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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

22 Nov 1993: Botha, Louis

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POM     Looking from the time we first met each other which was in July of 1990 to November 1993 how far has South Africa come?

LB     Well let us talk about the policing aspect rather than the political aspect because I am sure you will be seeing various political figures because once the State President made his speech in February 1990 he changed the course of South African politics and, now I am going to come back to the policing aspect, since then we've gone through various changes internally in an attempt to keep up with the politics. Now some of this has been rather traumatic, a lot of members have resigned before their time because they didn't like the political change, others through stress brought on by years of hard work they have also thus taken early pension. And this is where we are now, still in the process of undergoing change.

POM     You have a police force that essentially was seen by the black community as their enemy. How do you change the mindset of the community and how do you change the mindset of the police?

LB     All right. Let us put it this way to you, as far as the police are concerned we are holding internal meetings continuously, holding seminars, workshops to attempt to get those policemen who are in a mindset to change their perspective. It has in some cases been fairly easy and in certain other cases it's been rather difficult for obvious reasons. If one looks at the age groups it varies. Some of the older people have changed far quicker than anticipated and you have some of the younger members that are resistant so it's difficult to pinpoint particular groups, that is so far as the policemen are concerned. As far as the community is concerned it is still an ongoing process but we are going towards a stage where there is going to be joint responsibility, in other words they are going to be responsible for some of our decisions as well and at the end of the day I think that will make it easier for them to accept us and hence this policing commission that I was talking about earlier because in an attempt to get around this mistrust of the police force what we've done in the Eastern Cape is last week on Monday we had a big meeting of all the main political role players and organisations in the Eastern Cape under the chairmanship of General Smith who is the Senior Deputy Commissioner and some very far reaching decisions were made then. One of them was the establishment of a Policing Commission. Now we're in the process, in fact at 10 o'clock this morning the Steering Committee has a second meeting and what we envisage is obtaining outside researchers to establish from the various communities how they wish to be policed, what their requirements are and one must bear in mind your various communities. So at the end of the day we hopefully will have a paper on how the various communities wish to be policed, the need and so forth. We will take it back to the communities and hopefully they will then accept this document and in so doing bring us directly into the community as far as policing is concerned which will I think open the door.

POM     It might be easier in the Eastern Cape, say, than in the PWV where at this point both Inkatha and the ANC point the finger of blame at the police, Inkatha saying that the police are aligned with the ANC and the ANC saying the police are aligned with Inkatha, with continuous calls by the ANC leadership for the withdrawal of the Internal Stability Units. So the situation there would seem to have deteriorated over the year in terms of trust or acceptability. Are there in the works anything that deals with that complex situation there?

LB     For a start I live in the Eastern Cape so we are looking at the Eastern Cape and the PWV area, Witwatersrand area must look after themselves. I just want to pass this comment though: whenever any organisation in history has had an internal problem they always try and pull a red herring, try and point to somebody else, so the police force is a convenient whipping boy in this particular case but be that as it may that is the Transvaal's problem. I'm looking at purely the Eastern Cape, I'm being selfish, at the Eastern Cape because I have to live here, we all have to live here, we have to find solutions for the Eastern Cape's problem especially in the form of 'federalism' which has been propagated.

POM     This is not a political question but we have talked to some people who were at the World Trade Centre last Tuesday when your Minister, Hernus Kriel, whom I have interviewed on a number of occasions had what amounted to a screaming match with Roelf Meyer and the Commissioner of Police ...

LB     It's not Commissioner, it's General.

POM     - over the acceptance of the proposal to have one national police force rather than a series of regional police forces. What do you think the objections to a national police force would be since it seems that in the case of South Africa it would be the logical thing to have, Regional Commissioners accountable to the Commissioner at the top and everybody belonging to the same organisation so that you wouldn't have situations developing like in KwaZulu, a KwaZulu Police loyal to a particular politician in the area rather than to the Commissioner of Police himself?

