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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
02 Oct 1995: Maduna, Penuell
POM Minister, let me first ask you, what is the nature of your relationship with Dr Buthelezi?
PM It's fine, taking of course into account that we belong to two different parties, namely the ANC and the IFP. I think there is that unwritten agreement between the two of us that whatever our political difference is when it comes to Home Affairs work we try to avoid allowing the political differences to get the better of us.
POM Is it difficult for you or for the ANC to differentiate between how Dr Buthelezi handles his portfolio on the one hand, as part of the government of national unity, and his political actions in KwaZulu/Natal which take quite an opposite direction?
PM Well nothing so far, there is nothing to my knowledge that has happened which would make me concerned about the way he handles Home Affairs. We haven't had much of a problem in that regard really. I should say, however, that it would not be completely true to say I am at times not affected by the way he handles his politics, particularly in KwaZulu/Natal because I am also in the National Executive Committee of the ANC and I have certain political responsibilities. My responsibilities, inasmuch as his too, are not confined to Home Affairs so there is the larger political world to which we belong and in which we also function. At times some of the statements he makes and some of the things he does do affect the kind of relationship you would certainly want to build and sustain at Home Affairs for the sake of Home Affairs and for the sake of government work.
POM Does Dr Buthelezi say anything different in Cabinet that is substantially different than what he says in public?
PM At Cabinet he is normally reticent, normally reticent. I think it's only when issues pertaining to KwaZulu/Natal crop up that you begin to see red lights flashing.
POM I went up to Durban and went to the Shaka Day celebrations last Sunday, both in Umlazi and in Stanger, and it struck me that the language, his rhetoric was very close to being seditious in the sense that the IFP seem to have moved from federalism to autonomy, to the right to self-determination. Is this an elaborate game of brinkmanship or is it taken very seriously within the ANC?
PM I think it's a combination of all sorts of things. Brinkmanship certainly, and of course a desire to create a little fiefdom which is going to be governed in my opinion as though we were still living in a feudal oligarchic order. They tend to put more emphasis on ethnicity, on traditional leaders and institutions and authority, on the notion that the group is more important in other words, the ethnic group is more important than the democratic rights that each one of us as individuals has and should enjoy. That's a major problem. It concerns us as ANC, no doubt, especially because it's not just asserted peacefully. People are dying in large numbers in that unfortunate province and surely some of the events that we have seen which have led to the death of people are easily, politically at least, ascribable to some of the antics and statements made particularly by Chief Buthelezi.
POM You had a situation a couple of years ago where you had a very high level of death by political violence in KwaZulu/Natal and the ANC in particular would blame it on the activities of the third force acting in collusion with the IFP's militias. Now it's your government, yet the level of violence continues and the government of national unity seems unable to bring this level of violence under control even when it has put in units of the South African Defence Force. Why is it so difficult to bring the violence under control?
PM There are many difficulties. For one thing that province is teeming with weapons of all sorts. You surely know that in the days of apartheid traditional leaders and a lot of other people were deliberately armed with all sorts of weapons which you normally would not find in the hands of civilians. Traditional leaders are still keeping their G3s which they were given by the former South African government through the KwaZulu government which was headed by Chief Buthelezi. A lot of money has gone into the training of all sorts of entities. Right now there is an exposé of people who were trained in the Kwamlaba Camp. Dr Frank Mdlalose the premier of KwaZulu/Natal about ten days or so ago admitted that there was training of what he calls special constables for purposes of defence, and yet in fact not so long ago the IFP denied that there was any training taking place in that same camp when they were quizzed after a raid of the camp by the then Transitional Executive Council. And of course it's now known that the people, whether they were called the special constables or special soldiers have been paid from public coffers. We have seen cheques dating back to August 1994 by means of which some of these people were paid.
