This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
14 Nov 1996: Hartzenberg, Ferdi
POM. Dr Hartzenberg, I was going to begin by asking you, and it refers to the very short conversation we had before our interview started, about it's been one year since I saw you and how would you assess the state of things in the country at, say, three levels: (i) politically, (ii) economically and (iii) in terms of social relations and attempts at nation building and reconciliation?
FH. I think first we must start with the political situation. I think in one sense people are realising that what we have at the moment is a bloated civil service as the result of affirmative action. A lot of experienced people have been replaced by inexperienced people and they get tremendous salaries on the gravy train. One example is, for instance, the Police, Safety & Security Department. Before the election the top generals were replaced by other people. That means the management component of the police were totally disturbed. Since the election about 19,000 policemen left the service and they were replaced by people without experience.
FH. 19000. That means the Safety & Security Department, the police, does not operate effectively and that is the reason why crime is escalating in South Africa. Last year 18,000 people have been murdered and in the first six months of this year more than 11,000, that means 22,000 on an annual basis, an increase of 23%. The same thing happened with armed robberies, car hijackings, rape and all the other things. That means that the administration is collapsing. The same thing happened with the SABC. It has been announced earlier this week that the government is going to subsidise them with R500 million. The same thing happened, experienced people were replaced by inexperienced people and the administration is such that the quality of the programmes is of such a nature that people are not satisfied and they don't pay licences and as a result of the fact that people are not watching television in the same way the advertisers are also not using it and for that reason the income has dropped. But it is as a result of a lower quality of a product that they present to the public. Politically the administration of the Eastern Cape is collapsing and they had to send in a team to assist the people. The fact is that it is going on but it is the private sector that is maintaining the economy but it will become more difficult every day because if the telephone systems, all the infrastructure that must be provided by the state is not on a level then of course it will be difficult for the private sector to maintain the quality and the standard of services that they render. I think the Eastern Cape is the first one. It will also happen in other provinces because the Education Department now, some of them, it was a disaster the examinations. The control was not there, the exam papers leaked out, they were sold for R200-00 a paper.
POM. Is that the matriculation examination?
FH. Matriculation examination. And they had to postpone some of the examinations and have other examinations later in the year. That means that when the universities open not all the matriculants will know whether they have passed or not. But if you study the examination papers the standard has dropped tremendously. In certain papers a Standard six child will be able to get a distinction in the matriculation examination as a result of the drop in the standard. So I think one thing is going to happen, as a result of the political dispensation and ability of the government, standards are going to drop in every sphere, education, administration, safety and security and everywhere. It is so that people have voted in a certain pattern in 1994. The black people, the majority of them supported the ANC and there are people who are dissatisfied with what has happened but that doesn't mean that they are going to vote differently in the next election and it is very difficult to say whether people will some time or other change their attitude and they will vote differently.
. That is very difficult because in Zimbabwe you have the same situation and they have had elections but people continue to vote in the same way. For example, if you take the Matabele section they are totally dissatisfied with the constitutional dispensation because they say they are 20% of the population, they have land, Matabeleland, and they can at the utmost get 20% of the seats, that means 20 seats in that parliament of 100 seats. What they say they want is they want a federation between Matabeleland and Mashonaland so that they can look after themselves in Matabeleland and then they co-operate in the central federation. But there was only one party which participated in the last election from the Matabeles, that was Ndabaninge Sithole because Nkomo is part of the government of national unity. So although they are dissatisfied and they want a federation and they have had a party to vote for they didn't do that. Ndabaninge Sithole only got two seats.
POM. Why do you think that is? Why do you think people don't change?
FH. I think the reason is that they assume and they accept that Mugabe's party was the party which is responsible and was responsible for the liberation and for that reason they feel that they must continue and vote for that party but it is 15 years ago, it is already 15 years ago and the economy is deteriorating and they don't vote for an opposition, not even in Matabeleland.
POM. So would you expect the same thing to happen in South Africa?
FH. I think the same thing will happen because the alternative now is the National Party has formed an opposition and they said they must get votes from the total population and they must be an alternative government, but I don't think the black people will vote for the National Party in large numbers. They will get some support but not enough.
POM. It would be stunning if they did.
