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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
01 Jun 1995: Chalmers, Judy
POM So what's the weather like?
JC Well it's evening and it's chilly, it's a Cape Town evening, six o'clock, and I've come out of the Chamber in order to take your call. We've just had the Deputy President, FW de Klerk, giving his speech which had to do with the general state of the country so there's quite a lot of flak flying across from one side to the other of the House. Yes, it was quite interesting.
POM Just talking about the general state of the country, for the last three months that I was there I was flabbergasted by the non-stop series of strikes, work stoppages, taxi blockades, the taking of hostages which seems to have become a new national pastime, and a general tendency, obviously the breakdown of the social fabric itself.
JC I wouldn't put it as strongly as that I don't think, but I agree that I think the people seem to be on the march. Yesterday we had 10,000 Christians, so-called, at the gates of parliament because they were concerned about the fact that this would no longer be a religious state according to the constitution, that it would be a secular state, and they were very concerned about that, but they were quite good humoured about it, singing hymns, but just voicing their concern. Cyril Ramaphosa went out carrying a Bible and saying, no, that the government considered the religious needs of the country very seriously but certainly not refuting the idea that it might become a constitutionalised secular state.
But I agree, I think there is an enormous amount of turbulence going on at the moment and I imagine it has to do to some extent with unmet expectations, it has to do with people not wanting to be left out if expectations are to be met at anywhere along the line and, for me, maybe I'm not exposed to it in the way that perhaps people in the factories are, but I'm not particularly cast down or disturbed by it. It seems to ebb and flow and the taxi wars I think are horrible and I think those are disturbing, but it has to do with too many people in an industry and too much competition for territory, for clients, and somehow it's going to have to be regularised so that there is more discipline within the taxi industry.
POM Reports at this end that come out of London or Washington tend to stress more now that foreign investment is being inhibited by the level of crime, that there is a general perception that South Africa is not a safe place to be.
JC I think that probably is so. Doesn't it have the third highest crime rate in the world or something? The highest now. I suppose it's regional and I am sure that it is cause for enormous concern. It once again has to do with social conditions, lack of jobs and it has almost become, I think politically the people in Natal for instance, in KwaZulu/Natal, people's response to every problem, even fairly minor problems, seems to be a violent response. I think that what is happening though, which I think is quite encouraging, for instance here in Cape Town, in Mitchells Plain, I think it's happening in our Coloured townships in Port Elizabeth as well, is that people are getting, actually the communities are getting fed up with the level of crime and there is a certain, there is quite a move for people to police their streets and their areas and their communities in a way that may be the only way that it's going to be contained.
But of course the guns are so terrifying and there are definitely guns coming into the country. A friend of mine who does a lot of insurance business in Mozambique was telling me that he was there a couple of weeks ago and he has a colleague who moves quite a lot of equipment and goods across the Northern Natal/Mozambique border and he was just saying that there used to be inspection posts there looking for such things as hides and skins, environmentally threatening things for South Africa, but now there are so many arms coming across into South Africa that those inspectors have just said "We're not prepared to do this job any more", and arms are pouring into KwaZulu/Natal. I think that's enormously worrying because from the way that Buthelezi is speaking there is definitely a feeling that he is going to try to create a separate kingdom for himself, which is awful. But the level of crime is hideous, it really is. You touch wood, I'm just touching wood now because I hope it doesn't affect me or my family. And it is scary, it really is.
POM To go back to Buthelezi for a moment, he seems to keep up this level of pressure in telling his people to rise and resist the government although he says they should do it by peaceful means, but it looks that he is increasingly, as you said, going down one road towards trying to establish an autonomous KwaZulu/Natal within South Africa. Do you think he is playing brinkmanship again or that in fact he will go down that road?
