This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
22 Nov 1994: Moodley, Strini
POM First, Strini, let's start with the transition. Is it going well, is it going poorly? What's being done right, what's not being done right? What obstacles lie in the way forward?
SM I'm in two minds actually about it, in two minds first of all because I'm not sure whether we are in any kind of transition. On the face of it, in terms of the basic experiences of people on the ground I'm not sure whether they first of all appreciate or will even acknowledge that there is transition, transition in the context of their own lives, their own day to day experiences, what was different before or what is different now from what it was before? There doesn't appear to be in their experience much that indicates that transition. But if we look even at what is considered the transition as it is defined generally, it appears to be a transition that is located within a slice of the black community, more particularly the upper class within the academic professional business elite within the black community and even there it is a transition that is designed to advance the well being and the welfare of the individual as opposed to a transition that is working towards the redistribution of resources, wealth, land and just basic needs for a start to the greatest majority of people. I think it's wrong in the sense that the government of national unity does not appear to have a constructive plan of action. I think that's largely because even if they had a plan of action it's hamstrung by the agreements they've made with the old regime which is engaged in a programme to frustrate all attempts to satisfy the original ideals of the liberation movement.
POM What would you point to in particular?
SM I think for a start if you look at the whole question, let's take for example, housing. Even when you read the constitution, the constitution guarantees you the right to own a house but it doesn't guarantee you the right to a house. It guarantees you the right to own property but in order for you to be able to have property it means you have to have money so that in the end actually housing will not be delivered to the majority of the people and I think that the primary reason for that is the fact that the old regime has been able to put in place clauses within the constitution that actually will frustrate any attempt to change the conditions in this country. The same thing applies to land. The whole question of the Land Claims Court will only consider a claim after 1913. Now in 1913 that was when the entire change came about in terms of the Land Act in this country, that was the beginning of it and I think that a mistake is made when they take it after 1913 because already most of the damage has been done by 1913. That Act also is a major problem and on top of that we are not sure to what extent this Land Claims Court is going to be able to actually take away land from people who just refuse to give it up. So in that respect I have a feeling that what we are referring to as transition is actually not going to be in real terms what one can consider transition. I mean all of the other things, people can go and swim on any beach, go to any hospital, go to any cafe or movie or what have you, that's been there for a long time, even before 1990. And if that is what people consider transition then I'm saying that you can't define that as part of the transition.
POM You're saying the government has no programme and yet it promulgates at every opportunity the RDP. Now going round the country I found that when you mention the word RDP the average person just looked at you with kind of glazed eyes, they didn't know what it meant and they had no ownership in the idea at all. If it's a plan it depends on people taking responsibility for the implementation of it, not just the government, but that connection has never been made.
SM That's the other part of the problem that exists. It's the creation of what is called the Reconstruction and Development Programme by the ANC and now being translated by the government of national unity and particularly by members of the ANC within it. It's original intentions have fallen flat primarily because the RDP has been absorbed by private enterprise, by the government of national unity and has been redefined as a programme of delivering handouts. Give a couple of millions here to build a swimming pool, give a couple of millions there to have a school, give a couple of millions there to have a farming project. Give a couple of millions. It's only looked at in terms of money and on the other side of it private enterprise sees the Reconstruction and Development Programme as an opportunity to expand their own profits by offering to do the housing projects, by offering to build the schools, but the fine print means that they will earn the profit from building those schools and building those houses in the same way that Stocks & Stocks is doing with the PWV government and Tokyo Sexwale.
POM Let me back up for a bit and we'll get back to this later on. Do you think AZAPO made a mistake by not contesting the elections?
SM No, no. Even in the cold light of day now, while there may have been some misgivings amongst many of us in the aftermath of the elections and the obvious superficial euphoria that was being experienced in the country, we have calculated, I think we made the best possible move by not participating in that election primarily because that election, had any government got the majority, would experience exactly the same problems that the ANC is experiencing. Secondly, I think once we had made up our mind at the beginning not to participate in the whole process of negotiations it would have been foolish on our part, just purely from a strategic point of view, to enter at a late stage and that has been proven by the performance of the PAC and the PAC's poor performance can be blamed largely upon the fact that they just weren't planned, they weren't prepared to participate in an election. So I think strategically also I don't think AZAPO should regret the fact that it did not participate in the election.
