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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

26 Nov 1996: Botha, Pik

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Rapport

POM     Mr Botha, what is probably the most obvious kind of question, you are now out of government for perhaps the first time in nearly thirty years or more than thirty years, what is the adjustment like, how is your life different now than it was when you were in government?

PB     I believe the most dramatic difference or change is that I can select my own daily programme. When I was minister, naturally as long as you are a minister, you must play the game according to the rules and one of the basic rules is that you must accept responsibility for your job and in doing so you must accept a programme of attending to official work, decision making, meetings, hundreds of meetings, and of course responding to requests for meetings with the private sector, public meetings, attending events of a public nature. Now all that has changed suddenly and although I still accept invitations to social functions and events I can more or less now select and make my own decision on what I do want to attend and what I do not want to attend.

POM     Looking back on, say, first your years in the diplomatic service, or indeed in your public career as a whole, if you had to what would you single out as the highlight, the achievement you were most proud of, the moment that sticks out in your mind and will stick out in your mind for the rest of your life, and the lowest point, the moment of most bitter disappointment, of just feeling 'I feel bad' about what's going on and being unable to influence it?

PB     You know it's rather difficult for me to single out one major event above a number of others or a single specific low point. So with that warning of caution I would really consider the agreements leading to the independence of Namibia certainly as one of the most outstanding events in my life. It made Namibia independent, it ended the war in Angola, the Cuban troops withdrew from southern Africa, from Angola, 50,000 of them, and that opened the way, in my opinion, I do not know what historians will write one day, but personally I've experienced that that opened the way to the release of Mr Mandela, the unbanning of prohibited organisations and then eventually to the negotiations that led to the elections in 1994. So you can see why I consider that as a major event.

POM     A catalyst of sorts for other events.

PB     A turning point rather, really a turning point in the history of south and southern Africa because you see you take the Rhodesian situation in the old days, it is interesting to note that South Africa never attracted sanctions from the United Nations as a result of its Rhodesian policy or its South West Africa policy or its Mozambique policy. We got sanctions because of apartheid inside South Africa and my work was mostly done in the international playing field, in the United Nations, where the major items each year were Rhodesia, South West Africa and apartheid and together these three items filled, I think, over a third of the UN agenda. So you can imagine it required a lot of work, a lot of work and assessments, judgements, steps to be taken to prevent - it was my objective to prevent sanctions being issued against South Africa because I saw what sanctions did to other countries. It harms the economy and then eventually, like in Rhodesia I never doubted that sooner or later Mr Ian Smith would have to step down, it was just a question of how and when, and Dr Henry Kissinger will bear me out, he was here the other day and the two of us discussed this very issue and he agreed with me, it was only a question of time and how.

     So my reasoning then was try to prevent damage to the economy of such a country as much as possible because you do not regain the markets afterwards. It doesn't matter what the UN at a given moment in history says or what promises are made and donors promise, they don't materialise afterwards when the euphoria is over, when the independence celebrations are over and the flags are down again then the hard reality descends upon such a country discovering that its machinery and the factories are obsolete and old, the roads need reconstruction, that the national income is just not large enough to sustain the development programmes that are required to lead into this new era, to support the new political order that you usually get in a case like this.

     Any or every major political transformation requires a strong economic basis. The woes in the former Soviet Union prove this point very, very clearly. Indeed they effected a major, a monumental political change if you think how long the world has been in the grip of the cold war for almost the major part of this century, only then does one realise the major dimension of that dramatic change in the former Soviet Union and the problem was there was no economic basis to sustain that change, to make it a success, to assist that change to lead into a sustainable democracy. It would seem to me that in the People's Republic of China they might just go about it the other way around, maintaining as long as possible a certain ideological, political order but allowing economic growth at a rate which is quite acceptable, which is impressive. The result is that when one day there, and I hope there will be also one day a major political transformation, when that occurs there would be a strong economic basis to sustain it and carry it through.

     It is against that background that I have always been against sanctions. I have been for political change but then political change which will enjoy the fastest economic growth rate afterwards to sustain the change. In the case of Zimbabwe they had to pay a heavy price. They never regained some of the markets of the past and although Zimbabwe did fairly well the stability there is, in my opinion, not to be questioned, the fact of the matter is that their growth rate also and the size of the economy is not that impressive, is not that powerful.

POM     So your argument would be that sanctions as a means of bringing about political change can hurt the economy of the country in question to such an extent that when the change occurs the economy can't recover to provide the basis for sustainable development and therefore the transition starts falling on hard times?

PB     That's the danger. That is the challenge and the danger, yes, most certainly yes. There is no doubt about it, you look at Portugal's position when Mozambique and Angola started to crumble and the Portuguese government fell to pieces, for at least one, two, three, four years, I'm not exactly sure, from 1973, 1974, 1975, the situation in Portugal itself was very unstable. I remember some American friends telling me that there was a danger of another new communist government coming into being in Europe, so close was it. And yet I think because of Europe's proximity and the absorption of Portugal eventually in the European Union rescued the situation and today Portugal is a progressive, really a progressive country enjoying the economic growth necessary to sustain also their tremendous political change.

     Yes, most certainly so, but we started by discussing what I would consider some of the major highlights in my life and I said that I certainly consider the signing of the agreements in New York in December 1988 as such an event in my life which led to the election in Namibia in 1989. It went well and early in 1990 it celebrated its independence. I was honoured to be invited there and I did experience that evening a feeling of great reward that that could take place, could happen without the Namibian economy being harmed or damaged and that country could set off on its new course on the basis of a very good infrastructure, good roads, good airports, good hospitals, clinics, all effectively run. A vast country, yes, which makes road building expensive, road maintenance and provision of communications expensive but on the other hand sparsely populated, room enough for everyone and Namibia has been doing very well. I'm very glad to say that. Coupled with my feeling at the time that this was the right thing to do, is now the rewarding feeling that it did well, it went well, property prices are rising there. Ironically quite a number of South Africans do very good business there, they buy property there, buy farms there and so forth. So that certainly is a highlight more particularly also because I believe it led to a reduction in the tension all over southern Africa enabling the South African government to release Mr Mandela, unban the prohibited organisations which led directly, that decision, to the negotiations which started in May 1990 in South Africa and led to the 1994 elections.

POM     And the low point?

