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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

15 Sep 1993: Buthelezi, Mangosuthu

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MB     I must say that it's a pleasure to welcome you back to Ulundi and I think the work that you are doing is very important for all of us. Since we last met, you know, much has transpired since our last meeting with the breakdown of CODESA and the violent retaliation of the ANC and it's mass action. A far more representative negotiating body is now in place but the problems we were experiencing with CODESA re-surfaced unfortunately. We set major plans bent on exploiting the constitution-making process to the exclusion of others. By the same token the IFP has once again been forced to rally for justice, revealing the manipulated games that are being played and exposing the agendas of manipulators.

     After the breakdown of CODESA the ANC and South African government entered into bilateral discussions which culminated into joint signing of the Record of Understanding and the joint tabling of a 5-year transition plan. The thrust of these agreements have been tabled at the multi-party negotiating forum as the only alternative that can be negotiated. And because the IFP and KwaZulu in this process refused to rubber stamp the ANC and the South African government's pre-determined plans we have then been labelled objectionists, undemocratic, and even worse, as spoilers. We'll keep propaganda as the strategy rational and valid arguments of the IFP.

     First, I want to dispel the notion that the IFP has been manipulating for dominant rule for itself in KwaZulu/Natal or that our policies are directed at secession. This is disinformation that one get from the media. I did not go through the battle with the National Party government to unban the liberation movements and free political prisoners, then to voluntarily write myself off at this stage. And I think the same goes for my party, the IFP, where we are bound in duty, I think, to the people of South Africa to bring a constitutional dispensation which guarantees plural democracy and a free market system under the rule of law. The IFP is a national party, with a national agenda, one we believe will bring peace and prosperity to South Africa and one we intend to broadcast when we contest the elections nation-wide.

     Turning to the multi-party negotiations I would once again like emphasise that the IFP is fully committed to be a signatory to an outcome which will ensure the territorial integrity of the country within the federal framework of strong federal states with autonomous powers vested in them respectively and entrenching a sovereign constitution under the protection of a strong constitutional federal court. This was our policy at CODESA and it remains a fundamental basis of our demands today. All powerful central governments wherever they exist in the world, with their top-heavy bureaucracies and dictatorial policies are increasingly viewed as rendering the citizens powerless and poor as more and more of the national income is absorbed in non-productive investments. If we have learnt anything from the years of central apartheid-rule operating within the unitary state it is that never again should the people of this country be willing to entrust themselves to a governmental system which concentrates power at the centre to such an extent that the abuse of power becomes the order of the day.

     And in this there seems to have been a growing consensus within the country shared not least by our local business sector and rapidly growing in popularity with the man in the street. South Africa's National Chamber of Business resolved to pledge its full support for a federal system of government as the only solution to South Africa's ailing economy. This was a positive step forward for our struggle to secure this dispensation. At this stage the domestic pressure coupled with the strong influence of the western federal democracy I believe will ultimately bear fruit as the incomparable merits of federalism will be separately entrenched autonomous powers in the regional states and in the central government and become more common knowledge rather to the public at large. And my party will never compromise federalism for regionalism; because the latter leaves political power essentially vested at the centre where it is open to abuse. Regionalism alone could never bear the strains of South Africa's divided society with the disparate nature of our various cultural traditions, of all which need to be accommodated in the future constitution.

     The IFP maintains that any democratic constitution-making process must be ready to receive in-put from a ground-upward process of democracy building similar to that achieved in the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba. The process presently bulldozed through the negotiating forum today is the furthermost in this ideal. The South African government and the National Party together with the ANC and its alliance have reached an agreement on the general parameters of a process of transformation of our society, which will empower a new government in a unitary state. The process designed by the ANC/SACP alliance and agreed to by the South African government will produce a unitary state and will provide no guarantees for the recognition of pluralism and territorial and personal autonomy. And this process will lead us into elections outside pre-determined parameters of a well established and final constitution framework for South Africa, and this process will empower a new government before the final rules of our society are set forth and entrenched in a constitution. This process will bring about the liberation of our people outside the parameters, checks and balances and the guidance of a final constitution.

     Through the blatant manipulation of the negotiating forum's standing procedures, the ANC and its alliance and the South African government have set up an election date of April 27, 1994 for the establishment of a Constituent Assembly type set-up which would draft the final constitution while the country is governed by the first democratically represented government of South Africa, which even should it be labelled the "interim" will be the fully empowered "de facto" and "de jure" government of the day. And the only thing the South African government hopes to gain from this two-faced transition process is a share in the power during the lengthy period of transition between the elections and the Constituent Assembly to the final elections of the future government. A costly sacrifice to make in the face of the loss of constitutional guarantees for the people of South Africa.