POM How about the local elections in 1995?
SM Again for strategic reasons I would not commit AZAPO to local elections. However, we are working on the programme of investigating what our strengths are like and then encouraging individual AZAPO people to participate in the elections on the basis of their particular civic representativeness in civic associations, civic organisations as individuals if they feel strongly enough and if they feel they can win then they must participate. But we will have to evaluate it and determine whether it's wise for us strategically to participate in the local election. I can guarantee that in the 1999 election you will find AZAPO will participate.
POM Now many people have also said to me, one of the big grouses I got from all the Premiers I talked to was that the slowness in the devolution of powers from the centre to the regions, they weren't getting the resources to do their job and they were getting blamed for non-performance when they didn't have the means of performance. Do you think the government has been slow to devolve powers and why?
SM It's largely a result of the confusion that still exists between the old and the new. The old you had your provinces and you had your homelands, territorial authorities and you had your independent countries. Mix in with that now the nine regions and obviously the bureaucracy is going to grind very slowly largely because they themselves are grappling with the problem of how of do you get rid of the entire bureaucracy of Bophuthatswana, or KwaZulu, of the various other areas that they had in the past and bring it into one provincial authority or regional authority? And I think that is part of the problem for the central government. The other part of the problem for the central government is, of course, the non-existence of money. There are just no resources to devolve to the provincial authorities, largely because there is, and I don't think they want to admit to it, but I think this country is on the point of bankruptcy but they are just busy printing money and hoping that by some miracle President Clinton and John Major and a couple of others are going to come and pour some money into the coffers here. I think that's why Nelson Mandela was grumbling that America hadn't given him any money.
POM That's like the door has now closed when it comes to the RDP. Who's going to finance it? Levels of taxation are very high. Mbeki has ruled out any higher rates in 1995. Derek Keys told me two years ago that the rate of employment at best will increase by 1% a year between now and the year 2000. He thinks that's the truth. I asked him again this year and he gave me the same answer. That hardly makes a dent in the total of unemployment. The level or organisation would be increasing during that period too. The budget has a percentage of GDP, it's going to be cut from 21% to 17%. 200,000 civil services jobs are going to be eliminated. Blacks are going to be integrated into the civil service and nobody is going to lose their job. A lot of these things are contradictory.
SM I think it's largely because they actually don't know what to do. I'm seriously beginning to come to the conclusion that they actually don't know what to do, so that all they can do is imitate, I watch these guys on television, they simply say and do the same things that FW de Klerk and PW Botha and them were saying before. They're just imitating because they have no plan. They don't know what to do. If I say to them, I was speaking to a couple of them the other day at the Regional Economic Forum, and I said, "What's wrong with you guys? The first plan that you should be putting into effect is to attract people out of the cities to go back to the rural areas, so you should be getting your ministries of agriculture and what have you to create a programme in the rural areas so that you can get all these people to go back from where they have come. By simply trying to accommodate an explosion here, it's not going to work. You're just going to hold the lid down for a couple more years but when the explosion hits here, if you continue to allow this kind of urbanisation that's going on you're going to have a problem so start, if you want an RDP, I'm telling you, create a self-reliant farming programme in the rural areas even if it means confiscating land from the lazy white farmers and creating a programme, encouraging people to go back to the land. That's a start." But they just can't work it to its logical conclusion.
POM This imitation, it's often said that the oppressed when free immediately imitate the oppressor as it's the only model they have, so the way they behave on TV is based on how these other guys do it.
SM And even, you're talking about the emperor without clothes, the RDP, I've written a letter to them now and I've said to them, "You don't know what the RDP is, you don't know the meaning of reconstruction, you don't know the meaning of development. It's just become a catch phrase, it's a slogan. It's like 'We want to be free' or 'Make the country ungovernable'. It's just sloganeering but you don't know how to distinguish reconstruction from development." For them reconstruction and development are one and the same thing. They haven't looked at it. Reconstruction is short term, it's designed to take care of immediate problems. Development is long term. It's designed to create self-reliance, self-sustainability, to get people to work, to get people to understand that they have to sacrifice. Now obviously they are going to call on the workers to make sacrifices but you can't do that. That's unfair because you're not asking the big boys to make sacrifices. I've written a piece which will appear in the Natal Witness and I say, if you want the workers to sacrifice then you must ask Oppenheimer to sacrifice. He must take a cut in his profits, he must get rid of his second and third cars, his second and third homes. It's sacrificing. If that doesn't happen it doesn't work.