PB     I think the disappointment I felt in 1986 when the Commonwealth despatched the Eminent Persons Group to South Africa. The co-chairpersons were General Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and Mr Malcolm Fraser of Australia. It started on a very promising note and during the course of a few weeks General Obasanjo eventually produced what they called a negotiating concept and basically that negotiating concept entailed an acceptance on the part of the South African government to release political prisoners including Mr Mandela, to abandon apartheid and to enter in good faith in negotiations leading to democratic elections. On the side of the ANC he would have required the ANC to suspend all further violence. I was strongly in favour of it and on that very same day that General Obasanjo presented that negotiating concept to me the South African Defence Force attacked three Commonwealth capitals, Lusaka, Gaberone and Harare and of course that was the end of it.

POM     Now was this decision taken, was this a Cabinet decision? Were you aware that this was going to happen?

PB     I was not aware of it at all but then I must be fair on this issue to everyone, the Defence Force had the responsibility of defending the country and there is a law governing that and the law mandates the president of this country and the Chief of the Defence Force to take certain actions whenever in their opinion they deem it necessary in the defence of the country. So the law did not require them to consult the Cabinet. Naturally it was a question of internal political wisdom whether on a certain activity you ought to consult the Cabinet or not. In this case I should have been consulted. I would have opposed the action.

POM     Why do you think that decision was taken at that point in time?

PB     I don't know. It aroused severe suspicion at the time. There was no doubt in the mind of General Obasanjo that it was done intentionally to wreck the negotiating concept of the Eminent Persons Group.

POM     And that would have been done then with the - I mean P W Botha would have colluded in wanting to destroy the initiatives of the Eminent Persons Group?

PB     I don't have factual information to support that. It could also have been a case where the military establishment felt that there was a danger emanating from all three of these capitals or new attacks might have been planned against the country and to wait merely because of the Eminent Persons Group being here might be considered in some quarters as relinquishing your duty. But from my point of view the negative result of the action far outweighed any possible military or security advantages.

POM     Would something like that not be discussed at a subsequent Cabinet meeting where the State President would give an explanation as to why the action occurred to Cabinet members?

PB     Yes and no. Events of that nature would happen, it would be published in the media and everybody would know it and it's no secret any more, it would be discussed in parliament and points of view would be put across by also the parliamentarians. It is quite interesting to note that now that the Truth & Reconciliation Commission is under way how the media and others are trying to focus or allocate responsibility only to a Cabinet or only to a president or only to one or two or three leaders. I think to a great extent that is also unfair. In this country there was a parliament, not democratically elected, everyone knows that, but there was an opposition, the Democratic Party with personalities like Mrs Helen Suzman who has been honoured world-wide, and they debated these issues and very often the opposition supported cross-border activities. They supported very often hot pursuit. If the evidence was that a group of people crossed the border and murdered a farmer and his wife in cold blood on their farm then their sympathy was with the farmer and his wife who were murdered. I can show you a Sunday Times editorial approving cross-border activity in a neighbouring state, saying that the government of that country was looking for this for quite a while, had to take steps to avoid the transfer of persons who cross the border to murder and throw bombs here.

     What I am trying to say is that people should go and read Hansard, the record of parliament, to see for themselves what was then at that stage the sentiment in this country. All the members of parliament on the NP side agreed with this. Very often opposition parties agreed with activities of this nature. They never agreed like the NP parliamentarians also would never have agreed to murder in cold blood South Africans inside this country to get rid of them, certainly not. But I think in general the industrialised countries of the world, including Japan, they were represented here, they had Ambassadors here, recognised the government as legal, it was fully recognised. The sovereign of Britain sent her Ambassador here with credentials signed by her to the Head of State of South Africa and even if part of the world did not recognise this government a major part of the world did and did business with it and sent ministers here. I know, I was Foreign Minister.

     I went abroad to any country I wanted to go to, even countries in the central part of Europe received me, albeit unknown to others but the fact of the matter is that was the situation at that time. I had communication with quite a number of African governments, visited them, discussed the affairs of Africa and the future, all of them of course expressing their unconditional opposition to apartheid all along but also trying to persuade us, the government in power at the time, to go to the negotiating table. There was a war. That is quite correct, a conflict, and it was a conflict basically between black and white nationalism and that was eventually resolved and the whole world applauded this in 1994 as far as I can remember. I think we are deviating slightly, some commentators are now deviating from this immediate past, the events that preceded the 1994 elections. By this I am not trying to excuse some of the heinous and reprehensible activities of certain members of the South African Police. It is shocking, absolutely shocking.

POM     The argument would be made that as the government, as the supreme authority in the country, not to know what was going on in your police force or among elements of your police force or whatever, was a clear dereliction or incompetence of some sort or simply that you didn't want to know what was going on.

PB     You have the same position still maintaining today. This morning on the news I heard of two policemen who were arrested and they belonged, I think, to the anti-smuggling unit. They had to catch or arrest or track persons who smuggle weapons illegally and they themselves used the money which they got for that purpose for themselves and ran into difficulties. I am sure the Minister of Security doesn't know about this at all. He would never approve of it and I don't think he should be held responsible for it. But the atrocities committed by some members of the police in the eighties were so gruesome that I cannot escape remorse at not having done more to find out more, even if we were kept in the dark.

POM     Anyway I want to leave that for a moment and come back to when you talked about Namibia and the negotiations that led up to the Namibian settlement and the expertise that your department would have developed during that period, that long protracted period of negotiations. Taking that as a background to the question, this time, and I'm saying this year, a number of people have suggested to me, quite a lot of them are Nationalists and not hard-line NP members, when they now look back on events they tend to see Kobie Coetsee going to see President Mandela first of all in 1985, then opening a channel of communication in 1987 and there being a committee of people that met with him on and off between then and 1990, that they came out of it believing that he was a reasonable man, that the NP could strike a really good bargain, that if it came to negotiations they were sophisticated and knowledgeable, had the state apparatus behind them in terms of expertise, that the ANC were well, spread across a number of countries, not that sophisticated and not knowledgeable in the art of negotiation, and that as a result the government went into negotiations a little arrogant, not thinking the consequences of all its actions through and that rather than being faced with a disorganised ANC they were faced with a highly sophisticated, artful ANC that had a clear sense of strategic purpose and knew where it was going and knew how to get there and that in the end they simply took the NP to the cleaners.

PB     There is a lot of truth in what you are saying but I think there are certain omissions. Yes, the one element that I must admit, and I do so readily, is that our security services, that is the Intelligence Service and the Military Intelligence Service and the Police Security Service, concentrated in their briefing of the Cabinet on events as they took place on the ground. Every week a meeting would start with one officer telling us there have been so many stone-throwing incidents last week, so many necklace incidents, so many this, so many that, all activities on the ground, violence. Looking back today I can clearly see that, I won't say that we were misled but certainly a major omission was also to brief the Cabinet on the calibre, the sophistication of ANC members, certainly that is the case. I have no doubt that history will confirm this, no doubt in my mind whatsoever. It is certainly true that the calibre, the pedigree of argument and debate, conducting debate in the negotiations on the part of the ANC was of a very high standard. No doubt about that. I don't think they took us to the cleaners, I don't for a moment think so. We had no alternative in my opinion. But the standard of sophistication in ANC ranks was high.

