This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
09 Apr 1996: Konigkramer, Arthur
POM Since we last talked KwaZulu/Natal has passed its constitution and many would say that you should be the person with the last smile on your face, that the constitution that emerged was, at least most commentators said that in the end the IFP caved in to a lot of the ANC demands and that the process you were on over a year ago before you were 'ousted by the hard-liners' would have been a process that led to a constitution that would have been more favourable to KwaZulu/Natal maybe a long time ago.
AK Look it gives me no particular pleasure and quite frankly I would really prefer to remain silent on that but I think that at the end of the day it's unfortunate that that process was disrupted because it would have led to, I think, a really good constitution, but much more importantly there would have been no rancour and we had all seven parties on board. I think at the end of the day what has happened is that the ANC are going to regret the day that they did what they did, and I think I've said this before, I think they will find that their provinces, three of them in particular, are even more federal minded than the IFP and I think they will learn that at the end of the day it's going to be more difficult to deal with internal dissent than it is with a perceived enemy, which is the IFP.
POM I've gone through this with Walter Felgate the other day, but it's unclear to me as to what actually happened. One newspaper account said five out of the fourteen chapters of the constitution were operable and nine were not.
AK A lot of commentators overlook the simple reality that the entire constitution which was approved is subject to the provisions of the final constitution, so in effect you have no constitution because whatever is said in the final constitution will go. That's the reality.
POM That will be applied here?
AK Yes, that's what was agreed to, that the entire constitution of KwaZulu/Natal will be subject to the provisions of the final constitution, so we are actually much worse off than the interim constitution. It's as bad as that.
POM Well that's what I was going to get to, that there are a whole set of what were called sunset clauses, some commentators called it a wish list that were inserted as powers but there was one small provision at the end that they were subject to.
AK What happened was, you see one of the things that I was berated for was the fact that I had agreed to the inclusion of a number of the powers which the constitutional advisors had advised us were unconstitutional in terms of the interim constitution and I happened to agree with that. We agreed to the inclusion of those in a schedule. Now I was accused of having sold out because if it was in a schedule it could not be enforced, which of course is total nonsense because even if you look at the former Republic of South Africa constitution, it had a schedule in terms of which it made provision for the incorporation of the former Protectorates into South Africa. Now that was eminently possible, it didn't come about for various political reasons, but that didn't invalidate the fact that it was in the constitution. And then, secondly, all the major issues on which the IFP takes its stand, the major issues which are contained in the constitutional principles are in fact in a schedule to the interim constitution. So, therefore, that's a totally illogical argument. But, of course, the reality is that had nothing to do with principles, that was a separate issue which I really don't want to discuss.
POM What happened? One way of reading it in terms of politics is that the strategy was to bring all the minority parties on board in which case you didn't need the ANC, but then in the end they balked and said in order for this to be a consensus document the ANC must be brought aboard, that the minority parties balked at it being just a minority party and the IFP.
AK No, really the whole thing is a fairly painful thing to me so I don't know at the end of the day where all these things are going to be published.
POM Nothing will appear until the year 2000.
AK Yes. Well the reality is that, yes, there were powerful forces within the IFP that thought that they could simply manoeuvre the minority parties into a situation where they would get the two thirds majority and then the ANC would simply have to live with it. Now that was an extremely short-sighted approach. First of all it was short-sighted but secondly it was ill-informed because very clearly those that were taking those decisions didn't know the minority parties. So on that score I think it was bad. It was bad tactics and it was also bad in principle because anybody that thinks that you can run this province without some sort of consensus agreement with the ANC is deluding themselves. That's the hard reality and if you're a democrat then that's what you have to accept. So my fundamental approach right from the word go was that I deliberately adopted an approach of not ganging up against the ANC and not trying to win over the minorities by whatever means. My whole approach was inclusive and I think it was the right one and at the end of the day accommodation with the ANC is much more important than accommodation with the minorities because between the IFP and the ANC you have virtually 80% of the province of KwaZulu/Natal and I would suggest in any democratic language that's a very sizeable majority. So it didn't make sense to me from a purely democratic point of view, but secondly from the issue of getting peace into our country and our province you needed to reach accommodation between the ANC and the IFP because if you don't reach that then you're not going to have development.
