This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
17 Oct 1995: Matthews, Joe
POM. First of all, just as a general one, in what direction do you think the country is going? Do you think it's going generally in the right direction or that it is still on the slippery slope of veering between one thing and another or are things not going so well?
JM. No, I don't think so. I think things are going fairly well. If you look at the fundamentals, the institutions are now fairly set. Once we have the local government elections you'll have all the institutions in place; that's the first and most important thing that the institutions must function, and that's in place. The transformations in the police service, in the army, in the intelligence services, all those transformations have taken place, the new commanders are in place, so from the institutional point of view I think there has been a great deal of progress and it has been relatively smooth. Then I think there have been some very hopeful economic indices. The country has more or less decided to follow a policy which is largely free enterprise market oriented. There is still a struggle over to what extent government should get rid of its assets. As you know in this country, about 50% of fixed capital assets have been in the hands of the state. Some people think it's more, which is a considerable shock to everybody, at least to some of us who didn't realise.
POM. Especially to communists.
JM. Yes, that it had gone so far. There are people who feel that there should still be a rethink on the question of privatisation. In fact Mr Tito Mboweni, the Minister of Labour, has introduced a new euphemism, instead of calling it privatisation to speak about the reorganisation of state assets, because he doesn't like the word privatisation which suggested you sell everything, including, as Mr MacMillan said, the family silver. He is selling the family silver. People are now saying let's sell the things about which we have no argument, all the unnecessary things, unnecessary farms, unnecessary buildings, all kinds of things that are owned by the state, before we get to the enterprises which are running like Telkom and all the others where it is felt that more thought is required as to how you should do it, how you should do it so as to avoid the transfer of assets from the state to a small white group which has got the money which then doesn't solve the problem. So how do we ensure that the privatisation will result in some economic empowerment and improvement in the position of the majority.
. But that aside, I would say that the country is following a fairly free enterprise economic system. The finrand has been abolished, the two tier system of our currency that has been abolished. We now have just one currency. We still haven't been bold enough to eliminate exchange controls but it's moving in that direction. Inflation has come down considerably. A lot of capital has flowed in despite the fact that the media keep on reporting that people are hesitant to invest in South Africa until the position is clearer but we now learn that over ten billion has been invested in the last year or so which is better than it has been for decades.
. So I think myself that the basic fundamental things are going well, but then that doesn't deal with the perceptions. Now perceptions is an entirely different matter. First of all crime is at an absolutely unacceptable level. It's affecting not only personal security which is basic really, the right of people to get into their cars, go to work and come back, that's basic. That's not guaranteed, personal security. Then the car and truck hijackings which affect freight, which affect the economy. The movement of freight from our ports to the interior, if you are going to get these hijackings at this rate it affects the economy so big business especially is terribly worried about the car hijackings. We have got the influx of the syndicates which has increased the amount of drug trafficking, not necessarily for inside, for consumption internally but as a distribution centre for the rest of Africa and Europe and America. We are becoming a very convenient distribution centre. So that's worrying. The syndicates are worrying, the drug trafficking, the crime position. This is extremely worrying and it's a negative factor in the situation.
. Then when you look at, for example, the way the government of national unity is working, the technical side works well. Cabinet meets every Wednesday and the committees meet regularly, they pass legislation which most of it is not controversial, government goes on, but every now and again you get a crisis over either something that has been said in a rally or a meeting or outside of the formal structures of government. You get the quarrel between Mandela and De Klerk in the street, that kind of thing, you get high profile shouting matches over crime or over this, the parties criticising each other. That's never reflected in the formal structures of government. When we then meet the next day in a Cabinet committee it's as if nothing happened. So one still is worried about it because you could be deceiving the public as to what is happening. Either if what they see is shadow boxing in which case it's not healthy anyway, or it's serious and is a threat to the cohesion of the government of national unity and you wonder whether the whole thing will last until 1999.
POM. In that connection let me ask you particularly about your position. You are now Deputy Minister for Safety and Security and a member of the IFP and the minister, Sydney Mufamadi, is a member of the ANC, and the IFP and the ANC don't quite see eye to eye on safety and security matters particularly as they apply to KwaZulu/Natal.
JM. I don't think so, you know. I don't think so. You see the advantage with security, intelligence, police, is that they are supposed to be impartial, the theory being that you can put anybody in those departments and if they function according to the constitution they will be operating an impartial service to everybody. You cannot have a police force which is serving the IFP or another one serving the ANC. It won't work, it will soon become apparent to anybody that, look here, there is something wrong. You then would have to politicise the force. You would have to go back to a political attitude. So what happens is this, that there again one is dealing with a lot of perceptions. We take a decision that we must focus attention on four or five major areas, hot spots in crime.
POM. When you say in crime, this is the government?
JM. Yes the government. Then as part of that plan you send forces to Transkei, nobody worries about it because Transkei is not going to oppose the ANC. As soon as you send the same number of chaps to KwaZulu/Natal, then the media says, "Ah, they are being sent to deal with the IFP", and there is then a distortion. The impression we have at the top, the impression that we have got a community safety plan which is operating in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape. Gauteng and KwaZulu/Natal. Nobody reports it like that. They just report the activity in KwaZulu/Natal.
POM. The policing package that the provincial legislature in KwaZulu/Natal had put before the KwaZulu/Natal parliament was heavily criticised by other parties. When the police and security forces were sent in their presence was, or added police and army particularly, were sent in the premier Dr Frank Mdlalose complained, there was a programme on Agenda between himself and Minister Mufamadi where they had two very different perceptions of things, the premier saying that night patrols by police were not acceptable, that the presence of the army was not acceptable, that these units were composed of former members of the MK who were out to get leading IFP supporters. So you had this difference.
JM. No, I think that's a different issue.
POM. You had the Premier saying ...
JM. I think that was a different issue. You see the real crux of the matter is an investigation team that was appointed which was not under the control of the Commissioner of Police. This is an investigating team into hit squad activity in KwaZulu/Natal. Now that team is the controversy, all the controversy stems from there, that Varney and Dutton and others who were in this team, the way they are conducting the investigation rightly gave the impression to people that, look here, this team is investigating only those murders and so on which are committed against the ANC. What are they doing about the murders of IFP supporters, members and supporters? I think that's where the controversy began. Now unfortunately there is a confusion between the activities of this investigating team and the community safety plan where everybody was briefed, all the people were briefed, the premier was briefed, the legislature was briefed, the Amakosi were briefed, as was done in all the other four major areas. People were briefed beforehand that this is what we are going to do. Now we are in this difficulty, you see a lot of this depends on how the media handles it.
. You must remember that the media plays a vital role in perceptions because what happens on the ground such as, to give you an example, that there is a higher level of killings in Gauteng than in KwaZulu/Natal, but you wouldn't think so if you were looking at the media not only in this country but elsewhere in the world you would get the impression that there is carnage taking place in KwaZulu/Natal and nothing is happening elsewhere, whereas when you look at the police statistics you find that the killings in KwaZulu/Natal are going down, the killings in Gauteng are going up and there are more killings every week in Gauteng than there are in KwaZulu/Natal but that's not the perception, the media is conveying a very different perception and you see those people who rely on newspapers, including premiers, who tend to look not at what gets to their desks every morning, such as what comes on my desk every morning, they don't read that, they read what's in the Natal Mercury or the Daily News and they then immediately issue a statement and say, "What's all this? Why are you sending people to KwaZulu/Natal", and forget that the previous week they were told that, "Look we are going to send people there to the following areas where there is an unacceptable level of crime and these are the hot spots in your province and we want to deal with those hot spots now". So you get a real confusion there. And then of course you get unfortunate remarks by politicians, including the president of the country. He gets to a rally and he will say something like, "I am going to deal with all the killing that's going on in KwaZulu/Natal". Then, of course, everyone says, "He is only acting against KwaZulu/Natal. What about Eastern Cape? He doesn't mention this." But then he sent troops to Eastern Cape, got the situation under control in the Eastern Cape where there was an enormous amount of killings in Tsolo and other areas and nobody reports that.