FH. Yes, but the fact is that the ANC is in the comfortable position that they will go to the electorate and say, "Look we have liberated you and are you going to put them back?" So it is white people, it is a white party dominated by white people and although they say they must get black leaders and so on I think historically it is an uphill situation and they will not be successful. So I think the voting pattern will more or less remain the same. What we need in South Africa is an opposition within the same dispensation. What you need is a constitutional alternative, that is what is exactly needed. In our constitution no provision is made for the recognition of nations and we have eleven nations in this country and no recognition, no provision and that is the biggest flaw in this constitution. Take for instance the discussion on the statues and things, street names, where the ANC of Pretoria, the Mayoress has announced that now she is going to move the statue of Paul Kruger and other people. There was an uprising by Afrikanerdom all over the spectrum who said that that is ridiculous. And now yesterday at the press conference she said, no we will not remove Paul Kruger's statue but the rest we will remove them. But the fact is to the Afrikaner people, Paul Kruger is a hero, he is a central figure and Pretoria was the capital and it is still the spiritual capital of the Afrikaner people and there is no sympathy from the side of the ANC. They act like a foreign conqueror in this regard so how are you going to solve that problem? It is impossible to solve it because the people of the ANC demand from them 'remove those symbols'. To the Afrikaner it is precious and it is going to create feelings so the only way to solve the problem is alternative political dispensation where the Afrikaner can do what they believe in and where the other people can do what they believe in. It is their duty to put up statues for their heroes and to name streets after their heroes names, but do that where the people will appreciate it and allow our people to do what we appreciate. So a political dispensation, an alternative one, is still the only answer for the problems of South Africa.
POM. Let me take you back a couple of steps, if I were to say, well everything you said is true with regard to crime, with regard to the economy, with regard to the other things that you mentioned, but on the other hand the IMF and the World Bank have come in and said the macro-economic plan is a good plan, that the government is exercising fiscal discipline. They gave a thumbs-up sign to the government's monetary and economic policy. You have tourism increasing at a vast rate. As you probably know as well as I, it's impossible to get a hotel room in Cape Town or Durban or any place, or even a flight. It took me, I think, I rang for a flight from Durban yesterday afternoon and was told the first one available that wasn't full was this morning. The economy did grow last year actually 3% which is more than it did grow in over a decade. Aren't there some encouraging signs too? Foreign investment is coming in, not a lot, not on a large scale but on a larger scale than before 1994. It's still only a trickle, not very much was coming in then. Couldn't one argue that a lot of the financial mess that the government inherited was the financial mess created by the National Party?
FH. I think the final measure to determine whether the economy is improving or not is the value of the rand. That is the final measurement and the fact is that the rand is still deteriorating and it is as a result of a lack of confidence because we don't get enough investment, private investment. The investment that we get is small investments from governments but large companies, the multi-nationals, they are not, Mercedes-Benz and BMW and Ford and those companies, they are not erecting new factories at a tremendous scale. So I don't think there is much confidence from the private investors from all over the world. Secondly, that macro-economic plan of course it is not a bad plan, there are very many aspects of it which we agree with but the fact is it must be implemented and the IMF has visited South Africa, their representatives, but it was turned down by the ANC or their allies. They said don't accept the money from the international monetary fund because they are going to interfere with our sovereignty, that they have done in the rest of Africa. Because they say we will give you loans but then there must be regular elections and you must support the private enterprise system and free marketing system. That is interference. And now the government must now implement their economic plan and the question is have they the will, the political will to do it, to go against COSATU and the Communist Party because that is the alliance? And the fact is that in Africa you have a lot of tremendous economic plans which meet the requirements of a free market system but it has not been implemented because they haven't got the political will to do it. That is the test for South Africa. I don't think the government is going to implement the macro-economic plan. Mr Mbeki has already indicated that some aspects of the RDP, and the RDP is a socialist spending programme, it is not a developing and a growth programme, they are now going to introduce some of the aspects of the RDP and in that way they are going to water down the macro-economic plan. So I am not confident that this plan will be implemented.
POM. Would you say that since 1994, since the elections, that the standard of living of white people has gone down or has remained about the same?
FH. I think it is coming down, definitely, of all people in South Africa because of the growth rate.
POM. Of all people?
FH. Of all people except the people on the gravy train and the people in the civil service, the people that they have appointed. But unemployment has increased for all population groups and the final is not only are there more people who are on the gravy train and they are doing better but the total population, you must take that into consideration, and if you take the unemployment then of course the situation has deteriorated and the growth rate that we have experienced was for one year and it is not enough to meet the population growth. If you take the population growth into consideration then for one year of course the situation has remained more or less the same. But we have been very lucky, we have had a very good agricultural year last year and this year we will have to see what it is going to be but if we have not a very outstanding agricultural year and we can export and we can supply then of course it will be a different situation, we will not be able to achieve the same growth rate. But according to the macro-economic plan you need a growth rate of at least 5% to meet your goals and we are far from that. That is not only the population growth of South Africa but you must also remember that people are streaming in from Africa and the population growth is not only the natural growth of the population of South Africa, there is an additional factor of people who are immigrating to South Africa and they place a tremendous responsibility on the state and the economy to provide work and it is not possible. So unemployment is increasing. As far as that is concerned the fact that the rand is at the level where it is now, and there's no sign that it will improve, that is the indication of your economic situation and it's not a good one.
