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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
25 Apr 1996: Maduna, Penuell
POM Minister, let me begin with a personal question. When I met you first in 1990 you wore an old pair of slacks, you were spending a lot of your time out in the townships after the violence began in August of 1990. I remember meeting you one evening in the Protea Gardens Hotel, the first time I met you, when you had just come back from being out there trying to calm things down. You lived in a wall-up, kind of a dingy place in Johannesburg. Now you're a minister, you have official cars at your disposal, you have an official residence at your disposal, life has changed. How has it changed? What impact has that had on you?
PM Well it's had a tremendous impact. For one thing I now am no longer living in that old and dingy building which you are referring to. I have a house of my own now. I have been able, in other words, to commit myself in terms of a mortgage bond. I live in Bryanston which is part of the northern suburbs of the Johannesburg metropole and maybe by South African standards it's one of the very expensive areas but, of course, the bond is heavy, in other words you are literally living from hand to mouth. When we came into government we didn't have any kind of comfortable finance background as it were, no pensions, nothing in fact, we were just new beginners and for some of us, in fact for most of us, we were earning salaries for the first time in our lives. I had earned a bit when I tried to be an articled clerk with a view to eventually getting admitted as a lawyer but then I had abandoned all that in the seventies when I ran into trouble with the laws of the then apartheid state. In a sense it's been a big change. I drive my own car and again I owe quite a lot on that, but at least I can manage to service my mortgage and pay my monthly debts per month. Of course we, on a voluntary basis, took a decision at the end of 1994, beginning of 1995, to reduce the ministers and deputy ministers and the Premiers and members of Executive Councils in the provinces packages. We therefore took a bit of a knock-down. It did affect our situation. You can imagine I had a bond commitment to the tune of about R500,000 on the assumption that I would be able to pay.
POM That salaries would be going up not down.
PM Not down, OK, I would manage, and of course the car allowance I get from government is a percentage of my gross and once the gross came down the percentage also came down. In the meantime, of course, the interest rates went up but, as I say, it was a voluntary assumption of that kind of risk and we have not taken any increment since we came into government and this is almost two years now. In fact on 10th May, which is next month, we will be finishing the first two years of our term of office without an increment. It's had it's own problems with children going to school.
POM Are your children going to school in the local schools?
PM Yes, that's that.
POM Are they still mostly all white schools?
PM Predominantly white, in fact the percentage of blacks at this school is minuscule really. But we live quite comfortably with our neighbours. We are quite happy. We know one another, we share all sorts of things including guarding systems against the high rate of crime in South Africa. So we are quite a happy lot.
POM Do you feel that you are less in touch with the people in Thokoza than when you were in the front line in Phola Park and negotiating and bargaining, faction fights and dealing with the people on the ground whose lot hasn't changed a lot?
PM You see those days of course communication with the people on the ground, as the saying goes or as the phrase goes, was on a daily basis but now we are in Cape Town and Pretoria and we are actually bogged down in government work which takes quite a lot of our time and which takes its heavy toll on us as well. So in that sense I am not in direct day to day communication with the people but I make sure that I go to the townships, I sit down with people, we look into problems together and we try and solve them to the extent we can. But it's a totally different set up. We were not the government then. We didn't have at our disposal government resources which we could use to do all manner of things we wanted to do. We were very much part of the informal opposition but now we are in government we have got to look at problems differently.
POM When you look at your functions in government, the NEC meets every month or how often?
PM It meets once every three months.
POM And then you have the Working Committee which still meets?
PM Every two weeks.
POM And it lays down the policy guidelines.
PM Looks into all sorts of issues that need to be dealt with.
POM Does government then become the instrument through which these policies are carried out?
PM Well it depends on the policies. There are those purely ANC policies which have to be dealt with through the structures of the party, of the ANC, and there are also those, of course, which can only be effected through government structures. You can look at a whole lot of things, say for instance we are looking at the ANC's housing policy, the ANC cannot be able to implement that, we would have to use the instrument of government and the resources at the disposal of government. Therefore, when we structure our own policies we are also informed by their availability or non-availability of resources in government. So you can't just say there shall be so many houses when you know that the budget doesn't allow you to reach that target or there are other constraints which don't allow you to reach that target.
POM What I'm getting at is, is the main policy making vehicle the machinery of the ANC which then uses the government to implement those policies?
PM I suppose we want to function like a normal democracy. The ruling party has its own policies and it's judged eventually by the individual voter on the basis of those policies as well as on the basis of its performance, so obviously to the extent we can nothing prevents us from using government and government resources. But, again, I must stress that we do not use those resources for party political purposes. We frown upon even the use of government vehicles, for instance, to attend party meetings and when there are purely party activities taking place I don't use government vehicles. I don't even personally use government security. I am known for that. I do my own driving and that's it. I just drive to ANC meetings on my own. It's quite risky, of course, in our high crime rate climate but that's it. It's because we don't want to encourage the misuse of government resources.
POM Now during the negotiations you played a number of roles. In the continuing violence that's going on in KwaZulu/Natal have you played any role at all in trying to again set up mediating structures, new structures, particularly given that you are the Deputy Minister to Chief Buthelezi, or is that outside your portfolio completely?
PM You see it's got nothing to do with the portfolio. We have had to make sure that the department runs on a purely non-partisan basis and that has helped us tremendously so I wouldn't want to bring the political conflict between the ANC and the IFP into government work. Then surely we would spend a lot of time fighting over whether the ANC is right or wrong on a certain issue and vice versa.
POM But as a negotiator, you played a part in the Constitutional Assembly on the negotiations for the new constitution and you have skills that are mediating skills.
PM Yes I've been involved specifically in discussions on electoral systems, for instance, in fact on elections and things like that because elections have traditionally been conducted by Home Affairs and there are quite a lot of resources in that regard and accumulated experience here at Home Affairs. I have been working with the Department of Constitutional Development and Provincial Affairs as well under Roelf Meyer initially and Valli Moosa and now under Chris Fismer and Valli Moosa. It's tending to work quite well. I've also been involved in negotiations on the whole concept of self-determination for the Afrikaner volk and the volkstaat.
POM Can you talk about that a little? I'll put it in two ways: is the volkstaat a pipe dream which most Afrikaners in the bottom of their hearts know by now that it's a pipe dream? And when you contrast that with their concern about language, particularly things like mother tongue education, which do you think is more important to them, the cultural component of their identity or their wanting a specific kind of national territory or homeland or whatever you want to call it?