POM. What part?
JM. It's called Tsolo, that's where a lot of killings have occurred over a long period of time, which eventually led to the discovery ...
POM. Is that in Transkei?
JM. This is in Eastern Province, yes, the former Transkei, and it led to the discovery that the member of the Executive Committee for Safety & Security was involved, Mr Mpetli who was suspended. You see he was also involved, he had a private army. Who reports that? Nobody you see because that's not interesting. What's interesting is the conflict between the IFP and the ANC. That's news. The conflict between ANC and ANC is not news. So there is that problem. But to get back to your question, of course we have got no difficulty as far as we are concerned in this department because crime knows no political boundaries, it just doesn't.
POM. I suppose what I'm saying is that at least on this programme, the Agenda programme, which I taped about two weeks ago, which had as guests the premier, Dr. Mdlalose, and Minister Mufamadi, and the issues they were talking about were really the premier saying that the army troops that had been sent in were for the most part composed of former members of the MK, therefore they were not impartial.
JM. He couldn't even know that.
POM. The police who were being sent in also were former members of the MK and that the police and the ANC were working in collusion with each other to eliminate members of the IFP and that's why patrols by the police at night were not acceptable to the community because they didn't trust the police and didn't even know whether they were real policemen or ANC people dressed up in the uniforms of policemen. And the minister said no. So what I was getting at is, how do you function both as a minister in a government where you make policy decisions with colleagues in an opposite political party with which grave decisions exist between the two parties as to the way forward in certain matters? How do you function in that regard and also function as a senior member of your own party which very often articulates ...?
JM. I have no difficulty at all. Look, I am a lawyer. I have represented murderers and thieves for 30 years of my life and I never thought that by doing so and doing my job as effectively as I can that I was siding with the criminals against the law. That kind of thing doesn't worry me at all. The main thing is whether or not you are bona fide in regard to the job and also with regard to the factual situation. You see nobody can know that a unit which is sent into KwaZulu/Natal is composed of former members of uMkhonto weSizwe, it's just not possible to actually do that without an investigation, because if I send 1000 fellows in there how are you going to tell, because there have been black people in the army for donkey's years. So you can't suddenly, by just looking, say that these are former members of uMkhonto weSizwe, and in any case how would we solve it? What are you suggesting? That people who are former members of uMkhonto weSizwe should no longer be used in the army? Now the argument was reversed. Before 1994 we were told that the police are not impartial and that the army should be brought in, the IFP said that. Now it's the reverse that the army shouldn't be brought in, the police should be brought in, but the police and army are both under the control of ANC ministers and both are full of uMkhonto weSizwe people. You can't avoid it. And the answer to it is you must join. Because the integration of police in KwaZulu/Natal meant the integration of SAP and KwaZulu police it doesn't politically pay to say the police are wrong because the chances are that they are former KwaZulu police or former Natal SAP police. It's quite clear there, you can identify because people know the KwaZulu police therefore they can see that this chap was not in the KwaZulu police he must be a new man who comes from uMkhonto weSizwe or something.
POM. How do you deal with this in party circles? You're on the National Executive.
POM. Now these are people dressed in police uniforms?
JM. Yes, going around.
POM. But they are not actually policemen?
JM. Not actually policemen, because there is no such instruction to policemen to collect weapons from anybody. What there is, is a notice that if people were given arms by any of the former independent states or self-governing states' governments those weapons should be surrendered by 31st October, they should be surrendered by 31st. There was no such thing as people going out to say, "I have come to collect a weapon". But the incidents that have occurred are ones in which people came to a house and said, "Oh we are the police, we have come to collect the weapons in terms of government instructions", and it turned out they were not police and they killed people. So that's happened four times in the last three weeks or so.
POM. That you would be able to verify?
JM. Yes, oh yes. Now that's specific instances which of course were immediately taken up with the police hierarchy that, look, it must be made clear that the police are not authorised, nobody is authorised to go round collecting weapons. The notice is quite clear which has been published and so on, that people are required to surrender any weapons which they may have received from the government because these weapons were just distributed, they are in the name of the former homeland governments, they are in their name, and then they were handed to chiefs and headmen and so on. Now that is what has created a lot of controversy because then the premier, for example, of KwaZulu/Natal says, "Now look here, why are you collecting arms in KwaZulu/Natal from people who got them from the KwaZulu government? You have not done it elsewhere", which of course is not accurate. It's a nation-wide thing, it's being done right through, that people can apply for weapons for themselves individually but all these institutions like ESCOM and whatnot which were allowed to have arsenals and which dished out weapons to their security guards and all sorts of people, that these weapons must to turned over so that we return to the position where we know exactly who has got which weapon. Now that was an Act passed in parliament which was not opposed by anybody. Now suddenly everybody wakes up and says this is a politically motivated Act and that the attempt is to disarm the Amakosi in KwaZulu/Natal who are against the ANC. Now I don't allow myself to get involved in pettifogging arguments but if someone comes with a specific case and says, "Now look here there are police who are going around, or people posing as police are killing people using this as the excuse", now that's a genuine concern because that is accompanied by facts, it's not just a perception. You get a factual situation which we were able to nip in the bud by publishing the notice more widely so that people understood. And that is why whenever police appeared, those four police who appeared there were killed. Of course people thought this is another of that lot coming to collect weapons and that's what made them react.
POM. And they didn't even see if they were, they thought they were people just dressed as police.
JM. Yes, people who wanted to kill people. So there has been that kind of confusion which of course the criminal element also takes advantage of and exploits. In other words it's not an easy, clear cut situation, but as far as we are concerned I take the view that we must get the politicians out of the police force and the security services, we must get them off our backs on all sides. If we can succeed to get the DP off our backs with their demands that the police must do this and do that and do this, if we get the NP off our backs, the President of the Republic off our backs, if we can just be allowed to function as a police force which is seen to be impartial then we won't have trouble. But you see to achieve that we also must not be political. We mustn't have policemen making political judgements and making statements or answering the politicians with political statements as well. Then you get into the political debate, you are forced to because you either have to defend this position or that position. So my view is any attempt to politicise we will resist and we won't get involved in.
. I refuse to be drawn into debates like that. People have come along and they have said, "You are IFP", I said, "No I am the Deputy Minister of Police, I am not IFP, I am in the government. Now if you ask me about IFP I must leave the office, go to an IFP rally, then you can ask me a question about the IFP but not here, here I am representing everybody and I look after everybody." Businessmen ring me up and say, "Now for God's sake our bank has been robbed and this and that and so on", I can't be saying, "Now are you fellows pro this or pro that?" I've got to get down to it, whether it's Eastern Cape or Northern Province or wherever, you've got to react as a police institution. And I think that is the way to do it.
