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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
17 Apr 1996: Sizane, Richard
POM Mr Sizane, let me ask you first, I note here on your desk you have a copy of a newspaper article, "The PAC drowning in a sea of irrelevancy." The party seems riven by discontent, financial disarray, lack of leadership, no clear policy focus, it's performance in the local elections were dismal, in surveys in KwaZulu/Natal it doesn't even figure in the voting there. One, how would you identify the problems, two, what do you think must be done to alleviate them and, three, what future do you see for the party in the politics of South Africa?
RS I think the problems that the PAC is facing are problems relating to its position in the South African political spectrum. I think the PAC made a number of mistakes down the years especially when it come to the negotiation period. One of its problems was to place a premium on the armed struggle as the sole method of struggle, not as a principal method of struggle as it had claimed, and therefore all other struggles, mass struggles, socio-economic and civil rights struggles were ignored as of a lesser quality and unimportant and in that process the PAC became militarised and became a military sect of some sort and therefore it marginalised itself from the political process because at that particular time everyone was a soldier focused on the armed struggle and fighting to recover the land. There was no planning in terms of sending people to study, to train skills in administration, in governance and so on. It was merely a military take-over and then we see what happens from then. It was a classical liberation movement stance without any foresight that you might be in government or you might be in opposition, there might be elections, there might be negotiations.
Therefore when the PAC entered into the elections it was not ready physically, mentally and also organisationally, and therefore it was also, because it was an organisation that also relied on foreign funding, it's funding sources dried up because it was swimming against the tide, so to say, and it was an organisation of Xhosa, it has never had roots as an organisation because it was banned when it only was eleven months old so it never had a firm ground in South Africa even in exile. When it got there in exile it was always involved in internal struggles and wrangling so we never had a consistent leadership, layers of leadership, we never had a consistent administration, it was always people fighting and getting out and getting in and so on. The only thing that kept the PAC going basically has always been its appeal in terms of its policy of the return of the land, the rights of the African people being in the forefront of it and that spirit of Africanism and Pan-Africanism has kept it going without there being an organisational form. The PAC has always been existence in name and persons really but it has never existed as an organisation with administrative systems, with financial control management systems and with the discipline, organisational discipline that can be imposed on its membership. Therefore when it came to the situation now where it had to operate as a political party which has to put alternative policies that are viable, that can address the interests of the broad spectrum of the South African society, it was totally not ready for that. It was totally not ready for that, that is the problem. The PAC is not ready to operate as a political party.
POM So what must happen if it is to become ready to operate as a political party?
RS Well one of the greatest things that the conference in Bloemfontein, which was really a shambles as has been reported quite clearly, there were a few things that actually came out there. It was the idea of a convention where all this mass of persons who basically believe in Africanism and the interests of the African people being primary in the situation and that they must be catered for, agreeing that they need to come back and come together some time middle of this year, 1996, to discuss the issue of here is this thing we call the PAC, what should we do about it? Should we disband it? Should we have it reconstituted and in what form? And I can tell you, the people who have actually come up with this idea of a convention are old members of the PAC who are in the corporate world, who are in the labour movement, who are in all sectors of society but are now not active in the PAC because the PAC has become now a shadow of its former self and has become a sect of some sort, a group of loony left-wingers if you like who are shouting, "One settler one bullet", but without any coherent policies. So these people have an idea of rescuing the PAC and putting it at a reasonable place in the South African society and occupying the place of Africanism in this country. So I think the convention, therefore, will have to come out with position papers on a number of issues to try and position the PAC, to try and restructure the PAC organisationally and to also place in leadership cadres who can pursue those programmes that the people have actually said in that convention. So we see the convention as really the way out because there we will not pretend that we have branches to come together and constitute a congress. We are only saying that Africanists, people who believe in the ideology of Pan-Africanism come together in the South African context and see whether they need to take this thing forward or need to close shop.
POM How would you see, with your emphasis on Africanism, the PAC being different or identifying itself or developing an identity that's quite separate and distinct from the ANC?
RS You see for the first time now the divisions between the ANC and the PAC are quite sharp and clear in terms of the little that we have from the PAC. If you read the documents of the PAC, its basic tenet is the return of the country to its original owners, the Africans. By country we mean basically that all institutions of power be it in the army, police, the civil service, in the economy of the country, be it in land and be it in governance, must reflect the demographics of the country. That is one of its major tenets. Therefore in terms of the PAC we wouldn't like to reform the system or just to improve it, we want to transform it totally both in its values and its reflection, to actually accommodate much more strongly and much more sharply the African experience and it reflects that South Africa is not a white country that happens to be in Africa, that it is an African country in Africa. That would be the first point.