PM Maybe before we come to that I need to conclude what I was saying in response to the earlier question. Of course maybe for the right reasons I've not been closely involved in attempts to resolve the problems of violence in KwaZulu/Natal, certainly not as close as I was to the problem. But again it can explained in terms of the demands of my own office. Occasionally, of course, I have been brought into meetings to try and see if we can't resolve the problems afflicting that beleaguered province.
Now to come to this, I think we had to accept as ANC that though the whole notion of a separate territorial entity for any ethnic grouping in our country was anathema to us, there were people who were demanding it and we had to address it. The choice, if any, really was a limited one. We had to accept that some of these people had the capacity to mobilise a lot of irrational elements, rogue elements against the processes of change that we had to embark upon. So we had to engage them in a series of debates and discussions with a view essentially to showing them that all of us can live together in peace and prosperity in this country, there is nothing to fear in a government such as the one that we set up and so on. I want to believe it has worked because at least at the critical levels of their leadership it's accepted now that the whole notion of a volkstaat is not going to be realised now in fact. Some of them, of course, would want still to pursue discussions and see if they can't emerge with a territory at some point which they could call their own and, again, if that democratic right to seek to pursue the debate, whatever it's worth, it's their democratic right, we are not going to stand in their way in that regard. But, again, it's our democratic right to tell them we are opposed to it and we are the majority party in this country and we have a responsibility to listen to and reason with everybody. We have that responsibility and it's in the best interests of this country that we do so. So we will continue discussions. At all times, of course, the ANC will try to persuade them that there is a lot to benefit from developing a viable non-racial, non-sexist society which by and large is an acceptable vision across the length and breadth of our political spectrum and across the length and breadth of the country itself.
POM Do you accept now that they no longer have the capacity in terms of rogue elements or whatever to cause a lot of disruption or to slow down the transformation of the country, or do you think they still have that capacity?
PM You see on a long term basis they don't but I will have to be very, very careful about how I deal with that one because, again, it takes a few irrational elements to start a situation like you had in Bosnia and you don't want to take chances therefore. You don't want to run the risk of having to expend a lot of resources putting out flames so you would rather that you bring everybody into the large fold and it doesn't matter how long it takes and what effort it takes, eventually you've got to strive to bring them into the fold. The Americans quite correctly say, as you Americans quite correctly say, it's better to allow them to come into the tent and piss out rather than allow them to piss from outside into the tent.
POM Lyndon Johnson is remembered for one phrase and that's it.
PM So this is what we are trying to do.
POM When you talk about inclusiveness two things strike me. One is I don't understand why the President will not accede to Dr Buthelezi's insistence on international mediation on the grounds that it was agreed to in a formal agreement signed on the 19th April 1994, that a schedule of the outstanding differences was attached to the memorandum at the time. Now here you have a man who is known the world over as the great reconciler who goes out of his way, bends over backwards to alleviate the fears of whites even to the point of where he gets some criticism within his own community, who keeps doing things to promote national unity. Yet all he has to do is call an international negotiator or mediator in, sit Dr Buthelezi and De Klerk and himself around the table, the mediator goes through the agenda of items and says "There's nothing here to mediate, I've a six o'clock flight back to wherever I'm going, goodbye." And President Mandela can turn to Dr Buthelezi and say, "I have honoured my commitment. I said we would have international mediation, I agreed that we would have international mediation, I signed an agreement to that effect, we've had it."
PM It's not as simple as that, but maybe let me just conclude that other question. You asked whether essentially the Afrikaner is concerned more about their culture, language and so on. I would say yes and if they were to be reassured I'm not sure how, short of all sorts of constitutional provisions and so on, this could be done. If they were to be reassured that their culture was not threatened, their language was not threatened and so on, I'm dead certain a lot of them would be happy. Of course I have never had the perception that anybody threatens their culture, their language and so on. You see I am an indigenous African myself, I don't think that if you uplift my own culture, if you develop my own language (you get the point?) and the language is of a lot of other people who were all along as it were trodden underfoot, you are threatening Afrikaans. But I think what needs to be borne in mind all the time is there is a history of this problem. Their perception is that that which they fought over time, English domination, is about to descend upon them. So it's not as though they fear that the Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Venda and all those African languages which were not having official recognition all along are threatening them. I don't think that they perceive that the threat is coming from there. They are prepared to acknowledge that those languages have to be assisted to develop and so on and so forth. It doesn't serve any useful purpose for anyone to suppress those cultures, those languages and so on and so forth, but their problem is with English.
At the same time, of course, you know I speak English right now to you, I suppose not out of choice but because the practical reality is that in order for us to be able to converse we've got to find a language that facilitates that communication and it happens to be English. I wish we had a choice but we don't have it. If we have to communicate and if we have to solve problems and communication facilitates that we have to use English. This is a practical reality. In other words it's interesting among blacks themselves we accept that a Zulu coming from Natal or a Xhosa coming from the Eastern Cape can only speak English with a Sotho coming from this part. That's pretty interesting. I have been a leader of the ANC for some time now. At ANC meetings themselves we use English not because ...
POM You love the Queen's language.
PM - we are the subjects of the Queen and we love the Queen's language, but it happens to be the only language that is common amongst us and for those who require interpretation or translation we try to assist but basically the practical reality is that we converse and communicate through the medium of English. So I don't think that they have a problem with that as long as English is not put above Afrikaans, they say. I think there is that intense hatred of English domination and I doubt if we can do much about it. I doubt it because whilst the English people in this country to the extent that we have them are a tiny minority, English as a language is our lingua franca and we've got to accept that, that's the practical reality and it's our means of communication with the outside world. I'm not going to go to the UN now and speak French. I'm not going to go to the OAU and speak Portuguese. It's as simple as that. I personally want to say to myself that though I am quite naturally and rightly so proud of my own language to the extent that I do have one, unfortunately I come from around here and Johannesburg is cosmopolitan and so on and I speak a lot of languages and just mix them. I think in one conversation, unlike this one of course where we are using English only, I find myself using English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa interchangeably, and for us that's normal in the Johannesburg metropolitan. It's very normal that you find people engaging in a conversation and using many diverse languages and there is even the township lingo called Tsotsitaal, we use it to get a point and we don't bother much about those things.
But I would encourage our people to be proud of their ethnic cultures and languages and develop them. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact that would conduce to the development of an even much stronger South African culture and so on, so I would encourage that and in fact I would actually fight for the utilisation of state resources to develop those languages which were all along not accorded official recognition and which suffered tremendously. At the same time I am actually mindful of the broad requirements of our constitutional, political system, of our social needs, of our economic needs and of our needs in terms of interaction and communication with the world, so I would also encourage my own children to have a full grasp of the Queen's language whether we like it or not because this is a basic means of communication.