So there are many factors as I say. Needless to say elements of the third force have survived and they are continuing. You see in my opinion Natal is regarded as the Jamba of South Africa, Jamba where Savimbi was operating from in Angola. Some parts of Natal are certainly exhibiting the signs of the Jamba situation where backward, reactionary elements would fight the national government from. In other words a lot of instability is threatening to come from some parts of KwaZulu/Natal and of course a major factor is the ignorance of our own people there who are being exploited. We have got a very queer situation where Zulu kills Zulu. Do you get the point? It's unlike Bosnia where maybe the Croats would kill whoever else and so on and vice versa. Here it's one ethnic group indulging in internecine violence, of course with the participation of third force elements, white right wingers and so on. The training, for instance, we are now learning was done by people like Senator Powell, the white right, and there were many other whites who participated there.
POM So after 18 months of the government of national unity being in power, in what direction generally do you think the country is heading?
PM Well you see the country as a whole is actually getting better and better. But maybe, let me just say to conclude the part which we were dealing with, the violence in KwaZulu/Natal, it's clear you require a political solution to solve that basically. You can actually use the resources of the state to maintain law and order there but you can do so effectively with the will and co-operation of particularly Chief Buthelezi. If one morning he could just rise and commit himself totally to peace processes in that province I can tell you his followers would make a contribution. We have had a nasty situation where his followers attacked and killed a contingent of police officers who had gone there to raid for weapons in a place called Impendle. So there are these unfortunate situations there.
POM There are also, at least according to the media, indications of a lot of tensions within the IFP itself between the hard-liners who don't want to go the route of negotiations and those who want to go the route of negotiations. Do you think these tensions are serious and could result in divisions within the IFP itself?
PM I am not sure what these tensions indicate but there are serious tensions within the IFP. There are two visible factions now, those that you describe as hard-liners led, unfortunately, by Chief Buthelezi himself and people like Dr Mzimela who are part of the government of national unity, and the other one led by I think people like Dr Mdlalose himself and a few others. It's unfortunate but I suppose it would not be accurate to say, therefore, the IFP is going to fall into pieces. I don't think so. They will actually try, as it were, to patch up their differences.
POM Moving on to the direction in which the country is going, you said that it had improved in many directions.
PM This is it. In the economy for instance by and large we have a better growth rate certainly in many years. We are told by the Governor of the Reserve Bank and a lot of other economists that it's possible for us to reach the growth rate of 4%. It's possible in this financial year. You heard that our inflation rate has been brought down to about 7.5% which was a major headache for us for some time. It's been fluctuating between the one digit rate and above 10%, it shot in fact to anything up to close on 12% recently and so on. And the food inflation rate particularly has been very, very high, but things are improving in that area. The country by and large is stable. The political and constitutional order is taking root. Of course there are numerous strikes for various reasons but I don't think that those are insurmountable. I was actually reading a Sunday Times column by Hogarth only yesterday. He was saying that it's interesting that in fact there are improvements in many areas and yet prophets of doom are saying that things are getting worse. He was actually showing that in the same period last year we had certainly lost more working hours than we have lost now through strikes, which shows that in fact the impact of the strikes is minimal. But it doesn't follow that the government shouldn't act to deal with the problems these strikes are actually symptomising, as it were.
POM What about the local elections? Everyone I've asked from ministerial level to senior public servant level to highly involved citizen level, all have a different interpretation of what the voting process is and how it works. I don't think any two people have given me the same answer. Could you give me your understanding of how it works?
PM I'm not sure I understand your question in this regard largely because there is the law on the basis of which these are going to be conducted and I am going there to vote. I am going to vote for persons from my ward. I am going to vote for persons from my town, Randburg, my ward Ferndale, my town Randburg, and the larger metropole of Johannesburg. In other words I am going to have one vote divided into three, or three votes, a vote in respect of each of these. And I am going there also to vote for individuals who are going to be standing for election as well as for parties, for my party, for the ANC. In other words as I vote I will be voting for the ANC candidates as well as for the ANC itself. That's that. That's how I understand it personally. It may seem quite complex except that of course as you walk in you will be assisted by the officials there.
POM Do you think most people, like among the masses, understand how the system works?