POM. I hate to tell you that before I change my dollars every day the first thing I do is look at the papers and get the rate of exchange and I say, well I'll wait until tomorrow or next week.
FH. Because then you will get more rands. Of course, every day it is deteriorating.
POM. How about relations between people? Have race relations improved? Have they become more polarised?
FH. No I don't think it has become more polarised. I think it is the same because basically there is goodwill between all the people of South Africa and all the people want peace in this country and stability so there is a reservoir of goodwill and I don't think the situation has changed from what it was. I think it is more or less the same. But the fact is, is this government able to run the country effectively and I think so far the indications are that they are not capable of running the country effectively and secondly, corruption is a tremendous problem not only at government level but also from local level and provincial level upwards. Every day you read in the newspapers of names of civil servants who don't exist but they are getting salaries, pensions and contracts when they must ask for tenders they allocate the contract before the time has run out for the people to apply.
POM. Does it say anything that most of this corruption takes place in former homelands or former independent states which were corrupt to begin with?
FH. Not all of them were corrupt but I think one of them, the most corrupt one, was the Eastern Cape, of the Transkei of Mr Holomisa, and now you have Mr Raymond Mhlaba, an old man, and he has no grip on it, so that is the reason why it collapsed there in the first instance. But the corruption is not only taking place there, it is taking place in Gauteng, in the PWV area, the examinations are an example of that and there are other examples. The fact is that corruption is taking place and it is escalating and it is not a foreign phenomenon in Africa. That is a simple fact, it is happening.
POM. Some people would say that there was a lot of corruption under the National Party but it was swept under the table so at least there is more transparency about the corruption. It's reported, it's gotten out there, people are prosecuted.
FH. No I don't think people are prosecuted. That is the problem. That is the problem, the government hasn't acted so far against people involved in corruption. Take, for instance, the case of Mrs Winnie Mandela, the case of Boesak and the Sarafina 2 case where R14 million has been wasted. The President said the Minister of Health is a very good lady and she can make mistakes as she wants to but we are not going to act against her. But they have acted against people who criticise the ANC, like Winnie Mandela, she has not been ousted from her post as a result of corruption but because she criticised the ANC. The same thing happened to Holomisa, they get rid of him because he criticised the ANC. So they don't take criticism, they act vigorously against it.
POM. Just to go back to the agenda of the Conservative Party, when we talked last year you talked about how the ultimate aim was sovereign independence with perhaps some preliminary steps towards that but that was the final goal. You then contested the local elections, in a way seeking a mandate for your aspirations and objectives. Now many people and many commentators would say that the party's performance was very bad and that you received no mandate whatsoever and I think in Pretoria where before you controlled the City Council ...
FH. We had more or less 48%.
POM. - that you got one seat or something. Could you just comment on what people say and how you interpreted the results and what went wrong?
FH. We didn't do well, it was a bad performance. But the fact is that there is still no other solution for the problems of South Africa and we have now come forward with a plan, a confederal plan. The ultimate aim is still the same, free sovereign independence in our own territory and working together with the rest in a confederation, but our problem is, and that is one of the reasons why we didn't do very well, the fact is that the atmosphere and the spirit that is prevailing in South Africa at the moment, the only thing that we can do is we must vote for the strongest opposition against the ANC and that is the National Party. Let us vote for the National Party so that we can put up the strongest opposition against it. But the fact is it is still in the dispensation and they have achieved nothing. Inside the system the National Party were not able to achieve anything.
. Take for instance two laws that have been steam-rolled through parliament, that is the Schools Bill, there was a bill on the table and then negotiations started and then it was brought to parliament before the Standing Committee and then to parliament and the fact is that the ANC on their own changed the bill to such an extent that in the end, the final bill, the initial bill was much better than the final bill. Negotiations didn't improve the bill in any way. The ANC on their own steam-rolled it through parliament and they have decided that parents will not have the necessary control over the schools to decide who will be allowed and what the standards will be, the provincial government will control it. Parent involvement has been reduced to a minimum, so it was a deterioration.
. The Abortion Bill, all the religious organisations they had an opinion and they were against it and the ANC just took the decision with a simple majority and they put it through. At the moment that is the spirit, let us put up the strongest opposition against, but the opposition doesn't achieve anything. I realise that, that we are in that situation but gradually people will realise that we must get an alternative constitutional dispensation and that is what we have said in the plan that we have announced, a confederal freedom plan, namely in three steps, that first we must unite our people and we must take the issues, the burning issues and around those issues we must unite the people and in the second phase we must ...
POM. Unite the Afrikaners?
FH. The Afrikaners.
POM. The burning issues are?
FH. The burning issues are, for instance, education, local government, affirmative action, land redistribution, safety and security. Those are the burning issues and around those issues we will stand together in future. And then the next step is in the second phase to get internal autonomy so that we can control certain aspects. There is no reason why we cannot control our own schools and all those things, and then in the last instance, in the third phase from there to move to sovereign independence.