JC It's hard to tell. I am sure he is doing that, but it's quite difficult to tell how far he will carry it. Of course, the IFP have now moved out of the constitution making process, they no long attend those meetings, and they still call strongly for international mediation. But it has to do with federalism and in particular I think with Buthelezi's own agenda. I have friends in KwaZulu/Natal who are farmers and they say, "Oh of course you can blame it all on the ANC, it will be fine if there was no ANC", almost as though it's something coming in from outside, but these are all Zulus. The political divisions are amongst the Zulu people of KwaZulu/Natal. It's not something coming in from outside. The ANC has been in KwaZulu, in Natal, for as long as the ANC has been in existence and it is a challenge for the IFP and they are very uncomfortable with any other party at grassroots or any other level. Buthelezi hates to be challenged on his own turf and I think he's realised that he's never going to get a power base at national level so now, I would say, he would like to become Premier of Natal and have that as his and then try to perhaps have a separate state for KwaZulu/Natal. And of course the local government elections are coming up in November and I think it's going to be absolutely hideous.
POM You think those elections will spark as much violence in Natal as the level of violence before the national elections last year?
JC Oh I think so. I'm sure if anything worse.
POM One would think it would be worse because people will actually be fighting over small bits of turf that are clearly demarcated.
JC That's right. And it will be proportional representation of course as well as people being chosen on the ward system. It will all be done on a party political basis. I think it's going to be very ugly indeed and there doesn't seem to be any way past it or out of it now. I don't know what the IFP - you know Mandela is saying, "This is my country, I can go anywhere I please in it and I am the President of the government of national unity and KwaZulu/Natal is where I am President over as much as the Western Cape or anywhere else." In fact it's almost a bit worrying that he seems to be taking the ANC's battle into Natal in a way that may be, I won't say is inappropriate, but is fairly life threatening for him.
POM Were you surprised when he said, "I'll simply cut off the flow of funds to Natal"?
JC That made me uncomfortable.
POM And he said, "Well I'm simply amend the constitution."
JC I haven't spoken to any of his legal people on where that stands in terms of the constitution but it certainly made me, personally, very uncomfortable. I think he's just desperate about it. I think he's just terribly, he just hates people losing lives and the waste and the mayhem that is going on there, but that made me very uncomfortable and it said in The Weekly Mail that his legal adviser didn't know he was going to say that. He's a man of strong convictions and has been known to be autocratic.
POM That's not exactly the statement of a democrat, I think I'll just take the constitution and shape it to what I want it to be.
JC No it wasn't, it was great cause for concern I think amongst a lot of people. He said it twice actually and he's been such a statesman all the way through, I think people can be forgiven for making mistakes in the face of great challenge and frustration. But I don't think it was a good thing to say, because of course it just plays into their hands.
POM Judy, if you go back more than a year now to the elections in 1994, you had a situation in the run-up to the elections, escalating violence in KwaZulu/Natal, Kissinger and Lord Carrington came to mediate and packed their bags and said there was nothing to mediate about, and it seemed almost inevitable that the elections would be accompanied by a good deal of violence, particularly in Natal. Then miraculously you had Buthelezi come into the process, overnight the violence ceases, the elections are held, every international observer calls them free and fair, then the counting begins and it shows that millions of votes are simply missing, can't be accounted for, and then the result is given and the result is almost too good to be true. Everyone comes out a winner. The National Party gets the Western Cape, Buthelezi gets KwaZulu/Natal and the ANC get a very big majority in parliament if not quite the two thirds it would want to virtually run a one-party state. Did it ever strike you that there was a little too much coincidence in all these things happening together, that in a way through informal channels a result was arrived at that was acceptable to all parties and that the need for legitimacy and stability was more important than whether the elections were free and fair?
JC I think that definitely happened in Natal. For the rest I think it was pretty much free and fair. I don't think there was too much horse trading at the other levels. In the Western Cape for instance one of my Black Sash colleagues was the person in charge of the election and I was in touch with her most of the way through and how it ended was how it was, the result was the result of the voting, there was nothing contrived about it. But I think in KwaZulu/Natal I think if every vote that had been cast was counted and did not disappear and there was not a lot of funny business going on I think the result might have been not what it was. For the rest of the country I think it was appropriate. I think it was just about exactly what voting was cast. I don't think there was anything funny about that.
