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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Mar 1996: Dommisse, Ebbe

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POM     You just started to say that the contradictions within the ANC are immense, mind-boggling and troubling. What would you point to?

ED     Well I think I would point to on the one hand the pragmatists and on the other hand the populists and the socialists and the immense battle Mandela has to keep the ANC and the country on the straight and narrow and the temptations of the populists and the socialists to get the country off the rails by following discarded and useless policies.

POM     Who do you see as being the most prominent among the people you would call the populists?

ED     The most prominent among them would be the COSATU wing of the ANC, also COSATU as being part of the alliance. I think some of the communists and among those, apart from these, Winnie Mandela, Peter Mokaba, Bantu Holomisa, Tony Yengeni.

POM     Now when you say among some of the communists, again have you specific communists in mind since communism seems to be all over the place? I don't talk to many communists that seem to know any longer very much about what communism stands for if it stands for anything.

ED     I would say that the old hankering for a socialist state is prevalent among the communists still. They are against ideas like privatisation. They think that we should have big government providing for the people, the trade unions should have lots of power and you know we have one of the most rigid labour systems in the world and COSATU is constantly pushing for the kind of things that

POM     Rigid in what terms?

ED     In terms of legislation. It's been mooted that we should have a shorter work week, which I think is a major mistake. The kinds of things that they want like minimum wage for the workers and most of the workers are not in the trade unions, they are unemployed, panacea solutions for the problems of unemployment, crime, etc., that kind of thing I would rate there. I do realise that communism has become a swear word but here - also the unholy alliance between the ANC and the Communist Party and COSATU, it cannot hold up in the modern world.

POM     On the one hand if somebody had told you ten years ago that the ANC, that some of its most influential elements deeply influenced by the SACP would be putting proposals on the table to privatise, that the party of nationalisation had become the party of privatisation, would you have laughed and said 'ridiculous'?

ED     Yes of course I would have. I think the transition in South Africa took place because, I think I told you before, because of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. That was the main moving force apart from the fact that De Klerk and everybody realised that if he would get the kind of mass street action like in the Eastern European countries he could have been toppled.

POM     So if I had said that to you in 1990, that five years from now the ANC will be advocating privatisation, at that point would you have said 'ridiculous'?

ED     Actually they don't use that term and I think the privatisation drive has been set back considerably and COSATU is vehemently opposed to it. The ANC is always an alliance which I think is very troublesome for them. Privatisation is not really moving ahead as it should and we're not opening up the economy as we should.

POM     Do you see this alliance as being able to stick together or do you see that it's inherent contradictions will lead to it falling apart?

ED     It has to lead to that. The only question is how long it will take. I am not sure. I'm very positive that as long as Mandela is the leader with his immense stature he will be able to keep them together. Once he goes things could go very badly wrong.

POM     So he is in effect the glue that holds the alliance together, or the country together?

ED     Yes, and the country in a way too. He has an immense influence on everything that's happening.

POM     How has your opinion of him changed since the first time we talked in 1989 or 1990?

ED     I think I regard him generally in a very positive light, which I did before. I think he makes mistakes but then he's human, but generally he's been conciliatory. I think he's one of the few top leaders of the ANC that really understands Afrikaner anxieties in the new South Africa and is trying to do something positive about it in opposition to many people in his own party who are doing the exact opposite. I think his stature in the world is very important for South Africa, it helps us. The mistakes that he made I think he seems to have put past him, like the vote for 14 year olds, his tendency to speak and to lean too much towards former allies where I think he does not make the proper distinction between the party and the state, Cuba, Gaddafi of Libya and Hamas the terrorist organisation in Israel to whom he wants to speak. I think those are still big mistakes. It sends out the wrong signals to the world, to the world that can really help us and he should realise that if they helped the party they did not necessarily help South Africa. There is still too much overlap between the state and the party, like under many liberation movements who took over.

POM     And the results of the local elections would in fact suggest that the strength of the ANC will increase rather than decrease in a future election?

ED     You mean the past local elections? Yes, that seems to be the pattern in Africa, that the liberation movement gathers strength. I think we see a very bad example in Zimbabwe which is more or less a one party state, a dictatorial one party state almost and it's very bad for the country if that happens. We support a multi-party democracy which I think is essential but people vote very, very strongly on ethnic lines in Africa. I would suggest that the first election was just an ethnic census.

POM     Well is it racial rather than ethnic? If one gets down to it it's racial rather than ethnic, black votes, blacks vote black and whites vote white?

ED     And coloureds, coloureds and whites voted for the National Party, the Zulus voted for Inkatha, the rest voted ANC. The ANC support was something like 95% - 97% black, very few white votes.

POM     Just to go back a little. Who else would you identify within the ANC who is sympathetic to Afrikaner concerns and anxieties?

ED     Well I think the Afrikaners within the ANC naturally would be aware of these anxieties. I think some of the coloureds there. It depends. The blacks that come from the eastern part of the country more or less grew up in a more English environment, the eastern part of the country is much more English than the western parts. Tswanas, maybe like Joe Modise, would share the view. Bengu who is the Minister of Education is a very bad case I think, he does not realise. Mandela is strong about it. I think his Director/General, Jakes Gerwel would know about that. I have some difficulty in finding some other people. Maybe Kader Asmal in a way, definitely Pallo Jordan who speaks Afrikaans fluently. I think maybe Cyril Ramaphosa being a Venda, well he's also not only a Venda, he's a Lemba which is a minority within a minority tribe. Not Thabo Mbeki who is the probable successor. He's not that sympathetic I should think.

POM     This is one of the questions that has been on my list, that Afrikaner concerns have been or are being marginalised, that when the violent threat from the right did not emerge when Viljoen led the rump into parliament, when they set up the Volkstaat Council whose recommendations were rejected out of hand but two years had elapsed, it's like the will to fight had gone, that they said once the will to fight doesn't appear to be there why be sensitive to their concerns? Do you think there is an element of that?

ED     Oh I think so, I think the whole volkstaat idea and ostensibly being shown to be sympathetic to that was just a sop to Viljoen. There was no idea whatsoever in the head of the ANC that there would be a volkstaat. It was a fraud if you like. They may think that this threat is over. I would suggest that they really should start reading about Afrikaner history. I know a bit more about that because ever since the British took over the Cape in 1795 Afrikaners have refused to become anglicised, they want their own language, they want their children to be taught in that language, they want their children to be trained and taught in that language up to the highest possible level. That's what I'm writing my column about. And that Afrikaans is in fact, they say maybe Swahili or in the Horn of Africa there's a language there which is able to be taught up to the highest possible level, but Afrikaans is in fact the major African language where you can teach up to the very highest level of science and technology.