LB     Without going into too much of the argument between the General and the Minister of Police one has to look at the politics. It would seem that federation is the name of the game as far as South Africa is concerned. Even if it is not a pure federation it will be a type of federal state and the question has arisen quite often whether we should have one police force or whether with this federation in mind whether each area shouldn't have its own police force, but that is a pure political question and I don't know the reasoning behind the minister's arguments or the General's. I'm not a privy to either of the two gentlemen's thoughts on this issue but no doubt they will sort it out sooner or later.

POM     In terms of yourself which do you think is the better type of police force for South Africa?

LB     There are pros for both and there are cons for both. If you have a federal state like in America, let's go to the American type of state, and you have one police force it's difficult for each government to control it because they would be responsible to national and the same will happen here. If you have a true federal state everything else will then be controlled by a federal Prime Minister or whatever the political head will be called but suddenly you have a police force which is responsible in a sense to national level and no real responsibility to your regional. You may have a clash of interests there. So I'm open. As I said to you once before we are executors of the policy, we're not actually formulators of the policy so we will just have to fall in with whatever the politicians decide.

POM     You said that on the first occasion that we met.

LB     Correct. And I'm still of the same opinion.

POM     These are personal questions not political questions. We've been here since July and we're now living in the country, we've actually got a house and will be here through until next May at least and I've followed what's going on at the World Trade Centre or have been there day after day and yet when the final package was passed we have a great deal of difficulty knowing exactly what was passed and a personal question would be: what do you understand to have been agreed to at the World Trade Centre last week?

LB     We, ourselves, are still a little bit in the dark because we received a document as recently as Friday and it said, "This is a document", and about half an hour later we were told, "Hold back that's not the final document", so we're in between the devil and the deep blue sea as far as the document is concerned because the Policing Commission also needs to know what the document says and this is the reason why the meeting on Friday also couldn't come to any firm direction and I'm hoping this morning that the advocate from our Legal Services who undertook to obtain the latest and the correct document that he will have done this. So at 10 o'clock, hopefully, I will see the document for the first time. So at the present stage, as of now, we're not sure ourselves. But then we're at an interesting stage. Things are changing the whole time.

POM     If anyone had said to you three years ago when Mandela was released that South Africa would have reached this point in three years, in essence just five years away from black majority rule, would you have been surprised that the process has gone so quickly or do you think it has gone much slower than you expected?

LB     Well I'm very wary of a process that runs very quickly because then there tend to be hasty decisions which under normal circumstances you may have reacted otherwise, but I'm sure that, hopefully the politicians have thought some of these things through although it appears that they have not in the sense that one gets different political comments to that effect but only time will tell. They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I'm very glad that the whole system has changed, make no error, because we were on to a hiding for naught and now for the first time hopefully we can get out of that role.

POM     But are you surprised that things are where they are?

LB     I'm sort of surprised and not surprised. Hopeful that it's going to work, worried that it's not going to work because if it doesn't work nobody is going to come to our help, make no error. Nobody is going to the help of Yugoslavia so nobody's going to come to our help, we have to rely on our own devices no matter what the world says but we're stuck with the consequences.

POM     I suppose I'm asking the question in the context of - the question came up in our conversation three years ago, that is when you still saw the ANC/SACP very much as an enemy with the MK still trying to wage a military campaign to overthrow the state and to establish a one-party communist state. In that context do you still believe that or what has been the evolution in your thinking to lead you to a different conclusion?

LB     For a start our instructions then were different to what my instruction is now. That's first of all. Secondly, having gone through the process and seen how the process has developed, bearing in mind that my present position in the Eastern Cape since March has been one of the sort of chief police negotiators in the Eastern Cape, and having gone through that process and going through it the attitudes have changed. Attitudes have changed, instructions have changed, the MK I believe their role has changed, the ANC's policies have changed, they are far more amenable to change than they were in 1990. In 1990 if one goes back to some of their demands then and demands now there's quite a difference. They have come to realise the realities of the situation. It's easy to sit in exile and make promises. When you have to deliver it changes the context and I think a reality has come home to roost as well and a greater maturity. So, yes, there have been some great changes and in myself there have been changes as well and most of the members in accepting the changes that have taken place.

