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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
07 Dec 1993: Jones, Colin
POM Let me start with this, what would you point to on this historic day with the Transitional Executive Council formally being introduced to the process of sharing power?
CJ Well I think that very few of us anywhere in this country, or in the world for that matter, could have imagined five years ago that prisoners and their warders, exiles and people who stayed on in the country here would today be sitting down overseeing the political process. It is a miracle. It is an irony and a miracle and the trouble about we South Africans is that we can become terribly blasé about events, things happen at an incredible pace here and somehow something has happened certainly in the last year, six months maybe, where there seems almost to have been a desperate attempt, certainly on the part of the Nationalist Party and of the ANC despite their confrontations, there seems to have been an incredible desire to get things sorted out and to reach compromises, to negotiate compromises which I think has astounded a lot of us. It certainly has left the Freedom Alliance floundering because I think that this commitment to finding a negotiated settlement is one which most people in this country want anyway and would support. But it is amazing that it happened with such incredible speed. It's ironic that we could do this in a country which has such a history of division, of oppression, of racism, of pain that we could be here today.
I think with most people in this country, from what I hear, look at the business community for instance, the latest surveys of the top 100 companies, they are producing a very optimistic outlook for the economic future of the country. I think most people are pretty upbeat. I think of myself, personally, twelve months ago I was pretty depressed I think on the whole, not very optimistic about things really getting going and here I am today feeling, on this day particularly with the commencement of the work of the TEC, feeling very grateful despite the real problems of violence in the country, despite the fact that we have incredible needs to address very, very soon, social needs. Despite all of that, feeling grateful and feeling hopeful for the future of this country.
POM I did an interview with Derek Keys last year and I did an interview with him again yesterday and it was like two different people speaking. Last year he was pessimistic and saying the resources aren't there and yesterday he was full of optimism about what the economy could do although he did say one thing, I'd like your comment on this, he sees growth coming, he sees the backlog being dealt with systematically maybe over a ten year period, but he does not see any substantial decrease in unemployment. He says if South Africa can reduce unemployment by 1% a year it will be a miracle. Ten years from now the unemployment will hover around 36%, 38%, 39%. In other words there are not going to be jobs and yet the major concern of the black community seems to be jobs. The relationship between jobs and violence, do you think there is a relationship between socio-economic deprivation and violence?
CJ Oh undoubtedly, yes. That's very worrying to hear and yet I think that this country still has some surprises lined up. I talk to local business people in this city who are very, very anxious to address the matter of unemployment and the lack of housing. The thing that bothers me is that we don't seem to be on the whole as believing in our future as people outside are. We were saying a few months ago, when sanctions began to be lifted that there would be no immediate effect and we shouldn't expect the international community to show any confidence in us for a while yet and yet I think that mood has changed completely. The Americans have just recently been making very, very positive noises about reinvestment and I think that has helped to bring about a swing in the local mood but until such time as the local business people here, local entrepreneurs, begin to show faith in our society and in our future I think that the problems of unemployment will continue to hang like a dark cloud over us.
And we can begin to make a difference, we can begin to think of ways, of novel ways in this country of providing employment for people. Why we should, for instance, look at the building industry and there seems to be something of a minor building boom in this city, there are lots of people who now stand at traffic intersections looking for work. Why we couldn't, for instance, employ people on a half day basis and do shift work providing more people with jobs, maybe one job between two people that sort of thing. And I speak as a lay person here and maybe a complete ignoramus, but surely there are those possibilities. I hear people of influence in this city beginning to talk more and more about that and not looking at traditional ways of dealing with these sorts of problems.
I was talking to a former Mayor of this city just this morning and he was saying that the question of standards is one which we are going to have to address. And it's not a matter of lowering standards so much as a matter of determining new standards. Now he's involved with electrification and what they are beginning to do now is to provide the electrification to shacks. Now I think the traditional idea of power to the people, if you will pardon the pun, is one of electricity into a brick home, brick and mortar home, a very kind of western picture of electrical wires running off street lamps into a neat row of houses on the street. That certainly is beginning to change now. The people involved in the electrification of homes recognise that there are homes which are not traditional in any sense, that these are structures which are informal structures and yet recognise the advantages of providing electricity to those homes. There are great advantages. It decreases the risks of fire in homes. They are providing, as you may have heard, a basic kit for a very, very low price, R170-00 I understand, they provide a two-plate hot plate stove, they provide an electric iron and a kettle. A lot of people seem to go for television sets and buy a television set. But that's the beginning I think.
