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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

08 Nov 1994: Matthews, Joe

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POM     Let me throw a couple of themes at you and then you pick them up where you want. One is on the Truth Commission and the effect it will have and whether it will be more concerned with identifying wrong doings in the past rather than punishing, where the intelligence files are, who has control over the intelligence files of individuals? Like the file that was kept on you by the CIA. Who physically has them and who has control over whether or not they can be leaked or not leaked or handed out? The situation I suppose you would compare it with would be with the Stasi in Germany after it broke. So maybe if we start with those two and how they are linked.

JM     Well I don't think they are linked. Matters of intelligence of course apply to any government so there are of course special problems associated with that because we have a past, but intelligence is a fairly regular function of government. But let's deal with that later. The other thing is the Truth Commission, that's a novelty. Incidentally, the name has been changed, it's no more the Truth and Reconciliation, it's the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation. And so far it's been a rather tricky problem to deal with. The Ministry of Justice are the people in charge of the bill and Mr Dullah Omar has been doing the pushing supported by Professor Kader Asmal who has some experience on this matter because he has apparently both studied and served in commissions of this kind. He made us aware of the Chilean example and various others in other parts of the world.

JM     The original idea was to find out the truth, always a difficult thing because actually, I don't know if you know this, that courts are not there to discover the truth, courts and judicial enquiries and investigations and so on are not there to discover the truth. The truth is rather too big a thing for human institutions to discover. They arrive at decisions in which an attempt is made to discover the truth. But because of the limitations of time, limitations of subject, you have a distortion. I mean if I asked you now, right now, what you did since you woke up this morning if you really gave me every detail it would take you hours and hours to tell that story. You have to cut out, so it's a selection and by selecting you are distorting and only God can have a totally comprehensive and infinite view of life and that is the only way you have the whole truth. Human beings can never, they always get a side, a portion of it. There's an interesting book actually on this by a judge in the United States, it's a classic, the Nature of the Judicial Process by Cardozo, Judge Cardozo, it's the classic of what in fact are you trying to discover in a judicial process. Is it the truth or are you really trying to arrive at a decision to the best of your knowledge and ability and on the basis of the evidence that has been placed before you?

     Now when we are talking of things like this, a commission of this kind in which witnesses have probably disappeared, in which evidence has long been destroyed, in which you are relying on people's memories and very faulty memories, the possibility of arriving at the truth is very difficult. So the concept gradually changed. First of all the focus now is on the victims. The focus is on what happened rather than on individuals, but of course individuals are entitled to apply for amnesty on the basis of disclosure so they come along and they disclose what they did and then on that basis ask for amnesty. Then you have to safeguard the people they name because if a fellow comes along and asks for amnesty and then incriminates nine other people what do you do about that? Do you follow them up because those haven't applied for amnesty? Do you then send the police after the nine who have been named by someone? How do you protect innocents and so on? So the bill became bigger and more explanatory and some of the possible negative effects were removed but then maybe that has taken the heart out of the whole process, one doesn't know, and that will allow a lot of people who are responsible for human rights violations to get away with it. This applies particularly to the people at the top. The bill doesn't really deal with responsibility on the part of those who gave orders and who didn't themselves do anything. But what do you do with the government, or what do you do with the National Executive of the ANC? To what extent are they responsible for a bomb thrown into a supermarket? If they are the ones who have provided the bomb and the material and they have given the instructions and all that what's their responsibility? The Bill doesn't in fact deal with the issue of responsibility whereas as you know in the Nuremberg trials they went for the top chaps and a lot of the ordinary fellows got away because he was really just carrying out orders, not all of them but there was a general feeling that the fellows at the bottom were merely carrying out orders and they just picked on the most prominent people who gave orders. With us it's the reverse. The fellows who gave orders are not really in jeopardy to a very great extent.

     Now, I should explain that there isn't unanimity in the government of national unity on this. The ANC is strongly in favour of having a commission of this kind. The National Party originally opposed but after all the amendments had been made, that is the second draft which has not yet been published, the second draft of the bill, they then reluctantly indicated that they would go along with it. The IFP opposes the idea of a commission but can't stop the publication of the bill so they haven't agreed that there should be a commission but of course the consensus rule means that the bill was published and the second draft will be published.