In our positioning in terms of the economy the ANC is clearly now free market capitalist in terms of the economy. The PAC could be defined as a social democratic party in terms of its platform when properly articulated and therefore we would not apply the neo-classical economic system of a trickle-down method. We would actually try to ensure that growth goes with development and distribution of the resources to also cater for the interests of the majority. Therefore, in terms of an economic system we would actually promote a much more socialist oriented or people oriented democracy rather than this one of growth based on a trickle-down method, that you feather the nests of a few hoping that some crumbs will fall down, which is what the ANC is pushing.
Then the last platform, of course, is that one of Pan-Africanism which basically would also look much more sharply, as opposed to the ANC, because if you look at the ANC elitist approach now their view basically is that one of ignoring Africa completely and associating itself with the western countries and all those countries. Our view would be that we would be building on the African experience and creating stronger regional relationships, stronger African continental relationships and projecting now a contribution of the Africans to the total fund of humanity from an African experience as opposed to the question of wanting to be a little Europe in Africa. So if those things are articulated in a proper sense then I am sure that the PAC would occupy a certain position left of the ANC, not loony left, but left of the ANC and dissent in terms of presentation.
POM A lot of what you say sounds fine in theory but in practice you live in a global economy where you are not free to do what you want to do, where you take certain stands either whether it's expropriating the land and redistributing it to the native people or you take certain economic policies that are seen as being inimical to the market or to the IMF or to the World Bank or to any of these multi-national financial organisations, and that has an effect on your capacity to grow and the financial inflow in the continent and in the country, how do you balance those things?
RS Well that is a difficult balance of course, it's a very live question and it's one of the problems that we face. But, for instance, I don't see very much value in this attempt to globalise our own situation as is being done presently by the present government. I think that the foreign policy must be dictated by national interests because all other countries, even Europe, they start from the premise of national interest, therefore you globalise from a national perspective and I feel that we have not done enough to tap our own resources nationally. For instance, this question of opening up already, especially the textile industry and so on, and lowering the tariffs like that, everything, and opening of the economy, I think it's risky. I think that we need to emphasise more on the manufacturing sector for our own economy and manufacturing from our own raw materials and investing in education, more than this question of actually creating a nation of consumers and a nation of workers where we basically produce and send everything abroad and buy everything made in England, made in Japan and made elsewhere. I think that approach has not been looked at closely. So I feel as we move towards the question of being part of the international world, we must know that we are part of a South African society, we are part of an African society. And it is important that what we produce must also benefit, to a large extent, the interests of our own people, and that can be done, there are many ways of doing it.
There are other countries for instance, like Canada, which don't have a property clause in their own constitution but it does not necessarily mean that - and we feel that even here when it comes to the question of land, we don't talk of wholesale expropriation without any form of compensation, but what we talk about is the whole question of the struggle here was over property and the question of who has what in terms of land has not been settled. Therefore you cannot constitutionalise those property relationships because you are only postponing a battle. Mugabe postponed it for ten years and he is in trouble now trying to meet that problem and now he has to actually get negative responses because he didn't do it properly from the beginning. The first thing we say ourselves is that basically where people are actually having land that is more than their own needs, they must be willing to let go part of it in the interests of the nation so that others can also benefit from that land in one way or another and then you see whether you can compensate them for improvement on the land or what. But what you cannot have in this situation is where the national question is not resolved on a democratic basis, where, for instance, 58,000 white farmers have about 83,000 million hectares of land in their own control, about 81% of agricultural land is in the hands of 58,000 white farmers, and we say that portion is untenable, we cannot accept that.
So with all those international pressures and so on we have to negotiate and we have to be firm on certain principles, that we are put in power by our people and we have to look at that. We cannot afford to go the IMF way like the ANC is doing now, of these structural adjustment programmes which we are already implementing in this country because the first thing that you do with those structural adjustment programmes is that you alienate your own people because they cut down on the social responsibility element. We have to balance the question of economic growth with the question of social responsibility. It's a difficult balance to maintain but we have to work towards it.
POM Just a couple of things, one is the Makgoba affair; what does that say to you about the state of race relations in the country?