POM This package is given by whom?
CJ I think Escom is providing this, the Electrical Commission are providing this to informal structures and immediately one begins to enable people to have a standard of living without, as it were, demanding from them to bridge a gap which is so immense in our country between the informal structure and the more formal structure. You begin to help people to move along gradually into a process where their standard of living is improved. But it's not saying to them that you have to reach a certain standard of living before your standard of living is going to improve. And I think it's that kind of creative thinking which we have in this country and which one sees on occasion, coming through addressing major problems so that we hope that by 1997 every house, every home no matter whether it be formal or informal, will have access to electricity in this country. And that's a possibility.
POM What do you think the average resident of a township has the right to expect from a government of national unity after five years?
CJ That's a hard one but I would expect that given the history of our struggles here that people there have the right to expect that they will feature high on the priority lists of things in the country. Our job is not to go about patching up international relations so much. I hope that we are going to see a real commitment here to the people on the ground, that we begin to tackle stuff like electrification, like education, employment. The trouble is that we have whole households where people are unemployed. Not just the breadwinners but entire households where people are unemployed.
POM One of our families is like that now, Silas's. One of these ten families that I interview in depth three or four times a year, one of them there are about nine or ten people in the house. There's no-one working.
CJ I think that even if two or three people in a family like that have jobs then we're beginning to give hope. And so the question of employment and how we provide employment to the people, even if it's half a day, half a day's work or two or three days work a week, we're going to have to start impacting on people's lives in that way.
POM Keys was quite adamant on this, that employment was not going to increase, that if one looked at developing countries you found that there were two sectors, the haves and the have-nots, and that essentially was the pattern of development in developing countries and there was no reason to believe why it would really be any different here. Now I said, "Did you tell Mandela this? He's out there promising jobs and you're saying it's a false promise." By any reckoning could the government consider itself a success if it fails to deal with the biggest problem in the country which is unemployment, lack of income? There was a study produced recently which showed that expenditure on food stuffs had gone down by 25% in two years. It's just the question of poverty and unemployment getting worse all the time. Could a government like that last?
CJ No, clearly not. And nobody is electing a government, no-one's going to elect a government purely to say, well now we have a democracy. Democracy, the purpose of government is to serve the people and to address the needs of the people and no government in this country is going to get away on the basis that it proved itself in the struggle. That's not going to be good enough if the struggle continues for the majority of the people. You can't live off your war stories, no-one can do that. I think that the ANC or any government, whether it be an ANC government or government of national unity, which I suspect it is probably going to have to be for a while, yes, I foresee that in five years time we will still have a government of national unity and maybe even beyond that. But the issue of unemployment has to be high on any government's agenda if it's going to have any chance of succeeding. Otherwise we're right back where we started and that won't be tolerated. But I think we also have incredibly imaginative people in this country. My experience is that there is a willingness to experiment here and that while Derek Keys may be talking about painting a very pessimistic picture, I think there's a difference between realism and pessimism. Pessimism often comes out of a sense of failing to break with tradition, comes with a kind of weddedness, a marriage to pass ways whether they succeed or not. I think what we're going to see happening, I can't imagine people like Trevor Manuel who I think will probably be playing a very important role in the financial future of this country, I can't see him being wedded to ways which have not worked. I think that there are going to be other people in this country like Trevor who are going to come with some imaginative ideas.
POM To go back to the elections for a bit. Many people have said to us that it's more important that elections take place even in the face of high levels of intimidation and violence as long as those elections confer a sufficient degree of legitimacy on any incoming government rather than wait until violence subsides and in that sense the elections may be legitimate, not free and fair in the sense that the international community is used to using these terms.