POM In connection with the question of devolution of powers again, people in the government argue that there isn't the administrative capacity on the part of many of these regions to carry out the functions that would be devolved to them.
SM I suppose, you see if you're going to create nine regions the shortest way to put it is that they put the cart before the horse. They created nine regions and now they want to know, how do I give away the things to these nine? Instead of first working out how do you create the devolution of power, at which level do you create and where does it locate itself, how do we locate it, how do we divide, is it necessary to divide, can our budget accommodate that kind of division? They didn't ask all those questions. It was decided, divide the country into nine pieces. Now that they've divided into nine pieces and they must begin the process of devolution they realise the problems they face, and those guys, the Premiers and what have you, they themselves, it's true, they are all looking for a ride on the gravy train because, again, even if you're waiting for devolution of powers, you waiting for this from the centre, they don't have to. The Premiers of the particular regions they must get their region to work. Now all of them are sitting and waiting for handouts and that's the other part of the problem. If you've got a jacked up Premier who believes in self-reliance he won't wait for devolution. He will see what resources do I have in my region and what kind of things can I do for my region and begin to do it with the kinds of things he's got. But no, what he needs to do, he needs to sustain that huge building, palace, that each one of them has. He needs to sustain the Mercedes that they must all drive around in. He needs to sustain all his retainers and his caretakers and his cooks and his private staff. He wants to keep all that and get that paid for and then also say, I want more from the top so that I can now begin to pay off people underneath me. It's not going to work, it's not going to work. These guys think there's a bottomless pit of money that's available for them to take. And it's all, it's quite clear, the psychology of all these people, they have been brought up on this dependency complex, on relying on other people to do things for them instead of relying on themselves.
POM It's like very vividly, last week I was in Mmabatho visiting Popo Molefe and I got a message to go to his residence and I asked somebody where was the Premier's residence and they said, "Oh he's living at the South African Embassy." But I got there and there's this compound of twenty houses with lawns and flowers and trees and maids and gardeners, you name it and you walk into the main building and it's like carpets up to your knees. I contrast that with how he lived in Alexandra and wonder whether it's a good idea that people be given official residences like this rather than do as they do in democracies, live at their normal address. If you get elected minister you live at the same house as you used to live in, your children go to the same school.
SM As I say, they are just imitating those of the past. I was watching the other day, Terror Lekota is living in - I would feel embarrassed to live in a place like that. There in Bloemfontein, didn't you see it?
POM No, I didn't.
SM That is it you see. If I do a quick calculation, nine of them are obviously doing that and you work out just how much is being spent on each of their homes alone in terms of security guards, in terms of looking after the gardens and all of that. You work out the annual budget just for those homes and you multiply it by nine and you will find that they don't only have one. Some of them, like here in Natal, the Premier here has one in Ulundi, one in Durban and one in Pietermaritzburg.
POM All paid for by the state?
SM Of course, all paid for by the state. All paid for by the state because that was how they carried on in the past. The President of the country must have a house in Cape Town, he must have a house in Pretoria, he must have a house in Durban, he must have a house all over, and all of it must be maintained. I asked a couple of guys, "Just sit down, calculate", and then go on now you look at all the ministers in parliament, the parliamentarians themselves and then you come to your regional parliaments and that bill alone will tell you why this country is on the slide, is becoming more and more bankrupt because they've got to sustain this huge bureaucracy.
POM 54% of state expenditure goes towards salaries, maybe it's 20% in most other countries. Do you sense that the people are patient, prepared to give them more time, know that they have to learn or are they getting impatient and would like delivery?
SM It's a mixed bag out there. There are people who are saying give them a chance, let's be patient, they are still learning, they are still getting to grips with it, but there's a large element that is just about fed up, not because they are failing but more because the people see them repeating the errors of the guys of the past, giving themselves fat salaries, all these things that I'm talking about, living in these mansions and that kind of thing. So there is a large body of people who are fed up with them. People get angry but at the moment I don't think there's a sufficiently cohesive movement at the moment towards confrontation. I think that will come in a year or two years time and most definitely the moment Mandela dies.