POM     You can't?

ED     You can. Of course you can. It is a language with major publications in every field of human endeavour that you could think of and now there's been a threat that there will be no more Afrikaans universities in this country. This is a complete misconception of what a multi-cultural country should be all about. I think it brings reconciliation and all these things into question and I fear that there is going to be a terrible response to that if it continues.

POM     So would you point to such things as cutting the amount of Afrikaans on the SABC to two hours a day?

ED     Three percent.

POM     Three percent and there being no exclusive Afrikaans universities, what other things are out there that are feeding - ?

ED     Of course the SABC was a major mistake. There's complete contempt for it and people are refusing to pay licences. Secondly, the question of the university goes very deeply into this whole next question because if you as an Afrikaans speaking parent, if you are not able to have your children taught in their mother tongue at a university in this country why are Afrikaans schools necessary? Then thirdly, for the most talented of Afrikaners I think the question would arise, if my mother tongue is being treated with contempt in this very violent and crime-ridden society where I pay very high taxes why should I stay here? And those that can afford to go will of course. I am talking about a silent anger that's building up, it is building up, and the man who can really do something about it is Mandela and that's why I'm strongly advocating that this question should be addressed very, very quickly and very firmly before Mandela goes. After him I think it will deteriorate unless it is settled now.

POM     So with regard to universities you are saying there can be no - through what medium, what languages or language will be used at university level?

ED     Right now it's English and Afrikaans and maybe Zulu at the University of Zululand and Xhosa in the Transkei University and maybe some other language up at Turfloop in the north, but the majority of the universities of this country the language of instruction is English.

POM     And the threat is coming to what universities?

ED     It's Stellenbosch which is the oldest and the most prestigious of the Afrikaans universities, it's Rand Afrikaans University, it's Potchefstroom University, it's Pretoria University and the University of Free State is virtually turning to English now.

POM     In these other universities is the move away from instruction in Afrikaans being legislated?

ED     No. Stellenbosch is the only one to have Afrikaans defined by legislation as the medium of instruction. The others, Pretoria, Potchefstroom, RAU are also turning to English to accommodate blacks.

POM     So it's because of the changing character or the changing governance structure of the universities that the move away from Afrikaans is happening, not because of government interference?

ED     It's by radical student movements, SASCO and ANC inspired, it's fighting the battle ostensibly on student level. They say they are being denied access. Of course University of Cape Town has a language policy to be allowed to register as a student. You have to pass an English examination before you register, so if your English is not fluent then access is denied but there's no big deal about that so far. It might come.

POM     Are there any Afrikaans universities that have a similar requirement?

ED     No. You are allowed on your standards of excellence at school.

POM     Approaching the second anniversary of the April 1994 elections what would you point to as being the problems the government of national unity has dealt with most successfully and what ones is it dealing with least successfully?

ED     I would say on the positive side I think a very positive mood of relaxation of realisation that people have to live with each other. I think Mandela played a crucial role in that. I think the goodwill of the outside world which I expected to last for about 18 months or so, and I think I wasn't far off, that turned out to be very positive. The question is whether enough use was made of it and I would think not. I think the ANC was ill-prepared to take over government and they should have acted much faster on the international and the economical side of government. There were some very bad appointments made, people who should never have been in the Cabinet.

POM     Who would you point to specifically?

ED     Nzo, the sleeping minister.

POM     Oh yes, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

ED     Yes. He's probably the worst. I think the Minister of Health, Zuma, who is in deep trouble now, a major mistake with this Aids play and she might have to be fired. Stella Sigcau, very weak, Minister of Public Enterprises. I think the Minister of Police is very weak. He should also be replaced.

POM     Mufamadi?

ED     Mufamadi yes. If you look at the down side, I mean definitely crime and unemployment. These are immense problems and the government is not tackling them in any imaginative and effective way.

POM     Over the years I've interviewed all the various Ministers of Finance beginning with Barend du Plessis, then Derek Keys and I still do Derek Keys every year just to keep up with his opinion, and now Chris Liebenberg, and they all agree with an assessment made by Keys three or four years ago and that was that the best South Africa can do between now and the year 2000 is to decrease unemployment by about 1% a year.

ED     That is a frightening thought.

POM     And one has this phenomenon, well it's a world-wide phenomenon of economic growth without any increase in employment. It's happening all around the world, almost systemic in Europe. What can be done about jobs?

ED     Yes, what can be done? I would of course think that bringing down the tax rate could have a positive influence. I know in my own firm we're doing very well with less people. We turn to word processors and so on and mechanising. Workers tend to give you more trouble than machines, that is the unfortunate fact. But if the entrepreneurs in South Africa didn't have to pay such a lot of tax I think they might be inclined to employ more people. I think there should be major state projects to employ people. I think what we had in the second world war, the Service Battalion I think it was called for people, the kind of things that Roosevelt did, dam building projects, roads and so on, there is scope for that. I am afraid it won't mean much. It is a very difficult question but you should not treat the trade unions as favoured parties as we do in South Africa. The number of trade union members is decreasing and still they get very favourable treatment in legislation which I think is very dangerous. There's another minister who I think is a dangerous one and that's Tito Mboweni the Minister of Labour who to my mind has very dangerous socialist ideas and comes from a trade union background and he seems to be getting his way in too many spheres of government.

POM     Why is the number of trade union members declining?

ED     Because more people are out of work and because there are lay-offs by big companies like the gold mining industry and others as well. I think also the multi-nationals. You know about the lay-offs of IBM etc., etc. It's also happening here.

POM     So is there a correlation between the degree of unionisation of an industry and the level of lay-offs? Has anybody established that?

ED     I simply don't know. I should think that you might find some evidence of it. The trade union movement is much too strong in this country and I think it's very wrong that it should be part of the governing party, it's the same mistake the Labour Party made in Britain.

POM     In terms of positive changes, you've had a normalisation

ED     Yes relations I think are stronger although the language question is endangering that. I think what also made the transition possible was the acceptance of South Africans that over the colour line they meet as equals. I think that is still so, that people treat other people as people. I mean there is not much of the kind of racist thought which I should have thought would be very dangerous for the country. I think that's being kept in check generally except for the tribal antagonisms between the ANC and Inkatha. That's very dangerous and there is no solution in sight in Natal as I sit here. Tomorrow is that meeting about the imbizo, let's hope something comes out of that. Also there the major problem is of course the refusal of the ANC to honour their word about international mediation, which is beyond me. I simply can't understand it why they don't give it to Buthelezi.