RS I think actually the policy of reconciliation and non-racialism as it has been pushed by the present government in this country is to a certain extent unfortunate in the sense that one mistake we are making is to say that we must forgive and forget so soon and pretend, like you here now, words like 'historically disadvantaged people', 'apartheid is a thing of the past', 'we are a Rainbow nation', and all those, and then reconciliation which means that basically the Springboks must retain the symbols of their past in the name of reconciliation. I don't think that is reconciliation, I think it is wrong because white people in this country must understand that apartheid was a wrong thing and they gained unfair advantage in many areas of the economy and wealth by using the question of racism and conquest to gain those things. Therefore any form of reconciliation must be based on justice, on reparation and restitution. That is our own standard form and therefore we cannot let the whites off the hook by merely saying that we are historically disadvantaged. We are still disadvantaged. We cannot say that we are non-racialists when racism has actually divided us into two world citizens, citizens of the first world and citizens of the third world. We need to create on the basis of being anti-racist, on the basis of anti-exploitation, on the basis of anti-injustice, a common citizenship in this country based on equality for all, human dignity and African values because it's an African country. And that is how we understand the whole issue of reconciliation, non-racialism and so on, that it must be based on reparation and restitution. It must be based on correcting the injustices of the past. It would be criminal for us to say our people must forget what happened in the past, it would be criminal. They should not forget, but what we must all strive for is that it should never happen again.
POM When you talk about African values, what do you mean, say, in comparison to western liberal values or whatever? What do you see as being specifically African values that are not being fostered by the current value system employed by the present government?
RS A crucial system is the question of individualism, that the concept of a human person, a person in the African context is not one that is involved, an individual aloof person involved in the conception of relationships, it's part of society and part of a community. Therefore, you build that question of ubuntu, humanness, where you bring in the values of sharing, the values of justice and not a question of you grab as much as you can get and block somebody else. This is what we are involved in now, in a race for achieving, for grabbing, that's why we're getting corruption, that's why we're getting huge salary disparities and so on, and that's why we have those classes which can afford Mercedes Benz, which can afford Jettas and so on when we have a class of people who still remain on the other side of the river. We have not crossed the Rubicon. It is because we have actually allowed ourselves now to get into this question of individualism, grabbing for your own self and we have lost that sense of community, that concern for the ordinary person and so on. It is that type of behaviour that I would like coming back to our own people.
The question of crime, for instance, is seen as a question of how many police you put on the streets. It is not linked to the question of morality, the question of values of society, respecting the elders, respecting society and respecting old people. And I think we need also to have a moral crusade in our country to bring in some values that make us what we are rather than make us imitate other peoples' ways of life. That is where I feel that the African contribution to our society has been ignored in terms of bringing those moral values that respect family, that respect community, that believe that the resources belong to the nation are being held in trust by the government for the benefit of everyone. That is where we felt that our constitution should have started in the area of land, that land must be said to belong to the nation and it is a commodity that is incapable of being owned and everybody who has that land can be given a list for length of tenure which might even be 90 years, which might be 50 years and so on, but it be only leasehold as opposed to the question of freehold and actually titled to them.
POM I was told that you were the chief negotiator for the PAC in the Constitutional Assembly.
RS Yes I am.
POM In what way do you think the PAC has influenced the development of the emerging constitution? What can you point to where you can say, "That's been our contribution, this is where we changed minds, this is where we were able to prevail in having our opinion"?
RS We have actually argued strongly in the area of property for a 'no property' clause, and the question of 'no property' clause, and we have mobilised and mixed with other groups in that area and we are now at a stage that whilst we are going to have a property clause in the constitution it's going to be much weaker and it's going to include the question of land reform, it's going to include the question of land restitution and it's going to include the aspect of access to land and that has been partly our own contribution in that.
Secondly, in the area of socio-economic rights and the Bill of Rights, we have advocated strongly that the conception of human rights in this country cannot only be the right to assemble, the right to vote and the right to petition, there must be a right to the quality of life. We have argued strongly that also the conception of human rights therefore must include socio-economic rights, rights to housing, rights to clean water, right to health, right to compulsory and free education, and those rights have been there now. We argued strongly for a form of enforcement that is opposed to the question of taking them to courts and we got a clause there under the Human Rights Commission which requires that the government must be able to actually submit information yearly to the HRC about how far it has gone towards the realisation of the socio-economic rights and in those areas that empower our own people, and in those areas that try to solve the question of the property ownership on a democratic basis we have had quite a strong influence and we have been a conscience on the ANC which has the vote but is willing to sacrifice African interests, but we have pleaded with them and we have raised our voices sharply on some of those issues.
The national question in this country cannot be solved on a democratic basis without actually empowering Africans and having a constitution that does not merely limit the exercise of power by the government but also enable the government to put in place measures that will distribute wealth. I think we have made a contribution in that regard.
POM What specifically in the constitution would you point for? Are you for a strong central government or more competencies to the provinces? Are you for giving the provinces the power to tax? Are you for giving the provinces the power to borrow? How much autonomy would you allow the provinces to have as distinct from the autonomy that the ANC would allow them to have?
