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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

16 Sep 1993: Buchner, Jac

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

JB     We were just commenting on Dr Buthelezi and you said that in the previous four meetings with the man every time he seemed to be a different person and that he was very ebullient yesterday and two years ago he was answering in monosyllables at a lunch and last year he was very formal. Now I've known the man for five years and I've spent many hours with him and I've found him under all kinds of circumstances, under very stressful circumstances and under very relaxed circumstances and I've had a bit of both. When you speak to him when he's very stressful and when you do it in private, I used to spend two, three hours with him, and then gradually he will start relaxing and by the end of an hour or two he will be a totally different person to the person I had met when I walked in. Not to say that he changes his personality it's just to say that you might have seen him when he was under great stress. He still has exactly the same views, it's just that he relaxes a bit more and he's more affable towards people. I saw him at a funeral on Friday, he was very emotional because it was a very good friend of his that had died and he became very choked up in doing the eulogy. Then the previous Thursday I saw him and he hadn't seen me for a few months and he was very ebullient, he grabbed me round the shoulders and hugged me and displayed great affection which he normally doesn't do often in public. So it's not that he's a different person, he's actually a very shy person I think. I just wanted to put that record straight.

POM     Now you've watched the situation in KwaZulu, the police sent out senior men, the 'notorious' police chiefs who should have been retired at the time but de Klerk announced the retirement of twelve people. Why do you think ...?

JB     Well I can only deduct, it was never clearly stated to me, but I spent 25 years in the so-called Special Branch, the security department of the SA Police and in those 25 years I spent most of my time in this area and researching the activities of the ANC, especially the military wing of it, uMkhonto weSizwe, also the Pan Africanist Congress, also the Communist Party, and from documentation we recovered from them and from discussions I have had with senior personnel of the ANC they considered me to be very knowledgeable on their organisation and a distinct threat and a danger to their organisation. I was always very outspoken, I've gone to the press and I've made statements regarding the activities of the ANC. I've also given evidence in numerous Supreme Court cases in SA which led to the conviction of quite a large number of ANC personnel and others, as I said, the PAC, the Communist Party. So I really believe that I was considered, because of my knowledge of the organisation, to be a danger to them.

POM     One of the things that have been said to us by many people over the years is that the military campaign, the armed struggle of the ANC, is really one of these great myths. As armed struggles go it was inefficient, not very successful, disorganised and not to be put on a par with other paramilitary organisations like say Mugabe's or whatever in Africa.

JB     Actually I did a study of all the terrorist organisations or most of the terrorist organisations and methods throughout the world and I included Mandela and the Vietnamese style of guerrilla warfare and things. I served in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, for seven years, that's where I started really digging into it because the ANC was involved there. I might have been one of the first persons to have said that the ANC wasn't very effective in the guerrilla campaign but the ANC had quite a large number of problems which led to their inability to forcefully attack SA. If I could just go back - have we got time?

POM     Sure.

JB     If I can just go back to the Rivonia raid, to the banning of the ANC in 1960 and going underground forming the high command of MK, this was done in close co-operation with the Communist Party. Mandela states that himself in a public statement he has made that when the government refused to answer the ANC's letters and the requests that the black people be included in the new Republic of SA that was being formed, that they be given the vote, when they refused to acknowledge the ANC's letter they decided to go underground and form a military wing. He says he then approached the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

JB     Now we raided a farm called Liliesleaf Farm near Rivonia in Johannesburg and we found the top, or the High Command of the MK on this farm and documentation. From documents entitled Operation Mayibuye they had a complete blueprint for the military onslaught against SA. They were going to recruit 120 young men and send them out of the country for military training. In the meantime while they were undergoing military training they would recruit 7000 people in SA and the 120 would come back to SA and train the 7000 people. At the same time they were starting to make plans to manufacture, I think it was 240,000 hand grenades, 48,000 land mines. They were going to manufacture all this in SA. In other words just a small nucleus of young men to go out and be trained, come back as instructors and train the masses.

     Well that fell by the wayside and they started training people abroad. But they weren't very successful because the first thing you must understand is that when the ANC was first banned and left the country it had no bases outside SA, it had no personnel outside SA, it had no office representation outside SA, nowhere in the world. And the first large number of ANC personnel that were trained were then utilised to run offices externally and initially only about 1,200 people, in the first wave there were 800, but eventually 1200 had left the country in that first one or two waves from 1960/61 up to 1964. Now these people had been trained in various places, Algeria was one, Egypt was another one, the Soviet Union, but there weren't very many bases available to them.

     By 1973 after ten years of intensive training and organisation outside the country we had arrested a few people who had come back to SA but we totalled up how many so-called guerrillas the ANC had on hand and in 1973 they had 49 trained men that they could operate with in the field. That is after ten years. It wasn't very good.

