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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
30 Sep 1996: Nefoloyhodwe, Pandelini
POM Let me start with maybe the most obvious question, what's happened to AZAPO?
PN Well AZAPO at the moment it's busy organising itself to take part in the next election. Now we are saying 'next election' because we are aware of the fact that elections get declared. From the point of the process that has taken place, elections are supposed to take place in 1999 and if the 1999 becomes the next election that is what we are readying ourselves for. So at the moment we are busy reorganising our branches, our regions in the various provinces, in order that by the time 1999 comes we are ready to take part in the election. The decision we have taken is informed by the fact that we ourselves had to do away with other forms of struggle and in the process we have realised that the 1999 elections will be different from the elections that we come from because the 1999 elections will be fought on issues. The 1994 elections were fought on liberation philosophy. It was actually a question of getting rid of what people thought was an ill and replace it with whoever. But now people have settled about that. They know that there will never be an apartheid government any longer and they are now focusing on issues and as you know AZAPO is an issue orientated organisation and we felt that for that reason it is time for us now to go and fight the issues out.
POM Now you're a relatively small organisation, at least it would appear that way, in the absence of elections one can't categorically say one way or the other, and the constitution wants to uphold a multiparty democracy, do you think there is a multiparty democracy in the country at the moment?
PN Well the first thing that I wanted to say is that we are not as small as the media would want to say. In fact if you want to check the extent to which we are deep in our people you merely have to read the Truth Commission testimonies that are going throughout the country. You will find there that more often than not, despite the fact that we are not participating in that process, our name always comes up and these are sessions that are held throughout the country. That's just one form of testing whether AZAPO is small or not. The other form of testing whether AZAPO is small or not is history, that we have been in existence throughout the country. What has not been tested, which will be tested though at the time of the 1999 election, is exactly how much of the vote AZAPO will get and we are quite sure that we will possibly get the majority of the vote in view of the situation now. Now the other question you have asked was whether there is any multiparty democracy?
POM In fact is there a multiparty democracy?
PN Whether it is there? At the moment it is not there. Well it is, well let's say, let me give my qualification; it is there in the form of many parties being there but it is not there in the content part. There are no debates that inform the democratic processes that are there because at Kempton Park when they agreed they then clubbed the major parties, the parties that had the most votes, they then clubbed them into a government of national unity despite the fact that they were different parties. In other words the multipartyism as I understand is was actually diluted right from the beginning. What we might see though is that by 1999, after that, we will probably be starting a new road towards multipartyism as is understood and also by virtue of the fact that the Nationalist Party has pulled out of that which is called government of national unity. That in itself has actually brought about some kind of opposition. But I am quite clear that up to this stage we haven't as yet developed a process of multipartyism as it's understood throughout the world.
POM I should have asked you at the beginning, how would you define a viable multiparty democracy?
PN I would define that in the typical western way of multipartyism, although this multipartyism differs from country to country. But one is looking at a situation where there is a viable opposition party or parties and to the level where the parliamentary processes are not only steamrolled by what is called a majority party but there is a viable alternative that keeps in check what is happening and that also brings about its own thinking so that the people have got these alternate choices that they can make as time goes on and that it gives room for people if they are not satisfied with party A for a period of five years to have an alternative and vice versa and that also stabilises a country because people can always choose. But as I said from the beginning of the Kempton Park process up to now this country was run almost like a one-party state because they had clubbed together to run the country collectively and that is why in fact there was no room for the other major party to oppose anything because they were part of the same structure. We will be beginning to see a little bit of that. Unfortunately, in this country the Nationalist Party, which is now taking the opposition stand, it's a discredited party and for all intents and purposes there would not be any vibrant opposition party because it will be discredited right through as and when it wants to infuse its own logic into the process. Even the other small parties that come from the black community would rather join hands with the ANC in order to suppress what they believe to have been a party of historical significance in the sense that it oppressed people.
POM Just on that, do you think that when the NP announced itself as a new party and says that it's a multi-racial party, and I think last week I saw a photograph in the paper, at least when I arrived, of Roelf Meyer in Soweto opening the Soweto branch of the NP, when they talk about transformation and being able to attract in time a significant amount of the black vote and even the leadership of the NP becoming black, are they living in a fantasy world?
PN I think so, I think they are having a fantasy world, but not really a complete fantasy because under the circumstances under which we live now there are those black people who for one reason or the other have never favoured the politics of the ANC, that of AZAPO, that of the PAC, because human beings are like that. As a result therefore the NP will be able to collect pockets of black people but it wouldn't be any significant to tamper with the politics of this country because the politics of this country are still governed by where we come from and for about ten to twenty years it will be so, up until probably our children who shall have lived under a non-racial democratic situation, who have learnt to live with each other, who have gone to school with each other. Those probably might bring about another change of perceptions. But the people who are living now and even the youngsters who are living now who have just been taken out of that living in 1994 and who are not yet out of poverty in terms of the delivery mechanisms of the government, there is no likelihood that their thinking and perception will be of the nature that people are talking about. So there is that fantasy that the NP is going to be a representative party.
POM So when the constitution says that the country is founded on the values of a multiparty democracy and there isn't a viable multiparty democracy at the moment, what should the government (I'm really talking right now about the ANC) what should it be doing to foster a climate conducive to the growth of a viable multiparty democracy?