     The Constituent Assembly route is perhaps the most dangerous way of drafting a constitution, a constitution for South Africa, in the context of South Africa. And merely serves the purpose of the ANC/South African Communist Party alliance's grand plan to seize the totality of power. In fact the greatest risk associated with the Constituent Assembly route is that it will not produce a federal state. Through my years of experience in regional government in KwaZulu I've come to realise that the only way democracy can be achieved in South Africa is through federalism. Only a federation would be able to recognise and capitalise on the great diversity of our country and differentiate the system of government so as to adjust to the needs and characteristics of its region. It is this plurality of the South African society that must be identified and accommodated in the final political solution. For this we need to set in place the mechanisms to transform our society so as to liberalise it and ensure the empowerment of the black masses. This needs to be done in a context which promotes the improvement of the social conditions of the less privileged and redresses social injustices of our country. However, this process must be commutable with the economics of my country and with the need to ensure continued prosperity and economic viability in the region.

     I believe that the solution lies in federalism. Federalism is guaranteed to build social justice. It is one form of government which I think would bring South Africa a commitment to freedom, to quality, democracy, pluralism and equal access to opportunities for all. Federalism would be able to assist those less advantaged people in our society, who have suffered years of poverty and deprivation under the ravages of apartheid rule. The seriousness of the current political situation in South Africa cannot be under-played. The IFP and the KwaZulu government together with the various other representatives for legal organisations and governments have embarked on a concerted drive to stop the ANC and South African government in their tracks. We know that if they were to succeed in pushing through their two-faced transition deal, the safety and autonomy of our regions would be seriously threatened. Yet in the face of the withdrawal of the IFP and the KwaZulu government from negotiations and the institution of a court action by the KwaZulu government in an attempt to wrest the decision pushed through the negotiation forum, the South African government and the ANC have pressed on relentlessly.

     In the short parliamentary session this month it is planned that the South African government will pass the Transition Executive Council Bill. The implication of this bill for the KwaZulu government and for regional autonomy in general is frightening. Irrespective of whether the IFP and KwaZulu government participate with the parties of the Transitional Executive Council, decisions reached by this council will be binding on our territory. The Transitional Executive Council is to establish a number of sub-councils one of which is the sub-council and local and regional government. It is the powers conferred to this sub-council which will effectively attempt to obliterate KwaZulu as a political force. The powers of this sub-council include the following:

Ø     [to reach the local government matters are ??? by any government including the KwaZulu government;] to amend, repeal or enact any regional or local government's laws, including those of the KwaZulu government;

Ø     to decide on regional and local governments' financial budgets, as well as traditional government's measures and demarcation, this function will be carried out in consultation with the local government;

Ø     negotiating forum which comprises of the South African government and the ANC alliance/civic organisation SANCO alone.

     In short the powers that are given to the Transitional Executive Council allow this body to take charge of everything that is owned and governed by the KwaZulu government. It will effectively strip the KwaZulu government of its public administration and its police force and subjugate this region to the control of ANC dominated central government. [The ANC and the South African government are under the misguided impression that they ??? strike at the future government of this country alone.]

     While we sat at the negotiating forum they rejected any attempt on our part to discuss an alternative federal option which we wanted to table. In our presence, in spite our vain protests they blatantly set a date for the election of a unitary interim government structure. When we were then forced to withdraw from negotiations they carried on the next day without our participation. President De Klerk and Mr Roelf Meyer announced to the world that they are doing everything in their power to draw the IFP and the KwaZulu government back into the process. And these are blatant lies of course. The National Party, more than any other party knows what the bottom-line for the IFP is.

     Through decades of our resistance against oppressive apartheid rule they know we would never sacrifice democratic empowerment of the blacks to become part of some power-sharing deal with the ANC. The IFP refused to take part in the government's tripartite arrangement. We refused to negotiate with the South African government until the release of Mr. Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC. Does the South African government honestly believe that we are going to meekly sit back now after all we fought for, to allow one dictatorship to take over the reins of power of another dictatorship? Does the South African government honestly believe we are going to stand aside while they dismantle the KwaZulu government in an attempt to subjugate the will of the people in this region and now subjugate the regions of South Africa to another corrupt central government? The answer is no.

