About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

18 Apr 1996: Oriani-Ambrosini, MGR

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Ambrosini speaking:

The following presentation is an indication of our perception of the facts and how these facts were experienced. When I refer to facts I am talking about the institutional and constitutional picture. I shall reveal the underlying political overtones and interference that occurred within the political struggle and how its projection of the constitutional and institutional struggle relates to what we perceive as the ANC's strategy and what the ANC is doing? You will see events from our perspective, gain insight into what we are trying to achieve and how and what we have achieved. This will be juxtaposed against the ANC's strategy as we perceive it and the interface of the political struggle.

I will commence from the year 1991, as that year marks the beginning of my involvement in South African politics. Unless I indicate otherwise, everything I will be speaking about will either be as a result of my own personal experience or direct involvement or knowledge thereof. The other aspect I would like to use to support my presentation is a list of issues. Throughout my presentation you will become aware of various issues which somehow seem to evolve and resurface in a repetitive pattern. I would like to place on the table, as clearly as possible, some working premises which support my personal thinking as well as our perception as IFP. Finally, during this presentation I will try as accurately as I can, not to portray my own personal views but indicate the IFP's views. I will indicate if and when I put forward my own personal views.

My starting point will be the year 1991. The IFP has always perceived the ANC's strategy as being one that is aimed at the establishment of an African autocracy the consequence being the total control of power by the state. As a result thereof, since 1972 Buthelezi has been applying his mind to the creation of long term democratic conditions in South Africa. For various historical reasons, he developed a vision which grew and began to focus on federalism. His vision for federalism became a vision for pluralism out of which he identified the conditions for long term democracy in South Africa which relied on the breakdown of power around two fundamental divides. The power of the state would need to be divided between two autonomous levels of government: the central level government and provincial level government along the lines of a federation.

Thus a resurgence of the recurring old image of indestructible provinces or states or even indestructible unions, and the idea that neither level of power could override the other. That fragmentation of power would be kept in check and balance and protected. The other division of power was that within society and it was the idea of pluralism that the IFP espoused. The IFP voiced its idea of entrenching constitutional autonomy for social, economic and cultural formations. This would create a very clear divide between any level of government and civil society. Civil society ranging from trade unions, universities, traditional communities, traditional leadership, chambers of commerce and so forth.. To a European, the second aspect of pluralism may not be as relevant as the issue of federalism. This is however the essential element of African democracy which was identified ten years ago at an historical conference on the promotion of democracy in Africa held in Senegal by the Institution for the Promotion of Democratic Pluralism in Africa which was very germane to the South African condition.

When the ANC came into power in 1994, it inherited an autocratic state which had been built by the National Party and deeply entrenched since 1948. The elements of this autocratic state included and still include, total control of universities by the state, total control of labour relations, total control of arts and cultures (this is one of the few countries I know of in which there is a state opera house and there is state involvement which determines what is to be shown). There is extensive control of professional associations, to the extent that, for example, the Minister of Justice decides which lawyers are going to be senior councils or take the silk. I come from an American background where lawyers determine who are lawyers. There is absolutely no state involvement as the American Bar Association is a private institution. South Africa clearly has full government involvement which runs through each and every field of South African tradition.

The IFP's vision for pluralism called for a radical transformation of the state, to limit the role and purpose of the state and recognise social, economic and cultural pluralism. With respect to economic pluralism South Africa was and still has a socialist economy, almost 70% of the economy is directly or indirectly controlled by government. Furthermore, it is characterised by extensive cartels and monopolies and it was only until recently and to a certain extent still now, characterised by very high tariff and non-tariff protective barriers. Some of the tariff barriers have come down, since South Africa joined GAT and the World Trade Organisation however, the non-tariff barriers are still in place and will remain in place.

The IFP called for two fundamental elements to be entrenched in the constitution and institutional transformation, namely privatisation and deregulation. The economy must be privatised, it must be constitutionally mandated and there must be deregulation the second notion of subsidiarity, government should not take control of anything which can be governed, administered or regulated by the people autonomously. If the family can do it or if a professional association can do it, not only ought they to be doing it, but they ought to have a course of action against the government to react to excess interference of government actions in their space of residual freedom.

This was the ideological background with which the IFP went to CODESA. It was ideological, idealistic and also inherently political as the IFP was intending to break the ANC's real or perceived strategy towards autocracy. There was no doubt that the powers of an autocratic state could bring about for the better or the worse, a much speedier transition, but we felt that it was an excessive price to be paid. That also reflected on our model of federalism. We put forward a model of federalism which reflected and reflects the United States model, in which the member states have residual powers and the central government is recognised for only a limited number of listed powers in the constitution which need to be exercised at central level. We believed that provinces should be the primary government of the people and should exercise all those powers and functions which they can adequately and properly exercise.

One of the hidden issues carried throughout the process of institutional development (1991 until 1999) was that of residual powers with special regard to indigenous and customary law. Indigenous and customary law was a single label which applied to a variety of extremely different and extremely diverse, in terms of significance, phenomenon. But they all fell under what we in the States referred to as residual powers, including property law, family law, inheritance law and land administration law. The starting point was that in South Africa there were a variety of legal systems and each legal system was autonomous. South Africa has never been a unitary state and the existence of self-governing territories, TBVC states, reflected an historical reality which indicated differentiation within the various legal systems. Even though these adapted legal systems were used for the purpose of racial discrimination and oppression, they were still based on an existing reality.

Our approach to negotiations was that of not throwing away the baby with the bathwater and clearly the system of apartheid used this diversity for the purpose of oppression. The IFP wanted to free that diversity and create a framework wherein diversity could become an element of strength and progress. We felt that a federation could achieve that purpose. Most of these differentiations were clearly identifiable on a geographical basis. An area of conflict which may serve as an example here is family law. Under the prevailing law written by and for the white people, polygamy is regarded as a crime. However, in Zulu society it is the prevailing way of life for the majority of the Zulu people. It is the centre of a system which involves administration of land, communal property, inheritance and the entire type of societal organisation. This is based on the extended family and what is called the patriarchal system of marriage, in which the woman marries into the larger family of the husband and becomes part of that larger family not only a part of the nuclear family which she forms by virtue of the marriage itself.

These were some of the hidden issues which were underlying a very difficult constitutional debate. At the opening of Codesa, the IFP brought with it an awareness of these problems and the first issue which arouse was that of the declaration of intent. As we read the declaration of intent we clearly saw that the language of the declaration would preclude the formation of a federation of provinces. The IFP thereby refused to sign the declaration of intent, for as you know that crises was solved by saying that this language shall not preclude the establishment of a federation. It was a non-solution and we carried the issue.

