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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
02 Apr 1996: Alexander, Benny (!Khoisan X)
POM. Let me begin with, and these will all be difficult questions because your party is in difficult times, but you appear to be a party that's rent by discontent, disarray, disorganisation, financial bankruptcy, bills go unpaid, telephones are cut off, internal strife, no electoral support, no coherent programme, the resignation of key personnel. You have a congress coming up this weekend; where stands the party and what must the party do to rescue itself from impending oblivion, or what most people would think is impending oblivion?
KX. Thank you very much for the question. You mention so many aspects I am not sure I remember all of them. First of all the financial woes of the party can be traced back right to the time of its beginning and because of its African nationalistic stance. The African nationalistic stance meant since the beginning of the party that it would never align itself with the west or the east during the time of the cold war. As a result of that they never had support from either and had to basically rely on poor governments and leftist organisations to support the party. So it always had financial difficulties. It has financial difficulties even now. It is not much worse than it has been in the past and what I think makes things a little bit worse than the past though is that governments which were supporting liberation movements decided that because there is a new legitimate government in place the continued support of a particular party can be construed as interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state and as a result of that you find that that source of funds from foreign governments has dried up. That is true for the PAC and it's also true for every other political party in the country, and I think that is also at the heart of the difficulties of the PAC. It cannot implement certain programmes, it cannot do certain things because of lack of resources.
. But before I explain further what the PAC must do let me first say something about the importance of the PAC. It is important for democracy in our country that there should be a party that is legitimate amongst the majority of the people that is a strong opposition to the ANC. We have seen in recent times a lot of corruption scandals because the ruling party is so strong and does not have an opposition. We have seen the other day with the Sarafina 2 play how the ruling party was able to come and defend corruption. We have seen how in the North West Province and in the OFS ministers had to be fired because of corruption. We saw every major NGO dominated by the ruling party, by the ANC, collapsing. We had the Returned Exiles Committee, it collapsed under the weight of corruption. We had an Ex-Political Prisoners Committee which also collapsed under the weight of corruption. We had the Youth Development Forum which collapsed under the weight of corruption. So you need a strong opposition party to see to it ...
POM. You were not a strong opposition party?
KX. That's right, but I am saying that the PAC has legitimacy because it comes from the same tradition and that is why it has legitimacy to become that type of strong opposition. Now the other point I must also make is that in third world countries, unlike in first world countries, a government can fail but if there is some historical legitimacy of the president it will not be removed. It is unthinkable that Mugabe will be removed and it's unthinkable that the President of Angola and the President of Mozambique, and Mozambique is the second poorest country in the world. Now in the first world you cannot have spiralling corruption and mismanagement and failure to deliver on electoral promises and still survive the next election but in the third world you survive. We have seen in South America, countries which have an inflation rate of over 1000% and are still voted back into power. You cannot have that in the first world countries. So fortunately for our country here we do have an alternative party which has the same credentials as the ruling party, went to Robben island, was banned, represented us internationally for the armed struggle, everything the ruling party has they have. The difference between the two is that the first two elections in our country will not be proper democracy and it is very important that people in the west, for example, understand that you do not have a proper democracy in our country. We have liberation elections so that people do not come together across racial lines on the basis of principles because in the black community, for example, we have conservatives, we have liberals, we have communists, we have capitalists. In the white community you have the same categories of people so one would think that in a democracy all the conservatives would come together, all the communists would come together, all the liberals would come together, all the nationalists, and so on, but that doesn't happen. So that will happen by the time we have the third election, that will be truly non-racial. Right now you find that black people will predominantly vote for a black party.
POM. But that's going to last for a long time.
KX. That's going to last at least for the first two elections. White people will predominantly vote for a white party and that is so because the elections are still based on the old order and these elections are being seen as liberation elections by the masses of the people. So in the next elections black people will vote primarily for a black person, white for a white person and there will be a few exceptions in between. Now in that respect you find that is part of the problem the PAC had because people said that the vote for Mandela was more an anti De Klerk vote than an anti PAC vote. The ANC played its cards accordingly as well in its electoral machinery, propaganda and so on. But now we have a situation in our country in terms of which the ruling party is so strong that you do need a strong opposition to ensure that you don't go the road of corruption and a banana republic.
POM. Sure, but my point would be that after two years rather than the PAC being able to capitalise on the weaknesses of the ANC and make political capital out of corrupt practices that are taking place or the abuses of power that are slowly slipping into the system, it has gone in the opposite direction. In the last round of local elections it did poorer than it did in the elections of 1994, it has no organisational structures, it's not capitalising on the huge constituency of the unemployed, of the lost generation of the youth. There is no indication that the youth have turned in any manner, shape or form towards the PAC. It is still, according to many observers, stuck in the policies of the past, of the 1950s. You are not making it as an opposition party. You're not an opposition.
KX. Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the financial and lack of resources problem is still at the heart of the PAC's ability to respond organisationally, but that does not detract from the fact that the PAC has the foundation and the premise and is the only party that has the credentials amongst the people which matter, the majority of voters, to be that opposition and that is why it is important that the PAC must be strengthened to become that and that the wrongs in the PAC must be corrected.
POM. But do you not think you are at a point of almost losing your credibility?
KX. No, no. We are at the point of correcting the wrongs and I will tell you the pillars on which the PAC must build itself. The first pillar the PAC must build itself is that it must provide a leadership that is not compared to its current leadership, the incumbents, but it must be compared to the Cabinet ministers of the government of national unity and the PAC must have that in mind when it elects. On a portfolio by portfolio basis it must elect better people. Now I will elaborate on that later on. The second point that it needs to do, it needs to have a strategy in place to solve its problems of resources. The third thing it must organise on the mass level, go to the disgruntled people and organise them. And the fourth point is that it must start training programmes now already to make sure that we have bureaucrats and other people who are competent and well trained. Those are the pillars that must underline the PAC's revival and survival strategy.
POM. OK let's begin with the first one. The first one is - I will give you a proposition; President Makwetu must go, must go. I am publishing nothing until the year 2000. He will be well gone by that point. Be honest! You can't sit there and tell me that you need new leadership and at the same point I say he must go, he's ineffective. You had this ridiculous affair last January when you had members of the party saying that he had abandoned the party and taken off for Cape Town and left his presidential house in Johannesburg and people saying he had gone to America and left the party in disarray. He's an ineffective, poor leader. He must go.
KX. When I say that we must compare ourselves on a person per person basis to the government of national unity and put better people in place so that you appear already to the people as a government in waiting and a better government, I mean all portfolios starting with the President right throughout the organisation.
POM. Agree with me. Turn him out as President. He has to go.
KX. Yes, well, we have to compare who is the person the ANC has and we've got to put a better person than them. If we do not put a better person than the ANC is putting forward then of course people will not see us as an alternative. If the Education secretary of the PAC debates with the Education minister people must see that the Education secretary is far superior. And so the President of the PAC, if you compare him with the President of the country, he should be a better person. And in that way on a portfolio by portfolio basis you should have better candidates so that we can appear as a government in waiting.