POM I'm just a sceptic I suppose.
JC I think you are. No, I think KwaZulu/Natal was an arrangement but for the rest I think there was just that surge for Mandela and in the Western Cape it was the Coloured vote that went to the Nats and would go again, very much so.
POM Looking back on this last year and a half, what changes in your own life have come about because of your involvement in parliamentary politics?
JC Oh well my life is totally fragmented now. I spend five days a weeks here, two days or three days back in my constituency or at home for the most part, I might spend the odd weekend down here. My life as it was before is no longer. My husband is in Port Elizabeth, he finds it quite difficult. I think for most of us it's been a tremendous upheaval and it's been a great challenge to actually be able to function effectively with such - for me, I mean I am fortunate in that I don't have children who are still dependent on me, but for the women who have got young children it's been hugely difficult even though there has been quite a lot of accommodation for women's needs. We no longer sit late at night, we've usually finished by half past six, quarter to seven. There is some accommodating children in crèches and nursery schools with the little ones and there is quite a lot of respect for the needs of women. But it has been very difficult. I've enjoyed it enormously but I've got another four years to go and my own social life, my friends and support system back home are there still and still for me but my way of life has turned around and is completely different. It's quite difficult.
POM When you look at that whole period what is the most remarkable thing about it that strikes you?
JC The period of the past year?
JC I think the fact that from a parliamentary point of view we've been shaken down, we are now working and for the most part working quite effectively in a parliamentary system which none of us had any information or knowledge or experience in, well almost none of us. Some of the National Party and a very few of the ANC, the DP did of course, but we are now functioning and working and to me I think the most remarkable thing about this parliament, and in the provincial parliaments as well, is the way that people have picked up the challenge. In some places like the Transkei it's still shambles but the gauntlet was thrown down by the result of that election and people have picked it up and are moving with it and at every level from water to the police to the prisons. I think in another year or maybe longer, two years, there will be a definite, our society, you will be able to see change for the better. I really do think that is so. I don't think we're going to drift downwards, I think we're going to slowly go up. But it is a slow process and of course we need outside investment.
POM From what one reads over here the flow of investment has been much slower than anticipated and situations like KwaZulu/Natal will only make more investors stay on hold to see what happens.
JC But at the same time I think people are coming in. Some of the major international companies are coming into the country now. The Japanese are coming in, Pepsi-Cola is coming in, Lennons is back, some of the major companies are coming in, the big drug companies are coming in and maybe your papers are a bit like my Eastern Province Herald that really rejoices in giving the bad news and doesn't focus on the positive things that are happening. But there are good things.
POM Just apropos that, I regularly do features for the Boston Globe on South Africa, maybe about four a year or whatever, and I rang their Editorial Bureau about a week before the first anniversary of the elections and said would they be interested in a story on South Africa one year later, and they said, "No, not really, there are other things happening in the world". The New York Times ...
JC They go for disaster. This is a slow, painful healing that is happening in this country and that's not hot news. I don't think there's anything really internationally newsworthy that is happening here and I think that's good news quite honestly, except the awfulness of KwaZulu/Natal. And there is a really shocking crime rate, but on the whole people are getting down to work. My constituency is a rural one and in those little places there is just such a need for jobs and a need for work. But I'm not quite sure that that's ever really going to happen because with the exception of the largest town there, Graaff-Reinet, I don't know that it's ever going to happen. I think some of those little towns are going to die as they did in the mid-West in the States in the thirties, in the dust bowl. I think the drought and the drop in wool price has killed those little towns like Klipplaat and Aberdeen, I just don't know that they will ever become anything much again. They used to be railway towns you see and the railways have stopped, which I think is a tragedy, have stopped really running in the hinterland of the Eastern Cape where there is very little rail traffic any more, and so those little dorps are not going to survive and I think one has to acknowledge the fact and those people will have to progress to other places. But for the most part I really think there's a healing going on. My Select Committees are Health and Welfare and the Environment so I am very, very closely tuned in to what is happening as far as poverty is concerned and what laws are being put in place to bring a health service and more appropriate welfare systems into place in this country. But, of course, without jobs nothing is going to happen.