POM. At this point can you say that you have a mandate from Afrikaners to seek a volkstaat if in fact when you went to them ...?
FH. Yes but that was not the question that was put to the Afrikaners, that was not the question. The question was to elect people for local government and in that sense people vote and say now we must get the maximum people elected to oppose the ANC and if we divide our votes too much then we will not be successful and so let us vote for the strongest party. But they are disillusioned with the National Party and I think that situation will grow and the NP will lose its support base from Afrikaners. The question is it is totally a different question when you talk about freedom and self-determination in your own state. Then it is an alternative and that has not been put to the electorate. It was simply a local government election and big politics are not involved in it.
POM. Now as you know this book is not being published until the year 2000 so some questions I ask you, even though they seem to refer to the future by the time the book comes out they will be in the past. Could you tell me now whether the party has reached any decision as to whether or not to contest the 1999 elections?
FH. No not yet. We are studying the whole situation because you have in the document that we have published we pointed out that in a dispensation like this where you represent the maximum of five million people there is no hope that you can gain control of the country. In other words you have a vote but the majority will still run the country and they will take the decisions. The only way that you can, through the ballot box, change the situation is in co-operation with parties from other nations who also want self-determination. In that sense if, for instance, amongst the Tswana people there is a party who wants self-determination and they beat the ANC amongst the Tswanas ...
POM. They did?
FH. No, they were not allowed to participate in the 1994 election but they participated in the local elections and they made a start. That is the African National Christian Democratic Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, they want much more control of their province and they have already beaten the ANC in the province of KwaZulu/Natal, so if there are parties and they can beat the ANC within the nations those parties can stand together and then they can decide how to implement an alternative political dispensation where you have self-determination for the various peoples. That is the one thing that we have said in that document. Now there are other options and one very strong option is that if that is not possible in the time from now to 1999 but there are people who want self-determination but they realise at the ballot box you will not get anything, and if you participate then you will give legitimacy to the dispensation. If one or two nations stay out and they don't participate then they will put pressure on the legitimacy of the constitution and the dispensation and we have appointed a committee to study this thing in depth because we realise that even the Human Science Research Council's report showed that there are people who are disillusioned with the ANC, they have voted for the ANC, they are not satisfied with the ANC but they didn't move away to another party and probably next time they will again vote for the ANC. So if there is no alternative then it is also an alternative not to participate and to start to put the legitimacy of the constitution and the dispensation under pressure.
. I think things will change next year, it will be different. Next year it will be different. As far as education is concerned I think people are very dissatisfied with what has happened now as a result of a lack of good administration and the text books have not been ordered and it is certain that next year many schools will start the academic year without text books, many pupils at least without text books and people will not be satisfied because they want to maintain, and not only maintain the standard of education, they want to improve it because we want to be in the same category as the people of the United States and of Europe and we can and we have done it in the past and for what reason must we now be satisfied with certificates and qualifications that are not similar to that in the rest of the developed world?
. If it happens as a result of a lack of good administration then of course dissatisfaction will grow and the same thing will happen at local government level. I mean it is deteriorating. You have the new councillors, they've got big salaries but even the councillors don't pay their bills, even the people in parliament they don't pay their house rent and they don't pay their bills at the cafeteria in parliament and from time to time you read in the newspapers that now the management committee at parliament must take steps against the members who are dining in the dining room but they don't pay their bills. That is the example that they put to the ordinary people. We don't pay our bills for our houses and we don't pay our bills for our meals so the rest of the people, it is a culture of non-payment and that is a culture that has been cultivated by the ANC since 1976 and they have cultivated a culture of burning down schools and strikes and all those things and now they cannot control the people. The people are still continuing with that culture. So I think that situation will escalate next year because the Minister of Constitutional Development said 95 local governments are already bankrupt. By next year it will be perhaps 195 and what will happen to the services, and how are the factories and the shops going to operate effectively? That will affect the people and there will be a drop in the standard of services and people will not be satisfied with it because it is not necessary to be so.
POM. What does the Education Bill do to teaching through the medium of Afrikaans to Afrikaans only medium schools?
FH. No it is not possible. They are totally against it to have an Afrikaans medium school as such. They say you can have Afrikaans medium as an instruction but then only in certain classes. Every school must be a multi-cultural school so there cannot be an Afrikaans school with an Afrikaans character, a Christian character. There can be classrooms but not a school and institutions.
POM. What has been the Afrikaner response to this? So far it seems to me it's been pretty tame.
FH. The response is that more than twenty organisations, that includes educational organisations, political organisations and other organisations, came together and they said this is a very serious situation and we must now co-operate and they have participated in the negotiations when this bill was under discussion but there was no result. Now next year this thing is going to strike the people and then they will realise what is going on and that's why I say I think next year it will be a different situation.
