This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
01 Apr 1996: Du Plessis, Barend
POM. Mr du Plessis, what I'll do is I'll throw out a number of statements to you and have you react just to the statement. The first would be the Makgoba affair. What does it say about the state of race relations in the country?
BDP. You're talking about the professor at Wits?
POM. That's right.
BDP. I'm not adequately qualified to comment since I did not follow it in great detail. My impressions, therefore, are merely macro impressions and coming also from discussions with people who are pretty close to the situation, or who were. The Makgoba situation I believe forms part of a pattern which has manifested itself elsewhere as well, the moment criticism is levelled, the moment there is a critical probe into the veracity and authenticity of something then you're a racist, then it becomes a racist situation. That is my first comment on the Makgoba affair.
. The second one is that eventually it became quite clear that Professor Makgoba did have some inaccuracies in his curriculum vitae which, if my information is correct, were papered over by the usual political statement that there was some misunderstanding about it, so in other words there was truth in the original concern over his qualifications for that particular post. But regardless of that fact and regardless of the fact that he was then moved or compelled or whatever to come to some kind of agreement and accept a demotion in fact, there were certain black elements at the university who refused to accept this agreement and who again wanted to stage some toyi-toyi action or trashing the campus. In other words Makgoba in a way also became a victim of his own support base. I think it's pretty arrogant of students to involve themselves and to poke their noses into things that are not really their business and if the person involved reaches an amicable or a reasonable agreement with the relevant authorities, who are they to object? I think that is typical of the kind of warped idea that I perceive in South Africa of what democracy really is.
POM. Do you think there is a developing tendency that one is labelled a racist for any kind of criticism that is directed at the government?
BDP. Well not only the government. If a white person criticises a black person whether that person is part of the government or the chairman of the Human Rights Commission or whoever, then all of a sudden he's labelled a racist. In the previous notes you will recall perhaps that I had a similar experience at CODESA where a black advocate from Transkei talked a load of rubbish and I, in parliamentary fashion, interjected, because that was a mini-parliament in my view and I interjected and I said, "Oh that's rubbish." I was promptly called a racist! Then I told him that if he suddenly changed the colour of his skin it wouldn't change the merit of his argument. This seems to prevail right now and it's unfortunately very widespread. Not all members of government use this tactic of course.
POM. Do you think one result of that is that people won't criticise because no-one likes to be labelled a racist so rather than get into the whole hassle of being labelled a racist and having to defend oneself as not being a racist people let things slip by that otherwise would be open to more critical analysis?
BDP. It is possible that it will influence the more timid into not speaking their minds. But I don't think that people of any standing in life will be put off by the possibility of being called a racist if you criticise. I certainly hope not, it will be a very bad phenomenon in South Africa if that begins to happen generally.
POM. Do you think it has an impact on the way in which democracy will develop or is developing, that it's an inhibitor?
BDP. It's certainly an inhibiting factor to the extent that people are put off by it and in the sense that people get fed up with the country, a country where racism is being kept alive by people of colour to escape the consequences of non-meritorious statements or conduct or incompetence. It's a put-off as far as the country is concerned. If that is what the officials feel, if that is what people in high places feel that they are untouchable and that if you criticise them then you're a racist, it creates a bad perception about the country. I don't think that it will necessarily impede or inhibit democracy but what I said earlier about Makgoba is, who are the students to interfere in Makgoba's life? That's not democracy. Also the trade unions telling business what to do, it's this thing, we talked about it last time, about government by the people for the people. Some of the people are taking that a little bit too seriously.
POM. The Sarafina affair, now in any 'normal democracy' the Minister for Health, Dr Zuma, would have resigned on the spot.
BDP. Of course, yes.
POM. And I use the case of Lord Carrington who said in the Falklands situation in the early eighties that he failed to note that the Argentinean warships were steaming towards the Falklands and he resigned as a matter of honour. Not only has that not happened here but there has been even the ANC blocking parliament from setting up a select committee to look into whether or not Dr Zuma was in fact making misrepresentations to parliament. What does that say, again, about the manner in which democracy and transparency is developing?