POM     Well it was the alternative that you had no alternative.

PB     That there was no alternative, the alternative would have been a prolongation of the conflict with incalculable consequences. I foresaw this years ago when I warned the country that under sanctions we would be suffocated and eventually economically damaged to the point where terms would be dictated to us, where there would be no chance of negotiation at all. I said so publicly. It was not just an opinion because after all to know what was going on in the world was my job, was my business and I knew that. I could see it, I could see the way the whole world was developing; the Portuguese position in Africa and elsewhere and what happened to regimes and governments that did not move to democracy. It might be true that in certain isolated cases you might get an authoritarian government that is doing fairly well economically for a while but not in the long term. You cannot have authoritarian rule and you cannot exclude the major portion of a people in a country from decision making processes and think that you can maintain productivity and can maintain the kind of stability that is necessary to sustain in the long term a growing economy. So that much was clear to me.

     So to summarise, yes, we certainly not only under-estimated but were unaware of, unaware of the high quality existing within the ranks of the ANC in the field of debate, argument, knowledge and all the elements required to conduct negotiations and secondly, at the same time I must say to you there was no alternative but to accept the negotiated proposals. We mustn't forget the ANC also started off broadly speaking with an insistence, originally, of nationalisation. They dropped that and moved towards a more acceptable concept of at least accepting a market orientated economic system. Being in their ranks, that must have been a major shift, a major shift, so I don't think we are doing justice by saying that only the NP and its negotiators made concessions. The ANC certainly also made major concessions and at one stage it was a challenge to both parties to try and project whatever was negotiated in such a way that the one always wanted to indicate that it got its way but it is not true either of the NP or the ANC; both made major concessions and that is what developed into the deal. That's what made the 1994 elections possible.

POM     Now you resigned immediately after the NP decided to withdraw from the government of national unity and as I understand it you were among those in the party who were opposed to its withdrawal at this point in time. (i) What arguments were you making in favour of staying in for the present and (ii), how strong a sentiment within the party was there for that position?

PB     We had at that time within the NP a strategic policy group which consisted of the ministers who were serving, the provincial leaders of the party as well as certain spokesmen of the party in the various disciplines. I would say our number, I don't know what the position now is, must have been around 20/24 and we would meet regularly and decide on tactical moves within parliament and outside politically, etc., almost like a shadow cabinet and early in May we debated this issue. Let me first say that this issue of whether we should stay in the government of national unity unfortunately became controversial within the party a year earlier already and I think the problem emanated from the following. The six NP ministers and Mr de Klerk who participated in the Cabinet activities, I really believe that we made valuable and positive contributions there and I can't recall, with one or two minor exceptions, that in the Cabinet we ever had a downright split on party political lines on major issues. It was gratifying, it was a pleasant experience to debate the budget, to see how even ANC members differ from one another and how we as NP members often differ from one another. I thought it was working well, it was working well.

     I passed more legislation in the two years as Minister of Mineral & Energy Affairs than I passed in 17 years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I was referring to the Cabinet debates, Cabinet discussions. I passed very important legislation on mine health and safety, introducing for the first time in South Africa's history the tripartite concept where government and labour, the workers, as well as the mine owners would jointly be responsible for all regulations on health and safety matters in our mines, which I consider to be a major positive step forward. I did away with the clauses in legislation which prohibited the publication of confidential information on the acquisition of oil and the oil trade. Several other pieces of legislation.

POM     So your argument for staying in the government of national unity would have been that it's working and we're actually, the ANC and the NP and the other parties in the Cabinet are actually working well together and we need to foster and to continue to foster that form of cooperation as a basis of trust building and nation building as it were?

PB     Yes. You put it very succinctly and correctly, but don't forget that we received a mandate in the election, we received more than four million votes which roughly represents eight million people in this country. Whatever the total population, whether it's 30 or 35 million, eight million constitutes a sizeable portion of that population and we received and sought directly and categorically votes on the basis that we would be in the government at least until 1999. We told our voters we would be there, don't worry and don't fear, we would be there, we would be part of it, it would not be a favour done to us by anyone. The interim constitution clearly negotiated, clearly embodied that and that was entrenched, so to say, that we would be there, not at the mercy of the ANC or any other party but in terms of the negotiated settlement.

     Then you see I think what went wrong was that in parliament on the other hand, in parliament you had very lively debates, very spirited debates with a measure of animosity and acrimonious exchanges which led, I think, to some of the NP members feeling that how can you sit in Cabinet and take joint decisions on important matters and then here in parliament we must put up with the battle as if we are an opposition and that there was some contradiction in this system which hampered the wish on the part of some NP members to be free in their criticism and attacks on the ANC, felt that they were inhibited by the fact that next week this minister would again be sitting with the ANC in a Cabinet meeting and come out with a joint decision. Some members felt that that was a contradiction. I did not feel that way. I felt that you could have had the two entities run parallel to one another. The Cabinet is the executive and the parliament is the parliament and each has its confined area of jurisdiction and of debate and just as we were free in the Cabinet to air our dissent with decisions, every individual minister was, on occasion I was the only Cabinet Minister against a Cabinet decision including the views of my own party members for instance, on mineral rights, the issue of mineral rights, and I accepted it, that is the Cabinet practice. There are individuals there quite apart from the fact that you're party members, you act there more like an individual Cabinet minister who took an oath that in the exercise of your duties you would act responsibly and in the interests of the country as a whole and the nation as a whole, whilst in parliament you don't have that, what shall I call it, that joint executive responsibility, you have a party political division which then let itself go, you can't stop it either.

     And this brought about this clash of interest and for a year before we left, at least for a year or more before we left there was within the ranks of the party a split on this very issue, namely should we continue in the government of national unity, yes or no? And eventually those of us who felt that we should remain in the government of national unity became the minority and I think Mr de Klerk then was persuaded that it would be better to leave the government of national unity and put himself up as leader of the opposition. There in discussions, it's no secret now as you indicated, I, together with other colleagues disagreed. I think we were divided just about more or less within that policy group on a fifty/fifty basis, my arguments being that we were elected to serve the full term until 1999. I thought the Cabinet in which we participated, that we did deliver there, that we did make valuable contributions of a positive nature and even if the country and the party did not always understand the role we were playing it was in the interests of the country that we should remain there as the interim constitution provides. The other side believed that, which I already sketched to you, that this is hampering the NP in its role to be an effective watchdog or opposition. I still to this very day now believe that we should have stayed in the government of national unity, that the National Party could have played a more positive role by being part of that government of national unity and retain also on the provincial level influence and a say in decisions of the provincial executive committees.