. Sometimes the minister has fallen into the trap. He is a trade unionist and often the media have asked him questions which have forced him to make not a policy statement but a political statement, you know the ANC well. You can't do that you see, you mustn't say that and you mustn't allow a situation where people say this is an ANC minister and this is an IFP minister, because that doesn't exist, there is no such thing as an ANC minister and an IFP minister. I have had requests from ANC people to say, "Will you please give us licences for firearms?" I can't say to them, "Oh no, my God, you ANC chaps, we can't allow you to have guns". That would be wrong. So you look at the application and you grant it. That's the only way to survive in a job like this.
. Now it's different with other departments. You see the other departments first of all do not have actual physical power. That's an important point. You see with the police and the army and the Intelligence Service and so on you are dealing with raw power and that's very dangerous. The other ministries, if it's Education or anything like that, they can't kick down people's doors in search of something, they don't have the physical power. Therefore, we have got to be very much more careful to try and protect the new image of an impartial police service and that is why the Commissioner is taking up a discussion document which the ANC distributed which speaks as if the security services have to be loyal to the ANC and not to the constitution. We are trying to say, "Now look here we are in a very difficult situation, in a divided situation politically, we are trying to create the new image of an objective and impartial police service and every time you chaps say something you create difficulties for us. And that applies to the media as well. The media creates tremendous difficulties, they actually use the expression, IFP minister, ANC minister, that's an invention of the media and I condemned it in parliament. I said that there is no such thing people must stop it, but they continue to do it. De Klerk does it. He gets on a platform and he says, "Look at what ANC ministers are doing". Now you can't have that, the politicians standing on a platform and speaking about an ANC minister. What is he? Is he an NP minister? He's not deputy minister of South Africa, but an NP minister. So they are not careful in the way they use language sometimes, even some of our most senior people, but I am not one of those, I don't make such mistakes. I stick strictly by the book, I play by the book and therefore I avoid controversy.
POM. So as far as you're concerned allegations that either police were deployed in KwaZulu or army were deployed in KwaZulu are former members of the MK and somehow they are in collusion with the ANC to murder leading supporters or leaders of the IFP are simply that, they are allegations that have no basis in fact?
JM. No, I can't say that. I say bring the facts to me.
POM. But so far you've not seen facts that support it?
JM. I haven't even had a complaint. One would have expected that someone would have said, now look here let's bring this to the attention of the authorities. But I have had a complaint from the Secretary General of the IFP about those people who were posing as police who killed several IFP people using as their excuse that they were collecting weapons and we took action to endeavour to make it clear to people that there was no such thing as police collecting weapons. People had to surrender them to police stations and so on. Therefore you see, of course, the four instances which were given to me by Dr Jiyane are being investigated and I think some people were even arrested. So as long as it is clear cut and you have a complaint or a factual situation, but all this other stuff which is part of election campaigns and what not and electioneering, we can't respond to that, it's impossible because once you do you then in fact further the whole, you join the game in other words and I am not prepared to join in the game.
POM. Do you think the media in that regard are pro-ANC and anti-IFP?
JM. Well even that is a generalisation. When one speaks about the media you are speaking about the individual journalist writing a story. Now I happen to believe that the media in every democratic society is a damn bloody nuisance but what's the alternative?
POM. A necessary nuisance.
JM. All the alternatives are worse and it's better to have an irresponsible, unobjective, strident press and media because we have discovered from bitter experience that the alternatives are a totalitarian control of the media resulting in cover-ups and hiding things and so on which of course leads to far bigger disasters as has happened in all these totalitarian states. So we have got to live with a media that is not - I mean a journalist is not a researcher, he has got to write a story, he's got a deadline, he's got a story and we can't expect them to be investigators who are careful with how they put things and so on. I think that would be expecting too much. They are media, they are stories, it's an occupational hazard, it's immediacy is one of the characteristics of news. It's immediate, it's spontaneous, it's not thought out. I think from that point of view the South African media is very active, it plays a big role even when it comes out with what turns out to be erroneous. But if they didn't do that, if they were responsible, if they were careful before they made an allegation or a statement, if they had self-censorship, then I would feel that we are in danger of losing our liberties and freedom. That's how I happen to feel about it, that's like castor oil. I hated it. Every time my mother brought a teaspoon I hated it like anything, but I think I've grown up to realise it was a necessary evil. But I think the media plays that role and it's up to us if we educate our people, if we get more education, if we encourage them to read more than newspapers but also read serious journals and so on, then it will balance up and you will be able to distinguish between a tabloid and the quality newspapers. Unfortunately I don't think we do have sufficiently, we don't have a Le Monde.
POM. A paper of record, New York Times or ...
JM. Strangely enough the only paper like that is The Citizen.
POM. That's correct. It's funny that you say that, I've been coming here now for eight years and I have found The Citizen has changed dramatically.
JM. And it's a bit of a surprise because of its origins and so on, but The Citizen is the nearest we seem to have to a paper which reports everybody, reports the thing correctly, doesn't distort it though they have an editorial policy which one might say is sort of right wing and so on, but really their reporting is really good. It reminds me of The Telegraph. I hated The Telegraph's policy but as a newspaper from the point of view of reporting the facts I found The Telegraph superior to The Times, though most people were going for The Times and felt that The Telegraph was too supportive of the Conservative Party. But from a reporter's point of view, a professional point of view I thought The Telegraph was very good indeed. I think The Star should have been the one that takes up that role deliberately. I don't think they have caught it yet, they have got it right. Maybe if they had Shaun Johnson it would begin to have that character. But we need something like that, a few quality newspapers which would have their own point of view but combine it with fairly reasonable reporting and so on and absence of distortion.
POM. So you would be distinguishing between the reportage of news which would be fact and news analysis which would be opinion?
JM. Yes, yes, or which is too aligned. I think for instance that The Weekly Mail & Guardian is too aligned and yet they could have played the role of - because after all The New Statesman was aligned but it managed to combine that with very good feature writing which gave it a certain credibility even amongst people who hated the policy that they were espousing. It may of course be that we are not English so we haven't got that, that could be the problem. Because the English, really, they are an admirable, I find them - I lived there many years and learnt to understand the way their mind works and so on and honestly I preferred them to the American press and yet the American press they can kill you. What a press! And yet on some matters you feel that you need something like the American media. We wouldn't have had a Watergate if you didn't have that kind of tenacity and going for the story. But it's a complex issue. I think South Africa has not yet got the balance right largely because we have this red herring of the media are largely owned by the whites and the blacks have got no media, which is a bit of a red herring because the media doesn't belong to the whites, it belongs to Oppenheimer or so-and-so, it's not quite true to foist the complaint on all the poor whites are being blamed for owning the press and you say to yourself, hey wait a minute, O'Reilly and somebody else and Murdoch, these are the owners of the media. The Australians don't own Murdoch's press or the world empire that he has created. He owns it, he controls it. So it's a bit of a red herring as if we had the media controlled entirely by black big business we would be satisfied. I don't think we would be satisfied. If Motlana and Ngube and others were substituted for the current owners we might have the same complaints from government.
POM. I just want to go back a bit on to something because, as you know I am not going to publish anything until the year 2000, I am going to follow everything through to the end of this transitional government so I have ten years, five years before the transition and five years after the transition and only then will I publish anything.
JM. Have you told The Almighty to make sure that you will be there, that you will be around?
POM. I'll be ready to collect my old age pension by the time I'm finished. Given the high profile that's given to differences between the IFP and the ANC, like you would think, again reading the media, that they are continuously at each other's throats and that there is a low grade civil war going on in KwaZulu/Natal, how do you distinguish between your responsibilities as a minister and your responsibilities to look after the interests of your party in government and how does the minister, Sydney Mufamadi, distinguish between his responsibilities as minister and look after the interests of the ANC in government?
