About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

14 Nov 1995: Viljoen, Constand

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POM     Let me first start, General, with going back to the period prior to the elections in April 1994, it was a very tense period in time, the Conservative Party still would not contest the elections, there was a lot of right wing activity. Now many people say, many people that I have spoken to, that the turning point was the attempted invasion of Bophuthatswana by the AWB and the pictures on television of a brandy swilling, patchwork army firing bullets at random and then retreating almost with their tails between their legs, that that was the turning point in the collapse of right wing resistance as such. Would you agree with that assessment or were there other factors at work at that point in time which led you to make a different evaluation of the way to proceed?

CV     Well you must bear in mind what caused the tension in that period. Remember on 18th December we concluded the first accord with the ANC which was an accord which was completely acceptable to Mr Hartzenberg of the Conservative Party and part of that accord was that early in January we will meet for three weeks and try to finish off the whole idea of the concept of the volkstaat to be implemented before 27th April. Then Mr de Klerk turned around on us and he said there is no hope of having a referendum because according to the constitution people such as the Afrikaner people could have self-determination provided that we give substantial proven support of such a desire. Now when Mr de Klerk pulled the mat from underneath our feet there was quite a strong reaction from my constituency's point of view. I was in the position of having been given the task of giving strategic guidance and to me it was clear that if we could not have a referendum it would not be possible to have the volkstaat finished before the 27th April. That would leave us one choice only and that was the violent way, for which we were prepared and we could have gone that way.

     So that was the building up of the tension and then in January Mr Mbeki and the negotiating team were discussing this dilemma and they came up from the ANC with a suggestion that we should use the provincial votes within the election as a referendum. In other words all the votes being cast for those parties in favour of self-determination would then be regarded as yes votes for the referendum. To me that was a strategic alternative. I tried to put this alternative to my people at a very large meeting in Pretoria on 29th January and the AWB and some of the CP members then shouted me down. It was not acceptable to them and they just wanted to go for the violent option which to me was at that stage not acceptable for many reasons. That was the 29th January. [Then we carried on and we had this ...]

POM     Those reasons would be? The violent option was not viable to you for many reasons.

CV     I was from the beginning, I always said that I am prepared to go to the violent option, I am prepared to wage a war for the freedom of my people provided that that would be the only option out and having been working with the concept of self-determination up to the 29th January I found that this is a very complex principle and especially the application of self-determination inside South Africa was also very complex and I fully realised that at that stage not enough study had been carried out in this regard. I therefore thought that the idea of having the referendum on 27th April and thereafter establishing the institution, the body called the Volkstaat Council, that would give us the answer in order to have a very strong solid case prepared for the whole idea of a volkstaat because it has always been my view that the creation of the volkstaat must not solely be for the purposes of the Afrikaner, of being to the advantage of the Afrikaner only, but it has to be conflict preventing, it has to be also advantageous to the other people in the country too and I thought that might be a good idea to have such a body in order to finalise this study, which in fact did happen afterwards.

     Then we had the big problem of convincing my people that this was the only option at that stage available and the Conservative Party consistently rejected the idea of participation and so did the AWB. Eventually I decided to register the party on the Friday evening after it became known that the IFP would also participate in the election because then it was clear to me that of the old Freedom Alliance it would only be the Volksfront that would be left with the Conservative Party if the IFP should decide to participate in the election. I registered on the Friday evening with the intention of presenting it to a controlling body meeting of the Volksfront on the next Saturday morning. It was not acceptable to the Volksfront at that stage. They voted, I can't quite remember the vote but it was something like 40 to 19 votes against the idea of participating. I then thereafter offered the registration of the party to the Freedom Alliance because I thought it might be a very good idea to have in South Africa a strong political alliance such as the old Freedom Alliance operating on the basis of self-determination, on the basis of peoples caring for the peoples, at that stage the Tswana peoples, the Zulu peoples and the Afrikaner peoples.