POM. If I were to ask you, if you look at the last year, and it's just about a year almost to the day since I interviewed you, can you point to anything tangible or concrete to indicate that your party has made some progress towards the achievement of its goals?
FH. No, no, at this stage I cannot give you any indication that we have made significant progress. The fact is that in this past year we have been in a planning stage and we have produced this plan.
POM. Is that the work of the Public ...?
FH. No, the Public Works Committee, that was a different committee but it was an overall plan over the whole spectrum of government activities, but as a political party we took the political side and we did some more planning on that specific aspect, the political aspect. The situation is that after the takeover there is a spirit of let's wait and see, let things develop and then we must - that is the spirit that is amongst the people as a whole and for that reason we realise it is not the right time now to try and organise people in large numbers and things. What we must do now is we must plan and we must be ready when the opportunity arises, then you mustn't then start planning and think what to do, then you must be ready to come forward with the right proposals to get the people to unite and to get what is rightful and fair.
POM. But this goes back to the question of elections and I take the point you make about legitimacy, that if you participate you effectively concede the legitimacy of the dispensation. But on the other hand if you have proposals and you want to be an alternative and there is dissatisfaction mustn't you get out there and show that you can organise that support and that that support reflects itself for you at the ballot box so you can say, "See, people want change and this is the kind of change they want, they want the kind of change we're advocating." If you don't do that how ...?
FH. You see the one thing is if you don't participate it is very difficult to quantify the non-participation and that is one of the aspects that we must study and see whether we can find an instrument or a way to quantify the non-participation and if you can translate that into an alternative then of course it would be much better, but it is important to quantify it. It is not the only way. For instance, as far as education is concerned we have come to the conclusion that through negotiations and participation you will not achieve anything and that applies to any other aspect. So you will have to do something at grassroots level around the schools where you must unite the people and then the people must develop some leverage to force the government to treat them in a fair way and to allow their schools because if you take the international declarations and covenants and all those things that are listed in our plan it is internationally accepted that a nation like the Afrikaner nation is entitled to their own educational institutions and that it must be controlled by them and that is a rightful thing to demand and to work for it.
POM. Now you mentioned last year that you had attended the United Nations Convention on Indigenous People in Geneva in July of last year. Do you have any report of the proceedings of that?
FH. Yes, there was another meeting this year but as you know the United Nations are not moving very fast.
POM. They never do.
FH. They never do, and the progress that has been made from last year until this year is more or less zero or one millimetre, very slow. The fact is that declaration has been accepted and it is in the process now.
POM. It was accepted by the United Nations or by the conference?
FH. It was accepted by the Conference of Indigenous Peoples, but then it was referred to the Human Rights Commission and the sub-commission of the Human Rights Commission has already accepted it and the next step is now for the HRC to consider it. So there is a little bit of progress but it took them a year from the conference to the HRC to get a sub-commission to consider the whole thing and to recommend it.
POM. The recommendation was a favourable recommendation?
FH. Yes it was favourable. But there are also other, because they have no option, they cannot reject it because the covenant on political and social activities which has been adopted by the UN it stipulates that a nation has the right to determine its own political status on its own. There are also other covenants which said the same thing as far as education is concerned.
POM. Does it define what a nation is or what criteria must be met?
FH. They refer to peoples, that is a nation with the same language, with the same religion and the same historical background. As far as indigenous peoples are concerned there were definitions, proposed definitions but not one of them was selected and adopted. The fact is that if you take the definition of an indigenous people against the definition of a minority then there is a big difference because a minority is only entitled to minority rights while an indigenous nation is entitled to much more rights. But the difference between an indigenous nation and an ordinary nation is not a very big difference because, I think, all nations are more or less indigenous nations. The problem is that some of the indigenous nations feel that if they make it not a very strict definition, because some of the indigenous peoples there at the conference said only the first people can be regarded as indigenous people. That means in the USA only the Indians can be regarded as indigenous and in Australia only the first people, that is the Aborigines, they can be regarded, and the Aborigines don't want to regard the white Australians as indigenous. But the fact is they are there, they are a nation, and other nations are there like the Germans and the French and the English. They can be indigenous or they can only be ordinary nations but they are nations. But a nation cannot be entitled to less than indigenous peoples.
