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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Sep 1993: Konigkramer, Arthur

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POM     Let me start with what seems to me to be almost a hole into which I think Inkatha or the IFP has painted itself. On Wednesday I said this with both Dr Buthelezi and Frank Mdlalose and King Zwelithini and the message was a very hard hitting message that the IFP and the KwaZulu government will not participate in an election for a Constituent Assembly. It seems they find it very difficult to move from that position. On the other hand the ANC in their corner say they will accept nothing but an election for a Constituent Assembly. How do you get them both out of their corners or can you?

AK     OK, well I think the first thing is I would not accept your assessment when you say we've dug ourselves or painted ourselves into hole. I don't think that's so at all. I would say that the IFP - let me just go back a few steps, let's just have a look at where does a Constituent Assembly come from? The CA was advocated in Harare, it was done outside SA and it was done without the consent of South Africans. The only people that were there were the ANC, the Communist Party and their allies so first of all it was conceived outside the country without the support of the SA people. That's the first thing so it's patently undemocratic and it's communist inspired. Secondly, once they came back to the country they very clearly still had the plan of rendering the country ungovernable, which they've done, and they've continued to do and they basically are saying that unless you accept a CA we will continue to destabilise the country. That's what's going on.

     So I don't believe that the IFP position is that it's painted itself into a corner. I think it is the only party at this stage that is overtly capable of stopping the ANC. There is no precedent for a CA in Africa. The only one that there was, was in Namibia recently and one can see there, for example, and we've learnt that lesson, in terms of the CA approach in Namibia it was agreed that immediately a new government was formed they would look at the question of federalism. And I don't have to tell you what's happened. There has been no talk of federalism and there won't be any talk of federalism because once you've got your hands on power it's very clear that they're not going to divide it up.

     [So the position is very - I believe that there are -] I would say the majority of South Africans would support federalism [and therefore as I can see it the main purpose of a CA, and this is why they want to pursue it ....] Where were we? The position is that you see the reason the ANC is absolutely adamant on the question of a CA is because they want total power at the centre and they're not prepared to share it with anybody and we've been through forty years of repression and we certainly don't intend to go through it again. I believe the majority of South Africans actually support that view.

POM     Do you not think they've moved on the issue of a unitary state?

AK     Not at all because they have correctly perceived that they are unable to implement it. They've now got platitudes about it but if you look at the powers which they've agreed to, delegate to the regions, they are meaningless. It's essentially running the Fire Brigade. And those powers, for example with education and conservation, where they said the regions may have them but at the same time there are concurrent powers and it's obvious what they will do, simply override them, exactly the way the current Nationalists do. They're birds of a feather, there's no difference. The Nationalists, we had in SA from 1910 we had a federation, not a federation a union but the provinces had fairly substantial powers. Now the government, for example, in Natal, the government never ever ran Natal, they were never able to win this even although it was still whites only but they failed no matter how they tried to win Natal and eventually they got round the problem by the simple expedient of dissolving the Provincial Council. They just disbanded it and then appointed their own administrators which they do to this day. We're run by nominated people, by an Executive Committee which is nominated by the NP. I don't think, as I say, I don't think we're in a corner.

POM     Where do you see the movement coming from? There were talks between Dr Buthelezi yesterday and Mr de Klerk. Do you think something will be forthcoming from that?

AK     No I don't think so. Although they have appointed these committees that are going to look into thing but quite frankly I don't see very much coming out of it. One of the main significant things I think is that if you look at what the ANC, what the government did with the ANC when it reached deadlock, it then appointed various committees and eventually the ANC sucked the government into a position where it agreed with its positions. You see De Klerk at the moment is the man that's in a corner because there is no way that he can go ahead without the IFP and he certainly will not go ahead without the CP and people like that and although we feel from our side very, very uncomfortable with a lot that the CP stands for but the reality of the matter is that they represent very considerable power and there is no difference from the IFP stand now than it was with the government. We engaged the current government in negotiations for more than fifteen years and eventually it culminated in the change which took place in 1990 and that's exactly the same with the CP, you've just got to keep talking until you knock sense into their heads but force is not the way to impose your will on others, that's not the way to go forward.

POM     How do you see the path forward given that elections are set for 27th April next year? Do you believe elections will take place?