POM. This time next week your congress will be over.
POM. This time next week I can pretty confidently say that the PAC will have a new President?
KX. No you can't say that confidently because the PAC's President and members of the NEC were elected for a three year term two years ago, so they still have a year to go. This is a national conference not an electoral congress.
POM. It can't become a congress?
KX. It can if somebody gets up in the conference and proposes that the conference be converted into a congress, yes. But what has been convened is not a congress, it is a conference.
POM. But do you expect that to happen?
KX. It's possible that it could happen.
POM. This is not being published until the year 2000. You don't want to come up with an answer that says you will be glad when ...?
KX. It's possible that it won't, that there won't be elections now, that people will focus on the corrective measures that I pointed out.
POM. If you had to give a probability of it being converted from a conference into a congress?
KX. I would say there's a 40% chance it will be converted.
POM. Only a 40% chance? That despite all the problems you have, that in effect you will still leave the present leadership in place for another year?
KX. It's possible because people are primarily looking at correcting the wrongs within the organisation itself, organisational, party building strategies and those things. Those will be the main focus of the conference.
POM. But the first thing you mentioned was leadership and if it's the leadership that's the problem, surely ...
KX. Well I'm saying that there might be members who say that get the party machinery operational, get everything organised, we have enough time if we want in April next year, we will have enough time to prepare ourselves, have elections and still be ready in 1999. That is a perspective that's also there. These two perspectives I expect will clash very seriously at the conference itself and I cannot confidently tell you which one I think will survive. So there's a good chance that - I know that the Free State and some branches in the Eastern Cape will push that and one or two regions in the Gauteng area will push that we should immediately vote. So there is going to be a two-fold perspective there.
POM. What would you like to see happen?
KX. I would really like to see them take the option of not voting and postponing the elections for a year and sorting out all the other problems in the meantime and leave that problem for next year, early.
POM. Second question on that would be, how can you sort out those problems? You've had the resignation of the key members of your administrative staff, you don't have offices for all intents and purposes, you don't have a telephone for all intents and purposes, and why should you attract, within the next year, financial resources when potential donors would see that the old leadership was still entrenched?
KX. Yes, it is not just a question of the leadership because you can elect new leaders and saddle them with all the problems and that is what that perspective that I am part of holds to, that you can plunge new leadership into very serious problems which will make them appear ineffective and thereby discrediting them six months down the line and so on. It's better to try and correct the organisational wrongs so that that new leadership is not saddled with that perspective because they will come under critical analysis by the whole nation as the nation wants to see if there is now an emergent opposition, a significant opposition to the government, and that will not happen if they are saddled with a lot of organisational problems that make it difficult for them to move forward.
POM. Now it's widely acknowledged that there are deep differences between President Makwetu and Deputy President Pheko and that these differences result in frequent clashes between the two with President Makwetu operating out of Cape Town and Dr Pheko operating out of Johannesburg. Again if you are left with these deep divisions unresolved, how within the next year can you go forward and take the remedial measures that you were talking about?
KX. They are not divisions. What we have are differences and those differences are not ideological nor are they strategic differences. They are differences in personality and the leadership style. President Makwetu is more a laid-back, laissez-faire, leader who likes to just come in and push a guiding hand here and a guiding hand there when matters go out of hand as he sees it, whilst Dr Pheko is more an abrasive, up-front, interventionist, bold leader. So it's a difference of leadership styles that people see and that's really what it is all about.
POM. Is it true that Moseneke was approached on whether he would be interested in becoming part of the leadership of the PAC again?
KX. I have read in the papers, I have not spoken to him personally in recent times, that he has been approached and I have met one or two PAC members who told me they approached him and that he said he's not available.
POM. Would you think that he is the kind of leader that the PAC needs, somebody with his qualities and intellect and appeal?
KX. Yes very definitely. He is a very powerful man. He would outrank Thabo Mbeki any day of the week. But we have a great depth of other leaders too who would outrank Thabo Mbeki, any day of the week. I read in the papers that some members had approached, for example, Bishop Stanley Magoba who is the President of the Methodist Church. He is a tremendous personality in the country, taken even more seriously in religious and other circles than Bishop Tutu, and some people have said that they want him to stand. He too would outrank in seniority and respect amongst the masses a person like Thabo Mbeki. Then I've heard some people, I've read in the newspapers too, that some people have approached a person like Philip Kgosana to stand too. I am not sure if he would outrank a person like Thabo Mbeki. He would have to outrank him by what he does because for too many years we have not seen him, so he just comes with a reputation, but how he behaves should he be elected is what will determine whether or not he is regarded as a better person than Thabo Mbeki.
POM. Last November after the local elections Dr Pheko was quoted as saying, "The November election process was flawed, fraudulent and irregular. If we had lost a free fight we would be worried but we did not and we are not." Do you believe that the elections in November were fraudulent in the sense that it made it a material difference to what the result was, or do you think that kind of analysis is so superficial that it's part of the problem rather than saying, yes, we've got deep problems that we've got to solve? It's like saying, well the whole thing was ...
KX. On a previous occasion when you interviewed me I told you what my perspective is on the local government elections and that was before it even happened. I said that the local government elections cannot be used as a mirror of how parties would stand. I explained to you that the local government elections will be seen as part of the transformation process to get rid of the racist white town councils by blacks and having black mayors for the first time. I also explained that it will not depend on the standing of a political party but it will rather relate to the standing of individuals within the ward itself, the history of that person's struggle. And I said that the biggest weakness the PAC has in the local government election is that it will find that even up to 20% of the votes will go to Independents and the PAC members do not have a history of being independently involved in civics, that even some of those Independents who will stand have a history of involvement in local government, in civic organisation and we don't have a national civic organisation that supports the PAC and that is going to be our biggest weakness with which we go into local government elections. In the national election we were confronted with the Mandela factor. In the local government we were confronted with the Civic Association factor and that is what defeated the PAC.
POM. But some people would say that - well would you disagree with Dr Pheko's analysis that it was simply irregular, flawed and fraudulent?
KX. No I would not agree with what he wants out of the elections.
POM. Would you agree with his analysis?
KX. No, no I would not agree with him because I would say that the elections have nothing to do with how parties stand nationally. It has more to do with how individuals stand nationally, not even nationally, how the individual stands in his ward, what is his history of taking up community problems? And if that individual is a PAC or ANC it doesn't matter, the people are going to vote for him irrespective of his party and not because of his party and because of the Civic Associations. And because of the association with the Civics with the ANC you find that there will be more sympathy from the new elected councillors to the ANC including the majority of those who stood as Independents against the ANC and defeated the ANC. So it doesn't mean because they defeat the ANC that they are hostile to the ANC and that is the true analysis.
POM. Yet again people would say that two parts of the problem are the analysis of the election, whatever analysis there was and there wasn't very much after the election, certainly in the media it was that the PAC were one of the big, big losers, that you simply had almost been decimated and some of the reasons advanced, besides the lack of leadership, was the lack or organisation at ward level, that you didn't have an organisation as such and thirdly that you didn't have an alternative vision to the ANC for the black community. You ran on the slogan of 'Don't make the same mistake twice', which isn't exactly a programme of what the PAC in government would be doing to create jobs, correct social imbalances, keep the international market interested in South Africa, keep the opportunities for foreign investment open and that you don't have programmes, you don't have a vision of the future.