PM Well you see I don't understand it myself and I am certainly slightly above the average level of the ordinary South African you find in the street. I would want to believe I am part of the educated people in this country. If it's complex for me surely it's much more complex for the ordinary citizen. And of course we've got to take into account that it's only the second election that most of us shall have participated in. This country is very much still in the process of democratising itself. I have never participated in any local government elections in the past myself because those that were designed for us in the then Bantu townships were farcical and criminal in fact. So it's the first time that I'm going to see what a local government election proper looks like. I'm certainly looking forward to that.
POM Is it yet clear what powers and competencies the local governments will have vis-à-vis the provincial governments?
PM Well you see the provinces will have to decide within the constitution and within the general laws what actually they give to their own local governments.
POM So it could vary from province to province?
PM I can imagine it could vary from province to province, but there are those general powers that are exercised by local government whether you find it in New York or Washington or Moscow or Johannesburg that you will also find in our local government structures.
POM There seems to me to be a kind of a contradiction. You hear that the cream of the talent of the country went into central government and that the level of public service in the provincial governments is deficient in many regards and that when you get to the local level it's going to be even more deficient because simply of the absence of trained people with the necessary skills to administer local government. Yet local government is also being touted as the main instrument through which the RDP will be delivered to the people and yet it seems that you're taking the centrepiece of economic development and growth and handing it over to probably what might be the least efficient level of government to administer.
PM I don't think that is accurate. Firstly the national level could only absorb so many people, it couldn't take everybody. Secondly, there is a lot of talent available at the local government level. You see once you look at it outside the confines of race, you then begin to realise that we will be able to benefit from a lot of resources that exist particularly amongst our white counterparts in this country. If you are looking at it solely from the point of view of blacks obviously you may easily come to the conclusion that there are real crises because indeed apartheid never prepared us for any role in society, it never did. Some of us, of course, strove using our own resources to acquire whatever training and education but apartheid never really prepared us for a role in this kind of set up and yet we have assumed all sorts of roles. So even at a local government level things may not look as easy as they might turn out to be but certainly people are going to work and work even harder to stabilise and run their own shows at the local government level. They will do it and they are itching to participate, to do it.
POM You mention that apartheid never prepared blacks for any participation in government which bred a kind of a culture of dependency. Are Africans still too dependent, is this culture of dependency broken yet or are they still looking for government to do too much for them?
PM No, I don't mean that. In the past we never depended on any government because government was not ours. Government misruled and ruined our lives, misruled us and ruined our lives so we have never been dependent on any government. This is it. We have been dependent on our own resources honestly, so even today it's not true to say that blacks depend on government to turn their lives, as it were, around. Yes, government would have to invest in doing it by way of affirmative action and all sorts of other programmes because there are people whose lives are not going to change without government intervention. It's as simple as that. Now it's different from saying that people are dependent on government, they on their own are not prepared to move. It's as simple as that. There are people who will need assistance. I think this is the case also in your own country, there are large number of such people in fact who would only benefit from government intervention. Talking about whites by the way, there are whites who can't pay private schools for the education of their children who depend entirely on the taxes that we pay. I know some racists among them say that blacks depend on taxes by whites. I am not white and I have never been white, I have no intention to be white at all, but I pay taxes and the taxes I pay are educating even white children. They are not put aside for the education of black children. So there are whites, in fact the majority of whites are dependent for the education of their children on public schools which are funded by the likes of me, the taxpayers. So you can't then say that they are not prepared to work for the education of their children. It's just the concrete reality that confronts the majority in any given society.
POM Yet you have the International Monetary Fund saying a large number of studies that have recently been carried out saying that the economy is internationally non-competitive, it ranks close to the bottom in just about every area that you want to look at. Even when I go round like to flea markets and I pick up goods and look at them they are not made in South Africa, they are made in Turkey or Kurdistan.
