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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

26 Aug 1993: Van Zyl Slabbert, Frederik

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POM     Last year you expressed concern that an election couldn't be held for maybe two or three years because of the level of violence. Since then the level of violence has increased dramatically in certain areas. How sure are you now that elections will take place at the prescribed time or shortly thereafter?

VZS     Well I'm still prepared to put my head on a block there won't be elections on 27th April. I think that the convenient excuse, and I mean it, convenient one, will be that they will run into a legislative timetable crisis. In other words that they won't be ready in the September/October sessions of parliament to pass bills on an Independent Electoral Commission, the Media Council, things like that and therefore there will be common agreement to postpone it for a few months. I think, I said last time, that if we have an election I would put it closer to November next year than earlier. The reason I choose November, you've got fairly high profile delicate dates in between, 16th June, Chris Hani's death.

POM     Before the elections are due they will have ...?

VZS     Yes, and then afterwards you've got 16th June and other things. So I think it would be a problem for them to have it. That would be the most convenient excuse, is to have consensus that we haven't got our legislative programme in place therefore we haven't got the Electoral Commission.

VZS     Oh it gives the ANC and the government big problems.

POM     They're promising once again but not delivering.

VZS     It creates a big problem for them but the worst problem for them would be to go into elections where nobody accepts the results or, not nobody, but where the results will be deeply questioned both by the international community and internally. That's not to say that it's totally impossible but to make it feasible you have to find some kind of an agreement on two issues; how you involve COSAG in the elections and how you deal with the question of maintaining at least transitional law and order for the purposes of elections? I'm beginning to sound like a gramophone record on this one but I'm saying that if you can't get the parties to agree on the question of carrying of arms in public by unauthorised people, if they can't say whatever our political differences maybe we are in agreement that nobody will walk around with a thing called a cultural weapon or an AK47 or an instrument that can kill people, well then I think the kind of constitutional consensus you have to seek legitimacy is going to be under severe strain. So that to me still is a very big problem, or to put it in another way, to hope that if kids sell peace signs this is going to bring you stability. It's crazy, if the politicos don't want to sit down and do something about peace it's not easy to think how children and ministers of religion and well intentioned businessmen are going to deliver stability. In the arena of stability you have ample evidence of racial and ethnic outbidding. The kid that was killed yesterday, the American girl ...

POM     It was a friend of ours, she worked with us on a number of projects.

VZS     For God's sake! I'm sorry to hear that. But that kind of thing. So you see I mean over the last month you've had Constand Viljoen saying Afrikaner women must learn to kill. You have Mandela saying whites don't care how many blacks are killed. You have Buthelezi saying it's a policy of the ANC to systematically kill Inkatha supporters. You have Mokaba saying kill a farmer, all these issues revolve around a problem of how you maintain stability and maintain a certain level of political tolerance. So I really find it difficult to see (a) what kind of elections they hope to hold under those circumstances and (b) who would accept the results if the COSAG group doesn't participate.

POM     Dealing with that one for a moment and with Buthelezi in particular, it seems to me that's he climbing further and further out on a limb, sawing the thing off behind him and leaving himself, making statements. I interviewed Walter Felgate a couple of days ago and it was like there would be no election for a Constituent Assembly, there would be no two-stage process, no election, nothing, it's non-negotiable.

VZS     Well let me preface whatever I'm going to say about Buthelezi and Inkatha by saying that this is (a) the smoking gun in the pack and highly unpredictable. I don't know where it goes. Gatsha to me is extremely difficult to fathom. So, having said that, two things; first, there seems to be an emerging tension within the ranks of Inkatha, precisely the Felgate/Ambrosini factor now being slowly outbid by Joe Matthews, Mdlalose, people like that. Maybe that will bring a certain degree of rationality back into this thing. Secondly, it seems to me that as far as constitutional negotiations can go Buthelezi's objections formally can be met around regional government, federation, I think the ANC would meet him there. But that doesn't seem to me to be the problem. The problem seems to me that it doesn't really matter what constitutional compromise Buthelezi negotiates, even of a very strong federal nature, after the first elections he's going to be the biggest loser. He's going to lose. He's going to lose what he's got, he's going to lose the kind of prominence he enjoys and so on simply because if you look at the available poll results he simply can't muster enough support.

POM     Not even in KwaZulu?