POM Things go on for ever. So in the end what does KwaZulu/Natal have? It has a constitution that is not really an agreed upon constitution.
AK It doesn't have a constitution. That's the reality. Because it's all subject to the final constitution.
POM So if I asked you what were the powers of the traditional chiefs under the new constitution?
AK Then you start getting involved in very intricate matters because in terms of the interim constitution, which the IFP fought very hard for right to the death and in fact won, the fact that the constitution has to make provision for traditional leaders is what the IFP won. Now that is enshrined in the interim constitution. Now they are going to have to create a mechanism in terms of which traditional leaders are accommodated. The tragedy as I see it, if you look at the very short-sighted approach of the ANC where now its platform for the local government elections is democracy or feudalism, now how can you support a King but not traditional leaders? How can you agree to the provision in an interim constitution which says you shall make provision for traditional leaders and then go out on a platform of saying that it's either democracy or feudalism? I think the ANC will learn that to its cost, as all other African states have learnt. Zimbabwe has learnt it, Namibia has learnt it, Angola has learnt it, that you simply cannot side-step traditional leaders. Sure it has to be modernised but you can't wish it away.
POM So if you had to look at the strategic errors made by the IFP in this process what would you point to as the strategic errors? What were the basic assumptions made at the time of the switch from the moderate to the hard-line that turned out to be untenable or simply wrong?
AK As I've said, I think I indicated to you, I think it was a wrong strategy and it's wrong in principle and I also think it has a lot to do with those that were driving the process. It was extremely autocratic and in fact at the end of the day, quite frankly, those people in the IFP that agreed to those things didn't know what they were voting for. And something else which, if it only comes out in the year 2000 it's fine, that in fact that issue on my insistence was put to the vote.
POM Sorry, issues on?
AK On the constitution, which was at half past three in the morning and the voting was, there were eight against and those were important people, very important people.
POM There were eight against adopting the constitution?
AK Yes, agreeing to what was being asked of us.
POM Each were agreeing and the rest were opposed?
AK No, the rest were agreed, eight were opposed. Then an hour later when there was another slight hiccup and there were people, very important people, the people that were driving this whole process then got cold feet and said, "Well let's use this as a pretext to just throw the whole thing out", and I said, "No, no, you can't do that, you can't go down a road for three months and then suddenly use a pretext to throw the whole thing out. Either we make a stand on principle or - ." And again it was put to the vote and that time six voted against it, two changed their minds. But history will show that yet and I think we will be shown to have been right.
POM Now did the ANC play their hand well or did they simply play to the mistakes that were being made by the IFP?
AK No I don't think so.
POM Did they show any particular brilliance in the way they went about things?
AK No I don't think so. I think the way in which they were bullying some of the minority parties was outrageous and people were being threatened and history will still reveal that. There was nothing brilliant about it. Sure they capitalised on IFP mistakes but at the end of the day there was nothing noble about the way they went about it. It was in fact quite ugly.
POM So when some people point to the constitution making process here as an example of how consensus can be reached, they are really ...
AK They are ill-informed.
POM It sounds like the opposite.
AK They are ill-informed, they don't know. There is a lack of skilful journalism in South Africa, that's the one issue. The second issue is that South Africa hasn't really escaped from its apartheid past where everything is seen in black and white, there are no greys, critical minds are simply brushed aside as irrelevant. You are either for or you're against, you're either black or you're white, we haven't escaped that yet. I think I've said it in the past, the new political masters in Pretoria are no different from those that were there before, it's just a different hue.
POM So now you have an attempt at arranging the imbiso and one gets again two impressions that the pre-talks were a failure with breakdown and collapse and then you have a statement by all the principals, at least by the King and by Mandela, that they were quite satisfied with the way the imbiso had gone.
AK That's posturing.
POM Who's playing to whom?
AK Well I think that Nelson Mandela, the President, finally understood that in fact he had ventured into an area that was a lot more difficult and complicated than he thought. Now one doesn't expect him as a politician, even less as a President, having embarked on a venture which is internationally advertised and then having to admit to failure, he's not going to do that is he? The bottom line is, and he knows it, that that was a failure.
POM So there will be no imbiso?
AK I don't think so.
