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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

25 Mar 1997: Jordan, Pallo

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POM     Dr Jordan, let me first ask you, how does the ministry you're now in differ in terms of its scope and the intellectual demands it makes on you from when you were Minister for Posts & Telecommunications?

PJ     Well it is a completely different area of responsibility. The scope here is much larger because we are dealing with environmental affairs which takes in, apart from environmental management, also takes in marine fisheries and then integrated pollution control waste management. Then we have tourism as well, so it's a much bigger canvas that one is dealing with here. That's one big change. The intellectual challenges of course are of a different order because here one is actually dealing in a sense with nature on the one hand and then the consequences of human behaviour on nature whether one is talking about environment management, pollution control or fisheries. Then of course tourism is then in a sense the promotion of certain types of economic activities which will have a bearing and impact on nature and the environment and perhaps one is fortunate in combining the two because you can then ensure that economic activity you are trying to stimulate would be so regulated as not to have a negative effect on nature and on the environment. So that's what one is dealing with here. In Posts & Telecommunications what you are dealing with in the main was economic activity, stimulating and regulating certain economic activities which were of a facilitative nature for the economy as a whole, seeing that people's mail reaches them on time, seeing that there is a sort of infrastructure which will enable South Africans to communicate with themselves and with the rest of the world in the swiftest, most up to date and efficient manner possible. Yes, that's what one is dealing with there.

POM     Which do you find to be the bigger challenge, or are they just different challenges?

PJ     They are different. This one is much more time consuming but that might just have to do with the scope of what one has to handle, but the challenges are different. I wouldn't want to compare them one on one. In a sense you have to do a gear-shift in terms of what you are going to be addressing, how you are going to be looking at things. In both instances I was thrown in at the deep end so it entailed a very steep learning curve but I think I have made it at least half way.

POM     Do you have to live with wind like this all the time?

PJ     This is the nature I'm talking about. Yes, well, the wind here is like this at this time of year and the building, I suppose, they never managed to seal the windows quite as tightly as they should have.

POM     If you have the Olympics here there will be some of the fastest world records ever set or some of the slowest times ever set.

PJ     You could never hold the Olympics in Cape Town in the summer. You would have to hold them in the Spring or in the late Fall because otherwise the south-easter would mess things up terribly.

POM     Since I talked to you the last time, which was just about a year ago, there have been a number of developments I would like to hear your commentary on. One was the ANC's treatment and expulsion of Bantu Holomisa and whether you think this new party he may form will have an impact or will merely really be a novelty and side-dressing. Two, is the ANC treatment of Patrick Lekota, it's dismissal of the entire cabinet and taking over the Free State and the subsequent fate of Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri. Three, is what do both of these things say about the state of internal democracy within the ANC?

PJ     Well the two things are of completely different character. In the case of General Holomisa what was involved was a breach of party discipline which led to certain disciplinary proceedings which then resulted in his expulsion from the organisation, his exclusion. I don't think that was necessarily on the cards at the commencement of the disciplinary proceedings but I think many of General Holomisa's actions between the time disciplinary proceedings were instituted and the time of the actual hearings escalated the conflict such that it then eventuated in his exclusion from the organisation.

     In the case of Patrick Terror Lekota what was involved was internal wrangling within the leadership structures of the ANC in the Free State province resulting in the stagnation and almost throttling, or thwarting at any rate, of the capacity of the ANC cabinet in that province to govern the province properly. Well that sort of thwarting of government has an extremely negative impact on the people of the province and also, of course, on the province as a whole so that had to be addressed in some way or another and the ANC leadership attempted to address that particular issue by arbitration, discussion, negotiation amongst the people in the leadership structures of the Free State province to no avail and in a sense what had to happen was the cutting of the Gordian knot and put completely new leadership in and people who would not be distracted from the main business of government by fractious issues within the organisation, and that's what happened.

     So the two things are of a very different nature. Now many have said that Patrick Terror Lekota after all was elected by the ANC structures in the Free State and so for the other people in the leadership to unseat them like that is sort of to fly in the face of popular wishes. But I think what we have to weigh carefully at the same time is what is the purpose of a party in government and what is the purpose of a movement like the ANC in government? Is its purpose to serve the pursuit and interests and whatever, hobby-horses of leadership figures or is it to govern in the interests of the electorate? I would think the latter and with respect to that it was probably necessary that people who were not distracted by all these other issues should be in office so that there can be delivery.