AK     No, they will not take place, they will not take place. Of that I'm absolutely convinced. I believe what the government is doing, for example, for a start it's unconstitutional. In terms of the current SA constitution you cannot proceed to dismantle the current structures which, remember, however we dislike them they are constitutional structures enacted through an act of parliament. Now in terms of the current constitution you may not disband those structures without consultation and very clearly - it doesn't say concurrence but consultation is obviously more than simply advising somebody what you're going to do. So if you want to dismantle the current constitutional structures you're going to have to have the very, it may not be agreement, but you're going to have to consult very extensively which they have not done. So if he tries to proceed, first of all he's acting unconstitutionally. I am quite sure that can be challenged in court and he will be found wanting. I'm absolutely sure about that. Secondly, I believe that he no longer represents anybody. He no longer represents a majority and I am sure that a majority of his own party and I am sure that when the crunches come there will be a revolt in his own party. Then where do we go?

POM     So there's revolt in his party, he's replaced by somebody else and that somebody else opens a whole new phase of negotiations?

AK     That is possible but he has got one of two choices. The reason he is desperate at the moment to court the IFP is because the majority of his party disagree with the line that he's taking and if you see yesterday how he's issuing statements denying that he was in league with the ANC, saying that they are his chief opponent, of course it's patent nonsense. Any empirical study of the facts shows that they have done a deal behind closed doors and they want to share power and he has got to deliver his part of the bargain which very clearly he's not able to do any more.

POM     What happened, just to back up, what happened from this time last year where there was confrontation between the ANC and the government in the wake of Boipatong, mass stayaways, strikes, whatever and the government and the ANC appeared to be at each other's throats?

AK     No, that is not so. You see, look, what's happened, I think, and this is one of the great sadnesses of the situation, is that I think with all due respect particularly to foreigners they simply don't understand what is going on here. If you look very carefully at what happened at Boipatong, what happened with that issue is that the ANC was democratically beaten at CODESA. They failed to get their way and the majority of the people voted for federalism and the ANC then saw that it couldn't get its way and then it seized on the issue of Boipatong which had nothing whatever to do with negotiations and it then engaged on nine months of mass action and turning the country upside down until they thought they could get their way, which is where we are right now. So Boipatong is just an excuse, nothing has changed, the position is still exactly the same; a seizure of power and power in their hands. There's been no change.

     What we have is just a progressive, more and more signs of the government's unwillingness to govern, its incapacity to govern and it's just giving way to the ANC systematically all down the line.

     And the deal is quite simply, if you can just spend a minute and you look in broad historical terms to what has happened, if you look in 1948 when the Nationalists 'won' the election, because remember that they actually were in a minority but because of the loading of the constituencies they actually were able to get their hands on power. Now what they did in 1948 their central task was to empower Afrikaners. They went about it in a number of ways. Firstly in the civil service they introduced a piece of legislation in terms of which if you weren't bilingual you couldn't hold the top positions. Through that administrative action they were able to systematically get rid of all the English speakers because what they wanted was a civil service, which was a very fine one built up by the British and of course the previous governments. They then systematically got control of the civil service through that act, through the language policy and once they got control of the civil service they then started using their power in the civil service to award their companies contracts. They started building the General Minings, the big Afrikaner business establishments, and so the Afrikaner is empowered.

     Now the deal with the ANC is De Klerk and his people have obviously said, look, to continue to empower the Afrikaners he did a deal with the ANC and if you remember carefully what happened was that Nelson Mandela came out and he guaranteed the pensions of the civil service. Can you remember that? Why did he do that? Very simple. Because the deal is that we will be the new masters in Tuynhuys but you can for the foreseeable future remain in charge of the civil service because by guaranteeing the pensions obviously you can't dismiss those people. And so, therefore, from De Klerk's point of view the Afrikaner will continue to be in the driving seat, he will be cared for and that's the deal. To me it's quite simple.

POM     So on the one hand the ANC will have its hands on what are the manifest levers of power but on the other hand the Afrikaner will still control and dictate through the civil service?

AK     And you see I would venture to suggest that a western world tired of the conflict in SA, as far as they're concerned they don't have to live here. So what? They will keep each other in check as far as they're concerned. What's it got to do with democracy as long as you get a legitimate government here and let's just get shot of the problem. Unfortunately we have to live here.

POM     This is where you raise the interesting point, it's about the decline in De Klerk's position, the continual decline in De Klerk's position since the referendum of March 1992. One hears of the divisions within the NP, one hears of divisions within the Cabinet. Are these real, as distinct from rumours?

AK     Oh they're very real.

POM     They're very real?

AK     Oh yes, no question about it. They're very, very real. You must remember that he's also abolished elections so he now doesn't have to go through the messy business of democratic elections. They simply nominate new people so you cannot therefore test what's actually happening on the ground but I can assure you that if you think there are problems in the Cabinet and in the party, on the ground they are far greater. The Nationalists when they hold meetings these days have a great job filling the halls so their supporters are forsaking them en masse and I would venture to suggest that certainly in this part of the world, in Natal, the IFP today I think represents the majority of whites, let alone blacks.