The second issue, which arose at the same time was the refusal of allowing a delegation of His Majesty, the King of the Zulu Nation to be at Codesa. As part of the issue of pluralism all nations were meant to be represented at Codesa. The Zulu Nation was however not represented as such at Codesa as it could not express a Zulu demand or a Zulu recognition. The IFP was not willing to stand for this because the IFP's message was that of pluralism and a framework which would accommodate each and every ethnic demand for ethnic recognition, regardless of whether they were Zulu's, Xhosa's, whites, Afrikaners and so on, within this framework of pluralism.

By carrying the Zulu ethnic demand the IFP would undermine its own message. The ANC, supported by the State President F W de Klerk, drew the assumption that since most of the leaders of the IFP were also the leaders representing the Zulu nation they were not entitled to what they perceived as a double representation. Beyond the technical issue there was a real political issue which was that of bringing forward the Zulu nation as a nation outside the parameters of an institutional forum such as the self-governing territory of KwaZulu, through the King. The significance of this can be represented in light of what happened to the other nations, as soon as their vehicle which was representing them collapsed the nation collapsed.

So as soon as Bophuthatswana collapsed, the Tswana nation collapsed and as soon as the self governing territory of Venda collapsed, the Venda nation collapsed. The King could not have collapsed and there was thus a power struggle which was very well understood by both parties. The ANC and the National Party however denied this and we experienced our first betrayal from State President F W de Klerk. Dr Buthelezi had received assurance, during a meeting with the State President F W de Klerk (which can be documented) that a delegation of the King would be permitted at Codesa. Under pressure from the ANC the National Party gave in, refusing to allow the King and his delegation at Codesa. That lead to Buthelezi's withdrawal as a person from Codesa. Buthelezi did not step in and let an IFP delegation represent the party.

Moving along those lines we turn to June 1992, the collapse of Codesa II and what happened there. Between January and June 1992, the issue of the form of state (the issue whether South Africa should be a confederal, a federal, a regional of a unitary state) became the undertone issue of everything. There was also the issue of violence, including the issue of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) the private army of the ANC and the related issue of violence, especially in KwaZulu Natal. Since the disbandment of the ANC, the ANC had stopped its armed struggle against the white regime, but it intensified its armed struggle against its black political opponents. MK took over what structures remained of the UDF. The MK had moved into many regions of KwaZulu Natal, weapons were being brought in from Mozambique and the situation of violence was very concerning. In May/June 1992 the ANC walked out of Codesa, disrupting it and leaving it without the required quorum on these fundamental issues.

On September 26, 1992 that crises was solved by the signature of the Record of Understanding. On September 19, 1992 one week before the signature of the Record of Understanding was signed, a meeting between Dr Buthelezi and De Klerk took place. Dr Buthelezi confronted De Klerk at this meeting saying that he had information that De Klerk was trying to strike a deal with the ANC. The President was outraged by this co-called insinuation and said he could no longer talk as he was profoundly hurt, he stood up and left the room. He came back into the room after a few minutes and told the Chief Minister that he assured him that they were not striking any deal with the ANC and that they would be a part of any type of compromise before finality was reached. Seven days thereafter without any notice to Dr. Buthelezi the Record of Understanding was signed. The politics which developed thereafter was marked by a sense of betrayal. The IFP felt that the National Party had betrayed them and there was a perception that the stakes had been heightened. It was realised that the ANC would pursue its path to autocracy and the seizure of total power, therefore the IFP realised that it would have to do something autonomously and independently in order to break that power.

The IFP has always been an institutional force of change rather than a revolutionary one. So during that period it sought two ways to independently promote the breaking of power. One was the formation of COSAG, the Concerned South African Groups which brought together people with different political agendas, such as the Conservative Party, the government of Bophuthatswana, the Ciskei. They had one idea, that the power taken by the next government should be broken into different pieces such as through a federal system for some or a Volkstaat for others and a strong bill of rights. This was a reaction to what was perceived as the ANC's run towards autocracy and its acquisition of power in South Africa which was already inherently totalitarian. We must also realise that South Africa was not a unitary state but it enjoyed not only an enormous amount of institutional autonomy like the self governing territories in the TVBC states but also virtual autonomy as a result of the fact that people would let other people do things and there was no concern as to whether it was a part of a racist approach. White people did not care for example, how black people ran their lives and they thereby adopted a criminal court which theoretically would apply throughout the country stating that polygamy, for example, was a crime and yet that would not apply to the majority of the people.

So the areas of virtual autonomy in South Africa were extremely large but that was not in the nature of black politics as black politics tended not to tolerate virtual autonomy. There was an awareness of that, black politics tended to expand as much power as possible throughout all the segments of society and there was a fundamental reason for that. I am expressing an opinion that has been expressed by Dr. Buthelezi on various occasions that historically one of the flaws of black politics is that of being leadership sensitive and power sensitive, power commands power; power commands support and that type of gain therefore controlling power guarantees the survival of power. You are not going to have a shift of two or three million votes on an opinion issue, it is autonomy within society and the power within society which controls support.

So those who want to preserve power need to eliminate any centre of countervailing power, which is what autonomy is all about, whether it is another level of government or another level of civil society, out of which a trade unionist or an organisation can exercise power within its own constituency and therefore have a basis out of which it can challenge the power exercised by the ruling class. This type of awareness of the power dimension which would develop in the new South Africa was trashed out during the preliminary discussions at COSAG and it was carried throughout the process of negotiations. I indicated that there were two different responses, the second response from the IFP and from the Zulu nation came on December 2, 1992, with the adoption of the Constitution of the State of KwaZulu Natal which was adopted by the KwaZulu Natal Legislative Assembly unanimously as the constitution of the whole of KwaZulu Natal as a member state of a federation to be formed through the negotiations. We said we needed to completely change the negotiation proceedings and voiced the idea of a bottom up process of transformation rather than a top down process of transformation. We stating that we had a constitution for this province and could build other provincial constitutions around autonomous entities which already existed. We could proceed on a asymmetrical basis, which was also part of the COSAG thinking.

Bophuthatswana began developing what was called the satswa initiative, they spent lots of money on developing a democratic framework on a federal basis to reincorporate Bophuthatswana into the broader parameters of a northern province bringing together black and white regions. The same was done for the Kei province bringing together the Ciskei and the Transkei with white areas. Out of this developing democracy and transformation we felt that we could bring together a federation and also create a process of transformation which would not allow the ANC to take on power. The constitution of the state of KwaZulu-Natal fully expresses the IFP's vision for federalism as well pluralism, the component of a federation and it contained a Bill of Rights which fully entrenches social, economic and cultural pluralism. Economic pluralism protects free market enterprises, all the things which are ordinarily accepted in western democracies. The document became the negotiating manifesto of the IFP and contained a content proposal which indicated what they wanted from a content point of view and a process proposal which was derived from the adoption of the constitution.