POM     Is that change in your heart or in your head?

LB     One has to be cautious, one has to be pragmatic about it. I've always been one for change anyway, so the change to me personally, I accept it most probably quicker than many of my colleagues, so is it in my heart or my head? It's in both. I may not like some of the changes which have come about or some of the proposed changes but you take it as a whole, you can't just say, "I like this, I take this", and ignore that.

POM     Again in that context, on a scale of one to ten given what you know about what was passed at the World Trade Centre ...

LB     Bearing in mind we're still slightly in the dark.

POM     Yes, but given what you know, how satisfied are you (I ask this of everybody on different scales to see how different people react), how satisfied are you say on a scale of one to ten with the interim arrangements that have emerged?

LB     Bearing in mind that I am always very optimistic I put my scale as high as eight. I would say seven, eight but preferably eight. Again, bearing in mind that I like being optimistic and I am optimistic. I hope I'm not over-optimistic.

POM     Again, on the whole issue of security one of the most difficult things to do would be to find a way of bringing the SADF and the MK and APLA or whatever into one coherent army. Do you think that would be a long and difficult task given the level of distrust and animosity that has existed between the MK and the SADF?

LB     No there shouldn't be. There will always be problems because of different perspectives, there will always be problems but there shouldn't really be such a great heartache because at the end of the day we are supposed to execute the policy and if the policy of the government is A we have to follow that, if you can't live with it you take yourself out of it. So that is the policy of the new government, the people just have to accept it. This is what normally happens in any democracy.

POM     So what you're saying is that you serve the government of the day no matter who heads that government?

LB     I serve the government of the day no matter who it is. Correct. This is what I said to you originally, we're the executor of the policy not the formulator of the policy.

POM     In the same context, personal reaction, what in the package of arrangements that emerged most surprised you and what do you find most difficult to live with?

LB     If one looks at the land distribution, now this is going into politics now, there was a hiccup there and I'm not quite sure what the final outcome was. If one goes and you start giving back land that was taken away from people years ago, yes giving back the land to people from whence it was taken away, then you're going to cause further problems. I don't know whether this has happened in other places in the world, I'm not sure. If one goes across to America, if the Red Indians claim large areas of New York what's going to happen? One has this claim in Australia, one has this claim in New Zealand with the Maoris and the Aborigines in Australia claiming land, it causes severe problems. How that is going to be addressed one doesn't now. So that is one aspect of it that I'm a bit cagey of, how they are going to sort that one out because at the end of the day promises were made and it's collection time now and how that is going to be dealt with I don't know.

POM     The PAC only want to go back as far as 1652!

LB     I saw that on TV the other night, that was quite interesting because if that is the case then I think all the whites had better get out of America as well because the same holds true there. I'm deliberately saying it, you being American and the whites had better get out of a lot of places in the world or then the present settlers if one wants to get away from the white connotation, the Australians and the New Zealanders. It's going to be a rather hairy world isn't it?

POM     Do you think what happened at the World Trade Centre with the passage of the interim constitution, the putting in place of the mechanisms of the TEC, elections next April 27th, do you see this as a real milestone in South Africa's history?

LB     Yes, yes, 100% yes because you're removing one system where the majority of the population had virtually no say and you're giving them joint responsibility even if it's for an interim period. They also deliver now, the whites or the Nationalist Party if you want to put it that way, if you want to come down to the party, are only one of the role players and I think there are 22 parties sitting at the World Trade Centre so there is going to be input from other parties as well. This is what makes it so exciting, it's not just the one vehicle along the road.

POM     What do you think has accounted for the rise in the right wing? A year or 18 months ago after the referendum the right looked as though it was demolished, it was discredited, demoralised and de Klerk was riding the peak of popularity and 18 months later we have a situation where the right has made a very dramatic come-back and the National Party is fragmented, losing support almost on a daily basis. The last polls showed that it had slipped from 25% of the vote to about 11% or 12%. What dynamics do you think were at play that has left such a situation?