POM     There's a loose alliance between the NP here and the IFP, there's a respect for each other.

AK     But it goes way beyond Natal but in Natal it is particularly strong. The Nationalists in this part of the world I think have correctly perceived that the NP in Natal has got no future at all. They wouldn't even get near to 5% so they would not feature and, therefore, just in terms of power politics who are they? Who do they represent? You've got to cast around for a partner that is capable of winning and that shares your ideals essentially.

POM     In the light of what you say, where does this leave the ANC? The ANC have committed their voters to an election for a Constituent Assembly on 27th April next year.

AK     First of all we mustn't keep coming back to that date. That date is actually a creation of Joe Slovo. The origin of that date is Joe Slovo. Now the reasons for it are first of all because it's very close to the assassination of Hani and it's very close to Labour Day, so that's the reason behind that and obviously to try and whip up emotion and so on. But be that as it may the bulk, we and Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, the whole COSAG group have not accepted that, apart from those that are not in the negotiating council or in the forum. So therefore how on earth are you going to implement that? That's the one aspect.

     Secondly, I don't think that constitutionally it's going to be possible because, as I said to you earlier, you've got to get that through parliament and how are you going to get that through parliament? And then there's the third aspect of the time factor. How on earth are you going to prepare the country for elections in this short period of time when we haven't even got the legislation through parliament? It's just not possible. So I think you can take it as read that there will be no elections at the end of April.

POM     Where does this leave the ANC? You have a situation where now it would appear that the moderates at the centre are in control for the moment.

POM     OK, argue away.

AK     I don't believe they are in control at all. The ANC is as firmly under the control of the SACP as it ever was. Who would you regard as a moderate? Thabo Mbeki? Thabo Mbeki is the most committed communist of all of them. He went to the most elite communist schools in Moscow. He's not a moderate. He might have a moderate face but he's not a moderate.

POM     That's why I find it interesting that the ANC Youth League threw its support behind Mbeki.

AK     But doesn't that confirm what I'm telling you? You see people constantly, I'm amazed at people referring to Thabo Mbeki as a moderate. Thabo Mbeki is the most radical communist imaginable. He was a hand-picked individual. There's nothing moderate about him. Outwardly he's very genial and all that but I don't think one should suffer any delusions or illusions about it. So where does it leave the ANC? The ANC is as committed as ever to the takeover of total power for itself and, yes, it's going to be in a great dilemma because if De Klerk cannot deliver what are they going to do? They've got two options, they've got mass action, and the SA people are tired of mass action. Secondly, with more than half the people unemployed what is it going to do and for how long can they sustain it? Then the other alternative is the seizure of power through military means. Now that patently is impossible. So they're in a hole aren't they?

POM     So who will be the gainer in that event? One looks at the townships where the violence is happening, at least on the East Rand, and one gets the impression that the ANC is no longer in control of its local defence units. Do you see the PAC as being the beneficiary of supporters of the ANC who become disillusioned?

AK     No I don't think so, I don't think that will happen because, you see, this another one of the myths in SA. There is a very deliberate campaign between the ANC and the government to stigmatise the PAC, in other words to try and portray the ANC as more moderate and that the more radical people are in the PAC, but that's patent nonsense because, look, if one or two white farmers get murdered then the whole world is up in arms, everybody, it's on the front pages of the New York Times and quite frankly it doesn't mean a row of beans. We're having scores of black people killed every day which don't make the headlines so what is the difference? Is it because the PAC did it? I would suggest to you that if you look very carefully the people behind those killings are actually uMkhonto weSizwe not the PAC. No, I can't see that. I think the PAC, yes it will grow and it has substantial support but it is essentially an African nationalist movement and in that sense I think a lot of it's thinking is actually very close to that of the old IFP. Of course things are changing now. Who's going to be the gainer? Who's going to gain? I don't know.

POM     Well the ANC in that situation would be the big loser.

AK     Yes. Yes it would be the loser in the sense that it's now become a victim of its own policies because it was the movement that wanted SA made ungovernable and it's now succeeded in doing that and the government hasn't got the will to restore order and so therefore it's out of hand, but it can be stopped very easily. You just need the will to do it.

POM     You say it can be stopped very easily. That sounds like you bring in emergency laws again, you crack down.

AK     Yes. Well we have got an emergency haven't we? We've got civil war going and I can tell you that the vast bulk of SA people are sick and tired of it. You can't live a normal life any more, criminals just do what they wish and they get away with it. Can one deal with those sort of things democratically in a western sense? No, let me rephrase that, I think it's a bad choice of words, I don't see anything wrong with stamping down on that sort of situation, you have to.

