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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

23 Nov 1994: Gqozo, Oupa

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

POM     So, what's been happening to you in the last year? What does a retired head of state do when his country disappears?

OG     It has been a very traumatic time. As you know my exit was quite, not unexpected, but it was unceremonious.

POM     Can you talk about what happened?

OG     As you know there had been a build up of campaign to actually destroy the Ciskei from a political point of view. the Ciskei was always targeted by the ANC as its most strongest opponent. If the Ciskei would disappear then they would have the whole of the area to themselves but I was obviously not in their favour, I was not a favourite to the ANC unless I joined the ANC and became the ANC and actually talked everybody else in the area to become ANC. That's their view. As a leader of an opposition party to the ANC, the ADM, I was seen as a man who jeopardises their chances of actually, without an election, monopolising or annexing the whole of the Eastern Cape because that is predominately where the ANC leadership comes from. So that was always, everything that happened to me must be seen in that background.

     The main target or the main idea was to get me off before elections and they succeeded to do that. They got me out of the leadership because with that leadership I could control or I could monitor the progress of the elections from a position of strength but once I am forced out of power then they could use immediately I was out of power, no-one else in the whole of Ciskei could actually restrain their activities which was intimidation, violence and coercion.

POM     How did they get you out before the election?

OG     Through the TEC, Transitional Executive Council, they undermined our authority completely in the homelands in that nothing was to be done without being authorised by the TEC. You couldn't appoint anybody, you couldn't dismiss anybody, you couldn't promote anybody, you couldn't start any new financial project. Everything was to be on hold and if anything had to be done you had to approach the TEC. There were various committees and various sub-councils and this and that and that one, some security sub-council, all this had to be done. But all of them, because you will remember we were caught at the top, the negotiations of process at the World Trade Centre, so we were not on those committees so these were dominated by the ANC and their allies. Their allies being all the other homelands, except Bophuthatswana and Ciskei and KwaZulu, so the rest of the people were actually long taken over by the ANC. In actual fact the whole of South Africa was run by the ANC before the election. I am sure you agree with me. Mandela started ruling South Africa a year ago before the actual election put him there. So if you look at now the tremendous embarrassment they had by having the Ciskei not subjecting itself to their control, what also made it a bigger anger in them to try and do everything ... so they started penetrating, infiltrating the civil service, the army, the police. They said, "Why are you still clinging to this man? We are already running the country. So reject him and don't obey his orders. Align yourself with the people otherwise in our government you will be kicked out. Umkhonto weSizwe soldiers will take over your post and he will be kicked out anyway, they will be kicked out. In the civil service if you were serving him loyally we would kick you out."

     So this whole uncertainty state completely played havoc with loyalty in my administration and they all started now during that period, saying a lot of things in the papers, everybody started just getting excited. So eventually the police went on strike, the Prison Service went on strike, a portion of the army supported that strike, taking the vehicles and riding about and shooting in the air and everything and now those civil servants I dismissed in 1992, the 3000, were being used by NEHAWU at the time, which is a type of COSATU, to actually intimidate all the civil servants that were working. They started getting into offices all over and intimidating people out of their offices, telling them there is no work, people must go on strike and this, this, this, and then we got this other organisation of prisons, POPCRU, Prisons and Police Union. They also started getting excited and infiltrating the prisons and the police and the army in Ciskei and that little section also caused havoc because now you find they were saying we are no more satisfied with the government, the Brigadier must go. We must all align to the people, let's get together otherwise we can't be expected to restrain our brothers and sisters on the instructions of Brigadier Gqozo when they want to go on strike or when they want to depose him, you comrades must not take action. And then people started really, really, and it was being surreptitiously fuelled from the TEC, the TEC which had been practically or entirely an ANC dominated body. So everything that happened was in cooperation and there had been communication every time with the top ANC brass in Johannesburg on the TEC. You see what I mean? So eventually on this day when I resigned, or when I handed over, I didn't resign as such I just handed over, I just said, "Look, I withdraw. I'm handing over. You can take over."

POM     To? You handed over to?

