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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

09 Nov 1994: Hendrickse, Allan

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     You were just beginning to say?

AH     It's altogether a new atmosphere and I think I've lived through a transition period of three. When we first came to parliament in the old House of Assembly I was conducted to a gallery upstairs which was reserved for people of colour. And then in 1984 I came in as the leader of a coloured party into the House of Representatives, slightly different, and then we had joint sessions and joint decision making and now I am here in a new parliament with a completely new atmosphere. There's an easy come, easy go, a freedom of expression. For years I fought with the white Afrikaners about our mode of address. They insisted on a dark suit with a collar and a tie and now we're coming in shirt sleeves and this all adds and, of course, with us being part of that transitional - you will remember at one time I said that although this was an all white prerogative with us coming into the House of Representatives we were introducing a bit of colour, now of course the bit of colour is now the whites who are in parliament. We've got black representation. I must take the questions rather than just keep on.

POM     No, I like to hear you. The questions are on how things have changed and how parliament came into being.

AH     What is very noticeable is that from the National Party side that there is almost a spirit of, or an impression given of almost being in despair. After having been the guys with all the power, and of course persons who used their power, to be relegated to an opposition of minority, you can see that they are downcast. What's also interesting, there is within their programme they are heavy in their attack on the ANC about affirmative action. And of course they give the wrong impression and that's one of the reasons why the so-called coloured people in the Cape voted for the National Party was because of their emphasis on the 'swart gevaar', the black danger and affirmative action, that blacks were going to take your jobs away from you, blacks were going to take our houses away from you and so on. That's how they won there. But what they are doing, they have got quite a number of ex-Labour Party walkouts who are still with them and they used these people to attack the ANC. The attacks don't come from the whites because their leader is on the government of national unity so they use the coloured guys to open attack, fire all the volleys, but the black section of the ANC has begun to realise this and of course they are saying to De Klerk, "Your party is against affirmative action but you have demonstrated affirmative action by including coloureds and Africans in your party representation, which is not because you believe in it but because you want to show that you are a party of unity." But on the whole, as I say, the atmosphere, what is interesting also is the feeling of goodwill coming from the Freedom Front. You will remember the Freedom Front were the guys from the Conservative Party and some of them in the AWB and vociferous right wing. Under the leadership of General Viljoen there is a new attitude of understanding and it's really nice in a way for us to see the National Party and the Freedom Front fighting each other.

POM     Somebody said to me, I think today, that if an election were held today the Freedom front could well take a number of seats from the National Party.

AH     I would agree with that, certainly.

POM     Where does that leave the old Conservative Party? Are they effectively marginalising themselves?

AH     I think so. I think that was the mistake that Ferdi Hartzenberg made. Once he read the situation, and I mean we all knew from our contact with Afrikaners that people wanted to vote, wanted to participate. I think Ferdi, Conservative Party, would have done better than the National Party in the election if they had come in, but those Afrikaners who wanted to vote then voted for the Freedom Front. General Viljoen, I think, had read the situation very well and the amount of negotiation and understanding, one must give credit to the ANC as well and to Nelson Mandela in particular, who had to risk a lot of his following in terms of meeting the Freedom Front half way. The ANC are saying very clearly there is no place for a volkstaat at all but he conceded, at least let's establish a Volkstaat Council. And those chaps on the Volkstaat Council are going to get the same salaries as the members of parliament. So they've got a base from which to work and attempt to influence parliament, which means a lot to them because they're in a situation much stronger now than Ferdi Hartzenberg is.

POM     I was privileged to be an observer at the elections.

AH     Oh yes?