     This is the background to the strong objections the IFP has made at the national negotiation forum. If we do not voice our position to this unjust process now, our chance of achieving democracy in South Africa will become that more remote. If we do not make our demands for our safeguards clear now before elections, what recourse will be available to protect the citizens of this country? The IFP is fighting for the individual freedom of all South Africans. Whatever we achieve will be for the benefit of our nation. (As I said last time, I did the same thing. I made a sort of statement of where we are politically and then followed questions and answers.)

POM     I want to give you the fullest opportunity to say what I think you were not given the opportunity to say for donkey's years. Some commentators say that you are now playing the Zulu card and trying to rally the Zulu nation against the ANC.

MB     I've replied to all that nonsense in my statement.

POM     Yes.

MB     I've replied to all that in my whole political career, everything I've done as I've said to you it's contrary to that. Why would I wait for Mr Mandela when I could have negotiated with the government and gone ahead. It is they now that they're involved in the ethnic cleansing against the Zulu people even today, even yesterday, for which now in the Eastern Transvaal Zulus now are being targeted. They are being taken out of kombis and lined up and killed. It's not myself who is doing that, I've never done that to them.

POM     Do you see this being done in concert with the South African Police? That the South African Police are also aiding the ANC?

MB     Well, what I would say Dr O'Malley, my view is that it is done with the cadres of the MK, their military wing. But, of course, recently we watched a spectacle where members of the police were toy-toying with cadres of the MK just two weeks ago.

POM     If you don't get your demands met in some reasonable way, what alternatives do you have?

MB     What alternatives did I have when for forty years we were oppressed by the National Party? We resisted what they did. I mean they were the mighty, they were well-armed, armed to the teeth, but we were not intimidated to fall in line with them to take independence and so on. I think we have proved our independence.

POM     Are there any circumstances in which you would be party to a Constituent Assembly?

MB     No.

POM     That's the bottom line?

MB     No, I cannot have a situation where I could be wasting at the World Trade Centre and wasting the money of the people, you know at the Trade Centre only to have a Constituent Assembly that should be elected under the volatility we have in this atmosphere to then write a final constitution.

POM     Are there any circumstances under which you would take part in elections if the level of violence continues to remain as high as it is today?

MB     I don't know whether in any country it is possible actually to hold what you may call democratic elections in this kind of violence. I think that we have an example just across in Angola that elections are not panaceas and that they are no magic wand.

POM     I'll just read you a brief statement made by Roelf Meyer in Durban when the National Party had this congress there and he tried to address your fears and to pull you back into the process. He says, "It seems to us that one of the most important things Inkatha did not want was to ensure self determination of the Zulu people. We believe that is obtainable". Was Mr Meyer, first of all, correct in his assumption? Is that what you want?

MB     Why must Meyer speak for me? I think you must get my own ideas from me.

POM     Yes I am. I'm saying ...

MB     Because I find what he says irritating in fact, because it's insulting.

POM     It's insulting?

MB     It's insulting for him to claim to articulate what are the aspirations of the Zulu people. We know those ourselves. I mean all along this government has tried to talk for black people, they know what is best for black people and to do things for us which they know are best for us. I'm just sick to the bottom of my stomach with that approach and this is the approach of Mr. Meyer which sickens me in fact.

POM     Isn't that four options that first of all you said that, one, at the national level you have a federal system that should provide for 'allowing for the regions to determine their own futures'?

MB     How can you say so Mr. O'Malley when in fact last year we adopted a constitution for the state of KwaZulu/Natal which they just ignored? At any rate actions speak louder than words.

POM     So, the second option, the constitution should make provisions for specific powers that could exclusively exercised by regions.

MB     We have a constitution. I don't think we should theorise. We have a constitution of KwaZulu/Natal, which I can give you, which has powers which are exclusive. It's got the usual powers and so on, proposed the central government and the regions.

POM     Third, the national constitution should provide for regional constitutions.

MB     But I'm talking about a federation. The regional constitution, what is that? A federation is a federation like the United States federation. This is the type of federation I want, or the one Germany and other countries.

POM     And fourth, provision should be made for the development of a KwaZulu constitution.

MB     But we've already produced it.      We've already produced it and we have discussed it with members of his party who have suggested certain amendments to it and we have accepted that but they ignore it. He is the Minister of Constitutional Development and so far he has ignored that. What is he talking about?