OG     To the TEC. The TEC at that time was the most powerful body in the country, running actually South Africa. Our agreement was, you remember I did join the TEC at a very late stage and then I left, Inkatha, President Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President Mangope and all the other organisations of the far right and the Freedom Alliance and they later joined after I did, after I was deposed and Mangope was deposed and everybody was deposed they started getting into the talks and started running for election. But the initial thing was that we would not go for elections until such time that we are certain of the boundaries of the various provinces and the constitutions of the various provinces, which has never been done, and ensuring that South Africa would not be a unitary state and that there would be clauses in the constitution which guaranteed that there would never be any nationalisation policy, there would never be a situation where we would find ourselves being controlled by a central parliament. We wanted more autonomy in the regions, in the provinces. The Premiers are all now screaming for more autonomy and more powers which they rejected at the time. Now Mandela yesterday says they never abandoned nationalisation but all the time they have been saying, "No, no nationalisation, free market economy and this that and the other." It's all so confused but at the time it was more confusing.

     But all the top businessmen, everybody, neglected, completely abandoned us and they went along with the ANC. So the ANC got me out of power because on that day the civil servants who were on strike, the police were on strike, the soldiers were afraid to act because of the threat that was being dangled on top of their heads. "Remember you shot the ANC march on 27 September. If you shoot again now you are all going to be shot. You are all going to be arrested and you will all suffer because then we will take over, we have taken over this land already. Don't worry about him, he's gone already. So who are you, who are you to resist us?" That was now the fear that was being put into these boys and they were told that, "You guys, your time is up", so they are afraid to act. So the whole thing was like that. I had to resign. I had to call President de Klerk and I couldn't find him. It was terrible, the whole thing, people were amassed at the stadium, it was chaotic.

POM     At the stadium?

OG     At the stadium, next to the parliament building. That's where they were going to have this massive meeting. I was to be called to that meeting and I would be shot there. Everybody was drunk, everybody was brandishing firearms, no-one was controlling anybody and even unlicensed arms were openly carried. So no matter what type of security I would have, except a bullet proof truck, I would be crucified. So I refused to go there, I called on the South African government to send in the troops from South Africa to come and help boost the majority of my soldiers who were on my side and my bodyguards and I said I am handing over so please come and help, make sure that this country is not destroyed. Three weeks before then we saw what happened to President Mangope's capital, Mmabatho, it was destroyed completely. So I said I don't want a repeat of that, we have worked so hard to try and maintain this place intact, I don't want it to happen because I am clinging to power. Now I am handing over the power, come and salvage whatever is left here but make sure that the whole place is not gunned down like it was in Bophuthatswana before I resign. I am resigning now. I don't want any more shooting, which was definitely threatened. My soldiers were saying, "We will shoot them till we are all dead", those that were loyal to me. And those who were disloyal to me, that have been used by the ANC to depose me, were saying, "We want him dead." So that was the situation. So I resigned and South Africa delayed to bring troops. The actual information I got was that there was a meeting where top people were involved within my security forces, those that were disloyal to me, and within the South African security forces. The effect of that meeting was that, it is alleged that the effect of that meeting was do nothing, do nothing, don't help, do nothing. Only after he has left or whatever could have happened to him, only then should you move in effectively and restore order.

     So my action of resigning actually called everybody's bluff because now they had the things to themselves but they couldn't understand how I got safe. My bodyguards and a lot of other troops stood by me, barricaded the whole palace, and said if anybody wants to try let them come and then we will make war. Of course I had a lot of other support from other paramilitary people and a lot of whites in this area would definitely support me in any shoot out. With that I called the bluff of the security forces of South Africa. I called everybody and said, "Please come and help", so it was up to them now to explain if anything happened why it was delayed. Eventually the country was safe. I was out of a job. I had to move in here. South Africa treacherously installed one of my arch, arch enemies of all time, Reverend Finca(?) of the SA Council of Churches who together with the ambassador here who had always been completely working against me. He has completely been collaborating with all the people that wanted to destroy Ciskei and I, totally, I even complained to South Africa to "Remove this man. He is so inefficient. He doesn't know what is being an ambassador. Remove him here. He is definitely not advancing the good relations between our two countries. He is doing nothing to actually promote confidence and whatever, co-operation. He is doing things behind my back. He is addressing South African officials and telling them how they must co-operate with the ANC behind my back. He's doing this, he's doing that. This man is completely a saboteur here." Naturally it was their man so they may have given him instructions on a mission to accomplish here. It was a complete bugger-up between me and South Africa and to a lesser extent the ANC. My biggest enemy here was South Africa.