JM. Well I think, you see first of all one must distinguish between different ministries. Ministry of Health, you can't really have an ANC policy towards life of babies or pregnant women. Whereas there are some ministries who are avowedly of a political nature like Foreign Affairs. There you can't have, you will be reflecting a political point of view when you establish relations with Cuba. If the minister was IFP the chances are that he wouldn't be enthusiastic. So it creates a challenge for a minister in that kind of ministry. But when you are in a ministry which provides a service which is of a national character which affects everybody and a service which has got to be non-partisan in order to be effective, then the challenge to the individuals is not as great as it is in the more political ministries. I distinguish between those ministries which have to be impartial and those which don't have to be where ideology plays a role. That's the first point I want to make.
. The second point is this, it is the forum in which you are operating. Remember we are operating at many levels. I am speaking here operating as a deputy minister of Safety & Security. I am not an IFP representative in this ministry. So one mustn't make the mistake of thinking that if you have a minister drawn from the IFP because there is a political conflict over provincial autonomy, over all kinds of things between the ANC and the IFP, it should be reflected in the operation of the ministry. It won't be. If you did that, let's assume that Minister Mufamadi wanted to somehow get the police to be almost an ANC adjunct, the way the National Party did. Look what the National Party did when they came to power in 1948. First of all get rid of the British uniforms, get rid of the British tradition of unarmed police, remove the numbers and names from the police uniform, introduce armed police. They then endeavoured ideologically to turn the police into a Nationalist minded police force so although the police were supposed to be impartial the whole ethos that was created was that it was part of the national renaissance. So what happened? Of course every chap who was English promptly left the force. The blacks had no opinion so they stayed, those who happened to be there they stayed in the lower ranks, they were not affecting policy and so on.
. Now I don't think we have tried to do that. I think in this last 18 months an attempt has been made to move away from the militarised ethos, National Party sort of thing, and to endeavour to make the constitution the point of loyalty. The community, the constitution, even the training of the first 2000 recruits who we have trained, done by the British, the Germans and the Dutch who are training them in the ways of a human rights kind of policemen. Otherwise you would have had ANC commissars and so on going there and being part of the training. That would be a trend which would indicate that we are going on the wrong track but by having an international training team as well drawn from countries which practice a human rights culture and constitutionalism and so on and those chaps have now completed their course, they are moving into the different areas, they are doing their practical work, and gradually we are trying to get the whole force through videos, through literature, through lectures, through workshops and seminars to get this orientation and of course you are forced to do that in a sense because there is a political balance. The country is balanced. You can't go too far in trying to get the force to be pro-this or pro-that. The National Party will resist if the ANC tried to do that. The IFP would resist if you tried to do that. So there's a kind of a balance.
. Now that doesn't mean you don't get, every now and again, departures because the thing is still new, so you can get a lot of incidents where this doesn't work well, like, for example, people saying that those police drawn from the KwaZulu police tend to be pro-IFP. And then some people will say, yes but those drawn from the uMkhonto weSizwe tend to be pro-ANC. I mean I had that at the meeting, I was quite amused. I arrived at the National Council meeting in Ulundi with my bodyguards so the premier of KwaZulu comes up to me and says, "Are you aware that one of those bodyguards of yours is a former uMkhonto weSizwe chap?" So I said to him, "Now look here, we have got several hundred people who have been integrated into the VIP protection unit who are former members of different parties, APLA, ANC and so on, and I can't say to them you mustn't be my bodyguard because you are a former .." Then I am going back to the previous position so we will judge people by what they do and the service that they give and so on. I think we are engaged in a process of democratisation, constitutionalism, loyalty to the communities and so on and it's a challenge but ministers have got to really do that.
. The Intelligence services are in even far more difficult problem where you had to integrate the Intelligence services of Bophuthatswana, the Intelligence services of Transkei, Ciskei didn't have, the Intelligence services, NIS and so on, reorganise all them, bring in and create the three services that we have created, that is the National Intelligence Agency, the Secret Service, the Military Intelligence, the Criminal Intelligence Service of the police. Now they are full of people drawn from the different political groupings. Now how do you function? You have to create a new ethos. So even the Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee, it is quite amusing to attend those meetings where you have got IFP, ANC, DP, all overseeing the Intelligence services on behalf of parliament. So it's a learning process, it's not going to be easy and the last thing we want is to emphasise the origins of people politically in the wrong fora. It's another matter when I am sitting in the conference of the IFP in a national conference, I can now launch any attacks I like on the policies that I don't like, the policies whereof the majority party in parliament or this or that, then you can do that, you are in the correct platform or forum for that. It's all a question of form, it's all a question of are you in the right place?
POM. You wouldn't use your position in the IFP, as a senior member of the IFP, to attack the government's security policies?
JM. I would if, let's try and think of an example, you take the South African National Defence Force, now you have had integration into the defence force of APLA, of uMkhonto weSizwe, you have had no intake from the IFP. So, I was one of those who went along to the defence force and said, "Now look, you've got to do something about this. You don't want a defence force which consists only of people drawn from the other political formations. You must have people drawn from the IFP." So they said, "All right give us a list". We then submitted a list of people who could be integrated. They then said, "Fine. Now please fill in the forms, give us the medical reports and ID numbers and so on of everybody." And the IFP has not done anything further. Now why have they not done anything further? Because some people in the IFP have said, wait a minute, if we have all these 5000 chaps integrated into the defence force who is going to protect us in the fight for autonomy? Well, you see, it's up to us. The Deputy President is waiting, Thabo Mbeki says, "Look here we have now agreed on this. When are your fellows going to submit the applications?" So we are waiting for the IFP. Now when my party launches attacks on the basis that we haven't got people in the defence force I can now give an answer. I can say, "Well Mr Powell, you and the others who are involved with the self-protection units will you please comply with the requirements so that we can get these people integrated into the army. The onus is now on you". But before that happened I could criticise the army and say you chaps are following the wrong policy.
POM. But you would do it ...?
JM. Anywhere. Publicly or anywhere because it would be true. It would be a correct policy. You could say it on a public platform that I am not happy with the fact that the defence force hasn't got people from the IFP and there was an agitation along those lines which I supported. You would also use your position and access which I did to Deputy President Mbeki and said, "Now look, this is unwise, we should follow a certain policy." Then I went back to the party and said, "Look here, will you people please compile a list of available people?" which was done and I was handed a copy of the list. So we are now waiting for the IFP to submit the names and to comply with defence force rules. Those are the ways in which you can function, both to further the interests of your party and at the same time to quite correctly act in the interests of the country.
POM. The country as a whole. What further reforms do you think must take place, or what is necessary in order to bring down the incredibly high levels of crime which are now a matter of reportage all over the world, the number one murder rate, number one rape rates, number one car-jacking rates, number one burglary rate. You have the list of number ones that one would rather not have. What kinds of things must be done?
JM. Well the first thing I want to say is this, that this number one rate sort of thing is because we are a first world country, our statistics come out every day. You can pick up exactly how many incidents occurred yesterday. Now you can't do that in many countries of the world. It's just not possible. So we are suffering from the fact that the media gets from us the statistics which they can then use to show that we are a crime-ridden country. If our statistics were not so good people wouldn't know. Now, of course, that imposes on us the obligation to do something about it. Now I think that there are various measures that have been taken. First of all Cabinet appointed a special Cabinet Committee to work out a strategy for the prevention of crime, quite a high powered Cabinet Committee. We have embarked on various measures which are of a varied nature because we don't regard this as a one off sort of thing, it is going to be a long process to fight against crime. We have tried to get big business involved to help us and they have been able to pinpoint the fact that technology is a vital factor. We suffered from sanctions which were primarily aimed against the police and security services, people wouldn't supply us with equipment if it was meant to be used by the police so we are backward. In many respects our technology is way behind and we have got to jack that up. I will give you examples, like fingerprints, we still use the old manual system of identifying fingerprints which means it takes us 27 days to answer a request from a court for purposes of determining the previous convictions of a prisoner. So we have got 20,000 prisoners awaiting answers from the Criminal Records Bureau, that's R1 million a day to feed those chaps. If we had modern equipment ...