RS Well our position has been quite clear on that, that we stand for a strong central government with a unified policy because we are just emerging out of a war situation, we are actually a third world country, despite other people's pretences, and we feel that there must be a strong, centrally directed policy of taking this country out of this mess into a better plane and we feel that the provinces have to be there. We are not against the existence of provinces but we feel that they must be administrative centres of national policy and bring governance closer to the people, therefore they must be assisting, and organs to assist, in the implementation of national policy. Therefore, we feel that they should not be having any taxation powers, no borrowing powers, because now, for instance, the Bantustans had borrowing powers and this government had to take about 14 billion, 14 billion of the debts that were created by those Bantustans to enrich themselves. Even now the Auditor General's report clearly shows that there are no financial accounting systems in the provinces and what we are creating is a spectre of over-governance, we are creating dictators who are having much more power and so on and much money now of the government is going to paying salaries of commissioners, of ministers in the provinces and ministers of national government, and very little money is going towards empowering communities and building resources for our communities. So we would really cut down on governance and make it small but efficient and nearer the people, so we would not be creating the states as in a classical federal situation.
POM The General Magnus Malan trial, what if they all get off? What if all the Generals are found innocent, just the six people who actually did the shooting are convicted of murder, if they are all acquitted, or maybe found guilty of much lesser charges? What kind of signal will that send to the black community?
RS Well first and foremost the black community is already surprised that Malan is merely charged with the KwaMakutha massacre which happened recently. Malan and others are guilty of a much more serious offence, that of perpetrating apartheid, which is a crime against humanity. So if you want to try them, you want to try them for everything that has happened in this country under the policy of apartheid, as chief architects of that policy together with De Klerk, together with others that have gone before them and are with them in the National Party and so on. To merely charge them with a minor issue in KwaZulu/Natal is really meaningless. Everyone is surprised that those people who are being charged are transported by the state, are accommodated by the state, and their trial is funded by the state. It's a shambles.
What we see in that Malan trial is that basically it is an attempt really to expose the IFP in KwaZulu/Natal rather than to deal with Malan and therefore probably discredit the IFP as an instrument of the apartheid state, which I think is what really that trial will show and in that regard probably that thing will be achieved, it's a political means. But we don't think that it is really a trial to try Malan for anything serious, although that killing was serious but it's minor compared to what they have done throughout the country. The position of the government was that it is not going to conduct any Nuremberg trials, they have said that, that the Truth Commission is the way to go. So we really don't understand what is happening in that trial, why they are charged for that and not for other things which they are known to have planned and done either in Angola and Mozambique and inside the country.
POM Do you think that an innocent verdict would provoke some kind of a black backlash of outrage? I'm thinking specifically of the Rodney King case in the United States where the black man, you may recall a couple of years ago, was beaten up when he was being arrested and there was a video tape of it. It showed quite clearly he was being beaten up. The police were arrested and tried and they were found innocent and half of Los Angeles went up in flames.
RS I don't think it would happen like that. You see the majority of our community now have been brow-beaten into a state of submission in some sort of way where they are really not actually a politically organised people like they were when they were fighting apartheid. There is a docility that I don't really understand with them which will say, "Ah, well, what could we have expected?" There is a lot of apathy now that is happening. You look at voting, the figures for local government were said to be 32% and the real figure is about 25% in November, 25% of the people voted. And people had so much hope for a change in this country and since no serious changes have happened in their own lives they have now resigned to say we will never get any improvement. They are not really interested. I wouldn't be surprised if it will just pass as one of those things and it will be us politicians who might issue statements of condemnation and so on, but for the people acting on their own volition, I doubt that.
POM Do you think if the revelations of the Truth Commission implicate people like De Klerk and other senior people in the National Party that they should be hauled before the courts and tried or are there a number of people who are kind of untouchables?
RS Well I don't believe in that. I am also conscious of the fact that the revolution in this country was aborted and therefore the whites are not actually on the floor begging for mercy and therefore I do not subscribe to the concept of Nuremberg trials for anybody. But what really irks me in this type of reconciliation is the fact that, for instance, with the Truth Commission now there is an immoral equivalence, those who fought against apartheid are put on the same par with those who fought to defend apartheid. That's what irks me about the entire situation. And there is no moral equivalence to me about that and it's a betrayal of the memory of those who fought and fell in the struggle against apartheid. I feel, therefore, that what should have been done is that they can be exposed but the people should be given a chance to either forgive them or basically the government, on behalf of the people, which the government is ready to do, could actually find a way of forgiving those people who were involved in those things, but after they have been exposed. There is no need, therefore, to say that we are all sinners in the past and therefore we must come and confess. The liberation side fought for justice in this country and therefore they should be at a better place than those who fought to defend apartheid. That's my feeling.