     Eventually what happened, they put this man, this venomous, vindictive Reverend here because he has been going to them, writing lots of, if you write a letter and you get all people to sign it, petitions asking for me to be removed and an interim administration be installed. He has been doing it with certain Bishops in Grahamstown and certain DP members in East London, Nel and others . So that was in a group of very venomous, powerful clergymen against me and now the South African government saw its chance, they put up there to actually administer the country in the interim until the election can be held. This man started immediately, systematically, started saying, making interviews every day, Gqozo is going to be investigated. His property would all be seized. This, this, this, He has misused money. There is corruption that is being investigated, there is killing that he commandeered and that he commanded that must be investigated. And I was so vulnerable, so vulnerable at that very critical time. He said all these things, and everybody said that I am something that must just escape.

     In that background then, my party completely collapsed because they thought I would be arrested. They actually started, all the departments, they made a big investigation. Whatever people they investigated the process went something like: what did Gqozo do here; were you forced by Gqozo to support his party; were you forced by Gqozo to use government vehicles to do his private things; what did he do? That was a pack of lies of approach. Everybody was asked to bring up anything that could put me away. I am afraid they are still doing it now but all the time they couldn't find anything.

POM     Now had you moved here at that time?

OG     They told me to move immediately, the same day I was supposed to move out of there. I was treated like a criminal from the beginning, from the time I said I was resigning they treated me completely like a criminal.

POM     Did you always have this farm?

OG     I always had my farm here.

POM     From the time you were in the army?

OG     The other one in Balfour from the time I was still in the army. This one I bought after I was head of state.

POM     So did you bring security people with you here?

OG     They took all my supporters, everything. They stripped me dry. They took the soldiers who were guarding this place, there had always been bodyguards for me, for my children, for my wife, they took everything, completely. From the first day I had to go to town to buy my own bread in that hostile atmosphere. It has been hell. Of course I had no money. I used all my money, all my money, before the elections I had R600,000 which I had in my bank account. I used all my money for my own election campaign, everything, because I believed that there would be an alternative group of people who would support me and that would meet their aspirations to be part of the new government. But unfortunately the ANC, because it monopolised the IEC officials, voting stations' controllers, everybody, everybody was an ANC member. They always said the IEC people were neutral. It's rubbish. In South Africa there's nobody who has ever been neutral. There's never been anybody who has ever been neutral. If anything the people who are acceptable in any structure, you should just know that that man for some reason or other is an ANC man because the ANC would never accept anybody who would not advance their cause in any given situation.

POM      Were there party lists around the election?

OG     It was there, but you know what was happening? They simply ignored my party. If the ADM in that particular counting place had 300 votes they simply just said ... and no-one would query that, no-one would query that. They intimidated me to such an extent that all my people withdrew from the party, all my people withdrew from the party because of the pressures. Those that were employed in the government, they were all told to resign from their work because they are political so instead of resigning from their work they resigned from the party to keep their jobs but then the worst thing is they took over the whole of the government and under the guise of voter education they started using every facility of the government to make sure that they reached everybody in this region, in this province, Eastern Cape, to get the maximum support for their votes, intimidation, harassing people and harassing my name and saying to the people, "He's gone, gone, finished, you can't vote for this man, he's finished, we're going to arrest him."

POM     So when you came back here at first it was just you? Were your family with you, and that was it?

OG     I protected my family personally, myself.

POM     You must have felt very vulnerable.