POM     All they have to do is call an international mediator in, he may listen to all sides and say there's nothing to mediate here, thank you, pack his bags and go home, and they will have honoured their obligation.

ED     Yes. And then? Then they can carry on.

POM     Why do you think, it seems such a stupid mistake, is it driven by personal factors? Why on this would Mandela be so, the man of ultimate flexibility, on this be apparently so inflexible?

ED     Yes. It's very difficult to understand. The only thing that I can suggest, he told some of our people privately, that he wants to crush Buthelezi. I thought, my God, the Brits tried that and the Afrikaners tried that and they didn't really succeed with that and if blacks started killing blacks on a very big scale that is exactly what he should try to do, is try to crush Buthelezi because it's virtually impossible for him to gain a military victory in Natal. I think it can't be done. I think he would need to send in a few million troops to do that because of the terrain there and it's a very heavily populated countryside. You can have 500 soldiers round a kraal for one night and they kill the people in the one next door, and the next night they are there and they kill the people in the third one and so on. So a military solution is stupid, out of the question. There has to be a political solution like everybody told the Nats, there has to be a political solution and I simply can't understand why Mandela is so obstinate about this.

POM     And is there increasing evidence that the government is looking for some kind of military solution or security related solution?

ED     I wouldn't say that. At one point they did send in more troops, without much success, like De Klerk did without meeting with any success. I think Mandela realises the dangers of Natal exploding. It's virtually exploding all the time of course because 66 killings in one weekend and so on, it's just a normal weekend for Natal nowadays. But if I were in his shoes I would say let's have international mediation and see what comes from that and take it from there. They will sit with the problem now that what's going to happen about the constitution. They announce today that they are going for the deadline of 9th May. Buthelezi is not taking part in the constitutional deliberations. The 9th May is two months away isn't it? And Inkatha is not part of the constitutional talks and we should have an all-inclusive, generally accepted, fully legitimate constitution. Are we going to have that? How does one know?

POM     Do you think the ANC in that regard is beginning to use its clout in the sense of saying, no we don't get an agreement, we go to the country, all we've got to get is 60% and we're going to get our 60% so in the long run we're going to get our way anyway so you either accept as far as we will go on compromises or you will end up with the constitution that we write?

ED     Sure. They might try that. I think an intelligent leader like Ramaphosa knows the consequences of that. He wants an all-inclusive constitution accepted by everyone.

POM     He does?

ED     Oh yes, and he said so. He said he does not think it's necessary to go to an election. Some of the, what shall I call them, the head-hunters or whatever, would of course want to go for it and say let's get our own constitution and to hell with the rest. Well in a deeply divided society like we have if you have 40% against you that's something to think about whether you want it. I myself would simply think, well it's their constitution, why should I, if they ram it down my throat, why observe it?

POM     In terms of the constitution, what's happened to the National Party as negotiators? They appeared just to throw in the towel on the issue of the continuance of the government of national unity or some variant of that after 1999 without getting anything in return for it, or maybe they did but I don't know what it is. That's one. And two, it appears to be a party in the throes of an immense identity crisis with not a lot of vision on how to get out of that crisis.

ED     Let's take the first one first. I always thought that the strong claims they had about power sharing sounded quite good but meant very little and I think it turned out quite quickly that if you have one strong party who can get its way power sharing is a pipe dream and I never thought that it would go past five years. I still think that it's possible that after the new constitution has been accepted that the National Party might leave the government of national unity, before 1999. It became very clear that the ANC did not want power sharing at Cabinet level and with them being the majority there was no hope of course of continuing the arrangement, the sunset arrangement and so on. So it was very silly really to ask for it if you knew you would not get it.

     Secondly, I think they fine-tuned their thinking about possible mechanisms of other forms of power sharing like maybe giving the influential chairmanships of parliamentary committees to other parties than the governing party, like making provision for leaders of other parties to be consulted about very crucial decisions about the country. Whether it could be written down in legislation is of course another question, or have a State Council which has to clear very major decisions about say defence, budget, foreign affairs, things of national interest. That could be done. The ANC at the moment is, of course, very strong on majoritarian government which is a mistake for South Africa, for deeply divided societies generally it's a mistake. But that's their thinking at the moment and one does not know how far the National Party will get with that kind of thinking within the negotiations. That hasn't been cleared out yet. It's a major bone of contention so far.

     Thirdly, if you talk about the identity of the National Party, it seems very clear that De Klerk became the victim of his success. He's very much in the same mould now as Gorbachev was, after the reform the reformer has to disappear. He did not. I think Ataturk of Turkey was about the only example in history where the reformer could go on. Machiavelli, I think he says in The Prince that the most difficult of all for the Prince is to reform, and I think De Klerk found it out the hard way. He seems to have a lack of strategy where he's taking the party.

POM     Lack of strategy?

ED     Yes, and I think there's a strong feeling that his time has run out, that he should be replaced by somebody else.

POM     To backtrack on a couple of things. Do you think that the decision of the National party not to pursue some variant of power sharing after 1999 and your comment that they may pull out of it even before that, perhaps after the new constitution is adopted, could be tied to the fact that they can't be a weak member of government and still call themselves the opposition?

ED     Oh sure.

POM     But they fall between the two stools and that if they have a future they must see themselves first of all as opposition not as a weak part of government?

ED     Sure. That's essential. I think I have told you before that the National Party has always been very bad at communicating with the public about what they are doing and so on and in the modern age where communication is crucial, every day I watch SAPA incoming stories and virtually every day there's some communication by the ANC, many statements, etc., whereas from the National Party when they do communicate it's very weak, it's not hard-hitting, etc. The position in which they found themselves being neither fish nor flesh was damning to them, it destroyed the spirit of the party I think. I once attended a cocktail party where I walked around asking them, "Now tell me, have you decided about this interesting thing, whether you are opposition or government?" and they wanted to knock off my head for such impertinence. Clearly if you believe in a multi-party democracy you have to take strong stands and they have been incapable even when they differ with the government, when their story was that they influenced things on the inside and so on, but nobody knows about that, and they could not communicate properly with their followers as well as with the general public on where they stand on issues and that proved to be fairly fatal.