KX. Let me first of all say that your question implies that the ANC has a clear vision and a model for local government which they put before the people. The ANC never had a model. Up to today they don't have a model of local government to put before the people. The issue involved is that the people did not vote on macro issues like international confidence and all this. That was not an issue in the minds of people. It was bread and butter issues of services, delivery of services to the people, housing and other local government related services. Again, I must say that what was of importance was people didn't look at what is the PAC's programme vis-à-vis the ANC programme. People looked at the candidate and said that this candidate we know, he has been taking up these issues for us all the time on an NGO level in the civics, now is an opportunity for us to put him in there so that as a councillor he can have the authority to implement these things and that's all that there was. The macro economic and macro political issues played no role whatsoever as far as I'm concerned.
POM. You said to me two years ago what's going to happen is that the ANC are going to get elected, they are going to make all kinds of promises and they are not going to be able to deliver on those promises and that's the point we're going to move in and point out that the ANC are very good at making promises but that when it comes to delivery they can't deliver, they sold you essentially a bill of goods. We are ready, we're waiting in the wings.
KX. That's right.
POM. You tried to get that message across and that people rejected it completely.
KX. I can tell you that the first part of the question of what I said two years ago happened. The ANC made the promises, they failed to deliver and so on and therefore the situation existed for us to take advantage of it. That is undeniably correct. And I did so on the basis of my analysis of the resources that will be at the disposal of the ANC and the need and what they had said and I said that all those things don't add up so somewhere there's going to be a failure. And I was proved correct. I wasn't expressing a wish, I made a careful analysis. Why the PAC could not take proper advantage up to now of the failure of the ANC is because of its own internal weaknesses, its organisational machinery that is weak, and not because the masses have turned against the PAC because the PAC has not reached the masses. That is the fundamental reason and that is what the congress now, the conference in Bloemfontein in four days time, must sort out.
POM. Many, again, would say that what the ANC has done is that they have merely co-opted you in the sense that they have co-opted the Africanist elements in your ideology and marginalised you to the point of where you're not taken seriously because you're so small and peripheral. The ANC has simply co-opted the better parts of your ideology.
KX. No, no. Our ideology is based in Afrocentricity and the ANC has not done that. The ANC has done more to allay the fears of whites than it has to address the concerns of blacks even on both real issues and symbolic issues, symbolic issues like the flag and others and the Springbok anthem and so on. They have played more to the white gallery than they have done drastic steps to address the problems of blacks. The RDP has just been abandoned. That is probably the best thing that could have happened for the PAC, not for the masses but for the PAC to exploit at the moment. So they have not adopted our line at all, our position at all. They have moved much more to be a party that is very sensitive to the white media and its criticism and align their policies in such a way as to placate that type of fear and concern.
POM. But when you say the abandonment of the RDP is something that the PAC, the best thing we can exploit, if you don't have the resources to do so, if you don't have the organisational structures to do so and if you don't have an alternative plan that people will actually say, yes this is real, this is something we can tune into, this is something we buy, then while the idea of saying it's something we should exploit is a terrific idea, it doesn't mean anything if you can't move from the idea to implementation and achievement.
KX. Let me just tell you something that is not apparent but will shortly become apparent to the whole country. I have been working personally on the ground to help build the party. That is why I didn't want to stand for elections at the last time. I mean if there are going to be elections in Bloemfontein over the weekend, if that train of thought wins the discussion then clearly I will not make myself available to be part of the National Executive at all.
POM. You will not?
KX. No I will not. And the reason for that is that I resigned from my position as an elected national member in order to be in Gauteng because I was elected to both and I stood down as the Secretary/General also because I said I want to make an impact more on the ground. I have been working in the past few months and I can tell you I have established 14 civic associations in the Western Cape, of course with the help of people there. So I have got 14 communities that I have organised. And in Gauteng I have organised 20 communities already. Last week, Sunday, and if you had seen The Citizen yesterday you would have seen that we launched a provincial civic body, civic association with those 20 communities. The newspapers here didn't give very much publicity to that but it doesn't matter. It was on the radio, only the radio that gave a lot of publicity to it throughout the day yesterday but the print media decided to ignore it except for The Citizen which gave a little publicity to it. So I might give more of my time to that. You will see three weeks from now every weekend and every week the mass rallies that we are going to have using the structures of the civic body. On Sunday, last Sunday when we launched the place was too small as the community streamed in and I addressed them. So the new civic body, and we're within a month's time will be launching in Cape Town and then in Natal, bring all the communities, 73 communities we've already brought together under the civic structure and I can tell you that even if the party structure fails to put its act together we have the civic structure in place now and it's going to grow very rapidly and you are going to see how we are going to mobilise the communities on the ground. A time may come for me to put all my energies into that and that itself is the single biggest effort by anybody since the election to mobilise the people around a programme different from that of the government.
POM. But where is the programme?
KX. The programme is in place. We started launching it on Sunday. Sunday we launched the provincial programme, Sunday past.
POM. But it received no publicity?
KX. Only radio, it was on all the radio yesterday, the whole day. The media was there, including the international media, but they just decided to ignore it.
KX. I have no idea.
POM. But isn't this the kind of thing you have to find out about and correct?
KX. It was on the wires, it was on SAPA wires that went to all the papers. That is how the radios picked it up.
POM. Would that not suggest to you that they don't take you seriously when they don't even bother to report your programmes which are programmes designed to be an answer to the failure of the government's programmes?
KX. I'm not so much perturbed about this because that was just a meeting where you launch, where you make announcements. I understand that the media there will say to themselves, OK these are announcements, let's see what they do. Good sounding and headline catching statements from the PAC, from the state in which it is in, might not warrant serious attention from the media but when the PAC in fact goes on the ground and involves itself in mass action then that itself will not be dismissed by the media because it's visible, it's something they see, it's not just an announcement of plans which some of the media might say, well these people are saying that these are plans but are they really plans or are we talking about a wish list? And so they might say, this is not a programmatic plan, this is just a wish list that we are subjected to. So we will have to prove to them that it's not a wish list and we will have to do that with programmes on the ground which is what we're going to start doing and I can assure you that a month from now it will be very clear to you the publicity we will receive from this programme and that is itself one of the reasons that I, myself, if there are going to be elections, will not stand so that I can put more of my attention into this programme.
POM. Now there are three divisions that have at least come to my attention in listening, talking, reading about the PAC in the last year and one would be divisions within the PAC based on tribe, based on the Nguni speaking people and the non-Nguni speaking. Maybe the best thing I could so is quote from an interview with I know somebody you don't like very much. I'll read the statement then you just react to it.