. So I think the important distinction is between indigenous peoples and minorities and the distinction between indigenous peoples and (other) peoples, the difference is not so big as the difference between minorities and indigenous peoples. We have had discussions with some of the officials at the UN and some of the leading people on the HRC and we have asked them what do they regard as indigenous peoples and they said that they think the indigenous peoples they must be there in the country where they originated and it must be the main body of the nation. Then we said to them, and they used the example of the Germans in Belgium, they said they don't think they are indigenous in Belgium they are only a minority. And then we put forward the argument, we said, "Look in South Africa the Afrikaner nation has originated in this country, the main body of the Afrikaner people are here. There are Afrikaner people in Australia, they are more or less in the same position as Germans and I think there are more Afrikaners in Australia at the moment than Germans in Belgium and the same with the Afrikaners in Canada. There are Afrikaners in Canada. They are minorities, they are not the main body of the Afrikaner nation. We are the main body in South Africa and that is the land of our birth." And they said that it is a sound argument, they cannot argue against that argument.
POM. So as matters stand, are you pursuing this more at this point through the UN rather than having discussions with officials here in the Department of Constitutional Affairs?
FH. No, no, we are not going in, that is only one aspect that you must use, that is international contacts and international pressure. The fact is that the most important steps that you can take must be in South Africa, it must be in South Africa and for that reason since the election I have had twelve meetings with President Mandela and we put our case to the government.
POM. This is the election of 1994?
FH. 1994, well ten after the election and two before the election.
POM. How many have you had with him in the last couple of years?
FH. The last one was a couple of months ago, that was on education. This year I've had two or three discussions with him. One was on education, the other one was on lethal weapons and the other one was on amnesty and those type of things. But the fact is, no progress, no progress, nothing.
POM. I remember you telling me the last time that before the elections in 1994 he had met with you and other party leaders and given a commitment that there would be self-determination but that it would have to wait until after the election. Now you didn't trust him enough at that point to say OK we'll contest the elections?
FH. No, because I realised that that was an empty promise and he was inaugurated on 10th May 1994 and on the 11th May I was in his office in the Union Buildings and I said what about your promise? He said, yes it is still a promise. But when we made proposals on how to implement it then they disappeared, we didn't get any reply from them. They made proposals but when it comes to concrete steps then they don't take any steps.
POM. So did you ever say to him on any occasion, "Mr President you reneged on your promise, you betrayed your word to us? Why should we trust you and anything you say?"
FH. Well before the election he asked that question to me. He asked me, "Are you not trusting me?" And I said to him I cannot trust F W de Klerk, how the hell do you think I must trust you? And he appreciated it. He said, "You're an honest man", because I realised that he's not going to keep his promise.
POM. Since then have you, in discussions with him, have you ...?
FH. Yes, quite frank, he knows exactly where he stands with us, he knows exactly. He knows exactly what we want. We said to him as far as schools are concerned, you know I've been in the USA ten years ago and I visited the Navaho people, they have got their own schools, they have got their own department, they have got an elected body who controls the departments. I said to him, "Look if the Navahos can get it", and I don't think anybody will blame the USA for racism because the Navahos have their own schools, "If they can have it why can the Afrikaner people not have it?" They have no answers but they don't want to give it, because he is building a nation, he is building a nation, one nation out of all these peoples and I think after one millennium there will still be Afrikaners and there will still be Zulus. It is not possible to do that.
POM. When you present your arguments to him how do you find him?
FH. No, no, he listens and he's quite nice but that's not the point. Look, if you come to me and you ask me something which you need very badly and I'm very nice and I give you bugger all, or you go to another man and he's very nasty with you but he gives you at least what you want, when are you the best off? And that is the situation. Very nice but no results because they are playing a game, playing a game. They want to establish central control in South Africa. They want to control everything from the top and every person from the central government and this new constitution which has been adopted on 8th May that is an example because there is much more central control in this constitution than in the interim constitution. You see they have a plan and their plan is central control, to control everything from the top and that is the plan which they implement and if you approach them and you say we want self-determination, we want control over our schools, we want control over our city councils, they are nice to you but they don't do anything. As a matter of fact they implement exactly the opposite.
POM. But if they have a plan and they have a strategy for implementing the plan, do you have a plan and a strategy for implementing the plan that's a workable strategy?
FH. Yes, because as a result of their plan and what they are implementing it will create burning issues and that is our first step, to concentrate on those burning issues to unite our people. The reason why we cannot do anything at the moment is because the Afrikaner nation is divided. That is the most important reason and the first step is you must unite the people and if you have united them then you're in a totally different situation, then you can develop leverage and then you can put pressure on the government to achieve reasonable things.
POM. But do you have discussions with the NP regarding these issues?
FH. We have discussions with not the leader of the NP but we have had discussions with various organisations and of course members of the NP are also involved in other organisations like cultural organisations. We have also had discussions with churches and a lot of organisations and the purpose was to determine the points of agreement and that we have listed, we have got a list of things which we agree on. We have also listed the points on which we disagree.
POM. Which are the ones that you agree on and which were the ones that you disagree on?