POM     Last year after the referendum the CP seemed to be demoralised, non-cohesive and they were generally being counted out as a factor in the equation. This year one comes back and finds that they have a new sense of purpose and they're under the umbrella of the AVU and particularly with the involvement of people like General Viljoen they have new respectability and are taken far more seriously. How would you assess the threat from the right if things continue on their present course?

AK     Why do you use the word 'threat'?

POM     Well I'm being euphemistic.

AK     No but I mean it is a very interesting choice of word and it's quite common. What is threatening democracy right now in SA? Is it the AVU, is it the IFP or is it the ANC and its militarism? What is actually threatening democracy? Is it not the ungovernability? And who created that? So I would suggest to you that what you are seeing in the AVU is a response to the anarchy and the chaos that's developing in the country. I don't see that as a threat, I think it's a normal reaction to people that have recognised a government that has lost the will to govern, that is just giving way to radicalism, that is incapable of dealing with the security situation. I am fairly convinced in my own mind that the AVU is going to be - when I say the AVU, a new grouping is going to be the group that the ANC are going to have to deal with. I think the current government is very fast losing its power base and its credibility.

POM     Would that new grouping be composed both of whites and parties like the IFP?

AK     Well I think it's inevitable. Let's be under no illusions, the old order in SA is irrevocably dead and so what you are seeing at the moment is a realignment of forces, people that believe in certain things and that's got nothing to do with race, it's not race based. For example, even if you look within the IFP, the IFP today has got a very, very substantial white base, or not a white base but a very substantial amount of white support. Those people are in there because they believe in the same things that the old black IFP believed in which is essentially multi-party democracy. One of the key things is a belief in free enterprise and then arguably most importantly the belief in federalism.

POM     Some people would argue, so I'll make the argument and then you can rebut it, that the reason why the IFP do not want elections for a Constituent Assembly is that polls show that nationally they might get at best about 10% of the total vote. The ANC might get 50% - 55% of the vote. No matter what, that they would not be in a position where they would be able to have a strong say in the constitution that was being produced so they want as much of the constitution in place before an election for a CA. They want the principles of federalism entrenched. They want the powers of the regions defined, that these things be taken into that Assembly as being part of the principles themselves. What is your response to that?

AK     First of all I don't accept that because the majority of polls in SA are done by telephone. We've actually been doing it ourselves so I think we know what we're talking about. We are actually conducting polls ourselves so we know that these people have conceded and because at the end of the day when you pay the bill and you can question it and say now, look, this is the procedure we're following, these are likely to be the results and they have to concede. So I would say that's the one thing. The experience on the ground.

POM     When you do polls do you go into the field?

AK     Yes we're currently doing that. You see there are two things. Our experience on the ground shows us that those polls are just hopelessly out. The IFP continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, in fact we can't keep up with the membership. I would say that we are confident, and this is no secret, that we will take between 55% and 65% of the vote in Natal. That's a very conservative estimate, and we believe that nationally we will take between 20% and 30% of the vote. So under those circumstances - that's the one issue - under that scenario I believe that the IFP will be a very, very powerful player at the centre apart from running Natal. That's the one side.

     But I would answer that the second aspect is this, that, yes, if the IFP can leave SA with - if its legacy can be that it was the party that was able to achieve a thoroughly democratic constitution entrenched, up front, then quite frankly I think that we will have achieved a hell of a lot and then may the better man win and if the IFP gets wiped out in the elections so be it but at least then we know that we've got an entrenched constitution that cannot be altered and that the people will have a real say and they will be protected from the sort of authoritarian rule that we've had to put up with since 1948. I think far from a negative thing it's a very positive thing if we can achieve that.

POM     Let me tie that into the issue of the violence. The violence here in the country as a whole has gotten worse especially since last March. I think about four people a day were being killed last March and now it's about ten people per day. Number one, given this situation in Natal could you have free and fair elections?

AK     No.

POM     Even if there was a constitution drawn up could you actually have a free and fair election?

AK     No you couldn't. You couldn't.

POM     Two, do you think that if the ANC said, OK Dr Buthelezi is right and essentially granted him the substance of his demands, do you think people like Harry Gwala here would accept that or they would simply say to the ANC national leadership, "Go to hell, we haven't spent ten years fighting here for that."

AK     I'm sure he would say that but so what?

POM     Again, would it lead to an intensification.