. "Tribalism is the undercurrent that drives black political parties and can either make or break them. The present resignation of PAC Secretary General is the result of latent struggles between the Nguni and non-Nguni speaking people as well as between the exiles and the internal leadership. The Nguni comprise Xhosa and Zulu speaking South Africans while the non-Ngunis are predominately Sotho speaking. Tribalism is a hated subject and it's not discussed publicly by either the ANC or the PAC but it plays a vital role and has even altered the course of history."
. Would you regard that as being ...?
KX. No, that's a lot of nonsense, the reason being that it is alleged in the article that the PAC and the ANC's leadership are Nguni speaking, that means they are either Zulu or Xhosa and the leadership of our armies are also Xhosa speaking people and Xhosas are dominating the organisation and its leadership. That is not true. In the PAC we have a leadership comprising of 45 people. Our strongest branches are in the Cape so in our congress we haven't got more delegates from the Xhosa speaking people but there are only seven Xhosa speaking people in the PAC's Executive. Now you ask yourself the question, why would there be more Nguni speaking members of the PAC's executive if they have less votes? It's because the Xhosa speaking people vote mainly for Nguni speaking people, they voted for more Nguni speaking people on the basis of the abilities of people.
POM. Sorry, the Xhosa speaking people?
KX. Who have the majority of votes in the PAC Congress and they have voted for more Sotho speaking people than they have voted for their own. I am saying that if the Xhosa people had most votes in the Congress and they vote an executive into being of which the majority are non-Xhosa speaking people, then that shows you that they are not pursuing a narrow ethnic agenda.
POM. But you're saying the Xhosa speaking people are the majority on the executive?
KX. No, no. They are the majority in the Congress, the people who vote, they are the majority of voters within the PAC.
POM. OK, but the majority in the executive are not ...?
KX. Are non-Xhosa. Out of 45 people only seven are Xhosa speaking.
POM. So the Xhosa majority in the Congress vote in non-Xhosa speaking into the executive.
KX. That's right. So that proves that - so they have the major say in the Congress but in the executive and the day-to-day running of the PAC they vote people into power that will steer the PAC and guide it who are not Xhosa speaking people.
POM. Who exercises the most power, the Congress or the ...?
KX. The Cape regions, the entire Cape. Western and Eastern Cape. Those Xhosa speaking regions like the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape they have most votes in the Congress.
POM. It is the Congress that is the controlling body?
KX. That's right. And the Congress decide who will be the leadership of the party.
POM. But of the main leaders in the party how many are Xhosa speaking?
KX. Only seven out of 45.
POM. Of the key positions?
KX. Only one.
POM. The President, just the President?
KX. Only the President. Nobody else is Xhosa speaking of the senior positions.
POM. So what were your differences with Maxwell that caused him to ultimately resign?
KX. No he didn't resign because of differences with me.
POM. Pardon? He didn't resign because of you but you had differences with him?
KX. No I didn't have any differences with Maxwell. It's just that one day he made a comment, a very negative comment about me in the media and I attacked him back. I retaliated on that particular point that he had said. But there are no issues involved in which we had serious differences or any differences. Neither do we have any history of personal conflicts, we've never had any personal conflicts. It's just a particular statement he made, I am not sure whether he was caught unguarded or what, to a newspaper and I wrote to him and asked him to correct that and he delayed in correcting it and I corrected it myself and I criticised him for making that statement.
POM. There's a rift between, and this is also said of the ANC, between the exiles and the internal people who stayed within the country, and that the exiles have put their mark on the leadership more than the people who stayed within the country.
KX. That's not true. If you look at the PAC you will find that those who were exiled leaders play a lesser role in our executive than those who were not. So it's clearly not true.
POM. Are there tensions between the two?
KX. No there is no tension. They don't even play a major role in the organisation. Makwetu was not in exile, the Deputy President Pheko was in exile but he was not part of the leadership. He could be described as an outsider. I was Secretary General until I voluntarily stepped down and I was not in exile. So it's not true that the exiles dominate us. It might be true in the ANC but in the PAC it's not true.
POM. So is there a rift between the parliamentarians and those who remained with the party to build it up, that Maxwell and Johnson Mlambo gave up their parliamentary seats to allow Patricia de Lille and Richard Sizane to join the National Assembly? Is that correct?
KX. Yes that's true. I also gave up my seat in the National Assembly and that is so because we asked ourselves a simple question, namely, what is it that's going to be of importance in the first life of the parliament, democratic government? And we said what's going to be of tremendous importance is the writing of the new constitution. Since neither Maxwell nor Mlambo have any legal constitutional skills or background, Sizane, who is a constitutional law lecturer at the University of Transkei, had to go in and take that place. So it was a more functional thing. Sizane himself is not even a politician, he's a bureaucrat.
POM. How about Patricia?
KX. Well Patricia too had to come in. A very important part of the compromise there was that politically the PAC cannot allow itself to be seen to have all-male representation so we had to make place for a woman and because of her experience that she managed to gain during the writing of the interim constitution it showed that we need to put her in there because not only is she a woman but she is a woman who can make a real contribution.
POM. But you have this kind of anomaly that the people who are in parliament draw salaries and draw expenses and draw trips abroad and are on select committees or on standing committees whereas the people who work for the party very often don't even get paid on a weekly basis. Surely this must create some tension as to the distribution of resources within the party itself?
KX. Well the parliamentarians in every party, not only in the PAC, give a certain agreed upon percentage of their salary to the party and that happens across the board in the ANC, in the NP, in the DP, in the IFP and in the PAC. So the parliamentarians clearly do contribute so there is no such thing as the parliamentarians do not contribute to the coffers of the party. In fact the PAC only have three or four members of our executive, of the 45 member executive, working full time for the party. The rest are not, they are earning salaries at their places of employment and some of them do not even contribute; none of them contribute to the extent that parliamentarians contribute. So really in the PAC you can't really say that the parliamentarians are the only members of the NEC who earn a salary. I would say only about three or four members of the NEC do not earn a salary, the rest do and of those who do earn a salary the ones who contribute towards the upkeep are the parliamentarians and the others are also earning good salaries at their workplaces but they contribute less than the parliamentarians.
POM. Again, just your comment, is this the PAC? This is from Business Day last January, it says: - "The PAC is a party whose members constantly look over their shoulders, not in fear of rival parties but because of suspicions about their own party members. The PAC leadership fears itself." And it mentions in particular the death in exile of David Tsebeko(?) in Tanzania in 1979, that Tsebeko's widow wants to raise the cause of his death or the question of his death with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. It talks about the death of Selby Ndani(?) in the Transkei in 1984. It was allegedly at the hands of PAC members; that disputes are often settled by assassination.
KX. I did phone the author here and I asked her who is the person that she is talking about there who fears and she said that it is the Finance Secretary, his name is Siphwe ... and I asked her did she discuss this with him. She said yes. I asked her what he said and she said to me he denied that, but she heard a rumour. And I said to her that that is a problem I have with journalists. If you believe that the man, if you heard a rumour about a certain person and that person tells you it's not true why don't you put down his comment that it's not true? She said, no he must say that it's not true because he's involved in a cover-up. And I said to her that well that is your view, your analysis is that, but he had clearly expressed the view that it's not true.