POM     One of the most vivid experiences of my life was coming around a corner in a small little township and heading towards the local school. It was the first day of voting so we were getting there early to make sure the ballot boxes were there and the ballots were there and everything was in order and we met a line of people which stretched for two miles. The sun was just coming up. And everything we saw was pretty regular and there were some irregular things but of no major significance. Then afterwards everything seemed to come together in a miraculous way. I'm not a believer in miracles and it has been suggested to me by many people in the IFP and the NP and the ANC that a good amount of voter rigging went on and that the final result was kind of a brokered result. Everybody got to win something. Buthelezi got his KwaZulu/Natal and a good job, the ANC got what it wanted in terms of almost close to being a clear winner, and the National Party got a decent representation, probably an over-representation in terms of what its actual base of support was. From what you've heard talked about with colleagues and ordinary people, was there an element of brokerage to the results in the sense that it was more important to ensure political stability than to ensure that the election was 'substantially free and fair'?

AH     My own impression, and I can only read it from local experience, is that the election fairly reflected the feeling of the people. If I take between the National Party and the ANC, in the Eastern Cape we don't have the IFP, and then the Afrikaner element voted Freedom Front and so they had one representative in parliament, the Freedom Front (Botha was formerly Conservative Party), so that the whites in Uitenhage voted Freedom Front, but there was a large number of coloured people. With the possible demise of the Labour Party we didn't organise and you will remember that there was almost an antagonism between part of the ANC, the younger ones, and the Labour Party because of our participation, we were criticised for that and rejected. But when we realised that in the Uitenhage/Port Elizabeth area that because of the non-support for the ANC amongst the coloured people we had to get in and the Labour Party started organising. The one person who did a lot within the ANC to give recognition to the Labour Party was the late Chris Hani. He had a clear understanding of what we were doing. And, of course, then Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela went out of his way against the grain of a large percentage of the ANC to work together with the Labour Party and others in the Patriotic Front. We talked about that before, the Patriotic Front. But there we could clearly see that once we got in as Labour Party and I could have a platform of Labour Party/COSATU/ANC/Communist Party, Ray Mhlaba down in the Eastern Cape, we had a meeting in Uitenhage which was bigger than the meeting than De Klerk had had in Uitenhage. But De Klerk's support there was amongst the coloured people. If you look at the Eastern Cape then I would say that the ANC got two thirds and the National Party got one third, particularly the coloured vote, but the other white vote went to the Freedom Front. So for me that experience in Uitenhage is the reflection I think of the overall South African situation. I expected actually De Klerk to get less. If there was any manoeuvring perhaps there in order to give him that 20% or 22% ...

POM     Do you think Buthelezi, I've never heard of a political party that when the opposition got 50.3% of the vote, that didn't say it wanted a recount. The fact that no recount was undertaken suggests that there was some kind of understanding.

AH     I think they were honest brokers, if you want to call them that, particularly with Buthelezi. The newspapers speak about Oppenheimer as having been the go-between, the one who eventually persuaded Buthelezi. But on the other hand I am sure at the back of his mind he was still playing for something, but he could never have come into the elections with so much poster work, organisation, readiness to participate if he didn't think that he was going to participate at some time or other. I think he was playing and playing and playing his cards until he couldn't get any further. And then of course came the brokers who may have said, well, fine, if you go in this is going to happen, if you stay out this is going to happen.

POM     When I came back into the country this time, about a month ago, I had been away for about four months, I was struck by facts like part of the MK in rebellion and SDUs still roaming the townships, not giving up their arms, taxi wars, random strikes, huge wage demands. A lot of things would suggest that the country was slowly sliding towards some form of anarchy. Particularly with regard to the level of crime the Sunday Times mentioned a serious crime being committed every 17 seconds, which truly astonishing. What is the state of the social fabric?

AH     One of the things that concern us really is that for one the expectations raised were very high, two, that there was misinterpretation by the ordinary folk, hoi-poloi and the folk right down under who felt apartheid laws, the misinterpretation of how long it would take to happen. Whether we like to admit it or not one has to still see that the unemployment was a very big contributing factor to the crime, unemployment. The unemployment wasn't after the election, it was really before the election, but with the unemployed fixing their hopes and aspirations on the immediate future rather than in terms of time. You would know that for a company whose economy was right down below to hope that the economy would improve within three months or six months was really a pipe dream. I think that was an important factor.