AK     It's very easy to stop the violence of people like Harry Gwala, very easy. All you have to do is have the will to stop it. The SA government knows exactly what is going on there, they know exactly where the arms are coming from, they know exactly where the people are being trained and they're just not stopping it for reasons of their own because right now whites are not being killed. That's the simple answer. But I can assure you that if whites were killed it would be stopped pretty smartly. The bottom line is that the arms that are coming into Natal are coming from the Transkei. The MK people that have been trained are being trained in the Transkei and elsewhere and the government knows exactly where it is. So the short answer is if you want to stop that it's very easy and I can assure you if we were the government we would stop it very easily, because how can you condone that sort of murder and mayhem and underground activity? That's not democracy. And who does he represent anyway? A very small minority. Elections will deal with him anyway if one could curtail the violence.

POM     But you can't have elections until the violence is curtailed.

AK     It is possible to curtail the violence.

POM     Everything you've pointed out to me so far suggests a situation that will become increasingly unstable.

AK     Not necessarily.

POM     Can you make the argument?

AK     You see there are two scenarios as I see it. The one is that the government and it's partner in the ANC will try to force their will on the people of SA, on SA. I don't believe that that is possible and, yes, that will lead to massive instability. The second scenario is that De Klerk will lose his power base more rapidly and sooner or later, and I think that's what was happening in Cape Town yesterday, face the reality that he's going to have to abandon his ally the ANC and that he has to now start looking afresh.

POM     At Cape Town? This is the meeting with?

POM     I don't know, I'm here to learn. You paint for me a very systematically pessimistic scenario of the country becoming increasingly ungovernable, of a weak government.

AK     The government will be replaced if that happens. I don't think it's a terrible situation but look, as I said to you, if De Klerk continues to lose power at the rate he's losing it, at the moment it's inevitable there's going to be a revolt within his party and the Afrikaners have got a long history of that. They are very ruthless when it comes to ditching the leader, as you saw, for example, with PW Botha, and that is not impossible. If that happens you've got a totally new ball game immediately because whatever replaces it will be a rallying call for not only Afrikaners but for a large number of whites and there will be a new determination. The ANC will find itself in a position where it is not treated with kid gloves. It will be dealt with. The government knows, as I said, all this military activity through MK, the government is actually condoning it and it will not be condoned if there's a change in government.

POM     That's a particular side of the equation. What if the government and the ANC and their allies push ahead, the Transitional Executive Council comes into being.

AK     But it's not possible.

POM     You don't believe the TEC will come into being?

AK     I don't think it's possible because I think it's unconstitutional.

POM     Let's for a moment assume, let's just assume that it does.

AK     Then you are headed for big trouble because I believe the chances then of a military uprising from the right are very high.

POM     What happens with the IFP?

AK     Our people continue to fight democratically. We've been there before.

POM     Would there be an intensification of the war, what is a low intensity civil war here in Natal, more violence in the townships and would there be an increase?

AK     I think it's inevitable. You see the one thing that I really find quite frightening, you see in Natal we've got a situation where you've got a leadership that is very, very vehemently opposed to violence and will not allow any of its people to start forming themselves into any form of military units. The IFP doesn't have the equivalent of an MK but I can assure you that if the thing gets much worse the pressure from underneath is going to get such that its Chief whether he likes it or not will be faced with a situation where people will begin to form themselves into some form of defence units or whatever you want to call them.

POM     Again polls would show, would indicate that among blacks in Natal that the ANC enjoy more support than the IFP. Again you dispute it because the polls are not properly carried out?

AK     Yes. Apart from that and let me just remind you that, for example, in Zimbabwe all the pollsters got it totally wrong, including the CIA. Everybody said that Nkomo would walk it. Am I right? And what happened? And we know from our experience on the ground, obviously we too can be wrong, obviously, but our experience doesn't come from polls, it comes from the experience of people on the ground and I think it cannot be gainsaid that the IFP is by far the best grassroots organisation in SA with now progressively something like 2.2 million members built up over a very long period of time and we can't get it that badly wrong.

POM     You see that the bill for a Transitional Executive Council goes before parliament, do you see parliament passing it?

AK     I can't see it. I would be very, very surprised if the NP caucus passes that bill. I would be very surprised. But let's say, for example, that he manages to persuade the council and it actually goes before parliament and it's actually passed. I believe it will be challenged and I believe it's unconstitutional and I believe that the Supreme Court will rule it ultra vires. Then we're back to square one.

POM     Going back a little bit, the NP has made it a staple of their demands and interests that there would be permanent power sharing.

AK     Well not permanent, six years.

POM     Well prior to that it had been that power sharing would be entrenched in the final constitution. Then they changed their minds and rather dramatically settled for this five to six year period.

AK     Correct.

POM     Again, what accounts for this really astonishing turnabout?