POM. Then this is from The Star, which says: - "Whereas the PAC's war with the enemy has never materialised, the organisation has never been at peace with itself. The PAC has all the makings of a party in decline, a weak and directionless leadership, inner party squabbling, a steady stream of resignations and a mutinous membership calling for the heads of its leaders." How much of that is true?
KX. Well I can tell you that there is no organisation in this country that has such democracy as you have in the PAC. Even the right to criticise itself is practised in the PAC more than in any other organisation. In fact in many of the other parties you will find that they clamp down on people who criticise. You know Holomisa, Chief Patekile Holomisa, criticised the ANC in the Eastern Cape and they put him before a disciplinary committee for that. Bantu Holomisa, the Deputy Minister of Environment Affairs, criticised some wrong things within his party and he was called on the red carpet by the President and seriously disciplined for that. Winnie Mandela criticised the ANC, she was seriously side-lined and removed from her post as Deputy Minister for those criticisms. The only party where you criticise and it's regarded as part of your rights is in the PAC.
POM. You're not going, or the PAC has adopted a position of not looking for indemnity for any of its members before the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. What is your position with regard to the TRC?
KX. Our position is we are going to facilitate. All our members who are in jails they will go and appear before the TRC. But the party position is that it's basically only those people who will go, those who are in jail. The rest will not go to the TRC.
POM. So that APLA members who may have been involved in violent activities during the period covered by the TRC will not look for amnesty for any of those activities?
KX. No, no, the APLA members will not look for amnesty because that was the party programme and the party had never hidden what it wanted to do and the party doesn't regard itself as a criminal. That was morally justified, accepted, the activities the party was involved in of which the party is proud and in fact for which we expect to be given heroes' treatment and not going before structures where the assumption is that the activities were criminal and wrong and for which you need pardon. That is not our position. We fought a legitimate armed struggle which we are proud of.
POM. Do you think that the present government is still out to get APLA members? There is a continual stream of former APLA members, some of whom are even in the SANDF, being arrested for various activities carried out prior to the elections in 1994.
KX. Yes there is this view in some circles that the PAC is a threat to the stability of the country in spite of the fact that our numbers in the elections were so small they still go after the PAC.
POM. When you say 'they' so you mean the ANC?
KX. Some people within the ANC, some people within the National Party and some people in the old security establishment, they still go after the PAC. That itself is a very narrow view because they are concerned that the PAC want to bring about much more fundamental change and that that change might be regarded as being anti-white. But what they do not realise is that that fundamental change the PAC want to bring about is to solve the dissatisfaction of the masses of the people and once that is satisfied then you will have more lasting peace in our country because we are living in a country where race and class coincide. You don't just have poor and rich. Poor people are mainly black, rich people are mainly white, so the poor blacks are looking at the rich whites who own almost everything and unless you look at the redistribution of resources, you bring black people into the mainstream of the economy, you take some drastic action to achieve that, if you don't do that you are going to have a situation that white people will always have to look over their shoulders and say, what are these dissatisfied blacks going to do particularly when the government doesn't solve their problems and abandons the RDP. And so you need a party that will come and fundamentally solve the problems that are there so that you can have a proper stability based on justice and based on a better quality of life for everybody. That is lasting peace.
POM. What about the Malan trial? What if Malan is found innocent? What would be the impact in the black community?
KX. Nothing. Whether he is found guilty or innocent, nothing. You see we are in this country involving ourselves in politics of extreme languages so that we always say that if you don't do what my party says the heavens will collapse. So President Mandela will tell you that if he does not put Malan on trial the entire country will be in chaos and will collapse, and the right-wingers will tell you that if Malan is put on trial the heavens will collapse. But both of them are using the language of extreme. Nothing will happen. Even if Malan was not put on trial nothing would have happened. If he was put on trial nothing would happen, nothing would collapse. There was a big debate whether to put him on trial or not and the effect of that and we know this is the language of extreme that happens there. Malan was only one of many people. Others who were involved in the National Security Management Committee which planned the atrocities and financed it involved F W de Klerk, Pik Botha, all these guys and they are sitting in the Cabinet and they were involved, and if they are put on trial nothing will happen. If they are not put on trial nothing will happen.
POM. Why do you say nothing will happen?
KX. I mean the country will collapse in spite of the language of extreme on both sides.
POM. So you believe that if F W de Klerk were arrested tomorrow morning and hauled off and charged with ...?
KX. The country will not collapse.
POM. That it would make no difference?
KX. The country would not collapse. There will be tensions between the National Party on the one side and blacks on the other side but the country will not collapse.
POM. Do you not see elements within the - when Mandela said the other day that there were elements, what were his exact words? He said in KwaZulu/Natal that even though the ANC had won the election (that was the local election) that it was not in full control. He said, "We are in office but to actually gain power is going to take some time because we have to clean up the Police Services." Do you think that's more extreme language?
KX. This is extreme language that is there. Of course I won't be surprised if there are elements in the government and in the security structures which hate each other. One thing I want to point out is one difference between South African and American politics; in American politics you can criticise each other very strongly, even people within the Republican Party can criticise each other when they run and compete for the leadership of that party, they criticise each other very strongly and it's acceptable. But in Africa if you criticise the party or the President of the country, like the people in America criticise each other, you're in serious trouble, you run the risk of being arrested and things like that and people get very upset and you must withdraw those things. When Buthelezi gets criticised he gets very upset. When Mandela gets criticised he gets very upset. Now you saw the other day when Hernus Kriel criticised Nelson Mandela he had to apologise for making the comments although those comments were based on the court papers of Mandela himself. And Buthelezi gets very upset when people criticise him too. So people from the United States, for example, who may be analysing the situation must understand that in Africa criticisms are taken very seriously, much more than just a democratic right that has been issued by somebody.
POM. Why is criticism taken so seriously?
KX. I think that we are still new in this game of multi-party democracy and we see criticism oftentimes as sabotage and an attempt to sabotage and to overthrow and all those things, very often we still see that because we don't have a history of stable multi-party democracy, but we do have a history of coups and things like that.
POM. That's why I am asking you, that if Magnus Malan who has become like the symbol of the sins and the evils of the apartheid regime and of the manipulations and clandestine activities of the defence forces and of the dirty tricks and of the third force activities, and he's the symbol of all those things and if he is found innocent you are saying that even though there's no established culture of democracy within the country the black community will simply shrug its shoulders?
KX. No, no, I am saying that the extreme language that is used is that the dissatisfaction by those who would like to see the opposite happening will be of such a nature that the whole country will collapse, and I am saying that it will not be to that extent.
POM. But will there be a backlash?
KX. People will be disappointed that he's found not guilty.
POM. Let me put it this way ...
KX. They will clearly be disappointed if he's found not guilty but that disappointment will not mean that the country will collapse. The country will not be burnt down.
POM. Let me get some place in between. In the United States when the people who beat up Rodney King, the policemen who beat up Rodney King, were found innocent, blacks burnt half of Los Angeles. When the verdict of the O J Simpson trial was announced whites to a person were convinced that a miscarriage of justice had occurred, that he was guilty as sin. Blacks believed for the most part that justice had been done, that the case hadn't been proved. Now why would there not be that kind, in this country coming out of apartheid, be that kind of racial cleavage on a verdict of such sensitivity if he is found innocent?
