefore the ANC because we are members of the ANC.

POM     So, you could be calling for an economic agenda?

MM     When we are going to be guided by our reconstruction programme, COSATU reconstruction programme, that's the mandate that we got from the special congress on that we are armed by reconstruction programme. That's what should guide us to influence the government to stick to taking the reconstruction programme forward. So that's what's going to be guiding us.

POM     Looking back over the last year or the last time I talked to you. talks had collapsed, there were stayaways and mass action and the attitude between the two sides was very tense and yet today ...

MM     Well, we would say it's through the ballot box between the ANC and the government. Some understandings were reached and that oiled the wheels of negotiations, which angered some parties like the COSAG group and other parties at the World Trade Centre. So, that what really made thing to move, the ballot box in short. The ballot box and also the forum. There are forums, local government forums and other forums where the government is involved and the ANC is involved.

POM     Did you think, looking back, that the collapse of CODESA was inevitable?

MM     Well, I would say it was because of problems that we faced at that time and because of the intransigence of the government and the government's involvement, its forces' involvement in violence and also their incapability to quell down the violence.

POM     Statistics today show that the violence is at a higher level and ...

MM     Yes it still exists today. What I'm putting, that one of the issues that caused it now, then the issue of violence was not yet solved up to today but there are some understandings around, for example, the cultural weapons, around the constitution. I think there's some development around those areas, around the populations that appeared to have done something wrong to the communities, that there are some prosecutions.

POM     What lessons do you think we'll learn, and which will be useful, at the World Trade Centre?

MM     The lessons?

POM     The lessons, yes.

MM     I think the lessons that we have to learn is that the talks at CODESA were far away from the people. It was something, the World Trade Centre was something like the US. The whole thing was not linking to what was happening on the ground and that's the lesson we have to learn, that whatever process must be linked to the people, people must be able to get feedbacks and learn to know about what's happening. Finally, that then whatever we do we must not fool ourselves and say that the answer is there because everything has to be linked to the mass action. Our strong leverage I would say, our power still depends on the action on the ground, action from the people to push and push towards at the process. So that we intended to say that, oh no, this must go, this must go, this must go, the negotiations are proceeding. Therefore we must learn that the government in power doesn't want to lose that power, they still want to cling to the power for a foreseeable future and, therefore, that means combination or that negotiation must be linked to action on the ground. People must be consulted, they must be kept informed of what's happening around them. Especially if we are going to go and look for the votes.

POM     Do you think the mass action of last year had any impact on government's thinking?

MM     It had. I think it had a lot. In fact we believe that that's what really pushed the government to listen in some areas.

POM     Looking at the constitution proposals that are now on the table at the World Trade Centre, how satisfied are you with them on a scale of about one to ten? Like you could say about five, three, nine. [Do they mean to - most of them want to see the constitution?] Do you think they are what the people want to see in a constitution?

MM     Well, there are some ... and we are saying that we have tended to negotiate the constitution at the World Centre and which is contrary to our understanding that the constitution is not going to be built at the World Trade Centre but at the Constituent Assembly. But the negotiators have gone a long way to actually construct a sort of constitution saying that they are constructing guidelines. But as far as I'm concerned they've gone a long way to and the example there is that they've even gone to discuss regionalism, regionalism and federal matters, those are the basic principles that were supposed to be discussed at the CA. That is worrying. Those are the concessions that we then made, on armed action, armed activities, the lifting of this and that and whilst the regime has not lifted anything. It's still arrogant and involved in conflicts in our areas. So I'm making that example of the constitutional issues.

POM     Do you remember the Weekly Mail on the 25th of May last year had a headline that said the NP's strategists were stealing the constitution. They were really talking about this very matter of having these things like powers of the regions, functions of the regions sent back to technical committees essentially and a constitution must be written the way the National Party wants it to be written. Is anything tied up for you, would you agree with that or not?

MM      Yes, this is right, it ties up with what I'm saying that people tended to be agreeing to really thrashing out the constitution. There's not much that is going to be done by the CA because the constitution already is structured.