AK     I think it's losing the will to govern quite frankly. I think it's all part of the same phenomenon. But I don't think that matters much anyway because at the end of the day I think what SA needs is a constitution which protects the citizens from the effects of arbitrary power and then, quite frankly, I don't believe that when they talk of power sharing ... (interruption of interview)

     I was going to say, if you talk power sharing I think there probably was originally some wisdom in the idea of insisting that there be power sharing between black and white. If you've had forty years of apartheid and you've had forty years of white hegemony you can't overturn that overnight. So I think there might have been sense in saying, well, for an interim period there should be power sharing between white interests and black interests and hopefully during that five year period like all change it's better to be a little bit more gradual than dramatic, the distrust will have been broken down and then at the end of the day it wouldn't really have mattered. But the better choice is to actually have a constitution which protects the citizens from arbitrary power and therefore it doesn't really matter whether at the end of the day you have a power sharing team of whites and blacks. It's much better to have a competition of ideas and interests. In other words today you will see, as I said earlier, that there are large numbers of blacks and whites who, for example, believe very strongly in federalism, believe in free enterprise and it's much better to have those sort of groupings that can keep other groupings in check. Once you've got a constitution which makes that possible then I think it really doesn't matter. Maybe that's what the Nats have done. Who knows.

POM     One of the features of countries undergoing democratisation is the belief that the first election would be the last election.

AK     That's why the ANC wants total power.

POM     Do you think that the IFP believes that?

AK     Yes. You mean that's what the ANC wants? Yes.

POM     They're into establishing ...

AK     They will use the power of the state to ruthlessly oppress the others, exactly as the current government did. We'll just have a new set of masters with black faces.

POM     What evidence would you pile up to justify that?

AK     They've got a history of it. Just look at them. Show me one democrat. There's not one of those top leaders that hasn't been involved in revolutionary violence. Why should they change? Why should they change?

POM     Well one could look at many countries where change came through revolutionary violence.

AK     And you had democracy that followed?

POM     Not in Africa but ...

AK     Give me one example!

POM     Well I was going to say Ireland is a good example, at least the Republic of Ireland. Would you distinguish between the IFP and the Zulu nationalism and, again, increasingly the King was talking about if the interests of the Zulu nation are being undermined that they will not stand idly by.

AK     I think you've got to look at it in terms of the demography and that is that essentially, which is certainly what the IFP has been working on for all the time, is that once you accept that we're now going to have democracy the fundamental reality is that the government is going to be black and it's going to be black in every part of the country. There are no exceptions. Now that being the case it really doesn't matter, I mean in Natal 80% of the people are Zulus so therefore if he speaks of the interests of the Zulu nation being threatened he sees the majority of Natal people and I think it's important that one actually recognises that. Now that being the case I don't think one needs to look at that. Of course there is a mobilisation of Zulu nationalism and the reason for that is very simple. What has brought that about is that the ANC has systematically as a matter of policy sought to overthrow the KwaZulu government and they have systematically attacked the KwaZulu people, the Zulu people, and that has now begun to lead to a counter reaction and people are now beginning to think as Zulus. So it's not what the Zulus created, it's what actually has been thrown at them that resulted in that.

POM     But the people who are doing this are Zulus, I mean what you have here is a civil war, you've got Zulu fighting Zulu.

AK     Yes but to a very limited degree. Who's doing the killing? Who's doing the killing? It's MK. And who controls MK?

POM     So you think that the people involved in the violence here on the ANC side are not necessarily Zulu?

AK     A lot of those doing the killing, virtually all those doing the killing are members of MK.

POM     And therefore not necessarily Zulu.

AK     They could be Zulus but the reality is that MK, if you look at the ANC, if you look at the top structure of the ANC I think there's one Zulu in the whole NEC.

POM     Jacob Zuma.

AK     Yes. Can I just make another observation? With regard to the statements I made earlier that those people are in the majority so therefore if you are damaging the interests of the majority of the people of Natal you are in fact damaging the interests of the Zulu people. That's the one side of the equation. The other one is this, that in SA at the moment all people who are not black have got their own personal Rubicon to cross. As I said to you earlier there is not one region in SA where blacks will not dominate. Therefore if you are not African, not a black African, you are faced with a very simple choice. You've got to accept (a) that the government is going to be black and (b) you've got to actually align yourself with a black party and that to me is a very encouraging sign because now people who are not black African are faced with a very stark choice; you can either go the route, for example, if you go to the IFP, the vast bulk of the people who are going to the IFP go in there because they genuinely believe that it stands for federalism, it stands for free enterprise, it has got a long history of fighting democratically. There's the record of the Buthelezi Commission, the KZN Indaba, so they've got a long history of wanting to change things constitutionally and they are liberal democrats I think in the classic mould. Now they're very accommodating, Zulu nationalism is very accommodating. It was in Shaka's day and it still is today. It will very happily accept people of other colours.