POM Your children are being taught through the medium of English?
PM Well, yes, they are taught through the medium of English but they speak quite a few African languages as well. You will find one or two speaking Sesotho. Right now the lady who helps us at home, looks after them and so on because I am not always around and my wife on some occasions is also abroad, the lady who helps us is Tswana speaking and the children Setswana. We speak Setswana with her and it's healthy for us, it's nice, we enjoy it, in fact we like it. But they speak English, they spend a lot of time speaking English, they have a lot of English speaking friends who come and play with them in that Bryanston of ours. So I think with the Afrikaner as well that is acceptable and accepted. De Klerk himself doesn't phone his friends abroad and speak in Afrikaans to them, he speaks in English.
POM I suppose the point I'm getting at is that language is such an important part of identity.
PM Oh absolutely.
POM When one feels one's language is under threat then it becomes more important. For example, look at Quebec. You talk about Bosnia and it takes a couple of irrational individuals and suddenly you have a vicious, awful civil war on your hands. You have Quebec, might split apart Canada over basically two peoples who aren't prepared to accommodate each other on the question of language. Even in the United States where the Spanish speaking community are insisting that their children in school be taught through the medium of Spanish. They say by teaching them through English you're disadvantaging them because they are not familiar with the tonalities of English or the customs of English or whatever, therefore if they are to be on a equal footing they must be taught through their own language. Can the ANC go along with that?
PM It depends on the availability of resources. The debate right now is not whether or not the Afrikaner has a right to teach their children in Afrikaans. It's whether or not you should constitutionalise that and say the Afrikaner child shall be taught in Afrikaans. What if that Afrikaner child goes to a predominantly English speaking school, are you going then to say that we've got to find an Afrikaans teacher for one child, or for five children? We don't have resources for that. The danger is that you've got to do the same thing for a Zulu child, a Xhosa child and so on and so forth. You can take the school where my children are going, because there is the other one where the teenagers are also going, the Fourways High School, the area is predominantly English speaking and traditionally in this country because of colonialism and apartheid there have only been two media of instruction, English and Afrikaans. Now surely if you're going to say to all those children they have got to be taught in Afrikaans we would revolt, we would certainly revolt. Not only blacks living there, but whites living there as well because generally we are an English speaking suburb. And look at it also practically. There are Tswana children, Venda children and I know them, Xhosa children I can actually tell you the mother and the father of that one come from the Eastern Cape and they are Xhosa speaking. Those are Vendas, Cyril Ramaphosa's brother for instance, Douglas, has a child at the same school and so on, she should be taught in Venda. But those are all minorities there.
If you were to say they have a right to be taught in those, then you are saying that the state has got to find teachers to teach them in those languages. Now you will have more teachers who are under-utilised and the school administration is going to be thrown into a chaotic state. We don't want to do that. More than that you will be creating more problems. There are also Jewish children who would want to be taught in Hebrew and so on and so forth. So if choices are to be made you would actually make those choices on the basis of the practicalities of your situation. I am prepared to concede that there are areas which are predominantly Afrikaans speaking and therefore in those areas it would make sense as far as I am concerned to allow them to teach in Afrikaans. But then again they will actually soon realise the shortcomings of that. A child who speaks only his or her mother tongue in this complex cosmopolitan country of ours is not going to make it in life. You are disempowering that child. That's pretty interesting. Whilst it might have been good politics for them to insist on the individual to be able to use English and Afrikaans it's pretty interesting that today a child looking for a job with a new multinational company which has decided to invest here is going to be disempowered if that child says I insist on speaking Zulu or Xhosa or Afrikaans. That's true. IBM won't say Afrikaans or else, for instance. Now you are disempowering that child. I don't want to do that to my own children and I wouldn't mind what you do to your own but I want to equip them for a role in our economy and in our country generally and I want to believe that language plays a very important role. In other words I'm not going to be narrow minded about language and just say no, I insist on them speaking whatever I may want to regard as my mother tongue. You see? I don't want to do that. At the same time I want them to be proud of their history, their culture, their folk heroes and so on and so forth, begin to see our history, our culture in a positive way. I don't want them certainly to be taught to despise that which has kept us going as a people in very, very difficult circumstances, to regard it as backward and so on. They have a culture, they have a history and they must be taught those things.
POM OK let's talk about the mediation question.
PM Oh yes, right, the mediation question. You know I said earlier on it's not as simple as you are putting it. Firstly, maybe I have this shortcoming, I apply the lens of the eye of a lawyer, which I unfortunately am, to the whole thing. I have said to people I was involved with in those negotiations, I wish the so-called agreement was as clear as some people would want it to be. It was a political agreement at the political level which has many shortcomings if you want to regard it as a true agreement. I have said to someone, "You know when you are selling me a box of matches or a cigarette lighter it's easy because you tell me it's ten cents and you can identify it as this one and I tell you I don't want this colour, I want that one, and if you don't deliver it after you have taken my ten cents I have all sorts of recourses." But this is not the case here. You see to the extent that I may remember it, and I am sorry if I distort some of it, it's not my intention to do so at all, but to the extent that I may remember it it's worded in a woolly political manner to suggest that this is what is going to happen. It's a very small portion of the whole agreement that talks about international mediation. There are other things which were supposed to be done in terms thereof and which were done, like for instance reopening the whole thing of registration of parties and candidates and so on and so forth to facilitate the late entry of the IFP into negotiations. Interestingly enough you won't find any suggestion that their entry into the elections was on condition that we honoured the undertaking in respect of international mediation. It doesn't say so. It doesn't say, "The IFP enters into this agreement on condition that." It doesn't.
POM Yet Professor Okomo himself recently said, and I quote him, "I think morally Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the IFP have a point when they feel betrayed. Whether you like it or not that is the issue. Once an agreement is signed and it gives certain undertakings surely those undertakings should be adhered to unless all the signatories say that the agreement is no longer valid".