The IFP wanted to have a bottom up approach which then, during the process of negotiations became known as the model C. The record of understanding was entrenched in the process of transformation which lead to the establishment of a unitary state. It was a two stage approach which had to be finalised in the Constitutional Assembly by 1996. We accurately predicted that the process would lead to the establishment of a Constitutional Assembly. So there was a fundamental dichotomy in the end between the Record of Understanding and the COSAG approach. Today, the dichotomy is still an issue which has prevented us from going back to the Constitution Assembly.

On December 10, 1992 Dr. Buthelezi once again meets with F W de Klerk, this is the first time they have met since their last meeting held on September 19, 1992. At this meeting, Dr. Buthelezi indicates the need for resuming negotiations commencing from a preliminary determination of the form of state. Dr. Buthelezi indicated that a constitution could not be written if this issue was not solved. An up front decision as to whether there was going to be a federal constitution or a unitary constitution was necessary. Dr. Buthelezi further indicated that we could not go back to Codesa unless a clear preliminary determination indicating the type of process to be used was put forward. Dr Buthelezi further indicated that he was not bound by the Constitutional Assembly's solutions put forward but the record of understanding. It was stressed that he wanted to have a preliminary determination of these two issues, the process and the form of state. Dr Buthelezi went to the meeting with Mangope, Gqozo and Treurnicht.

At that meeting the President agreed that what Buthelezi was putting forward was reasonable. History, however, now indicates and has served as proof that this was all lip service. The President basically would have said yes to anything so as to ensure the recommencement of communication. The rest of the process between December 10, 1992 and July 2, 1993 became a glossing over of these issues which had been tabled by Buthelezi. A steering committee was put together in order to try put negotiations between the National Party and COSAG back on track. The President said yes to the two points that Buthelezi was putting forward. The President indicated that he thought that these points could bring everyone back together. We understood that process being aimed to the National Party breaking away from the undertakings of the Record of Understanding and accepting the notion that negotiations should proceed from those two preliminary determinations The facts proved that the entire exercise which followed was an exercise in deception aimed at trying to make us agree to the record of understanding. On January 29, 1993 a meeting took place between COSAG and a delegation of the South African government and the National Party, an extended delegation and the delegation on the other side being lead by Roelf Meyer. There were lots of smiles, lots of intended fictitious misunderstandings and we tabled the same two requests. Roelf Meyer said yes we can do that and we proposed what was a multiparty conference of review.

To understand what went wrong in the proceeding process and to bring forward the basis for preliminary determination on how we moved forward on the two items mentioned earlier: Roelf Meyer changed the name and he called it a multiparty planning conference. During the following negotiations the scope of the multiparty planning conference and the logistics were ironed out. We always understood the purpose of that conference to have been the bringing about of these two determinations. To the National Party it was no more than a sugar coating on our reassuming Codesa on the basis of the Record of Understanding to implement the Record of Understanding. When I refer to the Record of Understanding I refer to much more than was actually published and to the semi-secrets emerging in attachments on violent integration of MK, the composition of the Constitutional Assembly, government of national unity, and so on. We did not have all those details at the time but we had the feeling that there was much more than met the eye.

So we agreed that all should be sorted out at the March 15 MultiParty Planning Conference. The MultiParty Planning Conference on March 15 was an absolute fraud. It became a long discussion of sitting arrangements on the resumption of Codesa and all we got out of it was the fact that Codesa would no longer be called Codesa, but the MultiParty Negotiation Process and that Codesa agreements were not binding. We started from scratch and took them on board. There was a different structure, basically instead of a two-tier structure there was now a three-tier structure, negotiating council, plenary and meeting of leaders. However, the meeting of leaders never took place so we reverted back to a two-tier structure. On April 1, the multiparty negotiations process took place. Around May 10, 1993 we tried to table a document on violence and but they did not allow us to read it which was a major crisis from an IFP point of view.

The situation of the killings of IFP leaders in the KwaZulu Natal area and especially in the East Rand was getting totally out of hand. MK units were deployed to bring about terror, with a clear analysis that all the victims were taking place in IFP areas, so even though there might have been MK victims they were also in IFP areas which meant that they were victims caught in IFP areas during military actions in IFP areas. The record still shows that throughout the process leading into elections there has not been one single victim of violence an ANC areas, which proved that any action which took place on the IFP's side was defensive in nature and not aggressive. We tried to bring this consideration to the floor, we tried to bring the death list of the 380 IFP leaders and office bearers who had been killed by that time indicating circumstances of their deaths, places and hours. Most of them had been killed in their private homes or at their place of work. We wanted to table that consideration, we tried to bring the death list of the 380 IFP leaders and office bearers who had been killed by that time indicating circumstances of their deaths, places and hours. Most of them had been killed in their private homes or at their place of work. We wanted to table that document, however, the Negotiation Council did not allow us to table that document. A three hour discussion took place, we became aware of the fact that there was no longer a space for the IFP in the negotiation process, our documentation would not be tabled. It became worse when we tried to table our idea for the bottom up process of transformation. We had a prior bilateral with the National Party, we had a bosberaad in Richards Bay where the National Party gave us an indication that we could voice as COSAG the idea of a bottom up process of transformation but they would not endorse it.

This process of transformation became known as model C in addition to model A which was a straight run to the Constitutional Assembly on the basis of the ANC Harare Declaration and model B which was the Record of Understanding on a two stage process became known as model C. Joe Slovo was overheard in the corridors as saying that if model C was tabled in the Negotiation Council the ANC would walk out and go back to the trenches. He was sufficiently overheard and this item became public knowledge and was openly discussed. That was the position of the ANC and as a result model C was never tabled. All this was taking place in an environment where the press was not even beginning to scratch the reality of what was happening. Most of the journalists at the World Trade Centre were highly incompetent, comprising of young inexperienced people with no knowledge or understanding, who perceived their task as the mere receipt of press statements and putting forward the declarations of politicians. There was no analysis which created a living perception that anything could be done and anything could be gotten away with, they could have got away with political murder as it no longer mattered.