CJ Yes, I would agree with that scenario. I think the advantage of going ahead and doing that, going ahead with the election that is, is that the people, like the Freedom Alliance, need to see things as they are and that we must stop - I think we need to reach a point at some stage or other where we say this is not acceptable not just be our standards here locally but by international standards. I think that by going ahead with democracy, as we will do when we have elections in April, is to isolate more and more what these people are standing for and I think that has got to be seen for what it is. And then they have to make a decision between being in this or being out of it, but we can't go on for ever, surely, putting the future of millions and millions of people as it were in the hands of this tiny minority. That is terrorism and I think we've had enough of terrorist tactics here. And so I believe, yes, I want to vote, I want to be able to have another bash at shaping this country. I don't want to be held hostage by right wingers and by racists and by ethnic racists or by power hungry people because there is no right time. There will always be that sort of person around. There are western countries which have lived with that, you have it in Europe and you get on with democracy. You have it in the States. You have right wingers in the States, you have red necks, fascists, all over the world. And I think that the more credence we give them by constantly giving in to their demands is to allow ourselves to be terrorised out of democracy.
POM There is still an incredible degree of political intolerance in the country. For example, the DP going into wherever they did and trying to canvass votes, it happened at Orange Farm. In Natal people will openly tell you in the IFP area the ANC should not show their colours there. And vice versa. They dare not even admit that they are members of the IFP. Do you have problems when organisations like the ANC or PAC do not condemn actions of their members in disrupting free assembly?
CJ I do. Of course I do. But you need to remember here that we're talking about a society which has no memory, no experience of tolerance. And even the DP for all its grandstanding in a way, is too quick to forget that we don't have a history of that. There's a kind of romanticised idea here that tolerance is something we're all born with and we've always had in this country, but that's not true. What we have had are experiences of exclusion, we've had experiences where even people in the DP were employing maids and paying them pittances, people were experiencing apartheid across the board here and suddenly we expect that we can have free and fair association here. People who would have their maid sitting on the back seat of the car or on the back of the truck now suddenly expect that they be accepted with their political agendas when they go into the township whether they dropped people off outside the township or where people had to walk from Bishopscourt two miles down the road to catch a train. That still happens. They suddenly expect that they can go into the townships and be accepted with open arms because they are preaching democracy.
Tolerance is not something that just happens like that. We're going to have to learn to tolerate each other and just as it goes in human relationships, you have to work hard and it takes time. So tolerance is going to have to be built up here. We're going to have to build up our tolerance levels and I think it's in this area that we're going to see maybe some of the past of apartheid continue to flash back here. I think we all need to put up with a certain amount of discomfort. What does bother me is when that tolerance becomes violence, when people kill each other, when they are so intolerable of each other's positions that they kill each other. In a way I can understand, I shouldn't say I've got nothing against them, I can understand when people say, "Get out of here, you won't allow us to come into your area now get out, we're not going to allow you to have a meeting here today." Because I think people need to learn something about what it means also not to be tolerated and not just to expect to be tolerated all over the place. We need to learn that, we need to empathise a little bit. As long as those lessons aren't harsh, as long as those lessons have space for, OK let's talk about it afterwards and what did we learn from this. That might be a little too optimistic and unrealistic about how things happen politically.
The violence thing isn't just the matter of the rejection of people's political positions. I don't think people, that IFP/ANC thing is an ideological clash really. I think what we have are power struggles here which go beyond political philosophy because if you were to talk to these people I think they would probably find that they have a heck of a lot in common politically in terms of what they want. But what we have seen I think is the manipulation of ordinary people to serve the ends of the political elite, where people become cannon fodder so that the aspirations of political leaders whether they be right at the top or whether they be local chiefs, that's what I think very often keeps the violence going. Most people won't even know what IFP or ANC philosophy is, ordinary people in the rural areas. They are being spurred and inspired by other sources.
POM Again, Derek Keys said he brought together representatives of the ANC, the PAC, the National Party, the Conservative Party and the DP and they all thrashed out guidelines before they were going to go to Washington and look for loans from the IMF and the World Bank and all these parties agreed to a common economic policy. So there is no difference between them literally in the kind of policies that they would pursue in future years.
But I want to go back to something that you said about anger and intolerance and the way it expresses itself. In the United States in particular after the exchange student, Amy Biehl, was killed there was a lot of outrage that the PAC didn't condemn it and more or less said, "One white death is important but hundreds of people die in our ghettos every week and the world pays no attention". Can you understand where they were coming from?
CJ The local people?
POM Where the PAC was coming from in refusing to condemn the murder.
