About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

04 Oct 1996: Konigkramer, Arthur

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POM     Mr Konigkramer, let me begin perhaps by asking you about the IFP's return to the Constitutional Assembly. Now for a number of years it seemed an inviolate principle that the IFP would not return to negotiations on the constitution until there was international mediation on a number of issues and Dr Buthelezi reiterated this again and again and again even up to recent weeks and suddenly international mediation has disappeared from the language of discussion altogether. What happened?

AK     Well that's a very difficult question to answer but let me just tell you a remarkable thing that's happened, and it's not going to be published now I suppose one can reveal it. Anyway what happened was first of all there's no doubt that for whatever reason there's a major sea change taking place in the thinking of Walter Felgate which is very difficult to understand.

POM     The thinking of Walter Felgate?

AK     Correct. Now what happened was where this, just to sketch the background to the changes, at a recent meeting of the National Council I was absolutely flummoxed to discover that Walter Felgate got up and said there was something on his conscience and he must talk about it and he said that he personally and the IFP owed me an apology. They had got it all wrong, everything they did was almost designed to sink the KwaZulu/Natal constitution in hindsight and if only they had listened to me and followed my way of thinking and my line of action then we would have had a constitution. Now this, you could have heard a pin drop, it was incredible. So that shows that something has happened.

     I don't want to push my own personal role in this but another very remarkable thing that happened is I seem to be top of the pops with the Chief and others, I did the IFP's submission to the Truth Commission, all of it except for one very small portion which Walter did, and it went down very well and it I think it made a big impression on the Commissioner and it certainly did on the Chief. So he has adopted a totally different approach to me personally and it's very difficult to try and understand what has happened but something has happened.

     Now with regard to that particular decision, again one doesn't really like talking about these things because they really are things in confidence, anyway what happened was Walter Felgate got up - (break in recording). So he got up, there seemed to be a difference of opinion between Ambrosini and himself but he then got up and he proposed a resolution which although it indicated that we would consider to talk to the ANC, but it made some very hard statements which in my judgement would be calculated, there's no doubt about it, what would have happened is the ANC would have just said lump it, we're not interested in talking to you. So after he had made this statement which was very much in line with the past way people do things, the Chief got up and said well he didn't see anything wrong with that, he thought it was quite good, and of course normally when that sort of thing happens everybody gets the message and I thought about it and spoke to a colleague of mine and I thought it was not very wise so I raised my hand and the Chief immediately saw it and so I said I didn't agree with the resolution, I didn't think it was very good because what without any shadow of doubt what it would do is it would achieve the opposite of the objective which people say they want to achieve which is to open bilateral discussions with the ANC prior to re-entry. So I suggested that the resolution be scrapped in its entirety and that it be replaced with a very simple resolution just saying that the Premier has contacted the ANC and the ANC have agreed to bilateral discussions and that's it. So when I made this statement then it was unanimously accepted and people were saying, yes, that was very wise, and without wanting to blow my own trumpet but I can tell you that's why we have gone back. It opened the window of opportunity because I knew at that stage that also there had been a big change in the sense that the main negotiator was now Dr Ben Ngubane and when there seemed to be a looming confrontation he opened the window of opportunity by saying let's talk to the ANC and then the resolution came which would have negated that because it was so hard line that the ANC, if it were published, they would have immediately said, well we're not prepared to talk to you. So I have built on the window which Ben had created knowing of course that he would be the negotiator and of course we live to fight another day and that's what's happened.

POM     And Walter Felgate didn't attempt to ...?

AK     No he didn't. He left immediately and went and drafted the resolution and came back and it was exactly as I said it was. It was a one-liner, one paragraph resolution with no detail.

POM     What do you think is accounting for this what you call 'sea change' in attitude? Is it the performance of the IFP and the local elections which has concentrated minds on the future?