     But then came along 1975/76, the internal unrest in SA and suddenly a large number of young people, the total at that stage was 6,000, suddenly overnight left the country in large groups, ten, twenty, thirty and forty at a time. The ANC saw this coming. They had retrained the few cadres that they had left as instructors. Angola, of course, had split from Portugal and also Mozambique and suddenly they had bases. They used the old Portuguese bases in Angola and in 1977 the first 500, the largest number ever to be trained in one go, the first 500 ANC members were trained in a place by the name of Nova Katenga. That is in the southern province of Angola near Benguela and I would say it's about 300 or 400 kms from the SA border. They used mainly Luanda, Benguela and this camp in the south. Later on they moved to the north to Malange Province and they started up a few more camps there.

     We mentioned just now about their successes in the field. Suddenly they had 3000-4000 people that they had trained and so on but unlike Mugabe and unlike Nkomo they had no direct access to SA. Mugabe could attack Rhodesia, as it was then, from Botswana, from Zambia, from Mozambique. The ANC cannot do that with SA.

POM     The PAC and the ANC had no direct access to SA?

JB     To SA. They could train them in the Soviet Union. Well eventually the ANC trained their people in the Soviet Union, Cuba and politically in the Eastern bloc countries but the major training took place in Angola. Towards 1988/99 they also moved into Tanzania where they also did a bit of training. But all this, plus the head office which was then located in Zambia was always one country removed away from SA. In other words they had to make use of a buffer zone like Botswana, like Zimbabwe, like Mozambique, to get to SA. But even when they went into Mozambique they had to go through Swaziland to get to SA because direct access from Mozambique into SA was through game parks and very marshy areas, it wasn't suitable terrain to bring the guerrillas into SA. They were always dependent on assisting countries for clandestine transport through the country to bring the weapons in. I think that was their major drawback.

     Their training eventually developed to a very high standard but initially it was bad but they always had the supply and logistical problem of getting into SA and if I could just add onto that, we did an analysis towards the end of - combat readiness of these ANC people that came in. They were well trained but when they went to the Soviet Union, when they went to other countries for military training, on arrival these countries assessed them in the same way as they would assess, with due respect without being racist, European trainees. They would ask maybe if they had had previous training. They said, yes we've had basic political training, we've had a two year course on this, we've had a three month course on that and they were assessed accordingly and then they were put into more advanced courses and then they would find that they couldn't cope. In the end what they did was they rejected all previous training and started from scratch and gave them basic training and then developed to a more stable type of training that they could say that the people are now au fait with the weapons that they were handling.

     And I'm not running down the ANC, I've got good friends among the returned exiles and so on and they are still very capable of using firearms. They are very proficient in the use of firearms but, again, the ANC had a lot of problems because the people outside the country in exile were using pseudonyms, they were all using a nom de guerre. They were never allowed to use their own names, they were never allowed to discuss their own environment or their friends back home. They were there under a false flag and most of them have been out of the country eight years, ten years, twenty years, and then suddenly to be pushed back into the country. Now for five years or ten years or twenty years he was in a camp being given cigarettes, no money, no money at all, being given food, being given cigarettes and being given his or her clothes, sent back to SA in a small group of two or three, given R500 or R1000 or R2000 and say, "Go in and go and blow up patrols and hide away somewhere". They would come into the country and they would spend a bit of the money and then meet up with a few girls, because they had been out of the country for a long time, and a lot of them lost sight of their target areas long before they got there. These are problems that the ANC must tackle. I hope that answers the question.

POM     I think so.

JB     It always happens, always. I can say this now in retrospect because they are now free and open and they're back in the country, well most of them are back in the country. What we used to do is each person that left the country we opened a dossier on him, we also kept a profile on every one that was trained outside the country. I don't want to use the word 'informer' but we kept contact with next of kin because we knew from experience that when they came back they first thing they would do is contact a brother or a boy friend or a girl friend or someone like that, which they inevitably did and breached their security and we would know that they were back in the country.

POM     You use the word 'informer'. That's the next question I want to ask you. One of the things this government never had any problem in getting was informers.

JB     Well that's very true.

POM     Why do you think that that is so?

JB     We went through that in the late seventies and beginning eighties, the necklace method and so on. Any informer that was found was killed in that way. Many people do not consider themselves as informers, they just consider themselves to be members of the community and if I as a policeman go to the man and say, "Do you know this man?" He says, "Yes of course I know him, I went to school with him." "Well, will you just tell me when he comes back into the country?" He doesn't consider himself to be an informer but there are many people who do this for monetary gain which we also used but by and large I think mostly we used just ordinary people of the community that were not paid retainers.

     I would like to differentiate between an informer and an informant. The informer would receive a monthly salary or an allowance from the department whereas an informant is somebody you ask if something happens will you inform me, and if he does he will then receive a one-time payment and there are quite a large number.