POM Two or maybe three years ago now I interviewed Derek Keys when he was Minister for Finance and he said very bluntly that the best this country can do between now and at least the year 2000 would be to reduce unemployment by perhaps 1% a year. And when he had left the Dept. of Finance the following year I went back to him and I asked him the same question and he said the same answer, 1% at best. No-one has been able to offer me any solid evidence to the contrary. There have been three studies done recently, one by the IMF, one by something called The Futures Manufacturing Survey and a third one under some professor from Harvard, and all came to the conclusion that in terms of competitiveness South Africa is simply not competitive in a global sense no matter what sector you look at. My question would be, is that for the last ten years at least you have had a situation where the rate of growth of productivity has lagged behind the rate of growth of labour so that the level of productivity has been going down or is not keeping pace with the rise in the level of wages. How do you tackle that problem? Already you have the unions saying we want this, we want that, beginning to make demands that might be good for the union members but certainly wouldn't be good for the country at large.
JC No, and given our incredibly sophisticated and powerful union situation I just don't know the answer to that, I really don't. Maybe the non-unionised sector, the small entrepreneurs, the small businesses, that section of the population is definitely starting to function in a way that it could not before because of all the different restrictions and regulations on them. I think there is more of a kind of a survival ethic happening in the country but in terms of the formal labour sector I don't know, it sometimes makes me feel quite ill, physically ill when I hear of another major strike that is planned or COSATU is coming out for a day here. And if it's making me feel like that imagine what it does to the average businessman and imagine what it does to the businessman who is looking at coming into the country.
I don't know whether the informal sector may be a factor. People will survive somehow or other and I think there is a sort of burgeoning on that side but whether it's enough to - and maybe Derek Keys didn't take into, well he couldn't take into consideration, he was looking at the formal labour sector of the population, and maybe it's just going to be a nation that survives by the skin of our teeth for the next ten years and at the same time puts into place better state management, better health management, better ways of working, more efficiency in the industries that are functioning.
We've got a situation at the moment that's quite interesting, I went to a meeting last night where ISCOR, which is the major steel industry, is considering moving to Saldanha Bay which is this most beautiful (I don't know if you have ever been there Padraig, up Langebaan) very, very lovely, now the tension there is jobs versus the environment with a number of peripheral factors around as well and what goes by the board? Do we allow something to happen that is going to be crippling to any kind of eco-tourism? Those are the sort of choices that we are faced with at the moment and I can't answer because I'm useless as an economist, how we are going to manage with a 1% growth rate in employment over the next ten years?
POM Then you are going to have this huge population increase. I think the best estimates are that the African population will go up to about 60 million people by the year 2010.
JC AIDS of course is coming up as well, but I don't think that is a factor at this stage.
POM Is much consideration given to a population policy?
JC Well actually yes, but not population policy in terms of family planning per se, but we have just got a new green paper out on population development looking at it as is happening internationally now in the context of economic growth and development and manageability and people's movement, where are people going, what are they doing, and far more effective information and demographic planning which has never happened in this country. Population development was a dirty word because it was perceived by the blacks to be a method of restricting black growth to protect the whites. So it can't be done in terms of family planning as such but it is being given quite considerable - family planning is not where it is, it has to do with all sorts of different factors that came out of the Cairo Conference, but it certainly is. The big Cairo Conference that took place towards the end of last year.
POM So you don't see family planning as an option, or something that doesn't work very successfully?