OG     Terrible. Traumatic. If I had a good lawyer or if I had good money I would sue the government for the situation they put me in. In terms of international law any former head of state should be protected for at least 12 months, should be given all facilities for at least that period, should be given his money for a certain period of time and should be given a package that would make him stand up on his feet. I for one was working so honestly and so loyally for the people of this region that I never thought to think of my future, financial-wise. So except for the farms that I have, I have got nothing else, nothing. I even told Judy, "Tell Patrick I may not even have money to fetch him from the airport, but I will try. When I get there I hope that he will fill up my tank." That is the situation. My whole life has been a nightmare and I ask myself if it was worth it. So that is why I have been saying to my people, "I'm resigning from politics, I don't have anything to do, no-one is honest." If I had wanted to be where everybody is I could have just played popular politics and I would be Vice President of some party.

POM     So what do you do with your time now?

OG     Nothing, nothing. I just sit here and fret and hope that they pay out my money, Sanlam, pay out my provident fund, pension money. Nine months now and they haven't paid my money yet, they pay nothing. The administrators said I must get nothing, they must try and seize anything that they can get from me. I am being harassed every day. Now they claim this, now they claim that, now they claim that, every day I get that. I am being harassed totally by these people. But I have been keeping quiet because the only thing that can make me able to speak out is if I can have good legal representation but all of these advocates want money.

POM     Sure.

OG     They definitely know who they are dealing with, they are not stupid. They don't approach me in any manner that can give me a reason to definitely make them look like fools. It's subtle, like cutting my electricity and claiming that since 1990 I haven't paid electricity, when they knew that it was regarded as an official residence of the head of state. Everything was paid for by the state, but they just dropped a letter here. You don't even know if it's government officials, the people who came to cut my electricity, I don't even know whether they are saboteurs or government officials because nothing comes to me and I'm gone and when I come back the whole thing is done.

POM     Do you have electricity now?

OG     I've got nothing, I've been struggling. That's why I'm using my generator. The water situation is terrible. I'm struggling like hell. So that is in Africa, or South Africa, that is the way political opponents are treated or that's the way former heads of state are treated. Besides the big PR nonsense about reconciliation, they are now beginning to really get nasty.

POM     Is there any doubt in your own mind that the ANC were rigging votes?

OG     They did, there is no doubt, everybody knows it. It is so surprising that everybody accepted this, the result of the election. Everybody knows that they were rigging votes, anybody they didn't like they didn't count his votes and they knew that no-one would ever go back and check and recheck. If my vote would be rechecked in this region I would come up very far. So many boxes were lost and so many boxes came already packed, only ANC inside those boxes. How can you do that? How can you? And no complaints were ever entertained. Because, I am telling you from the first person at the entrance of the voting station to the last person in charge of that voting station, it was an ANC man. These elections were just a token for President Mandela to officially run the country. As I told you he ran the country for two years, ever since De Klerk signed that ...

POM     Record of Understanding.

OG     Yes. Elections here were the most biggest farce any country has ever seen.

POM     Were there people from the UN here or any monitors?

OG     Look, I think the UN is just a farce, with respect. They came here also only to facilitate that no other group except Mandela would have a chance. They were all, always, on the side of the ANC. So we were at a terrible disadvantage because we were branded as people who did not like democracy to be established. And the people that they have voted for were only people who were interested in getting into their seats and nothing has changed, nothing has changed. Only the leadership changed and the National Party, comrades in crime, are there holding their hand. They are still running it. If you ask any black man they will tell you, nothing has changed. If anything the whites who have been in power here are more arrogant than before. They are now really in power, they are now really in power. The other arseholes sitting at the top there know nothing and they are not interested anyway. They just want their vehicles, all the things that they were complaining about. Now each one they don't even want to, the laws that they are making, they don't want to apply on them. For instance if you arrest some of these guys they go there and demand that you release them. So they just have their cars, their houses, their things, their salaries, everything, their perks, now they are happy, going overseas almost every month.

POM     What has happened to your party? Has it simply gone out of existence or is it still legally registered?