POM I want to go back to Makgoba again. Here are the two ways I've heard it and I see it as symptomatic of this kind of increasing acrimony between white liberals and blacks, that the white liberals will say he falsified his CV, he lacked administrative experience, he did a number of things and they say therefore he wasn't fit for the job. Now in any other country if you in fact falsified your CV you would have to step down. The other side says, well there might have been an embellishment or two on his CV but that's not really the point. The point is that here are privileged whites trying to get in the way of somebody who wants to transform the institution and they don't like the way he's going about it and they don't like the fact that they're not going to be able to exercise the control they exercised before. And the truth has never been established. They issued this wishy-washy report where he said, "Some statements in my CV could lend themselves to misunderstanding", and they said, "No we don't doubt your integrity or your good name and we should have give you more administrative support", and it was left hanging in the air with a kind of a dirty smell to it. What do you believe is the case? Again, what does it say that the debate took the course it did, what does it say about the nature of race relations in the country?
RS Well, what it says is that the question of racism has not been resolved and has not been properly addressed and that racism as an issue in this country is not understood clearly, because I don't think it's racist to say that a person misrepresented a situation. It's not racist to point that out, it's not racism at all however you might look at the persons who have done it. If a person misrepresents certain facts on his or her CV that person has done wrong because the question of transformation in this country is not about corruption, not about nepotism, it's not about using incompetent persons to transform because they will not transform what we want. The question we are actually saying is that if we have capable people who can transform, let them be there to transform society. That is one question.
The second aspect is that if we have people who might not reach the so-called white standards that have been set previously, but who have shown their ability to carry out the task given to them, they must be given a chance in order to transform society. That is where the aspect of affirmative action lies, it lies in the aspect of ability as opposed to competence, that qualification and everything. But we are not saying people must lie. If they are able but are not competent they must say so and get training and get assistance and get the necessary thing. They must not pretend because that's a false situation. If you're black and you're not white you must not pretend to be white. So in the same way that if you're not qualified to do something don't pretend to be, but if you have the necessary ability to do it then you must say so and then that should be taken on board and you will be assisted on the basis of that.
So the whole question here is that the whole incident was unfortunate and it was handled again in a clumsy fashion where basically people who when they have actually been caught out in doing something wrong they used the race card as a sort of defence which is unfortunate and where the other side, for instance, also if you are black they would also try to find some faults with you so that they can do you down, those things do happen. Because the question of racism has not been addressed in the forefront, all we are getting involved now is what used to happen in New Zealand, in Australia and in America where there is a question of denial. We are in that state now unfortunately. South Africa, I used to say in the past, was better than Australia and New Zealand in the sense that the whites in this country never hid the fact that they were racist and they even enshrined that in their own laws and constitution and therefore you could easily confront racism, whilst in Australia and New Zealand it's difficult in the sense that they pretend they are not racists and they get shocked when they are told they are. The truth of the matter here is that we have to address the racism in the country now that at least we have a new value system.
POM Many people have said to me that they would trust an Afrikaner far more than they would trust a white English speaking liberal, that at least you know where an Afrikaner is coming from. You may not like where he's coming from but you know where he's coming from, whereas with a white English speaking liberal they have all the right words but they essentially sat on the sidelines and enjoyed their positions of privilege.
RS Exactly. Well I think that's true. Actually the PAC, for instance, is much more comfortable in confronting the National Party and the Freedom Front in the sense that we understand where we stand clearly. We know that we directly threaten their own interests and they know that we directly threaten their own interests in the sense that they had taken something from us and so on, whilst the liberals always want to be free of any guilt and pretend that they are friends. But when it comes down to the issues they are always much more obstructionist in terms of transformation than the Afrikaners who know the guilt they have actually played in the history of this country and are prepared now to move towards actually the solution of that situation. Therefore, I would agree with that sentiment that actually the Afrikaners are easier to deal with because they know what they have done and so on and they have not pretended like the liberals who benefited under apartheid, although they called it abominable, but benefited under it and now want to benefit under the new dispensation because they say that I sponsored a black person, most of my friends are black and that type of talk and that really I never voted Nat, you see, which does not necessarily mean that they are not prejudiced against black people or they don't have the superiority complexes which they actually show more than the Afrikaners in many instances, and also impose their own value systems and their own standards on other people and judge everything in terms of what they think is good rather than what the other people feel is good and try to make a compromise.
That is the problem, that's why you find that there is this confrontation now. The liberal whites have a belief that what they believe in is the best and it's what everybody should subscribe to if he or she is civilised, and therefore any other contribution they will measure according to their own standards and if it does not meet their so-called standards then it must be bad, and then it leads, of course, naturally to confrontation. That is a problem. It might be racism, therefore, or it might be superiority complex.
POM What about the ANC? Here is a party that is very, very strong and in the next election it could even get a larger share of the vote. It's going to be in power for the foreseeable future, barring some break up which is wishful thinking more than anything else I think. Do you think it truly understands what democracy is about or do you think that the need to change the quality of life of people, the need for justice, the need for equity is more important than this rigid adherence to what we in the west like to call democracy or democratic norms or whatever?