PN Well from AZAPO point of view the ANC must first come out of its own perceptions about itself. You must remember that the ANC for a long time had always believed that they are the struggle, they are in charge of the struggle. And if you have checked some of the ANC's utterances at United Nations they even went there to influence resolutions so that they can be recognised as the sole and authentic representative of the people. Now that framework of reasoning was also carried over to what is called the United Democratic Front where you have heard about the fights between the UDF supporters and those of AZAPO in 1985 and 1986. It was because their mentality was not consistent with having to accept that other people can exist who differ with you and largely because the majority of their youngsters and those that were in the party were influenced by the east, particularly the Soviet Union then, and because it was supplying all kinds of ideology and other things and that has been a very important foundation of the ANC. So the ANC if it wants to bring about the kind of democracy I talk about in AZAPO they would have to forego this legitimacy question. They will have to agree and accept that for a democracy to exist, one of its central elements is that there must be other people who oppose.
For instance, I will give you an example, when AZAPO did not go into the elections, the 1994 elections, the ANC was not saying, which we thought they will say, was not saying, yes, this is democracy, AZAPO has got a right not to participate or to participate. They were actually accusing AZAPO for dragging, to say no, AZAPO now is destroying what we are bringing about so these guys are not good guys in society. Now that mentality is not good for democracy. Democracy allows everybody to decide as and when processes occur whether to participate or not so the ANC must get rid of this and when they have got rid of that then they will shy away from having to run a government single-handedly. If they were not forced to run the government with De Klerk because of the agreement, the possibilities are that the ANC would have put its own cadres right across from civil servants to army to everybody. Now when you want a prosperous democracy you can't attend to human resources in that fashion, if you want to run a country where everybody feels that at least the basis upon which the country is formed is ours, we may differ at where we are going at a particular point and that is taken care of by the political. So that you have a civil servant, you have the army, you have the police, you have all these functionaries owing allegiance to the country but voting different parties. Now the ANC would have to get rid of that because even the RDP it's failure was because the organisations that are in the communities, called the Civics, and this and that organisation, they wanted now to usurp the RDP which is meant to develop every citizen. They wanted to make it their instrument for political hegemony. Now when you develop a country you don't do that because what about that other person who does not belong to your organisation? That person must feel like this RDP is also bringing in life to me irrespective of whether I am an ANC member or not. Now what they have done is that in the township they started forming their own little organisation so that whatever RDP programme is brought then they are in the positions, they fight for those positions and that position.
Now if ANC really want to do something they must get out of that framework. It is a paradigm so they must have a paradigm shift which looks at the country irrespective of who belonged to which political party and which actually also promotes that feeling that people must actually belong to different political organisations and that that does not in fact negate the unity, because at the moment they will say it negates the unity, it wants to destroy what we are doing. If they want to build a dam and you feel that that dam is situated at a wrong place, you start to become critical, then the statement they issue is that you are not the right person, you are trying now to make people not to develop themselves. So that's really the only thing I can say to the ANC. If they do all that then they will have democracy but I am not sure whether it is not a tall order. You have seen, you were not here during the past few weeks when Bantu Holomisa went to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, a commission which has been established by themselves and a commission which is supposed to be told the truth, and Holomisa in whatever fashion he believed that what he was saying there was truth coming from his head. I may not believe it as the truth but he would have been allowed to say whatever he wanted to say because that is where he wants to cough out what he believes to be the truth, but they objected to part of the evidence that he has given, showing again the intolerant business I have been talking about.
POM Do you think that since the ANC has come to power that it has become more intolerant of opposition than it was before it was in power?
PN Well I don't believe that it has shifted, it has not become more intolerant, it has not become the other way round but it is just the ANC. It hasn't changed from itself to any measurable degree. It has stayed as the ANC which is very sceptical about criticism, very sensitive about criticism. Let me give you another example. The other example is President Mandela's example where he says that the death penalty will never be reintroduced in this country. If you extend that sentiment, he says that for as long as I'm President of this country I am not going to allow that situation. Now that's not a democratic statement. Now if you are a democrat you don't say those things because you do not know whether the constituencies will want because otherwise Mandela is saying that even if people were to be surveyed and they say they want it, "I as your President, I am going to deny you your right. You can't exercise that right on the death penalty because I don't agree with what you are saying." What he is saying is that the ANC as they sit they believe that the death penalty should not be reintroduced, but that's just the ANC. What about that other person who is a church-goer, that one who is a Muslim, that one who is in AZAPO who might not agree with what they are saying? So what are the processes that can lead towards testing if the President says it will never be reintroduced. So it shows a little bit of the thinking within the ANC that is not democratic. If I was in Mandela's position I would have said as matters stand now the Constitutional Court of this land has declared that the death penalty is inconsistent with our constitution but because we live in a democratic situation when the voters have voted they even have a right to reverse their own thinking. Because otherwise what is democracy if it is not a process where tomorrow we may think otherwise for our own good, provided it is for our own good collectively? And other countries may differ. Why do you have death penalty? We don't have it. But that's nobody's business, it's up to the people of a particular country if they feel at a particular given moment that is so.
It's like Clinton deciding on behalf of the American people to go and fight with Saddam Hussein. I may differ with him because I differ with that but I must first put myself into the boots of the American people. So the American people have to decide, in fact processes are on to decide ... the decision that was taken by the Clinton administration collectively with other things that they are doing, whether they must retain him as their next President or not. Now at that level that's a bit democratic but the way in which he decided to go and fight is because he says, "I have a mandate of my own people", so unless we understand that at the end of it, it is the people who run these democracies, it's not us, lest we become dictators.