AK     No I think it's more than that. I think what has happened is that Walter Felgate for the first time is actually living in the real world. In the past he was able to make statements through the Chief and the Chief was all powerful and they held a lot of sway, but unfortunately now the IFP is not in government or it's not the government, it's only got 10% of the national vote, and I think he is now finally beginning to realise that you can't do things by decree. As I spoke to you before, the fundamentally divergent approach between myself and those people in the constitutional negotiations was that I, right from the start, accepted that the ANC make up 30% of the population of this province and there was no way that a constitution which didn't have their blessing would stand the test of time. It would be a recipe for conflict. So my approach was to try and reach consensus with the ANC. Now the others their whole tactic was to get the IFP to gang up against the ANC with the support of the minority parties which I knew, apart from it being morally wrong and tactically wrong, that it wouldn't work and then to get a two thirds majority and then just to force your will on the ANC. I think the wisdom of that is now beginning to bear fruit because the real politick of South Africa is that you've got to negotiate and the ANC at national level is also beginning to learn that it might have a big majority but that it can't govern on its own. We in KwaZulu/Natal have also got to accept that reality that the ANC has got 30% of the vote and certainly when you're talking about constitutions, and that's what's going on in the Constituent Assembly, you simply have got to find an accommodation. That's the name of the game.

POM     In going back in has it been agreed that the IFP will restrict itself to the items raised by the Constitutional Court or will it use that as a way of raising other issues too?

AK     No, no, it's not going to raise other issues. Of course there's a major debate about that. The ANC, and quite for its own selfish reasons, makes the statement that it's not prepared to re-open negotiations. I don't think one needs to be too dogmatic on whether you're raising so-called other issues. The fundamental reality is that the Constitutional Court ruled that, I mean the main issues that we're talking about, is that provincial powers have been substantially reduced. Therefore you cannot simply, I mean if you want to address that that's a very broad subject. How do you increase provincial powers without looking at all the issues involved. I think it's taking a very narrow view of things. The Constitutional Court said that provincial powers had been substantially diminished and so if you want to address that issue that's a very complex issue.

POM     Yet it seems rather odd to see on the first day of the IFP going back that number one only Peter Smith, one person, turned up and, two, that the first issue he brought to the table was the issue of the King.

AK     Well you must remember that part of the root cause of the conflict in this province is the issue of the King, his role in KwaZulu/Natal and also the position of the Amakosi and local government in rural areas. So it is a very critical issue. Apart from that the interim constitution which bound us and the principles say that you shall make provision for the King. Now in the final constitution no such provision has been made so therefore once the interim constitution falls away one has got to be very careful that the new constitution doesn't say that you have to make provision for the King. So by subterfuge the other side could get away with saying, well it's no longer an issue. It is an issue not only for the IFP but for this province. Anybody that believes that you can leave that thing unresolved is living in a dream world. So it is a very critical issue.

POM     If I hear you correctly you are saying that unless the constitutional issue of the King is clarified that conflict in this province between supporters of the IFP and ANC is likely to continue?

AK     It goes beyond that, it's not a simple issue between the ANC and IFP. If you look at Contralesa which is a creation of the ANC, now they have challenged the provisions of the constitution in the Constitutional Court and they have joined forces with the IFP in challenging those provisions. So it's not an ANC/IFP issue although those are elements of it. It's much broader than that. It's traditional authorities versus so-called very, that's why I use so-called, democratic forces because as I've told you before it's extremely arrogant to describe traditional structures as undemocratic. But that is what the dichotomy has become. The ANC's Mike Sutcliffe for example, he always says there's going to be wall-to-wall local government by which he means that all local government in rural and urban areas is going to be elected. Well that's not going to happen and it can't happen and the constitution says it shall not happen. Well it doesn't specify it quite that clearly but it says that you have to recognise traditional structures. There are other provisions of the constitution which say that you shall have elected government but there's a dichotomy there and that will remain.

POM     Is this in some ways as some commentators have put it, a conflict between the forces of modernism and the forces of tradition?

AK     I can't accept that. That sort of thinking is very much in line with the old apartheid government, things are either black or white, there are no greys. You're either right or you're wrong, it's either black or white, and I think that's the fundamental problem we have in all our politics. If you talk about the forces of modernity or modernism am I then to believe that the ANC is a colonial power because so-called modern developments come from the west? Are they trying to impose on Africa a set of values which are alien to Africa? That's how I could counter. Now that might be simplistic but the reality is that large numbers of urban people, large, large numbers retain their links with the rural areas. Look at modern medicine, you will find (I don't have the exact figures) but 40%/50% of all Africans that go to very highly hi-tech western hospitals have been to an nyanga first. Those are the realities of Africa and it's not going to go away and you have to accommodate that. What I would rather say is that the conflict very often is between urban elites and poor rural people which is a factor not of modernity or otherwise, it's a factor of resources and that's the fundamental problem we have with the trade unions today that it's become almost a labour aristocracy and it's a form of pass laws by a different means. The Nationalist government tried to keep the black people out of the towns for racial reasons, the trade unions are trying to keep their own black people out of towns for economic reasons. They don't want competition from the unemployed so they are creating a labour aristocracy.