POM     Do you not think then that maybe the ANC has been out-negotiated?

MM     Well, I may not say that directly then.

POM      Nothing will be published before 1998 so that's not going to appear in the paper tomorrow.

MM     Well, I wouldn't say directly but I would say that the ANC tended to give in a lot whilst the government was not giving in anything. So, that point in that sense that's how I would say they are outwitted by the National Party at the negotiations so, because you cannot understand their agreeing to this and that because De Klerk keeps extending the gold options and saying that, oh yes, do this and we grapple with that and get rid of that then do that and using his agents like Inkatha to be staunch supporters to accommodate this or that. And I believe that that is wrong. We were supposed to negotiate properly as we negotiate in the trade union movement, give and take. You don't just give and give and give, you don't get anything.

POM     Well, this kind of concession doesn't surprise you coming from a man like Cyril Ramaphosa who has such a skill because he worked with NUM?

MM     Well, I think negotiations are not about skill or cleverness. You cannot depend on that. You have to depend on the power of the people. So the negotiators tended to depend on their cleverness and skills only so that has to be linked to the understanding. What understanding are the people having and therefore they must get information, feedbacks and from what's happening, what are the difficulties and also they should be linked to mass action so, therefore you are basing your skills on the power of the people. Negotiations are about power, not about anything else. So therefore, we tended to water down our power and depend on individuals, individual skills so therefore that's not negotiations, doesn't have to depend on that as taught us in the trade union movement that you cannot depend on your skills, you depend on the power of the people, the workers.

POM     What's the difference between a power-sharing government, which is what the National Party and the government was talking about, and the government of national unity, which is what the ANC at Harare was talking about? Is it just the difference of semantics or there're real differences there?

MM     Well, in that I would say there are some differences. The government of national unity, that means therefore that you say people must get rid of what has been dividing people and then we unite the nation. Power-sharing is something else. Power sharing means that we'll have to give up some of the things. For example they are proposing power sharing and therefore, like at local government, power sharing meaning that if you have property you must have maybe about two votes or three votes. If you have no property then one vote. So then that is now power-sharing that is dangerous. So why should we talk about power-sharing, we must talk of majority, the majority vote and it must be democracy that is also applicable in any country. Then when you talk of national unity therefore you'll be able to accommodate even those that got lower votes, but proportionally, not that they must be able to out-wit you, etc, etc, but the majority party must be able to rule, always. And therefore, just for the sake of unity and then it can talk to other parties where then you formulate a government of national unity. Not necessarily that then they group together then to come and outwit you or to outvote you. So, that's why I say there are differences, not that I'm opposed to a government of national unity as long as the majority party rules and then it accommodates others in that process, but knowing that they're minorities that have to contribute, even if they contribute as opposition it must be a multi-party government. But there should be bottom lines. Even the party that has the support of 200 people then you say that because of national unity therefore it must be involved in decision-making. We are talking of parties that have reasonable support.

POM     But the ANC and the government's proposed 5%.

MM     Yes, the bottom line should be ...

POM     Is it just a matter of debate?

MM     I think it's a matter of debate.

POM     Most countries wield the power and getting things done. governments come and governments go, given the structure of South Africa how would your government get it to co-operate?

MM     Yes, that's the problem. That's one of the concessions that we have been indicating, and I heard Joe Slovo saying that the civil service will then be left intact. That is the problem. On top of the skill that these people have you make such statements then it's dangerous. And also saying that then their pensions will be guaranteed, then provident pensions. I think we are going to encounter problems there. That structure is going to drain lots of resources because the people have been struggling, that then they must also be employed. There's unemployment and there's less employed and with the white communities there's not much unemployment. So then, we have to balance things and then if we guarantee then I have fear. We have to reach out to those people who have been excluded from the corridors of power and then put in black people in the civil service. So there must be reshuffling and rearrangement in the reconstruction.