CJ I can understand it. I just can't condone it because while it is true that we have become so accustomed to black deaths, not just here but world wide, there are a whole lot of different issues at stake here. First of all Amy Biehl was a guest in our country and she was killed in a fight which wasn't her fight really and she was mercilessly slaughtered, brutally slaughtered by people who were motivated not just by anger but by racism, the very thing we're supposed to be fighting against. There is nothing, nothing, nothing, that I can find that is positive about this from the side of her killers and those who support them, with all those who remain silent on her death. I think that there's plenty that one can say about Amy Biehl herself and the fact that she did decide to throw in her lot with people here but I'm incredibly sad and quite angry actually that people who claim to be championing justice and democracy and who have been victims of violence and suffering could have caused so much harm. I'm not even talking about the international harm it has caused but so much pain to Amy personally and to her family and in the end it caused this country a great deal of shame. I think political parties do themselves a great disservice and do the country a great disservice, bring shame on all of us, not just on themselves, when they remain silent in the face of this sort of atrocity. It just is to no-one's credit.
POM Do you see the level of violence in the next six months, the run-up to the elections, increasing or reaching some stable point or do you think that even in a post election period there is going to be a huge amount of political violence if the Freedom Alliance continues to stay outside the process?
CJ I think you need to put this political violence thing in perspective geographically also because from what we are able to see by and large the violence can be seen in two major areas, the Transvaal, Eastern Transvaal area, East Rand and in the Natal area. By and large I am saying the rest of the country is relatively political violence free. The Eastern Cape where one would expect it, it has always been a bit of a hotbed politically, we have not seen anything like the violence as in the other parts I've just referred to. The Western Cape too, although there have been some worrying situations here. I think that we need to somehow find a way of pulling the carpet out under the feet of those who perpetuate violence and they rely a lot on publicity. The way in which terrorism seeks to gain publicity for itself is to keep the thing going, of course, and I think that we need to be somehow, our media here particularly, needs also to be encouraging of those areas in which there is no violence or where the level of violence is far less. I have no doubt that those who are outside of the process are going to try and derail it as much as possible. I can't see them doing anything else if they are going to continue to paint themselves into a corner. Either that or they're just going to lie down and die. They either come in or they stay out. If they stay out the only way they're going to get any attention is by making a noise, causing damage, otherwise people will ignore them completely.
POM In this regard would you distinguish between Buthelezi and the white right wing?
CJ I don't think I would. From what we've seen I think we may well find Buthelezi becoming - you know he had made threats and referred to civil war which he has always done when being challenged. He says he's talking generally, but it's no good talking generally unless you have some idea as to where that opposition is going to be generated from and from what evidence we've seen over the last year or two there is great cause for alarm. So much so that everyone is backing off and even his old friends and supporters, the business community seem to have dropped him like a hot cake. I don't know whether it's in the man's personality to accept being ignored and I think he's going to try and make for himself, one way or another, try and find some space for himself even if it means being destructive. I don't know. He has to prove otherwise.
POM It's interesting you say that because more and more people we talk to analyse Buthelezi not in terms of politics but in terms of personality and one view is that for three years he has insisted that he is one of the big three, he should have been in there with Mandela and de Klerk, and if he does participate in a national election the IFP might get 3%, 4%, 5% of the vote and he would be shown up to be a marginal player and that this would be the biggest insult of all. Therefore, he has to stay out and find a way of again inserting himself in a way that makes him feel important and not ignored.
CJ One sees that sort of personality in many parts of South African society. We see it in the Church, people who think that they should have been more recognised and you get clergy doing that, constantly trying to push themselves forward. It's a very sad thing but I think it's probably true of human nature. There are lots of people who would think that they are not getting the recognition that they deserve. Sadly I think that the international community, like the South African government, Nationalist Party, must accept responsibility for having created this kind of personality and fed it. Certainly the Nats recognised that personality and fed it, fed it, fed it. I don't know what the international community thought. Maybe they were so obsessed with the cold war and the communist threat that to hear a black voice in Africa say the right things may well have fooled them, which doesn't say much for their ability to read the situation or to read people for that matter. Personally, I have always been incredibly concerned. I think I have said it to you in the past, very, very concerned about what makes him tick and how he has been used. I think we've just created a bit of a Frankenstein monster here who is going to be very problematic and particularly now as there has been this incredible swing away from him, very rapidly too, I don't think he can be taking this very kindly. So I wouldn't make too much of a distinction between the disruptive influence that Inkatha has under the leadership of Chief Buthelezi and the right wing.