     As I say modern trade unions and the way they behave is just apartheid by another means, apartheid through other means, that's what it amounts to. And there is no way that that can continue to operate. If we want to talk about the forces of modernity then we must let the market operate, then we must let everybody compete for the jobs. It will bring down the prices and we will become competitive. But now we're going on to other issues. So it's not as simple as that.

POM     But what you're looking for, what has to be sought is some way to balance the needs of modernity with traditional structures, for the two to co-exist, that they both have to use, the phrase is used often in Northern Ireland therefore maybe I shouldn't use the phrase because it's what they call 'both should have parity of esteem'.

AK     Yes. Well in a sense that is so. It is inevitable that traditional structures are going to have to change. The land tenure system is going to have to change but it's going to have to change in such a way that it's acceptable to those people that are involved. They must dictate the pace, not outsiders, not some central bureaucracy. I just want to make one passing comment, when you talk about the forces of modernity and those of the more backward rural people, well I'm a member of the IFP and I don't consider myself backward and I think the IFP, in fact I know the IFP enjoys the support of very, very large numbers of very sophisticated and very clear thinking black people that are professors and teachers.

POM     Now put that in the context of the local election results, perusing whatever literature, they took place when I was away, but perusing whatever literature when I came back one message comes through, is that the IFP wins the vote but the ANC wins the power, that the ANC won, not just won, overwhelmingly won the industrial heartlands in Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Richards Bay, that the ANC has control over four billion rand in budgetary resources while the seven regional councils that the IFP controls have something like control over 78 million rand and that the base of the IFP was the rural areas and that if it can't break out of being a party of traditionalists the outlook for the party in the future, both in the province and particularly nationally, is questionable.

AK     Yes there are elements of truth in that but it's very simplistic and again the problem is this whole problem of black/white thinking, it's too simplified. The reason the IFP lost the elections in the urban areas is very simple in my judgement. First of all there was total disarray in the organisation. That's the first one. Secondly, because of the way the IFP had behaved with the senior leaders attacking whites in its ranks in calling them racist nuts and all sorts of things, other members saying about Indians that they will know the IFP has arrived when they get their tickets to Bombay, do you really expect urban people to vote for a party that makes those sort of statements? That's the issue. Thirdly, you must remember that these elections were local government elections. They were not for where the real power lies, I'm talking now in our province, which is in parliament. Now if you cast your mind back to the 1994 election you will have noticed that, for example, the whites, the overwhelming majority of the whites split their vote. They voted on national level for the National Party and on the provincial level they voted for the IFP, hence it's overwhelming victory also in the urban areas. So you mustn't make the mistake of trying to equate a local government election with a provincial or a national election. That's the first thing. In my judgement if the IFP were to get its act together and if silly statements are not made like that at leadership level I am absolutely sure in my own mind, even now, that the next election is going to be very similar to the last one. You'll get 50, 52, 52 maybe up to 60% for the IFP and the rest will be split up among the others. So I think the analogy is wrong.

AK     I was coming to that.

POM     This can't just be blamed on one or two statements.

AK     No, no, it can. Hold on, there are more reasons. First of all there is the factor of disorganisation. Secondly, if you were to go along as a party and say that we're going to make Ulundi the capital and Maritzburg is going to lose its economic base, what do you think is going to happen? Among all race groups, what do you think is going to happen? And that's what happened. The other issue is this, some of the most senior white leaders of the IFP live in Maritzburg. Think about it. Do you think they are going to go and campaign for a party when they're attacked like that and told that their city is the seat of evil and it mustn't be the capital? Those are the reasons.

POM     What was behind this onslaught on white leaders in the IFP? Was it that they were trying to dictate what the party should be doing, trying to take over, trying to impose?