PM That's Okomo's morals. I wish that in fact we have a clear and mutually shared definition of morality. I will just digress. To those who go around gay bashing, gays are immoral. It's as simple as that. They have their own selective morality so I am not going to enter into the debate with Okomo about the morality of the whole thing. But let's look at it carefully. With regard to international mediation it specifically says, "Any other issue that is outstanding shall be subjected to international mediation immediately after these elections." Now not a single issue was identified, let me just correct this. The only issue that was identified was the position and role of the King of the Zulus. Otherwise the rest were not identified. I know the IFP has gone on record as saying that there was an attempt, in fact there was a set of issues identified by me and Mario Ambrosini. That is true, but that was with regard to the Kissinger effort at international mediation which collapsed. So I want to argue that it's got nothing to do with the agreement because the Kissinger effort had collapsed and Kissinger had left. Kissinger, Carrington and whoever else had left so it's got absolutely nothing to do with that. They were starting from scratch. They were not saying, "Let us revive what has collapsed." The IFP itself accepted, Buthelezi made an announcement at the Carlton Centre that this whole thing had collapsed. Okomo then went to him, discussed this whole thing with him and got the whole thing re international mediation.
You know again I say maybe I have this problem, as a little lawyer, a little attorney, I always say to myself, if you sue me you've got to give me your particulars of claim, you've got to say to me this is the basis of your claim against me and it's a generally accepted principle. You can't just wake up in the morning and say, "You owe me money", without being able to particularise the debt, to explain it to me. This is how the whole thing came into being. You've got to be able to say this, this and that and that other issue must be submitted to international mediation and state your reasons. Now the IFP has hitherto failed and it doesn't make any sense as far as I am concerned for them to say, "No, no, no, there was this agreement previously", because that thing collapsed, collapsed completely. And it was replaced by a new effort. So we didn't shift them at all. We are in honour bound to go to international mediation and we have said so so many times but we have said we want the particulars, clear particulars. We don't want to take anything to international mediation ourselves inasmuch as we don't want to take anybody to any court.
Now those who are saying we owe them anything have a duty then to say this is why you owe us this. We don't want anything. Look we accept that the IFP is a totally different political entity with its own approach to life in general. And in fact that is solved in a - I mean that whole conflict can be sorted out in a free, fair democratic election held regularly. I mean you have your own parties in the US and they are not calling for international mediation so-called. They live in their little cocoons and they campaign for your votes. If you think that they are standing for what you would be happy to live with you give them your votes even if they turn out to be clowns like Reagan who came essentially via Hollywood and so on, you do give them your votes. Here too elections will allow us to develop there and there is no international mediator who is going to give us that. We're a party like they are. Why should they say we want mediation with you? Why don't they say to the voters, "This is what we stand for and this is what they stand for. Ours is correct, vote for us", and when the people vote for them we will accept it. Otherwise they must give us the particulars. It's as simple as that and we have been asking them to please give us these particulars.
At some point we suggested to them, in August last year, that maybe the right thing for us to do would be to sit down and say "These are the differences between us. Can we see if we can't reconcile them on our own." In this country the ANC and the National Party and many other parties sat down together without any international intervention. Not even the UN brought us together. They didn't intervene. We sat down, we worked out a constitutional bridge, rickety though it was, in the form of the interim constitution which has taken us now into the new constitutional order which is going to be realised on 8th May. Now the IFP has refused to participate even in those processes. They think that in fact our problems must be resolved by people coming from outside. I'm not going to pretend that I can resolve any marital problems between you and your wife. If you don't want to resolve them you go for a divorce. It's as simple as that. No outsider, not even the brains of a Henry Kissinger will solve these problems for us.
POM But do you think that you can have a constitution passed on 8th May which is not accepted as being legitimate by three or four million people in the country?
PM Let me tell you something, the figure of three or four million is not correct because in this country as at 27th April 1994 there were 22 million voters and 10% is two million something. Look, let us accept that in any democracy, in any stable democracy, ours is in the process of creation and stabilisation, in any stable democracy there will always be that percentage who will not accept something or the other. Let's accept it. You are not going to allow that tiny minority to hold the process to ransom. This country democratically through a free and fair election created the Constitutional Assembly to make a constitution for the Republic of South Africa and it said that the constitution in order to be the fundamental law of the Republic shall be approved by at least, shall be passed by at least two thirds majority of all the members of the Constitutional Assembly and that includes the IFP whether or not they are there because they have not in fact pulled out of the system, they are still very much members of the CA who are absent from the CA by choice. We will have to strive to reach agreement, strike all manner of compromises in the best interests of this country to achieve that two thirds majority and I have no doubt that on the 8th that Assembly shall pass the constitution with the requisite two thirds majority. The ANC has 62.5% and we are a few seats short of two thirds majority there and that is what the constitution says. We are striving even now together with other parties to reach agreement on all manner of things so that there is the requisite two thirds majority and I can tell you we will get more than that, we will get more than that. In other words for us the duty to make a constitution and pass it by two thirds majority at the very least shall have been performed satisfactorily so and therefore it doesn't matter what the IFP says. That will be the constitution of the Republic.
Of course there is another safeguard as far as this is concerned, before it comes into effect that constitution will then have to be certified by the Constitutional Court to be complying with the 34 constitutional principles that we all agreed at the World Trade Centre prior to 1994. Of course the IFP was also not there. So even if two thirds majority is realised, if the Constitutional Court does not certify the constitution it won't be the constitution of the Republic. So we've got to strive to ensure that we get even that certification. That is all that we are required to do. Now if you ask me if I'm not worried about the response of the IFP I'll tell you I don't care one small tinkers curse about it. And let me say why. The IFP has lived under the interim constitution which was passed without them, comfortably so. Buthelezi is a minister in terms of that constitution. They all governing or misgoverning KwaZulu/Natal under that constitution. They were elected under that. They will accept the new constitution and Buthelezi has gone on record as saying so. He says, "We will accept the constitution even if we did not participate in the making thereof because we have always lived under constitutions imposed upon us." If you ask me whether the tears of the prophet Jeremiah would move my heart I would tell you, yes they would move it, but then again they would not move me to do wrong things. It's as simple as that.
POM You talked about figures and said in April last year there were 22 million voters. One of the emerging sub-problems has been the accuracy of census data, how many people there are in the country and particularly how many illegal immigrants are in the country. What are your best estimates of the number of illegal immigrants in the country?
PM You see I don't have personal estimates but I have my doubts as to the validity and the veracity of some of these figures that are bandied about.
POM Does the department have estimates?
PM It's difficult to have a scientific estimate, very difficult, because in order to be able to have a scientific and accurate estimate you've got to be able to count heads and the question is, what are you doing about the ones who found them? It may make a lot of sense amongst our xenophobics to throw up all sorts of crazy figures because then the logical conclusion they come to is 'throw them out'. If the figure was as big as some people say it is then we would be facing a real crisis in this country. I doubt it.