RS You see the ANC appears to be invincible and appears to be actually quite strong, but the ANC has a number of weaknesses in itself. One of it's own weaknesses is that it has no coherent system of belief, it has no coherent system of belief and that is a problem because everything they do in the ANC basically can be influenced by an individual, it can be influenced by a group of persons, it can be done basically at the instance of trying to please one group and so on. Even from exile, for instance, with their leaders, what they said in Moscow was always different from what they would say in Harare and what they said in Harare would be different from what they said in London, and what they said in London would be different from what they said in New York. That has always been a problem, probably a strength also, the fact that they don't have a firm system of belief and therefore they don't have to be principled. And therefore they have always been a group of people who go for power for the sake of power without any conviction with that power. In the same way, for instance, they did with the World Trade Centre, if entrenching white civil servants, the jobs of the Generals and actually having a strong property clause that maintains all the colonial property relations, would actually allow them to get to power, they would sacrifice all that, like they did in the interim constitution, to get to power and now they have now found that in power they can't move and we hear them now saying, some of their policy makers, "We are in office and not in power", type of thing. They should have known when they agreed to that interim constitution that they can't move, they can't have land reform under that clause, they can't, for instance, deal with the civil service if they entrench their jobs, they can't deal with the army, the police and so on if they entrench their jobs. They should have known that, but since they wanted power at all costs they would actually do that.
Therefore, I feel that even this lurch towards so-called democracy is really a pretence. They are very good in public relations exercise, I must give them that, but I doubt they are sincere even in terms of democracy and in terms of these western values and so on they seem to be espousing today. And I am sure the more it becomes hard on the question of delivery, the more if they can get stronger opposition and so on, then the more you see the nature of the ANC that is a totalitarian group that is not democratic in character, that is marjoritarian in approach and so on. That you can see clearly when they deal with black opposition because black opposition threatens their own interests in power.
When they deal with Buthelezi, I hold no brief for Buthelezi, but when they deal with Buthelezi they go for him because they know that he threatens their own power, but when they deal with the National Party, they deal with the right wing and so on, they can afford to be flexible and look like statespersons and so on in the sense that they know that that has no impact on their support group, which is a black support group, whether they like it or not. And therefore, and they know that the west and so on get much more worried when whites are affected than when blacks are affected as it has shown in countries like Zimbabwe and all throughout, that the west is much more interested in what happens to the white population which were colonisers than they are with the black majority.
Therefore, the ANC show that and I am already beginning to see signs of those growing authoritarian stances in parliament when they get criticised, especially by black parties. I have also seen their stance in the new constitution now with them actually now using the aspect of crime to water down the Bill of Rights, to limit questions of access to state information, to water down the limitation clause of rights, to cut down on the bail conditions and so on, and actually you see that they are approaching a status quo approach to human rights.
You will see, for instance, in terms of how they deal with the questions of administration of elections in the areas where they are dominating, and they are dealing with black opposition like in the Transkei and so on, it becomes chaos there and now you see there are complaints when they are faced with similar chaos in places like KwaZulu/Natal, they want to cancel elections and things like that. So I am worried about the double face and the double character of the ANC and I am not really certain about their commitment to democracy and that those values might be maintained down the years unless there is a democratic change in the country where there are sufficient strong forces of multi-party democracy in the country to challenge them, especially in the black community.
POM Do you think to that extent that President Mandela is almost too good for the country, that he is like a law unto himself so that in a funny way he inhibits the development of democratic processes? For example, the Springbok emblem would be a very good example. There was a procedure set up, they went through this apparently democratic procedure, came out with its recommendation, the recommendation was that the Springbok should go and he says, "Well in the interests of reconciliation I want to keep it", therefore everybody has got to change their mind.
RS Well he's too good for the country I can tell you that and I think he is a unique person really. He has an aura around him and he is a very strong leader and a strong person also and, therefore, I think the ANC has benefited more from the Mandela factor than the ANC on its own would actually stand. Because even people, when you go to the rural areas and so on, really people vote for Mandela rather than voting for the ANC or its policies. That's the truth of the matter and they respect him more than probably they care for anybody else in the ANC on what the ANC stands for. Remove Mandela from the scene and I think a truly vibrant democratic dispensation will continue here and then you will see the intolerant nature of the ANC which does not stop even at actually using physical force to eliminate opponents as voters for PAC and others have experienced both in exile and here when the ANC is actually confronted in an area by a popular person they have no hesitation in dealing with that person ruthlessly.
POM Now do you think some of these issues should be brought before the Truth & Reconciliation Commission or do you think they will be carefully avoided?