POM     What is the consensus rule? Is that an example of how the Cabinet works?

JM     You see the consensus rule is this, and that's how Cabinets work and that's how Africans work, I mean their traditional system. Consensus means the person who presides, in the case of traditional government the Chief, senses the view of the majority of people and in the absence of really outright opposition, expressed opposition, will make a ruling which then becomes the ruling of that body. Now the same happens in this Cabinet, that an issue is discussed and then the chairman will say well it looks like this is the decision of everyone. Now anyone of course in the Cabinet can jump up and say, "Oh no I don't agree with that," so the debate goes on. In other words people acquiesce if they don't think the issue is sufficiently big to justify continued opposition. Therefore those people who are against the whole idea of a commission and doubt whether in fact it will lead to reconciliation or to moral regeneration as some people have suggested, they have really acquiesced and are saying, "All right, well you fellows are so keen on this carry on with it and let's see how far it goes." That I think is the general feeling.

     Now as far as the Intelligence Services are concerned you must know that they published the new mission of the Intelligence Services, there's a white paper now on the mission. I don't know if I've got it here. A series of bills, but there's also a white paper. This is one of the bills, Intelligence Services Bill, National Strategic Intelligence Bill, and then there's a white paper.

POM     It's called a white paper on?

JM     There it is. White paper on intelligence.

POM     Is this a spare one that you have?

JM     No, no, but these are easily available round the corner here at the government printer. You see this white paper on intelligence, then you've got the bill, National Strategic Intelligence Bill, Intelligence Services Bill and Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence Bill. The whole structure has been reorganised first of all to amalgamate the various Intelligence Services which existed in Venda, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and the ANC Intelligence Service. Those have all now become one service. Then the service is divided into two. We now have one which deals with external matters, foreign matters, and the other which deals with internal matters. Then you have the Intelligence Agency. You see the one is the Intelligence Agency and the other one is the Strategic Intelligence, well it's all described in these bills. And then we tried to have an oversight by parliament, that's the Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence, so members of parliament will be appointed as a kind of scrutinising watchdog to make sure that things work. This is all under the legal control of the President.

POM     Doesn't Mr de Klerk still occupy ...?

JM     Well he's been appointed to be the operational department that handles matters.

POM     I thought that he was continuing to have a function with regard to intelligence that he had.

JM     There's a whole ...

POM     He hadn't given it up.

JM     There's a chart of the new structure. I don't know if you've seen it? They actually tell us. There's a chart you see which shows where each one comes into it. That is from President Mandela, then De Klerk, then your Director of Intelligence, the whole sort of set up. It's quite openly illustrated.

     You say, what about the files? Who's got the files? I am on the Intelligence Cabinet Committee. There's a Cabinet Committee which deals with that and the thing about this is that the Intelligence people report or they make representations to this other departmental matter, that's the Cabinet Committee, which also has a hand in deciding whether a thing is a good idea or not. But the actual operations are ... by Thabo Mbeki and then the President himself. Now there are four people who have been briefed on the files which you are talking about on what actually has happened in the past and that is the President, Mr de Klerk and Mr Mbeki and Chief Buthelezi, those four are the ones who know what happened before we have been ... However, that shouldn't be done to the whole committee. So that is the set up as we have it now, so that if you really want to know where's your file, really Mandela is the person or Mr de Klerk.

POM     So you would write to Mr de Klerk and say, "If there has been an Intelligence file kept on me."

JM     Or "Is my phone tapped?", that kind of thing.

POM     Yes. Is it a good thing that that should be done, that citizens should have the right to know who's spying on whom, who the informers were? Or do you think again, as some would argue ...?