     We also, of course, infiltrated the ANC to a very large extent and I think there I would rather put that down to a bit of adventurous spirit and so on. You say to a man, "We would like you to join the ANC and in all probability they'll send you out of the country." And it happened quite often because you just put the man in the right place, they were always looking for recruits.

POM     So in essence you're saying that you really didn't have a difficult time monitoring the ANC in exile or monitoring their operations in the country.

JB     Well it sounds a bit too easy to say but the one problem we did have was communication with our agents. It was easy to get them into the ANC and get them into the camps and into the Soviet Union but communication from Angola and Mozambique and Zambia back to SA was very difficult. Some of the ones we only heard of again when they were on their missions into SA. They would phone us from a pay phone or something like that and say, "Look, I'm with two other guys, we're on our way to Soweto and we've got this."

POM     In the total time that you were involved, how many operations did the ANC attempt per year?

JB     I would just like to say something before I answer that question. I just looked at that transcription of a previous session. You asked me one or two questions there that in the end when I read my answers I didn't really answer them and I don't want to give the impression that I'm not answering your questions so if I stray off a bit I don't intend to, if I stray please bring me back to the answer.

     It's difficult to say in one specific area how many because I know in Pietermaritzburg in 1988 we had at least four or five incidents. My jurisdiction, I was the Commander of the Security Branch for the Natal Division so an attack in Newcastle would also be part of that and we had attacks there. We had incidents, there was one in Bergville, there were one or two down towards Kokstad and in total - the information is available of every, what we termed then, terrorist incident. I used to keep a record of every incident that happened in SA and to give you an example, in 1977 we had four incidents for the whole year and then suddenly it started escalating, then it went up to 11 or 12 in 1978. I think in 1979 it was 22 and towards 1980 it was getting to over 100 incidents for the whole country. That included the self-governing states too. Towards 1986 it was about 200 and something a year. That was definitely the peak, yes.

     I personally think that it was not the great onslaught that we were led to believe by President Botha wagging his finger saying there was a total onslaught against SA because even the ANC agree that their military onslaught was a very minimal part of the liberation struggle for SA. It was more - they started gaining results in 1983/4 when they started the story of the 'People's war', mobilising the masses within SA, having the United Democratic Front in SA taking the place of the ANC and raising emotions and gaining support among the masses of SA and that, of course, stemmed from the Vietnamese struggle. I don't know if you are aware of that, because Alfred Nzo and Chris Hani among others went to Vietnam in 1978 where they had a briefing on exactly how to go about it and they came back and it was eventually implemented from 1983.

POM     Dr Buthelezi, he has taken a position now on negotiations and that seemed to put him in a corner, leaving himself with very few options to make some kind of a deal and at the same time save face. Given your knowledge of Dr Buthelezi and his personality as a man who conducts himself politically do you see him sticking to his demands of not being part of the negotiations and Transitional Executive Council or do you see him somehow being persuaded?

JB     Let me just put it this way, first of all that I hope that the meeting today in Cape Town between himself and President de Klerk will bring about some agreement because he is in a corner. Buthelezi is definitely in a corner but he's a highly principled man and he's sticking to his principle. If you remember with the first CODESA he was asked to go and make his speech and for some reason or another he decided against that and he said he would not address CODESA. I actually tried, I tried very hard to get him to speak. I'm not political but I thought it might be to his advantage if he spoke there and I said that the whole world was going to be tuned in and he would have access to the ears of the whole world. And he said to me it's a matter of principle and I couldn't budge him one inch.

     It might look like he's painting himself into a corner with this thing but he tried to explain to me once why, why he's upset, and after listening to him I think I agree with him. Maybe I wouldn't take the same decision as he did but he's a much stronger man than I am. What he basically says is that the agreement for the negotiation forum was that they would sit there and hammer out first of all a bill of rights, they would hammer out a new constitution and when they were accepted we would go to the polls and we would go and vote and the new government, whether it was a single government or an alliance government, would implement the bill of rights and the new constitution. Now suddenly there is no such thing like that. We are now first going to the polls and the new government will then draw up the constitution and he says that's totally alien to what was agreed, to what the idea of the forum was. I spoke with him about two weeks ago just as the result of his court case came out and his reaction. I said, "How do you feel about it?" and he said what encourages him is that the court ruling said that he can't get a court order against the negotiation forum because whatever is being done in the negotiation forum is not binding, it's not an Act that he can appeal against, it's not binding on anybody legally, legally binding, maybe morally. He said in other words what the Supreme Court now told him is that that negotiated forum doesn't mean anything.