POM     Yet the ANC in the province rebuked the national leadership insofar as they rejected Dr Casaburri as the nominee for the provincial leadership of the party?

PJ     Well I'm not certain whether they rebuked her or rebuked the national leadership. I don't think they rebuked the national leaders. I'm not so certain if that is so. They preferred the person they put in there, which is their prerogative. One of the considerations that might well have weighed very prominently in the minds of the membership on the ground in the Free State is the fact that since coming home Dr Casaburri has been involved in things such as the SABC, in the Education Development Trust and so on. She has not actually been actively involved in Free State politics, and it's not an insignificant consideration, but she is in the leading bodies of the ANC in the province nonetheless although she is not the chairperson.

POM     What would you say to the argument some people have put to me that if you have a provincial slate and people vote for that slate because of the people on that slate and they are elected, then two days later the NEC or whatever decides to remove all those people from office and simply replace them with a new set of people whom the electorate might not have voted for in the first place, does that not set a bad precedent?

PJ     No, no, I don't think there is any such precedent. All things being equal there would have been no need for anyone to intervene in the Free State or in any other province but it would be highly irresponsible, I would have thought, where you are seeing the danger of such distraction with other issues that there is very little attention to the main business in hand, not to intervene and if there hadn't been the feeling that that was what has happened in the Free State I don't think anyone would have wanted to intervene. There have been other instances where there have been difficulties, problems with provincial leaderships and the National Executive hasn't felt it necessary to intervene. It's where it's actually going to impair the capacity of the organisation to perform what people expect it to do that it has intervened.

POM     Wouldn't the same argument hold with regard to a premier who, say, in province X who turns out to be pretty incompetent, runs a shoddy government, doesn't deliver, is simply not up to the job, I mean once the precedents are set of interfering?

PJ     I would say that it would depend on the circumstances. If you had a situation in which there was evident non-performance, evident non-delivery, evident shoddiness in government, just to leave matters as they are because you say well people get the governments they deserve might be true but the price the country and everyone else would pay for that might be a little bit too steep. So one has to consider these matters, I think, very carefully.

POM     But as a matter of principle you would accept that the NEC has the right to step in to provincial affairs and remove premiers or entire cabinets if it believes that the interests of the people are not being served by that particular premier or that particular government?

PJ     Well the ANC is not a federation nor is it a federal organisation. It's a unitary organisation which operates on tried and tested principles of subordination, of provincial, regional, local and municipal structures to a national structure and, yes, in those terms, yes, it's in the practice of the ANC to do that. Now whether in terms of the South African constitution you are permitted to do that I think that's true also. Now other parties that are federal in their character obviously they operate differently and therefore they would see the matter differently. The National Party for instance is a federal party, it's a federation of provincial structures, it's not that centralised unitary structure that the ANC is. I'm not certain how the DP operates but given its rhetoric about federalism I suspect it's also similarly a federal organisation. They are not complete matches but an analogous situation where you don't have a federal structure would be like a political party in Britain where the national office has the right to come in and take the whip away from an MP, to exclude a constituency party and so on, etc., etc., the same sort of principle if you like. It's analogous, not identical, but that's what one is looking at here. There are no examples of a similar character in South Africa because the parties that I've mentioned are federations.

POM     I asked you earlier the question about Holomisa's overtures to establishing a new party. Do you think that is in any way not a real threat to the ANC but that it would take away some support, or is it something that simply won't get off the ground, or is it something that the ANC should take seriously? Then, quoting from City Press of last Sunday that said that at his rally on Human Rights Day he had 15,000 people who showed up in Germiston, whereas 600 people showed up in Sharpeville for Winnie Mandela and Peter Mokaba. Should there be a concern? Is he reaching a constituency that somehow the ANC has disappointed?