VZS     He will never, it's problematical. One of the dynamics which seems to be unfolding at the moment is he's going for white support but it's costing him black support. The kind of whites that he picks up are not the kind of whites that will wildly excite the blacks in the urban areas, so he has a combination of fairly centre, right of centre whites joining him consolidating the kind of traditional base of his support in the rural areas but losing his support in the urban areas and it would seem to be the party that takes Durban will more or less have the most influence in Natal. So it's that kind of situation.

POM     How much overall do you think his personality plays in this? I've never heard him speak and I've interviewed him three times and he never fails to mention how often he's been insulted, that's the first one. He produced a 600 page book of every time he's been insulted by the ANC. Do you think in any way he knows that he would lose and therefore to stay outside of the process still makes him more important, gives him a higher level of visibility?

VZS     I think that certainly plays a role, that's why my qualification was precisely on the personality level. It's such an unpredictable factor but certainly I think there is this element of him going to be the loser, there's a strong sense of paranoia and persecution there. It's always been there.

POM     If he were to lose a close election he wouldn't accept the results?

VZS     Well what can he do? He can't play the Savimbi card on this one. I've heard people talk about it. Savimbi at least for quite a long time had the Americans and the South Africans supporting him and giving him arms and bolstering him up. When they dropped him he's now sort of reduced to stealing diamonds and killing elephants to stay alive. There's nothing in KwaZulu that can sustain him, maybe some right wing American groups.

POM     You would say he does not have a capacity to arm himself?

VZS     He can be a rogue, he can be a rogue. He can destabilise up to a point but he's more manageable as far as I'm concerned than the right wing.

POM     He's more manageable than the right wing?

VZS     Yes, on the violence level.

POM     Yes, OK. Can we talk about the right wing? A year ago they seemed in disarray and discredited, a lack of cohesiveness and certainly more incoherent. How has that situation happened in the space of a year?

VZS     Well I think maybe if you go back you will remember I said that the one thing that keeps that lot together in a funny kind of way, Treurnicht and the dilemma about Treurnicht is he can maintain kind of Conservative Party unity but at the cost of a strategy, they don't really know what to do. Now in a weird kind of way his death precipitated a succession crisis which eventually led to a right wing strategy, let's get together in an Afrikaner Front, something Treurnicht would never do. What happened, if you look at it closely, is that Boet Bruwer and Piet Gouws, who are Conservative Party members, went to Constand Viljoen who was already advising the Afrikaner Volksunie and said, "Come on, call a meeting together", and then brought the other Generals, Tienie Groenewald and so on together, and that brought the right wing together. And even if you look at that Afrikaner Volksfront there's a clear division on one important issue and that's the issue of land. The one side says we need an Afrikaner Volkstaat for ourselves, the other side says no, we can solve the problem of self-determination without having secession. That is an unresolved problem but the interesting thing is that kind of unification of the Afrikaner for strategic solidarity purposes gave a new found legitimacy to the AWB because their militancy suddenly now made sense especially because you've got the Generals, except now in this case Constand Viljoen being a military man himself he's undercutting the relevance of Eugene Terre'Blanche.

     I think Viljoen is very much the General and Terre'Blanche is very much the foot soldier, he's the corporal. Viljoen is playing a very interesting game, he's saying I want to talk, I don't want to fight. I want to talk but you've got to take me seriously and if you don't take me seriously then I'm going to fight. So he's mobilising for confrontation but he's basically, and I accept this, basically he wants to talk. But if you listen carefully what Viljoen wants to talk about, he wants to talk about stability. How do we maintain stability before we talk about all these fancy constitutional options we hear about? And there he's got his knife right into one of the soft underbellies of transition because they've never really looked at stability. What Viljoen is saying is let us agree, no APLA running around here killing people and no, he calls it the revolution, the revolution must be stopped and then we can talk. I must say I think he's got a point there.

     Now if you don't accommodate the right and talk about stability and you insist that they must come and talk about legitimacy, they're going to say no. That's why I'm saying their kind of impact on the negotiations of a different order will make the two of them, Buthelezi, Buthelezi's support can be brought in on the question of legitimacy. I don't think you can bring in the right wing Afrikaner just on the question of legitimacy. They want to know how is law and order, how do we prevent what happened yesterday? That's number one for them and that's why even the Afrikaner Volksunie would say, yes, sure, you give me a spot where I can feel fairly safe I'll try it but you've got to explain to me how. Can we agree that there will be no private firearms, that you can't get these marauding APLA guys coming to kill farmers in the rural areas? That is the kind of thing that concerns them.