POM Somebody explained, and this was an ANC, one might call him my guru from the past, Archie Gumede, that I was trying to talk sense to.
AK A very wise man.
POM That's what I called him. He says he tries to get it through all the time that when it comes to the Amakosi and the King, is that the Amakosi know who gave them the power and that a Zulu goes to the person who gives them the power, they don't go with the title or a position and they respect the person who gave them power and they stand and are loyal to the person who gave them power and it was Buthelezi who gave them power and it was a misreading of the King to think that because in some hierarchical way that the King was above Buthelezi that that's the way the Amakosi would see it too.
AK Yes it is. You see the thing is our President made a very fundamental error of judgement and proof of that is when he made the statement to the effect at that pre-imbiso meeting that people should be cautious lest Buthelezi be made more important than the King. Now that statement is a carbon copy of what John Vorster said, it's exactly what John Vorster said, his precise words. Now what does it indicate? You see it indicates two things. Yes, Archie Gumede is right in this sense that the Zulu people and the Amakosi correctly perceive that it was in fact Buthelezi that gave them their dignity when they suffered enormously under apartheid. It was he that institutionalised the Amakosi, it was he that resisted KwaZulu being turned into a Bantustan like the Transkei and they don't forget those things.
Secondly, the Zulu people, you must remember there are lots of precedents when kings have served their purpose they have served their purpose. Even the greatest of the Zulu kings, King Shaka, was in fact murdered by his chief security advisor and his half brothers. If you look at what happened to King Dingaan, the same story. So people haven't understood the Zulu people, you see they have a very clear understanding of where power actually comes from, ultimately from the people, and a king is only there because of the people and if he doesn't serve the people he's not a king. That's the political reality.
Now the ANC haven't understood, and I've said this right from after we won the election when people were saying it was because of the King, it was a very foolish statement and it's very ill-informed, they did not understand that people didn't vote for the King. He had nothing to do with it. In fact he can't deliver and in fact I would venture to suggest that today the ANC have learnt to their cost that he has no power and influence and what they are now trying to do is to extricate themselves from the process and politically it's quite understandable to try and sling as much mud at the IFP, hence things like feudalism and so on, but it won't wash unfortunately as the local elections will show you because the IFP will simply walk all the rural areas with massive majorities in excess of 80%. That's the political reality.
POM Now do you expect the IFP to win an overall majority of the seats in the province as a whole?
AK No I think, in my own assessment, but of course as Harold Wilson said, one week in politics is a long time, the ANC have already made very serious errors in judgement, for example with their whole slogan 'Democracy or Feudalism'. I think a lot of black people even in urban areas are going to be switched off by that because it's extremely racist, in other words traditional democracy in the eyes of the ANC is not democracy. Now that's a very dangerous statement to make. And of course they could make more serious mistakes which I think they will. But in my judgement I think that the IFP is going to lose the major urban areas, in my judgement.
POM That would be Maritzburg and Durban.
AK 70% of the population.
POM So that in a way you're going to end up with more of a split province in terms of urban/rural control?
AK Yes, but you see the tragedy is that the ANC is so short-sighted, exactly like the Nats and there is no difference. The Nats, if you look back in history, were never able to control KwaZulu/Natal and in the end they resorted to the expedient of simply abolishing the Provincial Council and nominating the executive, which they did. Now the ANC also, it had these wild dreams of winning KwaZulu/Natal, and when it lost it's now trying to win it by other means, it's now trying to minimise the powers of the province, it's now trying to impose local government from the centre again in the vain belief that, as Pretoria did, you think if you control the purse strings and if you manipulate from the centre that you actually control it. It won't work. It will never work.
POM Why was it so important for KwaZulu to have a constitution in place, provincial constitution in place before the Constitutional Assembly finishes its deliberations on 8th or 9th May or whenever?
AK Are you asking me my personal opinion?
POM Well I'll begin with your personal opinion.
AK Well from my personal opinion, first of all I think if KwaZulu/Natal could have demonstrated the ability to pass a constitution which was all inclusive I think it would have been a miracle for our province and it would have been an unbelievable feather in the cap of South Africa. So to me personally that was a very important milestone. But from a more practical point of view the IFP had won the very hard-won fight to have the right to write its own constitution which was instituted I think a week before the elections, when parliament met and changed the interim constitution. So it was very important not to lose those very hard-won gains, the more so because if you did not pass a constitution prior to the writing of the final constitution then, of course, your right to do so fell away because if there was a new constitution in place which overtook the provisions of the interim constitution and obviously it would have been a totally academic exercise so for that reason also.