POM     Two related questions, (i) when in the Cabinet there were clearly divisions between the ANC and others, lumping others together, in the absence of there being an agreed consensus, did the ANC get its way? In the end was it a matter of if we can't agree then we're going to get our way but we'll try to agree. That's one question. And the second question is, (ii) I've always wondered whether Mr de Klerk felt slighted by the way he was treated as Deputy President, that he was relegated to a very secondary position, that the relationship between himself and Mr Mandela continued to deteriorate and that he felt that he wasn't getting due credit or acknowledgement for being the instrument of change in the country in the first place?

PB     It must always be difficult for any person, any human being, to relinquish a presidential position for a deputy presidential position. I think that goes without saying. It must be difficult. Personally I believe at least part of the problem was, what is this word that is often used, the chemistry didn't work between the two.

POM     But it worked in the beginning didn't it, or was that only when Mandela made his famous statement about De Klerk is a man of honour?

PB     Almost ambivalent position where Mr Mandela is known, he's on record as paying tribute to Mr de Klerk and saying he is a man of integrity. He often paid tribute to Mr de Klerk's role and particularly emphasised that they were joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize which is the world's major status award. I was there personally and it was an occasion to remember for the rest of my life. But then on the other hand I have the impression that the two were never friends, to put it mildly. The chemistry didn't work and that is unfortunate because you cannot force an individual whether he's the president or the deputy president to change his innermost style and manner. You can't do it. But certainly both of them maintained, I think, a dignified decorum vis-à-vis one another. Once after a reception of Gencor's celebration of its centenary I was present when there was a bit of a quarrel between Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk in front of all the guests but we were standing a little bit away, and then I saw that it was also due to some lack of communication. Both were busy men. I think Mr de Klerk could go abroad as Deputy President, he was received with open arms in other countries. I accompanied him on visits to Africa when he was still President. Many African heads of state who visit here insist or ask to see him, meet with him. He was invited to all state functions. It was this growing opposition within the NP against us sitting in the Cabinet, but you asked another question which I didn't respond to and that is that how did we function in the Cabinet?

     Looking back that I am not aware of many occasions on which the ANC threatened us. No, it was not their manner and style. We would know beforehand what the ANC's position would be on a given issue. Often when we differed we would rather have informal discussions with one another during a tea break. I would approach an ANC colleague in another room or the passage, and say please I do not think you people understand the background to our position and the following facts might not have been known to you, let us not push it today, can't we let it stand over until the next meeting to give all of us more chance, more opportunity to communicate with one another. Maybe we can in an informal way then come up with a solution, come up with a decision that takes both sides' views more into account. That was the way we worked very often. That was the way I worked and I found it practical and realistic. Again, I want to stress, on the major issues, the economic policy of this country, the budgetary and monetary policy of this country, as far as I was concerned in Mineral & Energy Affairs, I think Roelf Meyer can say the same to a large extent as regards Constitutional Development and so can my other colleagues by and large, of course there were at times differences but by and large the Cabinet functioned well, achieved much and did a lot of good solid work.

POM     A lot of people have said to me that, and I put this in the context of the NP's new vision of itself as becoming a non-racial party that would attract significant numbers of black voters down the line and become an alternative or a possible alternative to an ANC government or realign the ANC alliance, they say that when the NP attacks the ANC that the message it sends both to the ANC government in some way and to blacks in general is, see, we told you you couldn't do it, we told you we'd go the way of the rest of Africa and that's the way we're going, and that blacks resent it and that you're driving away a black constituency rather than creating a black constituency.

PB     This goes to the heart of the challenge facing the NP now. I was at an early stage in favour of changing the name of the party not for the sake of name change, you're not going to achieve much by merely changing a name and then remain the same, no it's not. But what is in a name you say? It is very important and that people joining such a party should feel that they are joining something new and that's why you have to have a new name. At least a new name psychologically would imply that you have broken completely with the past, at least that. So prominent black people then joining would say I'm not joining the National Party, I'm joining a new party which is as much mine as anybody else's. That was my way of thinking. It was to reinforce the concept that this is a new party, it shook off the past, it regretted the past, it admitted it's past mistakes and then must adopt, in my opinion, a new name.

     I personally believe today that black people will not join the NP in large numbers even if it now should change its name. Much rather I expect a re-grouping, a restructuring, of the whole political scene and structures in South Africa. By that I mean that you have today within the ANC a few, not many but a few, rather important and prominent gentlemen, not necessarily in government but certainly outside who feel exactly as I would feel about all the important disciplines of life, economics, freedom of movement, freedom of the press, the right to own property, private property rights, a market orientated or market based economic system, freedom of religion, all these basic elements to which the modern world and successful democracies are subscribing to. There are indeed ANC members who feel exactly the same. Now it's only really the present political divisions that preclude us from belonging to one party. It's as simple as that.

     Now this will change in my opinion. As we move ahead, as we move further away from the apartheid shadow and burden it is in my opinion inevitable, inevitable that this re-grouping and grouping together would come into being but then not to join the one existing party. There will have to be a spontaneous move of people thinking alike, sitting together, discovering that they have exactly the same principles and objectives and then decide on a movement which would embody those principles under a name to be given by it, a new thing, not a re-naming of an existing structure so that the black people and the black South Africans in it can as much as any white or Indian or Coloured claim and say this is now my party, I have helped to bring it into being, I have not joined any party. No finger can be pointed then at them. They can then stand up and say, look it is ridiculous to say I've joined so-and-so or so-and-so, I have created my own party and all of us together and every South African who feels this way is welcome to join. I think that is inevitable that that would happen. I do not know when. Probably after Mr Mandela has stepped down it would be easier for this inevitability to manifest itself and to surface.

POM     Does this give rise to tensions? When I talk to senior members of the ANC, or for that matter not senior members of the ANC, they find it almost ludicrous that the NP could really believe that it could make serious inroads into the black vote in this country. They just see it as fantasy, that the memory of the past will last for a long, long time and it just simply isn't on the cards, it's fanciful, it's a myth, it's a denial of reality. You're more or less saying the same thing.

PB     I wouldn't use all the words you've used.

POM     They're some of the words the ANC people use.

PB     I would be content to say it is unrealistic.

POM     Yet it's the official policy of the party.