     That's why I'm saying if the government and the ANC take a view on sufficient consensus that excludes that right wing and they persist with elections what you've got to ask yourself is how do you hold elections in Schweizer-Reneke, in Carolina? Be my guest, go and stand there on election day and monitor but be damn sure you're standing at a safe distance because it will be rough, it's going to be very rough. So that's really where the right wing has the capacity to destabilise the process.

POM     What would you say to those who say, well you have to have elections because if you don't then those that perpetrate violence and don't want elections know that it pays off and all they've got to do is keep the violence up and there never will be elections?

VZS     It's a bit late in the day to come and argue that. Clinton invites De Klerk and Mandela to come and have a prize, they want to give him a present, they say the 27th April there will be elections. Now they've created an urgency around a date that almost becomes compelling and what really is happening now is they've set a political timetable that's being outstripped by an agenda with unresolved issues. Now they say, but you know if you don't resolve those issues, if you don't have the election, then we're going to be in trouble. Of course you're going to be in trouble. You were in trouble before you decided on the date. Now you suddenly say if we don't have the date - but you can't now simply say because we can't meet the date that was in any case problematic before we solve those problems, we're going to have problems.

     The point is if they cannot find a reasonable way of saving face and postponing the elections, then I'm sure they're going to have a lot of difficulties holding those elections. I want to know how do you hold those elections under those circumstances? People say to me, but you know if you hold the elections that will solve the problem of legitimacy, it will undercut the violence. Well that may be so but can we hold the elections? So tell me how you hold the elections? You hold them, you undercut the violence, I'll be as happy as anything, in fact I would have held elections a year and a half ago. The point is we haven't addressed the problems that would make an election possible or feasible or manageable and so on.

     Now there's one way that I can see this, and people think I'm slightly mad when I talk about it, they may have a referendum before Christmas, have a referendum asking for a mandate to hold elections and that creates a new kind of solidarity and you can then say, well OK. Can you imagine the ANC and the government both going for a huge propaganda campaign to get a yes vote in a referendum to continue with their own agendas? It's what happened with the white referendum.

POM     I've heard that from people in the ANC too, that this could be a way out. They want it go on and you don't, which do you want?

VZS     That's right. But it created an extraordinary dynamic in white society last year. You had Helen Suzman and Pik Botha on the same platform going for yes, and suddenly things change and people start talking about problems that they never would have talked about before. Now maybe that kind of dynamic can be unleashed here, I don't know. But I must say I have problems seeing as we're going on now. De Klerk is in Uruguay for God's sake and Chile concluding deals about the economy and so on.

POM     While South Africa burns.

VZS     And Nelson sort of floats above the battle himself, make no mistake.

POM     What has happened to the NP and the government in the last year. Beside the defections, polls show that it would only take one in four of the votes it got in 1989, it's fragmented, indecisive. How did De Klerk manage to go from a peak of popularity in April of last year to a very definite unpopularity today?

VZS     It's not too difficult. It's the same Bush phenomenon. After the Gulf War he was just one step away from taking over up there. I think people bought solidarity and they bought peace with the yes vote last year and said, come on, we'll give you a mandate. And that they can manipulate again. You can always get that kind of vote back so I'm not too concerned about that. I don't think the majority of whites will vote for the CP, I can't see that, because what are they saying? Let's go and find a volkstaat somewhere? When you really get down to the tin tacks on that one whites are not going to do that. They're going to say, no, that's not going to work. So, yes, now there's a lot of dissatisfaction and so on.

     The more interesting phenomenon is the defection. Now I'm saying if you get a Nat joining Inkatha and a DP joining Inkatha, those are just politicians. They've made their sums and they're not going to be on the shelf in this proportional representation.

POM     It's a matter of where you think you'll be on the list.

VZS     Where you're going to be on the list, exactly. Mike Tarr stands a better chance.

POM     They'll put the whites up on the top, it's a non-racial party. The same thing with the Nats.