OG     No, I told my party, after about two months after the elections I called a congress, I was so demoralised, so frustrated and so - I am ill, I am tense, I'm finished. I've got no nerves any more, I'm tired, I'm completely exhausted. I don't want to do anything. Just leave me alone, I just want to resign. Choose another man right here at this conference, elect another President or disband the party, whatever you think you want to do. They all said, "Please, please, please, don't over-react. You know we were cheated. You know what happened." I said, "Other people could have demonstrated and gone mad and gone and made sure that the whole bloody country has come to a halt, why didn't you do it?" "Oh, er, er." Then I said, "Right, we are weak, we haven't got power, we haven't got legal power, we haven't got anything." I shouldn't abandon the party now, try to protect their interests because they are now already against us this government. Last week we had a meeting and I told them, "No", and there will be another meeting on 3rd December where they say they will come with a solution how to best address my fears.

     My fears are - I say I am being targeted as a possible opposition of this government, they are so uneasy about my presence here that they will do anything if I start in active politics, discredit me first and destroy me, so I want to start growing up personally. I want to look after the interests of my family and myself and my life. My financial situation is rotten. I don't want any more burdens than I can carry. I can't handle you because I can't handle even my own problems. Most of them are unemployed, they don't get employment, they are being kicked out of jobs. I say, "If you want anybody to fight for you go to the human rights lawyers, they can fight for you. Don't ask me for your own personal gain." Eventually I started in the process. "Oh", they say, "No, please, please, please, there's no-one." Now I don't know. I said I feel so insecure, I feel so completely weak, I am completely moneyless, I have nothing. So being a public figure again, I am completely at a vulnerable stage, I cannot handle it. Please just forget. They still insist, no, please, please, something must be done. So we are having that meeting which I will attend only to hear what they say and give them advice how to carry on.

     My biggest thing is that we are so weak, we are so insignificant because we didn't even get one seat in every place and the party didn't work. But they say, how do you expect that it would have worked when we knew that you couldn't even get out of your house because of the harassment. No-one could dare talk about ADM, let alone to say I am ADM, he would be killed. In the run up to the elections, after the elections, at the elections people were saying, "If we see anybody on the line wearing any ADM we will kill him." Even people were afraid to vote ADM even when they were there alone, they were afraid. They thought I was going to be arrested and killed. Many people are surprised that I am still here. When they meet me in the street they say, "Oh, we heard that you had run away. We were told that you had run away. We were trying to forget you, you had run away." So people are saying, "Please don't think that you haven't got support."

POM     On our way in we passed by the Ciskei Defence Force base. Do you ever get pangs of - is the whole thing painful to you when you see all the things you had and all the power you exercised gone?

OG     I feel very said, I feel very sad. I know that former heads of state, I see myself being treated like a leper. I didn't expect it to be such, in a government which claims to be a government of unity.

POM     Are any of the senior officials in your government, are any of them still working in the civil service?

OG     Yes they are because most of them went immediately I was off, I am told that most them are there. They said, "We were forced to obey him, otherwise we never liked him", so pandering to the new boss and making sure that the new boss ... if you do that I will never trust you. All of a sudden you say, "I never liked him anyway", and he said, trying to please me and creeping up my arse, but that happened to many of the people. And the momentum of the so-called investigation.

POM     Is that investigation finished now?

OG     Yes, somebody asked a question in parliament about investigating what happened. I don't know.

POM     This what they call Truth Commission?

OG     These people who claim to be policemen, security police who are investigating aspects of the Truth Commission, they have been arresting people and taking them into detention and forcing them to say things. There is a group which claims to have been given their instructions by the government to start investigating murders and things which were done in the past, by the past government and they are calling people, the line of investigation is, "Tell us, what did the previous government instruct you to do? There have been killings in such-and-such a place and we hear that you were part of it." People say, "I don't know", and they say, "But you must say that the Brigadier ordered it and then you will get promoted." Then people come back and tell me that he was forced for three hours, short of being tortured, to say that you gave instructions that certain people should be killed. They just tell you, "Shoot them, shoot them." In the end this year, 1991 or 1992, the Brigadier is not involved. So I don't know, I don't know the merits of the Truth Commission. I think here it is going to be misused if that is the line of approach they are adopting.

POM     Have you had any meetings with the members of the new provincial government?

OG     I went there, I made an appointment. I asked for the Premier, to assure him of my loyalty and my preparedness to work hand in hand in developing the area in any sphere that he can find, if he wants to consult me or to ask me or draw me in. I told him that I rather like that anything they say ... I am here, they know where I stay, if there is anything wrong that I have done they must come and ask me. There may be an explanation. If not, they must do what they want to do but they must not treat me as an enemy.