JC It has certainly not done so up to now, but inevitably as people's quality of life improves so the birth rate drops so it's a see-saw of trying to improve people's quality of life. People have five, six or seven, eight children partly because of no choice but partly as an insurance for the future because of the high mortality rate of infants. The black families I know are sort of three, four children, but in the rural areas I'm sure they still do have seven, eight, nine, ten, but probably not all surviving to adulthood and family planning is definitely an option. It's part of trying to promote quality of life for fewer children but it will never be regularised in any way and it's not a big campaign as it used to be. I remember this actually lovely ad of a hyena with eight or something little children and then a lion sitting there with two children and the lion says with a wink, "I only have two children but my children are lions", so it was quite sweet. So family planning is something that is ongoing but it's not promoted in the same way that it was done before which was insensitive and didn't work anyway.
POM You've mentioned a couple of times reconciliation, which would bring up the subject of the Truth Commission. That has now been passed into law, right?
JC Yes it has, not through the Senate yet, it hasn't passed through the Senate yet and they are having a few hiccups there because there are people who would like to have the date extended, so the Senate is having quite a battle on that one and they were debating it yesterday and the day before. I don't know whether they were still continuing with it today, but it has gone through our House much to the relief of the chairs of the Justice Select Committee and it seems to be accepted.
POM How far does it go in terms of how deeply the past may be probed, in terms of who is held responsible for what?
JC I'm not on the Justice Committee so I haven't studied it in depth but now will come the Human Rights Commission, it still has not yet been put in place and that is the committee that will look at the past and then what happens next will depend on their findings but the laws, once it goes through the Senate, will be in place to take action regarding the injustices of the past.
POM In your own view how deeply should a commission like this probe?
JC I think for me, and for the people like the widows in the Goniwe trial who I have been close to all these years, they are not looking for retribution and revenge, they are looking for the truth and they want to know and they want the people who assassinated their husbands, they want to know who they are and they want them standing there and they want to see them and they want to know who they are. They also want the state, they want compensation for their losses and for the deprivation that they have suffered through these years because it's been a long, hard struggle for them to educate their children. Primarily that has been their chief concern. So the civil claims will come out, well that will come out as a result of the Goniwe Inquest but no doubt there will be civil claims coming as a result of the findings of the commission and it's a bit tough that this government has to now pay up but there must be justice done in terms of material compensation for the past. And it will be very interesting because I believe that a lot of people have already come forward and a lot of evidence has been taken around crimes committed over the past 20 years.
POM Do you think that if there was clear cut evidence that a minister, part of the present government, was involved in ordering hit squads or whatever who killed individual people, that at the very least he or she should have to step down as minister or as a member of parliament?
JC For my money, that to me is what should happen. I truly believe that people who have been involved in criminal acts against society should not be allowed to hold public office. Funnily enough Constand Viljoen (have you ever interviewed him?) he offered a while back if there were crimes brought against the Defence Force, he said, "I am prepared to take responsibility, I want to be the person who is responsible, I want to stand accused. Accuse me if there were crimes committed during my period of being head of the army." But he's such a sort of thoroughly charismatic guy that he gets away with a lot, and I think he's a sincere person, that's my impression.
POM This is a question I ask most blacks in public life, and that is whether anybody from the National Party or any other almost exclusively white party has apologised to them for the evils of apartheid, and almost unanimously they will say "No". Do you think there is yet any real understanding on the part of whites of what was done in their name?