PJ     The Holomisa phenomenon, I'm not certain what it actually means, but obviously since Holomisa is going to be contesting the ANC amongst the African electorate he can only hope to grow at the expense of the ANC just as any other political party which wants to base itself on the African electorate can only grow at the expense of the ANC. We are talking PAC, AZAPO and Holomisa. They can only grow at the expense of the ANC. So from that point of view I would say, sure, the ANC needs to be concerned just as it needs to be concerned about the PAC or AZAPO or any other such political formation. Now whether it should be shaking in its boots about it that's another question. My suspicion is that there are a number of elements involved in the Holomisa phenomenon. There is probably some of the charisma attaching to him, because the man is charismatic, he did poll the highest number of votes in the ANC national conference, so there are lots of people who are members of the ANC who had a lot of confidence in him but there are many people who are supporters of the ANC, we have a (mixed) constituency. He also has a lot of the kudos accruing to him as a result of having got rid of the Matamzima dictatorship and all that in that coup. So there is that factor, his own popularity. There is also a curiosity factor I am sure, we want to hear what Holomisa has to say. Then there is probably a disaffection factor by people who feel that delivery has not been fast enough, who feel that their situation hasn't changed enough since the ANC came into power and there might be others. Also when you're looking at all those questions you have to factor in also personal ambition and personal agendas. People who have not achieved advancement within the ANC and think that they might have better opportunities elsewhere might well also adhere to Holomisa in the hope that since it's something new the chances for advancement or recognition, which they might feel that they haven't received in the ANC, are much greater. All those are factors there but I don't think it's something that one should be unduly upset about. What cannot be contested of course is Holomisa's perfect right and the legitimacy of his attempts to constitute another political party if he feels one is necessary. That I think is unassailable. He should have the right to continue.

POM     So you would see what emerges as being maybe no more than a small fringe party, maybe the size of the PAC or whatever?

PJ     It remains to be seen. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of political formations that have contested the ANC's dominant and predominant position within the African electorate over time and some of them have risen quite spectacularly and dazzled people with their potential in circumstances that were much more propitious than Holomisa's but came to nothing. You take PAC for instance, within a year of being constituted the PAC launched an anti-pass campaign which had a very high profile resulting in Sharpeville, etc., it became an international - PAC had hardly been known inside South Africa before March 21st 1960 but by March 22nd it was known internationally. The name of its president was international, the names of its leaders gained international fame. There was here in Cape Town, for instance, a guy who was a student, slightly older than myself, at UCT the same time as myself, in 1959 December, Christmas, if you had mentioned his name to anyone even in the African townships they would have said 'Who?'. By 30th March of 1960 if you had mentioned his name anywhere in South Africa everyone knew his name.

POM     This was?

PJ     See what I mean? See exactly what I mean. You don't even know his name.  Kgosana, Philip Kgosana. Exactly. Thirty years later he's obscure. You have to guess for his name. So that has happened many a time. You take again, I'm not saying Steve Biko has dwindled into obscurity but the Black Consciousness Movement, the torch bearer now is AZAPO, you couldn't just reel off the names of the leading figures in AZAPO like that. You'd have to think about it for a few minutes because much as the Black Consciousness Movement did make a big impact in the mid seventies, the early seventies, it's now very marginal in South African politics and the names of its leaders don't readily come to mind, don't roll off people's tongues.

POM     Why do you think it is?

PJ     The question is, what is going to be different about Holomisa and is the situation that much more propitious for Holomisa than for all these others. I'm not unduly worried about it myself but if it happens of course it means then that the ANC has to get its act together and has then to meet the challenge at the hustings like any other political party.

POM     Why do you think other organisations like the PAC,  AZAPO, BCM, have fallen by the wayside?

PJ     The issue is always the sustainability of a political programme and a political platform. You have to have a political platform that is not going to just grab people's imagination for a day or two but one which is going to be sustainable over time which people are going to see as relevant. People didn't see the PAC's platform as relevant during the election. AZAPO decided to stay out, maybe decided that discretion was the better part of valour, I don't know. But there you are. You see when you build on what is essentially a negative platform, I haven't listened to what Holomisa has to say, I haven't gone to any rallies, I haven't followed in the press, for instance, reports about what he has said and done, but I think and my suspicion is that his is a negative political message that the ANC has failed in this, has failed in that. Is that very sustainable, because people don't want to hear what other people have not done, they want to hear what you are going to do and it mustn't be implicit in your critique of someone else, it must be explicit in what you say and also what you are going to do must also ring as credible. If you promise them the moon, for instance, they will only believe you if you've got a rocket ship. If you've got a little wheelbarrow which you have to push along the road you can't promise them the moon because you can't get there, it's not credible.