FH. We agree on, for instance, the language in the public sector, on the SABC, in our schools, everywhere, we agree on language. We agree on our history and our symbols. That must be maintained. We agree on education, that not only Afrikaans medium of instruction but also the Christian religion must be the basis of it and the Afrikaans character and that the parents must have a significant say in the schools. We agree on those things. We agree on affirmative action that it must be on merit. We agree on equal treatment as far as tariffs and levies at local government level are concerned. So there is a range of things which we agree on. And there are things which we do not agree on but we realise that the list of points on which we agree will grow and the other one will get shorter in times to come.
POM. I want to take you to something else for a moment and that is, you brought it up when you said you saw President Mandela on the question of amnesty earlier this year. When you hear the allegations, at this point, of Eugene de Kock told in such detail that it's difficult to believe they are made up, when you see General van der Merwe saying he blew up Khotso House on the instructions of PW Botha, when you see Dirk Coetzee again detailing the kinds of actions they carried out on the instructions of superiors, when you see Adriaan Vlok apparently applying for amnesty, what do you make of it all?
FH. Let me tell you my impression of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission is that it is a witch-hunt against Afrikaners because so far the ANC hasn't appeared before the TRC but they said, and Matthews Phosa said so and that was in their documents if you go back, they said they were fighting a war and if you fight a war you must fight it against somebody, but their policy was to destabilise the country, to make it ungovernable and everybody expects from the government of that time to stabilise the country and to protect the citizens. But now people like Dirk Coetzee and De Kock, De Kock was not before the commission, he was in court, but they gave details of what they have done and it sounds very bad but the fact is that the ANC has killed 1000 policemen in their effort to make the country ungovernable. They have killed 500 leaders of the Inkatha Freedom Party in Natal, they have necklaced more or less 500 people in a tremendous way. That is not being discussed in this commission, those facts are not presented. The fact is that those people they were under instruction, they had the orders to stabilise the country against these people who necklaced people who murdered leaders of Inkatha, who murdered policemen. That was their duty, everybody expected it from them. As far as I know in the Pretoria Minute and the Groote Schuur Minute it was stipulated that people who acted on behalf of or on the instruction of a political party or organisation like the ANC or a movement with a political motive, that they will get amnesty, but at the negotiating table the NP's negotiators didn't protect their people sufficiently.
FH. Because the only thing that must be done now is, the ANC says we fought a war and we take responsibility and all the people must get amnesty. The same thing must now apply for the people in the police and the defence force. The minister must be in the same position as the ANC or the State President at that time. He must take responsibility and then the same thing must apply to the people who acted on instruction and then they must automatically get amnesty and now it doesn't happen and the reason is that it was not clearly stipulated that it will cut both ways. Now it favours the ANC and not the people who stabilised the country and who protected the citizens of the country. They are now the culprits and I think that is not right.
POM. Reference has been made to an organisation called Trewits which was a high level security organisation which briefed senior members of the Cabinet and senior security people once a month and supposedly, and I'm saying supposedly, then that inner group would select certain people who had to be eliminated and say these people should be removed from society. If that is true would you consider that to be a crime or would you consider it to be the action of a government acting in the national interest?
FH. Well I think if you have the problem that 500 people are necklaced and 1000 policemen are killed, leaders of Inkatha Freedom Party, then you must take some action and you must try to stop it and if the only way they have, because the ANC said they were in a state of war but they didn't attack only policemen, they attacked civilians in churches, in restaurants, at rugby matches, that is not the act of a hero, but if that is the situation that you are dealing with and then it was decided that the only way is to eliminate the leaders then of course I will not say it is the right thing but I will not blame the people because it is a difficult situation, because everybody wanted them to protect the citizens against those atrocities. But what I think is necessary is that the people who gave the instructions they must now come forward and say we gave the instructions, on both sides, and they must say we have given the instructions and we take the responsibility, the people who have done the job they acted on instruction, they had no choice and we take it. And then you have the leaders of the ANC and the leaders of the NP in the same position and then they must decide are they going to charge them all or are they going to give them amnesty and freedom. That I think is a reasonable situation because if you say take out leaders, what is the difference if you should - nine innocent people in a church, they are not leaders but they are people and it is the same thing on both sides. It was a revolution from the one side and it was a matter of stabilising the country on the other side so I think they cannot blame each other. The position is the same for the ANC and for the NP.
POM. Did you have any admiration for Archbishop Tutu standing up to the ANC and saying, "Unless your guys are prepared to come in and apply for amnesty, you can't give yourself amnesty, I'm going to resign from the commission and all the commissioners would in fact resign?" Do you think he deserves credit for that?
FH. You see what he said was the right statement but now he will have to prove that he is sincere and I think that time will tell us because I don't know whether you have seen the report of the Human Science Research Council?
POM. I haven't.