In AZAPO's terms dictators are born out of the statement I've said to you, which unfortunately comes from my dear President here, where you say as far as I am the king here this will not happen, so whatever you want I am in charge now. That's what I wouldn't go along with. So that's then ANC framework at the moment but they are learning. As time goes on possibly they will learn that democracy means to rule with the other opposition parties and that their existence in fact makes democracy to survive.
POM Another issue that would fall into that category might be perhaps abortion where you have very strong feelings. Some people believe it's morally wrong, some people don't believe it's morally wrong. Do you think this is an issue, again that it's an issue on which the ANC has taken a strong position?
PN I think the ANC has got it's own position and there I don't blame them for having their own position because the issue at the moment is still being debated.
POM But should they allow their members, should they allow a free vote? Should they say this is an issue of conscience, some people believe very strongly that abortion is wrong, some people don't, so when the members of our caucus come to vote we're going to allow them to vote their conscience not the party position?
PN Well that they could do any time but you must know that political parties, now I'm talking political parties including AZAPO, is that prior to that vote of conscience there is always our party machinery which goes around to look for a common objective. All parties do that so that even in instances where parties say we are allowing you to vote through your conscience, it is not entirely correct that every member of that party will vote through the conscience. The majority of that party actually will end up voting the party decision. So the ANC to all intents and purposes, if I was in the ANC I could allow that knowing that in any event all my members will still vote what is party, but I shall be pleasing the public. That is why I say they are not entirely wrong because they are just saying we don't want to please you as the public, our party has taken a certain standpoint motivated by what we believe to be our constituencies, we have caucused this position and therefore we are dishing it out to you as our party position and therefore you can come and argue against it. What they should be asked if their people were very strong on this matter is to ask for two things, to ask that since this is a matter of women let women decide. Now when you say let women decide it means that the women of this country will be allowed to decide on it irrespective of their political affiliation. They will just be deciding as women although there will be those that will stick to their political line because they belong to AZAPO and another woman belongs there. That is another thing that one could ask for.
The second thing is let it be a referendum but when it becomes a referendum, a matter which pertains to women, men can vote through their hitherto attitudes about women because men generally speaking throughout the world have got their own perception about what women should carry and what they should not carry and to some extent even if it goes to referendum and everybody votes then the influence of men has determined history would also now become a matter which I would feel uncomfortable with. So the only route here is just to say probably if it comes to a push, let women decide because they carry the babies and therefore they can decide as to what they feel is appropriate for their lives. No other person should be allowed to do so but I don't blame the ANC, when the debates are on if you belong to a party it's better to come with a common view of the party.
POM Now how about the political funding of parties? Ruling parties in particular tend to attract a lot of money because they have the power and they can dispense the power and therefore they can go out and raise huge sums of money whereas smaller parties or minority parties have a lot more difficulty in raising the resources they need to get their messages out to their constituencies and to broaden their constituencies. Would AZAPO be in favour of some kind of public funding of political parties and of elections?
PN Well you must know that the question of money is not entirely determined by how big a political party is. The question of money is determined by the international scene. Now the international scene at one given moment or the other has got certain political parties that are in a ruling position so if you want to check the world right through history you've got to check who is ruling where and who is in what position in the world in terms of the parties that are ruling and therefore these parties in their own respective way they would like to influence directions that are not detrimental to themselves and that is why money flows in one direction or the other. The money is determined by just that equation but, for instance, if the Democrats are ruling in America and they believe strongly that a Mandela Party rather than AZAPO is more favourable to the kinds of democracy they believe in their heads, then money will flow from them in whatever fashion, either through a foundation or through whatever kind in order to emphasise that. Another person who is in Germany where you have conservative parties who are almost like Inkatha Freedom Party they will also find the Inkatha Institute and through the Inkatha Institute they believe that they can also maintain some kind of pocket of power if the Inkatha Freedom Party takes over the region of Natal. So there are lots of vested interests in the money cycle and that's why money flows in one direction or the other.
Also the second element is that people normally, right across the country, normally do not want changes of a fundamental nature. They do want changes but they don't want changes that they are not sure of. So even if they may believe in the politics of AZAPO and they are not so sure to what extent AZAPO will not then jump to its socialism and other things, they would not immediately go for AZAPO. But if for one reason or the other AZAPO wins the election even those that were not entirely happy will be coming to AZAPO and nodding and say, we have not been friends but we would like now to establish blah, blah, blah, and the world actually operates that way and that is why parties that are in power now they will continue to try to strengthen themselves with their bilateral relations.
POM Do you not think that's an argument for there being some kind of public funding of political parties so that they would all be put on an equal footing and that you would prohibit donations from foreigners or even prohibit people domestically from giving money?
PN Certainly. Well AZAPO has put a proposal to a lot of these funding organisations that have been funding the political parties that are in government now. We put a proposal to them to say that if you really want to promote democracy the first thing is that you shouldn't give money of an unequal nature, irrespective of whether one party is big or not, because when you do that you are ipso facto perpetuating the status quo and that if you are democrats it is your first departure, that even if ANC this year was bigger than AZAPO, AZAPO may be bigger the other year because parties may come and go and therefore you equalise the resources irrespective of what people say. Now that we have put as a fundamental departure and we wouldn't want the interference of foreign parties in the domestic affairs of our country because that also will push us back to the east and west fight that we come from where the Soviet Union will fund you and I will be funded by someone else and for certain interests and we end up fighting while the people who are actually planning are not with us.