     Then I was invited by Mr Mangope to go to Bophuthatswana because he was at that stage considering to participate in the election and he invited me and I arrived there to find that he had assembled his State Security Council in which he then explained to me the whole situation about Bophuthatswana. They had already by then gone through the silent phase of the revolution, that means the strikes and so on, students not attending classes and this is not working, etc., and they had already started the burning phase. In fact I could see some fires in Mmabatho when I landed on that specific day. And the State Security Council explained to me under the chairmanship of Mr Mangope that they had information that the ANC was preparing to move a few truck loads of MKs in over that weekend. This was a Tuesday when I saw the State Security Council. And then Mr Mangope asked me whether it would be possible to give him some farmers to reinforce his forces so that he could make sure that they will not be militarily overrun in the weekend to come.

     So, with the intention of gaining enough time until the Tuesday, which was a week by then, for him to call his parliament together and by then he had already given notice to the parliament to assemble on that specific Tuesday, to make the decision on participation in the election. But the State Security Council, especially the police side of it and the defence force side of it made it very clear to me that if we should include the AWB it would lead to revolt and to an uprising amongst the Bophuthatswana Defence Force and the Police Force. President Mangope then specifically referred to the past where the Afrikaner farmers and his ancestors worked together when Mzilikazi went through that area attacking Tswana people and attacking Afrikaner people. They defended jointly against Mzilikazi. And he then said could I send him some Afrikaners and I said, yes I have an Afrikaner force available and I will send it to him. We then agreed that they would confirm the possibility of the MK people moving in by the Thursday but in the meantime I will make the necessary preparations to move my people to that area. Many of my people came from the farming community and just about all of them participated also in the commando system, but I could not use the commando weapons and not all of them were therefore properly armed for such a task and they were in any case going to come under the direct command of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force. So it was then agreed between me and Mr Mangope and his defence force that we will send the farmers unarmed to Bophuthatswana and then they will come under the command of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force, they will be armed by them and then they will carry out the task as required by the Chief of the then Bophuthatswana Defence Force.

     The AWB, notwithstanding the fact that they were warned by Dr Hartzenberg not to go to the area decided to go in any case and then they went into the area with the disastrous results well known all over the world at this stage. Now this was not the final, well maybe it was one of the final aspects convincing me of the dangers of this kind of operation considering the insurrection of the AWB because had I, for example, decided to go for the larger operation, and that is to seize a volkstaat and to defend the volkstaat, then I would again run the risk of the AWB following their own agenda as they have done at the World Trade Centre on 25th June in the previous year and as they have done in Bophuthatswana.

     That evening going back I realised that with the AWB as a military factor all the goodwill of the farming part of my forces would be nullified by the actions, or the ill-discipline, of the AWB. Therefore a military operation would in any case have been ridiculous but that was not the only reason. I had some other reasons too and that is mainly the economic side, the financial side. Dr Hartzenberg himself had committees appointed and they calculated that financially such a volkstaat if we grabbed it by force would only be able to last for about three weeks and then financially it would either have to raise its own taxes within three weeks which is virtually impossible or it would be choked to death financially. Considering also the dangers of political isolation as we have had before with such a small tiny volkstaat, considering the effect which, for example, economic sanctions such as cutting off power, such as cutting off diesel and fuel, such as preventing the farmers from the volkstaat to deliver their products at the markets and so on, considering all that together with the inadvisability from the poor performance of the AWB in Bophuthatswana, I then decided that it was certainly not the right time for this kind of operation.

     In any case, and I think this is the most important reason, that had we gone for a military option then after the military option in any case you will have to sit around a table again and discuss the future of South Africa because we share this country together with the other people and whatever road you take eventually you have to sit around the table to discuss the pros and cons of self-determination and had you taken the road of violence we would have killed a lot of their people and they would have killed a lot of our people and it certainly would have hardened the attitudes of many, many people for the whole negotiation process. So that is the reason why we eventually decided on 27th April to take the strategic alternative using the provincial vote as a referendum and thereafter we created within four days of parliament opening, we created the Volkstaat Council which has now done certain studies and we have also followed certain political lines which I think gained enough high ground, or gained a much improved situation on what we had before the election to achieve what we have in mind on self-determination.