POM     With the Premier you had ...?

OG     I had a chat with the Premier and three of his ministers.

POM     What impression did you have of him?

OG     He assured me that he was personally not vindictive against me. Anything that would be done to me through his government would be via his other ministers and officials or they would feed him something. As the head of state you always get reports which in many ways you never come to substantiate. I told him, "If you hear anything about me, ask me. A lot of people here would like to drag my name in the mud and many people are working against me and I am not a threat to you, you must know that." So I hope that I cleared that. But as I say, nothing has come to me directly from the government, it's always from a department, it's always from an official. But then my feeling is that that official must have acted on instructions, but then I need good legal representation. I realise that I don't have it because I don't have money.

POM     Would you ever go back and become a member of the South African National Defence Force?

OG     No, I don't think I can manage, not with the type of character. I have never actually been in formal structures, guerrilla combat type of thing.

POM     What about the Ciskei?

OG     The discipline is so bad there that - I belong to a mode of disciplined soldiers. My approach would be so unacceptable, so old fashioned that I would never be acceptable.

POM     You have gone through all of this turmoil, what was the moment you felt most vulnerable, when your life was in the greatest danger?

OG     It was when this government was making death sentences, saying I am being investigated for corruption, for killing people, for having run a private army. I expect that people naturally believed that, because the government had actually thrown me out and anybody could come here and attack. So I felt very, very nervous. But otherwise I am a fearless man. So any attack or assassination attempt I don't fear it, but I fear a situation where the government actually becomes instrumental in ... a former President or head of state. That question where I would be challenged ...

POM     How do you think the new government is doing?

OG     Look, as I say, I am an old fashioned man, I feel that any government can only do good if there is good cooperation from all the people. Their approach of promising people heaven on earth is their undoing. In the first place they knew, we complained all the time, when I dismissed those 3000 civil servants, they are inefficient and they are under-qualified. They were promoted beyond their ability by the previous government and I had to prove those recommendations and I had to lay off certain people and if you don't work in my administration ... Then they started making campaigns and started strikes and started telling people that I am the most cruel bastard, the place is so much full of unemployed people. But I said, "Your services are being so much corroded by inefficiency in the civil service, so the sooner I get the civil service to be lean and trim the better services you can get and the better people can be motivated." But they made a big mistake and they actually reinstated all those civil servants, besides that they were already five times bloated than they should be.

POM     They were reinstated, the civil servants?

OG     All of them lock, stock and barrel, even all the policemen and the soldiers. If you dismiss a policeman today because he is either very inefficient, he gets drunk at work, he is completely unprofessional and he is an embarrassment to the force either because of his behaviour in the townships or because of his criminal record or because of his drunkenness or because he is always not at work, AWOL, absent without leave, all those things. He is simply undisciplined. He doesn't take instructions and this, that and the other. But they simply reinstated all of them, everybody. So, that was the first mistake. On the other hand they can't manage this country with an inefficient civil service. What has happened, they have got bloated civil services from eleven administrations. Their whole policy was a fuck up. We told them, let us first draw boundaries of provinces but we must be careful. In doing that we must never duplicate. Now you put Transkei civil servants and Ciskei civil servants and the whole Cape Provincial Administration civil servants into one place, they can't be efficient because there are three times, four times more now. But now it's a mess. In the offices everybody is sitting down playing cards, no-one knows where he is, no-one knows what he should do, nothing has happened. To make things worse they have got in another group of people who were never employed formally but were just there and drawing salaries. They are making chaos, their ministers, all of them are people who no-one knows, they don't know the situation here, they have never been anywhere near an administrative experience so it's chaotic.