But AZAPO has decided as an organisation that we are not going to be money driven. As an organisation we don't want to be money driven because of the same reason. We know that at the moment we would not be able to get the money that we need for the analysis I've made. So we can't cheat ourselves and think that tomorrow we will have millions because the analysis we have made it makes it impossible even if we want. So we have decided that instead of competing with money we are going to complete with people because everybody, even those that have money, at the end of that road it is the people you need in order to go back to parliament. That's why I told you at the beginning we are now organising branches and existence throughout the country so that if we come to 1999 we wouldn't need to hire a plane because we won't have the money to hire the plane. We would only need to send a telegram or we take a telephone call which will be very much less costly and tell our branches and people who exist to do their best so that people can vote AZAPO. So you localise the fight rather than making it a national fight. The parties that have got money, they wouldn't bother up until maybe six months before the elections because their posters can be put immediately all over the country. Now we start now, not putting posters, but talking to people now so that what they take in six months because of resources to achieve we must be able to take in two years so that we balance their resources that they have. It will be a bonus if by the time we reach elections we also have some amount which is equal to that. If that happens then, of course, we will beat them hands down. So we are equalising the huge resources that others have which will enable them to do the election in six months. We are now equalising them by starting now and that's a very fundamental point of departure for AZAPO and that's why we believe we will win.
POM Would you favour a system where the state said we're going to give any political party with demonstrable political support X amount of money so that it can set up offices, that it can set up branches, and when it comes to election time we're going to give each party a lump sum of money to spend for elections and we're going to give each party, say, one hour of free air time so that every party has an equal opportunity to get its message across?
PN The problem with that kind of thing to AZAPO is that it's not based on scientific evidence of that which is called demonstrable support. In fact we have fought with these people we are talking to that that phrase does not mean anything because in other countries we have seen even where surveys are taken, where they keep on saying this party is in front, but come the day of elections you find that very party sometimes disappearing in terms of who has been voted. So this demonstrable support may not be a yardstick so we are caught up with a reality where we will use demonstrable support meaning what the ANC had in 1994, which may not be the case now, and then we dish out money in relation to the number of people they had before and we will dish out money to the PAC in relation to their 1% and you may find that in the long run the whole situation has changed. Now what we will favour, to come to your answer, is that we will favour a situation where money is given equally irrespective of what people think you have as your majority. They just say political parties are competing, one million, one million each if that is the case.
The only thing that they must actually have is, of course, having a cut-off point at the tail end because I might form my own party with my wife and my relatives and declare it a party. So we must only have the tail end and once you are able to get into that framework, and it must be a very small number really and in other instances what the people say is that you must go around and have a list of people who signed. They say if you can collect so many signatures you have entered. That's a better yardstick because then the signatures are collected even if you know you have more people, we still want you to collect, so there's an equal chance of entering that door even for the party that believes that it's big. But the other one will just say we know this party has done very well in the past, it may be very big.
So we are agreed at that level and, as we understand it, the present set up, the interim constitution they drew up, actually does have such funds but the only thing that they do not have it is this entry point, we are saying. They have it, as you have stated, that they will be given per how many people it's believed they have and that's where AZAPO says that belief doesn't make any sense because anyway when you are in a democracy you are arguing that the party that may have had votes of a certain number may not have them later and you have already stated for a period of five years how do you know that you will continue to collect the same votes as you collected and therefore you must be given that money.
POM Would you apply that to media? Rather than political parties being able to purchase time for advertising on television and radio that every party contesting an election should be given equal and free access to radio and television?
PN Yes. And that will be done by the state as soon as the elections are declared and the parties have been given the money. There will also be money left with the people who are in charge to be able to pay for their slots for the political broadcasts so they will go to the public broadcaster and say, well as the incumbent government which is going out we have got a duty to make sure that the following parties which have qualified must get a slot, how much will you charge for how many minutes for each party? And they will have equal access and they pay a certain amount. So the parties then, in our view, choose when to use their space because if you don't say they must choose to use their space, the question of competing in a democratic sense it's killed. So what you will do is you will pay for it but you will say as and when a party is on a campaign sometimes we challenge your party to come with us to a debate because we think we will score and then we are recorded to have used our first slot and as and when it goes, and if we wind up not using a slot we forfeit it when the elections come. That will be a very favourable situation for AZAPO.
POM Do you think that's going to happen under an ANC government?
PN No it won't happen under an ANC government at all but under an AZAPO government those are the kinds of things that we will promote.
POM You're quite categorical and confident in saying that in 1999 AZAPO is probably going to win a majority. Now most people, to tell you the truth, wouldn't take that statement very seriously. The PAC used to say the same thing three or four years ago. In fact I've been talking to PAC people since 1990 and they said we're going to win a majority, we're going to win a majority, and they're hanging in at 2% or 3%. Why, when you look at the organisational machinery of the ANC, when you look at the resources it has, when you look at the way most people, at least to whom I talk to, in townships still identify the ANC as the father liberation organisation if not the only liberation organisation, that it is the party in power, that it will be able to use the resources of the state for re-election purposes, what makes you so sure that AZAPO, never having contested an election, is suddenly going to, and with very limited financial resources at its disposal, is suddenly going to emerge?
PN We are not saying so because of just our political thinking. We are saying so because we analysed the situation when the Kempton Park package was brought in and in our analysis we saw the things that are happening now.