Then finally, and I think history will show this, as I indicated earlier there are extremely strong federal forces within the ANC provinces, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Free State, not there are not strong forces in other provinces, but those in particular and they are also headed by very strong men. A lot of those people were pinning their hopes on KwaZulu/Natal. The very fact that there are provinces in our country is because of the IFP. If it weren't for the IFP there would not have been provincial regional governments with their own parliaments. So I think in the longer term we in KwaZulu/Natal had a lot of people that were looking to us to succeed and I think it's a great tragedy, and history will show that, that it actually never came to pass although it could have.
POM Just looking at the King's situation for a moment. I must say I was surprised last week when Dr Mdlalose after inviting the King to open the legislature then read the minutes of the meeting between the King and Roelf Meyer or whatever and the King got up and walked out.
AK Well he didn't walk out.
POM He didn't walk out? Even though it was reported that he did walk out, in fact he didn't walk out?
AK No he didn't walk out.
POM OK. Corrected again, because the media say one thing.
AK No he didn't, I was there. He didn't walk out. He stayed until parliament was formally adjourned and he went out. He didn't go to the lunch, yes, but he didn't walk out.
POM So that was misreporting?
AK Well it was just factually wrong. But anyway that's not really the issue, but one must get one's facts straight. Why were you surprised?
POM Because one thing I've learned from talking over the years both to the King and to Dr Buthelezi and to whomever, is the premium put on not being humiliated, or not being subjected to indignity and this was certainly something ...
AK I don't agree with that. Let me give you my reasons. First of all you've got to separate the politicking from the real issues. The ANC the next day moved a motion in the House which I notice they never pursued, they didn't push it to debate on saying that the King had been insulted. Now I think that's wrong, it didn't happen. It also shows a woeful lack of understanding of how Zulu politics work. The Zulus have a beautiful custom of showing respect in which they will never, unlike white people who are almost direct, they are always very diplomatic in the way they broach things and I think that's what they did, but at the same time you have to have the truth told and the truth of the matter is that the King had written personally to Mandela and asked that he be paid directly from Pretoria. Now that is an issue of such critical importance that there is no way if the Premier of this province were aware of that and didn't tell the people then I can tell you he would be hung, drawn and quartered when it came out. So I don't think he had any options in it. Diplomatic in this sense that he was not saying I believe this and I believe that, he simply read what others had said, which I think is perfectly legitimate.
I think in my own judgement, I believe that had it not been handled in that way it would have been very, very much more explosive because there it was contained within parliament, it was contained because all the senior black leaders were present from all political persuasions, and I think if those sort of revelations had been made at a huge political gathering, a party political gathering for example, it would been much more explosive, so I don't believe that he was humiliated. At the end of the day you have to account for what you do and that goes for kings and commoners. If you write to the President of the country and you say you and the chiefs want to be paid from Pretoria, if you write to the government and you say that you are not being supported by the KwaZulu/Natal government, which is an untruth, then as the Premier, people think it's insulting, the Premier then revealed that our government this year is paying out over R300,000 to educate 18 of the King's children. Now how can the King make a statement to Pretoria saying we're not supporting him when we're paying over R300,000 to educate his children in the most fancy white schools, private schools? No I don't believe that that is insulting at all.
POM I hear you saying a number of things. One is that we don't have a constitution but we're going to fight over, or the implication will be that we will be fighting legislature over the interpretation of the constitution that we really don't have. Two, that the gap between the King and the IFP is an increasing gap and not a diminishing gap. Three, that the local council elections won't solve anything insofar as it will reinforce the divide between the urban elements of the province and the more rural elements of the province.