VZS     Sure. You take a chance. Jurie Mentz looks at the whole thing and he says I'm not going to be on the NP list, I can be high up on the Inkatha list. So he switches and goes there. Now that is loaded with symbolic significance because Jurie suddenly discovers new arguments for why it's absolutely compelling to join Inkatha which he would never have considered two years ago but now it's there you see. I must say he's totally dishonest about it. Maybe there's a great deal of conviction too but that conviction was spurred on by a lot of self-interest as well and you'll see a lot of the other guys joined the ANC also. But there's an element of that kind of experience.

     Yes, it's not difficult to understand why De Klerk has lost support because there are some very unpleasant things that he has to do and there are some very important things that he's not doing because he's in a sense hamstrung. The stability issue is number one. He goes to Natal, clears his throat and tell people, "I will keep control over the armed forces until the election." He's mad. How does he deliver on that and do the armed forces want to be controlled by him until the election? That's the other interesting question. He then also says, "I might even call a state of emergency." Him alone? He'll call a state of emergency now? How does he manage a state of emergency on his own? It's crazy. So what is he doing?

     But I think the same thing, you listen to Nelson, Nelson thinks if he gets 60% or 70% of the vote, he may get 80%, he's solved the problem. There's a compliant civil service waiting for him, the security system locks in behind him and he marches off into a golden future. Crazy.

     And I'm just saying they've never really confronted these issues. They're doing long distance negotiations at the World Trade Centre, they've never confronted those issues. And it's not difficult to negotiate at the WTC because they cherry pick on the issues. They take the easy ones and they generate consensus at the rate of knots and every difficult one is just shifted further back and now you're running into a timetable crisis because you've got to deliver the difficult ones if you want to have an election.

POM     Every time I've been out there everything that was under discussion was referred back to ...

VZS     Exactly. We'll get to that, it's very important, must get to that.

POM     If you look at the last year from the stayaways that were going on at this time and the hard line between the ANC and the government to the position today where to a certain extent, at least on process, they seem to be in bed together, what would you point to as being the major concessions or compromises made by each of them to arrive at this position?

VZS     I think the ANC has made major concessions on regional government. They were very much against it but they've shifted on that quite significantly. The government has also made concessions, I mean they've met one another on the level of regional government, there's been some concession there. The government has conceded on the whole question of entrenched power sharing. I think when we talked last time De Klerk was still entertaining this possibility of ...

POM     Up to a couple of weeks ago.

VZS     Yes, he's given up on that one. He's said, no, let the thing run its course. The ANC has conceded, well it's not really a concession it's a sense of realism that's suddenly penetrated, they've conceded on the fact that they can win the election but they cannot administer so they have to share power and do a deal on the civil service and so on. That's been a concession. The concession on regionalism is basically a concession to Buthelezi and to the right wing Afrikaners. The right wing Afrikaners, I would say the Afrikaner Volksunie has made a concession in the sense that it's sacrificed the partitionist dream and now is prepared to explore self-determination with partition. But that's a small group and they're experiencing defections and so on, the least concessions have been made from the right wing I would say, the Conservative Party. The CP, yes. The others are the weirdo fringe in any case, Herstigte Nasionale Party, Volksunie, Boerbevredingsbeweging and that kind of stuff.

     Gatsha hasn't made a lot of concessions. But then if you look at Gatsha's constitutional principles they're not all that difficult to - they're not all that unpalatable. But that's not the issue. For Gatsha the crisis is not constitutional content, for Gatsha the crisis is constitutional process right down to the moment where the process ends and he's lost. So he's saying give me proper guarantees now that won't change later on. I'm saying even if they give that to him he's still going to be a fairly difficult customer to deal with and if you really want to get a feel for it and it comes back to the stability question, is he prepared to sacrifice control over the KwaZulu Police? That's the key. If he says, OK, one South African police force chain of command has now changed, I am no longer Minister of Police, they fall under the SAP, they will also make people available for the joint peacekeeping force which he will not do until we accept that MK will not be in the joint peacekeeping. Come on! What's this? This is pure politics. How do you think you have a joint peacekeeping force by excluding MK? So he knows, he knows if it's joint peacekeeping, KwaZulu Police, MK, APLA, Aquila, right wing have to be there. So he says, "I think it's a wonderful idea but no MK." That's the critical issue and he's a very shrewd politician. He knows exactly every time where to shove the knife. If I have to rate him quite dispassionately without taking sides who's the shrewdest one of the lot in terms of bargaining and prolonging and kicking for touch and stalling it, he comes pretty close to first prize.