PN Like we saw that there will be no delivery to people of anything that was promised and I can bet you there is no way where the Mandela government will be able to deliver. They will build one or two houses here and there. Now why they would not deliver it's because, as we said earlier, that the agreements tied themselves, they didn't realise that actually the agreements were tying themselves not to deliver. They entered into a framework which on its own is incapable of doing the things that they want to do. For instance, I will give you an example. The NP has just come up with a programme, they call it a poverty programme, they want to get rid of poverty they say and they are saying that that is not substituting the RDP. Because the NP, when they entered the agreement they knew they were closing the gap, they were closing that of delivering on poverty because they wanted to chip in with their resources they have accumulated over the years, to chip in so that they can win the hearts and minds of black people. Just that it is a discredited party. If that money was given to another black party that black party will do very well. So there are lots of things that we have seen which will not happen.
The crucial matter, apart from delivery, is that when the government came into power there was this liberation image, this thing here 'We are getting free', and to many people freedom meant the little things that must come to change their lives but they submerged all those into having to change from one form to the other believing that this new form will do the things they want. The people are beginning to realise that the new form can't do those things.
The second element is that you must know that Mandela as a person, he attracts more votes possibly than the ANC, as Mandela. So the symbolism that surrounds Mandela as the liberator of our country, the person who stayed in the prison, who even AZAPO will not dare to want to say, "You are a wrong person." That symbolism has already announced that, "I am no longer going to carry you through, so you have to decide in 1999 who will carry you through but I, as your person, I am saying that I might prefer Thabo Mbeki. I am saying I can give you Thabo Mbeki." To what extent Thabo Mbeki will have the same calibre and charisma that Mandela has is doubtful. Thabo Mbeki will place the ANC almost on a par with the rest of the parties.
Now AZAPO has got a favourable climate if we talk about elections. One, because what AZAPO said people are seeing it is so, so we won't have a problem of having to prove that our statements were wrong. We will have to say, well if you give us the chance, you know we are truthful to you, we didn't participate because we didn't want to betray you, we are going for what we think. Secondly, we have not tarnished ourselves with the non-delivery processes. We will be able to do that. But the most important thing to AZAPO is that AZAPO has changed the playing field, as I told you. We are definitely not going to look for money. It's not our cornerstone. We have planned it that way and if we are defeated that we find but we have planned that if we go for the resources we're going to have, and that in fact those that are in power will make sure that we don't have the resources and those friends of theirs who so love them will make sure that we don't have the money, so why do we go and look for the money when we know we won't get it?
The PAC made a mistake by wanting to compete with money when they didn't have, even in this past election. The second mistake they made was that they thought the elections were on issues. That is why they talk about the land and they thought that if they say we want land back, because that is an issue, they will win the election. And the people were not interested in land back and what have you. The people were interested in the promise for jobs, the promise for housing and the ANC came with this package. In fact if you check the ANC campaign it was a package of saying, if you get us in, De Klerk was not giving you a job, we will give you a job. If you get us in, De Klerk was not housing you, we will house you. If you get us in we will give you some basic facility. That has not happened and people are saying, now these guys they promised things which they cannot deliver. Now we are not interested in the money, we are interested in people. So we are talking to these people to quantify our existence. That's the cornerstone of AZAPO. In fact we are still going to tell the world, I am telling you for the first time, nobody knows what is our internal strategy, they will see it when probably you write your books.
POM But then you will be already in power.
POM It will be too late.
PN But what we are doing is that when you have even in business circles, when your competitors are strong on one point, don't go for that point unless you know that you will be able to crack it. Look for something else that they are not doing because all of them are going to show you, those that are in parliament, they are banking on the fact that they get the money and they will be able to put up their poster in one night and that on the basis of that they are going to parliament. And we are saying, no we will beat them hands down, we will beat them hands down by talking to those they have never spoken to. The ordinary person knows no ANC, I can tell you. Even when they call a meeting, the ANC, they call a rally once. Now we are not calling rallies. We are going to a village and call the village people and debate the issue because this election must be on issues. We are starting to tell them, these are the issues you must think of. Anybody who comes to say vote for me, ask these questions and find out whether your vote is worthwhile to give to that person if these issues are not resolved, because they have not been resolved over the past five years which you were promised. How do you make sure? So we are saying, make sure that the next election does not betray you.
That's why you find I am really confident. We won't win all over the country obviously. There are places which I don't believe we will actually be in a position to win. I can give you a place like KwaZulu-Natal. Not because AZAPO would not fare well but there are other sets of circumstances which are conflict driven. Anywhere in the world where there is conflict between two predominantly, two parties, people get polarised and when they vote they no longer vote issues, they vote their existence, they vote their fears, they vote to make sure that their side continues to increase and therefore you can't even get into the polarised and get a little bit here and there. So KwaZulu-Natal for 1999 is still probably being a battle between the ANC and the IFP and when the situation has been brought down to normality then you will start finding other people who would want to belong somewhere else who can exercise that right because you can't exercise that right there now unless you want to die and every person's aim is that you must preserve at least yourself. And if you prevent that by becoming an ANC for the sake of becoming an ANC then as a human being you are very happy for that time being but when the situation changes ... So we are not really considering spending much of our energy there although even now we have recruited people in areas that people will never believe but I can assure you I don't believe we can talk about a majority there.
POM But why should people believe that you will be able to deliver the housing, the services, all the things the ANC said it would deliver and hasn't delivered?