POM What range do you think?
PM I would be prepared to put it at plus 2.5 million, but not beyond that. I would be prepared to put it at that, and of course it's a difficult problem to handle. I've seen you in America beating up Mexicans on TV about two weeks ago.
POM Only two weeks ago? We beat them up all the time.
PM Yes, I saw it on TV, I know it's done all the time. In other words you even have to resort to the crudest of methods trying to combat this problem. I've seen what you Americans are doing with the Cuban illegal immigrants, you re-route them into some little portion of Cuba which you regard as American territory and so on and so forth. We don't want to resort to those crude methods. Surely we do not want the presence of people we cannot account for in our country. We don't want people to come from other lands to compete with our own people for scarce resources. We don't want that, no country wants it, no country is prepared to say, "Empty your problems, your socio-economic problems over into my own territory."
But again coming as I do from the ANC I want to believe that it's proper for human beings to be treated in a humane manner no matter their circumstances and their status. I come from the angle of people who were treated like trash for rather too long in history and therefore I would always want in my duties, and I try to, to temper justice with mercy. I try to understand the problems of people who are forced to leave their lands. You know at the best of times I wouldn't leave my own country myself so I understand why a person would pack his or her bags, if they have bags at all, brave lions, sharks and so on and so forth to reach those areas which give them hope. So I come from that order which is driven by humanism in the way it resolves problems. It's an old order in the ANC and it's an old order among Africans themselves called ubuntu where no stranger would, merely because they were strangers, be regarded as enemies, you would want to help them, you would even at least give them a glass of water to drink if you had nothing. So I come from that order. We treat people to the extent we can in a humane manner. Of course we must accept that there are all sorts of problems at the lower rungs of our administration so I wouldn't say that we treat them in the best manner possible but I want to reassure you that as long as I am deployed here I will do my best to attend to the problems of the individuals who are afflicted.
To the extent that we may help some of them regularise their stay, we do. We made a decision not so long ago that those who had been here for a period of not less than five years, albeit illegally, would be entitled to come forward to take out permanent residence. We also made and implemented a decision to the effect that those mine workers who had worked in our mines prior to a given date, I think it was July 1986, were entitled and had in fact even voted in the 1994 elections and so on. And we have given them the status of permanent residence. It's caused a few problems with the neighbouring countries which are dependent to the tune of about 48% in the case of some of them of their GDP on the remittances of the affected people, but as a government we have actually decided deliberately to give those people an opportunity to take out South African permanent residence and if they want citizenship and they qualify for it, I am, and I want to say the government is, prepared to consider their cases, individual cases. Whether or not it's going to dent the problem of illegal immigration I'm not sure but of course we're also linked to the SADC, SADEC, and we are looking for solutions in that larger sub-regional context and basic solutions are going to have to be linked to development of human resources and the tapping of natural resources for the good of these people so that there are jobs in their own countries and so on and so forth because they are driven by the conditions of poverty and hunger out of their countries and they are attracted by the glitter of the city of Johannesburg to this country.
POM Maybe the main problem facing the country is unemployment. You have growth without creating any jobs.
POM Everyone I talk to, for years, they say the prospect of having a meaningful impact on the level of unemployment in the foreseeable future is negligible.
POM Well what do you do in those circumstances? What hope is there for people when you're actually saying to them that for the foreseeable future you're not going to have a job, there are going to be no jobs available to you.
PM Let me tell you, I think we are influenced and driven by those noble principles and tenets of ubuntu. Africans share everything. Even today I share with my large family, the extended family, all sorts of things. My child can't go to school here, my wife and I have to find resources to assist. Some cousin dies and we've got to go and bury them and so on, we pay for their funerals and so on. We have lived with those conditions ourselves. Well of course in a modern economic set-up you may not be able to do that and government in fact can't have those policies which then say come into my parlour, my father's mansion has a lot of rooms and so on, if it were not I would have told you, that kind of thing. You can't orientate your policies that way but you allow that to influence your policies as well. In other words we are not going to go xenophobic because we have problems. We have got to solve them. We are not going to allow our people to start butchering aliens just because we have our own internal problems. We won't even allow our people to do what skinheads are doing in Europe to non-Europeans, it's not correct and we will arrest them for doing that. It's sort of to say we want to manage this differently because we know it is a major problem.
POM But I'm talking about the larger context of the huge extent of unemployment. Just driving up here today from Johannesburg you look around you and see the traffic on the roads, crowded, you see the office buildings going up, you see the construction cranes. You think, "My God I'm living in a very rich country", and yet the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the people, the masses, are going to be cut out and not part of that development and not benefit from it at all while you are at the same time developing a new black elite. There's talk about black empowerment, to me it sounds more like black enrichment.
PM Those who are honest amongst them are saying so. I mean Motlana has gone on record as saying so, according to The Mail & Guardian last week, this is about enrichment of those who are go-getters.
POM You are in danger of creating two very distinct societies, the enclave of the rich privileged, the new elite, the new black middle class and the vast underclass of unemployed and poor people who are living on the periphery or in rural areas.
PM No you see, firstly let us acknowledge that by the way you are not going to prevent the development of an elite. Apartheid tried to do that. I am a self-made black from a poor background but in terms of my professional achievements, academic and professional achievements, I think I stand head and shoulders above the average white lawyer in town and I don't owe it to any white person or to apartheid at all. Self-made, completely so. I am proud of it and I believe that there are many of us around here so you can't prevent the emergence of an elite. Some people have been successful in their professions, others in their businesses and so on, despite apartheid and they are proud of it so you can't. Secondly it would not be proper in any event to try to do it because then you would be saying the white elite must continue developing which apartheid again failed to do, suppress the emergence of the elite among blacks. But having said so I want to believe that it is possible for us to utilise the emergence of that elite for the common good. Being an elite doesn't mean that you become an enemy of your country. Surely we need white engineers as well as black engineers, male engineers as well as female engineers. We need them and we need to encourage that and in fact we are sending children to school, the government is investing in education with that view in mind.
Having said so I must also say that that elite, of course, owes us quite a hefty debt in terms of participating in the lifting of the standards of living of our people. They do. I only believe that I am here in government because of that, I am trying to play that role. If I wanted to be a rich person I would opt out, go and work out there, it's exciting for blacks to be involved in all sorts of ventures in this country and because at the moment, indeed, that elite is few and far between a lot of them are even job-trotting as it were. They change jobs, take a job this month and a couple of months later they are off at a better package elsewhere. You just jump and go there. It's happening and it's not healthy for this economy because people are not stabilising in their jobs and picking up experience. They are attracted by these good packages in various directions.