POM     One of the ironies of the situation, it would seem to me, is that you have this constant deterioration in the relationship between President Mandela and Deputy President de Klerk to the point of where it's gone past the point of being chill. In many respects they hurl personal insults at each other. At the same time President Mandela holds you personally in very high esteem. Even last weekend, at least the newspapers reported that you said there could be all kinds of repercussions as the result of the arrest of General Malan and he said he would not be intimidated, he went out of his way to say that you were an honest person. What do you think accounts for the chemistries that exist between you and President Mandela and the lack of it that exists between himself and Mr de Klerk?

CV     I think the basis of the difference is the approach. I and my people represent the more conservative part of the Afrikanerdom and in a way we are much closer to the black indigenous people because we are the white indigenous people of this country and it is my view that peace will only come to this country and development and happiness will only come to this country once we have arrived at a solution of good co-existence, or a solution that will last regarding co-existence between the two groups. I think Mr de Klerk himself represents the more liberal Afrikaner people together with the English liberals in the country and we are very straightforward in our politics, we say exactly what we mean and we say exactly what we ask and what we intend to do, whereas Mr de Klerk is more the cute politician articulating around political points, etc., and somehow working with the black people it is better to do it my way than their way. I think another important point is that Mr de Klerk and the National Party made a basic mistake in the run up towards the election. When they were confronted with the need for change they were pressurised into it by some of the western world countries. They then didn't fundamentally approach reform to find the best solution. They suddenly changed their whole structure, the National Party structure and they rejected their past completely in order to get away as far as possible from apartheid, which to me was rather artificial. I think the ANC started doubting the sincerity of the National Party where from our side they could see that we are more sincere in our approach.

     Another very important point is that we have in the post-election political scene, we have taken the line in the Freedom Front that we are working for the Afrikaners. We have no idea of trying to grab power or to take power which Mr de Klerk is claiming to do. We therefore tackle this thing by first attending to our peoples and first attending to their survival and we are genuinely looking towards the co-existence which amongst others includes economic development which is very much in favour of our black people in South Africa too and we have gone even further to initiate the Africa Project which is a project in which we will use Afrikaner farmers and we are running that project with the assistance of Mr Mandela to use the Afrikaner farmers to give assistance to the neighbouring countries so that there will be a general upliftment of the whole of southern Africa. I think this is another demonstration that we Afrikaners, as represented by the Freedom Front, are very much more fundamentally orientated in our reform and in our approach towards finding a solution of co-existence than Mr de Klerk who directly sees this as just carrying on with the Westminster type of politics of the past.

POM     You are not a man who strikes me that makes a move without having thought through the implications and when it was announced that you were going to, you and Mr Mandela, were going to meet in Pretoria to discuss the possible extension of the amnesty date it struck me that if it was announced that this meeting was going to take place in fact all the prior moves must in fact have been put in place and this was just like the final signing off. One, it didn't turn out that way. Two, members of the National Party I talked to then were complaining that Mr Mandela or the ANC were trying to give you an advantage in the run up to the elections so that you would have something to show for your efforts over the last 18 months and in that sense take part of the Afrikaner vote that was still with the National Party back to the Freedom Front. That didn't turn out to be the way either. And thirdly, on top of that just before the elections you had the arrest of General Malan and some of the leaders of your own party, putting you in an extremely difficult political situation both with your own people and with the larger body politic. Would you go through the politics of the moves that went on at that point?

CV     Can I start off by saying that I was, right from the start, against the general concept as the ANC planned the whole so-called Truth Commission. I believe that the codicil to the constitution is very clear in this regard which says that we have had a bad past, from both sides there were gross violations of human rights, and I personally believe that there were many, many more cases on the ANC side than on the other side, but I am not concerned about this. The fact is both sides had these offences and in the constitution, and I was not there when they negotiated the constitution, but in the constitution they ended off with this codicil to say that this constitution must be a breach between the divided past and the united future and it emphasised the importance of striving for reconciliation. It even concluded by saying that considering the bad past on both sides there was an agreement that all acts connected with the political conflict of the past, which would under normal circumstances be criminal acts, should be excused. In other words amnesty shall be given for those acts.