AK There are a whole lot of issues, let me try and address them singly. First of all the first point you brought up was why should we fight about a constitution which we don't really have. Although it is true that everything that we agreed to is subject to the final constitution so effectively you don't have one, but what is important is that there are certain parameters that have been put on the table which can be swept aside constitutionally because of the provision which we agreed to, that they are all subject to the provisions of the final constitution. But still it certainly sets out a lot of the aspirations of the majority of the people of this province. So although constitutionally you might be able to sweep that aside, politically it won't be as easy as it looks so therefore one mustn't simply say because it's all subject to the final constitution it doesn't mean anything. It does. And remember that the federal aspirations of the people of this province, and large numbers of others, won't go away, they will always be there.
Secondly, with regard to the King I think I have said to you before that I think the King had basically two options. He is either going to acknowledge that he was wrong and he is going to go back to his people or he's going to go into exile. Those are his two choices. I stand by that and I believe it will come to pass that he will go into exile. I don't see any other scenario. His actions are just making it increasingly impossible for him to operate as a king because he does not have the support of the Amakosi and he certainly doesn't have the support of his people. So that, in my judgement, that's what will happen. I think it's wrong to characterise it as the distance between the IFP and the King. I think more correctly it's a separation between the people and the King and I think there are large numbers of ANC people who would share that view, ordinary common pedestrian people. What was the third question?
POM The third question was that the elections won't solve anything in the sense that it will reinforce divisions between the urban centres controlled by ANC and rural areas controlled by IFP.
AK I think one must be careful in that I think that those sort of results would exacerbate the political tensions but I think it's also wrong, although that is my prediction that we will lose the major urban areas, but that doesn't mean that there are very, very substantial numbers of IFP supporters in urban areas. I think one must again be careful not to fall into the old South African mistake, as I said earlier, that it's either grey or white, all rural people support the IFP and all urban people the ANC. It's not quite as simple as that. Then I think you must also remember that the delivery of services can most effectively happen at local government level. Now if the wherewithal is not available and if the ANC, for example, wins the major urban areas and is unable to deliver, in local government the link between the member who represents you and the people is very much stronger so I think the pressures will build up very quickly, so it will be a very Pyrrhic victory if they can't deliver. So at the end of the day I think this is why Nelson Mandela, for example, has got rid of Jay Naidoo because I think he's begun to realise now that it's not going to happen so they are beginning to defuse it. I think it will be a very dynamic situation. It will certainly exacerbate polarisation but it's not going to be a major catastrophe. It will drag on.
POM Which brings one to the violence itself and what characterises it, I suppose, is different than the violence in Gauteng which is higher, is that it's mass violence, there are numbers of people wiped out on particular occasions and it's political violence more so than 'sheer criminal violence'.
AK Yes, but is it really different. You see if we want to look at history objectively we have to accept that the ANC had a declared policy until very recently of making South Africa ungovernable. It had a declared policy of murdering local government leaders, of murdering traditional leaders, of murdering policemen, so that's the grand scenario why we have a breakdown in law and order, also the whole 'liberation now education later' philosophy which has caused huge damage among the youth. Those things are not going to go away in a hurry. Now on the political level exactly the same thing happened in that KwaZulu/Natal was specifically targeted, I mean the very top leaders of the ANC publicly in The Times of London called for the murder of Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the members of the Central Committee. As recently as 1993 they were smuggling vast amounts of arms into this province to assassinate its leaders, so it's really no different from rendering the country ungovernable. It's just that here you were dealing with a different type of political foe. There they were dealing with the apartheid regime which was essentially white, here they were dealing with a black political foe. That's really the only difference.
So the fact that KwaZulu/Natal has so much political violence is for exactly the same reason as you have much greater criminal violence in Gauteng, it's just that it was focused differently but there's no fundamental difference. You see the real problem, and this brings me right back to what I said to you right in the beginning, I feel very, very strongly and passionately about the murder of IFP leaders for a number of reasons. Large numbers of those people were my friends but, secondly, on a matter of principle you cannot get away with murdering large numbers of people like that and think that you can have a Truth Commission and a Malan trial where it will all be swept under the carpet. It won't happen.
So if we want to really bring about peace, and as I said that's what drove me right from the beginning, then you have to accept that we have to reach an accommodation with the ANC. We have to be able to sit round a table and say to them, listen we were wrong and you were wrong and let's try and sort the thing out and go forward together, but if you persist in trying to paint one side bad, I know the evil of the ANC, I know it intimately, as I said, the murder of the IFP leaders, the public call for the assassination of its leaders and so on, but that's not going to help me to sit down and wage a vendetta from now to eternity against the ANC. We're going to have to try and reach an accommodation otherwise it's never going to stop.