But having said so, we have to address the problems of mass poverty which we inherited from apartheid, without saying your enemy is now the black elite because that would be wrong, they are not. We are actually sending children and we are investing in the other children who are up and coming so that they can have a meaningful place and play a meaningful role in our society and in our economy. The basic problem that we face is that if we just do a scan or a profile of the people who are unemployed right now, in the majority it's people who have no skills, no education, who in the majority are completely illiterate, whose main role would be to pick up this box upon instruction and put it there upon instruction again. In other words people who have no vendable skills and who can't participate in the generation of wealth in any event, in other words who are thoroughly disempowered. A person who can create something, who can do something with his or her time and energies, they are working somewhere. A little garden somewhere, vegetables being produced, flowers being produced, of course they earn a pittance but they are gainfully employed to an extent but those who are actually roaming the streets are basically people without the necessary wherewithal. And so even if you are talking about a building construction coming up you would say you need so many bricklayers and if you can't find them you won't employ them. That's interesting. So many bricklayers are required for this period for setting up this building, so many are going to do this, so many painters, so many involved in glazing and so on, in other words nobody would employ anyone just for the sake of employing people. You employ them for a specific purpose and you are costing the employment. That's how the economy works and maybe it's the right thing to do.
So we would have to start where we need to start, empower people with education, with skills and it's been done in many countries, it's been done. And those people would then participate in the generation of wealth in and outside the formal sectors of the economy and of course government has to use the resources at its disposal to do this. Public housing is one area where then you can employ them even for menial jobs like pushing wheelbarrows up and so on, but you don't want to do that. You want to give them some training so that they can sustain their employability beyond these projects and we are newcomers in governance. Some of these things are unknown to us. We have the right kind of ideas, the right vision but the difficulty is we don't know how to realise some of these things and we make mistakes, we acknowledge that, and we get all sorts of experts who come with diverse opinions and so far we have not been able - in fact I was reading the Business Day yesterday which was actually complaining that the government has expended a lot of resources on experts of all sorts and this has had to be done because if you ask me how many bricks you require for this, I will tell you, you go to a Quantity Surveyor. And how many black Quantity Surveyors are there? The number is nought because apartheid didn't prepare blacks for that role. And what do you need? I need an Architect. How many black Architects? Oh well, one or two here and so on. Once you ask these questions you run into these problems. But things are going to turn round. They certainly are because you've got a government that cares, a government that wants to address these problems as far as they affect all our people on a non-racial and non-sexist basis and that for us is key because then we will use whatever resources at our disposal to do that and we will also work hand in glove with the private sector to solve problems and maybe as the private sector begins to benefit from these bulk projects it will help us address the problems of unemployment. But basically the government has to play a leading role because they won't balk at it.
POM Massive public works programmes.
PM We are beginning to. You might have seen some schools coming up, some clinics coming up and so on and even some roads coming up in some rural areas. There is a whole electrification scheme. There is a whole water project coming up. We will do it and we will then bring all these people, or most of them, into jobs that way and of course maybe we will give them on the job training so their employment is sustainable. In other words we are not looking for short term solutions, we want to engage them and we want to invest in children as well so that they are equipped with the right education and skills and so on which wasn't the case before. And it's going to work. We are not magicians, we don't have a magic wand which we can wave to get things done but I can tell you we will do them together with this country, with our people. What we need basically is stability and we know that we've got to buy stability and part of the price is to get those people behind machines, behind work benches, so that in fact their energies are harnessed for the common good. Then they will take less and less to crime. We know this. We want to do it, we want to solve these problems. I think overall the country is moving in the right direction and that's key again for us but the seas are very stormy politically in some areas, socially, economically, but at least we have got the right kind of people at the helm of things. They will steer it through.
POM Just a couple of last things and, as always, thanks for the amount of time you give, you're one of the first people I interviewed I think in the ANC and we'll do a whole book about you, 'The Thoughts of Chairman Maduna'. One is, reading President Mandela's autobiography one is struck by a kind of contradiction. On the one hand he talks over and over again about, "I've always been a loyal member of the ANC, we are a collective, we make decisions as a collective and we discuss things and that's how we reach decisions." On the other hand one is struck by the incredible number of occasions when he has gone out and taken decisions independently on his own and then informed the National Executive or whatever after he has initiated something. For example, the negotiations with the government that began in 1985 would be the best example of it. A more recent example would be where he set a committee to look into emblems and they decided that the Springbok was a divisive and racist emblem and had to go and he stepped in and in a sense overrode that decision. To what extent does this balance between Mandela the leader who says a leader must be out in front of his flock and the idea of collectivity actually work? Who has the final say?
PM You may be seeing contradictions in this but maybe it will be useful to deal with some of the specificities, but before I do that let me just answer the overall question that you are asking by giving you an analogy. Whilst the pilot, the co-pilot, the flight engineer and every crew member are collectively responsible for the flight is it not true that the primary responsibility for the safety of all of us as we are airborne rests with the pilot? Not so? It's a very good analogy because depending on how he behaves the thing may crash land and kill us all. What I am trying to say to you is, collective leadership is very good and in fact I would always insist upon it even when I have completely retired from politics. It's very, very good. For one thing it gives responsibility to all the people and it makes them responsible for all decisions that they make, but at the end of it all when you are elected President of an organisation you also have to be allowed to act as President. Not so? That's true. In other words when we elect you as President we are not looking for a little symbol of the organisation we are looking for a leader who is going to take decisions, lead the organisation in difficult times, give it direction, give it guidance, teach it and so on. In fact if you can't exhibit those qualities you can't be a leader. People are not just looking for anyone to lead, they look for certain qualities which only certain people can have and they develop those over time, they exhibit them over time.
Now collective leadership works in the ANC and I can tell you when we now deal with those specificities, is it not true that the President himself said, "If you were to ask me I would tell you that let us retain the Springbok. It has this past and yet in fact part of that past is a very interesting one now since negotiations themselves started, even with the Danie Craven's and so forth it has tended to play a different role and it has the capacity to unite our people." Were those not his words? And he said, which was quite correct, the decision regarding this cannot be taken in political forums, it must be taken in the appropriate national forum and that is the National Sports Council, the NSC, the President of which is Mluleke George. The position of Mluleki George was known, he was opposed to the retention of this thing but Madiba did not have to lean on him. He only had to ask them to look reality in the face, to look reality in the face. A lot of our people were driven crazy by the very mention of Amabokoboko, Die Bokke, as they were performing great feats in the rugby matches. Even those of us who didn't know anything about rugby we began to support them completely. Suddenly we found ourselves wearing all sorts of pins and so on with this, suddenly we were all united behind them and we established our presence in world rugby. We are the current leaders internationally and we are respected for that. And in fact we are now using those resources to produce more rugby players on a non-racial basis.