     So that was my position right from the beginning and I was fighting the cut off date because that affects my people. The cut off date at the moment is 5th December. We were not, from my party's point of view, or from my constituency's point of view, we were not involved in the establishment of this date, it was between De Klerk and Mandela and we were up to the 27th April, in fact no, not exactly 27th April, up to the 23rd April I was 100% prepared to switch over to some military action and in fact some of the people for the purposes of adding power to negotiation did some acts of sabotage and so on and we were prepared in any case for a war which is an offence by itself.

     So we were then ready to do this kind of action but unfortunately Mr Mandela refused to move the date originally and they refused to follow my line of thinking on the Truth Commission. I started off originally, and at the beginning Mr Mandela and Mr Omar were quite prepared to listen to me. In fact one morning after we had breakfast together Mr Mandela found my ideas about the Truth Commission so promising I would say that he asked me to brief the whole Cabinet. Then Mr de Klerk came in and he said, "No this can't be done, you can't get one party leader briefing the Cabinet on his own ideas and so on." And then they cut this down to just a few members of the Cabinet and then the whole thing died a slow death and then we had this strong fight between the National Party and the ANC on the issues of amnesty which they should have dealt with before the election or before they came to agreement in the constitution. But then the whole thing turned sour and it was not possible for me to arrange anything.

     Then towards July this year some of my former people who were involved in collecting ammunition and collecting weapons and collecting explosives for the purposes of grabbing the volkstaat and defending the volkstaat, some of them were being charged for being in possession of explosives and so on and I then decided to raise the matter again and I started to raise the matter with Minister Omar and with the President and I also thought that I was making good progress again towards the extending of the date because I was asking the date from 5th December to be moved to 10th May so that my people could also qualify for this. To give you an example, they are about 22 or 26 AWB members. I don't regard them as my people but they are young Afrikaners that have been misled by their leaders. They committed certain acts such as exploding bombs, etc. and if they don't move the date those people can go to jail for 30 years and I therefore tried to step in for them too for the sake of their families, for the sake of their children, and I had quite a sympathetic ear from the President and from Mr Omar.

     Then we also saw the President on 10th August, if I say we, the previous Commissioners of the Police and the Chief of the Defence Force together with me, on the issue of the Truth Commission and we said to the President we would like to have two requests. One was that it must be an even-handed exercise and they said yes it would be even-handed. The second thing we asked is that to show this even-handedness they should not stop prosecuting just the previous Security Force members for their acts in connection with the conflict of the past where the ANC members, there were about 1200 cases of ANC having been given temporary immunity pending the Truth Commission. We then asked the President to put the moratorium on the prosecutions of the one side or else carry on with the prosecutions from both sides. The President then said to us he would wait and discuss this amongst his own people. After two months they hadn't come back and by now we were right in the election time. So I then wrote a memo to the President reminding him of the meeting we had on the 10th August and I then asked to see him and he saw me and I can't really say that he gave me some hopes in this but then he expressed the opinion that he would very much like to see some of the accused and the families of the accused. And that is how I, right in the middle of the election or just before the election, went to Mr Mandela with some of the accused and he then refused to move the date. Now had I had the normal choice ...

POM     Did he give any reason at that time for his refusal?

CV     Yes he gave a lot of reasons and I get the impression that had it been only our case it would have been easy to move the date but there are some other cases too and Mr Mandela specifically referred to the case of the killing in the church in Cape Town which to him was, he wouldn't pardon those people, and also to the situation in the Shell House incident, he wouldn't really pardon those people or he was not quite sure as to what that would be. So he then said for the time being he cannot move the date. But he was quite prepared to consider, and his view was the AWB, he named them the bombers, and he said the bombers had a political intent, they wanted to stop the election. To him, Mr Mandela, that's understandable, but he cannot understand the issue of people just being killed in cold blood in a church whilst they are praying and so on. So he was seeing some other problems and I think the IFP, the clash between him and Mr Buthelezi is certainly one of those problems, and he therefore refused, as he said for the time being, but he didn't close the door. So that was the reason.