There was no press or intellectual attention or any other critical analyses indicating what was happening and what was on the table. Documents and constitutional proposals were not read. This went on and on while the IFP continued to denounce the flaws in the process and the flaws in the documentation and the constitutional shortcomings. On December 15 the IFP walked out for the first time. One of the concessions that the IFP got in the process between January 29 and March 15 was that of allowing a delegation of the KwaZulu Natal government to be present. The National Party had agreed, Roelf Meyer had agreed, De Klerk had agreed. However, a few days before March 15 the ANC said no. The National Party turned back and said they could no longer agree, because the ANC did not agree. We said fine and on March 15. Ben Ngubane lead a delegation of the KwaZulu Natal government to the World Trade Centre and sat down. He basically told them to kick him out, indicating that if they kicked him out the KwaZulu Natal government and the IFP would also walk out. During this process, on three separate occasions, the IFP and Dr. Buthelezi brought the Conservative Party back to the negotiation table. It was that said that if they wanted to kick out the KwaZulu Natal government they should do so, as the IFP, the Conservative Party, Bophuthatswana and the Ciskei would also walk out. So even though the ANC was in violent opposition, on the spur of the moment they did not have the courage to throw out so many people. Dr. Ngubane, thus remained and was entitled to his piece reading KwaZulu Government.

They extended the same thing to all the other self-governing territories who wanted to participate but none of the other self-governing territory chose to participate. A short deadline was designed to prevent an affective participation because they had to apply within a short deadline. On June 15, Ben Ngubane leads the walkout of the KwaZulu government, the IFP and the Conservative Party.

The walkout was on the basis of the refusal of the Negotiating Council to consider model C and the bottom up and the refusal of the Negotiating Council to take cognisance of the constitution of KwaZulu Natal which was adopted on December 15. There all sorts of other issues, such as my exclusion from the Negotiation Council, from the technical committees. As the representative of the IFP I could not be part of them. On July 2, there was the largest debate on any single issue which ever took place in the negotiations council. It was a 45 minute debate (which I timed) concerning my expulsion due to my status as a foreigner. There was no way for the IFP to say anything within that process unless what was said was within the harmony of that which was decided.

On the other side we were seen as spoilers because we were not in harmony. There was such an enthusiasm in trying to reach the end of this process, the election, the democracy, the liberation and thus whoever was seen as trying to stop this train, for whatever reason, was a spoiler. This perception was endorsed and supported by the newspapers and went all the way until April 27. We could do absolutely nothing to break it, we tried over and over again, saying yes we want to stop this train but this is the problem we have, can you tell us what is wrong with the problem? The typical reaction was that you could not stop the train and we do not want to hear your problems as you are trying to stop the train. Our agenda was seen as that of attempting to stop the train and not attempting to solve the problem which was not untrue.

There was also a political power struggle. By making a deal with the ANC the National party had given credibility to the ANC, had put the train in motion on the ANC track by showing the train could not reach the station by itself. Those who were against the ANC could show that the ANC was not sufficient and the perception of power on the basis of the black politics considerations which I indicated earlier was really the politics of the making of the elections and the electoral result. But it became to complicated, because at the end no one really knew whether the ANC wanted a power struggle or whether the IFP wanted it. There were other elements of betrayal, which I will mention later, like the Battle of Bophuthatswana.

On July 2, 1993 we made our final walkout. On June 15. a resolution was adopted which precluded the model C from even being tabled. It established the parameters of a unitary state; avoided the issues of residual powers; set an election date which would thus no longer allow for the train to be redirected. This resolution was ratified on July 2, by the plenary. We walked out, our reaction was not that of going on the streets. I think that by now it was realised that the IFP could stop anything it wanted to in terms of cities. We had stopped Johannesburg already on two prior occasions This was because one of the fundamental elements on the Record of Understanding was the banning of traditional weapons; in reaction to that the IFP blocked Johannesburg. Twenty thousand people marching into Johannesburg led by Buthelezi carrying his traditional accoutrements. He went to the Commissioner of Police and asked him to please take his traditional weapons away from him The IFP was very aware of its power on the ground and this power has never gone away.

There was a clear decision not to antagonise this in terms of power, we walked, we did not do what the ANC did when it walked out of Codesa, which went to rolling mass action, we went the institutional route. So we filed an action to challenge the legitimacy of these decisions in a court of law, which was the litigation of the sufficient consensus, as you might remember. At the same time we opened a parallel table of daily negotiation which continued until December 19. There were daily negotiations which were not documented by anybody (I however, have all the papers of those negotiations). During that period there was propaganda by the National Party and the ANC that we were not negotiating, that we were shifting the goal posts, that we were spoilers and that we were antagonising the other processes which were taking place at the World Trade Centre.

The truth of the matter was that we brought the Conservative Party back into those negotiations (August 1) for the second time. The KwaZulu government moved ahead and by August 28 had finalised a memorandum of agreement with the National Party. This memorandum was drawn up by myself and Professor Kruger. When Roelf Meyer received the document he disowned it which resulted in a break. The break produced a new type of politicos which was the creation of the Freedom Alliance. That enabled us inter alia to bring back the Conservative Party once again. One of the participants of COSAG was the Afrikaner Volksraad. Due to the enormous threat Viljoen was brought in with Tienie Groenewald and as history has already demonstrated their purpose was to sell out the Afrikaners' demand for self-determination. I could see that their purpose was to sell out and I respected their political agenda. There were new players and the Freedom Alliance was formed.

The negotiations which developed involved a constant process of reconciliation and by November 17, negotiations at the World Trade Centre were concluded. There was a preliminary constitutional text which we continually attempted to amend until December 19 when the final document was agreed upon with the National Party. The document was known as the Yellow Paper and only contained notions of federalism and pluralism. There were amendments to this document and the constitution went to Parliament for adoption on December 19. These amendments were introduced by Jurie Mentz of the IFP, and by Danie Skutte, who was the Minister of Home Affairs for the National Party and the South African government. That was the degree of agreement on this Yellow Paper. They responded to all the flaws which were identified in the Constitution which history has proved to have been absolutely correct. However, Ramaphosa refused to even to look at them.

We went from December 19 to December 22 when the constitution was finally adopted. It took three days, which I remember as being the most frustrating days of my life. We met with the ANC for three days ostensibly to negotiate the Yellow Paper amendments, while the constitution was being adopted. We did not even start with the first line as there was one precondition after the other. There were endless discussions about nothing, gimmicks, people walking out, it was preposterous, I cannot indicate any other word. However, it was orchestrated with the geniality and perfect mastery that only Ramaphosa could bring to this type of exercise. It was the greatest piece of negotiation that I have seen.

The constitution was adopted and no negotiations took place. At the end all that was agreed upon was that we would resume on January 2, 1994. Everything that was meant to stop the ANC's strategy towards autocracy, was clearly lost.