JC Well I don't know. In our case, did I tell you about Lourens du Plessis who was the man who wrote the order out for the killing of Matthew Goniwe? He, in addition, was in charge of Intelligence in the Eastern Province Command during the mid-eighties and was the man who caused my husband's business to go down because he organised a boycott with the white builders to boycott my husband's business because he had in his employ some of the black activists. During the Goniwe Inquest he came and had lunch with me a couple of times, he has quite a bad drinking problem so he came and had lunch with me because he was in the witness box and the lawyers were concerned, and as he walked into my house he went up to my husband and said, "Hell man, I'm sorry I destroyed your business." But that's just about the only apology that I know of as such. There are Afrikaners I have met who said they feel guilty about the past and they feel guilty that they never did anything, but except for Lourens I've never found anyone who said "I did this to you and I'm sorry for it and it was a wicked, bad thing to do". I don't think I know of anybody because in fact in Port Elizabeth people like Mike Xego and Mkhasille Jack who were dreadfully tortured and who now see fairly regularly some of the security police who were involved in that and I've said to Mike, "Did they ever say anything to you? Did they say they were sorry?" And he said, "No, no, they didn't. They just said they were doing their job and I was doing mine", and he said, "I accept it, I accept that, they were doing what they had to do."
POM Do you think that, again, the National Party understands the difference between a murder committed in the name of the state, i.e. the state says murder this person, the state commits a crime as distinct from an act of political terrorism where somebody is targeted and shot and killed?
JC I don't know, you see, because their rationale is we were under threat. The communist threat was such, the enemy was on the border massing and we had to defend our state and it was done in order to preserve our Christian state, it was the devil itself out there. Whether they believe that now or not, and I don't really know any of them well enough to sit down and say, "Do you?" They all say apartheid was a mistake and some of them will even say it was wrong but they will never - as far as they were concerned it was terrorists coming in and I think the sort of people who were doing the torturing and the assassinations are not people who are ever going to say they are sorry. Those were the killers, those are the killers of society and I don't think they are of the ilk that would say they were sorry.
What I would like to know is with F W de Klerk, I mean if you read his quotes of ten, twelve, fourteen years ago, he was so much a part of the evil, he was spouting the policies of apartheid and doing it in a very thorough and efficient way and they were such wicked policies, and I would like to say to him, "But how did you go on with it for so long? How come you went along with it for so long when you must have known and seen what agony it was causing, what damage it was doing to the country, and how did you ever think we were going to come out of it?"
Even now, this afternoon in the House as part of the Deputy President's debate there was talk of something terrible that was happening now even in Transkei and the Nats all said, "Well, blame Holomisa", and it enraged me because who put the homelands there in the first place, who implemented those policies? And these are these same guys now who are supposed to be here as part of the government of national unity.
We were just thinking this afternoon of the group that is in the House, in the Chamber now, of that National Party. There are about three young men, Leon Wessels, Roelf Meyer and maybe Nic Koornhof who are really quality people who I would entrust to some extent with policies to get this country out of where it is now, but for the rest they are the old style Nats who were there before and I don't think they have had too much of a mind shift at all, which is quite depressing really.
POM Could you run back on a couple of things now? I won't keep you more than another 15 minutes. One is, it puzzles me why the ANC doesn't say to Buthelezi, "OK, we signed an agreement stipulating that there would be international mediation", call in a mediator, the mediator sits down, he listens to every side, he says, "There's nothing here to mediate", gets up, packs his bag and goes home. At least then the ANC has fulfilled its moral obligation. Why ...?
JC Yes, I've also considered that that could be a way to go. The ANC is saying to the IFP, "Just give us the terms of reference for international mediation, tell us what you want". And the IFP are saying, "But you know what we want". And they say, "Well come on then give it to us", and they say, "But you know". It's almost like children and it had originally to do with the King. Now the King issue has been resolved. The international mediation had largely to do with the position of the King and that is no longer an issue. So what the ANC says to them, "What do you want it for, why do you want it? Tell us what you want", and so does the National Party, they are saying the same thing and the IFP of course want it around federalism and then you are into a whole another ball game and a can of worms and it could go on for month after month after month, and I doubt whether they would get any international mediator of any stature to touch it, which might be the way to go, but it would be risky because you might get some second rate chappie coming along and then it would just be a tangle, an absolute tangle and I think the ANC don't want to get into that.