AK     There is an element of that in all parties. You must remember after 300 years of history and you suddenly have got a multi-racial government obviously that's not going to go easily particularly if that's embroidered on the legacy of apartheid. So in all parties there is conflict. In the ANC I think there is even worse conflict between the different races. It's probably because it's a revolutionary movement that it's managed a little better but it's there and that is going to continue to be a problem. You're not going to build democracy overnight. Everybody knows that. You should know that from Ireland. Obviously whites, because of their greater skills and because they are forceful a lot of the people within our party, that does create tensions but those can be managed. I believe that there has been a third force element operating which has been feeding information to the senior leaders and I have personal experience of that. I was smeared beyond measure by agents of the police that wrote reports to the senior leaders and I have got copies of those reports and they are outrageous, I mean totally outrageous.

POM     By agents of the police?

AK     By the police yes, but that were party members, but we didn't know that at the time.

POM     ANC party members? IFP?

AK     No they were members of the IFP yes, but what many people didn't know is that these were former policemen, security policemen and so on, and unfortunately a lot of the senior leaders believed that claptrap and maybe because it was convenient to believe it. As I have since pointed out to the leaders, the national leaders, and I think they are now beginning to understand it, I said, "You know you are very naïve in the way you react", because what has happened, why did these people do this? They did it for their own personal reasons but more importantly they did it because the more they can immobilise the whites within the IFP the more they can get them attacked by the national leaders, obviously the whites are going to flock into the National Party, which is exactly what happened. That's why the NP got such a good showing during the local government elections. Those are the reasons. One day those will be published and people's hair will stand on end and certain leaders at very high level in the IFP are going to have egg on their faces.

POM     You're looking forward to your day of vindication, or you're having your days of vindication?

AK     No, no I'm not.

POM     Not vindictive, I'm just saying feeling vindicated as distinct from ...

AK     Yes but I've always trusted my own judgement, I'm not arrogant. At the end of the day history will be the judge. I don't want to be able to make a big stand and say you see I told you so, I was right. History will show who was right and who was wrong.

POM     Were these, not to get into them, allegations that you were operating on behalf of other parties?

AK     No, no, no. I don't want to go into that, but really, really ugly stuff, really ugly.

POM     I want to talk for a minute about, I want to get back to the local elections but I want to talk about the National Council of Provinces that's proposed to take the place of the Senate. Have you any idea what this is supposed to be? What form is it supposed to take? What powers is it supposed to have, the manner in which it is supposed to operate?

AK     The objective is very simple. The objective is to strip the provinces of their powers. The authors of that are all of them centrist in their thinking and it's a means to actually emasculate the provinces under the guise of what they call the very fancy phrase of co-operative governance. They claim to have modelled it on the German model which superficially is correct. What the ANC, and I've told them, those that I talk to on a regular basis and I think history will prove me right, that they are being very short sighted because I can tell you that the very people that are going to revolt are the members of the ANC because they will be able to manipulate that in the short term because they control seven of the nine provinces. But we in the IFP hear it on a daily basis now from the provinces that they are sick and tired of being pushed around by the centre. Now they begin to understand the battle of the IFP and they are thankful that we actually stood our ground. If it weren't for the IFP there wouldn't have been provinces and they are beginning to flex their muscles. If you look at a man like Matthews Phosa, I find it incredible that he is conducting international relations with Mozambique. He is creating economic blocs with Mozambique and Swaziland. Isn't that a national matter? So these people in the fullness of time will revolt so surely the better way to resolve it is not to try and play games but let us implement the interim constitution and give the provinces the powers that it has and there are more than sufficient powers for the central government to look after the issues which need to be dealt with on a national basis. So I don't believe that the Council of Provinces is going to prove a success. I think it's going to be a failure.

POM     Nobody seems to know precisely how it will function?

AK     No that is true but the very reason that is so is because there is the unwritten agreement that because the ANC controls seven of the nine provinces that whatever is decided at the centre those seven provinces will implement. I want to come back to one issue, the issue of the Ngonyama Trust because it is critical to what is going to happen and that's very tied up with the rural areas. The government changed, first of all the Ngonyama Trust Act was passed by the KwaZulu government in its dying stages and what happened then was that immediately after the election what the government did is it took all the powers to itself, including the Ngonyama Trust. They took everything to Pretoria. Now in terms of the constitution if a Premier petitioned the State President to return powers which were assigned to them in terms of the interim constitution, the constitution stipulated that the President shall, not may, shall delegate those powers back to the provinces, which the ANC did not do. Even things like the KwaZulu Monuments Council Act for a very long time was held in Pretoria. They wouldn't give it back. It is back now.