LB     Insecurity, I think one can sum it up, insecurity brought about by the political change, the claims, the fear of being ruled by a black government, the inability of the people at the World Trade Centre to accommodate the claims of the right wing to their own homeland to be ruled by their own, because elsewhere in the world there seems to be a movement to being ruled by your own whereas in this country everybody is being forced into the same pot so to speak. I think that is one of the causes for the right wing to rise up and become so strong and then the realisation that if this doesn't work nobody is going to come to our aid. Forget about the world saying that Britain or the Americans or whoever, the French, the Germans are going to come and help us sort it out later, forget it, it won't work. It certainly hasn't worked in Yugoslavia and I don't think it's going to work here. So we are stuck with the consequences, good or bad, and the right wing see it in the bad context and they are playing on the fears and they are using that as a basis for which to recruit more people to their cause.

POM     Do you take their continuing threats to mobilise an army of sorts and resort to an armed campaign if necessary, in fact plunge the country into civil war, seriously?

LB     Well they have the capabilities of causing great disruption because one must bear in mind that the right wing, the whites are the people who have been trained militarily. They are in key positions throughout industries, that type of thing, so they have the ability to bring the country to a standstill, yes. So one mustn't under-estimate their ability.

POM     De Klerk did. I made a comparison with the IRA, the IRA has about 50 active operatives and about 500 people who are a support group but they can plant bombs and tie down 30 000 troops. What form of action do you think the right wing is most likely to take if it goes that route?

LB     If it goes that route one must expect a military type of action very similar to the IRA because there have been several explosions in this country where AWB members or the right wing members have been involved, there have been several sabotage cases and then just sabotage of industry, machinery, that type of thing. But that's very short sighted should that start happening, that's very short sighted because then we're all in for a hiding to naught.

POM     I think Yugoslavia shows that rationality doesn't work.

LB     No, no, rationality doesn't work and I'm afraid that with the right wing it doesn't work either and I'm very wary of the right wing, make no error. You've got to be very wary and I have a big fear that a future government will try and use the right wing as a red herring to try and swing policies as far as the police force is concerned and taking us a step back from where we are now. This is one of the fears that I have in this sense that the right wing will be a danger, yes, and a future government will have to look at the right wing. The normal law as it stands now won't be sufficient to deal with the right wing should the need arise so we could have a position where we would have to go back again to detention without trial and things like that to address the problem and that's going to place us back again where we were. I'm trying to stay out of it.

POM     I've asked that very question of many people, could you see a situation where on the 27th April a new government of power sharing or a government of national unity comes into being and the first thing they do will be to declare a state of national emergency in terms of the constitution?

LB     That's very possible. Anything is possible but then we're back to where we were.

POM     What is the Constand Viljoen factor in this? Many people have said to us that he gave the right a respectability they didn't have before, that he was an admired soldier and still has a base of support within the security forces.

LB     I'm wondering whether I should reply to that one.

POM     I'm only publishing in 1998.

LB     No, my personal opinion is that I don't like the man. I don't like the man I don't like his politics. Everybody says he's a big hero. I don't see him as a big hero. After all the big fighting in Angola, where is Angola now? After all the fighting in South West, where is South West now? The Russians lost Afghanistan because of a limited war, a restricted war, economically they couldn't afford it. The Americans in Vietnam had a problem also financially a restricted war, and we are fighting a restricted war. The politicians were dictating the pace in the war and the minute you do that you lose the war. So at the end of the day ...

POM     Well if you had an assignment now to do an evaluation of the strength and the weaknesses of the right wing and where their points of vulnerability are and where their points of opportunity are, what would be the main features of your evaluation?

LB     Vulnerability? They are surrounded in total so they are very vulnerable. They can't expect much help from the world. They are vulnerable. What was the second?

POM     The second would be their points of opportunity.