JM     Well there are some ministers I can tell you, like for example the Minister of Defence Mr Joe Modise, who are strongly opposed to any kind of investigation into the past. Now there's a reason for that. You see in intelligence work you have what is called intelligence resources, your resources, that is your trained personnel. Now let us say it has taken twenty years to produce an intelligence network, now even if that network was used against you, the moment you become the government your problem is if you get rid of all these people you have to start from scratch and who is going to train the new people. So paradoxically you then find that the former victims of the system are forced to protect their erstwhile tormentors as part of their resources and some of course are more fierce then others. I mean the Defence chaps, Kasrils and Modise, really just don't want to hear about enquiries into what Military Intelligence did and this and that because those chaps were doing things in Mozambique and Angola, everywhere, everyone would like to know what is happening, who did what. I mean the massacres, the killing of the SWAPO people at Kasingo, that kind of thing. Why do they massacre women and children? And then you've got ministers sitting there and saying, "I'm not going to have my chaps interviewed," and going to court to prevent the newspapers from reporting even what they have discovered. So there's some dissatisfaction at grassroots, people feeling that look here it's still the same chaps who are doing all this.

POM     Would you say if you were a resident of a township and they say go to ...?

JM     They say you must rely on the commission but the commission, when you are sitting with that chap who was in charge and who must have a report, we have seen from the German example, from the Russian example, that these people they keep records like mad if only you can get hold of them. The records are there. You know the Communist Party of South Africa tried to find out what happened to Lazar Bach who was a leader of the South African Communist Party in the thirties and Lazar Bach was called back to the Komintern apparently to get the new policy of the Komintern of United Front and so on after 1935 and he never returned. And all enquiries as to what happened to the leader of the Communist Party failed until recently when Gorbachev came to power, only then was it discovered that he was a victim of the Stalin purges and was executed. So I am sure that there are records and of course when you ask for records they tell you that the records were destroyed on the orders of the previous government but they never destroy records. But that's what they've said, that the records have been destroyed.

POM     I want to turn to something else which is not related but it's in the same kind of ball park and that's the stability in the country. We were away for four months and have come back and we see the MK, the taxis wars, the inability of the police to bring the level of violence under control, even Mandela saying that the SAP declared war on the ANC. You have random strikes, you have demands for huge pay increases and you've still got the simmering conflict in Natal/KwaZulu between the IFP and the ANC. One could very easily get the impression that country is heading into anarchy.

JM     Well you try and do something and you will be picked up by the police very quickly. Anarchy means people do exactly as they please, that there's no-one on the borders, you can come in and out without any problem and this and that. Anarchy means there is no law and order at all.

POM     There is no law and order?

JM     But I think it's wrong, I think the impression of anarchy and law and order is rather similar to the cries by - I don't if you have heard of this lady in Leningrad, there's a famous lady there who wrote an article called, "I will stick to my principles", who was virtually supporting the restoration of Stalinist methods because she said there was chaos and anarchy and crime since all the liberalisation began. My view is that every authoritarian society which is transformed into a democracy always exhibits these characteristics. It's happened in Eastern Europe and Russia and it's happening here. The removal of the apparatus of terror and detention without trial and all the awful laws that existed, once you remove those and before you replace them with democratic institutions, you will get the impression that there is chaos and so on and of course there are people who are all too ready to exaggerate this.

     Some of it is actually positive in this sense that more people are reporting to the police who never used to report before so your statistics are not an indication that crime has increased but that the reporting has increased and of course we see it clearly that the reporting, the number of reported cases is rising sharply and that is simply because people have now more confidence that the police are going to attend to their complaints and that's one of the reasons for the sharp increase in reported cases. And of course that's how we put it officially because the statistics we issue are those of reported cases. But there is no doubt that violence, for instance, against women is far too high. All over the country the violence against women, the vehicle theft and particularly the hijacking of trucks carrying freight which has got economic implications, a very high level of that. There has been a sharp drop in political violence, that has dropped sharply. So it's not correct to say that in KwaZulu/Natal you still have the same sort of violence. I mean we have had weeks in September, for example, there was one week with not one death in Natal. Now that would never have happened in the past. Then the following week there were eleven deaths. So when you think we used to have, I mean how many deaths every day? So that has dropped but criminal violence has come to the fore and of course one can see it more clearly and the police of course are now concentrating more on fighting crime than on fighting politics.

JM     It's a kind of mixed bag. Also it's very concentrated, almost exclusively on the PWV, there's a very high level of crime in the PWV but there are some areas where there is virtually nothing, some provinces where they have got no problem at all. But my view is that once you have got the amalgamation of the eleven police forces into one police force and you have got one chain of command, once we achieve that and we achieve a more equitable sharing of police resources. You know 80% of the policing is policing white areas, 80% of our policing.