POM. These are all on remand is it?
JM. They are detained there after conviction awaiting the reply. The equipment for automated fingerprint identification systems does that in a matter of minutes, you get your answers every 24 hours, but it's R300 million approximately to get that equipment and it has to be serviced and so on. Our technology has got to be jacked up in communications, in all the forensic equipment and so on. We really need the latest technology. That's one. It's a serious gap. Then of course we needed, which we are getting, the international community support, Interpol. We only joined Interpol last September. It's ridiculous a country like this developed country to be cut off from the rest of the world and to have to try and obtain information by itself and so on. Now you will hook into the system and you can follow up criminals as they move around the world and so on. The help from the international community which has been graphically illustrated with the serial killed thing when the man from America came and said, "No this is how you do it". He was only here four days, but no that's not how you do it, that's how you do a profile, which would have taken us how many years to work out ourselves on our own. Now you get a chap from the FBI, the FBI tells you, "Look this is a guy who has done this and this", and you get the information straight away. So that's going to have an effect.
. We need helicopters. Britain has got 150,000 police for
57 million people. We have 144,000 Police, just 6000 less, for 41 million or so people. They have 400-odd helicopters. We have maybe 20. Well they are a rich country, they are experienced and of course they have the convenience of being an island, but look at the disparity. If we had 400 helicopters your car hijacking and truck hijacking and so on would drop sharply straight away. There are a whole lot of measures which we need to take both in terms of personnel, training of personnel and technology.
. We also, of course, have to get rid of corruption. We reckon about, among ourselves in the ministry here, that about 10% of our chaps are corrupt and are involved in all kinds of things. I mean the taxi violence we have been able to discover that contrary belief that rivalry between taxis and taxi owners was causing this enormous amount of violence, we found that the owners were police. The owners of a lot of the taxis are police and they were involved in the whole thing. In fact we didn't discover that through the police; the Intelligence Services were eventually called on, "Look here can you please find out what's all this?" And they were able to say, "We have no evidence but there's a list of the people who are doing all this". Then we started arresting them one after the other. It's a long haul I think, but we are beginning to understand it, we are beginning to get on top of it.
. De Klerk dismantled all the Intelligence and Covert Operations, that was a demand of the democratic movement, so we find ourselves naked. You've got to re-establish Intelligence, you've got to re-establish Covert Operations and who knows how to do it? The bad fellows of the past are the only ones who know how to set up a network. Do you call them back from retirement? Or do you do what Modise has done? Modise just said, "I'm not having any interference with my Military Intelligence boys and that's it", so he's got his resources.
POM. But it's the old resources.
JM. But it's the old boys, you see, but he's got them. In our case they were all scrapped, thrown out and so on and now you've got to start all over again, a laborious process of reconstituting your Intelligence Service and your Covert Operations. Well we have had a bit of success already with the smuggling of arms. We had a covert operation where the people joined in the smuggling and then we jumped and arrested senior Mozambique police officials in the process, they were deeply involved in the smuggling of arms to this country. But it's a job, you are in a dilemma. Do you call back Basie Smit? That's the man who knows how to set up a network but then he's regarded as - these are the chaps who were torturing and so on and killing people. What do you do? It's a moral dilemma.
POM. What about the recruitment of more police?
JM. We got a sudden influx, there was a sense in which you had a big budget which was only for the SAP. Then you had the homeland police and you had the independent states' police, so you then have to integrate eleven police agencies, an additional 26,000 police to make our total about 144,000. Then people say, now look is it really the numbers, isn't it the presence? 86% of our police are serving the interests of the white community and only 14% are policing - well we are trying to correct that balance. That's your basic, you start from there. What does that mean in terms of resources? It means you have a huge township like Mtanzani(?) probably the third biggest township in South Africa, next to East London called Mtanzani, in Eastern Cape. So the East London Police, SAP there, got all the vehicles they need and the guys in Mtanzani have no vehicles. Now you've got to do something, you've got to provide the fellows in Mtanzani with transport, then you have a police presence because the transport can move fast, it can do this, instead of the fellows using bicycles. So it's presence, walkie-talkies, cellular phones. People must see the police. But if a chap is riding a bicycle in Umlazi with two million people, there's no police presence. And I think it is police presence that we have got, police presence, police ability to respond swiftly and efficiently, not really numbers.
POM. So you're talking about the infrastructure of the whole technological ...
JM. Infrastructure, the police stations. Where are the police stations? Here you've got five, six million whites and all the police stations are theirs. Then you look at this dark figure, no police stations. Soweto, where are the police to be seen? You've got Protea, some other place, there are no police. The resources must be reallocated. We're not saying we must now move them from the white areas and take them to the black areas, then you won't achieve the objective but you must somehow have an intelligent distribution of resources. For example, you put in a strategic place, which serves both whites and blacks, certain strategic places have to be identified so that you don't have the absurd situation where over 800 of our police stations are in white areas and only 200 of them are in black areas when the crime obviously is in the informal settlements and so on where there are no police stations at all. Some of these technical things are a vital necessity rather than merely increasing the numbers and then having a big increase in your salary bill without improving the effectiveness of the force.
POM. What emphasis is being put on this whole concept of community policing?
JM. There is a lot of emphasis on that, a bit of confusion as to what it means. To some police it means the whole community is a group of convenient informers to help me in my investigations. To others it's a bit more than that, it's not just people informing and in any event informing also depends on technology. It's no use having a telephone number 0800111213 ringing if you see anything suspicious and people have no telephones, that's not going to help. You have to provide the telephones and the telephone service to enable the people to phone that number. It's all a whole series of things that have to be done to make this effective. But a lot of community forums have been set up, hundreds of them. Sometimes people have used self help, they have thought community forum means they can take the place of the police and start going for criminals themselves in their various areas. But in some areas it's working well, in others it's not working well. Sometimes it's the fault of the police, the old fashioned policeman saying, "I am not going to have a bunch of civilians wasting my time, I'm very busy", and then others who think that that the community forum means it's a platform for attacking the police. But generally speaking there are hundreds of these forums and some of them have been extremely helpful in improving the relationships between the police and the public.
POM. Now would these forums come under the jurisdiction, so to speak, of the new local government structures?
JM. I don't know that. We have been encouraging these linking forums in a particular community with the police in that area, but of course community forums usually are closely linked with the transitional local government structures and I suppose after November 1st they will be closely linked with the local authority. But there are still problems like, do you pay people? Do you have a staff for the community forum? Does it then become another job for a few people? There are lots of debates like that going on, what exactly is the forum, what is it's role and so on, quite a lot as to what form it should really take.
POM. By the same token, what can be done to reduce the level of political violence in KwaZulu/Natal?
JM. That's gone down sharply you know, very sharply.
POM. Even in recent months?
JM. Yes it has gone down very sharply. The political violence. The latest statistics in fact, which are a shock to most people, for January to July there has been a very sharp drop in political violence.