POM     So do you find the proposals that have been made to you in bilaterals between the government and yourselves, and the ANC and yourself, to be totally inadequate and not addressing your fundamental demands?

MB     A federation is a federation. And I've argued that a women can either be pregnant or not. She cannot be a little pregnant. So you can't have something you call a region and then call it a federation.

POM     Well, if there were a model drawn up that was a federal model with strong powers invested in the federal states and relatively weak powers invested?

MB     But we've already done two things. Apart from the constitution for this region, which I've already talked about, we also produced a draft for the federation of South Africa. So we have it on the table. I can give you those, both of those. I don't need really to go to what I want because it's in black and white and it's available.

POM     In black and white?

MB     It's available yes, both for the federation of South Africa, he'll give it to you, and also for the region of KwaZulu/Natal.

POM     The thing is if in the constitutional principles what you wanted terms of a constitution i.e. federal and entrenched powers and whatever, if they were made part of the constitutional principles that an elected Constituent Assembly could not oppose?

MB     But how can it be? How can that be? Any government is not bound, they cannot be bound by that. In fact the case that we took to the Supreme Court has described to us the status of that discussion, that one is only honour-bound, it has no legal status. I mean, what's going on at the multi-party talks, it has no legal status. Can you imagine that any government elected on the basis of adult suffrage will be bound by anything that is merely uttered at the World Trade Centre?

POM     The statements I would like to comment on ...

MB     And of course this government has a record too. Because even in the constitution of South Africa itself which was not a constitution which excluded us, but even those that were entrenched because the Coloured people they removed them. They are not people of honour. I mean their word is not worth anything to me.

POM     Now, many people would have said that last year you had a good working relationship with Mr de Klerk and the South African government in general. Has that relationship deteriorated to the point that any reconciliation between you and the National Party would be very difficult to foresee?

MB     I don't see - we had very good relations, Dr O'Malley, with the National Party here in Natal and the leadership and the IFP. But at the level - I mean at the Trade Centre, the National Party as operating at the Trade Centre, it's really like east and west now. I don't see that there's anything that we can have in common with them.

POM     I remember last year you said to me, it's a phrase that struck my mind, I asked you whether there was something or anything you would die for and you said you'd die for federalism.

MB     Of course.

POM     Now, you've made two statements, on October 6th ...

MB     Pardon?

POM     When you made two speeches one on October the 6th last year with the whole of the homeland leaders present and you said that secession ...

MB     Actually I don't want to be described as a homeland leader.

POM     Sorry, OK. Excuse me. You said that secession would be the ultimate extremity of political action which might be necessary if negotiations failed.

MB     What about that? That's no decision. I mean I was just speculating. We've not made such a decision.

POM     I know but ...

MB     Neither at the level of the government of KwaZulu nor at the level of the IFP have we ever discussed any secession.

POM     Do you accept, " I'm committed to a federal system, I'm committed to one South Africa. We're already in a low intensity war and if the worst happens a Yugoslavia option might be foisted on us." My question here would be, if your demands are met do you see the ANC in Natal can climb down on taking the decision of the central leaders or do you think they would continue to fight?

MB     Fight?

POM      Yes.

MB     Fight what?

POM     To fight you.

MB     They are doing so everyday, I mean everyday. It was just yesterday when the report came of one Chief's place was burned down. They're doing so everyday. It's not a question of would they do this. They're doing it to destroy us really, to destroy my party.

POM     But I'm saying if the ANC nationally agreed with you after negotiations that there would not be a Constituent Assembly, that in fact the constitution would be drawn up by the negotiation forum or some body specifically with that duty. Do you think the Harry Gwala's of the world, because of the conflict that has existed for the last ten years, that the ANC in this region would follow and adopt the ANC's national decision or will they fight on?

MB No. I mean, Mr. O'Malley, your guess is as good as mine. I mean I cannot pontificate on those things because they stand and I can't then say they will do that. I don't know.

POM     You've also been on record as saying that there's 50-50 chance of a civil war.

MB     Of course.

POM     Could you just find conditions under which that might happen?

MB     But I'm not saying that I'm going to take up arms. That's where the mistake comes.

POM I'm just asking you, on what conditions?

MB     But the war is already on. Thousands of people have died. More people have died in South Africa than died in the Anglo Boer War, in this civil war that we have already. When we talk about it we merely talk about the escalation of what is going on. The civil war is on already and we're talking about escalation when we talk about civil war [in a futuristic way when we cannot about that on the basis of escalation, that's all.]