PB     It is unrealistic to expect the NP as the NP to make any major inroads and gain significantly more black votes because even blacks turning against the ANC would not join the NP. I had six or seven black South Africans seeing me last week, they are ANC members, they voted ANC and I had to try and hold them back a bit in their criticism of the present government. I thought they were a bit unfair in their criticism as regards certain aspects like the crime rate, making promises on housing, on education and training, on a number of matters allowing, as they say, the one gentleman said here, he even used this case of the Ebola virus that entered South Africa and said, "They even allow that." Then I had to say in all fairness, "Look, take it easy, where I do agree with you is that we should be careful not to allow millions and millions of neighbouring states citizens into this country to take your jobs. Yes, there you have my support but please you must really limit your criticism to actions of the government on matters which the government can change." It will be impossible for any government of this country to have such a system that you can say in advance that a given individual will not be allowed to enter the country if he carries a certain virus. That's going too far, but it is indicative of a tendency on the part of a growing number of black South Africans to criticise the present government. There is no question about it. But they are not going to vote Nationalist, forget it, they are not. That I can assure you. At most they will create their own movement and they are busy doing so already and whether out of a future election you might then have alliances, I can't say, but I still predict that what I am experiencing here is the beginning of this restructuring which will be brought about by prominent black South Africans. I said earlier maybe the moment Mr Mandela steps down, his all-embracing influence which is there and undeniable and his status will then not be there any more.

     I warned these black friends, I said, look you cannot build a future political movement merely on the basis of your grievances against the government of national unity and its lack of achievement, it's lack of results. That you can't. That you can use as a vote catching mechanism but no more. But what I pointed out to them here at this table, I said, "Tell me what is your economic policy? What will you do to build more houses? What will you do to attract more investment? How will you reduce the crime rate?" It is not enough merely to say that the present government is incapable of doing so, and they listened, they made notes, they listened attentively. And I said, "Gentlemen, you've got a lot of homework to do."

     So I'm seeing, I'm witnessing moves all around me not to break the ANC, no, no, no, but rather to form a party, a movement of its own, on its own merits and objectives and principles rather than on those which the NP claim are theirs. There are a number of black South Africans who are part of the NP and members of the party and members of parliament but what I am speaking of is black South Africans with a national status and a reputation. They are going to form their own movement and others can then join that movement.

POM     In short any real opposition that would emerge to the ANC will have to be African driven, it can't be white driven.

PB     The white guy who might become the leader of such a party would be elected by the blacks. They would say we want you there to prove that we are non-racialist. Yes, but that is a totally different scenario, a totally different scene from the one where blacks must try and penetrate a white orientated or a white dominated party. That's a totally different matter where you might have in the leadership of such a movement in the executive leadership twenty blacks and four whites and they decide that one guy is a vote catcher, let's make him the leader. It's a completely different scene altogether and I don't think anybody would object to that.

POM     One thing that has been worrying to me is, again talking to ANC members, is that the disparaging way in which they dismiss the NP as having no policy, no vision, as having little to contribute to the debate, as being obstacles in the way of transformation, as being ineffective and non-influential and more like an irritating fly that must be brushed aside from time to time but with nothing really to contribute as the party presently exists. Now my question is that in a system where you have a one party dominant system, where the dominant party looks on even potential opposition with such dismissiveness and doesn't accept its bona fides so to speak, does this augur very well for the development of a healthy environment in which to create a viable multi-party democracy?

PB     I believe that we must first try to understand why some of them say this, and it's not all of them, let me make that very clear. I come across a considerable number of South Africans who are ANC members, as I said earlier, who are very critical of the present government.

POM     I'm talking now specifically about government ministers.

PB     Oh I see. Looking back again at politics which is a power game, and I haven't yet come across a psychologist who could convincingly explain to me why individuals enter politics and wish to acquire power. There are many psychologists who can explain it to you and ascribe it to a vast number of complexities. I personally have always believed that you must be a little bit mad to enter politics and that to some extent it is a disease to wish to be able to control others. It must give you some satisfaction that, 'I have the power to take a decision', which in my opinion is a disease. But leave that aside, the same would apply to the NP and any other party in politics and I think all this will change in future. I think the whole world is going in the new century into a new era, not only as far as economics is concerned but also as far as style of government is concerned, but that is a different subject. How do you get rid of the past? I believe the kind of attitude you described to me is also unrealistic because those ministers, or whoever they are who say this, cannot be unaware, cannot be unaware of the mood and the general opinion across this country. They are not expressing in their dismissiveness, as you say, in their almost rejection of the NP they do not take into account that the NP attracted four million votes including the majority of the Coloured people of this country as well as the majority of the Indian community of this country as well as at least a certain percentage of black votes.

     So I wonder to what extent that can be ascribed to the anger of the past, the anger of the past which I can understand but which will die down. People, as I said earlier to you today, the human being does not retain forever the same level of emotion over something that grieved him or wounded him or hurt him. Luckily as time moves on the sharp edges of deep emotions are eroded and even if never flattened do then allow a more objective, clinical analysis. Because you would have within the ranks of the NP and you would have outside the ranks of the NP, you would have also a sizeable number of people in this country who do not agree with these very ministers, who might even think that these ministers are not up to it, who think that they are making irresponsible and contradictory statements, who believe that they are not rising to the occasion, that they are not up to it, that they cannot resolve the issue of corruption, that certain provinces simply cannot govern properly, that even if there was no NP they would still be faced with certain insurmountable problems within their own ranks of mismanagement, a lack of vision, a lack of consistency, a lack of a foreign policy and consistency in that foreign policy. To what extent reactions of that sort are really based on any objective analysis of an historical situation I cannot say but I doubt it very much, I see in that an emotional reaction that emanates from the anger of the past for which I personally have understanding. I'm not criticising it. I'm merely saying I don't think it would remain the same because of a lack of substance in the argument.

     Political moves are like the tides of the ocean, like the seasons of the year. In Canada a political party that governed was swept away in one election, it disappeared. Not long before that election I met members of that government who talked with disdain about their opponents, so I am sorry I cannot attach much importance to it. I am trying to look at the past and the future. I'm trying to understand why they feel that way and I say, yes, I do understand it. In the past a lot of, you know it as well as I do, there were laws existing in this country which as Foreign Minister I knew we could not defend which we found repugnant ourselves from a foreign affairs point of view, which we tried to change in our way, through our reporting, through our assessment of world affairs and trends.