PM It's not a new phenomenon, it's how the economy has been run. You've got a situation here where we are the largest producer of a lot of minerals and our mineral wealth has not actually benefited us directly in this country. It has benefited other peoples. We export raw, unprocessed materials from this country. It's only now that things are actually being looked into with a view to beneficiation and so on. It's how the economy has been run. It's not as though this emerged 16, 17, 18 months ago. It's always been the case. You know the IMF in fact should not be allowed to pretend that this is a post-Mandela phenomena. This economy has not been competitive for a very long time.
POM I don't think it's saying that at all, it's just saying the economy is uncompetitive, period.
PM And we have a responsibility to change it.
POM But to change it means that you must bring your unit labour costs, your wages and your level of productivity in line with each other and that hasn't been happening. Again, it didn't happen under the apartheid regime, they had a protected economy, but if you want to become part of a global market you're going to have to find a way of reducing your unit labour costs.
PM Except that, of course, we should guard against at the same time suppressing unions to achieve that because then I can tell you they are going to resist. Nobody has the power to suppress them and force them to do things which are inimical to the interests of their own individual members. It's as simple as that. Government is not going to do that. Certainly it would be ill advised to do so. We are all worried about the level of productivity, including workers, because their own wages come from productivity, from production. They are also worried about it. The job creation possibilities derive also from the heightening of the level of productivity amongst them and amongst those who are directly involved in fact and running, especially the private sector. It's as simple as that. The less they produce the less they get, it's the logic of the situation. So it's got nothing to do with blackness or whatever. All of us have to heighten the level of productivity so that we can then in fact have a higher GDP. Our entire existence depends on that. And, of course, from the point of view of the investor, yes, I am prepared to concede that maybe some investors would be worried that our labour is more expensive and yet produces less. Then again it's in the nature of the economy, it's a structural crisis in other words that's facing us and we need to deal with it.
POM If I were an international investor, given the structural crisis you talk about, why should I invest here rather than in Thailand or Singapore or Malaysia or South Korea where production is much cheaper?
PM I suppose there would be many factors you would take into account and indeed a lot of people have come in to invest here. We have huge resources which the countries that you are mentioning do not have and they would like to participate in the exploitation of those resources. We would welcome that. They are actually coming in and helping us create more jobs for our people, but then again they would actually have to help us address the socio-economic problems as well. We have a very terrible situation here where your lowest paid is so different from your highest paid. You get the point? If you say to workers, ignore all that, take the pittance that you are given, allow those up there to take whatever they get, then I'm telling you, you shouldn't be surprised when you run into these problems. All along it's been reflective of the divide between black and white but I think now the class cleavage, whether black or white is becoming much more visible. There are those who actually get huge packages because they enter at the management level, at the higher levels of management rather, compared to those who enter at lower levels.
And of course the other thing is I think we should actually steer clear of the notion that workers, as workers, are not willing to produce. You've got a high degree of illiteracy in this country. In other words a huge component of our labour force, black and white, which cannot make a meaningful contribution towards the economy, whether you are looking at the micro level, the individual factory, or the macro level and so on, they just can't make a meaningful contribution, chaps whose main role is to pick up boxes and spanners and so on and put them down when they are ordered to do so, do you get the point? So you have that problem. In other words as a country we've got to invest in the training and retraining of people so that in fact they have skills which are suited to the current needs of the economy. So that's another major factor.
POM Does some of that exist in the public service itself? And I'll tell you what I mean, particularly when parliament is in Cape Town and I go in, say I have an appointment with Deputy Minister Maduna, there are five people behind the little desk and they are mostly doing nothing. One picks up the telephone, one looks at the telephone book, a third who says, "Who?", are they being employed for the sake of their being employed rather than for the contribution they can make?
PM I'm not sure what the state of the public service is in other countries, but certainly here we have a bloated public service, a lot of people who share roles with others, with roles in the private sector, by way of ... and rationalisation would be performed by fewer and fewer people. We live in the age of the computer today and yet in fact we still are settled with huge files, huge mounds of paper and therefore the need for many people to handle each page, if you like it, that kind of thing. And, of course, we pay for that. The largest chunk of our budget goes towards the salaries of public servants and a great portion goes towards the servicing of the national debt and only a tiny component thereof is left to reconstruction and development. That's a major headache. We've got to address that. But the answers are not easy because you can't throw out into the street so many thousands of people and hope that they will be able to find jobs instead, as you do that they will actually join the 'demi monde' in the majority and become an even bigger headache.