POM     What about the whole reconstruction programme coming to a grinding halt just through bureaucratic delay, not being carried out?

MM     Not being carried out because in power there's people who don't want those programmes so that's the question of the civil service. That has to be addressed and then there should be reshuffling and reorganising of the whole thing. Yes, it may not be done within a day but there should be a timetable. We also wouldn't like to see collapse of services because we want to reshuffle and there should be continuation but that must be linked to affirmative action.

POM     If you look at De Klerk, after the referendum last year he was riding the crest of popularity and yet today in the National Party itself the Cabinet is divided between hawks and doves, his popularity has fallen to all time low, only one out of four people who voted for him 1989 will vote for him again. What's happened to that party and De Klerk that has brought about this kind of precipitous decline over the last year?

MM     I think the reasons are a bit clear. One, they have not been able to rule like formerly when there was law and order and there was no violence. The violence has escalated and it has been touching the white communities.

POM     Sorry, it has been touching?

MM     White communities and let alone, therefore, the black communities. So therefore people tended to point fingers at the government that then it's not doing enough to get rid of violence and crime, which is true. And they were leaving that deliberately, not doing much because it was assisting them. Well if the violence was concentrated on the black communities then black communities tended to say, what is Mandela doing, what is the ANC doing? Because the armed actions are lifted and now look we are dying. Now that is happening in all areas, and in fact we are closer to anarchy. OK, the economy, the economy is not improving and now there are negotiations and signs and people are still saying that it's not safe to invest in South Africa because of violence, because of instability.

POM     Are you saying the country is close to anarchy at this point?

MM     It's close to anarchy yes, it's close to anarchy. You see when you see people each and every month you'll find that about three to four massacres. I would say that then no country has experienced violence the way we have experienced it here where there is no declared war but people are dying in many numbers. So that shows that there's lawlessness and then government has lost control where they can boast and say there's law and order in this country. And because they've involved in rivalry so it's difficult to put plugs.

POM     I was in Cape Town on the weekend and there were mass protests against the petrol hikes and lots that's been recorded is commuters being attacked. This relates to the question of anarchy, this is the kind of mass confrontation. The only way that people are being taught to deal with every problem before any kind of negotiations happen on these matters, is by confrontations that inevitably turn violent, by people who know how to do one thing - how to protest.

MM     Well they do. You see, the problem is the channels still go back to the present government, it's illegitimate and it has no mandate and whatever it does it doesn't consult, it doesn't talk, like for instance this petrol price hike, the thing was not even discussed at CODESA at the World Trade Centre, sorry, but that's what the government does. And we have been saying that restructuring or reconstruction must be done in isolation of what's happening generally, politically so, that everybody must be involved and then when you have to put whatever you have decided in action you find opposition from the people because they're sick and tired of being spoon-fed. They want to participate in decision making, that's why, therefore, you see all these same people responding and then at the end of the day then those mass actions then conflict with other interests and to blame the government because it has pushed people up to a brink.

POM     Do you think that if the government and the ANC, in order to bring Inkatha back into the process, were to make significant concessions to Inkatha regarding the scope of powers which should be exercised by the regions and in terms of the regions, would you anticipate any kind of a fallout after all that? That grassroots people say well, everyone had to be included so will more compromise be made?

MM     I didn't get the question.

POM     The question is if the IFP were sitting there and saying, "We won't participate until two or three demands are met", would the government try to lure them back in, and they've had bilaterals with the ANC too. If the government and ANC were to concede one of Inkatha's main demands and argue that the powers of the regions are significant, have been entrenched, that this is taking one of the constitutional principles that can't be avoided at a Constituent Assembly. Would the grassroots understand that, get it, care?