POM     De Klerk's vision of a new National Party based on some amorphous concept of core values and families, Christian values, that's hardly a set of political beliefs, it's hardly a political

ED     It's an interesting thought but generally parties tend to go for power regardless of their policies. You see the major problem the Nats have is that to be able to govern again they have two roads which they can go. They can try to attract black votes by themselves or they could enter into an alliance with other credible black parties which are not many. Inkatha is the obvious one and then parties like the Democratic Party, maybe the Freedom Front, certainly not the PAC. The PAC is virtually dead. But if you expect that some time in the future the ANC has to fall apart, if you try to be in as strong a position as you can then I think the obvious road is an alliance. Now they are very allergic to Buthelezi so I see there's only one other way in which they can make progress and that is to have understandings about a common front on issues in which you can stop the ANC by preventing a two thirds majority in parliament. That does not seem to be happening as well. So what I see for the short term for the National Party is big, big trouble.

POM     When you talk about the two thirds in parliament, I have forgotten and I must confess this.

ED     All right, the constitution may be changed by a two thirds majority.

POM     Oh yes, OK.

ED     Something like that, on a constitutional amendment or whatever, or even if they want to push through very stupid legislation, try to get the maximum opposition and see if you can stop them getting a simple majority because the organisational problems of the ANC are such that I think they can't muster all their troops for a crucial vote in parliament. They had one vote thrown out where they joined up with the National Party.

POM     This was on?

ED     On what was it? It was on some amendment of the constitution about a year or so ago. They had to bring it back to parliament again to get the necessary two thirds majority. It was thrown out although the ANC and the Nats voted together.

POM     Because the ANC didn't muster enough of its members?

ED     Sure.

POM     Going back to the identity problem of the National Party, when De Klerk, as he said at Hermanus a couple of weeks ago, that he can see the NP returning to power, he can see them attracting millions of black voters such as the Zionist Christians or whatever, is this pure fantasy, wishful thinking? Can you see any circumstances under which, at the moment, not ten years from now or twenty years from now, but in the foreseeable future, where a black person would vote for the National Party?

ED     I simply can't see it.

POM     Do you think that the belief that they could is in a way condescending towards black people, that it says we governed you under apartheid for forty years with awful disruptions to your lives and the manner in which you were treated or whatever and now we turn around and we've changed and we expect that you will vote for us?

ED     I don't see much of that. I think the scenario you are setting there is of course also a simplified scenario about the real South Africa. Blacks know very well that Afrikaners suffered terribly in their own liberation struggle.

POM     Is that an assumption or, like you say it very authoritatively, as though - ?

ED     Oh I don't think that's an assumption. Among intellectual blacks and others there's

POM     Among the elites?

ED     Even further than that, there is a very good grasp of South African history and the way the British treated the Afrikaners and so on and there is a sympathy as far as that is concerned. The big problem about the present elite system of the ANC is that there are so many exiles who lost touch with the history of the country and became anglicised and they do not have the same sympathy as many of those who remained here. There is validity in the point that how can you expect blacks to vote en masse for the National Party, it's simply not on. But what can also not be reasoned away is that the National Party got rid of apartheid. You may say under pressure and sanctions and what not but they got rid of it and it will be difficult to live down that history but with the inherent contradictions in the ANC things might develop of some spin-offs, some new alignments and whatever and it depends very much on leadership. I think the big hope for the National Party is to strike up some alliance with credible black leaders. I see little sign of it now and that's why I think it's almost a foregone conclusion that the ANC will win the 1999 election hands down, although you know I am wary about forecasting. I think there are already signs, Roelf Meyer talks about seven to ten years before things can start changing drastically, there are already signs that there may be a realignment of South African politics.

POM     What would you point to as indicators of that?

ED     The tensions within the ANC.

POM     Now where do these tensions express themselves? You certainly don't read very much about them in the media, nor do they appear to surface very much in parliament.

ED     Well in the committees it's very clear. About economic affairs there are immense differences between those that want growth and those that want redistribution of wealth. There's a major cleavage there. Then you might go on, some of them talk about the trade union mentality of the COSATU people.

POM     Is the pivotal key here COSATU far more than say the SACP which has a limit?

ED     Well the SACP people are all in top positions, they are sitting pretty if you look at the inordinate percentage of ANC members of the Cabinet and of the committee chairman.

POM     That's what I say, these are the people who put some form of privatisation on the table.

ED     Not they. I mean the Minister of Trade, Trevor Manuel, he is not a communist. The Minister of Finance, Liebenberg, is not. Thabo Mbeki is somebody who has resigned from the Communist Party, he is not card carrying, as far as I know, any more but he received his training at the University of Sussex and he's been around in the world and he's seen what works and what does not work.

POM     So your premise, not that you are making predictions, well in a certain way you are, you are saying that the break up of the ANC is inevitable.

ED     It seems like that.

POM     That will in itself lead to a realignment of politics where perhaps the way it breaks up is that neither the ANC side or the COSATU/SACP side command a majority and have to make an alliance with the National Party.

ED     Oh no, rather with the PAC I should think.

POM     But the PAC has for all intents and purposes - do you not think so?

ED     What about a Workers' Party?

POM     That would be COSATU?

ED     I should think so, yes. Workers' Party, Black Consciousness, a real populist party could be very, very strong, get rid of the elitists of the ANC and what Winnie Mandela calls the people between the silk sheets. That's a real probability. Winnie Mandela herself would be able to rouse the youth, the unemployed, the wretched of the earth. We have many of those. Could be a potent factor. And then you have the more sophisticated ANC people. Where do they go? Do they jump on the bandwagon? These things I think are very probable once Mandela goes.

POM     But in a sense you are saying that the future of the National Party depends more on factors outside it's control than factors within it's control?

ED     Yes.

POM     That there's not very much it can really do on its own to either increase it's share, in fact just demographically it's share of the vote will be decreasing and the share of the vote of the ANC, just because of demographics, will be increasing even if everything else were neutral.

ED     That's right. The ethnic census will become more pronounced if things go on as they do now.

POM     Do you think as Afrikaners become smaller as a proportion of the population that the threat of cultural absorption or cultural extinction will become stronger, make them more anxious?

ED     Yes I have no doubt about that. I think it's very dangerous because the Afrikaners could be a very positive factor in this country, could make a very positive contribution or they could become very negative and destructive. That's what I fear with this kind of language imperialism that you find within the ANC.

POM     When you say destructive, destructive in what sense? You don't see a resort to violence?

ED     I do see that, yes, that's possible. They could become like the Basques or the Northern Irish and I try to warn against that. I think it's more the ANC needs to accept that. Constand Viljoen sat right here and he told me that if his people are jailed he would be out of parliament in six months.