POM If they do persist in not participating in the elections do you think that you can have elections in Natal that by any definition would be free and fair or legitimate?
CJ I think, no, you couldn't really. I don't think there is any way that one could imagine a situation like Natal, given what we see now, being one which is going to enable free, fair and legitimate elections in April. But I think some things can be done beforehand. I think that the international community, the United Nations for instance, could say to these players in South Africa that they can expect no support from the international community for any kind of volkstaat or for any separate kingdom for the Zulus, that they will not be willing to support it economically or recognise it diplomatically. I think people need to be shown the truth now about that possibility. I think Buthelezi probably still thinks, and he probably is right to a degree, that there are people out there in Germany and America and Britain who will be prepared to have their little picture of a Zulu kingdom become real and maybe there are people in Germany and wherever else in the world who would support an Afrikaner volkstaat, but those people don't have the influence in the world's market places, in the corridors of power and the rest of the world will not support this. People need to hear that because I think that some of the followers of these people think that they can live in an island in the world village. That is just not on.
POM When you look at the white right, 18 months ago when you had the referendum de Klerk was at the peak of his popularity. For two years he had not made a false move and was in control of the process, the ANC and others were trying to catch up to him. Then he had this referendum and his popularity peaked, a few months later there was the collapse of CODESA 2, Boipatong, the ANC walked out of the process altogether, you had mass stayaways then you had in September of last year the ANC and the government produced the Record of Understanding and the series of bilaterals. Meanwhile you seem to have what seems to be the collapse in the base of support for the National Party itself. Recent polls show that 12% to 15%, or one in four people of those who voted for it in 1989 would vote for it today. What's happened? The right has resurrected itself from the debacle it went through in 1992 when it appeared to be absolutely destroyed, in shambles, discredited. What has accounted for the turn around in the fortunes of de Klerk and the National Party vis-à-vis the right wing? Why did the government after in CODESA 2 aligning itself with parties opposed to the ANC turn around, dump its partners and throw in its lot with the ANC?
CJ Because politics is politics. There are those of us who would have said, and were saying, during de Klerk's peak years and his rise, his ascendancy, that, yes, he was courageous but he was still a politician and he was still a Nationalist. I think he was just out politicking the ANC at the time. I still believe that the Nationalist Party during those years in particular was playing a double game and that the existence of a third force with the knowledge of the Nationalist Party was certainly under the auspices of the Nationalist Party, maybe not with the knowledge of de Klerk himself, was involved in the violence. I think one important thing you didn't say here was that the rise of the right wing coincided with the purge in the military and it's very interesting to see that people who were part of the Nationalist Party, Constand Viljoen and the Generals who are now playing a high profile role in right wing politics and who were during those years of de Klerk's ascendancy being pointed as being the people who were undermining the process and while de Klerk was on the one hand not putting a foot wrong publicly that the dark deeds were being carried on by the Generals in the army and by people in the police force and in the Secret Service, National Intelligence, many of those people have been purged from the Nationalist Party now because I think it would not have been long before all was going to be revealed anyway.
For those of us who were involved in the townships here I personally saw police giving people, squatters in Crossroads, giving them guns. I personally saw that in 1986. I have no doubt in my mind, absolutely no doubt in my mind that the state was involved through the military, through its police force, in perpetuating violence and encouraging violence in the townships. No doubt whatsoever because not just my own eye witness evidence but on the evidence of people I know and trust who have no reason to want to create a lie about that. I think that de Klerk's reading, he's always been an astute politician, and that his deciding to jettison that element within the Nationalist Party was one which he did reading the signs that this could bring him down. Internationally his credibility world wide was high. If he were to be found to be playing a double game here he would have been totally discredited in the international community and so he jettisoned that part of his party much to the anger and chagrin of the right wing which made them able to mobilise and he threw in his lot with the ANC who were obviously the people to back in terms of numbers. And that's the kind of game that you see politicians playing and what's the point of getting all moralistic about it, that's where politics operate. If through that process de Klerk and Mandela have been able to bring along their parties and have presented us with a situation as we have today. Then it just affirms my Christian beliefs that good can come out of evil despite everything.
POM When you look at the past three years, what would you point to as the major turning points so to speak, critical points where the process of negotiations took a different course or created new alliances?