Now should really this symbol be allowed to stand in our way or should we utilise it to achieve the noble objectives that the President has spelt out? We debated the issue. It was debated, but we said quite correctly so that it does not belong to the political arena, we shouldn't politicise it. Let those who are directly involved in the management of sports in this country decide the issue and they took a correct decision and they have linked their acceptance of the symbol to development. So in other words once you unpack the thing you don't see the autocrat and dictator that some journalist may see in the President. He was not even there. He just said, "I am looking at it objectively." I can tell you some senior members of the NEC of the ANC didn't see it the way he saw it but we said it would not be proper even for us to debate it so that we then dictate to others and say this is what you do, because it's not a political issue, it belongs appropriately to sports. Let them resolve it.
POM But is he too successful? This might sound peculiar, is his moral authority so great that even when he makes a suggestion the act of his making a suggestion itself changes people's minds?
PM No it depends on the suggestion he makes. You would be interested to know that whilst he interacted with the Kobie Coetsees and so on it was the likes of the late Oliver Tambo who started real negotiations with Thabo Mbeki who were in exile when there were those big delegations of whites who were visiting us outside. It was those people who even gave content to the ANC's position regarding negotiations and constitutional development and so on. In other words, again, it was not Mandela saying from jail, "Please negotiate so that I come out." He was participating and there was communication, he says so in his book, there was communication with the leadership of Tambo whom he regarded as his own President. It was not as though there was one man sitting somewhere in the dark dungeons of jail and saying, "You do it or else." That's not how he works. He participates and you will be surprised that at my level and at my age I have been able to oppose the President and got him to laugh and say, "But I understand you." He's never rapped us over our knuckles because we have opposed some of the things he was spelling out and we have actually defeated President Mandela at some of the meetings of the National Executive Committee when he was saying, "This way please." We defeated him. And he has said so publicly, he said, "You know my preference was this and it was subjected to a vote and this is the direction it has taken."
I can cite one very interesting example. When the President was saying we must make sure that in parliament all the parliamentary committees were representative in the manner in which the government of national unity was representative, it was ordinary members of the ANC caucus who said, "Hey, hey, wait, it won't happen here. We have no parliament of national unity here", and the President backed down. And what did the journalists say? "Mandela defeated by radicals, leftists and so on and so forth", instead of saying no, that's collective leadership and collective responsibility.
But there's another one which will illustrate collective leadership. The President's viewpoint which was spelt out publicly was that we will sustain the combination of Die Stem and Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika as our national anthem. You know that the NEC took a different position on that and the President never ran crazy after that. He just said, "No, we will have one national anthem." And as far as we are concerned the majority are behind Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and that position was spelt out. So it's not as though there is this little autocrat who takes advantage of his stature nationally and internationally and railroads issues and so on. That's not how Mandela operates. I have actually served happily under him because, I can tell you, I have been able, and I am a person who holds strong views on all sorts of things from sex to murder and I articulate those views, I articulate them proudly so and robustly so and arrogantly so at times, and the President listens to us and he says that in fact even those of us who are crude in the way we articulate our positions help in the development of the organisation. We don't kill it by spelling out our own views on issues, we strengthen it.
And I can tell you as a parting shot, because I'm going now, that is what sustained the ANC during those years of total banning order as a criminal entity therefore in terms of the laws of this country. That sustained it, the capacity to debate issues at the various levels of leadership and cadre-ship until you distil a proper ANC position with which everybody would live. That is why despite the fact that in exile we were living in conditions of grinding poverty, as lawyers we had our certificates, we could have opted out, but ANC was part of our lives, part of our souls, part of our bloodstream. We served under it because it made us whole. It didn't pay us anything. I have no pension from the ANC today, no pension, but I don't regret it. I developed into an honourable cadre, a servant of our people because the ANC allowed us to be heard on all matters. It didn't matter what the issue was. I can tell you we were debating issues under trees in the camps in Angola, in the camps in Tanzania, in Lusaka, where there were no buildings we would sit and debate issues. It didn't matter whether they were issues pertaining to the ANC or to the country or to the world, we would debate them and the best of our brains would emerge and give us direction and this is how we have sustained the ANC. There is no way that any one person can come in and say, "I want you to do this or else." It doesn't happen and it will never be allowed to happen.
I saw Ray Hartley's article which says that in fact that collective leadership is crumbling in the ANC. I don't think so. [At the same time we have to acknowledge as ANC, this is the real party ...] But you see we are now operating in a totally different setting where we are a political party and where in fact people exhibit their ambitions. Those who want to be presidents, those who want to be all sorts of things are beginning to emerge and they say so. "I am carving my way in the direction of Tuynhuys in Cape Town." They are saying so and in fact it's proper for them to declare that so that then we can assess them, we can assist them and so on and so forth, and those who don't want to are beginning to say, "Oh no, look I don't think I have political ambition." Now when they leave parliament, "Oh no, the ANC is collapsing and so on." This ANC has been collapsing according to the media all this time. When I started reading about the ANC it was collapsing in 1959, 1960 already because the PAC elements had left. It's been collapsing all the time. If it's not dominated by whites and Indian merchants and communists and so on, it's collapsing, but we have kept it alive hitherto and proudly so.
POM Two very quick last questions and they're connected. Do you think Cyril Ramaphosa had no political ambitions?
PM I don't know. I've never sat down with him to find out why he suddenly decided he was going into business. But let me say again that we may have all sorts of ambitions but we also have the right to review those ambitions and from a purely personal point of view I also am reviewing my own position. I am also beginning to wonder whether it's not high time for me to allow real and true and raunchy politicians to come in. They are there, they want these positions, they have the right inclination and they have to be allowed to establish themselves. So I want to believe that there is nothing wrong with Cyril Ramaphosa revisiting his own ambitions and then concluding that he would rather be in business. There is nothing wrong with it. And I, too, at some point may have to say oh no, no, no, I think I would rather go back to the practice of law, and I have said so to some people that I am thinking about it. Not because I am disgruntled, I'm a little grumpy little fellow, no but because you see now suddenly the world is open to us. You can make choices and you begin to do so and you begin to acknowledge that after all you didn't join in order to be a minister or a deputy minister. You didn't even think of that. Death was always your uncomfortable neighbour. For a very long time you never thought that you would reach a moment when you could be appointed to anything, so for you it's never been an important thing, and then you begin now to have this ambition to grow taller than I am politically. If the answer is no you've got to accept that.