     I did not at that stage expect him to say yes. I was hoping for Mr Mandela to say he would reserve his judgement until, let us say, November and then he would come out with a favourable movement of the date. But it didn't happen and subsequent to that we also had the case of the generals being arrested and I had given this a lot of thought and from what I gather there are many reasons why this was done. I think the first reason is it was announced just before the election in order to have an effect on the local government elections. In other words it was not a purely legal decision because why would they just before the election summon the generals to court and then tell them that they will have to come to court again on 1st December to face another postponement of the trial? Why would this be necessary? I think it was a political decision.

     Secondly, I think the whole case is aimed at the IFP election in KwaZulu/Natal next year which is going to be right about when the case would probably reach its climax. So they see advantage in this case for the ANC in the election. Then there is another point, and there is also an election in Cape Town where some bad effect of such a trial on the National Party might be in favour of the ANC in the Cape Metropolitan election. So this I think is more or less the idea why the generals were arrested. Now of course I cannot say this and I cannot comment at this stage because of the sub judice rule on the possibility of conviction or not, but we will have to wait and see. The generals have said in public that they will prove their innocence in this whole situation. So this is the situation. In a way this has created some tension between me and Mr Mandela. At one stage I was threatening to go to court with this case because I am absolutely convinced up to today that the action of the prosecutions is not in line with the whole idea of reconciliation as in the codicil of the constitution and that would have been the basis of my case. Then I was requested by the generals to say that if we in any way stop this case and they cannot prove their innocence there will be a shadow over their lives for the rest of their lives because people will say maybe they have been guilty. So they then requested me to stay out of it and rather let the case carry on, which I did. I have also seen Mr Mandela in the meantime. It is an ongoing process. I will not stop about this because I am very serious that unless I can make progress with Mr Mandela in order to find a solution with the Afrikaner people, we are heading for conflict in this country, make no mistake.

POM     You say 'for the Afrikaner people', you mean again on the whole question of self-determination?

CV     Yes, yes. Self-determination and not only that. Remember my idea with the Afrikaner people is to find for us a new position in South Africa because the Afrikaner can never have the position of political domination as in the past. We can never have the same role as in the past. We are even pushed out of the normal traditional working fields of the Afrikaner, so I have given a new direction to my people to become economic entrepreneurs inside South Africa and in southern Africa which I think is to a great advantage of the whole of the country. So the idea is for me to find a way for the whole Afrikaner position, not only for finding a solution for self-determination. That is a very important part but it's not the only part.

POM     Just to back up a little, one is a question and the other is just sharing some information with you. The man who brought the charges was the Attorney General of KwaZulu/Natal, Tim McNally, who could hardly be called a friend of the ANC by any measure. In fact they were pillorying him just a few weeks beforehand when he admitted that only one docket regarding hit squads had crossed his desk in two and a half years and he hadn't thought there was sufficient evidence there for prosecution. So for him, a conservative, a man regarded by his peers as being a conservative lawyer who doesn't take a step unless he has the requisite evidence there, a man who has gone on record as saying that he has a very cogent case including affidavits and army documents, it wasn't an ANC move. What I'm saying is that in fact it came from somebody whom the ANC would have regarded as being 'on the other side'.

CV     This is the point Mr Omar also made to me in the discussion that we had with Mr Mandela. He assured me that they had not influenced McNally in this decision. I was however told by some of the legal people in Natal that McNally shortly before the trial made the point towards the press that he cannot carry on with the case because he does not have enough information or enough evidence.

POM     This was after the indictment, the arrest of ...?