     The other factor, because we've come out of an apartheid society where so much had been done in terms of instigation, one cannot write off the fact that there may be people involved in terms of still hoping to bring about a violent revolution in South Africa with the hope of again power in some way or the other, control of the police, control of the army. One of the things that the ANC clearly lets come through to us in our caucuses and so on is that they are not really in charge because your public servants, the bureaucrats are still the same and they are the ones who have the long experience, they've got the knowledge and every minister is dependent upon the bureaucrats in his office and therefore it's going to take some time to get things right. One must not write off the possibility of there being people behind the whole question of generating an upset in the South African situation.

     There is certainly a concern about the role of some of the people in COSATU. In the Uitenhage situation Volkswagen workers went on strike for three months, it's a long time for workers to be without funds. There was a lot of intimidation from the younger groups who didn't have any responsibility about rents or children or schools or things like that and it took almost a strong personal intervention by Mandela and Thabo Mbeki and the Minister of Labour to bring about, and even then there wasn't 100% acceptance by the workers of the decision to go back to work. Now for them to have done that to Volkswagen where the wages are very good in comparison with all other industries, Volkswagen/Delta in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, is really questionable. Now whether these were the idealists in terms of ideology who were hoping to get greater control over the ANC one doesn't know. But there was a deal of dissatisfaction within COSATU about the fact that all their twenty nominees hadn't received important positions in the new parliament. It was that. So I'm not discounting any possibility of a third force or in any case dissatisfaction also within the ANC.

     Take, for instance, I didn't see it myself, but the Afrikaans newspaper carried a story at the weekend, the chaps who had not received positions within the National Party are now going back to form the New Labour Party which will be coloured. Those are the guys who didn't get any positions in the National Party, now they are going back from where they were when they left me and are going back and saying, well fine we must establish a coloured party particularly in the Western Cape where there is a preponderance of coloured people.

POM     Is Nelson Mandela the person, the glue that holds things together?

AH     If I think of discussions earlier this year in the caucus, there was tremendous dissatisfaction with the appointments of whites. If you take for instance Trevor Manuel appointed as Leader of the House and the caucus had nominated one of its own members to be the Deputy Leader, but when it came back from Mandela he had appointed Leon Wessels as the Deputy. That's with the CA. Then the same thing happened in the House of Assembly. As I said Trevor Manuel and somebody else, yes he appointed as a deputy to Trevor, Dr Dawie de Villiers and then when we appointed Cyril Ramaphosa for the CA, Constituent Assembly, then Mandela appointed Leon. Now whether that was an attempt to give recognition to the two of them because the two of them certainly were the most verligte within the National Party. I remember during the last session of parliament I sent Dawie a note of congratulations saying, I don't know if I had mentioned this in Port Elizabeth at the time when we met, you had presented a far better political, intellectual and emotional speech than your own leader had done because Dawie was the dove in comparison with Hernus Kriel who was the hawk at that time. Within the ANC caucus there was unhappiness, they said, fine and we had given in to the government of national unity, Madiba must now stop appointing whites. But I believe that was his strategy. But now also the acceptance only came when the word came through that Mandela had decided. We went from caucus through the Whips to Mbeki, Thabo, and Thabo went to Mandela and the message came back. Once the message came back there was a general acceptance. Now there would not have been a general acceptance if he had not been Nelson Mandela. He is the cementing factor within the situation and I think more than myself will say that it is our prayer that God will spare him to see a greater length of time as President because if Mandela goes we may have a problem.

POM     What would that be?

AH     A division within the ANC, although the younger crowd, certainly, were responsible for nominating Thabo Mbeki as chairman of the ANC, that came from the Youth League.

POM     It strikes me as one of the things that I don't understand, Thabo doesn't strike one as being of the radical frame of mind.