POM     Do you think that if the government and ANC went the ultimate mile to meet three quarters of the way, seven eighths of the way, he'd probably say, "I'll stay in the process"? Do you think that the ANC in Natal which always was a little bit problematic with regard to ANC leadership would settle for something like that?

VZS     The wild card is Harry Gwala, that's the wild card there. Does he want that kind of settlement? In a sense Gwala and Buthelezi need one another because every time you're on the point of something that seems to make sense old Harry will arrange a meeting and say some absolutely off the wall kind of thing, like there's going to be civil war in SA, prepare for it, arm yourselves now but let's have elections, great fun. You know, that kind of thing.

     So, yes, I think it's a problem. I think that at some or other stage violence fatigue will start setting in but we're not there yet. Anybody who talks violence and revolution and war in Mozambique now, people just turn around and walk away because they've had it, they've seen what it does. The same kind of fatigue is beginning to set in in Angola but we haven't reached that level yet. We still have a lot of special interest lobbies who think that maybe violence is necessary, revolution, big fight.

POM     When you look at the violence since 1990 do you see the violence that is there today being qualitatively different than the violence that was there in 1990 or is it the same thing? Is there more subscription now on both sides to the idea that there is some kind of third force, be it mercenary, be it whatever, but that it's out there, or rogue elements? It seems to me incredible that after three years nobody could put their finger on this third force.

VZS     I think (a) there's been an escalation of criminal violence but that is to be expected if you have this unresolved security situation. So there's been more criminal violence but there is this element, going into the church shooting, it's shifted a bit into the white areas. There's bit of a stronger anti-white bias to it. The factional violence in the townships is more or less the same. The question of who's responsible for it - you see I've always felt that there's no one third force, there are a number of third forces. You have enough warrior classes drifting around here that can generate their own third forces, Ciskei army, Transkei army, Bophuthatswana army, KwaZulu Police, SA Police, uMkhonto, APLA, Aquila, there're all there and they have above and below the line kind of operations, all of them, I'm sure of that.

POM     Do you think it's getting to a point of where everyone is out of control of their constituency, that the ANC is no longer in control of its defence units, that they'll admit to their being heavily infiltrated, where the PAC can't control APLA, where Buthelezi can't control whatever warlord?

VZS     Well I think there is a deplorable lack of political leadership on all sides. There is a lack of that kind of leadership, number one. Number two, there is no clear, and I mean Cyril said it two nights ago in The Star, there is no clear line of communication between the leadership and constituency, it's a very murky affair.

     But then there's a third thing and I can't quite put my mind around it but let me give you by illustration. I'm chairing a research project on the youth and we're trying to work out a common deal with CASE, the kind of stuff they've done in the youth. Fascinating finding is that approximately 60% of black youth accept the outcomes of negotiations even if they may not agree with what it's going to be. About 70% of them say the armed struggle is not going to solve any problem. 60% plus would say that, well 70% said that necklacing is out. Others would say don't know, not sure and so on. You very seldom get more than 10% who would actually settle for violence and this is a countrywide study and it's confirmed by other studies too. The popular message, there's a lost generation, seething, foaming at the mouth ready to kill and go crazy, the same kind of thing that you got used to, that it is actually a very small percentage of people who feel like that.

POM     If you've no stable centre and if you're on the extreme that's all it takes before people ...?

VZS     That's right. Exactly! I'm saying you have a leadership cadre at the top, then you have what I call a sort of middle management group which really is where a lot of the outbidding and the posturing and the fighting and the scrambling for position is going on, and then you have this bulk of support and the bulk of support is a fringe militant element and given the irresolution of that top level they make hay. The ordinary folk genuinely don't know what the hell is going on. You can ask people now, "Are you going to vote?" Don't know, don't think so. "Why not?" I don't know, what it is about? That's the commonest one. What's it about? Then if I vote they'll know what I'm going to vote, they'll kill me. That kind of stuff. Now we're going into massive voter education and all that but that is a very real problem, that whole sort of leadership thing. There's just a quality of political leadership.

POM     How did the assassination of Chris Hani affect that in the sense that in the months before his death he had become more of an advocate of the negotiating process and he had this legendary respect among the youth? Do you think his death in any way may have a serious impact or already has had a serious impact on the political process?