RS Certainly I saw some people bringing them yesterday, of their children who were lost in the camps, and certainly from our side we will also bring quite a number of people who we believe have been assassinated by the ANC here, and of course those who have been assassinated by the regime. You see we are not saying by any means that the ANC is as bad as the National Party and so on. We think that they are far, far better and that they are much more legitimate and they have the support of the majority of the people in this country, but we feel that there are disturbing signs within them and that they are intolerant to opposition, especially black opposition. We feel that when they have done something wrong, like anybody else they should be exposed and we know a few murders who we believe have been committed by them of our own activists and we intend bringing those names to the Truth Commission.
POM The Sarafina affair was a funny example of where they used their power of the majority.
RS Yes it was disturbing, a very disturbing situation where a minister lies to parliament, clearly misuses foreign aid to the country to the tune of R14 million and gives it to a man from her own constituency in Natal, and the ANC just clubs together and closes rank. Again, the influence of the President was clear there because the President came out clearly to say he is satisfied with the explanation given by the minister and he supports the minister and everyone in the ANC had to fall in line, despite the fact that I know even within the ANC there were people who didn't believe what the minister did was correct and that correct procedures have not been followed, but since the President has spoken they have to fall in line and I think that is not good for our country in the long run. Whilst I think that the President might be well meaning, I don't by any means say that he is doing these things out of ill-will and so on, he might think that it's good for the country but in some instances they are bad judgements.
POM Do you see any indication that in the future, and I'm talking about the next ten years, say in a post-Mandela dispensation, that the ANC would break up, that it's disparate elements, that the agenda of the SACP and COSATU are essentially different from what might be called pragmatic ANC people or people in the middle, or that the unions in particular are getting upset at all this talk about trade liberalisation?
RS You see the ANC is a church, a big church, it's not a coherent organisation despite its pretences and there are strong Africanists in the ANC who believe in everything that the PAC espouses but just see the PAC being poor as an organisation and not having a good image and therefore they wouldn't like to be part of it, but if it was a good organisation that was well run they would be in the PAC rather than in the ANC. They are there because the ANC feeds them basically, but they don't believe in anything that the ANC stands for. Secondly, there are people there who are probably socialists, or communists if you want, who are unhappy with the capitalist, free market approach that the ANC is pursuing as it is. There are traditionalists there, people who still believe in customs and traditional values and so on, who feel that this movement to classical western democracy is actually threatening their own existence and their own beliefs and so on, who are in the ANC who probably might feel much more comfortable in the IFP or something like that. And you find all the sectors are there, there are religious fanatics, there are all these groupings in the ANC, and as the pressures of a democratic process begin to take their toll they are not going to be reconciled because now the ANC is not facing a clearly identified enemy like apartheid. They are facing now the real issues of how do you deal with the economy, how do you deal with unemployment, with crime and so on and there are going to be differences of approaches definitely. And these resignations in parliament now of up to 30 MPs within only two years are indicative of those struggles in some instances and some people getting frustrated.
I know a number of Africanists who are frustrated there because they feel that the ANC is run by an Indian cabal and that whites get all the posts and so on and the President, in the interests of reconciliation, will overlook certain persons who are competent just to maintain the racial configuration, and they get frustrated and they feel that, therefore, they have those problems and those who are competent will look for private sector jobs and look for better jobs outside parliament and so on and become neutral because they know that if you stand against the ANC nowadays you will starve. There are those, of course, because they don't have other options and parliament is better paying, might remain for some time until they can see something else. They are already pulling out, some of them, going back to KwaNdebele; Chief Mashlanga has already gone to KwaNdebele, and you know some people have left in the homelands and others, and, of course, some people are going to the private sector. You will see some of the people who are going to go to the private sector are not traditionally ANC people, they are people who joined the ANC from the Black Consciousness Movement and so on who really are not for all intents and purposes the multi-racialists from the Congress movement of the ANC from the fifties.
Very few people you see in the ANC leadership today are classically ANC or have an ANC upbringing and so on. They are people who have just found a greener pasture in the ANC and have no commitment to the Congress Alliance policies of the Charterist Movement but have found positions of power and influence and glamour in the ANC and when they think they are actually frustrated, one by one they will move out but still using the ANC card to get into the private sector, to get into business and so on and then live a quiet, nice life. That is a problem that is happening to black political life, that competent people will find jobs outside the political system and then, therefore, the white group who still maintain the political influence, and probably Indian group, will still maintain the political influence and so on. Only probably less competent blacks who have no other options will remain in the political system and therefore the political input of Africans will remain always substandard to the transformation of our society and the elitist group now will go and join the middle class and I think that will be sad for the development of this country.