POM     Policing white areas?

JM     Yes. Out of a thousand of our police stations 80% are in protecting the whites. So you've got Soweto with three police stations and you've got Sandton or something with dozens of police stations all over the place. Now that's how things developed so you find Mdantsane which is a very big black area with no vehicles and with police using bicycles and then you cross into East London, a few kilometres away, and there are any number of vehicles and equipment and communications equipment and so on. There's a lot of distortion. In Transkei there's nothing, we've got 2500 police in Transkei and there's virtually no equipment. Now we were legally debarred from assisting such areas because of their absurd transitional situation in which Transkei had its own Police Act and you couldn't take a policeman from the South African side to go and help police in Transkei.

POM     Has that kind of thing been resolved?

JM     That kind of thing has been resolved. We got a proclamation by the President which sorted it out so we are now able to send units in to any area and to use equipment anywhere and that of course is helping to produce a better situation. But we are also faced with the foreign syndicates, crime syndicates. Because the previous government was so concerned with politics they paid no attention to the influx of drug dealers and all kinds of things like that and so on. Now we find we've got hundreds of these chaps from China, from Taiwan and all over. You know there are 60,000 Chinese from the mainland. That was a shock. Christ, when did the Chinese from mainland China come here? And once we started doing the proper research into the number of illegal immigrants we got quite a lot of shocks. There are areas in South Africa which are pure French speaking.

POM     Which are French speaking?

JM     Yes everybody in the area speaks French. You know, people from Senegal, Zaire, from Congo Brazzaville and they are all speaking French. So you go to an area in Johannesburg, you know, the market and people buying and selling and the only language being spoken is French.

POM     What about that apartment building in Hillbrow, it's all Nigerians.

JM     Well what about the Johannesburg Sun? It's packed with Nigerians who are supposed to be doing business. Now what do you do you see? You get Chief Buthelezi saying, "I'm going to clamp down on illegal immigrants." Then you've got the Deputy President Mbeki with a Foreign Affairs background saying, "Now wait a minute, we were well received in many of these countries, we can't treat their people like this. These are not aliens, these are Africans." So the government speaks with a divided voice on the issue and then you've got the human rights people saying, "No you don't just take people, detain them and throw them across the borders. What arrangements have you made?" Then it costs money to do that. So we've got, as I say, out of all that our big problem is the criminal syndicates. They are a problem in themselves, they are also a problem because they have vast resources and they are corrupting the police. At different levels we are faced with massive corruption. The drug trade; people with palaces in different parts of the country who are well known that that man there is in the drug business and nobody does anything. Whereas the law provides for seizure of assets which cannot be explained, the law provides for that. They can come to you and say, "Now look, how did you get this palace?" And if you can't give a satisfactory explanation it can be seized and become state property. So that was done in order to deal with the tremendous amount of money and assets which is in the hands of the drug dealers. But nothing is being done. That law is like a dead letter, nobody's assets have been seized.

POM     Well can't you as a deputy minister call to account the civil servants and the police who should be doing something and say I want something done about this problem?

JM     Well you see, remember, I'm sitting with a hundred lawyers so if I say I want to do something then they say, but sir, (a) there's a constitution which protects private property, (b) there's this, (c) there's that, and that the law you're talking about was passed before we had a constitution when we had a sovereign parliament which would pass any law it liked and now parliament can't pass any law it likes because it can be challenged in the Constitutional Court. So, sorry, we've got to leave the drug dealers where they are.

POM     So in one sense you're saying, or I'm sensing that you're saying, that the level of bureaucracy and rules and regulations still exists from the past are such that you a paralysed in trying to carry out many of the things you'd like to do?

JM     No, we were not paralysed in the past.

POM     No, now.

JM     We are paralysed now not by the rules of the past. We've abolished the rules of the past which were authoritarian and would have allowed us to detain people without trial. Now our own rules, democratic rules, transparency, constitutions, human rights provisions, that also paralyses until you have got new institutions and new methods of handling these issues in a democratic society. This is the problem, we have not yet replaced the old things or rather substituted for the new for what used to be there in the old set up. If we could declare a state of emergency like that you would wipe out the crime in a few weeks but that would mean you are detaining people without trial and the whole world would go crazy saying, "What's happened to those chaps there? They were democratic and now they are becoming just like the old apartheid regime." So we are also hampered by our own need to preserve the democratic way of governing.