LB     Their opportunity? Well I think their options are very restricted in the South African context. Again they have got no outside support so their opportunities are very little, they will have to make do with what they've got internally. Support, if things go wrong at the World Trade Centre when the new government takes over their support base will definitely grow and that's a worrying factor because at some stage one ceases the verbal and you go across to the physical and it's at that stage that you cross a very thin line.

POM     In that evaluation, leaving aside your personal feelings about Viljoen, would you put him as a plus on their side or a neutral or a minority?

LB     My personal opinion, and I must stress this my very personal opinion, I think he's very negative but very minus to their side because the right wing - you know I have a joke: if you put three right wingers together you have five political parties and seven church groups. They are not noted for their cohesion because they keep on breaking off into little groups. If one looks at the whole context of the right wing parties one would have thought at this stage they would have formed one big party but within that group there are factions and there are factions so as far as cohesion is concerned, no.

POM     So you don't see him as somebody who can control it?

LB     Well they thought he would and he thought he could control it and the charge at the World Trade Centre indicated that he couldn't because that's where the proof of the pudding was in the eating. He thought he could control it and it clearly showed that he couldn't control it, which is what the right wing is, virtually uncontrollable disciplinary-wise.

POM     How about the AWB? There has been this tendency to see Eugene Terre'Blanche more as a buffoon rather than as a politician.

LB     Don't underestimate Eugene Terre'Blanche. Don't underestimate him. His ability as an orator, his ability to get people moved emotionally and then your emotions run away with your head and that's the problem of Eugene Terre'Blanche. He speaks very convincingly. I listened to him a little while ago here at UPE, at the university, and he speaks very convincingly but the minute you sit back and you think of what he's saying you realise it's hollow there's nothing to it.

POM     I remember one of the best known liberals in this country saying that he did not know anybody who spoke Afrikaans or could use Afrikaans better than Eugene Terre'Blanche, that he was like a lyrical poet when he used the language.

LB     Oh yes, he has the ability of being an excellent orator.

POM     Looking at the other side of the right, at Buthelezi, who has sat out of the whole process.

LB     I see you put him in the right, I don't put him in the right myself but carry on, because what has happened is that Buthelezi is still using the same politics and the same policies that he used in 1976, 1977, 1978 and into the eighties but what has happened is that the government has moved from the right of Buthelezi, over Buthelezi into the left. There's been a vast change in government policy so in that sense Buthelezi is right wing, but only in that context. But he's certainly not right wing. I wouldn't place him near the category of the AWB or that type of group.

POM     How would you evaluate his capacity to disrupt, is it more talk than action?

LB     If you accept the history of the Zulu and the consequences of going to war with the Zulu then he has a capacity to really upset the applecart so to speak.

POM     Do you think he would draw the Zulu king into it and make it Zulu nationalism?

LB     If one looks at his speeches and the context in which he says it, he's playing on Zulu nationalism and Zulu nationalism must not be underestimated at any stage. Be very wary of Zulu nationalism.

POM     Again, if you had to sit down and write a profile of Buthelezi and what motivates him and what he wants, what kind of analysis of the man would you come up with?

LB     Well he's indicated that he wants federalism and the federalism that he proposes differs from what was worked out, the limited federalism that was worked out at the World Trade Centre. He doesn't want to be ruled by anyone else and, again, if one goes into the world one sees own groupings want to be ruled by their own people so one mustn't underestimate this nationalism as far as he is concerned. I think that's about it.

POM     How about the man? I've interviewed him on four occasions and on four occasions he's been an entirely different person, a different personality but comes across as somebody with a towering ego, always sensitive, he must use the word 'insult' every other sentence. What I am trying to get at is does he have, from what you know and have read and have listened to, does he have the kind of personality that can be rationally brought into the process or are there psychological factors at work within him that can't allow him to step down? He's got to be one of the big three.

LB     He's got a big ego, yes, but then so has almost every other black leader in South Africa and Africa. One must see it in that context. Very sensitive to any perceived or real insults so in that context one has to look at him. I am sure that he can be brought in and I am hopeful that he will be brought in because we should not leave any section of this country out because then you're actually setting the base for destruction of what you're trying to build and it should be a unified country not each split off on his own, have a UDI type of thing. Whether it's possible, it should be possible because in actual fact I think the government and the ANC are far closer to him and his group than they are to the rest of his grouping of the Freedom Alliance. I keep on wanting to say COSAG. I keep on using the wrong word. I think he's the odd man out in the Freedom Alliance but that's a straight political issue again.