MM     You see, I think the grassroots will find it difficult to understand some concessions, like where you have to concede on something dangerous like regionalism giving powers, strong powers to the regions and because of the imbalances in the delivering of resources in this country because the wealth is send out to some areas and in some areas it's dry. Then what are you going to do? Then if you regionalise too much one of the advantages of centralised power is that you centralise the economic resources and be able to distribute those resources properly where they're needed. Take the Witwatersrand, the richest region, does it care what other regions eat? So those are some of the concessions that sometimes are creating problems, where you give in too much. Why should you persuade Gatsha? And if he doesn't want to participate, anyway he doesn't have much support. If it's left in the cold because it has put itself in the cold then we push for elections, we push for everything and he will follow. He wants power, because at the end of the day he doesn't have much support, he doesn't have much following. There has been information in regards to that, studies made in regards to his support. Well, the government knows what it's doing because the IFP has been the government's partner for some time. They won't leave their old buddies out of stream for long. So as the ANC, why should we - I don't understand, and that's not understood where some concessions have to be made.

POM     So if Inkatha did stay out in the cold could you have free and fair elections in Natal during the level of violence that exists there now?

MM     The violence?

POM     During the level of violence that exists in terms of ... with Buthelezi still out of the process, won't it lead to more violence in Natal? At least there will be no devolution.

MM     The majority of the people here want peace, want democracy, want to live a good life. And only a few people are resorting to this violence or sinister process. And then you need a strong force that is going to keep law and order. So, once you have a force that is not going to be biased, that is not going to shoot people itself, then you will have free elections, free and fair. In the East Rand why that violence is continuing is because the police are not prepared to get rid of it. It's either they are supporting and or just ignoring things. So therefore, before election we need a new force, a new integrated force that is going to look at that, get to the townships. Look at these bus/taxi ranks. Why should there be no police? If it was white taxi ranks then you would find police there because those are the areas that are targeted. There is a force, an army, that is doing nothing that can assist some areas to man. It's not accepted in our communities because they become biased. So that is why I'm saying we should firstly integrate the forces and then we can have fine forces that are controlled, centrally controlled, by the parties at the World Trade Centre and the outside interference, outside monitors, outside even controllers. We have to get an international force even if it's small just to assist in the integration. Not to get rid of violence but to assist in the integration and to direct the integration so that therefore there is a climate created where people will feel secure. Look, you don't think that there's law and order when the hostel dwellers could be allowed to burn down people's houses or chase out the residents and occupy, illegally occupying other people's houses. And then the security forces will say there's nothing we can do. Where can you see that in the world? Then there's something wrong. So therefore, there would be free and fair elections if there is integrated forces.

POM     If there are integrated forces?

MM     Yes, that is accepted by the people.

POM     But my specific question would be like Buthelezi says, the IFP is not contesting this election, that if left the violence continues at different levels or increases, you already have a great deal of alternatives to war by now.

MM     Whatever happens there would still be violence. If we say that we are going to wait until violence is gone we won't have elections. And we have to accept that. And because the violence is continuing, not because Buthelezi is calling on violence now and then. It's continuing because the police force and the security forces don't want to get rid of violence, because they have a better interest in it. What I'm saying is that then whatever Buthelezi says won't count if there was law and order.

POM     So what in fact you are saying is the government has lost control of all the forces of the law? Buthelezi has lost control of Inkatha to a large extent, the police to the armed wings. And how about the ANC? Is it in control of all its SDUs or generally an open and out political violence and criminal violence?

MM     You see, there's very few places where the SDU's have really caused a mark towards being involved in violence. Most of the time they are involved in defending their areas. It's defence mechanisms and not offensive in most areas. Yet there are areas where, like an individual like the police being involved in crime, in the way you find individuals being involved in some sinister activities. Then, but we cannot then because of that then to say all of them are involved in violent activities or covert activities but not like the Inkatha impis who are there just for violence, not like the police who in most cases in the townships are perpetrating violence. So what I'm saying is that then the SDUs, yes some especially in the Vaal Triangle there has been some reports of mismanagement of affairs there. But relatively, in other areas then there's nothing like that and you cannot compare it then to the other structures that have been involved in violence.