     That was part of the process of change, it was part of the process of change to persuade the white population of this country that the whole system had to be transformed. You could not really reform it, that a totally new concept of democracy and morality had to be accepted and really I don't want to put myself in the forefront but I need not, I hope I need not persuade you to go and check the records of the United Nations or parliament to see what I said publicly out of conviction. I sincerely believed there would be a black president, I sincerely believed that you could not defend apartheid. I said so, it's recorded and I'm not the only one, there are many. When I was repudiated by one of the former presidents, Mr P W Botha, for having said that I believed the country would have a black president I was repudiated in the full glare of publicity of parliament, I received so many thousands of letters and messages to say to me hang in there, don't go. Who are these people? They are also South Africans. They were also dissatisfied. They also wanted a change and eventually the change came about.

     It was after all the NP's leaders at that time, 1990, Mr de Klerk who succeeded P W Botha, who agreed that this country's problems cannot be resolved by war and conflict and bloodshed and it was the opinion of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee that this attitude deserved a reward. I was extremely grateful that it happened that way because it signified to the South Africans that the world out there expects from us to live together and to forgive and pull together because soon also the euphoria and the emotions of elation following the 1994 elections will die down, will be reduced and governments in Europe and America and elsewhere will start criticising this government, will say this is not good enough, you cannot dwell for ever in the past, you cannot for ever blame everything on apartheid.

     You have moved now two years from it, soon it will be three years, four years, five years, you cannot after ten years say that the lack of achievement on your part is due to apartheid. You were bequeathed, you were left with good roads, good infrastructure, good airports, a good communications system with scientific institutions, banks and an infrastructure that is not existing anywhere else on the African continent. So you cannot for ever blame the past for your lack of judgement and vision. There are always two sides to a story, so on the one hand, yes, anger of the past. I appeared as Advocate for coloured clients. I remember with repugnance the case of a coloured father who only wanted to have his children sent to a coloured school, not a white school, but was forced to send his children to a black school where they did not understand the languages and customs at all but because he was married to a black woman  the authorities said now you are black. That is hideous. There is no way you can defend it. That caused anger, that caused deep wounds in a human being, so I want to make sure of one thing today with you, I felt myself aggrieved and wounded and humiliated when I had to appear for a client like that before a board and virtually told them, "But for heaven's sake what are you busy with?"

POM     How did you feel when you would have to go before world bodies like the UN or defend the policies of the government against foreign criticism? That's one, and two, what did apartheid do to you? If you had this awareness all the time it suggests almost a schizophrenic approach to life that on the one hand you saw the wrong, saw the damage that was being done, saw the humiliation that was being inflicted and on the other hand you were a part of the apparatus that made the laws and implemented the laws that made that condition and then you had to defend it as Foreign Minister.

PB     I rely on the record of my public statements. Merely because you are riding on a plane doesn't mean that you agree with the pilot's decisions and then to blame you and say but look you were in that aircraft.

POM     I'm looking at the more subtle thing, this ecology of how

PB     Look at the record of my statements in parliament and at the UN. You mentioned it. I delivered in 1974 a speech to the UN in which I categorically stated that I could not defend discrimination based on the colour of a person's skin. Now this is on record, it was widely published here, it is on record that I said that I could never go to war because of an apartheid sign in elevators and anywhere else in society. Now you can say to me but I should have resigned and gone into the desert and isolated myself and shout and kick. That was one choice, yes.

     The other one was to say the things I did say to change people's minds and to try and be a factor in the transformation that took place. Maybe I should have resigned and maybe I should have left politics, but I hung in there. Maybe that's my fault to try and change the party from within and I believe eventually I did succeed in making Namibia independent. I did succeed in assisting Kissinger first and later Peter Carrington to make Rhodesia independent. I did negotiate the Nkomati Accord with the late President Samora Machel. My meetings were broken up by the white right wing prohibiting me from making public addresses.  But after I read the reports on the atrocities committed by some members of the police in the eighties, I experienced remorse and revulsion. Even if we as a Cabinet were misled and kept in the dark, the question is" But should you not have done more to find out what was going on? In my case I admit that we should have done more.

POM     I suppose I'm asking it more in the spirit of you being able to see this damage and wrong around you and learning to live with it.

PB     I never learned to live with apartheid because I opposed it. How can you learn to live with something that you consistently opposed until the very end?

POM     Why did PW not simply throw you out of the government, say, "I want to get rid of this irritant?"

PB     I was close to being fired on more than one occasion, and that is also known. Close to being fired, maybe I should have been, but what point would have been proved by that? What would I have been able to do then? Become a businessman, make money or stay in there under difficult circumstances and become at times almost a pariah within your own ranks. That is also a price to be paid. It's a price, my children had to pay a price. In the schools they went to they were considered communists at one stage and things like that. They had to pay a price. My wife, my late wife had to pay a price. What I am trying to say is many others paid higher prices, of course they paid. All I am saying is I do not think anybody can say that within the ranks of the NP I defended apartheid. I did not. The country knows that.

POM     I'm not saying that.

PB     And there's no-one wherever I move in the country today who shares that view at all. But I admit we could have done more to get rid of it earlier.

POM     What I am getting at is what you were talking about, that you paid a price for this opposition in terms of the way your children were treated, in the terms of the way your wife was treated, in terms of the way many of your colleagues treated you, so there was a toll on that side from fighting from within.

PB     Don't forget they opposed me, they opposed me on the independence of Namibia, on the Rhodesian issue, on the Eminent Persons Group, even on the admission of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. I took that matter five times to Cabinet, five times.

POM     How did you get away with it? What's your secret? What's your political secret?

PB     I think it was also generally known that I attracted large audiences in this country. The point I want to make is that in the atmosphere of the UN with its superlatives, exaggerations, wild accusations, it was relatively easy for me to point out the distortions in many of the assessments, in many of the judgements and accusations. The whites in general welcomed my stand, it made them feel good in the sense that here was a man standing up also for their ideals and achievements. In the very same speeches, and that the record will show, you will find my warning to the whites that apartheid would have to go. On the one hand my argument was that the United Nations are exaggerating and that is not going to be helpful to bring about change in South Africa. You only bring about change if you speak to a person on the basis of facts known to that person so that that person can then through a process of introspection change himself and admit that this act, this law, this practice is violating my faith, is against the Christian faith, is against my moral beliefs, it's against all the beautiful things that I was taught at school, the visions and high ideals, that there was no way you could defend this. That's how you bring about lasting change. That's how you change the hearts and minds of people. You can withdraw a law, all laws, but you cannot withdraw prejudice, hatred, bitterness and revenge. That's a totally different mental, psychological characteristic you're dealing with and my strategy, not my strategy, it was my sincere belief was that we will find it hard to make headway if they carry on in the UN the way they carried on and back home the people with the vote feel that they are being unjustifiably attacked and accused.