POM Sorry, they will join the?
PM The 'demi monde'. They can actually go into all sorts of activities which are not in the best interests of development.
POM You are specifically referring to people turning towards crime?
PM They will tend towards crime of all sorts, yes. When suddenly a lot of these people are without jobs then this country will be faced with a real crisis. So whatever we can do is not unlimited.
POM Now I just read yesterday, I think it was the Sunday Times, again there was a story about the Johannesburg City Council couldn't hold a number of meetings because it couldn't raise a quorum last week. You had the shambles in Cape Town where the government couldn't put together a quorum to pass supplementary aspects of the Budget Bill. Is it ironic that there is such a high rate of absenteeism among MPs given that you fought so long and so hard to get the vote to you people.
PM No, unfortunately you rely on the media for your information. The media are not a very useful source of information about these problems. You have got to go and check the records of parliament and see where each person was who was not in parliament that specific hour, that specific afternoon that you are talking about. They were in all sorts of committees. I think more than anything we are not facing a crisis entailing indiscipline on the part of individual members. These are leaders who were elected on that basis. They are not going to be playing truant like little children and they resent being cast in that light by the media when in fact they were doing all sorts of parliamentary work. As I say, it's a problem of management. I personally did not know that at that specific time we will be voting on the budget. I didn't. Because, again, unlike before parliament has rather more committees and those committees are much more active than the committees in the past. They go into all these laws carefully and they have consultations with people and so on and so forth so the majority of people were very busy. They only became aware of the problem afterwards when they were told the budget was supposed to be passed. And upon proper communication people participated and the budget was passed.
POM President Mandela said in an interview on his 500th day in office, he said he blamed the media for the impression that most of his attention was given to whites, saying white editors and owners glossed over his work for the majority and focused on gestures towards conservative whites. And then he went on to say, "One must take into account that the media is controlled by whites and the element of racism is still there". Do you agree with that assessment?
PM Yes. You see we have a major problem. With the white controlled media we are non-achievers. Everything we are doing is a failure in this country. I'm not saying they must not criticise us for the wrongs we do, not at all, but they must be prepared to inform people about what is actually happening instead of distorting it. I mean they carry all sort of crazy stories. But I was at this meeting, I participated, this is certainly not what happened. This is certainly not what happened.
POM So what is their agenda?
PM Let me tell you the media in this country was always hostile to us, the ANC. They represent certain interests which fear the ANC, which would not want the ANC to have the majority that it has even now. They are the ones who will actually sit and say, when Mandela goes this country is going down the tubes, that kind of thing as though in fact we are dependent in this country on one mortal being. When Mandela was not with us in the difficult 30 years of the total ban on the ANC imposed by the powers that be, the ANC survived basically unscathed. And yet in fact there was always the speculation that we counted for nothing and so on and so forth. And yet in fact an honest observer would say that the ANC's contribution, the ANC not just a few individuals, the ANC's contribution towards the resolution of this country could not have been done without, it was certainly indispensable. But you see in their minds the whole thing is by and about one or two individuals in the absence of whom this organisation would be a shambles. That is not true. There are serious leaders at various levels in the ANC who are not fighting one another for positions and yet in fact the media would tell you that Thabo is fighting Cyril, Cyril is fighting and there are factions, there are those who are with Cyril, those who are with Thabo and so on and so forth. I work very well with Cyril. I work with Thabo very well. I came to know Cyril better after the unbanning of the ANC and I worked with him from 1991 in these negotiations up to the elections and even today I work with him. I worked with Thabo from the early eighties, Thabo Mbeki, from the early eighties and I never had any problem. I have worked with all of them and we have done great things not just for the ANC but for this country together. And I have never for one moment felt that there were divisions and if I worked with one I was promoting the interests of that one against the other and so on and so forth. That's not the perception I have. I am part of the ANC leadership, a National Executive Committee member. I work with whomsoever I have to work on whatever project the ANC has given us and it has so far worked very well.