     Or alternatively you can choose to support the ANC in which case, in my view, you're supporting socialism, you're supporting very centrist thinking, you're supporting a movement that's got a total lack of democracy, got no history of democracy, it's got a history in fact of very callous murder, of ruthless suppression of its opponents. In fact if you look at what happened even in its own camps in Africa, what it did with those people. That's the simple choice.

POM     So you don't see any case or any scenario in which the Afrikaner might be able to carve out their own homeland?

AK     No I don't think that's practical politics. It may well be, and I think this is why people like the AVU and General Viljoen are now such strong supporters of federalism, that in certain areas they may well have a substantial influence. That's the best scenario you can hope for.

POM     In Durban when the National Congress was here Roelf Meyer, I'll quote you what he said, "It seems to us that one of the most important things Inkatha leaders want is to ensure self-determination of the Zulu people. We believe that is attainable." Was Mr Meyer correct in that assumption?

AK     Poppycock. And I'll tell you this, first of all two things, first of all he's a lightweight.

POM     A lightweight?

AK     Yes, I don't think what he says is very important. That might sound arrogant but I think history will prove me right. Secondly, you see what he is reacting to is enormous ferment in Zulu society. There are a lot of people beginning to say, well, bugger it, we've had enough of this violence, what we need to do now is to stand up, we've been through it, we're sick of whites. And he was trying to play to that gallery and really that is dangerous and it's poppycock.

     But what are we talking about? The Zulu people, quite frankly, let me just give you some background to show you how stupid that statement is. The old Inkatha engaged the NP in debate for 15 years and the whole purpose of it was to get it to change and to drop apartheid, to get it to free the ANC, to free the leaders, to unban the ANC. It achieved that. Now why on earth - we had the Buthelezi Commission, the KZN Indaba which was to share power, to create a new non-racial SA, what is talking about? Why on earth should we want to talk about Zulus? What have Zulus got to do with it? He's confused.

POM     Just to take his points that he made, that the national level should be a federal system, that is, "Allowing for regions to determine their own future."

AK     Why doesn't he do it then? Why does he want a unitary state with the ANC? It's empty rhetoric. It's a party congress.

POM     OK. So much for Mr Meyer.

AK     I would suggest, if I may just make an observation, Roelf Meyer should just throw in his lot with the ANC and do the best he can. I think it's probably going to happen at some stage.

POM     Into what groups would you split government negotiations at this point between doves and hawks, as they're loosely called?

AK     It would be very difficult to know but let me just answer, as I said to you earlier, that I believe that he's got a very serious problem in his caucus and that I think there's a fair chance that if that bill is put before parliament that there will be a revolt. Now it doesn't have to be - for example, if the Natal contingent did the high walk then others would follow them and he would have a major problem because he would then lose his majority and he would then be forced to get his legislation passed with the support of people in the tricameral system, which I would suggest to you is a dangerous thing. Or alternatively he would have to rely on the support of the DP. That may be forthcoming, I doubt it.

POM     You doubt that the DP would go along with De Klerk?

AK     Yes I doubt it.

POM     Why?

AK     Because I think there would be a very serious division in that party too, because there too there are those that believe that somehow we've got to get this thing through, that, for the want of a better word, appeasement is necessary. But there are also those that are saying - I mean they've already lost one of them, Mike Tarr has joined the IFP already and there are many others that support our point of view so I would suggest there too there would be a problem. If it actually came to a vote I don't know, it would be a very close thing.

POM     The other issue that came up with regard to why the IFP left the negotiations was this whole question of sufficient consensus. Do you think that in the light of the way things are developing, or you think they are developing, this question of sufficient consensus is becoming increasingly irrelevant because events will make it irrelevant?

AK     No I don't think so. You see sufficient consensus was a tool which the government and the ANC used to try and bulldoze their way through. It's actually a very sad reflection on where we're going when the Supreme Court refuses to adjudicate on that because it's essentially saying it's no different from a gambling club, you set the rules and you play by the game. That's what the court has essentially said. In other words it's not weighty enough to actually. Now I think from my knowledge there's a fair chance that that will go on appeal and I think there's a fair chance also that the Appeal Court, the Appellate Division would overturn that decision. That's the one side. So I don't think it can become irrelevant because that whole issue of sufficient consensus is bound up very much with where we're going politically in general. In other words that De Klerk is determined to bulldoze this agreement he has with the ANC through and, as I've indicated, the sufficient consensus issue now goes right into his caucus, it goes into how Viljoen and those people are going to respond. So it won't go away.