POM Well this raises two questions. The one I've probably asked you before but I will ask you again because it's one that I can't get a satisfactory answer to from anybody. It is that there have been so many peace initiatives tried in this province so many times that Buthelezi and Mandela have got together and so many joint proclamations for people to put down their arms.
AK It hasn't happened all that often incidentally.
POM Well a number of times.
AK I think twice.
POM Nothing happens on the ground. Three things that are like time bombs, one the Magnus Malan trial which many IFP supporters see as being directed against them by the ANC.
AK Correctly so.
POM I have two questions with regard to that. How deep does that feeling run and therefore what are the likely consequences of the verdict of guilty in the case of the IFP Deputy General Secretary?
AK Let me answer it this way. First of all there is no doubt whatsoever that the Malan trial is a show trial. It's designed for very specific purposes, which is to paint the IFP as violent. Now that won't wash, it simply won't wash because at the end of the day it's not people in America or anywhere else that decide, that apportion guilt, it's the people on the ground. They know what happened. They know who is doing the killing and so therefore you are very naïve if you think that you can get away with something like that because you can't. Secondly, there is such enormous evidence. I went together with the Premier a week and a half ago and confronted some of the top policemen in this country and gave them hard evidence of massacres of IFP leaders and supporters where known senior members of the ANC are involved and where ballistic evidence exists to prove that and yet they are not being prosecuted. Now people could knock me off tomorrow or I could disappear from the scene but it won't go away. It will not go away because the people deep down know what happened.
Let's just look at it, there are thousands and thousands of IFP people that have been murdered, there are 400 leaders. You just take 400 leaders and multiply it by say an extended family of ten, that's 4000 people, leaders. Now you're beginning to get to maybe 2%, 3% of the leadership. Now how on earth can you ever believe that that can be wished away? You can't. So, therefore, I believe that you will find that it will actually exacerbate the problem, it will make the people on the ground even more aggrieved and it will simply escalate violence and it certainly won't bring peace.
POM Where in this regard, which is semi-related, does the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stand? Is that seen also by the IFP as an attempt to go after its members?
AK It's broader than the IFP. The Truth & Reconciliation Commission, quite frankly I think the President of the IFP correctly described it as a farce because it will neither reveal the truth nor will it bring reconciliation. If you look at all the people that have been appointed there most of them are UDF activists. Many of those people have been actively involved in violence so how on earth can they sit on a commission? It simply won't wash, it won't wash. It's a lovely PR exercise for foreign eyes but it won't convince people here.
POM Do you think it's going to do more to divide than to reconcile people?
AK I believe so, yes. In fact I think it's going to be totally ineffective. It will be looked at with an enormous amount of cynicism by the bulk of South Africans.
POM When you confront senior ANC leaders with what to you is hard evidence of senior ANC complicity in murders what response do you receive from them?
AK Well that varies. Let me give you one example, last week I raised in parliament, we had a debate on a matter of urgent public importance because one of the very senior leaders of the ANC had been caught with a machine gun. Now they sat and they listened to the debates in silence and at the end of the day argued that strictly in terms of the law, apparently Mufamadi had issued a regulation which I certainly didn't know about, which made all firearms issued by the Transkei legal whether they were issued legally or not and therefore some of the ANC people argued that he held this machine gun legally. You see, again, you can't fool the people. What is a member of parliament doing with a machine gun? Secondly, how can you make, and I produced the evidence in parliament where large numbers, I mean vast quantities of AK47s, or RP27s, of land-mines were brought from the Transkei into KwaZulu/Natal, how can you as a government then say all those are now legal but all the firearms issued by the KwaZulu government to defend the chiefs who were being murdered are illegal and have got to be handed back? Now you can get away with a strict interpretation of the law and say, well, yes, it's different, but do you really think you can get away with that? I have challenged members, there is one member in particular in that parliament, a very senior member of the ANC, he was guilty of gun-running until 1993 and I have repeatedly said, and I have told the Premier, and they always come to you and say well they want to stamp these things out, could I tell them who he is? At the end of the day those people know what the truth is and until such time as they are honest enough to actually come out and say we were wrong, you can't have two sets of standards.