     I have spoken, and I'm sticking my neck out here, but I have spoken to certain of the ministers and so on because there is a way that you could approach Dr Buthelezi in a very diplomatic way and if it is done properly he would actually eat humble pie and accept and so forth, but it is not being done by the SA government very unfortunately. The less he sees the SA government and especially Roelf Meyer and Leon Wessels and Dawie de Villiers as conniving and meeting secretly with Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the ANC and planning between themselves the new SA to the exclusion of everybody else at the negotiating forum, these people are being seen having dinners in the evening together and having social meetings, certainly between the ANC and the NP. I have no proof of this but this is the perception being given to the Inkatha Freedom Party and Dr Buthelezi and they see this crowd up there and, as I say, especially Roelf Meyer and Leon Wessels and to a certain extent Dawie de Villiers, of conniving with the ANC about the future of the new SA, that is not acceptable to him. Every time that Buthelezi meets with somebody from government it seems now to be head on. There is no diplomacy and I believe if you get the right persons to approach Buthelezi you could get him to back off a bit and accept what is being done there.

POM     Even if it's a matter of 180 degrees turnaround in his position?

JB     Well, again, even if it means that but I have my doubts if Buthelezi will turn so far, he might make certain concessions. But if you say he was very ebullient yesterday then he feels strong about his meeting today with the State President.

     Can I just ramble on a little bit? You see if we analyse, this is purely my own personal analysis, my own and quite a large number of other people around, the analysis of what is happening in Natal, when I speak of the new SA, we spoke at length last time about events leading up to the elections in April next year. We didn't have a date then yet, but we've got the date of 27th April. Events leading up to that and proportional representation and all these things are now coming out and we now know what we are heading for. If there is undue intimidation in Natal, it is the only province or the only region where I foresee that there will not be an ANC majority, regional or otherwise. The ANC is not so strong in Natal. The IFP is fairly strong, the NP is not of equal strength but it has quite a large following, the DP, sorry can I interrupt for a moment?

     We must go on about leading up to the elections.

PAT     You said about the ANC, that this is the only province or region in which the ANC ...

JB     Where they don't stand a chance of winning a majority and I do think that with an alliance, if the IFP doesn't win it outright, there are enough other little parties especially with the support from the CP and I would think a large number of the NP people will also, those who don't vote for him will then form an alliance. So it puts him in a position of strength especially when we think of it in a federal system and I also believe that his membership in the Transvaal will make a slight difference to any form of alliance in the Transvaal. So everything is not lost for Buthelezi. Even if he may not come into central government as a powerful figure he will still be the power in Natal/KwaZulu. I just wanted to make that point.

     So even though I said, last year I spoke of posturing and so on, I do not think it is posturing on the part of Buthelezi. I really think it is a firm belief by him that it is no good to have an election first and then hammer out a constitution afterwards. I personally also agree that we should have a constitution decided by every competing party to the satisfaction of everybody and once we've got that entrenched then go to the polls because then a new government must carry out the constitution that was agreed to beforehand. Let us just say for argument's sake and it cannot happen, but let's say for argument's sake that the Conservative Party wins the election and they hammer out a constitution we're going to have apartheid the same as we've had for 40 odd years.

POM     What would you say to people who say, quite a large number of commentators, that Buthelezi, that nationally successive polls show that he would poll no more than 10% of the total vote, that this would expose the IFP as not being the third major political force in the country, rather small, important but small and one that would have very little influence on how negotiations for a new constitution were conducted. Therefore he needs to have that constitution in place beforehand so that his interests and his demands are incorporated in there because if they're not incorporated in a constitution written by a Constituent Assembly, just given the way successive polls show,[ it's a very ... to the polls.]

JB     Before I answer that one I just want to bring up something else, that Buthelezi is not the only one that is predicted to only have 10%. I think they also say the NP and the DP. The DP they say is going to battle but it might even get up, if they get enough funds, to 15%. Let me look at the IFP as it is factually on the ground. Buthelezi says, and I've quoted it before, he says, it's not he as Buthelezi saying this, he always says, "Go and ask my auditors to go and look at my books, I've got more than two million paid up members of the IFP." He used to make a claim of 1,8 million, it is now in excess of two million paid up members and he says his books are open to the auditors. If that is true, and I haven't checked his books, but if that is true it is the single biggest party in SA, political party, because the NP haven't got two million people on their books. I don't think there are two million Nationalist voters. In the last elections I think just over a million, 1,3 million, voted for the NP as opposed to 700,000 who voted for the Conservative Party. There are two million white voters but Buthelezi says he's got two million IFP voters registered on his books. That is point number one.

     Point number two is that the ANC, for all their blustering, and I'm not a supporter of the ANC, for all their blustering have not got two million members. They might have two million voters or supporters but they haven't got so many members and there is a slight fly in the ointment in the fact that a lot of people, and especially on the Indian side, belong to the IFP for business purposes but they also belong to the NP and they also belong to the ANC. They take out membership and whenever they are asked they just take out the right card. It's good for business. If the IFP can only call on 10% of the vote that is, according to John McLennan here from the university, there are 22 million people that can take part, that is 22 million. That bears out what Buthelezi says, he's got two million members. Should he get two million votes, and most of them are concentrated in Natal, he will walk Natal. I don't think he's making any greater claims than to Natal at the moment for the IFP. I don't think he wants a 50% poll or a 50% return in the elections for the whole of SA. He cannot do it.