     Then you have the duplicated Directors General positions, putting so-called strategic managers and some other stupid things, so you have got the whole thing beyond recognition, and again the people have no control over this, over that and things are just going. And now they have unionised all the civil services, the security forces are unionised, everything is unionised. You cannot have it. I mean it is completely chaotic. Every day there are strikes. Now in my mind the government has made the biggest, biggest, biggest blunder. They cannot fire anybody because the positions of the people have been now so much secured by the constitution that you will pay if you fire anybody. And they are being confronted by demands every day. It can never succeed. People are now sitting down every day and just making demands. Nothing is happening. The money is going out on salaries every day, no services are being done, no leadership is being reflected by anybody at the top. Everybody is afraid of anybody and they are afraid to upset the apple cart because they will get in the same position where we found ourselves through their pressure. Now they have learnt, the people have learnt that you can actually bring any government to its knees. This government is going to fall this year.

POM     The provincial government or the national government?

OG     The whole, the whole tuti. There are a lot of good experienced people there but it's also the National Party. So what I am saying right now, actually what is happening with the National Party, or the previous government, the status quo is still the same. It does not work.

POM     If the government falls what do you think happens then?

OG     Well I think, in the first place there is already anarchy in the country. No-one is afraid of anyone, anybody can do anything and no-one will stop him. So there will be worse than that once the government falls and there will be survival of the fittest which means that anyone who can defend himself will survive. Anyone who can not will not survive.

POM     Do you think the military would step in?

OG     It's hard to say because even in the military most of the uMkhonto weSizwe people, people are so unfazed. So what do they do? They throw their cause out of the window and they say they threaten that they will fight. Now it will be a matter of untrained little groups of returned MK people trying to fight the government and now the people who are in the army were trained, not fighting because they like what they are doing but fighting because they are now enjoying some salary and some Generals. You know General Nyanda who knows nothing about being a General, let alone being a Captain. Now this is the crux of the whole thing. Now who will fight whom eventually nobody knows but the thing I fear is that the collapse of the government is that everybody will go on strike, no-one will be able to stop that. If they stop it they will have to shoot people and once they shoot people they go back to square one. The apartheid people used to shoot people or sjambok people, now we are doing the same. You used to shoot people at Bisho, now you are doing the same, the soldiers to go and fight. Now you did that in Quatro camp, you shot a lot of people there, you executed a lot of people, now you are doing it again here. The credibility of the people in charge of the army in the ANC is completely dead.

     What I am saying is that if I say the government will fall, the government will have no money left, the government will have no production to go on, the government cannot attract foreign investment, so it will only be for somebody who knows he's going to join the gravy train together with the leadership of the ANC. Because if you ask me, if you are a chairman of a big, big company and tell me that you must invest in South Africa when everybody is going on strike, demanding more pay for no work, then it's either you are being paid by somebody to come here or you are stupid. Now apparently if the whole board of directors says that then you will start asking yourself a lot of questions about corruption. There will still be so many people here that corruption will be uncovered at a later date.

POM     So when you look to your own future, what do you see yourself doing? What role do you see yourself playing? You're not going to sit around here for the rest of your life.

OG     In the first place I would never touch politics unless I am financially on my feet. I can look after myself through the constitution, I can afford legal representation, I can restore my name, fighting for my rights if I can get any person who has informed on me to actually guarantee that I will not be harassed by this arrogant government which has so much support now it doesn't care about anybody on the ground, least of all me. People need to take this government on. They are not reporting a quarter, a tenth of what is happening in this country.

     This chaos that I'm telling you about in the administration, the chaotic situation in all the administrations. I know people in KwaZulu, in Lebowa, in the Northern Transvaal province, I know people in the former Venda province, no-one is doing a bit of work and things that they are doing, people that they are employing, people that they are putting in there, it is just chaos. How they smash people, what they do, how they just demand cheques. It's chaotic but no-one is talking about those things, because everybody is happy. Where there is no control over funds and everybody is just getting a cheque no-one will complain about it. Get anybody to stop that nonsense you will be enemy number one because now you are interfering in the freedom of the people.

POM     So do you think you will make a presentation to the Constitutional Assembly?