POM     What if it comes up again year after year this question of a lack of tolerance among people from different points of view, do you think the National Party and Inkatha Party should be able to canvass in black townships or do you think they shouldn't be there?

MM     Yes, there's been intolerance and that is historic that we do understand the causes of that intolerance. As a person I don't support that then some parties have to be barred from canvassing support in certain areas. There should be freedom of choice, freedom of engagement and freedom of speech, yes, then people must be free to join parties of their choice. If therefore I was supporting that the leaders of those parties must be able to canvass support wherever and however. Let's take that some parties are being barred from entering the townships then you understand those people then that they are saying these people are involved, have been involved in crime and therefore we are against them coming to our areas. So, you understand that anger? Now then, these are the people who have caused all these ills in our society now they are coming to us. So you do understand that anger? It must be understood from that angle, that it's not just intolerance but it's people saying then that you have been involved in criminal activities now you want us to accept you. No! But as a person I don't think that is right. We should allow people to compete for votes.

POM     Do you think the civics have a specific role to play in trying to teach tolerance?

MM     Well, civics have to have a role to play because they are non-sectarian structures. They are structures that are not supposed to support this or that political party against this or that political party. So they stand a good chance of working properly.

POM     Yes, but what role do you see for them in the political parties, where do they fit?

MM     Well, we have said that then, for example, in the coming elections civics must not support this party against that party but civics must work out programmes, must look at the programmes of these organisations and their track record, etc, etc., and put forward programmes like COSATU did saying that these are reconstruction programmes and therefore you should support them. So the civics have to fit in where you have to have unity and we have to have democracy, we have to have development, socially, economically and politically. Generally, the civics were contributing in that process of change, of reconstruction and democratisation and development regardless of who is who because that's the role of the civic and therefore they must also act as peacemakers in the whole process.

POM     What do you think the PAC is doing? We saw Makwetu yesterday and he said ... the Communist Party working with communists, he said several things, like they won't take part in join security force operations, do not take part in the TEC. What sort of strategy does he have? Are they more of a headache than a real threat to the process?

MM     Well, I think they are making a mistake in really ignoring everything that is happening around them. We haven't won the war, they have not too. Therefore you can't therefore say you are going to get everything that you wanted as if you fought and won. The fact of the matter is there's still Pretoria government, Afrikaner government. It's still very powerful militarily, and therefore you have to talk and to be able to make progress.

POM     Since 1990 has there been any acknowledgement on the part of senior white public figures that apartheid is wrong? Like the injury that was done to black people and that injury must be compensated for by someone?

MM     You mean leaders, like white leaders. Well, they have been coming up through rhetoric that yes, apartheid was wrong. De Klerk has said so, Roelf Meyer has said so, then they are accepting that then there have been wrongs and those wrongs must be corrected. I don't know how. Yes, I think there is acknowledgement that then apartheid was wrong. They are doing that because they see that apartheid cannot work economically, it has failed, it cannot work politically and socially and therefore another way is needed. So, they are saying so, but they don't have an alternative. They are frustrating already the negotiations and so therefore it becomes empty rhetoric. Just accepting but not coming up with alternatives whilst you have power.

POM     Well the point that I'm getting at is it seems to me that there's a kind moral high ground to the alliance's position. They have been subjected for more than 300 years, particularly for the last 40 years, there isn't going to be right, they aren't even going to eliminate it but that the government wants to look at the negotiations as, like a trade union party, peace across the table, whereas the ANC looks at that extra dimension, the moral dimension. Do you see it?

MM     Well, unless you can phrase it differently I don't think I get it properly, the question.

POM     We go back to the fact that white people don't understand the extent of the wrong that they inflicted on black people. And that for the most part white people are not sorry in any genuine way for doing ... on blacks and as a result of that their attitudes in the last couple of years have hardened. They see all the demands being made by the ANC, the see all these mass actions, they see all these things. They say, we'll get rid of apartheid, we'll get rid of apartheid if that's what they want. Do you think there's been a hardening of some attitudes over the last few years?