POM So do you think the media's constant emphasis on the gravy train is part of ...?
PM That's another thing. Let me tell you something, you can take my case for instance, I'm much the poorer in material terms than I would be if I was out of government. It's an insult to say that I'm part of a gravy train. There's no gravy train as far as I'm concerned. If I were in the private sector they would be paying me much more than the government can pay me now. I am in government myself not for the sake of money. I would never have participated for such a long time in the fight against apartheid during which I was never paid a cent. I was in exile, we have been maintained by the ANC. I never worked for anybody during my years in exile, never earned any salary, therefore I never went into it for money. Money for me is secondary. It's just a means towards self-sustenance and so on. I would work even if we were not paid as long as I didn't have needs and family responsibilities. I work in this position because my heart is in it, otherwise I would actually throw the keys back at the president and go and look for a job in the private sector. I am working here out of sheer commitment to the national project. I think I have a contribution to make and when it is one day discovered that my contribution is below par they will be free to let me go. Now for anybody to say that I am part of a gravy train is nonsense. I don't even have a big pension. Those who were labouring under apartheid got huge pensions. Police officers are millionaires today.
POM And Colonel de Kock got R1.2 million.
PM Got R1.2 million. I will never be a millionaire as long as I work for this government myself. Now for anybody to say I'm part of a gravy train is nonsense and I can tell you that I do suspect that there is an element of racism in it. Suddenly they discover a gravy train. Apartheid governments were actually enriching themselves and all those hangers on who served under apartheid without any murmur of protest from the press and in fact from the press and the media in general. Now blacks come in and suddenly there is a gravy train. I can tell you something, the president persuaded us to reduce whatever the Melamed Commission which had determined our salaries had said we should be paid. We took a knock down of anything from 7.5% up to 20%. It's never happened in many countries that in fact those who have been told this is what you are going to be paid have decided voluntarily that they will take less than that. The savings are minimal, about R4 million as I understand, but nonetheless it was a noble gesture from us. Not because we are under pressure from the media. In fact some of the editors get far more than I get. So then they are in the private sector a gravy train themselves. But I actually detect a tendency towards trying to say to us, those who can leave must leave so that this government is in dire need of resources. Apartheid didn't prepare blacks for the roles we are playing in this country and therefore there are fewer resources. People with skills such as I do have, have made certain choices in the private sector. There are black millionaires today in this country who are not part of any gravy train. Now we are working here because we have chosen to work here and we will work here for as long as the president in whom the final executive authority resides wants us to work here. He has got that assurance from us that we will work here to help this country turn round.
POM So do you think South Africa in that sense is being held to a different standard than not only other countries in Africa?
PM It depends on what you mean by standard because, again, honesty, lack of corruption and so on and so forth, those are basic standards that would apply all over, those are basic standards. But what I am trying to say is that whoever has actually placed themselves, have placed themselves on this high pedestal where they can judge us and label us as the gravy train, is doing a disservice to this country. And it's a campaign in fact against Mandela's government. Let them bring people who will do whatever work we are trying to do for a pittance and then bring them in, let them come in themselves and do it for less than they are taking from the private sector. Let them come in. I will be glad to be told, you are too expensive, so-and-so from this paper is coming in to replace you at this rate. I will be glad. I never asked for the salary I was given. I have never voted for it. Instead we voted not to take an increment, there is no increment now. When everybody is clamouring for increments we are not doing it because we realise that the needs of this country are such that if we were to ask for a small increment it would be sinful. We make these decisions ourselves. Show me one year in which the apartheid regime decided not to take an increment. They never did. We are the ones who have decided not to and we have even been persuading some of our colleagues from the past who had huge pensions, including Buthelezi, De Klerk and so on, from their past, not to take their pensions right now because they were getting those pensions all along as well as huge salaries, so-called gravy train salaries. So we have said, no, no, no, please don't do it. Of course those who want to co-operate will and those who don't won't, because there is no law preventing them from doing it. But at least this call has been made.