POM. That's not the impression you get from ...
JM. There was a cutting in one of the papers last week which I sent to the IFP Information Department and said people must know more about this, but who is interested in statistics? The point is you get someone like Mary de Haas who is supposed to be a person who does research and so on on human rights saying that we are on the verge of a civil war. She is an anthropologist in the Natal University. She says something about civil war, meantime the deaths are going down. Now in a civil war the deaths go up they don't go down and what's happening is the spokesman of the police said people are getting tired, that's how he put it. Bala Naidoo is his name, police spokesman in KwaZulu/Natal. He said, "I think people are getting tired", and that's true I think, people are getting tired of fighting over housing and land and faction fights and all that. I don't think it's correct the impression that political violence is increasing, it's not correct in fact. My suggestion is that you must go and see the police in the different provinces and get the actual statistics and compare between 1994 and 1995 what has happened, what's happened to the killings. They have got the whole thing usually set out.
POM. Just a few more questions and thanks for all the time. You're a terrific interview, I told you that before. Some people give you one sentence replies and you are pushing and pushing and pushing. If I ask you a question I can sit back and relax for half an hour.
. This refers to the government. It has been said increasingly that the ANC is becoming more heavy handed, that it's pushing through it's legislative agenda regardless, that the government of national unity is more a kind of metaphysical concept at this point than one of where there is consultation right across the board. The ANC may consult but at the end of the day it will say, well we have done our consultation, this is what we are doing. It has been accused of becoming more heavy-handed and in the same way in KwaZulu/Natal it would appear the IFP have become more heavy-handed particularly with regard to it's proposals for a new constitutional dispensation where all the other parties have walked out and I think there was one occasion on which the National Party had been given an undertaking that a particular piece of constitutional legislation would not be voted on because the NP caucus wouldn't be there that day and they were given that undertaking but the IFP pressed ahead and pushed through the legislation. Do you think the IFP and the ANC are in a certain way mirror images of each other in their respective areas, the ANC at the national level becoming more majority rulers, what this is all about, and the IFP at provincial rule saying majority rule, this is what it's all about?
JM. I don't agree. I think that the allegations are unfair to both sides. First of all last year everybody said nothing is being done, MPs are being paid money, they are sitting there with no legislation to push through; what's going on? That was the complaint. But of course the ministries were busy, including ours, preparing their legislation and of course the flood came, the flood came. The same people who really delay and waste the time of committees, taking up every little point, which they didn't do in the previous parliament, where Select Committees were regarded as there merely to make a few amendments here and there but the minister, generally speaking, got his way, the majority party got its way. Now here the ANC has allowed a situation in which the portfolio committees don't just rubber-stamp what comes from the Cabinet. There are debates, there are arguments, people are called, experts are called, the public is called. So the process has become a very involved and long process with respect to every piece of legislation. Now everyone says, very good, and then they won't take the consequences that if you have those delays you are then going to find that because there are only so many months in the year you are going to reach a point where a ministry is saying, "For God's sake you must pass the Police Act, we have had this damn thing since last year. It must be passed before that session closes in August or September." Then you've got a rush. You see, 44 pieces of legislation.
. So I think in the case of the national parliament the accusation is unfair. It's true that the chairmen then became very concerned to get the legislation through because they were being pushed by the ministries, by the government, who were saying you have had enough time you chaps to look at all this. And you get parties which have been sitting on their backsides the whole of last year, they had the bills, the Police Bill for instance was published last year, so people do nothing, pay no attention to it, don't work on it and then at the last minute they now want to bring forward 54 amendments. All right, what it means is this, and I think this is what is true, we have changed the way in which parliament functions. First of all we haven't got any more a supreme body. Parliament is no longer supreme. We no longer have a situation where every law that is passed by parliament cannot be questioned by the courts, the courts can only apply it which is the supremacy of parliament concerned. That's no longer the case. Every little thing that comes up now has to be judged against the constitution, that it can be challenged in the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Court can find it invalid. That creates all sorts of opportunities for parties. If you chaps pass that like that we will go to the Constitutional Court. Further delays. The Select Committee system has been drastically changed. Before it was a system where the thing went to Select Committee, a few words were changed here and there but basically ...
POM. A rubber stamp more than ...
JM. Now it's not like that so it lengthens the process. These members have no research facilities, they have no books, they have no research facilities, they have no secretaries. All these committees are functioning without staff. We therefore have to re-examine the infrastructure of parliament to fit in with the new ways of doing things and I think once we have got that right, once we have realised the fact that the months are finite, there are only twelve in a year, there are only 24 hours a day and you cannot function the way we are functioning. You have to reorganise the whole thing, you have to make sure that you have computers which can tell you where everybody is, can't have chaps in five committees then one committee hasn't got a quorum, then this happens. The chaos has got to stop, but that is a function of the new parliament and is a hopeful development, it is a democratic development and I think it's a terrible mistake to think that the ANC is authoritarian. The IFP says that, they have said, "Agh, the ANC is now authoritarian", the DP is saying that, but when you look at the obstruction by parties that occurs in taking up needling little nit-picking and so on by Gibson, whom I regard as one of the best parliamentarians, Gibson of the DP, the man nit-picks, he challenges everything, he looks at every sentence and so on. Well then time goes, time goes.
. I think really what is required, which we should really be spending our time on is how can we improve the way in which parliament works. How can we modernise it to fit in with this new role that we are giving to portfolio committees? How can we make information available to members so that they don't waste our time? Our library is good in parliament but you need more than that, you need each member to have the kind of facilities that the American members have got, but then people say we haven't got that kind of money. But if you adopt these American systems of hearings where portfolio committees call civil servants and demand information and ask them questions and spend seven, eight days, that's the American style. It's not the British style. So, you are bringing in a new way of doing things. You, therefore, have to adjust the old rickety parliamentary system and modernise it. But you can't pour the new wine in the old bottles, that's the long and short of it.
POM. There was a lovely story in the Mail about a Miss Johnson who is the woman in charge of taking, the only person who had to take the attendance every day of who was attending parliament and who wasn't and who was in what committee and if they weren't attending in parliament then were they in a committee and if they weren't in a committee where would they be, she had to take all that work home at night and she was about six weeks behind.
JM. As far as the IFP is concerned, the IFP has a genuine complaint that the constitutional process is being deliberately delayed and sabotaged in order to enable the national constitution to be adopted before there is a provincial constitution. That is what has caused that crisis, that the IFP has reached a conclusion that the way in which this matter is proceeding is benefiting those who wish to ensure that there isn't in fact a constitution by the 31 December. We are now in October and this was a demand and a decision that was taken last year, and again the same thing. People are saying, now look here what's going on? Why is there this delay? What's going on? And therefore you got this push of people saying we must take votes, we must get on with it, if people don't agree with us we must go to elections and so on, but we can't carry on like this. This is what happens in the National Council.
POM. 31st December is the deadline for provincial?
JM. For our provincial constitution. We set out that deadline last year at the national conference and here we are now, we are in the middle of October, we are nowhere near having a text. So the IFP National Council said to the members and to those in the legislature, we are sick and tired of the way you chaps are handling this, it's being slowed down, we think deliberately, we don't accept the bona fides of the National Party and the ANC and so on, this thing must be pushed. So all those agreements with Mike Tarr, the Whip, that eight members of the NP would be in a caucus and so on, the National Council said we're not interested in that, we want these things pushed through and you must go in there and carry out the instructions of the National Council. That's what happened. It wasn't sudden we're now authoritarian. The other side of authoritarianism, of course, is obstruction. People can obstruct. You get a chap, one fellow, to obstruct the whole process, Roger Burrows or somebody, and you just get filibustering attitudes so that you never reach your target. Strategically for the IFP it was important to have the constitution in place which then would be difficult to reverse in terms of a new constitution. Well, they are about to lose that strategic objective the way things are going. It will be Christmas just now and when are you going to get it? The new constitution is supposed to be ready by May, that's what some people say, so when, when are you going to get the KwaZulu/Natal constitution? This is what is causing the crisis. Not authoritarianism but again time.