POM     That if which?

ED     If his people are jailed and prosecuted.

POM     That's the generals?

ED     General Viljoen, yes.

POM     But when he's talking about 'his people' he's talking about General Malan?

ED     I think more than that, but I think he's close to leaving parliament which I would regard as a very dangerous development. He is sometimes very naïve as a politician but as a military man I would not like to be up against him. He was an immensely successful soldier and commander of his troops and so on and a very capable organiser. I think he's capable of creating a civil war of some proportions and he might get quite a following. If the ANC continues to alienate Afrikaners the way they are doing, a civil war is definitely a possibility and also what they don't realise for the RDP to work, I mean in the rural areas of South Africa, it's crucial that Afrikaners should be contributing positively to that otherwise it's bound to fail, the farmers, the small towns, the strong Afrikaans presence. Afrikaans is still the most widely spread language in the country. And if they continue with language imperialism and denigrating Afrikaans and the Afrikaners, well sure to get trouble. And also not only the threats of civil war and all that but also the possibility of simply saying no.

POM     Do you think that in a slightly different context that the major brouhaha there was over SAFM, the English speaking medium

ED     Radio.

POM     Radio, when a variety of English accents were introduced and there was uproar in large sections of the English speaking community, that this a reflection of the same issue?

ED     Sure. Just look at the official figures about listenership dropping, almost by half or something like that. In my experience as a newspaperman I always found that if you want to expand your audience you have to be very careful how you do that in order not to alienate the old and not reaching out so much in the wrong way to the new audience that you lose both. I think in a way SAFM managed to do just that, losing the old and not gaining the new. The television is also very poorly planned.

POM     One thing the ANC have consistently hammered away at and that is at the media, I mean going back to President Mandela's interview he gave on his 500th day in office last year he said, "The media don't give us credit for what we do in the black community, the media say we go out of our way to appease whites thus endangering us at our own ground roots and there are still racist elements in the media." After the local elections Ramaphosa made a very strong statement about the way in which the media had treated or analysed events up to the election and the IDASA poll which came out, which I want to ask you about, which indicated that the majority think that this government is more corrupt than the previous government. The media had in fact created the impression that it was a media creation. In the light of that do you think that there may develop an increasing tendency for the ANC to use the SABC as their organ of disseminating information?

ED     Well I was very amused by all that talk because they sounded just like the old Nats blaming the media and maybe like a lot of politicians round the world their first instinct is not to blame themselves but to blame the messenger. I think if they do use the SABC they have a credibility problem because the SABC is already being seen as just being as bad and as a mouthpiece of the new government as it was of the old one.

POM     Now it's seen by whites as that?

ED     I think a bit wider than that. I think within the ANC, drum-beating, card-carrying followers, they would think the SABC is doing a wonderful job. I was at a media conference about two weeks ago where the academic study of the local elections came out strongly that the SABC supported the government now just as badly as they did the old Nationalist government.

POM     Who did that study?

ED     It's a project called The Media Monitor Project. If I'm not mistaken it's based at Wits University, Media Monitor Project. So they may try that but then there is a deep longing within the ANC to have their own newspaper. Somehow they think, and maybe they are right, that newspapers are more important than the electronic media. Maybe.

POM     So they see that as a way to get at the IDASA poll?

ED     Oh yes, that was quite ridiculous of course, the angry response. Quite clearly what do people think about the liberation movements, clearly they started stealing from the funds of the NGO's before they took over. There has been immense fraud and theft and embezzlement in those funds, as the Boesak case showed, and everybody knows it who is in the know. The lifestyle of the leaders of the liberation movement were not exactly those of the poor and the depressed. They didn't look like Mao Zedong in China, they looked like the Emperor Jean-Pierre Bocassa up in the north. They lived in splendour and luxury and they stayed in five-star hotels and so on. It was very clear to everyone who could see.

POM     So do you believe that this government is at this point in time a more corrupt government than previous National Party governments, not necessarily the immediate previous one?

ED     I made a study of this and Professor Davenport, the Professor of History at Rhodes University, found that normally after about 20 years

POM     Is he still there?

ED     I think he's now in Cape Town, I think he's retired. He found that normally after about 20 years when a government governs alone it gets corrupt, corruption sets in normally about 20 years afterwards. In the case of the National Party I would put it at about 35 years which might be a world record and then you might say they made up for lost time after that, but it took a long time for them to get corrupt. There was corruption of course and there were prosecutions and some are even now in jail. But in the case of the ANC corruption started very, very early and they are seen and I believe the public is correct that they are just as corrupt if not more than the previous regime.

POM     That would mean that a majority of blacks would believe that they are more corrupt than the previous government?

ED     Just as corrupt if not more than the previous government. Yes. The story about the gravy train and all that.

POM     Coupled with this is there an acceptance at some level that public officials are going to be corrupt anyway and there's nothing particularly wrong about it?

ED     I would doubt that.

POM     How does people's distaste for that corruption express itself? Certainly it didn't express itself in the November elections.

ED     No. I think the slipstream of the liberation movements and the ethnic factor is still much too much too strong. That has not levelled out. Also I think the feeling among blacks would be very much like that about, for a long time many whites thought, well we may have a stupid government but still it's our own people. I think many blacks think that.

POM     Was that the feeling among Afrikaners regarding the National Party?

ED     Yes, sure. They are not all fools, they can see through politicians. It's like that story about Lyndon Johnson and Edgar Hoover, don't you know it?

POM     Which one? There are so many stories about Lyndon Johnson.

ED     I'd rather have him

POM     Have him in the tent pissing out rather than outside pissing in. Yes, yes.

ED     That feeling, that's very natural in politics I should think.

POM     So when you look, as we enter 1996 or as we enter the second anniversary of the government of national unity, what do you see as the major problems facing the country? To me you have listed four but I want to get some order of what you think in the longer run pose the more serious threat to the development of a viable form of multi-party democracy. You have mentioned the situation in KwaZulu/Natal, that's explosive and requires addressing. You mentioned the situation regarding Afrikaners, particularly with regard to the language. You mentioned corruption and you've mentioned really economic growth and development.

ED     Crime and unemployment.

POM     And crime and unemployment. Which poses the greater threat to the long term?