CJ Well there are some good ones and some bad ones obviously and I think the formation of the Freedom Alliance is a bad one and that took a different course there. I don't think the decision on the part of the ANC to walk out on the talks was an important one because you can't claim to be working towards a democracy when the people you're supposed to be working with walk out on you. The major party or player walked out on them. I think that was a decision which at the time was a risky one for the ANC to take because it seems as if it was being the spoiler here but it did I think force the Nationalist Party to realise that it couldn't go on looking good unless it had someone to look bad against right there. I think it did strengthen the hand of the ANC considerably. I haven't really thought about it carefully. It seems to me that what's not been public is more important than what has been public. I think the fact that there have been ongoing behind the scenes communications between de Klerk and Mandela and between some of the younger members of both parties, Thabo Mbeki, Cyril Ramaphosa and some of the younger Roelf Meyer people, obviously there has been ongoing communication there and work being done and I would want to suggest that maybe in the long run it is that work which has enabled the process to stay on course and which has really under-girded everything else. I don't think that we must underestimate the nature or the power of relationships between people on a personal level in this country. It may be more than in any other country where people fall behind hard political lines. It seems that what has happened here is that the personal relationships have been as important in moving the process along and the commitment to individuals has been as important here as the major obvious historical bonds.
POM Again looking at the three years, if you had to identify what were the major concessions and compromises made by government and made by the ANC over this period, which would you identify?
CJ I think from the ANC's side, I think the major psychological thing which the ANC did was by and large to jettison the idea of nationalisation and not to push that publicly as hard as they were doing beforehand. I think that inspired a lot of confidence in the business community locally and abroad and made it hard for the Nats to accuse the ANC of out-dated, failed, socialist philosophy. If anyone's made concessions though it's the Nationalist Party. They have made numerous concessions on a whole range of things and all of that can be seen in the draft constitution. One has to admire, for whatever the motives here, I think that - and I'm not a politician so I really can't weigh the long term political benefits of those sort of issues - but I think that my point I made to you some years ago almost in a naive fashion that what we're dealing with basically are two parties which are nationalist in terms of philosophy, nation building on the kinds of terms which make sense to the ANC, it's the language of both the Nationalist Party and the ANC. They have a common meeting point there which I think has made it possible for compromises to take place because at least they think they are saying the same thing. Whether or not they are they will discover later down the tracks.
POM One question I've asked everybody since last Wednesday, on a scale of one to ten where one is great dissatisfaction and ten is great satisfaction, how would you rate the package which came out of Kempton Park last week?
CJ I would give it, I think, a seven because I think it has tremendous potential. It's a good framework. Whether we fill it out is really for us to determine. To give it any higher than that would maybe be giving it more praise than it deserves at this point. We need to see how a lot of that stuff works. I think it has set the guidelines for a workable future for South Africans. It doesn't address the hard issues we talked about like employment and housing and so on but it makes it possible. I think the Bill of Rights is important too as a document because we seem to have short-circuited a number of important issues and got to some commitment at least about those issues which other countries which have a longer history of democracy are still struggling with. The place of women in our society is acknowledged not on some philosophical base but as a recognition of the role that women have played in our struggle for democracy. And in a way it's almost a kind of incarnational approach rather than to think the thing through and argue the points though women were involved in Kempton Park because they are involved in our community, our struggle and our exile and in our prisons and so they have a rightful place at the table in the World Trade Centre. A lot of those sorts of issues, the recognition of people's rights as human beings despite their gender, like the rights of gay people which is a big issue in the States. In a society which is supposed to be the model for democracy Clinton still has to fight about the rights of gays in the military. Here one cannot be discriminated against on the basis of one's gender. Now we've short-circuited a whole lot of stuff here, a lot of that debate hasn't even really been aired publicly and yet we've accepted it as the basis for our living together in this society and I think that that is typical of South Africa at its best, that it has the ability. It's got a lot of courage, it's not yet been, as it were, sobered by failure. You've got a lot of hope for the future and 70% says we can do better, there is room for improvement but we haven't done a bad job up to now.
POM Just to go back to the right wing again. You have this deadlock and their options are to continue to stay out, participate in nothing and become marginalised. You stay out and you still attempt some form of negotiations. You stay out and you take up arms, (analogy to the IRA). It only takes a very small number of people yet you tie down a great number of troops, you have all kinds of draconian security methods that are used so you could have a new government taking it's place where one of its first actions would be to declare a state of emergency. Do you see the far right in that role?