BDP. Well it creates not only a perception but it is reality that it happened, that there is indeed selective transparency. In the case of the National Party some years back a deputy minister was fired for what was then considered a completely inordinate amount of money spent on the development of a song and involving various artists and so on. He was simply fired.
POM. Who was this?
BDP. That was Louis Nel and it was a little song designed or composed and sung by a variety of people to promote well-being and unity among the various groups in South Africa. But in this particular case I think it is a blemish on the government, closing ranks and just blocking an investigation into it. It's completely ridiculous to pay 14 million rand for a play to influence people's behaviour and then charging an entrance fee at the same time.
POM. I see the European Union is demanding its money back.
BDP. I think if that kind of discipline at least can be exercised from international quarters from where donations come, then it's some comfort that at least there will be a greater degree of circumspection in the future. But this particular case should not be left unpunished.
POM. We were talking about accountability.
BDP. I find it totally ridiculous that such a large amount money has been allocated for a play to be produced. A very substantial movie could have been made with such funds. The whole thing is just being badly managed and it smells even of corruption now that it's all blockaded. It is indeed a question of selective transparency and it's a blemish on the government.
POM. The National Party seems to have lost all sense of identity, to be floundering about trying to create a new vision and F W de Klerk has this notion that somehow the party is going to be able to attract a large number of black voters in the not too distant future which many people would say is a fantasy.
BDP. I have no doubt that that is a fantasy. There is no way that the National Party in its present form is going to collect a large amount of black votes. I think the National Party has not decided, that's my perception, I'm not close to the party so I stand open to correction but my impression is that it hasn't decided its identity. Does it want to go for the black middle class, does it want to go for the masses? It's not even identifying properly with the white middle class like it used to. I don't know. I just read in the Sunday newspaper yesterday that a deputy minister that is now resigning saying that the leadership style is completely wrong, that the leadership of the National Party seems to be under the impression that they are on the way to the score line to score a try but they are floating so high that they won't get to the score line, they will bump their heads against the goal posts. So there is real criticism from inside the National Party itself and having just recently been out-manoeuvred yet again out of a very senior Cabinet position, I think it's completely unrealistic that they will achieve large numbers of support. The National Party had the Finance portfolio, Derek Keys had that, then he was replaced by Chris Liebenberg who was so-called neutral and now he's been replaced by an ANC person. So the ANC now control both security and the economy and that is exactly what they wanted to achieve. The National Party doesn't feature. The National Party and its leadership have effectively been cut out of publicity, out of the news media. In sympathy one can say maybe they are doing something but it's not getting properly published, but even the Afrikaans language newspapers don't report, as before, on what the National Party is supposed to be doing and this out-manoeuvring right now is just another example of the National Party just moving into a kind of oblivion.
POM. It appears in negotiations that it's just caving in on every front. After maintaining, since the interim constitution came into power, that one of the almost non-negotiable elements of their future agenda is that there would be a continuation of the government of national unity after 1999, it just suddenly throws in its hand and says, "We've given up on that proposal."
BDP. Not only that, they've given up apparently on the proposal also of mother tongue education and, again, as far as the government is concerned that is selective morality, if you like. If I as an Afrikaans speaking parent take my child to the University of Cape Town and I demand to have him or her taught in English there is a clause that says it's a condition of entry.
POM. To be taught in English?
BDP. There's a clause that says, a qualification for entry as a student, or admission as a student, that you must be sufficiently proficient in English because the classes are in English. But if I take, and 20 other Afrikaans speaking parents take, our Afrikaans speaking children to the University of Cape Town and we demand that they be taught in the medium of Afrikaans we will be laughed at. They won't be admitted because there is that basic clause. But elsewhere in the education system, even where pupils can't speak Afrikaans, like happened now, and I'm not in the least trying to justify the racist elements in the Northern Transvaal, but fundamentally as far as education is concerned the fact remains that there was an Afrikaans medium school and it became a double medium school but pupils were just coming in and demanding to be taught in English. There is the University of Stellenbosch where the Congress of South African students are demanding to be taught in English. Why? If Cape Town can have a condition of admission that you must be proficient in English why not the same at Stellenbosch? The National Party is quiet on this. It's not kicking up a sufficient row that everybody can hear their views.