     At the same time you had to tell the people back home, unless you change, forget now about the UN, they are exaggerating but if we put that aside I am still saying to you, you must change because you are wrong, you should on your own come to the conclusion that that our laws are hideous, immoral, and cannot be defended. I often said publicly in this country even if the General Assembly of the UN tomorrow passes a resolution applauding the then South African government and passing a resolution commending the South African government, even if that happened I would still have come to you and say to you, you cannot have the pass laws, you cannot have this Act prohibiting sexual relations between black and white, you cannot pay a medical doctor from state funds less because he's black, you cannot. And so the cannots continue. I can repeat to you a long list of them. You will still have to change even if the whole world supported you, you still have to change because it went against the grain of your innermost faith that you profess is your religion and that had to be cleared up.

     I suppose that both these arguments of mine just happened to strike a chord here with many people, also those who didn't like me, who thought I was too liberal or too progressive and that sort of thing and wanted to change the place too fast, said to themselves, but maybe, maybe this guy is right, maybe if he says to us that it is wrong then it is wrong to pay a man less merely on the basis of the colour of his skin. If you pay him less because his achievements are less I can understand it but if you have an excellent black doctor seeing twenty patients a day and curing them or treating them as successfully as another doctor who sees only ten and one of them dies on the operating table, then surely it must be wrong to pay him less. Surely it must be palpably wrong, surely then if I sit in church on Sunday and had to face God and say that I believe in Christ's teachings and His justice and His fairness then surely something in me must scream, must yell, must say this is wrong and forget the world then, forget the UN. What about me, us here? How can we survive if we are not spiritually clean? And that was my message. You can check it.

POM     Did your tenets include that you cannot indefinitely have a situation where a person cannot be denied a vote because of the colour of his skin?

PB     Certainly, certainly. If the dream could have been realised, as you've had in Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, if you could have had an agreement, an arrangement, a negotiated settlement that said all right, in that part of the country that would remain after a realistic consolidation of states and if the whites were then in a majority in that part of the country; yes, that could perhaps have provided a solution. But you see the problem with apartheid is that it was doomed before it was implemented, it was doomed before it was implemented. In the early fifties there was a Professor Tomlinson, very well known in the early fifties who brought out a major report, he was head of a commission actually, and I think anyone who wants to judge the history of this country and who doesn't at least look at the résumé, the summary of Professor Tomlinson, he produced a vast report on a possible future, political dispensation or order for South Africa. But what Tomlinson did was, it was not so much radical but a realistic division of land according to history and not patchwork here and there. It was really consolidating all the Swazis and giving them their historical, or much of their historical land. The same with Lesotho, the same with Botswana, the same with KwaZulu/Natal, the same with Transkei cum Ciskei. You see what I mean?

     The plan at the time, it was in the early fifties under Dr Verwoerd's government, was considered to be too expensive, too expensive. It would have cost a few billion pounds at the time and it was simply decided that there was no way that the country could afford the expense to restructure the geographic borders of this country with the political borders and the result was that from that moment onwards the dream of separate states, that dream of creating independent states governed by blacks and an independent state governed by whites, at that time it was quite feasible still because there were indeed prominent black leaders who would have been prepared at least to look at this because of the realistic nature of Tomlinson's proposals. They were attractive, also to some black people they were attractive. That dream then lost its vision and inspiration and the mistake, the basic historical mistake was that once it was decided that an order which would have been based on a moral basis could not be implemented because of the cost involved you were naturally left with an immoral result, namely the implementation of the same kind of dream but not on a moral basis. It robbed the dream of its moral basis and turned it into a nightmare and it took years and years of trying to give this dream a moral basis but it was completely unsuccessful and developed into racism and the prosecution and suppression of the majority of the people of this country. That is the truth.

POM     Tell me when you've had enough. I have noticed in the last six months a change in the attitude of white people, a kind of hardening of attitudes. I hear more racist jokes, more of, "We've already gone the way of the rest of Africa." I also sense a resentment against the Truth & Reconciliation Commission that somehow the Afrikaner people or the white people are being put in the dock and are being told to own up and admit that you were wrong about everything and feel guilty about it, and that they don't feel guilty about the past for the most part, and I feel a resentment among blacks that whites appear to be dismissive of the past and just say let's get on with the future and forgive each other and that should be enough and that they don't see any remorse being expressed by white people. I just get a sense of racial polarisation that I hadn't noticed, and it could be my imagination, among people I talk to that I hadn't noticed in previous years. Do you think there's anything to what I'm saying or is it in my head?

PB     No I am inclined to think that your observation has substance. This is a danger. I don't talk with hindsight. You cannot have a transformation so extensive, so completely radical as the one that South Africa had to go through without expecting turbulence of the mind. As you pointed out earlier the dismissive language that you pick up in government circles as regards the role of the NP and its present position, you had to expect also the same dismissiveness on the part of those who felt that things have changed beyond their expectations. You read the newspapers, the crime rate has increased tremendously, statements are made by government members which your media abroad also now tear to pieces.

     What I try to do in a situation of this nature is to look at the country as a whole and ask myself what would have been the case had the old system continued. Are we at least in a better position than the more or less predictable disastrous end result of the system under apartheid? The answer is yes we are in a better position. Few whites realise that blacks suffer more under the crime wave than whites. They in fact quantitatively and qualitatively suffer more. If a black man's television set is stolen it's a month's or two salary. If a white man's television set is stolen it is less than a month's salary. So they also suffer, so why would they, with all respect, then feel happy about the crime rate? And if that is the case why in general blame that on blacks if the vast number of people of this country who are black suffer more under a given practice?

     Only a few years ago I could drive from Pretoria to Johannesburg in no time with reasonable traffic but not the kind of traffic jams that I now experience. I am looking at the big trucks, those who do have their loads or cargoes in containers I look at the nature of the cargo. It is obvious it is building, it is construction, it is for air-conditioning systems, cement, wood, bricks, pipes, technology items. It is all over this province, Gauteng. The roads are flooded, modern highways as you have in America are flooded with traffic, with activity.

     I attended the other day a meeting in a rural area where some young Afrikaners asked to see me and wanted to know from me how do I see the future because they were very concerned and pointed out a number of rather negative experiences they have had since the former government went out of existence. I had a look at their motor cars parked under the trees and then started by asking them, do these cars belong to you? They said yes. And I said your average age must be about 30. Yes, 30, between 28 and 38. I said, "Well gentlemen, in few countries of the world will people of your age own motor cars in this price class." And that did it, that did it.