POM Just a couple of final things. One, in the Constitutional Assembly what do you think is the single most important issue that the Constituent Assembly has to face that will prove to be the most contentious and the most difficult to reach consensus on?
PM It's difficult to say this would be the make or break issue. I don't think there is any. You see because the Constitutional Assembly process, fortunately for us, was preceded by the long process of negotiations at the World Trade Centre. So there is that experience which people bear in mind as they confront a lot of issues so there isn't an issue really which would be so divisive that we won't be able to proceed. At least I haven't come across any.
POM And yet you have the strong push from federalism, for the devolution of powers, what powers should be at the centre, what powers should be with the provinces.
PM You know, all manner of things have been said about this country and about us as ANC. I can tell you that in fact we have a constitution in place right now which borrows heavily from federalism, heavily. I don't know what these so-called federalists are clamouring for, short of confederalism. And I can tell you that there isn't any single unit in this country with the exception maybe of Gauteng and to some extent Western Cape, that could survive without the others. Gauteng could stand on its own without the other provinces easily, but the rest honestly depend entirely, or to a large extent, on the resources that the centre can mobilise from various sources. This is why, therefore, federalists scare a lot of us. Federalists would have to be made to realise, or so-called federalists, will have to be made to realise that power would also go with responsibility, the responsibility to raise resources and never depend so much on the centre.
You can take the case of KwaZulu/Natal. KwaZulu/Natal is a very interesting case from an economic point of view. I have read what some economists have said with keen interest. It's one part of the country where you have living in a small portion of the country, almost 27% of the population with a GDP contribution below 15%. Those would be the last ones to clamour for secession because I don't think that they can sustain themselves alone, they can't sustain themselves without the injection of resources from and by the centre. Right now in our budget they got the highest percentage because on a per capita basis they account for more people, not because we are trying to placate Buthelezi or anything like that. They will give him 13 point something billion rand out of the national budget, that has the highest percentage.
POM Do you think that this goes back to a theme running through our conversation and maybe came to a fore last weekend in this street confrontation between F W de Klerk and the president when the president said that the crime situation had not been created since his government came to power but rather that it was a legacy of apartheid? Now on one level that's so obvious, you don't have to be a genius to reach that conclusion, that the legacy of apartheid will be there for a long, long time. So why would De Klerk become so upset over something so obvious?
PM Well you see De Klerk has actually put up all sorts of posters, you might have seen them, "If you want to fight crime vote National Party". In other words he is using the higher rate of crime for political ends. De Klerk has also gone on record as saying that the situation was much better under him than it is under Mandela, you have seen that in the meeting. In other words he is saying to us things were better under apartheid when the majority never voted because now you've got all these blacks voting and there is chaos in this country. Now he gets upset when Mandela says, "But there is racism in this, under you the majority never voted so things were certainly never better under you. Under you this was happening." We have no Vlakplaas situation under de Kock, under Mandela. They can't point to any unit which is ours, which we created, which goes around hunting people because their political views are against ours. We don't have that. There are no political killings except in that unfortunate situation in Natal where all manner of things are happening and unfortunately the majority of people who are dying are ordinary people who are not even politicians. People were worshipping at a church last week, twelve of them are mowed down, including children who can't even spell the word politics.
POM Something about that was, I was comparing it in my mind to the St James' Church massacre and the enormous public outcry that accompanied that and there was no public outcry this time.