POM     You have spoken on a number of times about ethnic cleansing.

MB     Yes, which is going on, yes.

POM     Yet many people would say that what you have in Natal is Zulu fighting Zulu.

MB     No, but I even pointed out where the ethnic cleansing is going on. But even in Natal is not even true. Because the MK is being, what do you call it? In Transkei, I mean if they use those Zulus, even the British used Zulus against the Zulus. There's nothing new about that. But the point of the thing is that the whole thing is going on in Transkei. In Transkei they are training people for MK, even those Zulus that kill other Zulus are trained in Transkei. So that is where it comes from.

POM     In the meeting last week you said that it will be difficult to return to the talks if the violence didn't cease.

MB     Of course.

POM     Then there are other two conditions are you referring to the negotiation table. One, that ...

MB     No, but you see Dr O'Malley it makes it very difficult to take piecemeal my statements here and there and make them conditions for me. Really, because you know, it's out of context. I mean we have a general discussion and when we have a general discussion and you say, for example, I mean if violence doesn't stop how can I talk to people who are killing my people. It's one of the conditions, it's not fair. Because I did say that but in a certain context. So isolate it and say it's my condition, because I'm merely talking generally in a holistic way about the problem as a whole. And I merely say to him that it's difficult, for instance, that people are killing us. Should I continue to negotiate with people that are continuing to kill us?

POM     The Star last December said, "The government is discredited and divided, the military men mutiny; Buthelezi wants secession and APLA threatens a race war; De Klerk fiddles while ..." I'm struck by the degree to which the respect for Mr. de Klerk and people's belief in his competence has eroded.

MB     Completely!

POM     Why do you think that is so?

MB     Because he doesn't keep his word. Because he sold his soul to the ANC and people are fed up with that. I raised some things with him ten days before he signed the Record of understanding with the ANC and that shattered my faith and confidence in him. And furthermore after that several times I said to him 1990/91 he must remember that Zulus are not like these other self-governing territories, that Zulus are a sovereign nation with a king and they've been there for a long time. They are not bound by the homelands policy. And I've said that to him and then he would say, yes, he understands that. So I said, "Do you understand that the King will have his delegation there with the government of KwaZulu?" The IFP has never claimed to represent Zulus, in fact. It's a multi-racial party and it has never claimed to represent all Zulus. So he would say, "I understand, I understand this perfectly." But just because the ANC didn't want that that's why I didn't go to the CODESA plenary although my party was there because I would not abandon the Zulus now who were excluded by him.

POM     So, essentially he said to you, "I agree with you, the Zulus should be represented."

MB     Yes.

POM And then he went to the ANC and the ANC said no way!

MB     Exactly. Precisely. Precisely.

POM     He has a history of doing this?

MB     Absolutely so. Absolutely so. I mean even the thing itself, you know, the CODESA 2 thing collapsed on the basis of the percentages about the Bill of Rights.

MB     Yes. But now you know in the Record of Understanding they completely reversed that, they completely reversed that in the Record of Understanding and in February Mr. Meyer was here and with Dr Delport and they were asked how come that they've changed the position which we held together? They said they just did it in the interests of the negotiations going on. I mean what are such people worth really? Because one realises, Dr O'Malley, that, of course, in a negotiation one compromises and so on but there are certain thing I mean about fundamental human rights and those things, I mean those are things I don't see how one compromises about.

POM     So, you are entering a situation now where you will find it very difficult to negotiate with Mr. de Klerk, that's my assumption because of what you've said.

MB     You're quite right.

POM You don't think he keeps his word?

MB     You're quite correct. In fact I'm going there tomorrow, really despondent frankly, to you I can say that is a waste of my time. But I cannot now be seen as someone who, committed as I am to negotiations, that I'm not willing to negotiate, because I've always been committed to negotiations. But frankly if you ask me my judgment of expectations, it's a waste of time really.

POM     Do you have any ...?

MB     Because he has painted himself into a corner you see. I mean, he has painted himself in a corner as far as this two-faced system is concerned. I don't see how he can get out of that. How can he get out?

POM     But ...

MB     He has locked himself in.

POM     He has locked himself in?

MB     Yes.

POM     The ANC have locked themselves in?

MB     Yes quite so.

POM     Now have you locked yourself in? Do you say unless there are changes you won't participate?