KX. I will say the country will not be burnt down as happened in the case of Rodney King in Los Angeles, the reason being that the big devils like PW Botha himself, like Betsie Verwoerd and the Verwoerd family itself, Mandela visited them at their houses, tried to make peace and the entire line of Mandela is that let us forgive and let's forget and let's go on. That's the climate that the government of national unity has put in place in the country so that people are not going after the blood of FW de Klerk, they are not baying for the blood of Adriaan Vlok and everybody else. They would like them to be found guilty but they are not saying we shouldn't have FW de Klerk in there because he was part of the security structure that took the decisions that were taken that Magnus carried out. And people are not saying remove him from parliament, get rid of them, don't sit with the National Party, and we know who created all of that is the National Party. And people are not saying that unless the National Party disband and is banned and done away with we are going to burn down the country. No, because they let the National Party exist. And I am saying that the climate that was established in the country at the moment by the GNU is a climate of reconciliation, forgiveness and let's get on with it. But in that process too, that's on the level of the politicians, but on the grassroots level people would still like to see justice being done, people being imprisoned, found guilty and so on. And people would be happy to see a person like Magnus being found guilty, sent to jail and then asking for pardon from the President and then being granted pardon. At least they felt that he was found guilty. That is very important. Whether he is pardoned afterwards that we can live with and there will be a great disappointment if the murderers of Steve Biko of Griffiths Mxenge, of all the other known activists are let off the hook. That is why the TRC that we have here, although it's not based on the same principles of that one of Bosnia and in Sudan and all these other places, is not going to solve problems because here it's based on you just come and say I've done this and then you get pardoned, although they say it is not an automatic pardon we know it will be an automatic pardon. We know justice will not be done.
POM. Do you think President Mandela has put too much emphasis on reconciliation at the expense of seeing justice done, or justice seen to be done?
KX. This is a reconciliation at the expense of justice and that is why it is not fundamental and that is why white people will continue to look over their shoulders when they see that people are dissatisfied. Particularly on the economic and on the legal level justice has not been done. But like I say, the value of President Mandela in the country is not, I don't judge it on the basis of what he achieves, because he has achieved nothing, but it is what he has stopped from happening. So here are two communities, black and white, coming out of a very tense conflict situation and Mr Mandela's duty as a President is to make sure that things don't fall apart. If he can stop things from falling apart he's done a good achievement even if in terms of what he has supposed to have done in terms of creating jobs, building houses, all that, he has failed in what he was supposed to do, but he has succeeded in terms of what he has stopped from happening and that itself is a major achievement. He has stopped the whole thing falling apart.
POM. Just your comments on a couple of things.
KX. And I am saying that is what we are going to remember Nelson Mandela for. We're not going to remember him for what he has done but we're going to remember him for what he has stopped from happening.
POM. Do you think the ANC understands really what democracy is?
KX. In terms of what?
POM. In terms of its institutions, the checks and balances, that majority rule is not democratic rule per se?
KX. No the ANC does not understand that thing. I'll tell you why I say that the ANC do not understand enough. It is that in the first place that when it makes appointments in the parastatals, for example, they mention first of all ANC members and those ANC members do not have the corporate experience that's required. For example, they mention the name of Pallo Jordan to head Transnet. Transnet is so big that if you break it up into six companies each one of them would be bigger than the biggest bank in the country, so big is Transnet; and you want somebody to run Transnet who has no corporate experience. That's wrong. They don't look for capable people, they look for ANC members. In the establishment of committees, NGO committees supported by the international community like the Returned Exiles and the Ex-Prisoners' Committees, they put ANC people into those things who are not capable and au fait with the affairs which those committees must deal with and that is why the corruption and the failure and the collapse of those committees happened.
. In Gauteng we've had a problem where when the government or the parliament has to send out a committee of parliament to go and learn what's happening abroad they didn't want it to be multi-party, they just sent one-party delegations and as a result of that there was a lot of criticism against them in the Gauteng Legislature whereas when we receive visits from the Germans and the British and the Americans it's always multi-party delegations that come because these people understand that the Legislature wants to be empowered more and learn about what's happening elsewhere. But they don't understand that. But I can say it's still a young democracy, you wouldn't blame them too much.
. As far as the issue is concerned of majoritarian rule, I think that the Adam Smith notion of less government is good government doesn't necessarily hold at the moment and that is seriously open to question. When you look at the Asian Tigers and their achievements which are being applauded by the World Bank and the IMF and everybody else you see that there was strong government intervention and guidance in those affairs and what the World Bank has now come around to say is that government intervention is not necessarily wrong, it is the quality of that intervention that might be good or bad. So I would say the same thing, central government control might not in itself be good or bad but it's the quality thereof that's good or bad. Like, for example, the big danger that we are in at the moment is Mandela's view on, for example, sports and the Springbok emblem. I want to write an article for one of the Sunday newspapers but I just don't get the time to do so, in which I want to point out that it is extremely dangerous for democracy that you allow the President to have all this power, to wield it and to take away the rights of sports people to decide and to summons them and tell them you must do this, you must do that. It's an extremely dangerous precedent. Now at the moment whites can live with it because it favours them but the principle behind the President summonsing people, telling them what to do and interfering with the democratic thing is because tomorrow you will have another President and that President will summon people in and tell them what to do and do things that are abhorrent and then you are going to challenge the principle of his intervention and he will say to you that when Mandela did the same thing you never questioned the principle.
POM. So it's like saying you set up the democratic procedures to reach a decision on something, the President doesn't like the decision and simply calls everybody in and overrules them.
KX. Because it favours whites at the moment they keep quiet about it, they even support it, but tomorrow he himself or another person, another President might do something which they don't like and then they will not be able, because a precedent has been established, that allows that. The other point I want to say is that in the past 100 years the American constitution was amended about five times. It is very difficult to amend the American constitution when you say that America is run by the rule of law, which means that the government of America is subject to the constitution. The constitution is not subject to the government. In other words if blacks want to change a clause in the constitution, like they did in 1960, they must actually go down and create such havoc in the streets that the government is faced with the reality that the American society can break down if we don't make this amendment and under that extreme pressure that amendment comes about.
POM. Even then that's very difficult. It has to be passed by Congress, by three quarters of the states, it's a long torturous process.
KX. It's a long torturous process. In the 1980s the ERA was tabled there, the Equal Rights Amendment to give women power. You've had Democratic and Republican governments since then and till today it's not easy. The women in the United States will have to go out into the streets and burn down some cities before the ERA will be accepted. So in 100 years you have got five amendments to the constitution. South Africa put its constitution in place in 1994. Up to now we have made 20 changes to the constitution in two years. And the reason for that is very simple. The government regards the constitution as being under the government so every time the government want to do something that's unconstitutional it just changes the constitution. Now a lot of people are saying because Mandela has moral authority, he's a moral leader in the world, that's why the west say we're going to keep quiet, let him change the constitution as much as he wants to, we're not going to say that that is against the rule of law, he must be subject to the constitution, we're just going to leave him because he's a moral leader. But I am saying that that precedent that you establish with Mandela, tomorrow you might get another leader that's not as good as him and that person too will change the constitution 20 times in two years and then you're going to criticise that person and he will say you can't criticise me, when Mandela did it you never said a word.