CV     Then McNally was taken to Cape Town and what exactly happened in Cape Town McNally and the ANC will be the only people to know, but I get the impression that he was pressurised into carrying on with this case. I get that impression. Maybe I am wrong. But Mr Omar and Mr Mandela assured me that they personally had not been involved in pressurising McNally. Let us now wait and see if they cannot arrive at a conviction with this case or if they haven't even a prima facie case against these people, then I would be convinced that the case was a political one and not a legal one. But let's wait and see what comes.

POM     The point I was going to share with you is that since 1989 I have been interviewing a man who was then Major Louis Botha who gained some national prominence during Inkathagate when it turned out he was the intermediary between the government and the IFP in delivering money to the IFP, and he was arrested in connection with these cases. I must have interviewed him fourteen times in the last seven years, and after Inkathagate he said to me, "I can't talk about Inkathagate but I will tell you one thing, I have never, never in my professional career ever taken an action without the full authorisation of my superiors." I am just putting that there because I am going down, he's invited me down to see him next week and he says, "I will talk about this case. I'm innocent, I have nothing to hide, I have nothing, even my lawyers won't shut me up because I am innocent. If I carried out an action I did so with the specific authority of a superior. It wasn't something that I dreamed up or that I did on my own."

CV     Can I put it to you this way, one must be very careful now on the sub judice rule now, but I cannot see how any of these generals would have authorised an attack on that house with the intention of killing children and women. That would certainly not have been the command from these people. I don't think it would be possible to say in this case that there was a direct order from all those generals for that specific house to be attacked in order to kill five or seven children plus all the people inside. As a matter of fact I am dead sure, knowing those generals, I am dead sure that had they known the possibility of killing children they would not have authorised that attack, I am sure of that.

POM     In the larger context of reconciliation, and I will use Chile as an example, that after the restoration of democracy there was the establishment of a commission into what had happened to the people who had disappeared and in all the years since various commissions have been set up, one colonel has been convicted and when he was convicted he was whisked away by the military and is being held in a military hospital some place, the military simply won't give him up. And whenever there is talk about further investigations the military make noises of that what happened before can happen again. Could you foresee a situation where if more senior members of the military began to be arrested and charged that there could be a backlash within the military itself? That in the end they would come to the 'aid' of their follow officers?

CV     I don't think there will be a backlash within the military itself. South Africa's military people are too disciplined. My kind are too disciplined. We are not like the MK people, they are emotional, they are politicised. The normal soldier of which those generals are part are not politicised and I therefore don't expect a violent backlash from the military itself. I don't see any coups taking place for that matter. I think it's totally impossible. What I do expect is a backlash amongst the Afrikaner people because I have often warned that this is going to be a vilifying exercise against the Afrikaner people and this is now probably the beginning of such an action because the Afrikaner people have a lot of respect for their generals because of the fact that the generals have never been criticised. As a matter of fact even when I retired PW Botha admitted that he could never really find out whether I belonged to which party. The people in the country generally over the whole political spectrum have a lot of respect for the generals and this could cause a backlash in the preparedness of the Afrikaner people, in the direction that I have given to my Afrikaner people saying that the new South Africa is a fact, it's something you cannot wish away and we have to find a way of cooperating, find a way of living together.

     As a matter of fact this can very easily lead to the position where we will claim secession. At the moment our self-determination claim has been turned down away from secession towards being fully part of South Africa, towards finding a way in which we will fulfil a very valuable role in the new South Africa and southern Africa. I am afraid in order to execute such a policy I need my people and if my people get the idea that this is just a vilifying action exercised against the Afrikaner people then there will be a political backlash make no mistake.

POM     So when Mr Mandela was saying that he would not be intimidated by threats, what he perceived as threats coming from you?

CV     No, no, not from me. I think the AWB made a threat and they said this is going to be a big problem and I think even Mr de Klerk made some threats at times. I never make a threat, it's not my habit to make threats and I much rather do the threat.

POM     So when you look at the performance of the Freedom Front in the local elections, a couple of things emerge. One, clearly you're the dominant party representative of the Afrikaner people, not the sole but certainly the dominant.