POM. Do you think the Afrikaners have been, both in terms of the Freedom Front and on the issues you're talking about, the issues of language, on receiving 3.6% of the air time on the SABC, are effectively being both out-manoeuvred and marginalised? That once the threat of rebellion from the right didn't materialise the Volkstaat Council's report was almost rejected out of hand? The reduction of air time of Afrikaans to 3.6% of broadcast time on the SABC, the whole question of mother tongue education, is the government dangerously misreading the situation or does it expect a cave in?
BDP. Mr Mandela continues to give assurances in this regard but in practice in education and in broadcasting there is the reality that Afrikaans is being marginalised and the cause for Afrikaans is certainly not helped by the fact that the most visible people trying to do something about it are the right wing and not necessarily the moderate and even liberal Afrikaans speakers. So it is really a problem at this stage and it will not be possible for Afrikaners to establish private schools. They can't afford it unless those private schools get state subsidies of a kind which will not be forthcoming. So it is quite a problem at this stage and there is no doubt that there is a feeling among Afrikaners that their language is getting marginalised. In my view that gives rise to something else. If I'm going to lose my own language in my own country, and this country is going in many respects and in many views of certain people, down the tubes, why should I stay here? Then I might as well go and live in another country where I will eventually lose my language anyway but then at least I'm living in a better country economically. This phenomenon, I'm trying to say to you that this phenomenon of Afrikaans being marginalised has made the Afrikaner, or is in the process of making the Afrikaner, again a possible emigrant. He is an immigrant into Africa of 350 years plus standing and he is becoming internationalised again, he is finding his own country an alien place and if it's an alien place then the criteria for staying here also change more to the materialistic side.
POM. On the economy, you say many people say that the country is going down the tubes, yet for the first time in a decade or more than a decade it has had a growth rate of over 3% even though it's a growth rate that is not accompanied by any increase in employment. Profits of companies appear to be soaring. When I pick up Business Day every day, companies are reporting record profits. Where are those profits going and why isn't growth translating into jobs?
BDP. I don't know. It was a problem in my time as Minister of Finance as well where you had economic growth without the creation of jobs. I think that goes with an increase in productivity via the introduction of high technology in various production phases. It's also a matter of a greater degree of automation, better trained people and internal training that translate eventually into fewer people producing more with better machines. Those are the companies that are doing well. But I'm not saying that the country is going down the tubes, let me just put that on record, what I am saying is that an Afrikaner, if he is alienated, looks at the country and he may feel that the country is going down the tubes, not by looking at the growth rate and the profits of companies but by looking at what's happening around him and of which a good example is the condition of our roads. Have you seen the state of the roads compared to four years ago? The housing problem isn't being solved which increases the squatter problem immeasurable, exponentially in fact. The standard of public hospitals has gone down so dramatically it's not even funny and the hospitals are being swamped by people previously not even from our country. And about education, already some people say that standards are being lowered there as well.
. So that's what I mean when there begins to develop an impression that the country is going down the tubes. But as far as the economy is concerned it's terrific. A lot of money is coming into the country. My own personal concern is that a lot of it is not necessarily equity, it's not all long term money and we can run into the same problem that we did in 1985 although this time we will have back up which we didn't have at that stage. But certainly a lot of money has come into the country and that is promising. I personally, if I may just add a personal note, I personally feel that the government is going through a rapidly maturing process and I don't think that this government or the ANC can ever afford to go down in history as the final example of black Africans being unable to govern a country properly. I don't think they will allow it, to let this economy go to ruin like happened in so many other African countries. South Africa is really the last hope of black African governments to show that they can also do the trick.