Why was the IFP moving along these lines? The Zulu nation began its process of mobilisation. Buthelezi's policy speech, in October 1993 to the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, (which stands as the longest speech ever delivered), was a compelling speech for the cause of self-determination of the Zulu nation. It made the statement that We are a nation, we a sovereign nation, we have abdicated our sovereignty to the invasion of the white man, as the white man relinquishes its power in this country, our dormant sovereignty must be revived, it is not our intention to seek independence as we have never sought independence, we are part of a historical process which brought together all the various people of KwaZulu-Natal and we belong to that process, so the way in which we express our sovereignty is as a member state of a federation, but we need to start thinking of what do we do, if our first prize cannot be obtained, are we willing to go into a unitary state as a nation?

The real feeling was that we belonged to the other people, we had no problem with the people in KwaZulu-Natal, we could all live together as a nation, we could prosper. But it was not in our interest to become totally swamped in a unitary South Africa, characterised by a totalitarian state which would not have left us any degree of autonomy. This developed into a type of Zulu Politics which any white observer should not even attempt to understand due to its intricacies. On January 17, a hundred thousand Zulu's converged in Pretoria led by the King who was silent throughout this process. They demanded the restoration of the sovereign Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal as per 1834 boundaries.

On January 3, we resumed negotiations, this was the first time since July 2 that negotiations resumed on a tripartheid basis - the ANC, National Party, SAG and Freedom Alliance. Now this was the third time that we brought the Conservative Party back to the table. We began negotiating the Yellow Paper. Basically, there were two fundamental issues, Section 160, Section 126 as well as Constitutional Principles and the issue of the Kingdom of KwaZulu which was brought to the table for the first time by His Majesty the King. Section 160 was the provincial constitution. In February 1993, we had a bosberaad with the National Party. At the bosberaad we managed to get the National Party to agree to a notion of provincial constitutions, it was the only point of leverage we had to break the unitary process. We then introduced the notion of provincial constitution as the fundamental on that bottom up process of constitution making which was the model C. You start from provincial constitution then you write a national constitution. We managed to secure those concessions of provincial constitutions before we left, which we felt was our only success. We always felt that by walking out we had obtained much more leverage than we would have had we had remained, especially since they had not even looked at our proposals.

Throughout this process of negotiation with the National Party, we had tried to entrench a notion of provincial constitutions. We managed to entrench the notion of provincial constitution and ANC accepted it, however they removed all purpose and contents of leverage. Amendments on the Yellow Paper thus resulted in negotiations all the way up and till March 3, 1994. Our purpose was that of trying to bring back into the notion of provincial constitution the type of leverage which we are currently trying to exercise in the newly adopted constitution of KwaZulu-Natal. The characters who were really playing the game were Ramaphosa, Joe Slovo and Buthelezi and to a much more limited extent, Roelf Meyer and De Klerk; it was like a chess game.

The other fundamental aspect, as a I mentioned, was Section 126. We knew that the powers assigned to provinces by the constitution were meaningless because of the relation between the national and provincial level of government. The overrides and concurrences enabled national government to override on any occasion. The unitary notion of power was therefore not affected, you could give power to somebody else but could take it back or override it. It was not possible to use provinces as the centre of alternative policy formulation national government wants to move in one direction on education, and we go in the other direction

Then there was the issue of the constitutional principles in the Constitutional Assembly. We were aware that there was no point for us whatsoever to negotiate anything if that which we negotiated could have been eliminated by the Constitutional Assembly. We realised that the Constitutional Assembly was an enormous threat as it could decide by a 50% majority (which is currently occurring). In the end the Constitutional Assembly was decided by a two thirds majority but against the fact that they could have decided by a 50% majority. So the Tony Leons or National Partys of this world would be forced to fall into line because if they did not the ANC could go at it alone. The constitutional principles were so flawed that the Constitutional Assembly could basically have drafted anything it wanted to. The result is that it so bad that it makes the interim constitution look like a dream.

We were trying to close these three aspects Sections 160 and 126; the constitutional principles and the Kingdom of KwaZulu. We received one set of proposals, a written document from the ANC on January 27, 1994 which really did not help and was not acceptable. By this point the politics of the Zulu nation were totally out of sync. The King's demands for independence became stronger and stronger and on February 4, 1994 he meets again. There were four fundamental meetings, one of which was in Durban at which the King very powerfully and with very strong nationalist and historical rhetoric demanded the restoration of the independence of the Zulu nation within the parameters of KwaZulu-Natal as an independent state.

His final speech was on March 18, 1994 which was the last time (to this day) that the King spoke to his father's people. He closed that speech by saying, Here we declare the independence of our kingdom, he was one step removed from a formal declaration of independence, and our commitment to the restoration of the kingdom. Ten days later, the Zulus marched in Gauteng on 28 March to be massacred in front of Shell House. Now because of this type of politics negotiations became more difficult, agreement could not be reached, the package from the ANC was not sufficient. We met day after day and tried everything to reach agreement. Roelf Meyer even started to bring drinks at 3pm in the afternoon so that by 10pm we were all so drunk that we would continue until 2am in the morning but still it would not work. And I can tell you some of those ANC guys are very pleasant people when they get drunk.

The breakthrough was on March 1, 1994 when President Mandela agreed to our notion of international mediation. The notion of international mediation had previously been rejected by an ANC delegation during bilaterals. Clearly these fundamental issues, tabled by Buthelezi on December 10, 1992, could not be solved and the beginning of a solution could not be found. So there was clarity on what the outstanding constitutional issues were and on March 1, 1994 there was an agreement that those issues would be submitted to international mediation. Now what developed after that? In the meantime on March 3, 1994 the ANC and the National Party went ahead and unilaterally amended the constitution in order to include the package of amendments they had proposed to us on the January 27, 1994 and they included additional value to Section 126. Section 126 referred to relations between powers and was really an additional little bomb, as they took out the word concurrent and added another section, Section 126 sub 2a which said that it is was no longer called concurrent but the national government had the power to adopt laws as well. It was another gimmick. They went ahead and on March 3, 1994 they adopted this.

Two things were happening, the breaking down of the internal dynamics within the Freedom Front, and we were left out of elections. The deadline for registering for elections was some time in January. The Afrikaner Volksfront was breaking apart between those who wanted to and those who did not want to participate in the election. That breakdown resulted in the creation of the Freedom Front with Viljoen who participated in elections. The Conservative Party and the Afrikaner Front stayed out.