     Now what happened with the Ngonyama Trust Act is they also took that Act, they then tried to use it to achieve their own objectives with regard to rural land but unfortunately they were hoist by their own petard because in terms of the interim constitution when you make a decision affecting a province you had to have the concurrence of that province and now of course the IFP is the governing party in the province and there is no way, the central government has now met its match and that is why there is a stalemate now because they cannot change that law without the concurrence of the provincial legislature. Now in terms of the Council of Provinces of course they have very cleverly changed that to say that if five of the nine provinces agree then it shall be applied, so therefore the individual province's right of veto has been removed. And very clearly if we look at, say, the Ngonyama Trust Act or, say, matters affecting the King of the Zulus, how on earth can five other provinces decide what's good for the King of the Zulus? That's a nonsense constitutionally but that's what it says and of course this is why I believe that it's not only an issue which the IFP has a problem with. You've seen the revolt in the Eastern Cape. As I've said, you've seen how Contralesa has now joined up with the House of Traditional Leaders and with the Amakosi in KwaZulu to take on the ANC government and (Patekile) Holomisa has actually had his membership removed.

POM     There will soon be enough of them out there to form a party of their own. Will this be one of the sticking points in the negotiations that are going on now, that the interim constitution provides that changes affecting a particular province must have the concurrence of the legislature of that province and that that must be restored?

AK     I don't know whether it will take that form, it doesn't necessarily have to be that specific. Fundamentally what it means, I think the real issue is that the province's powers must not be curtailed. That's the issue.

POM     That is a significant power.

AK     Oh it is, it is. It affects a broad range of issues. For example, I think even more the greater sticking point is going to be the issue of police because there is no doubt, and the Constitutional Court has ruled, that the powers of the police have been diminished.

POM     The powers of the police ?

AK     At provincial level.

POM     At provincial level?

AK     Correct. Now what the national Minister, Mufamadi, has said again this morning is that he will not, the ANC will not budge, they are prepared to discuss it but they will not budge on the issue of a unified command. Well he's not going to get his way. He can't get his way because the constitution very clearly says - I mean the interim constitution, for example, lays down very specifically that the Regional Commissioner may not be appointed without the concurrence of the Premier and that is a very sound constitutional principle. Look in any federation, look in Germany which is a very good model, the police are controlled by the (province) not by the state, not by the central state. Particularly in Africa, particularly in Africa it is critical that the police and the armed forces actually the power is diffused, that it is not centralised in one person's hands.

POM     That would apply to the national army?

AK     We argued that point at the interim constitution but we lost that battle and I think that's something which cannot be reopened, but the army is a central function.

POM     Let's just pursue the policing matter for a moment. As I understand it from talking to others and just from what you've said, is that at the moment you have the National Commissioner appoint the Provincial Commissioners and that the Provincial Commissioners are accountable to the National Commissioners and not to the (provincial government).

AK     No, the Provincial Commissioner as it stands at the moment is accountable to the Regional MEC, the Member of the Executive Committee, and Mufamadi has written letters in terms of which he purports to change that but he cannot change that because it's illegal. He has actually written letters to the Premiers which we've all got copies of as members of parliament, and all of us except the ANC have challenged it and he will not get away with that. We will not certainly, and I'm not only speaking for the IFP, but we will not accept a situation where we don't have control over the police in our province. We're not talking about national standards and all that and training, that we can regulate, but in terms of actual control of the police it's got to be vested locally.

POM     At the moment what power does the MEC for Safety & Security have?

AK     He has very considerable powers. In fact he has the power not only to veto the appointment, in other words it has to have its concurrence, but he has the power to remove him. If the Cabinet loses confidence in the Regional Commissioner they can remove him.

POM     How about in terms of deployment of police resources?

AK     He can do that.

POM     Of the preparation of a budget pertaining to combat crime?

AK     We can do that. In the past, until 1995 what happened was, it was part of a transitionary process because what basically happened is the budgets of all the regional administrations were consolidated and basically those funds were then allocated to the provinces on the basis of what happened before. In the new financial year now we as a province get an allocation from the centre, and there's a commission, as you say, that looks at those things, and then we as a government, as a parliament, can decide how we're going to allocate those resources. So whereas in the past, for example, you had X for the police and it had to be spent on the police, now for the first time we can actually decide, we get a globular sum and we can decide how we're going to spend it. So to answer your question specifically with regard to the police, if we wanted to spend more resources on police we could do so.