POM. Do you believe they can?
BDP. I think they can, but then they must get rid of certain constraints. I believe that there must be a different relationship between the ANC and the trade unions. They can't let the trade unions govern them from the shop floor. Then that ultimate break up between the ANC and the Communist Party and particularly with the trade unions must take place and there must be a realignment. I think we will have a black dominated government for ever but key people must remain in key positions, like Chris Stals. If they can find a black equivalent that's fine, but that quality of person must be there. What has happened so far, unfortunately, is not always a quality person coming into a top position. I have personal experience of that in various departments.
POM. The unions and the ANC, many people would say that the ANC more or less caved in to the unions on the question of privatisation, would you agree with that?
BDP. Yes I agree with that, and the fact that privatisation has been literally put on hold, that it's become a sensitive thing between the ANC and the trade unions, it's obvious that it has tremendous political implications for the ANC and until such time as they have secured their power base or secured their power then that kind of restructuring of political alliances in South Africa will not take place. I believe that the future economic prosperity is dependent on that. Now COSATU has a problem, it's lost many of its leaders to parliament but they were also socialists in many respects, now beginning to show signs of a conversion.
POM. So do you think the cracks in the ANC are becoming more visible, that the strains within the alliance are more apparent than they were before or that this is wishful thinking of their political opponents?
BDP. At this stage it's more wishful thinking than anything else. Nothing will happen before the 1999 election. They must get a decent and very strong victory again in the 1999 elections and only after that will they really be able, if they want to move towards realignment. I believe that most of the leaders in fact want to go into the direction of the successful countries, of the economically and politically successful countries but particularly economically successful countries where trade unions no longer have the final say.
POM. The country is becoming more open in terms of becoming part of the global economy, the reduction in tariffs. I think you have in Port Elizabeth the virtual demolition, so to speak, of the textile industry as manufacturers are moving into Zimbabwe because of lower wages and they just can't compete with imports from South Korea or Taiwan or Malaysia or whatever. As the country, and most studies that are done show the country to be in a pretty poor position in terms of it being internationally competitive, again will this inhibit the creation of jobs, put more emphasis on technology and capital intensive procedures, down-sizing?
BDP. I have no doubt that is so, that you are correct. The only salvation for a manufacturer is to go hi-tech unless the trade unions are prepared to bring their wages in line with their productivity and so far that's been an extremely sensitive and negative situation for the ANC. The only result of that can be that your currency will take a knock. A government will definitely, as far as its monetary policy goes, protect itself, if you're not allowed to slap on tariffs in terms of your internationalisation and becoming part of all the international agreements, allowing the currency to slide so as to make imports very expensive and to make exports competitive. But how long can you carry on with that?
. But I believe that you've touched on a very sensitive problem. The lifting of exchange control will not necessarily be that the more affluent people in South Africa, mainly whites and Indians, will take their money out of the country, but that your industries will relocate to neighbouring countries where the wages are lower. I don't think that the government will be able to resist that for ever. If that is so, if factories have to be taken to Zimbabwe and to Zambia and into Tanzania or Mozambique or whatever to get wages in line with productivity in order to be not only financially viable but profitable and internationally competitive then that is the reality and there is no way that you can stop it. The economy is a relentless animal, it will get its way. It will result either in a slide of the currency or the government will have to liberalise the exchange control and allow factories to move into the region which I think will be a good thing personally because you'll get a better balance and then it will at least stop those people from all coming to this honey pot and you will get a more rational wage structure and really put the competition back into the labour market because we've got an abundance of labour.
POM. In the short run, and I don't know what the short run is, in the foreseeable future is there any prospect of the problem of unemployment being able to be realistically dealt with or it is just there and there's not much that can be done about it?