PN We will not tell the people that we will deliver because we believe it's a mistake. When you free people, even Moses, Moses who took the Israelites from Egypt, Moses never said I am going to deliver you. Moses sought to get their co-operation to deliver themselves to their place of milk and honey. If one understands that whole journey, Moses never said, "No, come with me I am going to take you there." Of course as a leader he must say so, that I can lead you there. That's all I can see Moses has done and that's what we are going to do. We can't, when you want to liberate free people you can't begin to say, "I will give you this, I will give you that", so our standpoint is that we are going to say to them, all the promises to you do not work. We want you to promise yourselves. You must promise yourself, but you must find a party which will allow you to promise yourself, which will allow you to develop that promise to reality. You mustn't find a party which says, "I will give you this", and when you stand up now to challenge it, it wants to say, "No, don't do that", like in the Holomisa situation. People have gone to demonstrate that we don't want him to be expelled but ANC is a bit that kind of organisation. So we will say, promise yourself that your vote is yours and that you will only exercise it if you believe that the programme that is being brought to your door is a programme that you find yourself acceptable and that you will be able to make that a reality, because we can't promise.
Let me tell you why we can't promise. We don't own the economy. The economy of this country, I'm not talking about you come from another kind of country that at least you have got many millions of years, but we are talking about here. We don't own it. Now if I were to promise a job, I'm lying. I can only promise a job maybe of the civil service but all governments of the world are trimming, so who am I to stand against trimming the civil servants when everybody is trimming in the world? Who has the money? The people who have the money say trim. The World Bank says trim. How can AZAPO then stand up and say, "I will give you a job as a civil servant", because they don't own the money. So AZAPO can't commit that mistake even if we don't go to government; we don't want to commit a mistake. We want to make a new move, almost like the Japanese did after the second world war. They didn't promise anybody jobs but today they are almost there because they said to the people, "We were ravished by other people so our duty is to pick up this country and make it our own and be able to develop into the benefit of our children." Now we need that vision. We don't need the other vision of promising people when I don't own the money. All this business here it's owned by those who have oppressed us and by the time these up and coming black business people come into that, that will be millions of years, so why do you promise a person when you know that you can't do anything? The government can only employ in the civil service. That's the only employment it has. And also you must know that privatisation is taking place. So even if I wanted to promise anybody a job where will I fit that person? So the only thing is to say, this is your country, we don't have all the things that we have because we want to be human resources driven, we want to be driven by people. It's inimical, nobody talks about it but AZAPO says if we want to make this country survive we must be people driven, we must drive this with them. They must see their poverty and they must be able to accept that it is them who must take themselves out of poverty because also we are instilling a sense of responsibility. You must know that all along there was this dishing out from the apartheid and it has made most of our black people to think that tomorrow if a government comes it must also dish you a job. They don't realise that they must create jobs on their own and they must use themselves in order to dig them out. So that is the paradigm which we are going to operate on and we believe that for this country that is the only paradigm.
The third element is that we are going for the unity of all our people. Of course Mandela preaches it but he is not preaching the way we preach, that this country needs every person. It doesn't need an AZAPO member, it needs even the other member who stays in your street and that when you are in the same township your duty is to develop the township rather than looking as to which party is developing the township otherwise you are gone. I have seen it happening in other countries. I have visited other countries. I have seen people who belong to different parties. The last time when I was in Britain they were voting; in 1987, I was there when the voting was taking place and we didn't sleep the whole night and we were watching, but we were watching not as - there was the Labour Party and also the Conservative Party people, we were watching one telly. They were not cutting each other's throats. They were criticising each other; we are winning, you are not winning, but it was a lovely thing, showing that human beings at the end of it must begin to show that they owe allegiance to their country but for one reason or the other at one stage they would want to be led by party A but they are not glued to the point of having to feel uncomfortable if someone belonged to party B. That is the kind of thing that we will become.
I can't promise you much more than our framework towards victory and we are working on it on a daily basis and we believe that it will work. Also if you have read where the Black Consciousness Movement comes from, we come from people driven because we didn't even have a cent. In 1968 when we started this there was no cent, but look at how we developed up until 1976 and then in 1976 if you could ask whether those student representative people had money they will tell you they didn't have. And that is the cornerstone. So we are just saying if we could make it without a cent the world didn't even know who is the BCM because it was just started from nowhere. ANC was already abroad and it had already taken the money from the international community. PAC was already abroad, it has already got pockets of its own friends and we started and we say irrespective of whether they have got pockets of friends we use ourselves, our intellect and that we are going to build a movement here no-one will stand against.
POM Is the tide of history not against you? Say when I turn on television or when I turn on the radio here it's the same; you go to all the malls around, I could be in Boston. It's the same music, it's the same television shows, it's the same kind of mass consumerism. The kids go around wearing the same T-shirts, the same baseball caps. Television says over and over again, "Get, get, get", and the advertising, is all this not working against you particularly in an urban environment?
PN Well if you talk about TV generally ...
POM I mean the average - do you think your message would go down with the average unemployed 18-year old or 19-year old in the township?
PN Yes, because it is not what we see on TV that matters. No. It's not what we see on TV that matters. It is what is happening to my life. Even when I am seated with you checking TV, it's the inequalities that are there which have not been removed. That is why in fact in AZAPO's terms the crime we are talking about here will never come to an end until such time that part of the material conditions under which people live are also attended to. One part of the crime is the material condition, is the way people live, the way people grow up. So if you don't remove that as your strategy don't hope that you can continue to increase the number of police. And again, as I was telling you, there is also a limit to the number of policemen you can employ, again by the argument I was giving you. So that strategy it's not going anywhere. Even putting police to be visible, because the youngsters they come to know that the police will be visible for many times and they will also devise other tactics or they lie low and you won't be able to maintain that. That's why even in the world they say a situation of conflict of interest it's never won by increasing the power to block it. It is won by increasing other forms of resolving it and one of the forms is that. So it's not working against us this ... it's just that the world is like that and we will not work against the fact that the world must share.