CJ That could be, that could be. I am encouraged to hear Mandela say at least we are talking. That's what he said last night and that's important. And I think that, again, this is part of the South African thing that we do talk. A bosperaad this kind of peculiarly South African thing where people take themselves off into the bush for a few days and sit and talk, that's very much part of the way in which we do things here. I would hope that we could meet some of the concerns of Afrikaners in terms of respecting their culture. There's no reason why culture and language cannot be protected. Not in an oppressive, legalistic way but as a recognition for the tremendous contribution that Afrikaners have made to this country and they have indeed made them. And a recognition of the things that they value. There are things that Afrikaners love that I love as much as any Afrikaner but they need to realise too that there is no way in which every demand they make can be met and so there's going to have to be negotiations there and compromises made.
I would hope that we would commit to that, but I would also hope that we do that realistically, that we don't do it and hold the rest of the country to ransom or put up the rest of the country as a kind of bartering chip. People need to realise that that's just not on, no-one can tolerate that. I would also hope that the international community would come out quite clearly and say to those people, as I've said before, that if you're going to push for a separate state, volkstaat, whatever, we will not accept that, we will not recognise you, we will not support you. We may have to live with this situation for a while in which people will have to experience what it means not to be accepted not just by the international community but by their own community and hopefully come back like the Prodigal Son, but that we will always keep the doors open. I think that if they opt for violence that will be a great tragedy for everybody concerned, also for themselves because I think that what they are trying to protect then is in great danger of being destroyed for ever. I get very worried about words like 'crush' and 'put down' and so on. That's the real danger that people just will not have the patience with them. It'll be a terrible thing for this country.
POM There's one thing that made me question, I won't say the ANC's commitment to democracy but their understanding of it, one was in relation to their position on the Constitutional Court where they came out in favour of the appointing of the judges being in the hands of the State President and the other being their position on the single ballot and not two ballots, which severely restricts the capacity of people and virtually ensures that regional parties, for this period of time at least, will find no place in parliament. Do you accept their explanations as to why it took those particular stands?
CJ I don't accept it. I think that the ANC hopefully learnt a lesson there that you can be popular but that doesn't mean that you can get away with everything. I think they maybe backtracked a little bit, they will backtrack I would hope on that. But I think here again we need to be very careful that the Church particularly doesn't abdicate its watchdog role and there is a rising euphoria which I think will probably see also take off as the elections come closer. There's going to be rising violence but also rising euphoria and that's the contradiction of our country that we can live so schizophrenically, but that we need to call our leaders to account because in the end democracy is not what leaders create for us it's what we make for ourselves and what we claim for ourselves here. You're right, I think that the ANC also doesn't have a history or memory of democracy. None of us have because none of us have really lived in a democratic South Africa ever and we're going to have to teach each other democracy and call each other to account and that's just as we have to put apartheid behind us so in the end we are going to have to put the struggle behind us, that none of us can claim, just as we can't live with guilt so we can't live for ever on our war stories because too many people have died for that to happen again.
POM In that context do you think it would be better for the country if the ANC did not get two thirds of the vote in the April election?
CJ Yes I think it would. I think that the ANC has much to give us as a government but I think that there are other people too who do have and just from another angle, when one looks at revolutions and liberations throughout Africa, look at Mozambique, Angola and this is the African saga, when the colonialist regimes pulled out and one party took over not only did they have all the problems of a one-party state but those parties had the problem of having to do an impossible task of reconstruction and of having in the end be saddled with the blame for not being able to do anything about it. I think that the mess we are in is something which we're all going to have to accept and that it is far better for the future of this country and even for the ANC in particular to be sharing the work of reconstruction and sharing both the blame and the praise for what we achieve and what we don't achieve as a nation. I think that we need to guard against ever, ever again being in a position where we have the possibility of being oppressed by anybody. I think there are many reasons why it's to the ANC's own benefit that it should not be too powerful.
POM In Namibia when they were contesting the elections they were going for as much power as they could get but that in retrospect it was probably better for the country and for them that they received less than two thirds, that they had a viable opposition, that they didn't get things their own way, they couldn't railroad things through. You've got another appointment?
CJ I have to get to the university. The Archbishop is receiving an Honorary Doctorate - at last!