BDP. The simple fact is this, business cannot create the expensive jobs that the trade unions are monopolising because the people who need the jobs are willing to work for much lower wages, but if you slap on minimum wages the industry is not interested. Industry is not in the welfare business. Industry is not in the business in creating jobs just for the sake of creating jobs. Industry is in business to make a profit and one of the features of the end of this century, and it will certainly be a major thing in the next century, is the international mobility of capital and there is no way that you can force South African business to invest their money here. If it's possible to go to Zimbabwe where you can have labour at cheaper rates and be more profitable then people will go there. Here we have this enormous body of unemployed and there is no way that expensive jobs with minimum wages can be created for them. There must be a total restructuring of labour and what a businessman means by restructuring and what labour means by restructuring are two completely different things.
POM. There's no meeting of the minds.
POM. Two remarks President Mandela made lately largely went without comment and it struck me as peculiar. One was that on one of his anniversaries, in an interview he gave on the sixth anniversary of his release from prison he said, according to The Citizen, "It will take years before there is visible delivery in South Africa largely because of the 250 billion rand national debt inherited from the former government." There was no comment on that. One, is it a correct statement?
BDP. With great respect I don't think that it's relevant. The past few budgets, the past three, four budgets have just added further debt and you have to add further debt if you keep your expenditure high and you keep your taxes low, particularly consumption tax, and if the taxes are low as a result of low economic growth, if that deficit before borrowing remains what it is now, 5%, then you would just get this increase in government debt. But that inheritance is not too bad in terms of if you add local domestic debt and international debt together as a percentage of GDP, we are certainly not the worst in the whole world and that's got nothing to do with delivery. The money is here, there is money here, but there has been an inability on the side of both national and provincial governments to deliver in terms of houses. Why aren't the provincial governments building the same number of houses that the previous government built? Sincerely, the delivery is not inhibited by the presence of that debt. It certainly has an influence, it certainly inhibits the government in terms of its options, but let's assume that that can be regarded as a major stumbling block, the government can do something about it at the drop of a hat through a massive privatisation programme.
. We have international investors wanting to come into South Africa and they complain that they cannot get into the South African economy via the Stock Exchange because the moment they start buying shares in order to achieve a major block of shares to achieve a takeover or whatever, the shares go up. I've had numerous complaints of this kind. They go to the major controlling companies and say, "Sell me a major share in a retail group or whatever", and the answer is no. So there's been a lack of investment opportunity. Now with the privatisation and international interest in investing in South Africa it's quite possible to generate at least half of that debt in a very short period of time and get it out of the way by selling government corporations. Now the government can't have it's cake and eat it, it can't keep on blaming the previous government. It's been borrowing money from the private sector itself so is it willing to grow out of that gradually in an evolutionary manner over the next ten to fifteen years or do they want to deliver in the short term? If they want to deliver in the short term let them privatise. It will make those corporations efficient, it will generate an awful lot of cash, they can convert that cash into delivery of houses and schools and infrastructure but there is a political inhibition on that coming from the trade unions. So, do you pacify the trade unions at the expense of delivery? That's a political decision that the ANC will have to take.
POM. The second remark he made was on Human Rights Day when he said there were elements within the police who were out to destabilise the country and he talked about a coup d'etat and then only one paper reported, which I found interesting, that he took back his remarks about a coup d'etat. Everyone else reported that he said there could be a coup d'etat, that stability, they had gained political control but not power.
BDP. I think that was an unfortunate remark. That's why I think in kindness the papers didn't make a big song and dance of it. It was an unfortunate remark. I don't think there is any credibility in that. And if there is then this government is surely in a position to do something about it. If it's in a position - well it controls the entire security mechanism, it controls the entire economy, why can't it control the police force in particular and make sure that there's no coup d'etat attempt. There has been a majority of black people in the police force for a long time so if we want to reduce it to possible ANC support versus possible National Party support, no I don't think so, I think that's best forgotten.
POM. There's a new form of segregation going on and that is this phenomenon of the development of walled-in housing cities where people live behind security gates, there is one way in, one way access, control is tightly monitored and it really is a new form of segregation.