     To come back to the question now, his concern about the agreement on the constitution before the elections, that is shared by all the other minority parties. There is only one party that doesn't want it and that's the ANC or the ANC/SACP combination but all the other minority parties see it as a danger but the other parties do not withdraw, Buthelezi is the only one with the guts to withdraw from that and say it was one of the agreements and until that is included again, "I'm not going to take part."

PAT     The ANC took that position on minority parties, meaning what?

JB     Just to explain what I mean by minority parties. When the ANC was allowed back into the country and the proscription was lifted and so on, the politicians started talking about protection of minority rights. In other words they see SA as we've got fourteen different ethnic groups plus your so-called European grouping which funnily enough they only classify as one, not as Germans ...

PAT     Italians, Portuguese.

JB     That's right and I'm a bit upset about that! But they see minority groupings, that there will not be one ethnic group dominating another. They've got to make provision for the protection of minority rights. In other words that I do not lose my identity, I do not lose my culture, I do not lose my right to all this, and this is the protection of the minorities. The Conservative Party and even, I must add this, conservative members of the NP see that as a danger and they want the constitution but they do not read the newspapers carefully enough, they don't know what this argument is about, why Buthelezi had walked out. When you speak to them and say, "Do you know why Buthelezi walked out?" and they say, "No, but he's damn stupid." People are not aware that the constitution will only be drawn up when the new government is in place and to me that is definitely a danger.

POM     If say Buthelezi can't be accommodated and he sits the elections next year out, what consequences do you think that will have Natal, for himself and for the rest of the country?

JB     If firstly the elections do not take place?

POM     They take place but he boycotts them.

JB     Well it will be political suicide for him. They will ride roughshod over him. If he boycotts it, it just puts, in my opinion, the ANC in a much stronger position because the ANC will then walk Natal too because it will be unimpeded propaganda, it will be unimpeded intimidation, they can do exactly what they want to in Natal.

POM     So you would see it as political suicide. Do you think that's a real possibility, one that can be taken seriously, or just posturing, political rhetoric trying to up the ante?

JB     I think he's very serious about his considering secession and I might read a bit too much into it but the last discussion I had with him regarding the outcome of the court case and he seemed quite, not relieved, quite happy about the fact that the court has found that the negotiating forum is not binding and it's got actually no legal status. You can't appeal against decisions by the negotiation forum and all this could possibly lead to another court case a bit further on where he then says the court found in a previous case, found that these decisions there are not binding so therefore to throw out all the decisions taken by the negotiating forum. It's just a thought that crossed my mind at the time that he's now going to keep this in reserve and use it again forward because the court has now acknowledged that that forum has got no legal status. That's point one.

     Point two, secession, you know Buthelezi started off, I think it was in 1984/5, speaking to all the white farmers in the northern Zululand area and they started the Kwa-Natal Indaba, the Joint Services Board of the JEA that we've got in position in Natal, it's all part of the development of the Buthelezi Commission's proposals. The whole of Natal as it's operating at the moment was his brainchild and he stated right from the start that the Zulus and the whites can live and work together in the same area. A lot of people, he's got vast support among the white people of Natal, and I am sure that there is so much dissension now about what de Klerk is doing that if he calls for a breakaway from the rest of SA he would have quite a following.

POM     In that situation the physical conflict between the IFP and the ANC would continue?

JB     Oh yes.

POM     So would you have a situation where uniformed SA Defence Forces would enter Natal to quell the secession or whatever and that most of the members of those forces would be regulars - the security forces would be operating to quell both the IFP and the ANC?

JB     It's a very involved problem.

POM     I suppose I could frame the question better. Might the ANC be in a position of having to order what would still be predominantly white security forces into Natal to act against their own people and also act against the IFP?

JB     As I said it's an involved problem because the first point is that we're not in a situation as Rhodesia was to declare UDI, to secede from the Commonwealth or whatever. We are part and parcel of SA and I don't know if secession would be regarded as treason. If it is regarded as treason or if it is regarded as illegal not only the TEC but even the ordinary SA government will then be in its full right to send in as many troops as it wants to. But we've got problems, we've got 11/12,000 policemen stationed in Natal, members of the SAP. Then we've got 5,000 KwaZulu Police. Then we have, I don't know how many soldiers we've got here but we've got a permanent base, two or three permanent bases in Natal, in Durban and two other places. So you've got a large military force and should there be a secession there are problems to be sorted out and that is membership, every policeman must be given a chance to return to SA if he so wants to. You can't secede from the SA government, a man who has signed up an agreement to serve until 60 in SA, he's going to lose all his pension and everything he's worked for, especially if he's got a high rank. In any force. In the KwaZulu Police they are now bound to the KwaZulu government.