The Battle of Bophuthatswana was taking place which marked a story of betrayal. I am not at liberty to disclose what had been planned to defend Bophuthatswana. My understanding of what had been planned to defend Bophuthatswana was such that it led me to believe that there was an intention of betraying Mangope by some of his close advisors and ministers. So Mangope was elected by two million votes and Bophuthatswana was taken over by the military. The ANC hoped that the amendments on March 3, 1994 would close the issue of the Freedom Alliance. It did not close it, not as far as Buthelezi was concerned. The military option of the ANC on Ulundi is not possible.

The ANC had threatened to march on Ulundi since September/October 1992. During this period the Freedom Alliance broke down because the Ciskei went under this process. When Mickey Webb was asked confidentially how much support his government had, he said we hope to have at least four percent support, but he had no support so it broke down. At the Battle of Bophuthatswana, Joe Slovo made his the famous statement, Two down one to go, meaning Bophuthatswana and the Ciskei down, one to go, KwaZulu. Buthelezi said, yes come and get me here I am.

At this point there were the dynamics of the TEC. The TEC has been established, there was real politics taking place. The TEC could not implement elections in KwaZulu-Natal. The TEC was established but they could not implement their laws. Hard politics was that Buthelezi controlled the region and they could not go without him. So these amendments (March 3, 1994) were made and they were not sufficient. International mediation became very viable, we were once again trying to bring the issue forward.

Those were crucial days all the way up and till April 19. On March 18 there was the final speech of the King and ten days later on March 28, 1994 the Shell House massacre. Between March 28 and April 8 there was the Skukuza meeting, the summit between Mandela, Buthelezi, F W Klerk and the King. There was a restatement of the agreement of international mediation and the issues of international mediation were outlined. An agreement for international mediation was reached and signed by Tambo, Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Maduna. Maduna and I wrote the document and on the very day that international mediation was meant to begin, Roelf Meyer and Ramaphosa once again broke the agreement. Roelf Meyer vacillates from one side to the other, in spite of the fact that Pik Botha and Fanie Schoeman had already agreed. All this documentation is available and I can support each and every one of the statements I have made with extensive documentation. They broke the agreement, international mediation has been broken down. After all that, Buthelezi says fine, on April 19, 1994 we signed an agreement for reconciliation and peace and to enter the election. We were given some minimal additional constitutional concessions in addition to those made on March 3, 1994 and we are given a fundamental promise that all the outstanding constitutional issues would be carried over and settled through international mediation as soon as possible after elections.

The process of rationalisation began in May 1994. This process showed the weaknesses of the interim constitution. It crushed the constitutional autonomy of provinces into nothing. If you accurately study the schedule six functions of provinces, in each and every province you will see that the government retains exclusive power of policy formulation. Government retains exclusive power in each and every functional area. For example, look at agriculture, abattoirs or casinos, government determines how many casinos there may be in each province as well as the conditions for licensing. Consumer protection, not one single aspect of consumer protection has been assigned by the intergovernmental forum to provinces. Not one single aspect of cultural affairs has been assigned to provinces. Education is totally at national level, we challenged the National Education Policy Bill before the Constitutional Court as all aspects including syllabi and curricula are decided at national level. Environment, not one single law in environment has been assigned to provinces in spite of our request.

We asked for the assignment of all their laws of schedule six as authorised by the constitution, Section 235 of the constitution. KwaZulu-Natal did so on May 14, 1994 but not one single law was assigned. Housing was basically a national function. Indigenous law and customary law - we will discuss this in depth because there is the entire issue of land. Provincial public media was not assigned. Sport and recreation, to a very limited extent. Regional planning and development, national government adopted the Development Facilitation Act which basically brought planning and zoning to national level. In all the countries I have ever had the pleasure of living in these are always local government functions. Soil conservation, national level; trade and industrial promotion, not one single law is given because they say everything we have on the books has to do with trade and industrial regulation not trade and industrial promotion, but how do you promote if you do not regulate? And what is a regulation if it is not a form of promotion or consumer protection. And then they said forestry was not apart of agriculture. I am a tree farmer in Washington and forestry is the growth of trees for commercial purposes. Water and water affairs is not part of agriculture, is not part of the environment, not part of regional planning and development. Urban and rural development, same problem. Welfare service, not one single law on welfare has been assigned. All this developed and we saw it very clearly.

Buthelezi spoke three times at the intergovernmental forum and warned them by saying that what was happening there was wrong, that the IFP would not stand for it. He was however not heard. Therefore in March 1995 the IFP walked out of the intergovernmental forum and has stayed out to this day.

Looking at May 1996, you can now see what the new constitution is trying to do. It is transforming any type of provincial legislation from primary legislation into secondary legislation which always needs to be enabled by a framework at national legislation. National legislation always overrides provincial legislation, so all aspects of policy formulation remain at national level. The overrides become so broad that they can mean any and everything but the key is that it is secondary legislation. Provinces become therefore mere policy implementers of what is decided at national level.

Then there is the issue of land, there is the issue of traditional communities, there is the function of the government of national unity. The IFP over and over again has objected to policies. The government of national unity was supposed to work on a consensus basis, not one single item was changed when we opposed in order to accommodate us. Then there is the issue of civil society, the function of government during the past two years has been expanded enormously, towards all aspects of civil society. If you look at the Labour Relations Act, all aspects of labour relations in this country are under government control. From an institutional viewpoint it is a corporative system which would have given Mussolini an orgasm. If you put together the Labour Act and the legislation establishing Nedlac, Nedlac is a corporative body based on the coerced participation of business, trade unions and government as the purpose of enabling government to hand down policies, working with trade unions, to the business sector, those policies now called RDP. But all aspects of labour relations are under government control.

Any bargaining can only take place in national bargaining councils which are functionally not any different to the House of Corporations of the fascist state. Trade unions must be registered, trade unions are entitled by the government to have agency shop and closed shop agreements, they have control over their members, it becomes extremely difficult to have alternative and smaller and independent trade unions. I can document all these aspects of the Labour Relations Bill You have the capitulation of big business who are trying to reproduce with this government the same cosy relationship they had with the old government. Then there is the work of the Katz commission and the type of tax exemptions which also go to the NGO'S. Then you have the Truth Commission and these are some of the critical areas. You have sports and recreation, government is taking control of all those aspects and it goes on and on and on for lack of the divide between civil society and government.

To this we have responded and tried to respond with the constitution of KwaZulu-Natal. An incredible challenge was adopted on the 15 March 1996, it still needs to be certified but it does create a divide between civil society and government. I will read some of the most extreme things: No enterprise shall be acquired or conducted by the province or a local government structure either as a monopoly or as a free competition enterprise and no service shall be provided to the public unless so authorised by a law justified by a public need and the inadequacy of the private sector to satisfy such need with comparable efficiency and reliability. So if the private sector can do it, it should be done. And then there is the right of people to keep government out, all the thinking of the Grace commission established under Reagan, was taken into account when producing this document. I think we did well with this document, we managed to get the ANC to adopt / support this document. Our constitution represents the first time in which the ANC has been outmanoeuvred and I can say that honestly because we have been outmanoeuvred over and over again. I mean I regard the ANC as the most skilful liberation movement that has ever appeared in recent history.