POM Let's talk about that. I think just everybody I've said, black or white, there's nothing but rave reviews, he goes from one level to another transcending local politics, he has this tremendous moral stature. Is he the glue that holds it all together?
SM Yes. Just the image that you've described in itself by some miracle is holding it all together and that is what is frightening because in fact there is nothing behind the image when you really examine it critically, nothing at all behind the image. When people call this the 'rainbow nation' I can understand it because it is just like the rainbow, a trick of the light, that's what Mandela has become. And so when he goes, once the image has gone, it disappears, the result is going to be absolutely frightening because not only is it going to completely destroy the people at the grassroots but within the ANC itself there is going to be such a war. One shudders to think of it and I think the jockeying for positions is beginning already.
POM Last year seemed to have been Cyril Ramaphosa's year, he was Secretary General, he was the ANC's chief negotiator, getting a lot of praise about the manner in which he conducted the negotiations and Thabo Mbeki was kind of sidelined. Now it's like role reversal. Thabo got Chairman and Deputy President and it doesn't look as if Cyril is going to run for the post of Secretary General again for the ANC. What's your sense of what happened there?
SM I'm not actually sure, I'm not sure. I haven't been sufficiently in touch with those developments there but I'm not convinced that Ramaphosa is going to bow out quietly. I think he's just going to reorganise, recoup his constituency. I'm sure he will come out fighting when the time is right. And that's why one feels that you're looking at, because of all these things, what they call the gravy train, all of them will want to protect their piece of that gravy.
POM One of the debates in the negotiations was about a unitary state versus a federal state. Now you have Premiers out there who used to be for a unitary state who now want to grab as much power as possible. Will this change the nature of the debate about whether the state should be unitary or federal in that you will have all of the people in the ANC governed regions who will be arguing for the devolution of more power and not less power?
SM One can see that happening particularly when Nelson Mandela goes. Each of them will want now to cling to that little piece that they have even more fanatically than they are doing at the present time and they obviously will want more. And it will suit the purposes also of the ANC and the IFP and all the others to allow that to happen because you must remember they themselves will also be making attempts to recoup their own lost images because in the long run it will suit their purposes to have more devolution of power, particularly for the IFP here in KwaZulu/Natal.
POM Let's talk about Buthelezi for a little bit. You had the situation where ten days before the election Carrington and Kissinger packed their bags, left the Carlton Hotel and went home saying there was nothing to mediate. There was an escalation in the violence between the ANC and the IFP, then Buthelezi comes in at the last moment. One, why did he come in at that moment? Then you have an election to all intents and purposes violence free, there doesn't appear to be a lot of intimidation going on. It was declared free and fair by the international media before the first vote was counted. Suddenly millions of votes are missing, the ANC is shouting allegations about vote rigging by the IFP, the IFP says the ANC is hijacking the vote, the NP is saying it was not free and fair. Then Kriegler announces that there are a lot of irregularities and not all the votes can be accounted for and yet a result comes out that is like a miraculous result, everyone is a winner. Buthelezi gets KwaZulu/Natal, the Nats get the Western Cape, the ANC gets a large majority but not enough to put it over two thirds which would have made then unaccountable to anybody else. Do you think in the end a deal was brokered because all the major players understood that it was more important to have a legitimate government that would be regarded as legitimate and acceptable to the people than to fight about whether it was free and fair or whether irregularities went on? That they were looking for legitimacy rather than anything else?
SM I think I told you this already when you came the last time. I told you that Buthelezi would participate, that the results would reflect in many ways; you give a piece to the IFP, you give a piece to the National Party, you give a piece to the ANC. The ANC obviously would be just under 66% or over 50%. It was clear that that would happen. But I think what nobody says is that when you look at it, when you actually look at it, there are 19 million people who voted, now by our calculations the adult population in this country must definitely be in the region of about 28 million based on if you looked at the population in the 1970 census and you compared it right up until today, it has to be somewhere about 28 or 29 million which actually means a large percentage of people did not vote. But even if we are to calculate backwards and say that actually it is about 24 or 23 million it means that at least five million did not vote. So that we are looking at a situation in this country where a deal was brokered before the election, the election was conducted with all its irregularities and all the hallmarks of the most unfree and unfair election that has ever been conducted, it's all covered up. The end result is a product which satisfies all the parties, it satisfies the international community and the rest is all based on the question of what we sat down around the table and brokered long before the election took place.