MM     Yes, there has been because of the right wingers stoking fires and also because of some blunders as I've mentioned. Inability of the government to do things. Well, also the anger of the people, then those people who are staying in Sandton, etc., etc., they look at this anger.

POM     They look at what?

MM     The anger of the people, then people who are staying in these white areas who have wealth and they feel, oh well no we're insecure and therefore ... So therefore there has been that, and even those that say, "OK, we are sorry, we are sorry but ..." Then later they see this and that and that and that. There's still that 'but', but then what? Because those angers are justified too and that feeling of insecurity of those people who have something to lose is also justified. But saying I'm sorry, full stop, doesn't assist the process.

POM     Is it white attitudes have hardened or blacks more angry now than they were in 1990?

MM     I would say that they are frustrated. It has lead to frustration and anger and in 1990 it was just anger, anger, people fighting. So now they feel let down and frustrated and still angry but because there's these processes that are not really coming to fruition, that there have been these discussions, these talks at the World Trade Centre for now, many, many months and there's nothing concrete that's coming out of that. And many people are linking that to the present violence, that if it wasn't for CODESA then violence wouldn't be so high. So the process frustrating, there is anger and frustration more than in 1990. Because in 1990 there was nothing promising.

POM     What do people have a right to expect, say after five years of a government of national unity, particularly in the townships?

MM     I'll be wrong if I say I know the answers, I'll be wrong. I don't know. But the way things are going now and the way we have mapped up the whole process as trade unions is that immediately after April then there should be sort of implementation of the reconstruction programme.

POM     There should be ...?

MM     Implementation of the reconstruction programme. So that those parties that want to show that then they can do something can before the general election. Yes, yes, I think the priorities are that we must try to get rid of poverty, get rid of homelessness and involve them. Development also comes in through the reconstruction programme. So that's what I would expect probably then, around the sphere of development, that things must move.

POM     Oh, I've just thought of one other thing about the PAC. What role are they playing in all of this?

MM     Well, it's an on and off role. Like at the World Trade Centre, it's on and off. Some today they are in tomorrow they are out, today they don't want this structure or that structure, tomorrow they accept it. It's very difficult to say here's the policy of this organisation. Very difficult.

POM     Do you think they have as a big a following as they claim to have?

MM     No! Well, we haven't seen that following yet. Like, for example, if you have a following that you claim to have you should be able to call at least a mass meeting. So that then everybody will be able to see that you have a following. So you can't always then shout that you have a following whilst you don't prove that following. At some stage you must prove that following by calling upon your supporters, reporting to them this and that and getting their views on this and that. So that is not happening. Since the unbanning the ANC has had many meetings, conferences, public meetings. The Communist Party has done so too. But there are organisations that have not demonstrated their support.

POM     The assassination of Chris Hani, what impact did that have on the country as a whole, and has it influenced it in any way, such as the election, the direction the process is taking?

MM     Well, that's part of the anger that grips people, the death of Chris and also then followed by the death of Tambo. I think it was a great loss because he would have been one of the leading figures to really restore law and order in this country and people feel angry, angry about his death; and also then that the prosecution is not going to go as was envisaged. And it's going to have an impact on the elections. It's going to have an impact on building relationships with the government.

POM     In fact how the Government agreed to a date for elections, that one week, the anniversary of Chris Hani's death is one week beforehand and May Day is two days later, from that point of view, I mean there would be a great deal of mass mobilisation around those three occasions?

MM      Yes, yes. No! no march, no march was done. It's also then, because of our structures. Structures are weak and the politicians don't have time to build those structures because they are busy negotiating and when it comes to mobilisation you find that now there's poor mobilisation on issues.

POM     That's up to the unions?

MM     That was up to the unions, yes. There's no march of that militancy now, it used to be there in the workers.

POM     Why do you think that is so?

MM     It's because people are out-stretched and even trade unions are at political negotiations, this and that, and touching here and there and at the end of the day nothing happens.

POM     OK.

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.