The ANC is the only liberation movement which has ever received both the support of the West and the East. But what they are pursuing, which has become more and more clear, is this autocratic path which will not enable the change of power between political parties over time and all you need to do if you are in power in this country is to make sure nobody else can find power. This document is the manifesto of that seizure of autocracy. This is the new constitution they are adopting, it is extremely well drafted and is very seductive in its language. It is horrendous, there is no property clause, there is no free enterprise clause, there is no protection of any type of autonomy.

Padraig 0'Malley asked why the National Party caved in.

In reply, as they are a bunch of cretins, those who have the political and intellectual capability to understand what is happening, namely Roelf Meyer, Fanie van der Merwe and Neil Barnard, have decided to sell out to the ANC. And they have done it, they have done nothing to stop the ANC's path towards autocracy. The others have been caught sleeping, for example De Klerk supported the Labour Relations Act in Cabinet and it was only at the last moment when somebody told him that it was bad and they opposed it. The National Party was convinced that by being the good guys they would be rewarded by the voters because they were rational and proper which was very typical of white politics. White people have grown so far apart from the black people, they have no understanding of black politics and no understanding of what power politics is all about. Someone else on the National Party who understood this type of thing who was also sidelined was Tertius Delport. If you want to interview somebody interview Tertius Delport.

Patrick - I am seeing him on Friday

And usually he is outspoken ask him what he thinks about that and you might want to tell him that Ambrosini thinks this constitution is so bad it will make the interim constitution look like a dream, see how he reacts. But there are no guarantees, the Bill of Rights doesn't mean anything. It is a fraud constitution if you look at Traditional Leaders it says, The Council of Traditional Leaders may be established, that does not enable the Council of Traditional Leaders to be established with its current powers. The law may provide for the establishment of a Council of Traditional Leaders to deal with matters of common interest, but that is all we have in place of the present Council of Traditional Leaders.

The same goes for the powers of the province I mean if you look at it, and this is one of the pearls, the National Executive may assume that the administration of any legislation or the performance of any executive function vested in the executive of the provinces, when it is necessary to maintain essential national - basically whenever you want, if you cannot find a lawyer who can fit any situation under this language you should fire him. Any executive function vested in the executive of the province in terms of legislation, because legislation has not been effectively administered by the province. You see this is what enabled in India the federal government to take over health because they said the hospitals were not run properly. I mean who the hell is to decide whether it is being affectively administered? I mean there is no autonomy and even in a system in which provincial legislation is secondary legislation, basically it is the status of by-laws of regulations, it is not primary legislation and I mean it goes on and on and on. I mean the Bill of Rights is as bad as a calendar, it has even more loopholes. I mean look at the property clause - you are entitled to compensation which needs to be assessed with regard to all relevant values including, all relevant values means? 'All relevant' it could be all and above this. Basically there is one horror after the other.

The civil service establishes a unified civil service and then it tells you the civil servant is anyone who works for an organisation which directly or indirectly is financed by government, university professors, medical doctors, people working for the parastatals are going to be civil servants under a Civil Service Commission. And there is not going to be any autonomy, all that is part of this system where power reaches all the way down on unified tentacle-like strings of power. And it goes on and on, there is no power of taxation significant at provincial level, there is basically no security of the Constitutional Court. If you look at the Constitutional Court, and this is a country in which laws and words mean what they mean, you never go to the purpose, it is a much more formal country than the US or Europe in terms of legislative procedure. If you look at the Constitutional Court there is no establishment clause, the Constitutional Court is not established it can only be established by legislation and the legislation can define the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court which has never happened. What does it mean, it means that a piece of legislation say, can be unconstitutional by saying that this piece of legislation does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, i.e. the Constitutional Court cannot assess the constitutionality of the specific piece of legislation. That flaw by itself, from a constitutional viewpoint, makes this entire document no more than a political document, comparable to a 1924 Lenin constitution.

Let me give you a last pearl, the land issue, the land issue is another master piece of Marxist/Leninist thinking. In the Senate, Hanekom was challenged by somebody who stood up and said, You're a communist, and he stood up and said, What do you mean, you are trying to insult me? I have been Joe Slovo's and Chris Hani's best friends, that is no insult to me. So I mean, he is a communist. Let me tell you the story of land, many white people do not focus on the importance on land and land is everything in this country as it is in Africa. On the acquisition of land in this country, there are no books, there is nothing, but a horrible history on how it took place. From an institutional viewpoint the difficulty was that the white man came here, the land was owned by the black people and the black people owned the land as they still do, in terms of communal property. There is no individual ownership, they own in the fashion where the whole of the community owns the whole of the land for its benefit and the benefits of the future generations. The nice thing is that if you are a member of the Buthelezi tribe or the Ngema tribe or any tribe, you are always entitled to go back to your tribe and will be assigned a piece of land which is sufficient to support yourself and your family. It would be very nice if I could go back to Washington and claim my ten acres of land, or you could go back to Ireland and do that.

Communal property has nothing to do with feudalism, those who refer to it as a feudal type system are grossly ignorant because in the feudal system it was the lord who owned the land and the other people were serfs, slaves of the land. The traditional leader is the capitalist of consensus so the common ownership of the land is also the common ownership of the decision making process. In a properly functioning traditional community no decision is taken by the majority and a decision is never taken by the traditional leader or by its council, their purpose is to keep people talking until everybody agrees, which explains a lot about how things are done in the community, because you need to reach consensus.

Against that situation the white man came and he took everything he wanted to take and was faced with the legal problem, how to deal with the land of the black people because the white man was only armed with the legal instruments of private property and public property. So in regulating the black owned land, historically they went between these two instruments so this land was first organised as land under a trust of which the Inkosi, the traditional leader, was the trustee for the benefit of the community with the additional obligation that the Inkosi should administer the trust in terms of indigenous and customary law. That is as far as they could go to recognise communal property; a trust and the administration was in terms of indigenous and customary law.