AH     Not at all.

POM     You would think he would be more at home in country clubs than he would be in townships.

AH     That was a surprise to all of us that Thabo was nominated by the youth section, Youth League. He reflects almost a person who is able to fit all occasions and all people and he will make certainly a very good successor to Nelson Mandela. I think there is no doubt that the choice is good because Thabo can think on his feet and he's got a very good brain, like Nelson. I mean Nelson strikes you, he can remember names of people, dates, oh he's just too fantastic, and his attachment, recognition of people, he needs just a year, during the year, about three months after his release he meets me at the airport and I'm holding a little baby and he comes up, "Oh, who's child is this?" and I said, "This is my daughter's, Marie." He said, "I remember Marie". I said, "My daughter." He said, "Yes, Marie. She was one of those who nursed me when I was in hospital. Marie, how's Desmond?" He had never met Desmond but he knows, he's remarkable, almost fantastic brain. As a Christian one can almost compare him to the aura that surrounded Our Lord Jesus. Lovely, fond of kids, he likes to touch them, he won't walk past anybody and as I said he's got an aura about him that attracts people.

POM     Where does that leave Ramaphosa?

AH     I don't think Ramaphosa is as popular as he may have been in the past. I think he became too deeply involved in the negotiation itself. The fact that he was always associated with Roelf Meyer didn't leave a good impression and that may have affected him. The same response, may have been criticism, was this Nelson and FW. If you listen to the caucus for instance, just about two weeks ago there was a question whether we should continue with the system of 'Questions to the President'. Could we rather say, 'Questions to the Vice Presidents', that's Thabo and De Klerk. It was shouted down, no, can't give De Klerk a platform for propaganda. Even the Nobel Prize, there was an unhappiness that FW was associated with Mandela or going to the United States together. But it's Mandela and because it's him there is this acceptance of what is happening and what he is doing. Without him we would be in trouble now.

POM     Looking at Buthelezi for a moment, or not just Buthelezi but the rift between King Zwelithini and Buthelezi. Is this something that could have serious ramifications down the line or is it one of these little tiffs?

AH     I think it is important. I view it from the point that Buthelezi had had that whole period of consolidating leadership and the fact, even now if you take the occasion of the Zulu, what was it 24th September? Shaka Day. The fact that he defied the King and still could get those thousands shows that he has a strong support base. He's worked up those emotions around being Zulu and the King as being a Zulu and it was almost too late for the King to make a decision to drop Buthelezi. He had already established a power base and personalitywise, in spite of Gatsha's weakness in English, his mode of address and his trouble with speaking, when it comes to Zulu he can stir up those people and work with them. So I was hoping that while the King has shown his leanings towards the ANC now, that a further rift may not be coming because the King has in a sense come into his own now where he's making statements on his own.

POM     I find that very interesting because I've interviewed him every year since 1990 and he's always been very anti-ANC. I don't know if he was just mouthing words but he would talk about how they are a Xhosa tribe and they want to dominate the Zulus and the Zulus would never be dominated. He was more vehement on that than Buthelezi, which always kind of surprised me because people were always telling me that the King is Buthelezi's man. He never struck me as somebody who didn't think along. But the change in point of view of the King might have to do with the fact that the central government now pays his salary, the paymaster has changed?

AH     It could be, it could be. I wouldn't really emphasise that because that in terms of income is not only going to him as King, it's going to all our Chiefs and as people in various places have said, their Chiefs are actually equivalent to Kings. That was the strong argument against the King having representation in the talks at Kempton Park. And I think the fact that we've got the traditional Chiefs represented in parliament was in fact soft soaping the traditional small kings, as one could say, as opposed to the recognition that is now given to him. And of course a big thing also was the condemnation by Mandela of De Klerk's decision to allocate that amount of ground to the King.

POM     A huge amount, yes.

AH     A huge amount. Everybody thought that the government was going to withdraw that. That Mandela conceded, and I think that could have impressed the King also.