     There is economic activity, basically this government has been following a sound budget policy, economic policy and if you again look at the record people forget, I have kept, my late wife kept press clippings of my statements and involvement in public life throughout my career. There are volumes and volumes of them, and I often now go back to them, six years, ten years, nineteen years, and then I read, I read of things that happened, I read questions in parliament put at the time and I read of mishaps, faults, mistakes, irresponsibilities that happened, I read about government members who made the most awkward statements, most irresponsible statements, debated in parliament, reported on in the media. I am trying again to be as objective as possible and not to judge a situation at the moment that situation exists but to try to see it in its larger context in terms of history now and the possible future. Nothing has happened in South Africa which precludes this country from achieving success.

POM     That's in a way my view. In fact it was Derek Keys who said this to me. He said he was preparing a speech and putting down the debits and the credits and he said on the credit side we've had a relatively smooth and successful political transition, institutions of democracy are in place, the Constitutional Court has already proved that it's an independent body, so as far a democratisation and accountability and transparency we're ahead of the curve, to use the American phrase, if anything. There has been no bloodshed, none of the dire predictions of doom and gloom. In fact last year the economy grew for the first time in over a decade. It registered an over 3% growth rate. And he says, "Then I look on the other side and I see that whites are becoming more fearful", and he thinks why are whites becoming more fearful if in fact, as you say, I make the very same observation myself, I do the Pretoria/Johannesburg thing every other day and I say, "My God, there are four highways here. This is not just the N1 but there are two or three parallel roads and they are all cram packed with traffic."

PB     I won't use the words 'more fearful', I hear more concerns expressed now than in 1994. In 1994 we were just emerging from the euphoria of a successful election which the doom prophets predicted would result in disaster, so everybody I think at that time in 1994, May, June, July, August and as the months went on even into 1995 felt we did better, and the whole world also thought so then, than anybody expected. Then naturally, inevitably always comes a time when you look back and the grievances start to surface and emerge and then influence your opinion and your concerns, which is also natural. I am myself not more fearful. I want to say that quite categorically to you today. I am not more fearful. I find myself moving amongst black South Africans who are members of the ANC, others are business people, they share my concerns equally. Whites have neighbours today who are black business people. They are peaceful neighbours. Then they must also be fearful, but they also express concerns. There have been reports that the whites are leaving in masses. It's not true, it's not true. It is still difficult for many whites from other parts of the world to emigrate to South Africa. They want to, there's a long list. I know friends who emigrated to America, Australia, they are back, but those cases are not, with all respect, published. But if a prominent family leaves that is published.

     You spoke earlier of the TRC. I find it hard to imagine a more appropriate appointment than the one appointing Archbishop Tutu as chairperson of that commission. He has stood up as few, if any, chairperson of the past ever, against everyone to say this is my norm, objectivity, neutrality. He stood up. That is far from increasing your fear, that is consoling, that is a reassuring trend and attitude. Mr Mandela recently made critical remarks of certain black journalists who were critical of the ANC. They had a meeting and he came out there and he said press freedom is of decisive importance.

     So, again, I would urge my countrymen to try, it's hard at times, but to be more objective. Both those in the ANC who speak in acrimonious terms of the NP and whites who speak with dismissiveness and fearfulness of the future, should try and just go back into the past a little bit every time this fear overwhelms them or crops up, just to go back, take those few steps back and ask where we were, where we are now and what can we do with the future. Another very important argument, statement that I would wish to express to you is, we are entering a new century, we are entering a totally new era. This century was dominated by the first world war and the politics of Europe that brought a second world war and then the cold war division which held us in its grip until the other day when the Soviet Union disintegrated.

     I am beginning to notice a new spirit world-wide in management style, in business, in big companies, a new insistence that those who produce the product must have a greater say in the decisions affecting the future of a company producing the product. I am in favour of that. It's not communism. It will increase productivity and competitiveness. I do not know whether in future you are not going to have a mushrooming of smaller manufacturing entities where you can sit with computers virtually in your apartment and mine a whole shaft by pressing buttons and letting the elevators go down and machines go out and dig the rock and take out the rock to the top and to a smelter and produce the gold, where shoe manufacturers are all over the country producing 200,000 pairs of shoes per family or per household or per room.

     In government individuals in Europe, in the United States, in Japan, in the industrially well-developed countries I notice a new insistence that I am only going to pay for what I enjoy or consume, I am not prepared to pay for somebody else's disease or children at school if I don't have children, but I will pay the road toll if I use the road and I'll pay the hospital if I use the hospital and I will pay for the schooling of my children if they enjoy the education; which carries with it the seeds of a refusal to pay tax, a tax over which the individual who pays the tax has no control and if his wishes are not granted he moves then to a country where they are granted and where he then can live the way he wishes to live.

     What concerns me about these developments are that I don't think that we can perceive between now and the end of the century what tremendous new thinking is going to take root on earth and my worry is where does this leave Africa? So I am looking at South Africa and the ANC and all of us as fellow South Africans on a ship that is going to find itself in very turbulent waters on that wide big, rough ocean out there. We will still talk dismissively about one another until we one day discover there are too many sharks around us to allow this ship to sink and that no shark will know the difference between an NP member and an ANC member and that this hopefully will shake us up and prepare us then for the new role that we must play in a new century. Hence my prediction that a totally new movement will come into being in this country that will wake up to the challenge out there, the outside world, the ocean that we must travel.

     Look at Africa today, look at Africa south of the Sahara. There was almost a disinterest of the world in hundreds and thousands of people that were dying as a result of the Rwanda, Burundi conflict. I am trying to look at my country and at all South Africans as players on a rough field where we are not yet aware, unfortunately not yet aware, what is waiting for us and then we indulge in our own, as we almost did in the past, little isolated situation here. Maybe putting us between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans so far away from the highly industrialised developed regions is one of the punishments, one of the detriments of this country. On the other hand it also opens the way midway between east and west for us to play that role, to be part of both, to trade with both, to try and be competitive with both and to rise to our geographic position of being the point around which all ships of the future must pass to trade and be successful.

     I now say to black and white South Africans, "For heaven's sake wake up, we are still far from seeing the promised land. The world out there is not going to treat us with charity, forget it. Maybe as beggars eventually, scrape together a few crumbs to keep us fed but don't rely on it after Rwanda/Burundi."

     I see a challenge in that. I see a new political movement waking up the people of this country to a new challenge and saying this is the way to get rid of the past. But the final word on the TRC, it must bring out the facts even if it hurts. If you do not do it now you will have media, investigative journalists carrying on for years discovering new things and talking about reprehensible acts. That is why it is better to have the truth come into the open. Once that is done the injustices of the past could perhaps be forgiven.

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.