POM. So the IFP in Natal will be saying if we get our constitution in place it's going to be very difficult for the constitution produced by the Constitutional Assembly to really meddle with it in any serious way?
JM. Yes, because there is a constitutional principle which says you cannot substantially reduce the powers of our province. That's in the present interim constitution. So if you have a constitution which has been endorsed by the Constitutional Court it's going to be very difficult to draft something which is going to interfere with that. That is why the ANC has not encouraged any of the provinces under their control to have a constitution. They didn't want to be faced with that problem. This is the strategic need which is causing the demand for speed only on the constitutional matter, not on the rest of the behaviour of government, only on the constitution. That's where the IFP people have become very, very concerned and are demanding action.
POM. But there are divisions within the IFP?
JM. Regarding the tactics, yes. Yes there are divisions.
POM. Dr Mdlalose himself has said that he is prepared to resign, that he won't preside over ...
JM. No, there are differences, it's differences in tactics. Some people are saying no matter how long it takes you must endeavour to get all the parties to agree through consensus with a constitution. You mustn't push it even if they obstruct and so on because constitutions are long term, if you first have consensus and in that way you will have a more stable constitution. Now the other tactic is, no, no, we must push the thing, if we are defeated and we don't get the two thirds majority let's go in an election on that basis and fight for a two thirds majority from the electorate. Well that's a difference in tactics.
POM. But if KwaZulu/Natal is not ready for local elections and won't be until ...
JM. March 27th, the elections are fixed now for March 27th.
POM. How could it be in a position to have a snap provincial election?
JM. It can't have a snap election, that's the short answer.
POM. It can't?
JM. You can't. You can't legally have a snap election. For one thing there is no Electoral Act. There is no Act which explains how the provincial election will be conducted. You have to have an Act which does that because people thought there was an Electoral Act because the constitution says you will conduct the elections in terms of the Electoral Act 1993 but the moment you look at that Act you find out that it only applied to the election of last year, so there is no Electoral Act so you can't have a snap election.
POM. So all this threat about snap elections is just ...?
JM. Legally cannot happen.
POM. That's pretty interesting. Has anyone written about that?
JM. No, nobody has written about it, but I pointed it out, I sent a memo to the IFP and said you can't hold an election because of this lacuna, what lawyers call a lacuna in the law, there's a gap, there's a vacuum.
POM. Dr Buthelezi has talked, I've interviewed him this year, he's been very kind, I've interviewed him every year since 1990, and it's been interesting again to follow how his mind works from year to year, but he's been very consistent on one issue and that is on the issue of federation. I asked him one time, I think the question I asked him was, was there anything he would die for, and he said he would die for federation. This is about three years ago, before the elections or anything were held, before the interim constitution was finalised. But then again he talks about autonomy and he talks about the right of the Zulu people to self-determination. And I just picked two quotes from his, because I went down to Stanger, I was a guest of his on Shaka Day at Stanger and then at the Umlazi Stadium, and he said, "The very essence of Zuluness is now under siege and I am calling on the Zulu people to hear me when I say that we are entering the final phase of a more than two century struggle by the Zulu people to establish their kingdom as a kingdom and that will live on in perpetuity." And he says, "Pretentious developments have taken place in the last sixteen months and have put the destiny of the Zulu nation in the hands of the people of this region who by themselves are now paving the way for the new struggle for our liberation." Now that's very strong language.
JM. Yes, but you see it will happen if you try to impose something on them. Let's just look at the factual position. KwaZulu/Natal is 27% of the South African population.
POM. The biggest province in terms of population.
JM. But they are a minority. They are not even a third. Theoretically, therefore, you can impose something on them.
POM. Sorry, do you have to be a third to be classified?
JM. No, if you say that a constitution requires a two thirds majority, you must have a third which can block the majority. Now they don't even have that. They are not a third which can say or which can prevent or block, they haven't got, in other words, a blocking third as we call it. Now that means you could theoretically impose a constitution on that. Right? Passed by 100% of the other people in the country with 100% of the Zulus in support of opposing that constitution. They would lose if it was a question of numbers. Now they are saying no, they won't accept that. They will not accept a situation in which their input into the constitution can be ignored.
POM. But yet they have withdrawn from the Constituent Assembly?
JM. Yes because the Constitutional Assembly won't accept the principle that you cannot impose a constitution on the Zulu people. You see you've got to be very careful about this. There are 100 million or more Arabs, they can't impose their will on the four million Israelis. It will not happen, the Israelis won't accept it. You can't come there with a numbers game and say, you chaps are a minority of four million in the Middle East, therefore you should listen to the majority and you must give up any ideas that you may have that you constitute an Israeli nation. The Israelis will say, go to hell and they will fight. Now this is the point, you must do it by consensus. What the Zulus hope, and have hoped for for a long time, is that the day when there is a new dispensation they will be allowed to put forward their own view of their future and that everybody else will listen to them. But if you say, no, no, ignore them, ignore the IFP they are a minority, well you are going to have to impose the constitution and this is the crux of the problem. Because the Zulus can't be treated like that, you can treat my people like that, the Botswana you can treat like that because we are not a fighting nation, we are not a military nation, we depend on our brains for survival, but Zulus they won't allow you to push them around on the basis that you have got a majority of people in the country. They will say, no, no, wait a minute, we want to have our King, we want to have this, we want to have that, we want to have that.
. And the cardinal mistake the ANC is making on this issue is to think it's a matter of numbers. Now you can't do it with Afrikaners as well, forget the Zulus. You can't go to the Afrikaners and say, now look here you guys are a minority therefore you must do as we say. They will say, no, wait a minute, we want to make the conditions under which we are prepared to be part of the system clear to everybody, but if they are going to jump on us we will fight. This is the thing, there is a kind of triumphalism in the ANC which is ignoring the fact that this particular situation was brought about through negotiation, not by revolutionary victory. When you have a revolutionary victory, military victory, that's a different matter. You have conquered the other people and you can more or less dictate how the thing should happen. Here we are getting the ANC psychologically behaving as if they have won a military revolutionary victory. Now we've got to try and stop that and say now chaps, wait a minute. Now some of the sober people are beginning to say we must negotiate.
POM. That's in the ANC?
JM. They are realising the consequences of passing a constitution, saying that it applies to everybody, then you have to enforce it. This is the difficulty.
POM. But not all the Zulus are united behind the IFP.
JM. It doesn't matter. Where has it every happened? In which country have all the people of a particular community been united? Are the Irish united?
POM. God, no.
JM. But the bloody IRA gives you hell for 20 years and how many are they, the chaps who are doing all this? Probably only 100 activists. It's not a matter of numbers, it's a question of the very complicated factors and so on affecting a community.
POM. But the language has moved from federation to autonomy to self-determination.