POM     Sure. You have the local government elections coming up next year. Going around the country I found most of the Premiers say they are totally unprepared and haven't even started compiling voter lists, demarcating the boundaries and they weren't getting adequate resources from the central government to perform their functions in that regard. Do you think the elections will take place in October?

AH     I'm very worried about that because there is a lot of division. You take almost animosity developing between Civic Associations, SANCO, which is the national Civic Organisation, and the ANC. SANCO are insisting that they should have the right as civic bodies to run and control the elections for municipalities, local government. The ANC, of course, has also got its finger in the pie. A lot of ANC members are in SANCO and SANCO in ANC and then you've got starting, what worries me among the so-called coloured people, Ratepayer's Associations which are now given recognition already in your transitional local governments is whether they will be able to finish all that for an election I don't know, particularly if it's going to be done on the basis of voter's rolls.

POM     And demarcated ....

AH     Areas of representation. It's very difficult because you must bear in mind that at the moment geographically we are still on a colour basis. Mitchells Plain is still coloured. Guguletu, Langa are still African. Sea Point is still white. So how the boundaries are going to be drawn is going to be one big problem to make it a non-racial election.

POM     Again coming back to Natal, do you think the holding of local elections there would re-ignite, maybe even exacerbate the feud between the ANC and the IFP, that they would be fighting over even narrower bits of territory?

AH     Maybe, at the local level it may go better even than on that national level. At national level it was a question of real power which gave them that power within the province. I don't think that the local government thing is going to be a satisfaction of power in terms of decision making. I don't hope and I don't think that the violence between the two could exacerbate really.

POM     Another thing I found going around was that if one mentioned the phrase RDP or Reconstruction and Development Plan to people, elected or non-elected, one was met mostly with a blank stare. They had no idea what you were talking about. Different ministers within regional governments had different interpretations of what the whole thing was about.

AH     There is a lot of confusion still. I was up in one area at a meeting with farmers and farm workers on Saturday and then I was surprised to hear that while I was speaking to the Minister of Land Affairs here, and the deputy minister actually will be accompanying me in January, that members from the province had been in the area of Willowmore, which is about 60 miles from where I was, farming area, to explain to people about the RDP. And in our meeting with the farmers and workers they wanted to know from me what this meant, what these people were saying with regard to RDP, in Afrikaans the HOP, whether we're going to 'HOP' with regard to the RDP. But there's a lot of lack of understanding what it really is. My own daughter, of course, who is just a primary school teacher said this to me two weeks ago, "What is this RDP?" And then I had to give her the booklet. I said, go through this and look at it and see whether you can understand it.

POM     But you don't reach the masses that way and it would seem to me that ...

AH     We have an instruction actually now during the recess to go out and our report back meetings must be on the clearer understanding of what the RDP is because for some people the RDP means nothing, for others it's going to satisfy all their needs and it's going to be done quickly. In other words we're going to get our houses tomorrow. I had to say to these farm workers, I said, "But it doesn't matter who says what about you're going to get your houses. It depends upon how much money can be obtained for working towards the implementation of the RDP. It's all right to say you're going to get houses but it's a question of when."

POM     The unemployment rate is close to 50% and two years ago I interviewed Derek Keys when he was then the Finance Minister and his most optimistic outlook for the economy of South Africa to the year 2000 was that at best it could create a 1% increase in employment per year. I saw him again three weeks ago and asked him the same question and again he said he would stand by his analysis that at best the economy would generate a 1% increase in employment each year between now and the year 2000, which makes no dent in the problem at all.