BDP. Well that's a world-wide phenomenon in crime ridden countries. People need to protect themselves with the number of burglaries and attacks and murders that you have here in South Africa right now and syndicated crime, or crime syndicates. It's organised crime, that's what I want to say. It's impossible not to do it.
POM. Do you think the situation has gotten any better any better in terms of crime since we last talked?
BDP. Not really. The prisons are as full as ever and they are going to release them shortly again just to make space for others and the more that happens the less respect there is for the machines of justice. No, I think crime is rife, it's good business in South Africa. That's why people keep on doing it and you go to jail for a few years and your term gets reduced and if you get a good haul then you can go and rest for a while. I am very cynical about the whole situation. People are just being shot in cold blood. I had an attempted burglary at my place here, they came in despite tremendous security and as the two young ones, the one was helping the other one climb into my window, I woke up.
POM. In the middle of the night?
BDP. In the middle of the night, three o'clock in the morning.
POM. And your security systems didn't work?
BDP. Well they slipped in with one of the tenants coming in, before the gate was closed they were in, and then they broke open a gate that cannot be broken open from outside, it can be broken from inside. Two young blacks. That's why people go behind walls.
POM. Now how does that make you feel? Do you feel more unsafe? What psychological impact has it had?
BDP. A huge psychological impact on me. I've put burglar bars in the meantime and I've got a rifle. I'll shoot him with my shot gun next time because if he wants to get in through my burglar bars he will at least make a noise. I will just have to shoot him. That's how I feel. I feel unsafe. I don't travel in my BMW into certain areas of the town, then I use my old company car. People adapt their way of life to the crime situation. There are certain turn-offs on the M1 that you don't use. Don't take the Marlborough one, you've got a better chance not to get hijacked at the Greyston turn-off. It's terrible to live in a country that's turned like this all of a sudden.
POM. Corruption. The IDASA poll suggesting that people think there's more corruption in the present government than in the previous government and there are howls of protest from the present government. Do you think the poll is accurate in what it says or that corruption is now more openly talked about and reported than it was before?
BDP. I don't know, I cannot say. To me, personally, it was a great shock to learn how corruption was being perpetrated under the previous government where people accepted gifts for placing orders in a certain place and so on. It was really a great shock to me and I am not in a position to say that today it's more than before. I don't deal with businesses that operate at that level. I have tried a few business ventures in Africa and correspondence comes back through agents and then they say that they need a 15% what they call a 'negotiation margin'. I don't know about that in South Africa yet. I have been involved in one tender, a huge one, and it was absolutely transparent and it was done with the highest degree of integrity with Telkom. I really don't know, but there is one aspect of it that came out in discussion and that is that when people take a short-term view of their stay in a country then they become more susceptible to that. The dictum becomes, "Well if everybody is cashing in why shouldn't I cash in?" At a certain level of operation in a company or a government department that attitude is created, engendered, encouraged by people taking a short-term view. "I'm going to get fired anyway, I'm going to be replaced by somebody else, why shouldn't I cash in? I'm going to be replaced by somebody else on account of my skin colour, I've got the wrong gender, I'm male, I've got the wrong colour, I'm white, so I'd better cash in otherwise I will come short." That is something which I am told is a possible psychological motivation for corruption to be more widely found now than before.
POM. Just a couple of other things. One is your reactions to the Cabinet reshuffle and why Pallo?
BDP. I was very shocked, I was very shocked by Pallo Jordan's omission from Cabinet. I met him only once but some of my associates have been in close contact with him. He's an extraordinarily intelligent person, very competent and I don't know of any reason why he should have been left out and no political commentator ever mentioned that he was a minister qualifying for dismissal. Others were mentioned. I don't know, I really have no facts.
POM. Magnus Malan. Just two questions. One, what if he and the generals are found innocent, what reaction do you think that will evoke in the black community? And, two, has it the potential to tear the country apart?