POM It was Van Zyl Slabbert who said, "Always remember when you are analysing any question to do with the election, always remember it was deal driven", which is I think exactly what you are saying. Can that kind of an alliance last or are there tensions already at work that are beginning to undermine it?
SM Well the cracks are beginning to appear, the exposures within the police, exposures within the army, each of them obviously hold a key to the other's cupboard with the skeletons and that is the only thing that is holding that alliance together. The National Party is afraid of the exposures of the ANC, the ANC is afraid of the exposures that will be made by the National Party and all of them have a lot to hide. The IFP has got obviously mounds of information on the National Party. The National Party has got information on the IFP but they are all afraid, so that is what will hold the alliance together but how long for I don't know because alliances are never held together because one fears what the other is going to expose you for. And that is also why the Truth and Reconciliation Bill as been pushed to next year because that's the major fight behind closed doors. OK you want this Bill, obviously the National Party is saying, "We're going to expose all of you. I will tell in that Bill how many of you here in parliament were actually working for us, Intelligence Services." And clearly there are several people who are supposedly ANC but who actually worked for the National Intelligence Service for the National Party. So that's how things stand.
POM The rift between Buthelezi and the King, does it assume serious proportions?
SM I think the media is making an issue out of it. It's being exploited. Obviously the ANC is still working at trying to get the upper hand in KwaZulu/Natal. It has gotten to the King. Buthelezi has reacted to it. But I don't think it's a matter that is really serious. I don't think so. I think it's just been blown out of proportion by the media.
POM Do you think that the IFP stole the election here? That the actual results don't really tally? The ANC has made a lot of its support having broken the back of Buthelezi in the urban centres and were closing in in the rural areas, yet whatever tabulations were used they were in the thirties and the IFP was close to fifty.
SM I suppose again, we've got to come back to the conclusion that this deal was brokered and whatever anyone says after the ballot boxes were taken away, the people in the IEC knew that they had to produce a particular result in Natal. And I think that was agreed by the ANC, at least its top echelons. I don't think even the people in the ANC in Natal knew about that.
POM I was surprised, I've never heard of a party where the opposition gets 50.3% of the vote and you don't demand a recount right away. It's unheard of.
SM I don't know. Considering it's the first time we've had this kind of election you would obviously demand a recount, but it wasn't done. And I think behind the exposures of the National Party and the DP after the IEC report had come out, actually adds weight to the fact that there was a deal brokered.
POM So if you had to rate the government on a scale of one to ten in terms of its performance, one being very unsatisfactory and ten very satisfactory, where would you place it?
SM In the context of the satisfaction of the needs of the people and on the basis of the promises that were made to the electorate and the capacity to actually deliver those promises, I must rate them about three.
POM Is there a war of sorts still going on here between the IFP and the ANC?
SM Here in Natal/KwaZulu? The south coast is still reeling under continuing wars between ANC and IFP. I know that. The Midlands is a little quiet at the moment, but anything can happen to ignite it. The absence of war doesn't mean there's peace. That basically is the position.
POM Do you think the country would be ready for local elections in 1995?
SM Well they are obviously going to have local elections in 1995. I suspect that it is going to be even more difficult than the national elections. I think there's going to be even more intimidation involved at the local level because of the way in which here in Natal/KwaZulu the IFP is wanting to establish its foothold. So it's going to be even worse, at least I know here in Natal. I don't know about the other provinces, and probably the PWV area.
POM So you would see local elections re-igniting conflict between the IFP and the ANC?
SM Yes, and the build up to those local elections will re-ignite conflict largely because there will be a tussle between the ANC supporting civic organisations and the IFP supporting civic associations. They are bound to clash. It's just inevitable that that is going to happen and one is not sure of the extent to which either the police or the security forces will be in a position to ensure that there is peace during those elections.
POM This row that's going on over the role of the traditional leaders in governance, should they have a role?