POM Regarding the constitution, as far as I could gather from the National Party and the IFP before the election was that part of their strategy, or the centrepiece of their strategy regarding the interim constitution, to get as much of it in place as possible bound by these constitutional principles so that when a Constitutional Assembly would in fact begin to debate the final constitution most of it would already have been written and there would just be a fine tuning here and a fine tuning there. On the other hand you have the ANC, you have Cyril Ramaphosa saying we are going to build a constitution from scratch. Without reinventing the wheel which way do you think the Constitutional Assembly is going?
JC It's quite difficult for me to judge that because the Theme Committee that I am in, which is the one on fundamental rights, is for the most part - there are no really major changes going to take place in the fundamental rights that we are looking at, we are working through them one by one. I think that in the ones dealing with levels of government that the issues are much more controversial and that there is a lot of debate going on around those. But for the most part I don't think it's a starting from scratch and I don't think it's rebuilding something very different to what we have right now.
It's quite interesting, Padraig, I must have at least 2000 submissions, I'm just looking at them now, that have come in on fundamental rights particularly around things like abortion and pornography and the sort of moral rights really and people's perceptions of them. But I don't think it's a whole rebuilding. There may be aspects of it. You know we're so stretched and so focused on our particular committees that one of the major problems at the moment is to know what's happening in any of the other ones and we get a sort of overview of what is going on on a Friday and the last two Fridays I have had to be in my constituency so I haven't been able to attend those. You know you pick up the vibe of where there are very big problems and there don't seem to be anything completely - but of course the IFP hasn't been here which makes it much easier in a way but less satisfactory in the long term. I thought you were going to say, why don't they say to KwaZulu/Natal, "Alright, goodbye", and see what happens then.
POM It might come to that yet!
JC It might indeed but I think not with Mandela as President.
POM Just another few things. One is, if you look at the performance of the government in the last year and you had to rate it in terms of performance where at one of the end of the scale one would represent a very poor performance and ten would represent excellent performance, where would you place it about?
JC Difficult to do that as a whole because it's so patchy. Some of the ministries have really got their act together and are functioning very well, others are floundering and hesitant and it has to do with leadership in almost every case. It has to do with the person, the minister who is leading that particular ministry and department. But in terms of one to ten I would rate it at about, I know you think I'm being optimistic, but I would rate it at about a six I think. But I would say if you were to ask somebody living in Soweto-on-Sea they would say oh they'll give it a two, so it depends at what scale of the spectrum you are financially apart from anything else. But with an overview I think for the most part structures have been put in place. I think there has been a lot of building done and I think, of course, the economy is a huge terrible worry and concern and I am not an economist so I tend to look at - I'm a human rights activist by inclination and on that field, of course, we've done so well, but not in terms of social rights, but that is on the way, that building is happening.
POM Do you expect second generation rights to be written into the next constitution?
JC I think yes, I think that's what we're working on right now and I think they will be. I think the sort of social equality, I think there will be education, all those second generation rights I think are going to come in of course in a fairly general manner but there will be a commitment from government to those and there will be a binding of government to work towards those but delivery is going to be less clear within a constitutional framework.
POM Do you see any fragmentation at all within the ANC over the issue of federalism? I'll just put it very broadly, I know some of the ANC Premiers that I've talked to were kind of chomping at whatever you chomp at, wanted more power and the ability to have more autonomy to act than they were being given or was being devolved to them from the centre.
JC I think it's going to be a very schizophrenic sort of situation because I think that, as happens in Australia and in so many countries, there is going to be a tension between national government and the provincial parliaments. Even now here in the Western Cape which is, I mean Hernus Kriel is, there's a great conflict going on in the National Party at the moment because of Roelf Meyer saying to Hernus Kriel and Piet Marais, who is the other guy in the province here, around the demarcation of wards and they have had major rows which have been publicised around what the national is saying in terms of divisions and what's happening within the province. I mean there is so much gerrymandering going on and the ANC are saying, "Well if you do it there we'll do it everywhere else", and Roelf Meyer is trying desperately to hold it together to stop the fragmentation. But I think there's going to be a lot of tension in the future on the federal unitary thing, but it's not unhealthy. I think the provincial Premiers are going to fight for more but even in the present existing interim constitution it's quite clear cut what the powers are. But they will fight for more and some they may achieve and money is what it's about. They want to have more powers, more autonomy over the budget really.