POM     But would you think that he has, given the resources of KwaZulu, the fact that if the South African government would have cut off all financial aid to Ulundi, do you think he would have the capacity to declare a UDI?

LB     Look at it this way. If one looks at industry, because the basis of any government is taxation because at the present stage the central government is funding him to the tune of X amount of rands per year in his budget but then if he pulls a UDI, for argument's sake, all the income, personal income, all the tax from business would go into KwaZulu. Do you understand what I'm saying? So funding he would have. I'm not sure how he'd work that out but that's a very difficult question to answer because you'd have to go into the basis of that.

POM     So when he talks of civil war?

LB     No, no, he doesn't talk of civil war. This is a misconception. He doesn't talk of civil war, he doesn't say he wants civil war. He just says, "You are forcing us into the position of a civil war."

POM     When he said, at least I took it out of the media, that the possibilities of a civil war were fifty/fifty, do you think that's an accurate determination or an exaggeration?

LB     Whether its fifty/fifty I'm not sure but there is a good chance of a civil war because if you look at what's going on at the present stage in the Transvaal and Natal that is a civil war, black on black violence, that is a civil war. It's low intensity.

POM     But here you have three years after we first talked a level of violence on the East Rand that is higher than it's ever been and a level of violence in Natal that at least sustains the same level as the level was. Do you think that violence has to be brought under control before you can have free and fair elections or do you think the elections must take place, period? That the consequences of not having them would be far greater than the consequences?

LB     Now, again, this is my personal opinion. We will have an election next year even if we have to walk knee deep in blood. An election we will have next year. And I think we should have an election next year so that we can have finality because all you're going to do is drag something out. So my personal view is we should have an election, yes, and get it over with. It's ideal to have no violence or to bring the situation under control so that there would be no violence prior to the election but that's ideal, that's being very idealistic bearing in mind that we are in Africa and we have to be judged in the context of Africa and I can't see the violence being brought under control no matter what our attempts are prior to the election.

POM     One woman in particular in Thokoza who is a very prominent IFP activist said one evening to us that it made no difference what government would emerge, that the violence had become so endemic to the community that it had a life of its own and a momentum of its own and wouldn't cease after a new government was elected.

LB     I beg to differ slightly. It will take long but it will come down because there are many factors influencing the violence. It's not just politics. Politics was one of the reasons, economics is another one, that type of thing. So if the economy starts getting into gear people's attention will be taken away from the violence because then they will have jobs, they won't have to fight for scarce resources, housing, schooling, jobs, that type of thing. That element will be taken out. So the sooner the economy gets going the better it's going to be for all of us. Don't expect the violence to stop on the 28th April. In reality it won't work like that, it'll still go on for quite a while. When I say a while, two or three years most probably. This is how I would see it. I can be wrong. That again depends on the economy, if the economy improves then you're going to bring that period down. If the economy doesn't improve then you're going to be in for a rough ride.

POM     Turning to something else, what impact did the assassination of Chris Hani have on the whole political process? Did it change the dynamics of the process?

LB     It certainly caused a hiccup in the whole system, that's no lie, because I think a lot of agreements would have been reached earlier but certain attitudes were taken, certain positions were taken by people as a result of the consequences, the unrest that flowed out of that hardened certain people's attitudes and certainly it led to a problem for all of us.

POM     One thing that has been noticeably different for us this year is one that white attitudes seem to have hardened a lot.

LB     This is what I'm talking about. Not just as a result of that but all along, of everything.

POM     Essentially they think the government has been conceding too much.

LB     Too much, yes.