SM I'm not so sure that we should make a principle out of it because if you look at all the urban areas what traditional leaders are there in there? There are no traditional leaders in the urban areas. And I think there are only certain pockets of the rural areas where you will find traditional leaders. So particularly in respect of traditional leaders you would allow for local communities to decide for themselves whether they want a traditional leader or not. So if you grid the country into the smallest possible denomination, lowest denomination for what? A municipality will equal a neighbourhood of about 50,000 families. Once you have a neighbourhood of 50,000 families that constitutes a municipality and they can decide, do we have a traditional leader? If they want a traditional leader then they pay for it, they can budget for him out of their own pockets. But I don't think it should be an issue that should be taken up by parliament. It's not an issue, certainly not as we approach the twenty first century.
POM Yes. Again you have the IFP wanting this foreign mediation to come in, that was part of the agreement between the ANC and the government and the IFP.
SM On the question of traditional leaders?
POM No, on the question of devolution of powers, I think principally. Where politically does AZAPO stand? What is its long term strategy? Many people would say that that's setting aside everything they participated in basically from 1990 or so.
SM I suspect that what people are saying is that because you don't participate in formal structured politics you marginalise yourself. I'm not so sure that that is a correct interpretation of political involvement, that you have to be involved in parliamentary politics to be relevant. We have seen so many countries in the world where organisations don't stand for election but are able to mobilise and galvanise hundreds upon thousands of people towards influencing political decisions in parliament. But again we have to look at it from the point of view of what is it that is possible in terms of our own principles and what is it that is not possible. And at the moment obviously our thinking is that it is impossible to do anything from within the parliament. In 1999 it might be possible, so that we would, as I say, we will definitely participate in 1999.
POM Do you see a change in the alignment of political allies between now and 1999?
SM That possibility exists. There will be. There certainly will be some movement from one to another. I suspect a large percentage, particularly of young people in the working class are going to shift away from ANC support and mobilise issues and move towards more radical organisations because the frustrations they are experiencing will be sufficiently demonstrated by about 1996, 1997 and they realise that actually they are not going to get anything out of the action except the black President.
POM On this question of the Truth Commission, how far do you think it should go? How do you prevent false accusations? I talked to Jac Buchner about this the other day and how he might figure in the enquiry.
SM Primarily because I think, and I'm not so sure that Jac Buchner is talking the truth when he tells you he's ready for it. He might just be saying that for public consumption. But I would suspect that secretly they will be doing everything to prevent it and part of what they are doing is what they are doing behind closed doors in parliament and that is telling the ANC, "I know you, you worked for so-and-so", and the people who are feeding that information to the National Party are the Jac Buchners of the world because they don't want the Truth Commission. I wouldn't call it a Truth Commission, I would just call it a bloody tribunal to try people for crimes against humanity.
POM Do you see a number of specific cases?
SM Yes. Every member of the public must feel free to bring criminal charges for any harm they suffered during the period of apartheid. It must be allowed. Wherever there has been a war or wherever you have had fascism, like in the second world war, crimes are held against the Germans. The Jewish people up until today are still seeking retribution and I think the same thing must happen here. Not because one wants to have revenge or something like that but I think a nation that wants to build itself must undergo a catharsis, it must experience the cathartic effect of enjoying retribution because then you cleanse yourself.
POM When I came back here about two months ago I went through all these papers that had accumulated, news clippings and whatever, and you saw part of the MK in rebellion, SDU units roaming all over the townships beyond anybody's control, a soaring crime rate, a serious crime every 17 seconds, that's according to The Sunday Times. You had the police saying they couldn't handle the crime, they just couldn't get on top of it. You had random strikes, wildcat strikes, making cities like Durban and Johannesburg grind to a halt. At Jan Smuts Airport last week I guess they tied up traffic there for the whole day. You had taxi wars. It would be very easy to prove that the country was slipping into chaos, or no-one was in control.
SM Yes. I think that it's understandable that all those things will happen, expectations were built up, people feel they are free of the yoke of oppression and that for them means that the police can't do anything to me, Nelson Mandela will protect me, I'm free now, I can do anything. Interpreting 'free' means I can go anywhere and I can take anything. And also it's increased the opportunity for individuals to make money. It's increased the opportunity of individuals to advance themselves and in that context they look at what is available and if someone else threatens them they resort to violence. That's your taxi wars, your truck drivers who have for many years been exploited by the cartage companies, the hauling companies, and they suddenly saw themselves free and so they wanted the change. The reality is that there are people who are giving expression to what they think is change and that expression is being translated by them in different ways and when you look at it, on the face of it it looks like anarchy, this country is descending into anarchy, but that is because again the political leadership of this country has not brought it to the attention of their constituencies that it is time now for all of us to sit back and make sacrifices and think about what it is we're going to do to contribute to building the country. And the leadership therefore refuses to relinquish that power into the hands of the people. The leadership is operating like benign dictators who are there to hand out favours and hand out to everybody something and that is why you are getting all these things happening. It's not surprising, it wouldn't have happened any other way, any psychologist would tell you that. This is bound to be the result. It's nothing unusual. It will happen anywhere in the world.