POM     But you couldn't hire more police?

AK     Why not?

POM     Well is hiring not through the central?

AK     No, no, we can do that. It's only above a certain rank that in terms of the current legal situation where it can be done by the national minister. They've changed all the ranks now but everything under a colonel is our affair.

POM     So that when the issue of policing as one of the matters being considered by the Constituent Assembly at the moment, then are the provinces looking for additional powers or are they looking for absolute clarification?

AK     We want certainly the same powers that we had before. Nothing less. That's what the constitution says, you shall not diminish. So we can't go and look for expanded powers. We can negotiate that but we certainly have no constitutional right, so that's what has to be implemented.

POM     Dr Buthelezi, I may be incorrect, has talked about KwaZulu/Natal wanting a police force of its own.

AK     Well that's in terms of the constitution. We can have that. We control it. That's what it means. In terms of the interim constitution also, which is another debating point, the provinces were entitled to raise what were called metropolitan law enforcement agencies and in terms of the national constitution, the new one, that's been taken away. Now again it's interesting to see, for example in our province we are one of the very few provinces, in fact I'm sure we're the only one, that have got a city police force, a metropolitan police force which has virtually the same powers as the police.

POM     Here?

AK     Yes. Durban City Police have the power, they don't only deal with traffic, it's a law enforcement agency. Always has been. The old national government as they were grabbing, abolishing the provinces, abolishing the Provincial Councils, that was the next thing that they were about to swallow up because they even wanted control of the Durban City Police.

POM     Do they still exist?

AK     It still exists in its own right.

POM     And they are under the control of?

AK     Of the City Council of Durban, and it's a regular police force and it's a highly competent one and we in KwaZulu/Natal believe very firmly that that's the way to go. I would like to see, and certainly my party would, I would like to see a metropolitan police force in all the big towns because there is nothing better than local control. If you've got a local police force which is accountable to the locally elected people you can rest assured it's going to work and it's not going to abuse its powers.

POM     Now you're saying that, and you use the word 'metropolitan' and you're saying that like in the full knowledge that all the metropolitan centres are under the control of the ANC?

AK     That doesn't worry me. That's democracy. But what I can tell you for sure is that no ANC mayor is going to give up the Durban City Police. That's a reality. And already you can see the South African Police, or as they call themselves the South African Police Services, couldn't operate in the city without the Durban City Police. There would no law and order because they are doing a huge amount of the regular policing work.

POM     There is no doubt that Dr Buthelezi was displeased with the election results. He lashed out at the manner in which the elections had been conducted and almost fingered different leadership elements.

AK     Correctly so.

POM     Then there were statements by different party leaders, some putting the blame on the British consultants who had been hired, that they had no understanding of African culture or the way things worked here, others pointing the finger at Dr Jiyane saying he just didn't have the organisation up to par to fight elections. You had statements from Dr. Jiyane that in principle he wasn't against an alliance with the ANC, there was a report in Business Day that he was saying that you are both fish out of the same pond.

AK     That was all, that's really a side issue. All these very silly things.

POM     That was all speculation?

AK     It was a total nonsense. It's just woolly empty talk. There's really no foundation in fact.

POM     OK let's drop that.

AK     And some people got carried away with it.

POM     But there was a promise of a post mortem to analyse what had gone wrong?

AK     That's being done.

POM     And again the statement from Dr Jiyane saying that if the IFP didn't manage in future elections to break out of its rural base and to attract a significant amount of support in metropolitan areas and in urban areas then the prospects for the party were rather slim.

AK     Why didn't he attract them then? He was in charge. Let me give you my judgement on that. First of all it is a fact that the campaign under Jiyane and others was a total disaster. They haven't even got, don't remotely begin to have the skills to run that. And when the senior leadership began to realise that things were going wrong [one of the, maybe I shouldn't,] I was one of those that got a letter saying I demand of you, almost, that you use your skills to help us. What I did at the death is I ran for the last week mainly a newspaper and pamphlet campaign which I think worked quite well. But the other panic measure which was taken was to bring in the British consultants. Now that's not going to work. You can't bring in high powered consultants from overseas who don't even begin to understand the dynamics and think that they are going to make an impact. But it was all panic measures. The issues are first of all there had been extremely unwise management by some of the senior leaders, and I've been through that, silly statements being made and so on. So the rot had set in. Coupled with that a totally inefficient election campaign.