POM So are you after two years of very hectic involvement in this process of moving towards a new South Africa or a different South Africa or whatever, are you more convinced than ever that the ANC is out to establish a one-party state?
AK Yes. But that's not surprising. I said that right from the beginning. The ANC is no different from the Nationalists. They are exactly the same as the apartheid masters. There is no difference so there is nothing surprising and there's nothing particularly evil about the ANC. It's a reality of life, we have to deal with it. One is pessimistic in a sense but on the other hand there are sufficient forces in South Africa that will continue to fight that and, as I said, their own provinces will do it. I was astounded to read in parliament an address by Matthews Phosa, the Premier of Mpumalanga, who indicates in his address to parliament that he is signing treaties with the Mozambicans and with Swaziland, he's creating regional economic blocs. Isn't that Foreign Affairs? Can you imagine if KwaZulu/Natal did that? That doesn't surprise me and particularly the ANC having come from exile and black people having suffered repression for so long, that doesn't surprise me. You've just got to fight it, that's all.
POM This is, I suppose, my question on the IFP staying out of the Constitutional Assembly. Now you cannot have a constitution that will work if a province as significant as KwaZulu/Natal simply doesn't give its allegiance to it.
AK I think you're right. I think there are faults on both sides. I personally don't agree with that strategy at all, but that doesn't really matter, but at the end of the day I think you are correct, you would be fooling yourself if you think that a constitution like that will be accepted because it won't.
POM And the second thing is, I simply do not understand why here you have Mandela, a man the world has elevated into the position being the great reconciler and devoting the remaining years of his life to bringing people together and ensuring that there's a nation of harmony left in his wake, who signed an agreement either on the 10th or 19th April 1994 in which he agreed with F W de Klerk and Chief Buthelezi that there would be international mediation on issues that are written down on a piece of paper, who turns his back on it and says, "I will not honour it." Why doesn't he just politically say, "I'll call international mediation, a mediator can fly in from God knows where, sit down, everyone sits around a table, the mediator looks at all the paper and says you guys have nothing to mediate I'm going home." And Mandela can say, "Dr Buthelezi, I have lived up to my commitment, I have called for international mediation, I have honoured what I said I would do." Why on this one issue is he so adamant?
AK I think the first thing is he's not quite, when you say he constantly says, "I will not agree to international mediation", that's not what he says. They always say, "We will honour the agreement, just tell us what the outstanding issues are", which of course is just total nonsense because he knows exactly what the issues are. But I think let's just get it straight, he doesn't say, "I reject it." Now what are the reasons? I think the reasons are that Nelson Mandela knows that if there is serious international mediation in fact the IFP would win the day and the fundamental issue which is the fundamental issue in South African politics, is the issue of federalism, and that is a tendency world-wide which he well knows. He knows it, he's seen it in the break-up of even his former great allies in the Soviet Union. They understand those forces and that's what he's scared of. So I think that's the reason why they resist it because they really believe that there is an outside chance, or more than an outside chance, a fair chance that the international community would side with the IFP.
Now let me motivate that by telling a little story which I will never forget. At the height of the negotiations in Kempton Park the Canadian Prime Minister was here and of course the fundamental issue, which is why the IFP walked out there as well, was the issue of federalism, and Nelson Mandela went on national television, he sat next to the Canadian Prime Minister and he said, "I just want ordinary democracy", and it didn't sink into his head that in fact Canada is a federation and that in fact it was a crass insult to the Canadian Prime Minister, but that's how blinded they are. But that's what he said. He said, "I want ordinary democracy", as if federalism is not ordinary democracy.
That is the fundamental issue and you see, I've said to you several times as well, that the provinces, the ANC provinces, seven of them which they control, seven of the nine, are very, very strong federal provinces now and that is their nightmare. That is their nightmare and that is why all the ANC provinces were instructed not to write constitutions. You must remember that essentially the ANC in its roots, although it started off as a nationalistic movement, but essentially it was taken over by communists, it's essentially hegemonistic, it's essentially authoritarian, centralistic in its thinking and the worst nightmare to any person that believes in centralisation is fragmentation of power. That's what they're scared of and I believe, and I think large numbers of other South Africans believe that that is in fact the only solution. If you really want to stop abuse you must fragment power, you must defuse it because then you can't abuse it. I think that's why they will not have international mediation.