POM Do you think the exiles have effectively won the battle within the ANC, the exiles?
SM I don't know. I don't think so but it depends which exiles you're dealing with. If you're dealing with the exiles who were held in military camps and were trained in terms of uMkhonto weSizwe and suddenly shipped back home, of course they've lost and they were hoping to come marching through the streets of Pretoria with guns over their shoulders and the heads of FW de Klerk and PW Botha in place being shown off, that's the dream they had. Instead they came home with their tails between their legs, off South African Airways and other planes, with stamps okayed by FW de Klerk. So obviously they've failed and they're still failing because they're getting to the SADF and they are treated like second class citizens, not that they should have expected anything else. So they have lost. But the other exiles who lived in comfort and were protected by the anti-apartheid movement in Europe and the States and other parts of the world, who had good jobs or had property, have come back into the country and moved into high posts, nominated onto boards of directorships, occupying top positions in government and universities and so on and so forth. So it depends which section of the exiles you're dealing with. Some of them have won personal, individual fulfilment in the name of the struggle.
POM So as you look down the road what do you see? What kind of new South Africa emerging?
SM I think there is still going to be a long dark tunnel that we have to go through in terms of the kinds of anarchistic things that you've actually described yourself, the taxi wars, the political feuding between the ANC and the IFP, the strikes by workers, the rebellion of the youngsters in the army, all of this will continue largely because the leadership is not strong enough to handle and deal with it, while on the other hand we're going to get more and more people climbing onto the gravy train. More and more people trying to climb over the others for individual aggrandisement and for attempting to become as wealthy as they possibly can. Watch them, I get amazed when I see black guys dressing up in Gucci shoes and these most expensive suits, I mean R800 for a pair of shoes with a R1200 shirt and that for him is freedom. I think to myself, and this guy goes on television and he talks about important and serious issues and he walks out of there and jumps into a posh BMW or Mercedes Benz and has a coterie of guards around him. It's bizarre, it's actually bizarre and we're going to continue to go through that for a period of time, at least for the next three or four years until the next election comes.
I've written a memorandum to AZAPO and I've said all these things are happening and if we don't begin to position ourselves from now, where as the leadership you must be seen where the community is in simple fashion. Travel on your bicycles, go on a third class coach, take a train, take a bus, take a taxi, be there with the people but let them know that you are the leadership of AZAPO and this is what you want to do for the future. And they are going to have to make comparisons between you and those out there in their R3000 suits and Mercedes Benz, and the people are obviously going to choose you because they are going to have more trust in you because you're not going to take the money and spend it on yourself there.
But I think more importantly AZAPO has to have a platform, a simple platform upon which it must say if it gets into power it's going to take away land from lazy white farmers and big farmers, whether they are black or white, it's going to call upon everybody to make sacrifices starting from the top, your mine bosses, your owners of multi-national corporations, all of whom operate in this country, for them to indicate what their sacrifice is going to be. What percentage of their profits are they going to plough into reconstruction because they benefited, they make profits out of apartheid and they must pay back to the people. Once I can get those people to make their sacrifices it makes it easier for us as a leadership to turn to the people and say we've got those guys to make sacrifices, this is their contribution to the development of the country. You, now it's your turn to work for the development of the country. And this is the first thing, you've got to rely on yourself. You've got to build this country yourself. Nobody is going to build it. We can create the opportunities for you to build this country but this is in the end your country, people, so people must take responsibility and all we can hope to be, and that must be the basis of our platform, the coordinators, the coordinating committee for the rebuilding of this country.