The fact that we must have music from America and we are really not interested in working against human beings have developed throughout the world and therefore you can't be standing in front of the developments of the human species but that's just really development and therefore that's beside the point. What is actually at point here is whether that development and the things people see, the good life sometimes they see there from other parts of the world, whether when they check their life they are not saying to themselves, "Hey look at those people, they seem to be enjoying and yet we are not, we are just looking at what is happening." And that is what works for us. We look at the material good and things are very easy, is the health care system of this country; it's whether the majority of people are able to access the health care; it's whether the many people who are staying in squatter areas here are accommodated. One of the things that this government does not realise also is that it counts how many shacks are there and it counts and says I've got so many million shacks. So if I come with a strategy of building 200,000 houses a year I will be able in 199- to finish the shacks. They are lying because they are not taking into consideration that the shacks are also being refilled. When you move out of the shack to go to that house there is another person already who is occupying it. I have never seen shacks being destroyed because there have been 50 houses built somewhere. And they don't realise that because they don't sit down to analyse what is happening. So what happens is that because these people are coming from the rural areas because of no job, so I come here, I establish my shack with my wife and children, and they say come and fill in the forms and you will get a house which they have planned for. Before I actually go there I've already told another person who wanted to come nearer jobs also to come and be stand-by. They actually sell, if he was taking this count, they actually sell the shacks and then they enter the little house which is being built. And the housing is not going as fast as the shacks are being built. Now as that is happening there is no way they can resolve it.
Now in AZAPO's turn we must shift away from the supply of houses in the urban area only, shift away from that paradigm. Our paradigm must be the supply of houses both in urban areas and in rural areas and also developing the rural areas so that some of the jobs that we are creating must also be found there. Of course it won't be at the same pace with the business, industrial area. So some of the people who might come and fill in the shacks may not consider to come because this housing they are queuing for they can also queue where their children and other relatives are. Normally rural area people like to be near their own environment because they understand that environment better than the new environment they are coming in to. That way possibly as time goes on ...
POM Yes, but if I talk to somebody in the ANC they would say just what you're saying.
PN Yes but they don't have a programme to implement what they are saying. That's the difference. In fact you've touched the real core. ANC will possibly say all the things that I am saying. The ANC does not have a programme.
PN Because - we don't know.
POM It's got all these intellectual resources at their disposal, they've got all these experts at their disposal.
PN Well in fact at the expert level that's where they have a problem because what they have done also, which is a big problem, they have gone to get expertise from the very people who never had a logic of putting up houses for the poor. Now other countries what they do is that when they want houses for the poor they look at another country which has resolved the poor people problem and go and get that expertise to come in, and that is not becoming racist or becoming selective. It's just that you are saying if that country has dealt with the same problem let me go and get that. But what they have done because of the Kempton Park agreement, they were forced to retain the civil servants they have. Remember that contract says the civil servants must be retained which means the expertise that is there, which they can pay for, is the expertise that was there in the civil service so they have got to use that. But under normal circumstances if you are building a new country you will really have to also change the paradigm of the very people that are in the civil service because they see it in a different way and that's where they put themselves in trouble.
POM Some people say that part of the problem is that senior posts in the civil service, that affirmative action is moving too quickly, that people with expertise are being taken out. The people who are coming in to take their places have the academic qualifications, they have all the qualifications for the job but they have no experience in running huge departments, in managing state budgets, in doing all those things that are part and parcel of running state machinery, and that results in inefficiency and in clogs in the machinery and things getting bogged down and things not getting done.
PN I will answer that very simply, that in any country I do not judge the clogging of things on the basis of who you have employed. I don't, because it's really sometimes not necessarily correct to say that a person with experience is always better than the one who does not have experience. Sometimes there is a - well we can say safely that people who have experience have a likelihood of success in a particular circumstance but we can never just say because of experience you don't have therefore - But I judge the extent to which there is appropriate delivery as the cornerstone of any government department. So we must shift the yardstick that is the test for good governance from having to maintain proper accounting only, having to be able to keep the team together and yet even when you have finished keeping the team together the department runs smoothly, let us go from one department faster, everything is intact. There is no appropriate delivery mechanism to the people for which the department has been created and that is where their problem is. The problem is not on the affirmative action side. The problem is that there is no - this linkage, it's not there at all and it's not there because the people who were efficient, let's say they were efficient although they were not efficient, the officials of the apartheid, they were actually more corrupt people in this machinery and also that machinery was serving a very small number of people in the country you must realise, and it was probably more manageable if we were to go for efficiency, but they were also very corrupt people. That's why it is actually continuing. But, when this situation of expansion occurs where you free everybody and all the other things must be done for all, even the most experienced civil servant will not look. In fact it is actually better to bring about people who have stayed from the side of those who have never enjoyed the benefit so that they can also talk about how to reach there. So at the moment both the experienced civil servant and the ones that are being affirmed have not found an appropriate delivery mechanism to both sides, it doesn't make sense when a person says he is going too fast and therefore that's why things are going this way. I do admit that people who are inexperienced have a likelihood of fumbling.
POM That's part of learning.
PN Yes that's part of learning but I lay emphasis on the delivery mechanism that you may not have all the knowledge to manage funds, you can hire someone to come and do your books and keep your people here a bit. But if you were able to link what the department was formed for and its delivery mechanism you are better off than a person who sits there and says I'm tightening all my - because the essence of doing any development or business is to be able to satisfy what you are put there for.