OG     No, what I mean is that one needs to, today in politics you don't need to say I'm opening a party because I think - it's Africa, they talk of multi-party democracy but immediately you open another party like if I start getting my party going again I will be not necessarily as a man that feels that he's got a constituency whose views must be brought to the fore. You know how they regarded me, regarded me as an enemy. And then I think the best way to approach this thing is to stand up for people's rights and for your rights, test this thing in court. Then you go on to the next step but if you want full ... you say that this is my country, this is my government, these are the resources of my country, I hate to see them being plundered. But inefficient officials, inefficient ministers, inefficient leadership and by inefficient and corrupt people, then you go for it and prove that they are fakes and you bring the international press to come and see what you are saying and then only in that way can you make an impact.

POM     Are any of the other heads of state of what were the independent states getting paid their pension or a salary?

OG     I don't know but I guess because lots of them, as you know, they all sort of joined the ANC, either as an MP or what. Look at all of them. But some of them like, I must say it's only me, Mangope, President Mangope has just started, it was me, Gatsha, Mangope. Buthelezi is in the Cabinet. They are the only people I had contact with who I know. I don't know what has happened to the other guys, but I know that they have joined the ANC.

POM     In the end were you surprised when Buthelezi decided to go into the elections?

OG     No I was not surprised. As a matter of fact I was waiting for it, I was hoping, because if he didn't go in he would have been destroyed. These guys were going to walk all over him. I am sure they must have told him that. No, I don't think he's happy. I am happy that he got in otherwise they have got him where they wanted to.

POM     So how will you go about getting yourself financially back on your feet?

OG     I don't know. Perhaps one day people will start realising that what I did for my people needs to be resolved, somebody may just appreciate it and give me some support, pay for my legal battles. Naturally when you have legal battles you have a chance of picking up ... Slowly but surely get his point across and people will realise that that man is fighting not for himself but for what is happening really and then perhaps eventually, the secret code word there is that you must have money to be able to do something otherwise you just get rolled over.

POM     Are your children going to the same schools as before?

OG     No, yes. You remember they were at a school in Grahamstown, but they stayed away there. There were political pressures and the committee there, the Principal said I must take my children away from that school otherwise the school will be burnt and the children there will be vulnerable because they will be killed and the people believed and I took them to another school in Kingwilliamstown. It's a Christian school with Christian principles. They are believing that I am being victimised and in terms of the scriptures they cannot allow that, so they take my children.

POM     Is this a mixed school with white children?

OG     Yes, a mixed school. It's a very good school.

POM     Do you have to take them there every morning?

OG     I am taking them, I took them from the time, I was under such vulnerability I would take them there, people were gaping at me, others mocking me. But I took my children in, pop in a shop, buy whatever and when I came out there would be lots of people outside mocking me. I would get into my car and go back to my house.

POM     Well you're still in good spirits.

OG     Well what can I do? All these problems can only ... if I don't lie down and die. As I say, finances are my biggest problem.

POM     Is this a working farm?

OG     This farm could be very useful. This farm, I talked to the previous owner, he told me he used to have about ten or fifteen cattle here, dairy cattle. After all his overhead expenses he got R15,000 a month, that was seven years ago. R15,000 a month, only milk, and then you could still have chickens here, could still have poultry farming. The place is good, it's got water, it's got everything. You could still have also vegetable farming because you've got the water to irrigate, good gardens here. And if you sell every year because these cattle calve, if you've got good bulls and every year you put in the new breed that was growing up and then after that two, three years you start selling every year a few, then he says he used to get R80,000 a year on sales of his stock, R80,000 on one annual sale of his stock. Then these little things he used to get R15,000 a month. So that could work but I need capital input because things have been vandalised terribly. When I got this farm I had to repair everything, machines were carried away, generators were taken away, the milking sheds were all destroyed, they took the roof, everything, away. This is a feature of all the farms in the homeland. The white farmers were bought off by the government, they didn't transfer the land to the homeland immediately, it took five years with the land under contract and in the meantime uncontrolled people got in.

POM     Do you get depressed?

OG     Very much, yes, very much, very much. Right now they have cut off my electricity too. A week ago I was so depressed I got sick, I got cramps, I got headaches, but I always come back. I have only myself to look after.

POM     OK. Thank you. I'll be back again. I hope you find the farming route the route to go.

OG     It's the route to go definitely. And naturally I must, I know government, so I think if these people destroy this country I will never be able to forgive myself. One day I will pick up.

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.