ED     I think the most crucial one is the economy. If the economy does not expand and succeed everything else crashes. I think among the pragmatists and the thinking ANC that that is accepted. That also means that we have to be internationally competitive. This is one of the dangers of COSATU. I read this week that Sam Shilowa, the Secretary General of COSATU, said that the government should not worry so much about being internationally competitive, they should rather worry about caring for the people. That is the surest way to cut their throat be it with a very blunt knife. The country will not succeed unless it is internationally competitive. That is the way the modern world works. If you look at the stumbling blocks they are, of course, the huge unemployment, officially it's about a third of the working force being unemployed. You look at the education system which is in tatters and might get worse. For a modern industrialised society to succeed you need a very high level of literacy, half the population is illiterate in this country, to get the economy moving. Keys and them might be right that it will only go down by 1%. That's very bad news.

POM     But if societies like France and Germany, England, just to mention a few, well the obvious ones would be France and England which have made no inroads into their unemployment problems in the last decade despite their degree of sophistication and technology advancement and levels of education.

ED     You mean how are we going to do it?

POM     How is South Africa going to do it?

ED     I don't think there is much chance of making spectacular headway and there's a further danger that we don't have the safety nets that these highly industrialised countries with their high per capita income have. What are we, about a fifth of the per capita income of France and Germany and so on? Obviously what needs to be done in the economy is we're exporting all our raw material, we need to add value. There's a big chance to do something.

POM     But it's so obvious, it's like one of these things that sometimes the solution appears so obvious you say, well the question is what happened that happened, what's standing in the way of it happening?

ED     I'm baffled. I once talked to the Chamber of Mines and I said, "Why don't we add value, where are the jewellers?" I understand 75% of our gold goes to Italy.

POM     To Italy? Is that right?

ED     Yes the gold chains and all that they make in Italy.

POM     And they're made in Italy?

ED     Yes of course. Our diamonds go to Belgium and Israel and so on. Most of our raw material, coal, I mean the very scarce materials they are all exported raw without value added. It's beyond me. I simply can't understand it. They say we don't have the expertise and the craftsmen to do that. I think it's simply nonsense, they don't want to try.

POM     When you say they don't to try, who is they?

ED     Well, say the Chamber of Mines, the government. It's too easy to get the money. We are supposedly a very open economy with about 60% of our trade from exports. It's easy to get a ship to haul the stuff away but it's short-sighted. There was a Brit here who told me, why can't individuals own gold in this country? If blacks could start their own jewellery shops with gold, they do this wonderful work.

POM     You can't own gold?

ED     No.

POM     I didn't know that.

ED     Private individuals can't own gold. It belongs in the dark ages. Have you ever seen a black making something out of gold? You haven't. What do they use? They use these - you see these little wire things that they make, soap holders and cartwheels and mills and whatnot, if that was in gold it might be something else.

POM     In one sense you are saying that the producers of raw material have it so easy that there's no incentive for them personally or as a corporation or whatever to get into the business of adding value to a product, taking more risk, if they are not prepared to do that, to make that kind of investment in the country or in their company then why should there be any expectation that foreigners should come in here and invest if they look around them and see the natives won't do it? Is that because there are more opportunities rather than less?

ED     For foreign investors? I once heard the comment from a foreign investor when asked why don't you invest in South Africa? And he said, "I would invest in South Africa once the South Africans start investing." And that's very true, and if foreign investors look what do they see here? And what I mentioned the very rigid labour system, strong trade unions, low productivity, very highly paid workers. Either they go to China or Taiwan or Thailand or Malaysia or whatever, cheap labour and a better environment for investment.

POM     When one picks up, say, Business Day I am astounded every day to see this company and that company had doubled its revenues, record profits. How is that simultaneously happening in the face of all the restraints and constraints that you've mentioned?

ED     What's happening I think you've already touched upon, that there is growth without expansion of the work force.

POM     Profits are increasing, but where are the profits going? Are they being ploughed back into the company in terms of expansion or are they being distributed to the stockholders?

ED     Look at the import figures, I think they import mechanisation and robots and so on.

POM     So imports of?

ED     Well PCs, mechanisation of the factories, robotising, and that of course can push up profits immensely. I know we're having the same because we listened and we lay off people. I think the exports have shot up of South Africa since the end of sanctions. Look at the wine industry, we've run out of wine in this country and those companies that could master the sanctions would do very well now.

POM     They've learnt.

ED     They learnt and they got fitter, they worked on the minimum amount of staff.

POM     That means the country is becoming more internationally competitive.

ED     I think in certain specific areas it is and it's got the African market. It's the best placed for the African market.

POM     But you're also suggesting that there is a vicious circle in operation here in the sense that you have growth without job creation, you have higher profits and the more that's ploughed back into the company reduces the need for labour, which increases profits, which reduces the need for labour and so that the reinvestment that's happening is not happening in a manner that creates more jobs, it creates the need for less jobs.

ED     Sure, that is happening to a large degree and I also think the foreign investment is mostly on the stock exchange where they can quickly leave and in short term loans.

POM     There is no foreign investment in fixed plant, equipment, factors.

ED     Very, very little. In long term investment there's very little.

POM     Just a couple more things, I always like these conversations. I could do a book on you alone. Just back to the constitution for a moment. Do you think the constitution that is emerging out of the Constitutional Assembly is a fundamentally different constitution than the interim constitution or that it's a fine tuning of it?

ED     It's not fundamentally different. It resembles to a large degree the previous one and it might have some more positive aspects. Not much is known about the real bones of contention, property rights, language issue, seat of parliament, well a range of things like that.

POM     Take the property clause, now there appears to be agreement, I remember in some of the very initial interviews I conducted I would ask then Cabinet ministers or whatever what are the important things that you would want to protect in constitutional negotiations and one was the free enterprise system. Among the main ones mentioned again and again were the right to property, the maintenance of the right to property. It was very high on everyone's list. It appeared that an agreement had been reached between the ANC, the NP and the DP on this issue that would be satisfactory to the NP in particular and that the ANC has since reneged on that. Is that your understanding of the situation?

ED     Yes that COSATU is so terribly against a property clause that the situation has gone back, has really developed retrogressively. I think it's very short-sighted and very stupid of COSATU to be against the property clause. Their reasoning seems to be that because there are so many landless people who want land that property should not be protected, but of course once they have land it may be taken away from them again just like that and they don't seem to realise that. I saw a very interesting argument by Themba Sono that if Africans had property rights the removals from Sophiatown and places like that would not have been possible and it's a very legitimate argument.

POM     Sorry, go through that again, that if South Africans had - ?

ED     Africans, blacks had property rights in Sophiatown in Johannesburg where there was a mass removal and then they would have been able to stay if they had property rights. It is the correct argument of course.

POM     This argument was made by?

ED     Themba Sono. I think he's at Wits.