POM     National elections are only two years away and again if one looks at the performance of the IFP in provinces other than KwaZulu/Natal, looks at just actual performance in KwaZulu/Natal it no longer looks like a national party. It has been, not condemned, but consigned to the status of a regional party by many national observers. Not true?

AK     Of course there's a measure of truth in it, more than a measure, but again one mustn't be simplistic. There are problems and they can be addressed. First of all let's just talk about KwaZulu/Natal. The party is at the moment in the process of being restructured dramatically and I am quite sure that that is going to have an impact. Part of the restructuring of the party on a national basis, I mean the decisions have been taken but it hasn't been done, that will also have an impact in, for example, the powers of South Africa in Gauteng, I think there is now acknowledged that the current leadership simply is not credible and it very clearly cannot deliver so decisions have already been taken that there have got to be fresh elections there and we will see what's thrown up.

POM     Fresh elections for?

AK     For the positions, yes. Now that, of course, is easier said than done but those initiatives have been taken so if they come right then I think it will have a major impact. But I think you need to look at it in a broader perspective and I think that all the signs are there that this current government is not really capable of governing and I think, I don't say that from a party political perspective, the signs are there. The economy is not growing, violence is out of control, there is a lack of faith in our rand, it's just sliding by the day and probably will lose another 25% within the next year, so given that, it's very clear to me that there's going to be a major shake-up in South African politics. I think there are going to be new forces emerging and obviously the IFP is going to be buffeted like everybody else. Now what comes out of that process nobody knows. So it's not simply a question of whether the IFP will become a regional party, I think you're going to get a total, I believe that you're going to find that the ANC will probably shed some of its, it will probably, more and more of the Bantu Holomisas of course will be lost, but there are more fundamental issues which are going to arise. The National Party very clearly is also going to go through a very big transition and I think that when Mandela goes obviously, which is 1999, obviously that's going to have a major impact. I think De Klerk should go as well. I think he's part of the problem and then who knows what's going to happen. The IFP could find itself caught in a maelstrom of milling in the centre and new forces might emerge which could transform radically all the parties.

POM     Do you think it's inevitable, or almost inevitable, that the ANC at some point must, that this divergence of interests can't over the longer haul be kept under the same umbrella, that the purely ideological differences are just becoming too great?

AK     Yes but more importantly is that they are not going to be able to deliver and so if you can't deliver it's no good having the tripartite alliance. What's going to hold it together? The people will simply not vote for them. You can have the alliance but very clearly the people won't vote for them. You can talk to large, large numbers of black intellectuals today that say to you that they would much prefer the Nationalist government, the old Nationalist Party government, given that apartheid is gone. What the issue is now is management and delivery and so it's much more fundamental than simply the differences of opinion within the alliance. I don't think that major realignments will take place before 1999. They will take place after that, once Mandela goes and once we've seen the outcome of the elections. I think that's when the real ferment will take place and I think the real big drama in South Africa is going to take place in the year 2004.

POM     My God, you mean I have to keep going? There's no stopping.

AK     Well it's a society in transition.

POM     What about the KwaZulu/Natal constitution? The court more or less dismissed it fundamentally out of hand, go back to the drawing table.

AK     I told you before that I am very proud that I voted against it. It's not a proper document.

POM     I know time is running out and I won't keep you more than my allotted time. The funding of parties which is central to a flourishing multi-party democracy and given that money gravitates to where power is and right now most of the power lies with the ANC and hence most of the ability to raise large sums of money whether it's for the party or for campaign purposes, would you favour some form of public financing of campaigns?

AK     It is already so. It happened like that. I mean the 1994 election was funded by the government.

POM     But now the local elections weren't, and the next elections?

AK     I would certainly not favour public funding of elections. There are certain fundamentals which should be financed and which is already in place. For example, there are constituency allowances and parliamentary allowances which are very substantial amounts of money. I think it's about R3500 per member. Now very clearly that is a way of financing an election because those funds are used to set up constituency offices, party offices and obviously the more efficiently you run those the more effective you're going to be so there is already - it's not for actual running of the campaign but it effectively is the financing of political parties because the money which is voted by parliament goes to the political parties and it's substantial amounts of money.