MB     No, I mean it's not how it's done. They've locked us out of the agreements, so if I close the door here and prevent someone from coming in how can you say that person has locked themselves in? You can't talk like that.

POM     Do you see a lot of the violence going on in a light that you talked about a couple of years ago, with the ANC as a predominantly Xhosa organisation and trying to dominate Zulus and establish a one-party state?

MB     Did I say that?

POM      Yes.

MB     I don't remember saying that.

POM     Okay, maybe I have it on record and I'll find it and send it round to you.

MB     I'll be grateful if you send it to me, because I don't remember that. Because it is true that the political violence, even Judge Goldstone was asked by the government to investigate, has established that the political violence is between members of the IFP and the ANC. I mean, there's no dispute about that.

POM     But in the context of the majority of the base of support for the ANC comes from Xhosa people, I'm saying ...

MB     Did I say that? I've never said that? Heh? I've never said that in my life.

POM     OK.

MB     I mean people have talked about the leadership of the ANC having the majority of the people being Xhosa speaking, the leadership. But I've never said that.

POM     How do you answer those who say that according to opinion polls, recent opinion polls, that your base of support nationally would be no more than 10% and that therefore you want this non-elected body to draw up the constitution because within a constitutional forum you would not have a loud voice?

MB     Does it matter if my support was 1% or 0%? I mean I'm surprised that people in any democratics like white people like yourself who come from democratic country should ask such a question. A constitution is a constitution of all the country. It's for majorities, it's for minorities as well. Now my concern is that this style of this process is a style which excludes protection of minorities, of pluralism and so on. So the question of talking about polls to me is a red herring. Because I don't see how it comes in. And in any case I would question those polls because in this kind of volatility and violence I don't know how anybody with anything between their ears can say that any polls conducted when people are being killed for being a member of IFP - the polls then conducted in that atmosphere tell you something. But I mean, it's quite besides the point, as far as I'm concerned, Dr O'Malley, because even if my support was -1% the question is that the constitution for all the people of the country. I mean, you have got the IRA in Britain precisely because of this kind of thing.

POM     Maybe I should point out that I ask these questions not because of what I think but because of what all the people in South Africa say, I want to hear your response because of what they say about your positions.

MB     Mm. But I'm saying to them then whoever is asking that question I find it strange because it's mostly white newspaper men, journalists and others who are pestering us with this nonsense. Which I think is irrelevant, as far as I'm concerned.

POM     You here in Natal made great in-roads into the support of the National Party, would be my understanding wrong?

MB     Well, I've not made a concerted effort to make in-roads with the National Party. It is true that some members of the National Party in parliament have joined us and that there are some members who write to me who say they've been members of the National Party for 40 years but they no longer trust Mr. de Klerk, they want to join my party. Even last night I was writing a letter to a young lady, a student at Potchefstroom, who is doing Law and says that she wants to join my Party. I think she'll join. Now that is going on everyday, but I've not made an effort to target National Party members.

POM     Do you think that in the absence of your participating in the negotiating forum because your demands can not be reasonably met and in the absence of there being elections in this part of the country next April that there could be a lasting and stable resolution of the South African question?

MB     I don't know really. I mean, for instance, just before you came I was writing a letter as response to one journalist yesterday who says that things can go bad on us. And my colleague here can bear me out that I've heard that hundreds of times and I just wonder why people worry about us because if you can go on with the others then what are we doing there, let it go then and go on without us. Let's see, of course, how long it lasts.

POM     Other people say that the way to bring you into line is simply to pull the financial plug. That you depend for your revenue on the South African government and if they were simply to ...

POM     If the government did it what would be the response of the KwaZulu government?

MB     We'll react to it when it happens. Because that is such idiocy and it's so full of white arrogance too, even to suggest that. White supremacists views of how they oppressed us on the basis that they know what is best for us, they can do this for us, they can give so much money and give so many per head to whites and so on. You know, I find it sickening to the bottom of my stomach, actually. Do I answer that question?

POM     In that context many people would find your loose alliance with the Conservative Party and the AWB to be contrary to what you stood for all of your life.