POM The last question concerns, again it begins with a quote from the President's autobiography when he was a young kid, how he fell off a donkey and it taught him a lesson and that is that you must never do things in a way that allow people to lose face and that he has always used that as a principle in the way in which he deals with people. Yet many people would say that the manner in which Pallo Jordan was fired was a manner which caused Pallo the direct losing of face, it sent shock waves through the country.
Of course if you ask me for reasons I don't know. There is all sorts of speculation that others could have, that there are many others who could have been casualties and so on. I don't want to indulge in that. It doesn't help. With me the question is not whether or not there were legitimate reasons for it. The question is simple; did the President act correctly within his powers as given in the constitution? The answer is yes. He is not even required to give reasons to any of us and maybe that's the right thing because you begin then to raise all manner of questions. Why me and not others, and you want to bargain with him. I would accept it. If he called me now and said, "Look my boy, I am changing things and I have found somebody else who will do your work better", I would say, "Thank you Mr President for advising me, how much time do I have to pack my bags?" And again it's the kind of set-up where we are not even protected by the ordinary labour laws against unfair dismissal, so I won't even want to enter into that debate. For me the issue is very simple. If he acts properly and sacks me and he follows the procedures, I go. He sacked his own former wife, if you call it sacking at all, and she resisted it quite correctly because the procedures were not followed correctly and when they were followed correctly there was nothing she could do. So why now should we then again say he is wrong? Of course now followers and supporters would begin to speculate about all sorts of things but I wouldn't allow them to continue to do that. I would tell them he has acted correctly within the law and the constitution.
POM Very last question. It's on liberals and the increasing acrimony which seems to be developing between what are called white liberals and the ANC.
PM No, not the ANC.
POM And elements of the black intelligentsia.
PM Can I say this to you? You know there is no basic problem about being a liberal and so on but there is a context in South Africa which you've got to understand and that context is linked very much to our historical development where a lot of so-called liberals were at the same time supporters of the apartheid system or were working within the apartheid system. There are those who even believe that they were representing us in the old parliament, were even saying - in fact it was part of South African liberalism by the way to say that blacks must be given a qualified franchise. That's part of their history, so it's an old problem. Now the reason why it surfaces every now and then is in the course of resolving these problems there is competition for scarce resources between white intelligentsia and black intelligentsia. You can take the unfortunate debacle between Dennis Davies and Barney Pityana, both of whom are friends and comrades of mine, as an example because I think you are thinking of that. It was interesting. What marred the whole thing was his reference to Professor Dugard whom I respect and is also a friend of mine, who has participated in the human rights struggle in this country over decades. If you look carefully at it, it sounded to many people as though Dennis was saying that in fact all those jobs must be given to whites, which I have no doubt he wasn't saying. He has actually come back to some of us to say he compared the likes of Dugard, maybe he used wrong examples in the current set-up, but he compared nonetheless the likes of Dugard with a track record to some of the people who were appointed there with a track record again in the human rights struggle and Dugard was being compared with fellow whites in other words. But this didn't come through. It was as though he was saying that there are these sub-human blacks who must be replaced with a Dugard. That was very much unfortunate. This is how it might have sounded to many people, but knowing Dennis as I do I wouldn't believe that that was the case at all.
But we must accept that in fact there is going to be this tension all the time. I don't know how many times I have had to say to people in my department here that it's racism of the highest order to say that any black who gets a job here is coming in on the basis of affirmative action. I'll give you an illustration. I employ Morgan here who has got a BA degree and is finishing his honours degree at UNISA and in fact the more senior white in my department is Hennie van Heerden with a matriculation. Now when you give Morgan a job you're not giving it to him on the basis of affirmative action. Morgan qualifies for the job. But to whites affirmative action is about blacks so any black no matter how qualified, no matter how senior they are, enters a job on a basis of affirmative action, not on merit. It's an insult to those black achievers who emerged despite apartheid. It's an insult, they say, "No, no, no, it's affirmative action." We are told about affirmative action judges and in fact when you look at all of them most of those black judges in any event have more experience than white judges and their white counterparts as practitioners of law and all along they were not allowed an opportunity to become judges in this country because of their race and colour and because of the racism of the powers that then were. Now you have that problem. So this tension is always going to be there because to whites suddenly there is this affirmative action and the privileges which whites had are gone. And we've got to deal with that.
There was a time when whites, merely because they were white, took all sorts of things for granted and blacks had to struggle. You get all sorts of silly things happening even in the private sector where, for instance, a job which has all along been held by a white with a matric is suddenly requiring a BA degree or an equivalent thereof when it's a black man and when it's a black woman a Masters degree. It's happening. So we've got to address this. Maybe it's healthy that there is this debate because it helps us solve problems. It doesn't make us worse than the racists that were governing this country, certainly. It allows us to articulate the aspirations of various levels and classes among blacks correctly and it helps us also to address our white counterparts, make them aware of a lot of things which they were refusing to pay attention to all along.
We were told not so long ago that when we gave pensioners an equal pension of R416 a month we were discriminating against whites because those high pensions were meant for whites all along, and we said, "Nonsense, we didn't bring white pensioners down, we brought black pensioners up", and the fiscus had to pay tremendously. We had to be over-taxed to be able to do that. When we removed the barrier between women taxpayers and men taxpayers and made all of them equal we didn't make men unequal. Women had a lot of problems which we had in our society not so long ago which have disappeared now. When we actually even allowed women public servants to take out state subsidies even though they were married, we were not making the unmarried ones unequal suddenly. These are problems which had to be faced, confronted and solved in this country and we are doing something about that. So, with me this tussle is a minor thing. The important thing is it is now taking place and let those who are true democrats amongst them, true liberals who really want the rights of all irrespective of race and colour to thrive, come forward.
POM Two years, you said two years in government, are you satisfied with the direction in which things are going?
PM I am absolutely happy.
POM That's a nice note to end on.
PM The pace may not be making one happy, you would want things to happen much more quickly but you accept that there is objective reality and a lot of objective factors restraining the pace. It's no use trying to jump and run when you can't crawl.
POM Thank you for all the time.