BDP. Well I think it will have a profound effect either way. I personally don't think that he's guilty in the sense that he personally approved the killing of people and it would seem from the testimony that it's going the way of the generals, that the state hasn't got a very good case. With a big song and dance they were arrested, it was a huge public demonstration, now we've got the culprits, and wide publicity given, the generals, even a minister, now we've got them, now really justice is going to prevail. And it made a big impression on a lot of people, incredulity, people not believing it on the one side, the white side, the National Party support base, on the other hand I would presume that blacks would have felt, "Ah, now we've got them all these whities and some blackies as well", and now if they go free I think it will be a major disappointment in the process of justice more than anything else. I don't know, I don't think it can tear the country apart, nothing that dramatic, but it can just be yet another example of the process of justice not delivering.
POM. And KwaZulu/Natal, here you have the figures coming in on a weekly basis, becoming mind-boggling. Over the weekend 61, 62, 63 people killed in political violence every weekend. You have this continuing refusal of the ANC to entertain the notion of international mediation. You have the IFP believing that the troops that are deployed there are former MK people. You have the ANC supporters believing that the police were there, or former IFP supporters, members of the old KwaZulu Police. Is this a time bomb, that it's not being attended to with the seriousness with which it should be?
BDP. Yes I have no doubt. There has been a war, a war of attrition, or a low level war for a long time. Hundreds and hundreds of IFP leaders were wiped out long before Mr Mandela's release and that war, and hundreds of ANC supporters killed equally, and it's been allowed to go on. Why international mediation is not used by the ANC as a political card that they play, to say look now we have done everything, justifying a clamp-down of greater proportion, I would never know.
POM. What do you think is Mr Mandela's hang-up? I mean here he is the great mediator, the great reconciler, the man who goes the extra step every time even on behalf of the Springboks. He single-handedly turned that debate around by saying, "This is what I want".
BDP. I don't know. I cannot for the life of me understand the rationale of the ANC. There is something there that is not visible to the ordinary person, and I am one of them. I don't understand it. But that really is a time bomb in the end. We are getting used to the casualties. Every weekend is much more than Sharpeville ever was.
POM. Yet it's not having an impact on foreign investment in KwaZulu/Natal ironically. In terms of foreign investment it's one of the fastest growing provinces so the argument that the economy is suffering because of the violence is a false argument.
BDP. I think it's regarded as something among blacks, faction fighting or whatever. It's been on their minds, it's been there for many years, the fights between the Xhosas and the Sothos and the Sothos and the Zulus and the Zulus and the Xhosas. It's been there for decades and maybe your informed international business operator just thinks, well that's outside, it's outside of the enclosed world of business. I don't know. My friends, I have got one former colleague, Koos van der Merwe, who is the Chief Whip of the IFP, I speak with him from time to time and the international mediation thing is a big thing in their lives and that's why I can't understand it and I don't know really, I don't know what's going to happen there.
POM. Just two quick final questions. One is last year when I asked you to give a rating between one and ten on the government's performance, where one was very unsatisfactory and ten very satisfactory, you gave the government a six and you gave Mandela an eight and a half. As we approach the second anniversary of the elections what rating would you give them at this point?
BDP. Mr Mandela is still there, if not higher, but the government must have dropped to five and a half. I expected a much better budget from a fiscal, structural point of view. It wasn't there. They didn't deliver in terms of turning what money they have into anything else but bureaucratic salaries. There are no houses, they are not doing the maintenance, capital works are just not there and putting a hand into the savings box of people who looked after their own retirement funds to supplement government expenditure, using capital by way of pension money for current expenditure I think is like getting into your car in Cape Town and driving to Johannesburg and stopping at Beaufort West and selling the spare wheel to buy a few hamburgers, stopping at Bloemfontein, stopping downhill and selling the battery for a few beers. I expected a much better budget. I hope it can be achieved.
POM. OK. Thank you ever so much and thank you for waiting.