FH. You must study it. They said only 22% of the people, that is the total population including all people, only 22% think this Truth & Reconciliation Commission is the right instrument to use. 78% of the people think it will be a biased outcome in favour of the ANC and its allies and they said in the report the legitimacy of this commission is in doubt and they must do something to restore the fact that the people can believe them. Now it can be one thing, Bishop Tutu can be sincere or he can only be busy with damage control to restore the trustworthiness of his commission.
POM. What do you believe yourself?
FH. I think that is the last option that he's following because the Act in terms of which they operate stipulates that they must give preference to people in jail and the others must will then follow. Now they ignore the people in jail and they concentrate on the people outside because they get information out of them. That is one thing. The other thing is that it is now two weeks ago when he said he will resign. No ANC has come forward and he still hasn't resigned.
POM. They had a meeting last Sunday.
FH. Last Sunday, but no ANC, and you must know it is exactly one month from today to the cut-off date, the 14th December. So where are the ANC people? They are not coming forward.
POM. Do you think they will?
FH. Well that is why I say I think we must now wait and see what is going to happen and to see whether this is window dressing or whether they are sincere.
POM. But as a betting man?
FH. As a betting man, if I must take a guess, I say window dressing, damage control. But that is not a scientific assessment.
POM. Of course not. That's an opinion.
FH. That's an opinion for the betting purposes.
POM. I'm trying to get an idea from other people or the people they've dealt with, like who they were and how they perceived them. PW Botha, what kind of person was he?
FH. Well PW Botha, I think he was a stronger man than FW de Klerk and we will now see, they said they tried to arrange a meeting with him next week. We will see how he is going to react. Previously he said he is going to stand by his people and by his men so we will see what he is going to do. Perhaps he will stand by his people. I think PW Botha made the first big mistake when he said power sharing because power sharing, there is no such thing as power sharing and PW Botha had something in mind. He said we must share power with the Indians and the coloureds and we must have a different dispensation for the blacks and at that stage we pointed out to him that if you have power sharing with the coloureds and the Indians on what good reasons can you deny the same rights to the black people and the ultimate result will be that the ANC will take over the country. And exactly that happened as a result of the fact that he accepted power sharing, but he said not power sharing in the sense of the Democratic Party, this will be a different power sharing, it will be different. He started with it and he said it will not be the Westminster system, it will be a different system, not the Westminster system where the winner takes all, and now today they have tried a different system not based on the Westminster system, that was the three chamber parliament and then the first constitution, checks and balances, and now everything of that sort is gone. It is an ordinary Westminster system that we have, the winner takes the decision and in politics there is only a winner, there is not a runner-up in politics. A runner-up means bugger all in politics.
POM. Was he a difficult man, opinionated, did he tolerate ...?
FH. He was a difficult man but at certain stages. At other times he was a very friendly and a very sympathetic man, but I suppose as a President sometimes you must be difficult, sometimes you must be friendly and that he was.
POM. How about Dr Buthelezi?
FH. I think there is a power struggle going on at the moment in KwaZulu/Natal between the ANC and the IFP but I think so far Buthelezi has managed it fairly well.
POM. But in your dealings with him what kind of person did you find him to be?
FH. A very reasonable man and of course he is a man not for central control. He is totally against central control and I think politically and constitutionally we have very little differences on what is the solution for South Africa, and I think he is making progress. I have noticed that Prince Siphiso Zulu who had been appointed the King's advisor in the place of Buthelezi has been sacked now. I think Buthelezi will be able to unite the Zulu nation to a large extent.
POM. President Mandela?
FH. What about him?
POM. You said you've had about twelve or fourteen meetings with him, how would you characterise the man?
FH. He's a nice man but you don't evaluate a State President on how nice his smile looks, on how friendly he is when you meet him and how long he was in jail. You must judge him on the results of the state, on what he has achieved. Is there an improvement as far as crime is concerned? The reply is no. And what has happened to the economy? Is the rand increasing? The answer is no. So as far as running a state it is totally different. He's friendly and he's nice in a personal conversation but as a State President I don't think he was a success.
POM. Lastly, this is a guess question again but I'll ask it every year, in 1999 do you think the ANC will retain it's share of the vote or that it's share will go up or go down?
FH. I think it will be more or less the same, I think so. It's very difficult to guess.
POM. And the National Party? Many people I've talked to in the NP think it's hopelessly split down the middle.
FH. I think the NP will lose its white support, not all of it but the majority of it and I think the NP at the moment is developing into a coloured party for the Western Cape.
POM. If it loses its white support where will that support go if a party like yours doesn't contest the election? Aren't you the alternative?
FH. You see if there is an alliance between various parties of different nations then of course I think we will do that but if there is no alliance perhaps the people can realise it's useless to participate, it's useless to participate, we must demonstrate in another way.
POM. OK, I will leave it at that.
FH. Thank you Mr O'Malley, I'll see you next year on the 14th November.