PAT     Are they? OK.

JB     By the KwaZulu pension. But your SAP are all paid by the central government pension fund and your military is the same thing and the appointments were made by Pretoria. The senior officers are in a seniority list and working their way up and should they get involved in a thing now and they decide to stay in Natal and this was declared illegally, within a month you will have not desertions, you will have people packing up and going to Pretoria and saying, "Look, I'm reporting for duty." So there are thousands of problems facing a secession and I actually would not like to believe that Buthelezi would go so far.

POM     Isn't this in a sense why the ANC is saying call his bluff and just go right ahead?

JB     Let's just go back to one thing. I was present many years ago, I think it was in 1984/85 somewhere around there, where the provincial leader was actually one of the provincial leaders from Natal. He came to Pretoria and in a very high handed manner demanded certain things and one of them was cinema or movies on Sundays. They said we will not listen to central government, we will promulgate our own laws here. The Minister then concerned said, "Remember you are acting on our behalf. If you do a thing like that we will come in and take away all your powers." I think this is what will happen should Buthelezi, who has no power in Natal at the moment ex officio. You've got an Administrator in Natal, Con Botha, with a whole provincial administrative team to run Natal. Buthelezi is only Chief Minister of Zululand or KwaZulu so he can't secede from SA, maybe only for KwaZulu and that won't help him anything because he will just become another Chief. The KwaZulu government, their mandate lapses next year too so the government will just stop that. That's it. So it would be political suicide for Buthelezi to do this and I don't think he will do it.

POM     Unless some way is found to accommodate him, do you think the Harry Gwala's of the world will accept that accommodation?

JB     Yes. Unfortunately the Harry Gwala's of this world get too much publicity. The Harry Gwala's and a few on the other side, the softies and the hard ones, all in the end accept what is going on in SA. Even Harry Gwala to a certain extent is coming out more and more pro peaceful overtures. I know what he's doing underhand but he has been told to make certain statements and he's making them. Let's fight for peace, let's go for peace, not fight for peace, let us endeavour to get peace in the country. The only problem is where are you going to accommodate Buthelezi? You won't accommodate him by making him a minister, you won't accommodate him - well possibly if you make him a Vice President. But Buthelezi will have to be proved through the ballot box that he's got a following and then he can be elected otherwise I don't think he will accept it either to be a puppet figure, as he calls himself sometimes. Well he calls himself the 'nigger in the woodpile'.

     If he goes to the polls and he gets enough votes then they can do anything and he personally, well he has told me in a private conversation three or four years ago when I said to him, "Sir, I hope I will still have a job in the Police when you become President." He said, "I don't want to be President. I have no aspirations. I am a political man, I have no aspirations to be President of SA unless the people of SA want me to be their President." I think that was very simply stated and I think it sums him up very well. He fights and he wants to get the best for the Zulus, he wants to get the best for the people of Natal and he will take it from there. I don't think he's got aspirations to be President of SA.

PAT     ...

JB     This is what Buthelezi is now saying the NP is doing with the ANC.

PAT     Right at a national level but in Natal?

JB     Also in Natal, yes.

PAT     Buthelezi told us yesterday that they have a very strong line to the NP.

JB     It can definitely not, and I don't think the people of Natal will expect him to accept a minor role. He must have a leading role and if he has a leading role in Natal he will also have a leading role in the government of the day.

PAT     If he gets 38% of the vote and the ANC in Natal gets 42% can he accept that?

JB     He will have to accept it. But again, I haven't got figures to disprove what is being said but it is like in the old days when we spoke about guerrilla warfare, liberation wars and so on, the military battle is 20% and the political battle is 80%. I don't know who coined that phrase but everybody believes it's 80% political and 20% military. I have problems with political commentators, we've got one here, John McLennan at the university, he is quoted ad infinitum that the ANC is at this stage in South African politics standing at 48% or 52% and then he starts with these little things, 10% and less to the IFP and then 15% to the NP, 12% to the CP. I don't know how he thinks because if he goes to Port Elizabeth, if he goes to East London, I don't know if you know those areas, the PAC is going to wipe the floor with the ANC and everybody forgets about this. The strongest following in SA for the PAC is in the Eastern Cape even in the Transkei. I still believe, and being not anti-ANC but not being for the ANC, I still believe that we should go across SA the length and breadth and encourage everybody to go and vote and vote for anybody except for the ANC and then try a coalition after that. But the ANC is going to lose in the Eastern Cape and if the ANC thinks, or at least if McLennan thinks, that the ANC will get 52% after deducting a million or two million voters in the Eastern Cape they're making a very big mistake.