POM     But do they not have to use it for specific purposes?

AK     Oh yes, but you can set up offices, you can buy computers, you can hire secretaries, you can pay for your telephones, you can pay for transport other than transport for members of parliament. Of course it's audited but the point is that those are very substantial amounts of money and any campaign is based on party structures and party organisation which exists. You can't run a campaign if you haven't got those structures so the state is actually providing the money to finance an infrastructure and I think it's very wise.

POM     But you would hold it there?

AK     Yes I would stop it there. I would go further, I think that what one needs to do is that political parties should be forced to disclose who finances them, as is the case in most western democracies, particularly West Germany which I think is a very good model.

POM     And do you think there should be a cap on the amount that individuals or companies give?

AK     Yes. Well the German system seems to work very well. There they have got a cap on it. But the most important thing is disclosure. I think that's very healthy and that also takes the sting ultimately out of - when it's done clandestinely there are always people who doubt, like with this Holomisa thing, people doubt what the actual motives are. Is it so that you can get contracts or what is it? Once it's out in the public then there shouldn't be a stigma attached. There shouldn't be a stigma attached to the fact that, say, Dunlop finances the ANC and Goodyear finances the IFP or whatever because it's democracy. I think it's a very healthy development and I would strongly support that. It's not going to come to pass.

POM     Do you think the ANC will disclose?

AK     Oh they would never, never, never because a lot of that money comes from Libya, it comes from Nigeria, it comes from radical movements in Latin America and so on. Do you think they are going to reveal that?

POM     Should there be a prohibition on ...?

AK     There is but that doesn't stop them from doing it. But if there was disclosure of course it would be stopped because then you would be able to see it.

POM     Just two last questions. One is on electioneering. Access to media. Should during election periods all parties be guaranteed reasonable access?

AK     If it's publicly owned yes.

POM     Should each party be given an hour to give its message out?

AK     Absolutely, because if something is publicly owned then the only way that you can guarantee that it's even handed, given that the state controls it, is to actually give reasonable access. I would strongly support that.

POM     But on the paid advertising, on commercial media?

AK     You see, and this is amazing that in South Africa you're not allowed to advertise on television and radio politically. It's forbidden by law. Now they did during the 1994 election make time slots available for the political parties, free, and I think that's healthy.

POM     But the law as it stands would prohibit commercial media from ...?

AK     I can't remember exactly whether it's the law or whether it's the government policy, but it's not allowed anyway, it hasn't happened. You can't buy time on either radio or television for political advertising. I can't recall exactly whether it's a legal provision or whether it's an internal one but the reality is that it's not allowed, it doesn't happen.

POM     Last question. You know you say this government can't deliver and this will be an issue in 1999 but the IFP by remaining in the government of national unity is in fact part of that government and as a coalition partner you have to take responsibility, you too become the target for the very kinds of complaints you're raising?

AK     There is an element of that of course. The much more important issue is really that it stops you from criticising. That's the much more fundamental issue.

POM     So why stay in?

AK     Well that's a whole other debate. But let me just say, just to answer the first question, no I don't think it can be pinned on the IFP because anybody that sought to blame the IFP for the failures of delivery would be laughed out of court because they would say, listen don't kid us, we know they've got one or two ministers but don't try and kid us that they're to blame. Talking party politically nothing would suit us better if the ANC were foolish enough to do that. So I don't think that's an issue. The real issue is that it hampers criticism of the government. It's very difficult for our ministers to publicly criticise Cabinet decisions. They can't. That's a problem. With regard to the government of national unity, speaking for myself and the party seems to be following that line, I do not believe that it would be in the country's interests right now for the IFP to leave. I think first of all it would have fairly serious international repercussions because people would view that almost as a signal that something big is going to happen.

POM     It would be perceived as deepening the divisions between the IFP and the ANC.

AK     And the possibility of major conflict. So I think it would be, in my judgement and I've said it many times, it would be irresponsible in the extreme to do that. It doesn't matter how difficult it is. During this transition I think it's absolutely critical that we stay there. Secondly, not only would it impact internationally but it would have a major impact internally as well, it would inflame passions and I don't think that's smart.

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