POM     I'd like to go back to when I talked to you last year, it would have been March I think, about a month before the elections, and you were very equivocal about whether or not the IFP would participate or not participate. At that point they were not participating. You ended up at the last moment with the IFP agreeing to. Were there one or two single factors that convinced particularly Chief Buthelezi for the party to contest the elections than not to contest them?

JM     Well I think myself that basically the promise that KwaZulu would become the kingdom of KwaZulu under a constitutional monarch and that this was enshrined in - there was a special sitting of parliament to actually make the necessary amendments to the transitional constitution so that we had a new constitutional principle which was added, we had amendments to section 160 which provided for provincial constitutions and it also provided that provinces could have their own legislative and executive structures. They didn't have to be uniform, they could have different ones in different provinces. In other words the moment it was clear that we were moving in the direction of having a kingdom of KwaZulu in the province of KwaZulu/Natal then that precipitated a change of attitude.

POM     Now has that become operative in terms of the constitution?

JM     Well we still have to pass a provincial constitution. We have to have a provincial constitution so the issue is still simmering, it's not resolved.

POM     If you had been able to get into the elections earlier, three months beforehand, how much better do you think the party would have done?

JM     You can't say that because the party went to the electorate with virtually no manifesto, nothing to criticise, there was no time for propaganda to examine the policies that were being put forward by the IFP. If there was eight months of campaigning the weaknesses of the organisation might have been revealed but here you've got a media blitz in which millions were spent on very effective newspaper and media propaganda, extremely effective, right at the last minute combined with the genius of the Zulus in mobilising which is an old thing. It's been like that, traditionally they can do one thing one day and the next day can switch and there's no group in Africa which can beat them for that. They were trained for that as a military people, Shaka was able to do that. He could swing people from a peaceful posture and suddenly launch an attack. He taught them that. So their mobilising power was quite awesome to see. We had this agreement on Tuesday 19th April which brought the IFP into the elections and Thursday there was a meeting of all the Chiefs, what they call the regional authorities, where people were shown what's going to happen, where you make a X and all that, so without any voter education once those chaps moved out of there, 260 of them, they reached into every corner virtually in a day and you then got those thousands of people coming out to cast their vote. Now no other group really, if you had tried that among Batswana or other tribes, they couldn't do it. But I think the IFP was saved by the Zulu people. And of course the whites voted solid in Natal, KwaZulu/Natal, they voted solid for the IFP provincially and they voted for other parties nationally, the National Party. But it is significant that they virtually voted to a man for the IFP in the province.

POM     There have been allegations from every party ANC, IFP, DP, NP that this was a brokered election where there was a fair amount of fraud involved but that the parties came to an understanding that would produce a government that was stable and accepted by the people as being legitimate. So everybody was a winner. Chief Buthelezi got Natal.

JM     I don't think it was as crude as that. I'll give you an example of the sort of thing that happened for example in Durban. Now you had from the Umlazi area, of course in each area you had polling stations and of course there was a way in which the ballot boxes are sealed, so the IFP people come along and say, "We don't trust the seal, it looks very weak, we want to put a padlock on each box." So the Presiding Officer, the law provides for it, that a party can add its own seal to the official seal, so they padlock, they bring padlocks. Then you get to the counting place and the ANC takes an objection to all the boxes which had the padlocks. Right? Now what do you do? So you have an argument for two days as to whether or not those boxes should be opened and counted. It delays the election, there's an argument, until eventually someone says, "Look man, why not let's count the other boxes, complete that count and decide later what we do about these ones about which there is a dispute." It was that kind of thing that was happening. That kind of thing. Well, you take the question of the sticker. The law says every ballot paper without the IFP sticker is invalid. Well now look here if you get 200,000 ballots where people have put their X and everything and it hasn't got the IFP sticker and they have indicated clearly that they are voting for Mandela, what do you do? Do you say, apply the letter of the law that these million votes are invalid because they haven't got the IFP sticker although the voter has clearly indicated his preference and you assume that if the people hadn't put the cross against Mandela they would put it against the IFP if the sticker was there? You had to compromise on things like that and say, "No, well look, it's not an IFP area, Soweto we're not particularly strong, the likelihood is that those votes are validly cast for the ANC," so you compromise. In other words it wasn't fraud.