Then with the establishment of the TBVC states and self-governing territories most of this land was transferred now as public property to the TBVC states in the self-governing territories, however, also requiring the TBVC states and the self-governing territories to administer their public property in terms of indigenous and customary law by keeping in both cases the bridge between indigenous and customary law. There was legal recognition of the right of access of the people of the land, the administration by the community through the traditional leaders and the role of traditional authorities, and I say this keeping in mind and against the background that land in black culture is not ownership it is a human right. Any black person if you ask him what is the fundamental human right it is the right of access to land, forget freedom of speech, forget freedom of religion, those have never been issues. I mean it is not like in Europe where people died for centuries because of religious wars. Here people have died because of land access laws and all the wars and the conflict are land conflicts wars. So the fundamental human right is land rights.

Now what happened when the interim constitution came? All the property of the TBVC states and the self governing territories became the public property of the central government and the bridge between indigenous and customary law was broken, because all this property was now administered in terms of the Land Administration Act of 1993 with one exception, the land of the Zulu nation. Because we saw what was happening and we said, hey we are not going to go that way, so we took our land out of the self-governing territory of KwaZulu, which was a public property box, and put it into a different box which was called the Ingonyama Trust Act which established a statutory trust as private property in which however, the trustee the Ingonyama must administer the property in terms of indigenous and customary law.

What did our friend Hanekom do? He ended up with all the land of the black people which became public property. People were living there, that land belongs to the Amakosi. He studied indirect systems of land administration in Russia and he followed the exact same path. He adopted a Bill called the Communal Property Association Bill, by virtue of which we return the property to the people who own it, people who live in it which are the communities establishing them as a community under a community constitution which is drafted by the Department of Land Affairs in which the rules of administration are spelt out and that constitution is administered by a functionary of the Department of Land Affairs who is a political commissar. All this sidelined the role of the administration of Amakosi, destroyed traditional communities as autonomous entities, defining them as a different model of societal organisation, which goes to our initial notion of pluralism. We believed that we should preserve different models of societal organisation, the westernised model and the Africanised model, no one is to say which one is culturally superior or which one is to fade out, for as long as we can create consistency between one and the other in a model where African realities can have equal access to developmental opportunities.

The crucial thing is that through the administration of land and the control of traditional leaders, the ANC has expanded the power of the state in all aspects where real power has been exercised. The other fundamental step which is the only thing that appeared in the newspapers because it was simple enough for them to understand, was the issue of the remuneration of traditional leaders. For the first time in history this government tried to do what the British government tried to do and always failed, to directly place traditional leaders on their payroll as undirected administrators on behalf of the crown. Now the remuneration of traditional leaders which has been an enormous bone of contention between the IFP and the ANC has becomes another tool to transform traditional leaders into quasi organs of the state. It is what we called an organistic vision of the state as everything was somehow tied to the power exercised at central level by an organic function. It is not new. [Gramishey(??)] developed that and he had a lot in common with Mandela because they both thought what to do whilst they were in prison.

Local government, is such a difficult issue that I wouldn't even know where to start from, but it is the same organistic vision which has been a major bone of contention throughout this process and it has come into this constitution. Local government has become nothing more than an additional organ of administrative decentralisation of the central state. It is established by central government and regulated by the central government. You can get the flavour of the political materiality beyond the constitutional forms when you have the national President postponing or trying to postpone the local government elections in KwaZulu-Natal, because they are afraid of losing there because that is the reality. Throughout this process the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal has put in place institutional challenges which will produce in one way or the other their effect all the way to 1999. I mentioned the issue of traditional leaders, we adopted our own legislation saying that traditional leaders shall not be paid by central government. With regards to the Ingonyama Trust Act, central government now has a Bill to repeal it, we have a Bill in which we have re-enacted it. Two trains marching at full speed in opposite directions on the same track. The same thing with local government, in our KwaZulu-Natal constitution we have a full system of local government which leaves no space for national intervention. The national constitution provides a different system and I could go on and on.

So thus far the important thing is that the IFP has maintained its challenge, from the beginning to ANC strategy on an institutional level. These are institutional challenges which will result in constitutional litigation but we are trying to eliminate any type of challenge which results in conflict on the ground. I think you have convinced yourself that the IFP has the striking power.

I mean I was in Gauteng on 28 March 1996, there was a white commentator on the radio saying how terrifying it was and how terrible it was for South Africa to witness 15,000 people marching in military formation in such a disciplined fashion, which is dammed if you do and dammed if you don't if you not disciplined, or disciplined you're even worse. Those were urban people living in hostels, imagine the consequences if the people of KwaZulu-Natal started marching? So you need to realise that the Zulu nation is organised in regiment, people are born in regiment, their education is a military education, everybody knows where it belongs.

Lets go to another of the many currents, the currents never stop in this type of game as it is sometimes found in Eastern Europe when things are no longer politically viable the current may go underground. By going underground it may only re-emerge stronger when it surfaces again. The King spoke for the last time on March 18, 1994. On October 24, 1994 the Amakosi of the Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal came together as Amakosi and said our King is not with us, we regard our King in a sort of spiritual exile, we are the backbone of the kingdom, we must take it on ourselves to bring about the completion of the work that His Majesty began and promote the restoration of the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal and our protection as a nation. There were all sorts of activities which are documented which lead to January 27, 1995 in which all the Amakosi once again came together and were sworn to what they define as a sacred covenant. The sacred covenant of the Zulu nation in which they committed themselves and their lives, honour and fortunes to the cause of the restoration of the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal. This covenant went back to all the communities and was read, analysed and metabolised. On 20 August, 1995 the Amakosi called a combined Imbizo of their clans (they do not have the power to call an Imbizo but they can call a combined Imbizo of their clans). This was a historical Imbizo as for the first time the Zulu nation came together inviting to participate people who were not members of the Zulu nation and the statement made that the Zulu nation is convened, the Zulu nation irrespective of race, colour or creed and that meeting the Zulu nation, irrespective of race, colour or creed subscribe to and sworn the sacred covenant of the Amakosi in which the entire Zulu nation once again (it's a one-page covenant, you should get it) but it commits all the members of the Zulu nation, their lives, honours and fortunes to the cause of the restoration of the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal. To us Europeans, North Americans this may be words but to these people a covenant is a covenant. It is a covenant among themselves it is a covenant with God, it is a commitment which will come to bear in two years, five years, twenty years, a hundred years but it is not going away.

Just to give you a feeling of how that was felt, when in September Buthelezi was celebrating Shaka day in KwaMashu, the newspaper said there were 25,000 people, we estimated 60,000 people. The people were in trees, you were there, you remember how our people began reciting the covenant, it was in Zulu, but during the speech on several occasions they started reciting the covenant. So the covenant is becoming a reality on the ground, it is not an institutional reality as such, it does not come into the legislation, it does not come into the discussions of constitution making, but it is one of those things that if a crisis should come it will in the end dictate the outcome of politics.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.