Now the other thing that I wanted just to mention is that this country is in trouble. It still measures growth through GDP. All the world does that, but in a developing country where you've got poor people we in AZAPO would want you to measure, you can measure GDP because you are economists and you are schooled, there is no problem, but it must not be the only yardstick. After having finished that which the world accepts you must then measure as to how far from the state of affairs people are today from where they were yesterday. Now there you are not measuring GDP, you are measuring the extent to which you have taken people away from what they were suffering from so you've got to bring another measuring stick. If, say, I took a country when people were 99% illiterate and I go into a five year plan, when I finish my five years you must ask me how many people are now liberated as opposed to 1990. If I still have got 99%, and I have got all my department tightened up, I haven't done anything which is meaningful to the people and that is what has happened. If you were to ask these guys how far away are our people now from the houses they didn't have? How far away from the medical care they didn't have? How are they coming nearer and nearer these things that they must finally enjoy? Nobody will tell you. They will tell you the GDP has grown, the economy has grown with 3%. That's what they tell you. But it is not a 3% that matters to people. It is the consequences of that 3% being translated into something meaningful for the people and everybody will tell you that the 3% has not actually created jobs. That they will tell you anyway. You can go and even the economists they will tell you. So what is the use of the 3%? Do we just keep it for the sake of keeping it, then AZAPO will say, well you don't know how to run a country. Don't just keep a growth for the sake because we can have 18% tomorrow, but if that 18% has not translated into doing something so that people can move nearer to the things they want, then you are not in AZAPO.
POM Well on two issues, jobs, what is AZAPO's approach to job creation? How would it go about empowering people to create jobs themselves or do it collectively or in their communities or whatever? What would it be doing differently on a large scale?
PN Now AZAPO the first thing it will do is it will not rely - if we are in government we will not rely on what they call market forces to create jobs. We won't. Now not because we just hate the market force, it is because market forces have never created jobs the way in which the poor want them to be created. It has never, all over the world market forces don't do that because market forces are controlled by the owners of capital and the owners of capital are the ones who must determine to what extent they can fit themselves to their own benefit and their satisfaction and only then they decide to create jobs. So where market forces have created jobs it's only to the extent that they are favourable to the continued existence of the people who own capital. Now we will not depend on that. We will actually try to intervene, we will try to come with laws which must intervene to accelerate the creation of jobs. It was once done in this country by the previous government but they were doing it for their own good.
For instance the previous governments of the apartheid era when they wanted to deal with the question of the poor whites they went into definite schemes using taxpayers' money to alleviate the plight of those poor whites. Their scheming included sometimes if you get one child you get a bonus, two children another bonus, so that relatively speaking when you are poor you are brought up on (hand-outs). It worked. It's just that at the moment it will have to be done for a large community. It can take millions of years. But the fact that there are schemes of that nature, we can take it even from the history of those who were oppressing us.
At one stage when they created the Bantustans they went to create what they call border industry, I think you have heard about that, border industry. Now with this border industry they would come to you and say you've got money. You say, no, you want to invest here, but we don't want you to invest in Johannesburg, you can invest in Bophuthatswana, in one of our Bantustans, and we are going to cut so much of your tax. Now you as an investor also you feel I'm going to gain more there. There was even a question of cheap labour then and you see your balance of statement, your balance sheet becomes favourable, you go there. But they were doing it because at that stage they had passed a law that they no longer want blacks in towns here, they want to get rid of them, they must go to their homelands and they instituted a package, although it failed, but they were trying to make sure that the market forces on their own must be assisted somehow in order that they must be brought in to create jobs and that's what they were doing. So we are going to do exactly that. We will interfere with some of the ways in which raw market forces left alone will not be able to create jobs so we will come in and try to devise schemes which would probably accelerate the creation of jobs.
Apart from that you must be people-centred if you want to resolve any problem of poverty anywhere in the world. You must start with the very people who are in poverty that they must do something about themselves and you must inculcate a spirit of themselves getting themselves organised and then you could come with what you can call pick-up money to make them to go higher because anyway they don't have much resources. But if you were just to say I am going to dish out to you, it won't work. People must be made to create structures. It doesn't matter how little they may be or how small they may be, you must make it sure that they are able to do that. And AZAPO is looking at the shift of emphasis rather than going on platform and start promising this and that and that which we know it is impossible to do because we actually don't have money in this country. At the moment some of these structures are run from European money. The European Union is actually pumping millions there. The Truth Commission is running on EU money. We don't have any. We would not even conduct any hearing of a Truth Commission. Are we going to continue to do that where some important things must be run by money we are asking other people to give? What about even those countries some time comes into being? What will we do? If we become dependent we all perish. So we have to change the conditions of the thinking of our people and that's why I used Japan. They changed the condition of the people. Japan is a capitalist country and when I grew up I was told that in a capitalist country you cannot safeguard jobs because the market forces must work in such a way that those who want jobs must compete with others and almost saying that unemployment must be for ever in that situation and Adam Smith and others they emphasised that philosophy and I learnt that philosophy and I felt these philosophies are appropriate. But when I came to learn about Japan, as I learned when I go to school, I found that in Japan everybody is guaranteed a job and then I started to say, but if Japan operates the same way as other capitalist countries, what is happening? Because they have gone into trusting the people. They have changed the whole framework into people-driven than the other way round and they were able to inculcate in the spirit of the Japanese society to do things collectively, to love each other, and they are therefore able to safeguard the jobs although there are other consequences like people who hang themselves for other reasons, but that's the consequences of any system.
POM We'll leave it there.