     The suggestion in the media is as if it's an artificial result that you first have a meeting to decide : you will get 62%, you will get 10%. It was not like that. It was a question of what you allow and disallow and you would have endless arguments which went on. The IFP had the highest number of complaints, 500, so we won the complaints, we had the largest number of complaints. But these complaints, many of them were trivial, they were exaggerated, they were not really true. The vast bulk of things really went fairly well. We had to, for example, compromise on the total discarding of the Mhlabatini vote, the vote in the Mhlabatini district where Buthelezi lives, because you virtually had a unanimous vote for the IFP in that area so the ANC people were arguing that how can you have such a thing. Now in the meantime in the Northern Transvaal you have 92% ANC vote and of course there's no IFP to contest that, but they have 92% of the vote in the Northern Transvaal. So when we get 92% in Mhlabatini they contest it. So in the end Chief Buthelezi said, "Oh all right, forget about it." So those votes were ignored. Otherwise if you went on and on and on there would have been no result declared. So it wasn't a question of fraud, really there was no question of false results except in one instance, I think the Lady Frere district in Transkei, where there was fraud. It's only one district which is reflected in the report of the IEC where there was definite fraud.

PAT     What about the computers?

JM     No, well the computer thing was discovered too early. There was an attempt to interfere with the computers but then it was discovered and put right, somebody tried to fiddle the computers. Some people thought it was in favour of the IFP but now it turns out it wasn't. So I don't know, I think myself that really it did reflect more or less if we look at even our surveys, you know every party did surveys and they had their groups who did this and that's roughly what we had. We had American chaps who did our survey and they had it dead accurate. The only mistake they made was to give ANC Northern Transvaal 96% and it was 92% but they gave them 96% and everyone thought they were wrong because the assumption was that the Eastern Cape was the ANC stronghold. No-one expected that the Northern Transvaal was so strongly ANC. I was the only one among our group who could explain that in that area the ANC was banned in 1958 before it was banned in the rest of the country because the ANC was so strong there. It was actually banned two years before the rest of the country. It's always been a strong area.

POM     Just two or three other things. Local elections, we get the impression going around the country of most regional Premiers saying that the groundwork hasn't been laid, that boundaries haven't been demarcated.

JM     There's the book, there it is there, the whole thing is in that. There's the book with the whole local government elections for each province, everything, this and that, maps, the whole lot. So if you have a look at this it tells you exactly how the local government elections are going to be conducted.

POM     Do you think they will take place in October?

JM     Yes. There's too much time, 12 months for modern governments to organise local elections. It should be very easy to do that.

POM     Do you think that local elections could re-ignite the violence between the IFP and the ANC since the fight will be on much smaller pieces of turf?

JM     Could be especially because local government is the most visible aspect of the struggle for power at the local level. You could easily. Except that they have excluded tribal areas. I don't know how they're going to handle the tribal areas which have been excluded from the Local Government Transitional Act and it's something that really has to be looked at because you can't have a vast part of the country which hasn't got a democratisation process at local government level. I don't think there's been enough thought about that because you've got two schools of thought, both wrong. One school of thought is that you abolish the Chiefs and you create elected local authorities. The other school of thought is you don't allow elections in the tribal areas and the Chiefs retain their powers and so on. I say they are both wrong because in many parts of Africa you have combined both easily, the two are not incompatible and you can have concurrent jurisdiction in which the Chief retains powers with regard to allocation of land and things like that and then you have democratisation on other aspects, development and so on. It's not so difficult legally to formulate a law which handles that situation. As you know the whole of Transkei is a tribal area. Now are you going to have no elections? You must have local government elections in the area and you can't just rely on the five Paramount Chiefs running the show.

POM     What about the rift that seems to have occurred between Chief Buthelezi and the King, the dispute so to speak?