CV     You must bear in mind that in the election that I was speaking about, that is the 1994 election, we decided that we would use all the votes on the provincial level brought out for the Freedom Front as a referendum. That was 640,000 votes, which considering the fact that you have 1.8 million Afrikaner registered voters only, that was 37%. Now this time we cannot count the people because so many farmers abstained, so many right-wingers abstained, there were many cases where the wards were not contested on political party lines. Some wards were contested by tax associations or by owners' associations and the result is you cannot really count the votes and say you have now so many votes and it is an improvement, but what you can do is you can get the tendency. Now previously in the 1994 election we had 2.2% of the national vote. At this stage we stand at 4% of who voted in this election and considering the great number of Afrikaner farmers that refused to vote because of political reasons and considering the point which I have just mentioned in so many wards in which we didn't have any Freedom Front representative because it was contested not on a political basis, an increase from 2.2% to 4% nationally is quite a big swing towards the Freedom Front.

     Now that to me is a very good sign and it should also be for Mr Mandela because I have taken a very definite direction in politics for the Afrikaner people and I have given a lead in a very definite direction within the Afrikanerdom and if I could rise from 2.2% to 4% which is very nearly doubling the Afrikaner support, that means the Afrikaner is giving support to the political direction that I have taken and therefore I believe that the Freedom Front from this election can draw one very important conclusion and that is we are the voice for the Afrikaner people at this stage. They have confidence in us and they believe that the direction that we are taking is the right direction.

POM     I know every political party has criticised the media for their coverage but I remember one headline that said, "FF dream of volkstaat in tatters." It was talking about the distribution, that is the distribution of your vote was so thin.

CV     This is exactly what I say. The only thing you can deduct from this election was general tendencies. You cannot in this election decide that the distribution of the votes favours certain areas for volkstaat areas. That you have to do very carefully because, I will give you an example, the National Party in Pretoria got 50% of the votes, the Freedom Front and the CP together 30% of the votes. Now the argument is made that because of that the volkstaat in Pretoria is completely out but this is not true because so many Conservative Party members did not vote in Pretoria and the National Party in Pretoria includes all the English liberal votes within Pretoria as well as Coloured and especially black people working in the kitchens and working in the gardens who are voting for the National Party, because here the black people vote without any form of intimidation and they therefore are free to vote National Party and many, many of the ladies of Pretoria brought with them their servants and they probably voted National Party. So it would be very easy, or I would say it would be correct in saying it could easily be that the vote of 50% for the National Party in Pretoria contained more than 25% of foreign votes, non-Afrikaner votes, and the volkstaat issue is only about Afrikaner people voting for the issue.

POM     You talked about the military and I am sure you have read the discussion document the ANC put out on the first year of the government of national unity. Have you seen the document?

CV     No, I don't think I've seen that.

POM     Let me just quote from it where it talks about elements, you can read it but I will just say this for the recorder, where it talks about there being elements within the National Party, inclusion with elements within the military and the security forces who still want to destabilise the process, yet you have Mandela who goes out and just last week or the week before praises the role of the police and the security forces in the transition. Is this a lot of paranoia?

CV     About the position of the security forces, including the generals who are being charged at the moment. Previously they had to serve the National Party and notwithstanding the National Party policies they supported them loyally, because that is the function of a professional defence force and police force. Then came the transitional government and in the most difficult stage of the transition the security forces remained loyal to the country, or to the transitional government. Then came the government of national unity after 27th April and again the defence force and the police force remained loyal towards this government. So nobody can really point a finger towards the people. I am not aware of any National Party activities within the defence force and within the police in order to cause some uprising and so on, if that is what you mean. I have no reason to believe that and I have no indication of that.

POM     But when the ANC talk in this manner, again, are they inhibiting the process of reconciliation because they don't acknowledge the degree of change that has taken place under what you would call extraordinarily different circumstances. For example, I don't know any place else in the world where a guerrilla army and a professional army, two military opponents to each other, should in such a short space of time become integrated into one professional force.