AH     What does also worry me is the question of time in terms of housing because the original idea behind the RDP was also to break the high rate of unemployment. Whereas people would be trained to build their own houses one hears now about contractors coming in and that contractors must start using people and so on and it's difficult because contractor A already has 50 people in his employment and as you said there are 100 unemployed outside. Now he's not going to bring the 100 from outside and make it 150, but whereas if people who are unemployed were empowered to make bricks, to make mortar, to do woodwork and so on, then, or as was said, make the streets, the layout, doing the clearing and all that, then you could reduce the rate of unemployment. But in terms of creation of productivity one has to put a big question mark on whether the alleviation of unemployment is going to take place as Derek Keys has said because again mechanisation, automation. I went out to this factory in Ceres that employed hundreds of coloured girls, they prepare fruit juices that you have on the planes and all that, Ceres. Now you find there are about a dozen people feeding the machines, another one sitting with a computer looking at us, there is the machine which cuts the labels and boxes. Where are the other 99 of the hundred who were employed before? Automation. Owners will go for automation where the machines can't go on strike rather than the workers who can down tools today and let the machines come to a standstill.

POM     Why do you think, just going back to the RDP for a moment, the government put an awful lot of effort into voter education and using the mass media and whatever to instil in people an understanding of what they were going to do and there hasn't been any comparable effort with regard to the RDP. It hasn't been marketed well in the sense that people don't know that they must take ownership of it themselves for it to work.

AH     I think it's because of the lack of clarity. It was an ideal which was put on to paper and as you said now the mechanism of getting it across to people hadn't received the depth of thought that it should have got. Whether the government will still come back once they sort out their problems with the SABC and all kinds of things, could be that the programme may start. But it's going to be so difficult because you're going to do this RDP and you've got to start preparing for the local elections in October, getting people to register. It's a lot of confusion.

POM     The regional leaders I talked to were very resentful of the lack of devolution of power from the centre.

AH     Well I think it's part of the confusion, it's part of the confusion. Take myself now, if I went to the Minister of Land Affairs in Bisho would I get the same response as speaking to the national Minister of Land Affairs here? I get a quicker response here than the response I would get there. It will take some time before this whole question of devolution of power can really become effective to the regions.

POM     Is this going to be a big issue in the Constituent Assembly?

AH     I'm not sure, not sure, but it may be. Our committees are sitting on that. But if you take the impatience of Tokyo Sexwale up in the PWV on the question of housing, he's impatient, he's got no right of decision making. He makes a decision and the Minister of Housing says no he's got no right to make that decision. Now they have been delegated certain powers with regard to housing but where's the finance of housing coming from? From central government but this still has to be negotiated. Who receives priority where when you've got a limited size of the cake to be cut? So we're not out of the woods with regard to problems. We may get out of the thunder.

POM     If you had to rate the government on a scale of one to ten where one represented a very unsatisfactory performance and ten represented a very satisfactory performance, where would you rate it?

AH     Oh, I would say actually performance at the moment I would give a five out of ten. It's just about average. In other words we are carrying on where the others left off. There has to be some acceleration but again acceleration depends upon the economy, the economy depends upon investment.

POM     Investment depends upon stability and stability depends on the economy.

AH     I spoke to one of the bankers from Austria and he feels that in spite of promises of governments to assist in terms of RDP there is still a hesitancy from investors to come in, because they are the ones who are still looking for a return. So that the economic instability is still frightening them away.

POM     Is business playing its fair part?

AH     I can only see from my own experience locally, there is an attempt to do so. Businessmen realise that their existence depends upon the support that they get. Their support is largely a black support and so they have got to be seen and I find, like in our local forum, economic forum at Uitenhage, that there is tremendous interest from the industrialists and businessmen with regard to the whole question of elimination of problems and looking at economic development of an area or a region.

POM     One thing that surprised me was the seeming political naiveté of the ANC in particular in accepting the raises in wages that were recommended by the committee that sat on it. They could have looked at the commission report and said we should get more but if we're going to tighten our belts we're going to start with us and won't increase anything. And suddenly you've got this gravy train.