JM. No, no, there's no difference you see. No, not at all. You exercise your self-determination in a particular way. Self-determination means this, it means nothing more than the Anglo-Saxon meaning of self-determination. Some people have used their self-determination to join federations. Some have used their self-determination to separate. So the word self-determination by itself doesn't suggest what the media is trying to suggest that the Zulus or the IFP is after secession. If the Zulus wanted secession they would have said so. They are not a dissembling people, they don't dissemble, they don't beat about the bush, and that includes Buthelezi. He doesn't beat about the bush. You are not going to get some kind of wishy-washy clever talk. If in fact what they wanted was a separation they would have said so and, of course, they would be damn stupid to say so because the cake, unlike the other areas where people talked of separation, like in Uganda and so on, where Buganda is the richest province, KwaZulu/Natal is not the richest part of South Africa.
POM. The poorest.
JM. It's the poorest. And also they are a big group, why should they secede? Minorities usually secede when they are tiny and insignificant but here it's a very big group and the cake lies in Gauteng and they want a share of that cake. Now you can't have secession and financial support. The two are contradictory.
POM. And KwaZulu couldn't exist without financial support from the centre.
JM. It can't. Therefore all the talk in fact it is to patronise the IFP when you say that, oh no the language means secession, as if they haven't got the brains to work out that they produce 14% of the wealth of the country, they have got 27% of the population, they would be in difficulties. There would be too many problems and then how many Zulus are in the rest of South Africa? You can't bring them back those millions. No, that's not it. The issue is still basically what are the powers that should be in the centre and what powers should be in the province.
POM. Is that the central, if you look at the future, as this new constitution is drawn up, is that the central question facing the country?
JM. That is the question.
POM. That could be the decisive issue?
JM. I was asked that question at a press conference. They abandoned the safety and security aspect and said, "We want to ask you questions on the IFP", and they started asking questions along these lines and I said, "Let's cut out the crap, the issue is autonomy for KwaZulu/Natal. It's the only issue. Cut out all this complicated stuff. It's autonomy. They want powers of a certain kind but they don't want to be separate from the rest of the country". Therefore, the ANC is making a terrible mistake. It's like my son, when my son demands his independence, I want my key, I'm 21 years old and so on, and I still have to pay his university fees. I laugh because he has got no independence. So it's the same here, when a fellow demands autonomy, demands this, demands that and you know that you have the purse strings, why make such a fuss? Let him have what he wants because you've got the budget. There's only one budget. You are collecting the taxes. He's not even demanding the right to collect taxes. My God, if he wants to secede the first thing he must demand is to have a Boston Tea Party. That's where you start, you must control the taxes. He's not even demanding that. The thing is not real this business of separation, secession, it's not really, but it's a good swear word, it's a wonderful propaganda tool to accuse the other fellow that, look here you've got a hidden agenda, you actually want to secede. It's useful.
POM. If the IFP stays out of the Constituent Assembly and it comes to a vote, can the Constituent Assembly in the absence of the IFP still get two thirds of the total number?
JM. No. The IFP must be there. You see if the NP and the DP and the IFP are together that's 38% of the vote, so the ANC would not get two thirds.
POM. But if everybody voted with the ANC and said to the IFP, tough, we've got our two thirds, even if you were here and you voted against it, it makes no difference, we've got two thirds, would that still be a form of imposition?
JM. Of course. That has been the argument, that is why international mediation, all these things were about what is the role of majoritarianism in the system. In the constitution making face, you see constitutions are very different from what happens after a constitution is adopted. Even the US constitution you needed all those signatures of all those guys. Namibia, every party signed from extreme left to extreme right, they signed because that was the constitution, those are the rules of the game, and voting is very dangerous when you are drawing up the rules of the game. You must go by consensus if you possibly can. That doesn't mean you give a veto. It is one these slogans that people use, that if you demand consensus that means you want a veto. It doesn't mean that at all but you must have a substantial support and people must feel that they are part of what has been drawn up and you can't ignore them by simply saying we are the majority therefore we go ahead. That is why some people like Cyril Ramaphosa are beginning to say now, let's go back and organise some of these things, let's get back to the issue of powers of provinces and so on and negotiate, because they now realise that you pass the thing but then you've got to implement it. How do you implement it in KwaZulu/Natal? How does the constitution get implemented there? You've got to station troops, you've got to station police; we don't want that.
POM. Two last very quick questions. One, is the IFP in danger of becoming more of a regional party than a national party?
JM. For the past twenty years that's been the propaganda for God's sake. It's as old as the hills. The Zulus occupy a certain portion of the country which is their traditional land so you can always say that any Natal party is regional but in fact it is not like that.
POM. The second one is, I hear from talking to other people that white people who came into the party are now being marginalised in the sense that there is a resentment that because they were prominent whites they got well placed on the list and got elected to parliament but that they had nothing really deeply in common with the IFP credo before, they were more opportunistic.
JM. I don't think that's true. In fact the biggest attack has been on people like Konigkramer who has been in the IFP from the day it was founded and who, of course, has built up the Ilanga into a formidable newspaper.
POM. Many people would say he got marginalised.
JM. Yes but that's the point. You are saying people are marginalised because they got into the party and they were given positions and so on when they didn't actually deserve to get them because they had just come into the party and all that but Konigkramer has been the main target and he has been there throughout in the party and has built up the party newspaper into a very formidable paper. Now you can't say that a fellow like that just came in opportunistically yesterday. He didn't. Well this is the point because many things are wrong in the statement you've made. For example, you take a person like Peter Miller, people like that, Waterson, now these people brought to the IFP the white vote in the elections and that vote was very important. They voted strategically for the National Party at national level and for the IFP at provincial level. They brought an almost 100% white vote, wiped out the DP virtually. It was a strategic voting by the white community in KwaZulu/Natal. Indians didn't vote for the IFP but the whites voted almost en bloc. Now you can't call people like that a bunch of fellows who just came in and they've made no contribution, this, that and the other and so on. They came in with the white vote. They were well known politicians in their own right in their communities, more powerful than a lot of the IFP people individually. So they may not be as powerful as Minister Buthelezi who has got more support among the Zulus than they have simply because the whites are a minority, but they came with support. Mike Tarr, Miller, Waterson and so on, these people came with votes. Now we can't forget that. Sometimes people even within the IFP forget that, they forget the whites, they forget the Indians, they think they are along in KwaZulu/Natal and they are not. So it is still strategically extremely important because the whites control the economy, they control the sugar, they are the sugar barons and so on, the ports, so you can't write off the white community and therefore the white members of IFP are not a bunch of people who just appeared from nowhere.
POM. What I meant to say was, is their influence growing less within the party?
JM. The influence of all whites in South Africa is growing less. We are in an African state now so that the balance of power is shifting all the time in favour of the blacks in a certain sense, not in all senses, but in a political sense. Because we have democracy that basically means that the position of the whites has become less important politically. The position of the whites in the Western Cape is less important than the position of the Coloureds. The Coloured voice is becoming louder and louder and louder. Now that's not an indication that suddenly the Coloureds have become anti-white, it is simply the realities of the situation there, the demographic situation caused by the democratic chances. Suddenly the Coloured people are discovering themselves as an entity and some very ambitious Coloured politicians are arising like Marais who now feels he should be premier and not Kriel. That's a natural development I think all round that you are going to get that kind of feeling by people, why should a white person be the mayor of Durban? Why shouldn't it be a Zulu? That kind of thing we are going to get and it is not confined to the IFP. Even in the ANC they have got problems about this, very big problems, anti-Indian feelings, anti this and that and people feeling that the Indians have too great an influence on policy. Those sorts of things are the results of extending electoral power to the majority.
POM. Thank you ever so much.