MB     But again, Dr O'Malley, with due respect it is utter hog-wash. It is utter hog-wash. Because you have been coming here for quite a number of times and you've got many of my documents. You know that all these years the same people who are saying so were demonising on the basis that I was prepared to talk to the National Party at the height of apartheid. I talked to the National Party when it was not fashionable as it is to talk to them. I talked to the National Party and urged them to release Mandela and Mr. De Klerk himself admitted that I helped him to do that. He said so in his speech when he abolished apartheid. Now to turn round and say that merely because on a strategy of not agreeing to this kind of process therefore they find it difficult to understand that. I mean these people who have been oppressing us, Mr. De Klerk was in that Cabinet which oppressed us all these years. He was an adult, you know. He was an adult when he did it. I mean we talked about that. I don't know whether to be in bed with those is worse than to be in bed with people who merely theorise about it, who have not really done it, who have not been in government where the power is.

POM     Can you accept that I must ask some of these questions?

MB     Pardon?

POM     Why I ask some of these questions that I want you to respond on the record to me exactly what you think.

MB     That's why I'm responding. That's why I'm responding.

POM     So that in time when I do my book and discuss these allegations that were made against you, that this was your response to me in person. You said you are not interested, in your opening statement, that the Constituent Assembly ...

MB     And I couldn't understand why people, Dr O'Malley, should say that when during war, the Cold War was just beginning between the United States and Russia and there was disagreement, ideological difference between the two nations which you resumed afterwards. I mean people would think quite differently on a particular matter, not meaning that now they share the same views. I mean that happens in the history of man. Throughout the history of man this has happened.

POM     This statement in your opening remarks, I find very interesting. You said the Constituent Assembly would be perhaps the most dangerous way of drafting a constitution in the South African context. Why do you state that? How is it the most dangerous way in the South African kind of context?

MB     Because there is violence already, you know, it can only exacerbate that problem, it can only inflame feelings and make things bad as they are, worse than they are that's what I mean.

POM     So you know that, if you say you have the implications of the Bill for KwaZulu government, which is that for the Transitional Executive Council it is frightening and the fact that is it will respectively try to obliterate KwaZulu as a political force.

MB     Of course.

POM      This is kind of more risky - I mean, my point is you object, you make your demands known, you talk about what is required and yet the ANC and the government, in cahoots with each other, continually move on, and make these manoeuvres which make the situation worse to deal with because now, besides talking about a body that would draft the constitution, you have to get rid of the TEC which may be passed by parliament next week or whenever it meets. So, as I look at it, as I look at the situation, it seems to me that you have very few options left, that you have categorically made your demands on principle. You said, "I will negotiate these things and I want to negotiate these things", and the other side is saying, "We're moving on, the train is moving out of the station and if you don't get on it we're going to leave you there."

MB     Of course, you're correct, I've said so. I've said, Dr O'Malley, that in this context that I'm quite prepared to if either the IFP on the one hand or the Zulus want to get on the train I won't prevent them. But I'm not going to be part of that, I've said so and I'm not going to be persuaded by any argument or any things that are being painted to me, the gloomy, how gloomy it is, because I believe that I'll be judged by my creator. I've done what I thought was in the best of interests of the country in all my political career and I believe that my attitude is in the interests of every one in the country. The people are being conned.

POM     So, are you hopeful as you look at the at the future? You mean, you said you were going to a meeting tomorrow where you think you are going to waste time.

MB     How can I be hopeful when people are dying every day, when my people in particular are being targeted for those deaths, how can I be hopeful? Many people whose people are not dying can talk academically about being hopeful, but I mean in our case, you know, we are going through ... and while our people are being killed daily, how can one then express hope?. One cannot abandon hope, of course, if one is Christian as we are but at the same time I cannot go about saying I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful.

POM     Just one other issue that you have with the government and the ANC and that is the issue of sufficient consensus.

MB     Of course.

POM     How do you define sufficient consensus?

MB     But didn't I take the matter to court, Dr O'Malley, to find out what that meant? And there's a reason why we as a government took the matter to court was to find out because we don't know what that means.

POM     But to you, you don't know?

MB     That's why I took it to court. Why would I take it to court if I knew?

POM     But if tomorrow morning the government would say sufficient consensus means the ANC, the government and Inkatha are the three major players agreed to something, in general, the process would move forward. [of the 26 of the parties...]

MB     And then the parties, there's the Conservative Party, I would say they are the major players too, they are the official opposition in parliament. I would say that the PAC is a major party. I wouldn't say that's only those three that are major parties.

[POM     In a different side of the context can I ask how would you assess the threat of the right to impose the disillusionment with the government, disillusionment with Mr. de Klerk, with increasing support again for the Conservative Party as such you have general ...]

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.