     We are not going to have 100% poll so we're not speaking of 22 million people. I personally believe we will not even see a 60% poll. There's apathy, there are people that are deliberately going to boycott the elections. There are people that are illiterate, there are people that are going to be intimidated and are going to be so scared of intimidation that they will not get anywhere near. Because of poverty they're not going to get to the polls. There are many factors. We normally have a percentage poll in the national elections of about 62%/63% and that was only a quarter of the people that went to the polls. Now suddenly another 30% is coming into the market and we expect a 50% poll. That's expecting a lot. So we're speaking of about 10 million voters and as I say a million of them sit in the Eastern Cape and they're all PAC members, two million are white and about 1.5 million are supposed to be IFP supporters.

     I'm not going to say that they see it as a process, the real naïve people will see this as a process whereby they can have elections very often and so forth. At this stage it is a part of the plan to stop the carnage, the killings, get law and order and peace back into SA. The result of the elections will not stop the war or stop the killings. If the election results come out on the 30th April or 1st May, whatever it may be, if they come out, remember now, possibly if Natal takes part, if the IFP majority or alliance wins I believe that the ANC supporters will pack up their little goods and get out of the province because it's going to be seen by the winners, they've taken the elections and that is it and these people that were fighting them are now the enemy. I'm just painting a bit of a scenario. The IFP members in the Transvaal, should the ANC alliance or the ANC win the election there, they will have to pack up and come back home because they're going to be annihilated and this goes not only for Natal and Transvaal but a few other places too where you have some of these opposing factions very close to each other. The winner will take all and the others will have to get out. The only solution to the problem is this national peacekeeping force, I believe this.

POM     And it would be composed of?

JB     Of equal representation from all forces, all the military forces and the policing agencies in SA. The military forces, that includes MK and APLA and I don't know if it includes the AWB but I suppose so. I don't think they're considered a military force but it would possibly include them too, but already the ANC is objecting to it at grassroots level because they want to know who are they going to protect and against who are they going to protect. They would rather go back to their own communities than protect the ANC. They don't see themselves being in a national peacekeeping force.

     But the concept, the idea is good because you cannot fight unrest in SA with the KwaZulu Police or with the SA Police or the SADF as it is put together. It's got to be like the national negotiating forum, it's got to be representative of all the groupings.

     I speak to a lot of young policemen. I'm the chairman of the International Police Association which is cultural and you speak to these young policemen when you meet up with them and so on and always when they hear where I come from want to know, "How do you see it?" And you ask them about the national peacekeeping force and I say, "Please can we have it tomorrow then we can take the weekend off and we can go and put our blue uniform on and walk down the streets and be policemen." Get somebody else to do the fighting.

POM     In many African countries certain factions believe that if their faction doesn't win that the faction that does win will hold on to all power as a one-party state and there will be no more elections.

JB     One man one vote one time.

POM     One man one vote one party. Do you detect evidence of that mentality operating particularly among IFP members who think that the ANC want to establish a one-party state and that if they should win it would be their constitution and that essentially ...

JB     If I say it that I saw that among the IFP, then I'm wrong, but I notice this among the ...

POM     We were talking about this propensity of ...?

JB     It's not from the IFP members in the cells that I get the idea but in my talk with the Zulus especially, but I also found this in the Transvaal when I spoke with Sothos and Tswanas and so on but they all believe that the ANC is dominated by the Xhosa and they have all expressed the concern that should the ANC come into power that will mean the erosion of all cultural forms, of all the other different groupings and that the Xhosa culture will come out on top and that it will lead to a one-party state but a Xhosa party state. This was refuted by the ANC and there are quite a few of their members who have spoken out about this but that was the general worry among the Zulus and a few other people that I've spoken to.

POM     Do you think that worry has been alleviated or that it's still there?

JB     It is still there and it might be one of the major stumbling blocks for the ANC towards the run up to the election.

POM     We met with the King yesterday too and he was very insistent that unless the KwaZulu government's demands were met they would never to the negotiating table. He talked a lot about the Zulu nation, Zulu nationalism and the threat to Zulu nationalism from what might turn out to be an ANC dominated government and that they could not accept that either. Do you see him as, or at least what I would call it, a tribal card that has yet to be played, a Zulu card that is put on the table, we're not talking about KwaZulu or Natal as such, we're not talking about the Zulu nation, to call up the King for all the Zulus to unite against this internal threat?