CV     Well they are not integrated yet. They are busy with the integration process and I think the previous defence force members are doing a fine job in doing this but the cultures differ so much that it will take three years before they are really integrated into one force. We had the miserable failure of the so-called peacekeeping force, remember that? It cost the country very close to two million rand a day and eventually they had to abandon the whole scheme after about R230 million loss in the whole situation. I don't think the defence force and the police force at this stage can by now be regarded as fully integrated, but it doesn't matter, it's an ongoing process and what is important is that eventually there should be a loyal professional source, non-politicised. I think the biggest problem they are experiencing at the moment is to de-politicise the MK members and the black members pushed by the ANC for these posts because if you allow the defence force and the police force to become politically polarised it would be most dangerous.

POM     Do you think the ANC, for the last eight or nine months there has been talk about their lack of delivery of services, continuing high unemployment, the absolute failure to deliver on housing, the gravy train, Mandela doing too much to appease the fears of whites and not doing enough for blacks, yet come election day and the ANC sweeps all before them, none of these factors seemingly have any impact whatsoever. How do you interpret the results of the local elections?

CV     We don't have a normal democracy by now. It's impossible in the short time to have a normal democracy. The normal forces of democracy are not working yet. What we have at the moment, we have a revolutionary situation. We have the result of a revolutionary grabbing of power and the effects of the revolutionary discipline are still far too strong in the whole situation. That's the first reason.

POM     You say revolutionary grabbing of power. Why do you call it grabbing of power? It was a negotiated settlement.

CV     Was it? Was it? Every time when the CODESA came to a grinding halt the ANC took to the streets and did a bit of mass action and that was enough force added to convince the National Party government to just cave in again. Wasn't that the case? Wasn't it the pressure from the outside world, pressurising the National Party into just giving in all the way. I don't really think this was a negotiated settlement.

POM     You would see it as a process just gone through for the sake of going through a process?

CV     Yes. It was a process forced through from the outside world and from the ANC in order to have the change effected. This is the worrying factor to me, we are still living within the atmosphere of a revolution. That is where the very definite law and order problems that we are experiencing today come from. That is where the action from the organised labour comes from. The people are still in a revolutionary spirit and they are prepared to use revolutionary methods even if it means using it against the ANC government. This is the point I'm making and therefore I believe that even in 1999 in that election you will still find the revolutionary spirit left in the country.

POM     Do you think Mr Mandela is the glue that holds the ANC alliance together?

CV     Yes. There is no doubt about it. The ANC alliance is not a very strong alliance. In fact it is the anti-apartheid feeling that has welded them together in this country and I must say it is still the anti-apartheid feeling that, for example, has contributed most towards the victory of the ANC notwithstanding their poor performance regarding RDP and deliverance of promises, etc. So you must bear in mind that the National Party, what could they present? They could present nothing. They could not even present a new direction which the Freedom Front is taking.

POM     Where must you be in 1999? Where must the Freedom Front be?

CV     The Freedom Front is for finding a negotiated, peaceful settlement on co-existence. Now if we in 1999 could say that we have arrived at the constitutional dispensation that would facilitate peace between the Afrikaner and the Africans we would be very happy, but together with that the Freedom Front is hoping that by 1999 we will be able to be in a position to really do a great job in developing the economy, creating jobs for people so that we can eradicate poverty and make sure that people will be able to better their living conditions, because we have a firm belief that our biggest contribution towards peace in South Africa will not be politically because politically the Afrikaner in the past through the National Party had made a big failure. But we believe that from the Freedom Front's point of view we can rectify a lot of what was wrong in the past by taking the new direction which the Freedom Front is going and that is to give economic guidance, to give the pace economically, so that we can consolidate political change by means of economic development. Unless that is done the people at the ground level will become unhappy again and political peace will not last, you will have political upheavals again.

POM     OK. Thank you ever so much. I will only bug you five times between now and the year 2000.

CV     I hope that I have given you more or less what you wanted.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.