POM Last question, bring you to the RDP. Again, over the last four months as I've gone around the country I've asked everyone from Premiers to people in the street, "What is the RDP?" Most have very fragmentary knowledge of what it is. Most don't know what it's supposed to do except somehow it's going to solve everyone's problems and even among the most knowledgeable people no-one can say how the whole thing would be financed.
JC Yes, I don't think it's functioning very well at all. I think there has been a weakness in the national office and I think it's a cause for considerable concern. I think initially when the RDP national office was put in place consultants were brought in at all levels and I think that probably wasn't the best way of proceeding. There should have been a building within that national RDP office, not people who were coming in and giving advice and moving out again. And I find the same thing, we've had terrible frustration in the Eastern Cape regarding RDP projects. People have become knowledgeable of how to apply, put a business project in place, they have applied, it's gone in and nothing has happened. I think there has been in the Eastern Cape, a few RDP projects have been put in place but for the most part there is very little to show for it and I don't quite know myself where the breakdown has happened. You probably know more about it than I do because you have talked to people who are supposed to be implementing the RDP. The people in the provinces are saying, "Well the money hasn't come through from national", and the national are saying, "Well we've told them what to do and they haven't done it properly and so don't blame us, they haven't followed the correct channels". I think the money is there and I think it will happen but it was just such a strange 'unused to' process that people have battled with it and I'm not sure that the leadership in the RDP has done the job as well as one might have hoped. It's been a bit of a mess really.
POM Is the apathy over the local elections beginning to dissipate?
JC It seems much better. I saw Van Zyl Slabbert, he was down here last week and I asked him how it's going and he said he's very happy. In the Eastern Cape now, well Port Elizabeth is 63%, East London is nearer 70%, my little constituencies they are all between 60% and 70%. Transkei is still a cause for concern but they are even, Van Zyl was saying, it's improving quite rapidly. We've got one more week to go, no, five more days to go. And it will be, I would say, in the realm of around 60%, 59%-60%, but then of course will start the work of getting the wards in place and also educating the masses as to how it's going to happen because it's a much more complicated process than the national elections was. But it's going along and I think people, now that they have cast their vote, there is a commitment to it and I think the enthusiasm will build, of course the tensions will build at the same time and I don't know what will happen in KwaZulu/Natal. But the rest of the country is fine.
POM Well, Judy, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. The one thing about this interview is that the sound quality will be perfect. That's the advantage of doing it over the phone. The disadvantage of course is that you can't see the other person.
JC Yes, but I'm always quite comfortable with the phone. Are you saying the sound quality is better than when you do it face to face?
POM Oh yes.
JC Oh really?
POM It comes across absolutely clear. That's at least one advantage.
JC When will you be back again?
POM Maybe two months, three months.
JC I'm going to have a dinner tonight with the top Council for the Dominican Sisters of South Africa and they want me to go and have supper with them and talk to them about - do you interview church people as well?
POM I do. I've done Tutu, George Irvine. My favourite person is Colin Jones.
JC You might put some thought to Margaret Kelly. She is this wonderful Irish nun who in fact was the headmistress of the first school in South Africa to become an open school in 1977 which was in South Africa. Now she's head of the Dominican Sisters for the country. She was also the secretary for the Catholic Bishops' Conference, right through the bad times. She's a remarkable, courageous, wonderful woman.
POM And she's located in Cape Town?
JC Here in Cape Town, just round the corner. The Sisters live behind the Cathedral which is next to parliament.
POM I'll put her on the list.
JC She would be worth it. She's got an overview that few have in fact. OK, Padraig, I enjoyed it.
POM Thank you ever so much. Bye.