JB     Well they've already used that card to a certain extent, the Zulu nationalism and they've used the King and the ANC is very aware of this because they are doing quite a few things now, they're planning to involve the King in one or two of their mass meetings for the Zulus who support the ANC, they're entitled to the same King. But the King is playing or has played and will play a very important part in the tradition and the culture of the Zulu and although the ANC and many other people are now saying that we're living in modern times and so on, he still wields a very big influence on the day-to-day thinking of Zulus. He is considered first of all the negotiator between themselves and the forefather spirits and without him there cannot be communication with the forefather spirits. In a small enclave the Chief or the village headman speaks with his ancestors on behalf of the enclave or the little group of people and when you have a Chief with his community the Chief speaks on behalf of the chieftain and all the people there to the forefather spirits. But the King speaks on behalf of all the Zulus to the forefather spirits and he's in direct contact with them, according to Zulu traditional belief. It's like saying to a Christian now that Jesus was not born in a manger or that Jesus cannot intercede on our behalf with God. This is what people are now saying about the King, that he's not important, but he is in the Zulu belief and culture and tradition. He is a very important man. As he always says he was born to be king, from a long line of kings. If problems do arise I am sure Buthelezi will go to the King and say it is now time that we use you or use your office to get all the Zulus as one to oppose whatever we've got to oppose.

POM     Do you think a call by the King on Zulus who are members of the ANC to renounce it in some way would have an impact or is there an urban young Zulu population out there who doesn't take the idea of kingship very seriously any longer?

JB     When there is a public call, and now I must maybe explain that most of the Zulus that are involved in the ANC come from this area of Edendale around here but they were a group of amakholwas that were ostracised from the Zulu nation in 1830 or somewhere around there and they were chased away and they came and settled here.

POM     Could you spell that word because it came up four years ago?

JB     AMAKHOLWA. Now they settled in the Pietermaritzburg area at Edenvale in the early 1800s and they were used by the British against the Zulus in the Anglo/Zulu war against King Cetshwayo and as a result of their actions in the Zulu war they were then given property in the Pietermaritzburg area and we found that the majority of the ANC members come from this area. In other words they are not true blue Zulu and they're not really accepted by the Zulus themselves. There are people in the senior leadership of the ANC like Jacob Zuma who is a real Zulu and there are a few in Durban that are real Zulus but when the call goes out, if a call does go out and all Zulus are called upon to support the King and support Buthelezi, any person seen not doing that will be in danger. He will either be reported and even a community that feels strongly about it might turn against him. So the person who does ignore or act against the King's instructions then does it at his own risk and I think there will be quite a bit of risk especially if the rest of the Zulus stand together.

POM     So if I were to ask you to look to the next year what do you think is going to happen? Will there be elections for a Constituent Assembly on 27th April or will there not? If there are will Buthelezi and the IFP participate in those elections or will they boycott them?

JB     First of all I believe that there will be elections on 27th April and I also believe that we are going to have quite a lot of intimidation running up to the 27th April. It hasn't started yet but the intimidation will start. I also believe that Buthelezi will take part, that they will be able to convince him to take part in the elections because if he does not take part in the elections he's going to lose the power that he has at the moment, the position that he has, he's going to lose everything that he's fought for.

PAT     I have one question which actually refers to the Cape. We may have talked about it before, the key personality. [We hear from a lot of people that the King is ... to the ... of Buthelezi]. He has a certain position obviously in terms of the royal family and the heredity but he gets called in and called out. We've met with him now on four occasions in four years and we have a feeling, without being that close to the situation, that he has this intense interest in politics and has his own, maybe not agenda, but is driven by some of his own intuitions about what he should do and may be a collaborator but certainly is not a puppet. Buthelezi in some respects has his hands full trying to keep the King in that sort of apolitical position.

JB     First of all if you're going to hang me for all the other stuff I've said over the past four years then you can hang me for this too. But the King is in a unique position. He interfered in the political process in KwaZulu on two or three occasions and one night it culminated in sitting in the Legislative Assembly and when Buthelezi started speaking he jumped up and he ran out into the night pursued by certain people who tried to get him back because he was very afraid, the King was. But we cannot argue with the position that he holds traditionally within the Zulu nation. He is the greatest man in the Zulu nation. He is the greatest person. He is the most important person for the Zulu, to be called Zulu, to exist as Zulus, to continue to exist as Zulus, but the King has no political stature whatsoever. Buthelezi took that away from him. The King, I think he's 48 years old or 50 years old, and to tell a man like that that he's not allowed to have political influence or that he has no political stature I think is wrong. I personally think that. I have spoken to the King on quite a few occasions and he comes across as a man that reads widely, that is very interested and he's petitioned by his subjects on a daily basis. They want to speak to him about problems that worry them so he's got to make political decisions there. Although they might be tribal political decisions they are still political because who owns what and who owns where he's got to take those decisions and he's got to take them as king. So he has a vast political influence in KwaZulu or in the Zulu nation, not western politics but he's got a political influence. I know he champs at the bit every now and then and it comes out clearly that every now and again he makes a statement publicly that must be refuted by Buthelezi and he must be curbed or pulled back.

POM     OK. Thank you once again.

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.