PM No, because it's blacks who died there in a similar situation. Some papers don't even mention it and those who did mention it gave it a few paragraphs in their papers. Certainly they had larger advertisements than that event. It's OK, blacks can kill blacks. It's happening outside white areas and so on and so forth. And you know the other thing which I think needs to be said, is that we are facing a crisis in our criminal justice system where criminals, therefore, can act with impunity. There is a whole crisis around an Attorney General in KwaZulu/Natal, McNally. I don't know where the truth exactly lies but there are people whose crimes are manifest, who have even been fingered in court cases where judges have said, we asked the Attorney General to investigate this. It was not the first time that a judge in the Mbambo(?) case said something along these lines. Earlier on with regard to the Trust Feeds murders case, Judge Wilson said the same thing, investigate the role of some people and the cover up or in the actual preparation for the massacre and so on. We have said as ANC that those in the IFP who know who has killed IFP leaders must come forward, identify the murderers and we will all act together against them. We want them to challenge us along the same lines and say, if you know anybody who has done anything come forward. People are coming forward and they are saying, so-and-so did it. One of the people who died in fact with the police were massacred in Mbendli was an ANC member who had gone to show the police where the weapons were stored after the killing of a child or something in his family. And the killers were all IFP members and they did it in broad daylight with impunity. You see the point? And yet maybe that Attorney General will say there is not much to pin on them.
POM Finally, and thank you for the time and the passion and the views, you are always a great interview, but what in the next year as you look down the line do you see as the biggest challenge facing the country?
PM The biggest challenge that's facing the country, not just in the next year but in so many years, is the need to improve the lot of the majority in this country. We have got to work even harder and improve the lot of the majority of the people in this country who are black. These are the people who voted the ANC into power. Once a perception begins to creep into their midst that the ANC is incapable of delivering this country is going to face a real crisis. There isn't a party that can by the way deal with that crisis once it emerges, not even the ANC can deal with it. At the same time a stronger ANC is what this country requires and should have. Those who think that they will solve the problems of this country by further weakening the ANC are wrong because it is the ANC who are listened to by the masses, by the majority here. You should have seen that those who were toyi-toying against us in the majority were still flying ANC pennants and flags. That's interesting. In other words, they still make that distinction between their ANC and the government. The government is not delivering, the ANC must toyi-toyi against them. We've got to do a lot of work by way of political education amongst them. There are those, of course, who are incorrigible who would say it's better to return De Klerk and so on and so forth because he was doing better. Those I am not so much bothered about. But I am bothered about the perception amongst the masses that the ANC itself is not delivering because then this country will have a real problem. So we've got to work and work even harder.
POM The ANC worked in getting it's message, it hasn't succeeded in getting its full message out to the people.
PM Of course we rely on the media and as I've told you, we rely on the media and the media is not going to help us reach the ordinary person. Take a simple thing, the media for instance are not going to go out and say, whereas in area X there was no water before the advent of Mandela's government, there is water today. They won't say that. They will not say that whereas before pensioners were getting race based pensions today they get the same amount, not because we have pulled down what the whites were getting but because we have upgraded everybody. That's an interesting thing, we have mobilised resources for these people, and women, pregnant women and children under six are getting free medication in this country. Again we have mobilised resources. Children from disadvantaged families, black and white, but predominantly black, mine don't get this at their school for instance because it's accepted that because I get a better rate at work it would be unfair if my children competed with the other children, so they go to a school which is called a Model C school, the Model C schools are not getting this, but the majority of children today are getting meals and so on at school without which they would not be able to concentrate and do their work and so on.
So there are many things that we are doing within known constraints entailing the scarcity of resources. What do we need? But the media will never really go all out to say this they are doing, this they are doing, that they are doing and so on. And I have said to you there is better growth rate now, certainly than under De Klerk, but they are not saying that. With scarce resources again we have stabilised the larger portion of the country with the exception of KwaZulu/Natal and even in KwaZulu/Natal by the way it's not the whole province that is burning, certain parts thereof and we are working hard to stabilise them with scarce resources, human and material. But to the media again, those things don't count for much. Of course, maybe they have to sell and in order to sell they have got to come with dramatic things and some of our failures. I don't know.
POM Thank you ever so much and good wishes, good luck. I always look forward to talking to you.