POM     By the same token it means that the IFP doesn't get its way all the time either.

AK     Well it hasn't got its way at all.

POM     You know what it's saying, if the ANC say we want an election for a Constituent Assembly, stop at that point.

AK     They won't get that. It's not going to happen. It really is not going to happen. It won't happen.

POM     So if you were a betting man you would now say that the bill that will come before parliament on the TEC will go down the drain?

AK     I think so.

POM     I'll hold it at that point. I'm going to live in the country for the better part of the next year just to monitor more carefully what's going on so I'll probably call you on this in a couple of months. In the meantime thanks ever so much. In the absence of your belief that elections will happen and this will happen, nevertheless the IFP is going ahead with making arrangements, getting ready for them?

AK     Yes, very much so.

POM     Why do they believe that it's not going to happen?

AK     Well because we believe that as democrats that at the end of the day that some sort of agreement is going to have to be reached, that there will be a constitution, there will be a final constitution. It's not in conflict with all I have been saying before because I think the President has made it clear, it makes us a little bit uncomfortable at times, but he has said that he will not fight elections. The people misunderstand him, I think it's a careless choice of words sometimes and we've asked him not to do that. What he is saying is that we will not fight an election for a Constituent Assembly. Now even that I think could be changed because there are lot of people within the IFP, and very senior people, and I might tell you that I'm one of those that actually agree with that. Maybe if we can't win it on that basis that we should go into the election anyway because we believe we will win. We will win it on the basis that we are the people that will protect you, we are the people that stand for federalism, this is what the people are trying to ram down your throats and they will actually create a platform for you to fight the election on.

     Now at the end of the day you also have to bow to democracy, democracy within your own party. I'm not giving away secrets to tell you that there's enormous tension within the party on that very issue and there are very senior people that say we should ...

POM     Contest the election?

AK     Yes.

POM     Use it as a way - in Ireland what they used to do is, it's called abstentionism, you run your campaign on that if elected I will not serve, it's like a protest vote.

AK     Whichever way you do it, whichever way you choose to do it you could do it probably that way. But you see then also you'd have to make a very serious judgement at the end of the day and say to yourself, well at the end of the day I either trust my leaders or I don't and if in their wisdom, and they've got a lot of wisdom, they say to you, you are wrong and then if we want to win this thing, if you're genuinely committed to building a lasting democracy in SA we mustn't do that then one has to listen very carefully to what they're saying.

POM     So you have a situation where you have divisions within the government and the NP, you have divisions within the ANC, you have divisions in the IFP?

AK     Definitely. I'm not telling you any secrets.

POM     I was going to ask you that question, other people have told me that there are divisions, pretty definite divisions.

AK     There must be. How can there not be divisions if you're democratic? There's got to be. You can't all agree. Isn't that right?

POM     It's interesting how people interpret their divisions vis-à-vis other people's divisions. The tend to say theirs are really severe, it will lead to a split whereas ours are just an expression of democratic difference.

AK     Yes, but look that is so. I would venture to suggest that when we're talking about what's going on in the government I would suggest that is slightly different because all the signs are there and I think it cannot be gainsaid that the government have done deal with the ANC. It's an empirical thing. Look at it. Why do you have the Groote Schuur and Pretoria Minute? They don't have those with us.

POM     The Record of Understanding.

AK     Yes, why? Just give me one valid reason.

POM     It's so the ANC could deliver.

AK     Yes. You see the other thing is - is this thing still running?

POM     Nothing will be published until 1998.

AK     You see the government is very arrogant, it hasn't changed and it's exactly the same as the ANC. They actually sometimes think they own the IFP, they really think that well, he's been around, we've debated with him for 15 years and at the end of the day he will fight the ANC but we all agree so it really is immaterial. A lot of them think that way. They're making big mistake.

POM     I got that impression by talking to Dr Buthelezi. Yesterday evening I was kind of surprised by this live news bulletin coming on saying after eight hours of talks they were waiting for something to happen. As it is we've reached agreement that we will talk again, which means they're pretty big divisions.

AK     Yes. I think it's probably very encouraging. I was expecting a walkout yesterday and there are obviously some people on both sides that have actually said, look guys, let's at least make it look respectable.

POM     That's the impression I got from Dr Buthelezi the day before.

AK     I haven't spoken to any of our people.

POM     Nothing was going to happen. He did not trust De Klerk as far as he could throw him.

AK     Let me tell you, again without giving away any secrets, you spoke to the Chief Minister. They were told in blunt terms that we don't trust you at all and then reasons were given. I don't think you can rebuild that trust, it's gone.

POM     Thank you very much. Once again you're a terrific interview.

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.