POM. All it takes is two thirds of the two Houses sitting together, right?
KX. That's right.
POM. It's a rather simple procedure and particularly if you've a large majority it's not very difficult.
KX. Change the constitution willy-nilly. So that is something that's going to happen. We could see that continuing because a precedent has been established and that itself is against the rule of law. It's a serious violation of the rule of law. In fact it put the rule of law aside because what happens is that you have a situation like in Britain where you're not run by the constitution, you're run by what parliament and the government decide.
POM. Parliament is supreme.
KX. Yes the parliament is supreme. So we claim that the constitution is supreme but in reality the constitution is not supreme, parliament is supreme which is not good for the rule of law because you don't know who is going to be the next President and he won't be subject to anything that he was elected on. You can see from the time a new government is elected in 1999, when that new President comes into being you will have to wait and see two years later things might not be the way the constitution says it is, two years after his election. He might have changed half of the constitution.
POM. Just a couple more things. One is, what is at the root of the hostility between white liberals and the ANC?
KX. No it's not white liberals, it's white liberals and black intelligentsia and these are not just white liberals, these are the intelligentsia amongst the white English speakers. At the heart of it is an inability by black intelligentsia to understand why white English intelligentsia has a more prominent role in policy formulation and influence. There is no question that the white English intelligentsia have a greater influence on policy and the reason for that is that the black intelligentsia and the English white intelligentsia were both side-lined in the past because the Broederbond, the Afrikaans intelligentsia, formulated policy and influence and all these things. With the new government coming into being the ANC has said let's bring the white English liberal intelligentsia, like Professor Dennis Davis and the other guys, who supported the struggle and were also side-lined by the previous regime, let's bring them in to be advisers, to be parliamentarians even and so on. Now the reason why in the parliament itself you have more white intelligentsia among the members of parliament than black intelligentsia, blacks who are in the parliament are mainly voting cattle, they are not the intelligentsia. They are just there to vote, they are not from the intelligentsia who can really come and give a positive contribution to what's happening in parliament. They are just there to vote. The reason for that is that the English white intelligentsia come from families that are quite well established financially so they can afford to support that person who goes to parliament. Oftentimes that person himself is also involved in business. But the black intelligentsia cannot afford that drop in salary because his brothers and his sisters and his family are all poor so they cannot help him if there is a drop in his salary, so therefore he doesn't go to parliament at all so he stands outside, the black intelligentsia, and the ordinary Civic Association and other leaders they are the ones, the party cadres, they are the ones who go to parliament. So in the parliament itself the top jobs do not go to the blacks. Like Minister of Finance, minister of this and that, the top jobs, the Director Generals and all these guys, very few of them are black, from the black intelligentsia. Now it is not the English intelligentsia that appoints themselves to these positions, it's not the English intelligentsia that appoints themselves to be advisers and so on. It's the ANC that appoints them so that when the black intelligentsia see the white liberal intelligentsia playing a more prominent role in policy formulation they should criticise the ANC for not appointing black intelligentsia, not the white intelligentsia because these guys did not appoint themselves.
POM. But you have this thing of white liberals' voice of criticism of government or of the ANC or whatever and they immediately shoot back and say that's racist. If they are criticised in the press they say it's because it's owned by the white privileged minority and they are racist.
KX. That's right, now that's a half truth. I'll tell you why it's a half truth, because on the one hand people are always sceptical about black rule. They say look at the whole of Africa and so on and whenever something happens wrong they say that confirms, and that itself is a racist type of thing. A person might fail because of various reasons, not because he's black and that in itself is racist and the ANC should be perceptive enough to pick up racist comments against itself and criticise those racist comments. But on the other hand the ANC is doing the same thing the National Party did. The National Party passed a law that said communism is wrong and then passed the Anti-Communism Act of 1950 and then what happens is that since communism is wrong anybody who criticises you on anything, you call him a communist. So if you say there are potholes in the street they say you are a communist. If you say I don't like the Labour Relations Act it should be improved, they say you're a communist. If you say that the electricity rates that just went up have gone up too high they say you're a communist. So whatever you do they are able to dismiss you on the grounds you're a communist. Now under the ANC we pass a law that says racism is wrong and we do the same thing that the NP did. If you say that there are potholes in the street you're a racist. If you say that the rates that went up are too much, you're a racist.
POM. So they are emulating their oppressor.
KX. Whatever you are doing you're a racist. So they are able to use the racist thing in the same way that the NP used the communism thing and in order to avoid criticism because right now they are under serious criticism for their failure to deliver. Yes it is true on the one hand that the ANC is still dealing with the legacy of apartheid and they cannot solve the problems overnight but the fundamental reason that opens up criticism is that, you see in a multi-party democracy all parties are faced with the same problem and what makes you vote for party A rather than party B is because of the different ways they tell me they are going to solve the problem. So I say I like the way party A says they are going to solve this problem so I'm voting for them. They don't have different problems, they have the same problems. Now the ANC has given a certain way of dealing with the problem. They say that we have a short-term solution to solving the problems. All 300 years, in fact the housing backlog, in four years we will deal with it. The other problems we will deal with within this period and that period and so on. And people said we like your programme. We said that we have a long-term solution, people say, well put them aside, these guys are long-term solution. Now the ANC is being criticised on the basis of their promises and the ANC says that these are not our problems, we didn't make them. But that's unfair to say, you can't say that because we don't criticise you because of who created the problem but on the basis that you have a programme that's going to solve the problem in a particular time span and you are failing to do so. So they are being judged on the basis of their programme. The PAC would not have come under the same criticism by the white liberals had the PAC been the government because we would not have said we were going to solve the problem within four years of housing and other things and therefore they would have judged us on the basis of our programme.
POM. Yet you're considered the more radical of the two organisations?
KX. That's right.
POM. Is that a misperception?
KX. The PAC would have had a more gradualist approach to the resolution of the problem, of the economic development programme, and we would have involved more the people on the ground in that type of programme. In fact we abstained during the election period and we criticised the ANC for the promises that they made and we went to the right of the ANC on that issue, on how long will it take to solve the problems.
POM. The Makgoba affair gave rise to all kinds of latent accusations, not latent, overt accusations of racism and anti-racism and whites again, white liberal privileged institutions against transformation, trying to defame Professor Makgoba, and yet in the end he steps down with a carefully worded statement that says certain things in his CV could lend themselves to misunderstanding, which to me must tell you is polite language for saying there are certain things in the CV that are incorrect.