POM     You've no idea what department he might belong to?

ED     He's a trustee of the Helen Suzman Foundation and I think he's at Wits University.

POM     I can find out through the SAIRR I'm sure. So that's one issue that's a major issue that's not resolved. Can you see the National Party actually throwing in their hand on that?

ED     Well as a sceptic I would have to say yes I can see that, but as a South African who wants to remain here I should say they should never do that. Property is enshrined, it's in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it's enshrined in most bills of rights, some countries don't have it. There should be certainty about property ownership otherwise, it's the old story, like in Russia, if everybody owns everything nobody owns anything.

POM     The absence of one would also act as a barrier against foreign investment.

ED     Oh yes.

POM     Because you couldn't have one set of laws for foreign investors and another for residents.

ED     No, if they don't have surety of property they simply won't invest here. I think that's for sure.

POM     The issue around the right to strike and the right of lock-out. What's the issue with regard to lock-out?

ED     Well I think the argument of the business sector is that if you have a strategic plant or factory or manufacturing unit and people go in, say like a newspaper who has delivery boys, if they go on strike can you call in some other people to deliver the paper otherwise your sales drop to hell and you're gone. And if a strike is called can you go on with your operation? I think that's the question, and all manufacturers would say, even the farmers if they are harvesting and there's a strike against them, there goes their income if they can't have a labour force collecting the harvest and being able to deliver it. So it's a very strong line of reasoning that there should be no lock-outs.

POM     Two last things. The first is the question of the General Malan et al trial. What if they are all found innocent, what if all the generals are found innocent? What message will that send to the black community?

ED     If they are found innocent it would mean that the state was unable to prove a link between the murders and commands from the top structure of the army, which I should think is a very strong possibility because just imagine a General like Jannie Geldenhuys who was crucial in the Namibia/Angola negotiations, he wanted peace. For me it's very hard to believe that someone like Jan Geldenhuys would give orders that civilians, legitimate political opponents, I mean the UDF was never banned, I would find it very hard to believe that Geldenhuys would issue an order that people should be killed. So that's the crucial thing that has to be proven. I have strong doubts whether it could be proven. Secondly, it's very clear that Buthelezi had a security threat against his life and was he entitled to ask the South African for protection or not? I think he was. All right, it was a very dirty war, the general impression that's being given out by the ANC nowadays is that their struggle was of a higher moral order and all that, which I think is total poppycock. I can see no moral difference between people being killed by a soldier or by a guerrilla fighter who puts a bomb in a Wimpy Bar or a land mine on a farm or whatever. I think it's morally repugnant all of that and there should be even-handed treatment. So if Malan is found not guilty I think the black population has to reflect on what's really happened.

POM     But in the nature of things and given the way - ?

ED     They call him a murderer.

POM     - their perceptions would they not think, again, it was the old system at work and a fix was in? Would it not increase their disdain for law, the rule of law?

ED     Let me put another question to you. Is Mandela going to trial for the Shell House shootings which he acknowledged in parliament that he ordered the guards to shoot?

POM     When did he acknowledge that because I will just look for it in Hansard if I can find it?

ED     I think it was about 15 months ago. He acknowledged in parliament that he gave orders to shoot to kill. Secondly, he obstructed the ends of justice by preventing the police from going into Shell House after the shootings. Virtually all of the evidence has been destroyed. Is Mandela going to court for that?

POM     I doubt it, that he's going to go to court. I doubt whether anything is going to happen to Mandela as a result of the Shell House shootings.

ED     Why? Because he's above the law? Nobody in South Africa is above the law. If we do have the rule of law I think he should be charged whatever the consequences.

POM     Do you think because of his admission in parliament in taking responsibility for the shootings he should be indicted?

ED     He is a co-accused. Probably the main one because he gave the orders.

POM     He should be indicted?

ED     He should be indicted and tried for murder or conspiracy to murder. Secondly, he should be charged for obstructing the ends of justice because he prevented, and everyone saw it on television, he prevented the police Captain or Colonel from entering Shell House to gather evidence.

POM     Just going back to this moral equivalence of violence or lack or moral equivalence of violence, if I were an ANC supporter I would say we tried everything, we tried every peaceful way possible to redress our grievances and we could find none, in fact the state simply became increasingly repressive and that in the end as a remedy of last resort we had no option but to turn to violence in order to secure basic human rights. Not that we wanted to do it but that we had to do it in order to secure our rights and that violence used in that way is different than violence used to maintain the practices of a repressive state.

ED     I would say that's fine, that's your line of reasoning, but you underwrote or you accepted the Geneva Convention, you signed it, which prevents you from killing innocent civilians and you started giving orders against soft targets, people were killed, as I said, in Wimpy Bars, in public places. You did not only attack military and police targets, you attacked innocent civilians and you killed them and you planted car bombs and so on in public places. I am sorry, there is no moral distinction there. Then secondly, it's an open question whether you had to continue the struggle in the way you did after the signs came from the National Party that they were willing to negotiate. As early as the early eighties P W Botha sent out the signal that apart from the three-chambered parliament he would acknowledge a Black Council and you refused to take part in that. So however much guilt there is on the National Party I think your hands are not clean either. What's more I think there's blood on your hands.

POM     So in your mind there is no difference between the action of a Robert McBride who planted the bomb in the Magoo Bar in Durban that killed three women and injured scores and the actions of Dirk Coetzee who admits to 27 crimes including the murder of six people, I think three of them children, they are on a par?

ED     Yes. I agree with the ANC Commission who said that people like that should never be appointed in any public office ever again. I agree with that.

POM     But yet they both work for the state?

ED     Now, yes. Coetzee is a spy. I think it's beyond belief. I think any claim of moral higher standing is so repugnant in the light of that.

POM     He's not even saying that he did it for a higher moral standard. He's saying he did it because he was told to do it.

ED     Yes.

POM     In a sense with that revelation and revealing the names of those who told him the ANC has rewarded him by appointing him to the National Intelligence Agency.

ED     After everything that he admitted and of course apart from the killings and the thefts and so on he is also a pathological liar and he's now a spy of the South African Intelligence Agency.

POM     His pathological lying comes from the evidence he gave before the Harms Commission?

ED     And others which he admitted himself. Even in the Vryweekblad trial the judge found that he was a compulsive liar but he believed him. The libel case against General Neethling where he gave evidence in London, the judge found that he was a liar but in this instance he believed him.

POM     So where does that leave the Truth & Reconciliation Commission?

ED     I would say in severe difficulties.