AH     I think one must be very careful in terms of analysis because it's the press guys who really gave so much publicity and I asked one of the press guys the other day, I said, "Look you've got an editor here of the coloured section of the Sunday Times", (although they don't say coloured they say Sunday Times Metro), he receives the salary of a sub-editor of the newspaper and if you look at the whole of the Sunday Times you're going to find possibly half a dozen paragraphs of comment from him or reports. They receive their allowances in terms of entertainment, not one of them sitting here pays entertainment, every drink they have downstairs is paid by their organisation, and we asked publicly for newspapermen to please tell us what their salaries are. We haven't got it. And then also if you look to the other section, the ministers have certainly responded in terms of reduction of their salaries, but if you look at ordinary parliamentarians we're not getting very much extra than what former government MPs got.

POM     It's the perception of it.

AH     The perception, and the perception is created by the press. They have got onto a train and they turned it into a gravy train. And then if one takes, now look at our salary, after deductions I'm getting R9000 a month, after deductions. Now we've got a Principal of a school, primary school, with a salary of R8000 a month who works for five hours a day. I'm obligated to stay here, run a second home as I am doing, I was paying a house rental of R1500 a month until I decided let me rather buy a small house which would be a better investment than paying the R1500. And taking all those things into account, I've got to run a home in Uitenhage, I've got to pay my rates, electricity, my maid and all the rest and I've got to run a home in Cape Town and employ people. R10,000 is not so much.

POM     One last thing. The Truth Commission.

AH     What one can say about the Truth Commission? I think it's absolutely essential, even from the religious point of view. I can't forgive you unless you tell me what you've done. You can say I'm sorry, as De Klerk has said, he didn't even say it very openly and convincingly.

POM     He doesn't want to take any responsibility.

AH     He can't. He rejects any responsibility and I think before we can get really a satisfactory answer that can lead to a greater understanding and a newness we've got to dig out the past and bury the past, but you can't bury something you don't know about.

POM     Do you think if there was direct evidence that a minister or an MP was implicated in a crime that was committed by the state that he should have to stand down as a minister or as an MP?

AH     Well I should say so. I wouldn't look at the Nuremberg thing of standing trial.

POM     No, that's not the way you'd have to do it.

AH     But I certainly would think that if a person was involved, maybe the time that my house was bombed, I was in the House of Representatives and the impression that was created was that this was an ANC threat to me because of my being in parliament. Colonel Horak who was part of the police force made a statement and an admission that the police were responsible for the throwing of the hand grenades. And then Hernus Kriel applied for a court interdict to prevent Max du Preez' newspaper from publishing the full story. Now there are many people who still believe that the ANC was the one that attacked my house. The same thing is true, one of the National Party guys said the other day that he can't understand why I'm in the ANC when the ANC was responsible for burning my church. Now we've got to know who burnt the church, who gave the instruction for the church to be burnt because on the very day, the Thursday that my church was burnt I sent a note to the then Minister of Police asking for extra protection for my house and my hall because I suspected that something was going to happen. The night that I phoned him he was, the policeman who answered said the minister was sleeping and can't be disturbed. But noticeable was that the police were absent when they attacked the place, that they were standing at a distance and the Fire Brigade didn't go nearby. Now I think until such time as I know who was responsible, I'm going to be unhappy about who did this although in retrospect, I've said this to my own congregation, we've got a nicer church now, a better church, and all the cockroaches that were there before are all burned out, it was a blessing in disguise. I think in that light, if one takes the Biko thing or the Goniwe thing, the cover-ups, the cover-ups, the misinterpretations. With the Goniwe thing it now depends upon the family whether they are going to institute a civil case. I think such things must come into the open, for both sides. I mean we've got a chappie here in parliament, Gxowa(?) who was in the ANC and he pulls off his shirt and shows how he was tortured in Quatro. Fine, let's get it out instead of hammering on it all the time.

POM     Thank you.

AH     Thank you always for including me. Nice to meet you.

POM     I always will. You always give a very good interview.

AH     Stay in touch.

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.