KX. Yes I hear what you're saying but I think at the heart of the problem at Wits is the entire philosophy that underscores the running of the university and the premise on which they approach the whole world, the way the world makes sense. It's a Eurocentric, Anglo-Saxon world view, they look at the world through those glasses. Professor Makgoba says that that university is located in Africa and the university must empower people to change their reality to improve the reality in Africa itself and therefore the university itself must look at the world through African spectacles so that it looks at it through a position of relevancy. Wits University looks at Africa from an outside perspective, looking at Africa from outside and Makgoba's view was it should look from inside. That is at the heart of the controversy. That the Professor stepped down was a serious blow for people who believed that the transformation of the university must be pursued and the statement that he gave was totally unacceptable to black people.
POM. Now he's saying it was fun.
KX. But he miscalculated the support that he has based on the issue, because he's not a person with a political party base and an organisational base and that is exactly what his strength is because people said, of all parties, we can support him without abandoning our party because he is not a party person, he's just an academic. That is what is very sad there in the entire Wits situation.
POM. Let me ask you, if he in fact had lied on his CV. should he have had to step down or ultimately is that a peripheral issue?
KX. If he had made a mistake on his CV it depends on whether that issue itself is fundamental to his claim or peripheral. If he says that he got a certain degree from a certain institution and he said he got it in May when in fact he got it in June, that's not fundamental. If he says that he's the first black person to have done something, to have acquired a certain degree and later on it is proved that at Michigan State University there was somebody that he was not aware of who got it three months earlier, that's not fundamental about his abilities.
POM. No, but if he lied?
KX. But if he says he had a certain qualification ...
POM. If he lied on something important, not something peripheral.
KX. Then of course he would have had to resign. The issue that is of great concern to me is that when people challenge you on an issue on how to do a thing then you can step down but when a person challenges you on your credentials then you cannot step down. You can never step down, you can never make a compromise with them. Either you are who you claim to be or you are an impostor in which case we must dismiss you. So your credentials are very important because it goes to your whole credibility so that in future years we will always know you as being an impostor and you will never be credible. So therefore he could not have and should not have stepped down when the issue involved was his credentials and his credibility.
POM. Do you not think that the matter shouldn't be let drop, that it's important to get at what is the truth here rather than with these sugar coated statements on every side that create more ambivalence, ambiguity and anger and resentment among people because they don't know the truth?
KX. That's right. I think that both sides, black and white, are agreed, both sides of the argument are agreed that the matter should not have been resolved the way it was, that it should have gone through a commission and the facts should have been established.
POM. On the Sarafina affair, should Dr Zuma have resigned?
KX. She should have resigned over the issue because she lied to parliament. If you lie to parliament it's very serious; she lied and said the money is coming from the European Union and it's not true. The Europeans gave money for another project, the European Union has since come and asked for the money back since it was misappropriated, they never appropriated money for the Sarafina type of approach and the Minister should have resigned over that. There's no question about that.
POM. Do you think the ANC's blocking of the setting up a Select Committee to investigate, which would be normal in a parliamentary democracy, was an abuse of power on their part?
KX. Definitely because the ANC structures in parliament first of all rejected the idea of a Commission of Enquiry because they say it is negative. Even if you're found not guilty the fact that you appeared before a commission damages your image. So Patricia de Lille of the PAC put forward on behalf of our party a middle road solution. We said that let the matter be investigated by the Public Protector, the Ombudsman, and that was accepted by the Standing Committee. The ANC Women's League also came out against the Minister, and she's a member of the Women's League and they came out against her and said it is totally unacceptable, particularly Gauteng came out very strongly against that. And what happened at the end of the day is that the ANC called in the leaders from their own ranks who were opposing this thing and leaned on them very heavily and at the end of the day they decided there should be no inquiry on the whole thing. And the European Union continued to make statements saying that the Minister must not involve them, it's not true what she's saying, she's lied to parliament, she's lied to them, she has abused funds and that is the type of situation.
POM. Two last things, very quick. How will the PAC do in KwaZulu/Natal?
KX. I don't expect us to do much better than we did in the national election because we cannot afford, and I say this to our own peril and our own disadvantage, we cannot afford to join the conflicts in that area and if you cannot defend the electorate with arms then why should they support you if supporting you will bring them in conflict with somebody else? That is a painful decision we have to take about KwaZulu/Natal, that the only way you can organise successfully in KwaZulu/Natal is if you take up arms and you defend the people and whoever disrupts your meetings and whatever you deal with them through violent means.
POM. So when I say, or to read that last phrase, that the PAC is in disarray, disgruntled membership, members leaving, senior members leaving, that it's at the point of either having to rescue itself from impending oblivion or radically reorganise itself, would you agree with that?
KX. No, I think that what you had in real terms, you had in real terms one or two leaders on the national level leaving. That's all. In the regions, no regional leader has ever left and at the branch level no branch leader left the organisation. And the national leaders do not run any branch, they just have to look at a particular portfolio. That's all. And it is just that portfolio that suffers as a result of the resignation of a particular individual.
POM. Where will you get the resources that are necessary in order to set up the organisational structures, the presence, the ability to project and get your message across that is necessary if you are to become an effective opposition to the ANC?
KX. We will get those resources from two different directions, number one. The members will have to contribute and establish on the ground for themselves income generating projects and there are a lot of income generating projects that can be done from the rural areas and in the urban areas. Secondly, we have to establish closer links on an international basis with centre left organisations which are of the same mind as the PAC. We know that many parties across Europe who are centre left come together, in other parts of the world they come together and we need to join such forums and get them to support the PAC. We can no longer depend on governments to support us.
POM. And finally, after the conference this weekend will the PAC have put its problems, pushed them aside for another period of time or will they have dealt with them in an open and perhaps rather bloody fashion?
KX. No, no, the PAC already had a national workshop and brought all the regional leaders in to the workshop and they have already discussed the issues and came up with proposals on how to solve them. Those proposals will be put before the house and it's not just a thing that comes from the leadership by themselves. The regional leaders, regional structures were involved in drafting them. So I think that I do not expect any emotional, very strong emotional debates. No, no, no, I think that the debates will be very objective and calm.
POM. In 1999, just looking ahead, ball park, in 1999 in terms of your share of the vote, what do you think realistically the party can look forward to getting?
KX. What the party will get depends on two things; number one, on the inability of the incumbent ruling party to deliver what they promised, and number two, the capacity of the PAC, organisational capacity to exploit those things. I think even, thirdly, the alternative programme that the PAC puts forward and the marketing of that alternative programme.
POM. So what would be an objective that you must reach if you are to be taken seriously after 1999?
KX. We want to be taken seriously before 1999 so that 1999 matters. I think that we would need to do the four things that I told you.
POM. Yes but if you got 5% of the vote nationally?
KX. No, I think we would need in 1999 either to be a strong alternative, a strong opposition, and the degree of our representation in the National Assembly will depend on the two things that I have said.
POM. I know, but what do you need to get to stay alive as the viable opposition, as a growing party, as a party that's got support?
KX. At least to be taken very seriously in the next election we should get not less than 15%.
POM. Not less than 15%. OK, we will leave it at that. Thank you my friend.
KX. Thank you.
POM. That was a pleasure talking to you.