POM     And the other thing is that up until this year we have always gone into townships, interviewed the people we wanted to interview and come out and now we're seeing that we are the only white people around whereas three years ago you would see quite a number of white people in places like Alexandra or wherever. That's all changed now and the people we wanted to visit warned us not to come in, not just for our sake but for their sake too.

LB     Hardening of attitudes amongst the blacks over certain issues as well, politically they don't want to be seen - you see this is what's going to make the politics so difficult, the normal Westminster type of politics is not understood and the fact that you may differ from the people in the area in which you live and be tolerated that you may differ. That type of context they don't understand. So it could be that you could be coming into their group or into their area to either recruit or influence or talk about so that will cause a problem.

POM     How are things in the Eastern Cape?

LB     Violence in the Eastern Cape is very low key. We had a funeral of a PAC national leadership, son of a national leader, over the weekend and the discipline among the PAC guys was excellent. There's no unrest that came out as a result of the funeral so there's very little unrest. But the potential, the tension is just underneath the surface. It can spill over into violence so easily, at the flick of a hat.

POM     Now would support for the PAC be much larger here than it is elsewhere?

LB     It's difficult to gauge the support of the PAC, very difficult. They have their students' movement, PASO, at various schools and it's very difficult to pinpoint and say they have 5% or 10% or 20% or 30% support in any area. Only the election will bring that out.

POM     I've just got three more questions. Many people have said to us that the country is virtually on the point of ungovernability in the sense that no-one is ruling, that in the townships the ANC has lost control over many of its own structures, that Buthelezi even if he wanted to can't haul in his warlords and that there are still elements in the police that the government just can't get their hands on and stop their actions. How would you see this situation?

LB     Let's look at it this way. I think this is normal in any changing phase as we are now because nobody wants to make a firm decision on anything. If the government makes very firm decisions as far as policing is concerned you're going to have an outcry from all the other parties. Buthelezi for political reasons can't make a decision to rein in his warlords, the ANC can't try and regain control over some of their own people because they will lose in the election on the 27th. They have got to be perceived that they are going along. So they've got to be careful they don't distance themselves from their voters on the ground. So it's very difficult in this situation in the period where you are about to change governments to get any firm decision. So to say that the country is ungovernable, no I don't say it's ungovernable. It's governed but it's very difficult to govern at the present stage. Hopefully with the advent of the TEC we will start getting a firmer control back again because once the TEC starts then there's joint responsibility, etc., etc. and it's not the government to be seen taking decisions by themselves, it's a whole group of people. So you could give credibility back to the decision making process and certainly with TEC being only a couple of days, a week or two away, you won't get the government making any firm decisions now, which is normal for a government in this set up.

POM     What is the greatest obstacle to be faced by an incoming government?

LB     The greatest obstacle? Intolerance. Intolerance. Great intolerance all the way through, white black. Intolerance and economy, mustn't forget the economy.

POM     I am always struck that the number of deaths by political violence account for just a minuscule number of the deaths in the country as a whole, what do you think makes the country as a whole so violence prone, that either Johannesburg or Cape Town is the murder capital of the world?

LB     Well it's intolerance, the politics, the economy, crime, it's all come together at this stage. Fighting for votes, etc., etc. so there's a wide background to this. There's no specific thing. Up on the Rand because of the concentration of the people there you will have a greater intensity of violence there than elsewhere.

POM     OK, I'll let you run.

LB     There's some more stuff here which you must have a look at. This goes hand in hand with that, I'll pin these two together. This goes together. Having come from Inkatha, the ANC wouldn't even talk to me but there we managed to swing it the other way round.

POM     They wouldn't even talk to you?

LB     Oh they wouldn't talk to me but it's strange when Mandela comes to visit here I'm asked to look after him every time whereas years ago I was keeping the ANC away from Buthelezi. So it's quite a jump from one side to the other but again I emphasize, I execute the policy I don't formulate the policy and that is my job I'll do to the death and that applies to most of the police force. We are trying. There are some who don't see it that way but hopefully it will come right. And that's a Code of Conduct that I just drew up as well, not I drew up but the guys drew up. This is one of the official reports.

POM     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.