JM     The only surprising thing is that it has taken so long to emerge. The Zulu history is full of it. Every King has had to have a fight with his 'nkulu', as he is called. So we have a situation here where you have a strong man as head of the traditional administration and then you have a King who was a youngster and grows up and now in his early forties when he's got five wives he feels he's strong enough now to assert himself. I don't think myself it's going to make much change because curiously enough what it has done is to force the ANC and the National Party and everybody to support the establishment of the King as a constitutional monarch which is what the IFP has been demanding all along. So Buthelezi in his speech to the Women's Brigade, very interesting, he said the paradoxical result of all this is that we are now all agreed on what should happen to the kingdom of KwaZulu and let's get on with it and do this constitution and put the King where he should be and resolve the problem.

POM     Last question on federalism, a cause to which I think in an interview with Chief Buthelezi he said that he 'would die for'. Yet we hear from provinces we visited again that power has not been devolved sufficiently in order for the regions to get things done. They are anxious to get their hands on those powers and other resources that will come with them. Do you think that's a valid complaint on their part?

JM     Well it is a valid complaint but of course it was predicted that this would happen if you didn't have a clear cut definition of their powers in the constitution itself. Because we have got this concurrency and so on it has led to these delays. It's not as bad as it looks. I think most of the powers, about 80%, have now been devolved. It's ironic because the cry for powers has come from the ANC premiers and not from the IFP so Dr Mdlalose at the last meeting with President Mandela he had to take a back seat and the chaps who were making the biggest noise were Sexwale and Matthew Phosa and the worst of course was Mhlaba, Raymond Mhlaba from the Eastern Cape because he had a rather novel and interesting argument. You see the Eastern Cape had the Transkei and Ciskei which were independent, which had all the powers, so the chap says, "Now look here I've got the administration, I've had the people who were running independent states, even if those states were not recognised elsewhere. Now I have to struggle to get puny powers, you see, when my predecessor had all the powers," so this has changed somewhat the debate, it's no longer an ANC/IFP debate. Federalism now is going to be on its merits, people are going to argue federalism properly on its merits and not say, well that's an IFP thing or you merely want to preserve your homelands or something. That's gone now. I think it's going to be more interesting.

POM     One quick last question. Is Mandela the glue that holds this together and what do you think would happen in the event of his death?

JM     Someone was suggesting that we should introduce a law similar to that which was introduced by Kenyatta in which speculation on the death of the President was made a criminal offence. And that was passed, I think, when Kenyatta was 80! So we are having similar speculations which some people feel are going too far but it's fair I think to say that to lose Mandela would be an absolute disaster, certainly in the next five years. I think we haven't had enough time yet to be without him because your institutions are not yet firmly in place. If the provinces and the Premiers and the administrations at that level were all in place delivering to the people then what happens at the national level would not have such cataclysmic consequences but if that happened today internationally the money side, the investment side ...

POM     Would you foresee an internal power struggle between supporters of Cyril Ramaphosa and Thabo Mbeki?

JM     I think Cyril made a terrible mistake. I think Mbeki has gone very far now. You see it's the parliamentarians who elect the President, not the electorate. Now the man they see every day, the chap who has the patronage and who they see every day and who they go to, "I want to be an Ambassador, I want to be this," then you think after five years you're going to come along and get something else. Well, it's too late and I think Cyril should never have sulked and said well he would go and work in the office. You've got to be in the Cabinet, you've got to be where the decisions are taken, you've got to be in parliament, you've got to be with the members of parliament and so on and not as chairman of a Constitutional Assembly, that's not enough, but in charge of a department. So we have our most intelligent and capable chap, it's rather like Jesse Jackson, all that ability and he's not in the thing, he hasn't got a grasp of any administration or of any experience in an elective body. I'm quite worried about it because I think that sooner or later the private sector will grab him. They are already coming along with enormous offers and you know it reaches a point where you can't resist that. If a chap comes and he says, "Here's the cheque, it's signed, now you just fill in the amount," and that's happening. He's now being subjected to it because people know he's an able chap, particularly those who have been his opponents in Anglo American when he was fighting in the National Union of Mineworkers and you can see Anglo, they are working on this. If they can get Ramaphosa into that Anglo Board ...

POM     Thank you ever so much.

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.