POM Just one last, or almost last, question. Thanks for the time. Back again to the internal struggles within the ANC, now there has been a lot of talk too about internal struggles within the PAC. Have they been a factor in the almost decimation of the movement?
RS Yes, you see the problem with PAC is that you have very crude elements in the PAC; in its membership you have a very dogmatic group in the PAC and people who have not really been skilled in many things because they were not involved in mass struggles, many of them were not involved in negotiation skills, did not really go and find education in certain things and didn't get sufficient exposure. Therefore you find even small problems in the PAC become big issues because they are handled badly. Then whilst the PAC has a coherent set of values and beliefs, as opposed to the ANC, that's why it's called a principled organisation. But you will find that because of this lack of vision and lack of quality leadership and lack of guidance that even a tactical move is taken as a principle position and therefore it becomes unbending and then can break. Whenever an issue comes it becomes a question of life and death. Therefore that has stunted the growth of the PAC and marginalised the PAC, in all situations the PAC gets marginalised. Therefore it is true that it is more the damage that has been caused by PAC people to the PAC that has stunted the growth of the PAC than whatever external forces have done to the PAC. There are external forces, the PAC policy of course would not agree with western countries, would not agree with major funding, would not agree with big business, therefore they wouldn't like to fund the PAC. But I believe that the PAC would have got funds through other means if it had coherent policies, good decent leadership, it had a vision that it can articulate and it knew when to take a principled position, when to take tactical moves and so on. But this, for whatever reason, was never approached, internal wrangling, lack of organisation and so on has actually destroyed the PAC more than external forces and those wrangles, which are there in the ANC but they are handled much better, Mandela issues a very controversial statement and the ANC machinery immediately clicks on and everyone issues a statement backing the President. I know many people who are unhappy about the sacking of Pallo Jordan, who is one of their leading intellectuals, left wing intellectual, but the Youth League, the women's wing, the ANC, all of them say, "We support the President." That is how their system works, then internally they would fight. But they have something to look forward to. In the PAC, of course, people are just serving, sacrificing and suffering and therefore have no absolute loyalty to anything so they can afford to just say, "If we don't get this we will march out." What can you do? Because the PAC is a very weak organisation.
POM What's the reading in inner circles in politics about why Pallo was fired?
RS Oh he was fired because, unlike others in the Cabinet, he challenged the President's conception of reconciliation, he challenged some of the positions that have been taken by the ANC, for instance in relation to crime and human rights. He is one, to a certain extent, who can be said to be Africanist in approach and a socialist in outlook, so politically he would not agree with some of these questions of growth, opening up everything, the questions of privatising everything. He was an intellectual who could now not only howl about his objections to those things but can actually articulate why it is wrong, for instance, to have a sunset clause, like he did against Slovo. He would challenge the President on some of these questions of the box and other things and the President was displeased with that and therefore he would also disagree with the Deputy President quite clearly when the Deputy President wanted the government slot in the SABC, and say so in public about it. So Pallo was not a typical ANC person; he was therefore breaking ranks and was not subject to party discipline, so to say, and therefore he had to lose his job.
POM Last question. In the constitutional negotiations has the ANC thrown around its weight now that it's getting down to make or break time, the 8th May is coming up? Is it beginning to exercise muscle to get its way or is it still trying to achieve an overall inclusiveness that the constitution that emerges will have the hallmark of - ?
RS I think to a certain extent they have tried to be inclusive in approach although they are beginning to throw their weight a little bit. I think that is necessary because we have to round up the negotiations, we can't continue negotiating. I must say, to be fair to them, that one of the problems they have is that they don't have a two thirds majority to get the constitution, therefore they have to compromise with other parties like the National Party and so on. I do think that to a certain extent the ANC has fallen into a trap of believing that any solution in this country must be always a black and white type of situation even in the area of human rights and so on. Therefore they feel, they are sort of sold with this idea, that they must always - it must be them and the National Party as the two that must agree. But if you look at what the National Party stands for really it is an anathema to anybody who has a human rights conception for where they come from and therefore you can't really strike a deal with them in the area of human rights and many other areas. But the ANC looks at the situation in that a constitution must be, to a certain extent, a deal between them and the National Party and then others can join in and be accommodated here and there, but the basic vision is that it must be again a De Klerk and Mandela type of approach. I think this is unfortunate in terms of actually taking along the whole interests of the community and in that process it compromises quite a number of things. But I must say that there have been attempts where it has actually used its weight to actually protect certain things in the constitution which are progressive. So they have not really been totally exclusivist in approach or thrown their weight, enormous weight at that, at anybody. They have been listening, they have listened to arguments on certain occasions but, of course, now the process must wind down and they are beginning to use it and I am not saying that is a bad thing necessarily.
POM OK Richard, thanks ever so much. You've been terrific.