VZS     Oh there's no question. You see it's an interesting thing, it's Chris, Treurnicht and Tambo died. If there was ever a case where you can show where individuals do make a difference it is the deaths of those three in terms of what has happened in the country and the mood that followed. Chris certainly had a very profound effect on the young people but funnily enough it did not lead to the kind of massive disruption that people thought. I thought given the enormity of the event the whole funeral and the immediate period after that went off quite smoothly. In fact it was the very first time that there was a deal between the ANC marshals and the SA Police concerning a march here after the funeral.

POM     Do you think the fact that Mandela went on television and addressed the nation was almost symbolic of the transfer of power, that De Klerk may control the machinery of state but that Mandela controlled the nation?

VZS     Symbolically I suppose you could say it had that kind of effect.

POM     How do you see him having evolved over the last three years?

VZS     Well I've always argued that he's a pretty astute politician. He's made some enormous blunders. His appointment as chairman of SACP was one of the most inexplicable things I've ever seen, the way he handled that one. But I've always said he's a pretty astute politician. He understands power and he understands what's happening to power and he knows that he's taking the consequences of that. But under the circumstances I think he's managed reasonably well given where he's come from. I don't see him as a statesman, I don't see him as somebody who can get above the - but then I must say Nelson has not exactly excelled in that regard himself if I look at it quite dispassionately. Most of the political leadership in the last 18 months have really played short term constituency politics at the expense of the process of things, including De Klerk. But under the circumstances he's survived. I think the one area where I feel he really hasn't come to - but that's true for the others - is the question of stability but then that was my bugbear from the start with him but then he's inherited a security situation which he has to actively transform and use as an instrument for reconciliation. If he doesn't we can be in ...

POM     It would be a very funny irony that the first government of national unity, the first act they might do is to declare a state of emergency and not a constitution.

VZS     Exactly. It's a crazy, crazy situation. But it's easy to talk about it. They're really in a tough spot, they really are. One can't presuppose or one can't assume that they should have an understanding of the kinds of dynamics of transition in which they find themselves because Nelson may even after 27 years in prison, may have thought it's a fairly simple thing, flag down, flag up, here we go. And then suddenly you run into all these constraints and problems. De Klerk thought that, well, I can manipulate this show, I'll handle it, and I think he really did think he could handle it and then suddenly he's confronted with an agenda that he can't control. That's when it becomes interesting to observe them when they both realise this agenda is a tiger that we've to control.

POM     De Klerk had this aura of decisiveness for two years anyway and was a man who was not afraid to lead rather than to follow. That seems to have disappeared completely to the point where you say he makes statements that are so unilateral and belong to the past. It's over. What's happened?

VZS     A simple thing that has happened with both of them is that they've gone into an electoral mode, they're electioneering, they're playing election politics and that in itself, that is precisely my argument, is that they're becoming old fashioned street politicians, they're playing to the constituency. He goes to the party faithful and he says - as you say, suddenly it's rather quaint, what do you mean? How can you play that kind of election politics?

POM     They're playing election politics that also affect the man that you're trying to negotiate with.

VZS     That's my point. But you see I'm saying from the outset this has been a problem, that you have to negotiate with the people that you have to compete with in an election and that puts extraordinary demands on you to say well, OK, now I'm negotiating, I'm dispassionate about a constitution that must serve well into the future after my death but, hang on, in terms of the very constitution I want to out-gun you when it comes to the first election and that dynamic is now beginning to really heat up as it were, so all sides are playing election politics.

     A simple example, the ANC and the government can't get money overseas for their parties but they've suddenly discovered there's a hell of a lot of money available for voter education, so suddenly everybody wants to educate the voters.

     I've got to run.

POM     One last question on the constitutional proposals that are already on the table. How would you rate them on a scale of one to ten as meeting the requirements that you would want in a constitution?

VZS     They're good, nice, liberal, democratic constitutional principles. They are.

POM     It's implementation?

VZS     That's the big problem. There's a fascinating little tension built into them. One of them says there will be a justiciable bill of rights under common law protecting civil liberties and so on. The second one says we recognise and respect traditional leadership and customs and as far as possible will observe them, but when there is a conflict between customary law and common law, common law will prevail. You watch that one. You watch that one when they start wooing the chiefs and getting the votes from the chiefs and then you start watching the ANC in terms of their non-sexist, non-discriminatory agenda and then you start watching the black women who fought for their equality for so long, that's a nice little whip there and the salt that they're going to discover with a vengeance.

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.