POM     Is it going to tear the country apart?

ED     It might. If it is one-sided it might.

POM     Is there a feeling in the Afrikaans community in particular that this is in fact being set up as a witch-hunt?

ED     Yes very strongly, but I would say even stronger among the Inkatha followers. I think they have an immensely difficult task ahead of them. I don't see how it can work. I'm reserving my judgement but I'm very sceptical.

POM     Just going back to the Malan trial, if evidence emerges that implicates Buthelezi should he be indicted or should the consideration that an indictment might so exacerbate the situation in KwaZulu/Natal that the low intensity war would become a war of very high intensity be a consideration, or should again justice be allowed to run its course regardless?

ED     It's the big question that starts facing us now, how far should justice go? All right, suppose every time something like that happens, every time people who are against the ANC are charged and taken to court for whatever reason, every time it loads the dice against Mandela not going to court for the Shell House shootings after his admission and after publicly showing that he's defeating the ends of justice. So it becomes, the scenario worsens all along and where it will all end who knows.

POM     In the same way that if in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, if evidence were to emerge that De Klerk or Kobie Coetsee or other ministers at the time who are still in 'active service' were parties to decisions that resulted in atrocities being committed should they have to apply for amnesty like everyone else? And if so if they are granted amnesty should they then be required to step down from public office?

ED     I should think so. God's truth, if you admitted to atrocities while you were a public figure, I mean it was a partial democracy and you order political opponents to be murdered.

POM     But having knowledge as distinct to ordering and knowing that it was going on but saying, well there's not much I can do about it so I may as well try and stay in here and influence policy rather than quit and get out?

ED     You see it comes to what I call the most basic human right, it's the right to live, and on both sides they killed and anyone who was a party to that should not hold public office. It's very clear to me. I cannot support that.

POM     If the commission is already being perceived among Afrikaners as being a witch-hunt, is that feeling also a general feeling in the white community as a whole?

ED     I think it's seen as an ANC ploy to further embarrass the National Party but it's been written into the law, and you know the constant harping by Omar that the liberation struggle was on a higher moral level, but it's not written into the law. The law specifies that gross human right abuses on all sides, including the liberation movements, should be examined by the Truth Commission. I think they are aware of the scepticism and the necessity of being even-handed but with constant political pressure and so on what's going to happen? I simply don't know. I have to see.

     Just by the way, about the Truth Commission, you know the Chilean Truth Commission had eight members, more or less divided between supporters of those sympathetic to the previous regime and those not, or those sympathetic to the new one. The South African Truth Commission is totally loaded on the side of the ANC. That's just a fact.

POM     No-one went to jail in Chile either. There was blanket immunity granted.

ED     The amnesty question in this country was fouled up basically by Kobie Coetsee of course. There was an agreement on general amnesty and he blew it very early on in the negotiations. There was an agreement more or less signed, or just to sign on the dotted line that there should be general amnesty, which I think would have been much better than what we're having now.

POM     How did he manage to blow something as simple as that?

ED     He managed to blow virtually everything. He's a pathetic figure.

POM     I'll bring this up when I have an interview with him next week.

ED     Do you? Well ask him. He will go into all reasons, but ask him about the meeting directly after the Pretoria Minute where there was, I think, Slovo and Mbeki on the one side and I think Fanie van der Merwe and Niel Barnard on the other side and there was an agreement that there should be general amnesty. Fanie van der Merwe, he's the Director General of Constitutional Development and Barnard was the Chief of Intelligence or whatever the thing was called at that time.

POM     So Fanie van der Merwe, Barnard and?

ED     If I'm not mistaken. That's how I recollect it.

POM     And Coetsee.

ED     No, he came in later and he blew it.

POM     Just finally on this question, because I get differing replies, of the 77 ANC leaders who were granted temporary immunity from prosecution. Now my understanding of it is that it has to be renewed by parliament on a yearly basis, but given that they are all ANC and it's an ANC parliament that doesn't mean very much. But (b) that it runs out one year after the Truth Commission begins its deliberations and that they like everybody else will have to apply for amnesty and disclose, is that the law?

ED     I don't understand it in that way. I thought that they would only appear before the Truth Commission if they did apply for amnesty and disclose what they did. I don't really see that coming.

POM     But if they don't go before the Truth Commission?

ED     We'll make a bit of noise about that. I think they have to. They are morally obliged. And then I think what's more, having expressed and acknowledging their sins one will have to decide whether they are fit for public office.

POM     Are things like this, you say it all depends on the economy, but wars are rarely about economic issues, if everyone behaved rationally.

ED     Very often they are but still.

POM     If one looks at Yugoslavia and looks at how a country just destroyed itself, certainly considerations of economic growth, unemployment and maintaining infrastructure didn't play any big role in the way people made decisions. Are things like the divisions that a Truth Commission could give rise to, the other things we've talked about, language, could these in the long run be more threatening to the stability of the society? Like you've got Canada breaking up over language. Who is saying, "Well this is irrational, what is it going to do to the economy"?

ED     That's true. I think I was making the point that if there is a strong economy it does help to solve other problems but certainly language and, what was the other one you mentioned?

POM     The issues that would arise out of the Truth Commission.

ED     Yes, the Truth Commission, certainly.

POM     The lack of the resolution of the explosive situation in KwaZulu/Natal.

ED     Yes, yes. These are of course very, very pertinent factors. I think a strong economy does help to offset them but if they are not handled in a very wise and circumspect way then certainly in a very deeply divided society like we have, well things could go terribly wrong, no question about that.

POM     Last, finally last, last question. The coloured vote. Was there a swing towards the ANC in the local elections here?

ED     They claim, the ANC claimed there was. Afterwards most political scientists who investigated it and who looked at the previous one said there was not much of a swing. They don't expect one here for the metropolitan area as well although I would be surprised if the National Party held its own.

POM     Because?

ED     I think the disillusionment with the National Party is a factor by now.

POM     In the Western Cape?

ED     Oh yes.

POM     Why? Is this symptomatic or disillusionment with government as a whole or just have they not reached out to the coloured community or have they performed ineptly?

ED     It's basically that it doesn't have a strong profile. It should have a much stronger profile to keep attracting voters. It's still a long way to the election, another 2½ months. Maybe it improves. Right now I should think that the ANC might do slightly better.

POM     But that overall the National Party would maintain a larger share of the coloured vote than the ANC?

ED     That's still possible.

POM     But you put a question mark beside it?

ED     I do.

POM     Two question marks.

ED     One.

POM     OK. Thanks.

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.