I don't want AZAPO to have a President who is going to have a fleet of cars that follow him all around, a fleet of security, Secret Service men around him, travelling in private jets and what have you. If Prime Ministers and Presidents in other countries can travel in small VWs, some of them even travel on bicycles to work, why can't we do it in this country? We must also set an example, break down all those big mansions, turn them into something else that is more valuable and let's all just live simply in the homes that we've always lived in. And I think if AZAPO can begin to put a message out like that from now, it has no problem with being the next government. And I think there are a lot of people already who are beginning to say it's only Black Consciousness that can save this country. A lot of people are now beginning to say it. So for the future I think the only saviour is Black Consciousness in the end.
POM Did you ever think that you would see the ANC going from announcing its intention to nationalise certain industries or sections of the economy to talking about privatising certain industries and certain parts of the economy all in the space of four years?
SM That was a political posture that the ANC adopted in order to achieve its popularity. That is the basis upon which the ANC won the election. The fact that it said it would nationalise, the fact that it said it would give jobs to everybody, the fact that it said it would give houses to everybody, that's the basis upon which it won the election. Having won it it's now backtracking on all of that and people are seeing it. So the political posture of nationalising to now being truthful about yourself and saying privatise, has firmly placed the ANC in a particular position in the political arena so that the people are going to look for a new party, a party that can truly represent their interests.
POM Might Ramaphosa be somebody to head a party like that?
SM The possibility exists. If Ramaphosa is pulling out of the ANC, yes, but apparently he's going to go into the Constitutional Committee.
POM Of the two which do you think has the greater ability?
SM Between Mbeki and Ramaphosa? It depends, I think each of them has different strengths and different weaknesses. I think the one singular weakness they both have is the weakness to allow themselves to be dictated to by private enterprise and the rich. That is the major problem. I think Ramaphosa has good organising ability. Mbeki has a good capacity for rapport with other people, interaction, communication. He's much better I think than Ramaphosa is. So they have different strengths. It's difficult to make a choice between the two of them.
POM There's still this great belief that foreign investment is going to be pouring into the country.
SM There is still the belief. You see, I mean for me first of all no country can ever hope to take its place alongside other nations if it thinks its only recourse to survival, economic survival is if foreign money comes pouring in. If anyone should teach a lesson to the people, the leadership of this country, they must go and ask Lech Walesa of Poland, what happened to Poland when major promises of money being poured in. And he says so himself, the only thing that poured into his country was Frigidaire, Coca-Cola and hamburgers, and exactly that is happening in this country. It's Pepsi Cola, it's the first one that I know that's coming in and they are going to take the money and run just like any other company. In terms of investment I'm not so sure. Nobody gives you money for nothing. I've never known anywhere for anyone to be given money for nothing although I understand that the Chinese have a very clever way of dealing with the World Bank where they are getting almost interest free loans every year because they are using a couple of the soft loan routes to earn themselves money through the World Bank and they position people within the World Bank to actually lobby that money for them in fact. Whether we South Africans are as sophisticated as the Chinese to do that I'm not so sure. There's no way you can expect foreign investment to come pouring into this country. I think that's just idiotic and also what it does, it perpetuates this dependency completely.
POM Is there a kind of culture of entitlement out there?
POM People saying that because they didn't pay for things for a number of years they are entitled to them for nothing. As they have been victims they should be compensated, as victims they are entitled, they have a right to something.
SM Yes. Absolutely. And I think it's largely because it was the platform of the ANC. The ANC encouraged a culture of entitlement and that's how it won its support.
POM The only behaviour the people knew was the behaviour of protest. They don't know any other behaviour. The last thing relates to the Truth Commission in a way, but you brought it up in a secondary way when you talked about parties keeping information on each other. Anybody who was in any way active in the country I am sure the government had a file on them. Do you think they have a right to see their files, a right to see who spied on them, who supplied the information?
SM Oh yes, absolutely. I at least must be able to have access to all the information that's been kept, or was being kept and even is being kept on myself, for example. At least I must have that and once I've looked at that and I feel there is a need for me to get more information, to find out who exactly was involved in this, I think I must have that right. I must have that right. I think every individual must have that right. There's no doubt in my mind about that.
POM Just by and large, have things gone more smoothly than you would have anticipated even if not towards the goals you would like to see?
SM I think one must make the admission certainly that it could have been much worse, it could have been much worse. Things have been largely not as bad as one expected it would be. I think one can attribute that to the fact that the greater majority of people in this country actually don't want the violence.
POM OK. Good. Thank you. You've had no problem getting your transcript last time?
SM No I haven't. Thank you.