POM What happened to the IFP in the local elections in the rest of the country in November?
AK They got a very serious trouncing.
AK There are large numbers of reasons for that. I would prefer not to discuss it.
POM Give me some of the good ones.
AK It was just appallingly organised for a start.
POM But do you see its future as a national party or as a provincial party?
AK No. Again, one of the realities of South African politics, and this is one of the reasons why the ANC invests so much energy and time in KwaZulu/Natal, the reality of South African politics is that there are essentially two forces that will survive and that is the ANC and the IFP. Just from a demographic point of view political parties that are not black led have got no chance. Secondly, you have to look at the amount of energy, the amount of emotion, the amount of blood, the amount of sweat, the amount of toil that has gone into the IFP. It will never go away. The reason the ANC invests so much energy in fighting the IFP is because it knows that that's a force that's there to stay. It doesn't matter how bad things might go in the short term but at the end of the day those are the two shows in town and I believe that you will find that in the end the more liberal minded democratic, in the true sense, forces will gravitate around the IFP. The ANC of course is changing very rapidly as well so that's difficult to see. It's possible that the ANC would split.
POM Now do you see that as a real possibility or as a kind of a hope its political opponents have?
AK No I think it's a very real possibility. Obviously any political opponent would wish that but I don't think that's the issue. The issue is that if you look at the tripartite alliance it's interests are so divergent. There is no way, for example, that COSATU will be able to continue to exert the power that it does in the ANC. Simple economic facts tell you that. With half the population unemployed how can you continue to build an elitist working class. It can't work. Logic tells you that. All you need to do is to become a party of the unemployed and you would be guaranteed 50% of the votes. A schism is inevitable there. When that will happen, of course, that is much more difficult to predict, but that it will happen is without any shadow of doubt.
POM Is the National Party depending on this for some form of salvation for itself? I find the idea of the National Party or F W de Klerk believing that in five to ten years he can build up a viable black constituency to be either the most fanciful thinking in the world or a complete abnegation of the past.
AK It's totally fanciful. You must remember that fundamentally, and Roelf Meyer will learn this to his cost, that man has done more damage to this country than most, but be that as it may that's just an aside, but he will yet learn, now that he's the Secretary General of the Nationalist Party, that that's an animal that simply cannot be reformed. You see at the end of the day the Afrikaners in 1948 used the power of the state to further the aims of the Afrikaner people. Now the ANC are trying to do the same thing but at the end of the day you will find that De Klerk will simply - well how can he deliver? The deal with the ANC was we will share power, we will give you political power and we will take the civil service, in other words retain all the perks for the Afrikaners. That's very short-sighted, very short-sighted, and he will be found out for that. No, I think you will find that there will be essentially at the end of the day, it might take five, it might take ten, it might take fifteen years, but you will find that politics will basically gravitate in two directions, both of them will be black led. It has to be.
POM OK, I will actually leave you with one final word on the constitution. What is in it that you like? What is in it that you don't like?
AK You mean in the KwaZulu/Natal constitution?
AK I don't like it and I voted against it.
POM And this is an issue in which Walter Felgate and Mario Ambrosini actually took opposite sides when it came to advising the caucus?
AK There was total divergence. Ambrosini was vehemently opposed to it.
POM Yet there was no necessity why it should have gone through when you could have said, we live and fight another day.
AK Yes but they were blackmailed. That's exactly my point. First of all I opposed it but I said that I totally opposed the whole approach and I said let's just say no, let's just come back next week and think about it. The party was told that that wasn't an option. They weren't told the truth.
POM The party was told by its leadership that that wasn't an option?
AK Those negotiating.
POM At which level?
AK Walter Felgate didn't tell the truth.
POM Didn't tell the truth to the caucus when you said, "We can come back", he said, "We can't", it was actually false?
AK Yes it was false.
POM And where did Dr Buthelezi stand?
AK He didn't know about it.
POM He didn't know? Well I'll leave that till our next session. That sounds like a real kind of hair-raising ending, there's another chapter to be told.
POM Thank you again for seeing me at such short notice.