POM     I want to ask you a little about the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. One, where is the justice? I see the truth coming out. I don't see any real reconciliation. But where does the justice lie? I put it in the context of my experience in talking to just black families and white families. Whites almost to a person say these atrocities were awful, we never knew they were going on, we never would have condoned them but they have nothing to do with us. We didn't know about them and we don't feel any guilt or any remorse and certainly the people who perpetrated them should be prosecuted if anything. But there's a distancing, it's them and not us. Among black families I find that the families I talked to a couple of years ago who were quite benign and not looking for any kind of form of revenge at all are now becoming increasingly angry as they hear not only the gory details of the murders but the manner in which they were committed, the barbarity surrounding the way in which bodies were disposed of, the braaing and beers and whatever, and they look at these faces on television of these men and they see that they don't feel the slightest bit of remorse. It's that they're looking at their watch and saying, "I've got to talk for another 15 minutes and my application for amnesty will be completed, I'm not sorry, I just have to go through this and I'm going through it to get amnesty", and there's an increasing anger there. Between the two I'm asking where does justice lie or what concept of justice underlines the Truth Commission?

PJ     Well I don't think justice was one of the considerations in setting up the Truth Commission. I think it was recognised from the very beginning that justice would be done a disservice but that that disservice was a part of the price you were going to have to pay for some sort of reconciliation. The fact of the matter is that while people might not have known the gory details of so-and-so was murdered in this way by so-and-so and so-and-so and this is what they did with him, and this was what they did with the body, etc. In general terms people knew that there were terrible atrocities being committed. Now if we had taken the route of saying, OK we are going to now get to the truth of it and those who have committed these atrocities are going to have to - there is some retribution. Given the levels of anger you're talking about you can imagine what people would be demanding out in the street now. Drawing and quartering would probably be too good for many of the perpetrators of these crimes.

     So that was not the route to go because that would then stand in the way of any sort of reconciliation. If you look, for instance, at the rally this past weekend, on March 21st to be exact, by people flying the old apartheid flag, etc., etc., we were only doing what was honourable, we were doing our duty, etc., etc.  They are ex-soldiers, ex-Generals and that fringe of the white population, they are not being prosecuted thank you very much, they are just being told to come forward and tell the world what you did and recognise what you did.

     Now given in that tension in the society between the aggrieved and the ones who committed the wrongs if you had insisted on justice something was going to snap. So justice had to be, in a sense, put on hold. A regrettable choice but I think a necessary choice. Now the reconciliation and the distancing, the distancing by many whites was to be expected. It's the sort of reaction you get from your average German after the second world war: oh no, no, we knew nothing about these things, we were not involved, we were just, well at worst we were following orders, at best we were completely ignorant. There was a handful of madmen, Hitler and his cronies, who knew about this, who were doing them and we were not involved. It's usual, you still get it even today amongst many Germans, sometimes people who one expects to know better.

     I was in Munich earlier this year and talking to what I suppose would be called the city elders, senior, not in age, but pretty high up people in city government, and they were telling me about, oh yes well this town was bombed to the ground, the only thing that survived was the church over there and this and that part of the old Bavarian King's palace but otherwise everything was rubble, we rebuilt this thing, rebuilt this city from the ground, and saying this within the expectation of shared remorse, grief or anyway some sort of belief that I should mourn with them. After listening, yes expecting that I should mourn with them, oh how terrible, how terrible, how terrible, and I had to remind them that the same thing happened to Warsaw and to Leicester and to Rotterdam. It is almost, there isn't an English word for it, the Yiddish word is chutzpah on the part of a German, especially a Bavarian industrialist to say poor Munich was bombed to the ground. I mean, for Christ's sake, think of the atrocities, they laid waste to the rest of Europe! And then they bombed our city! Damn cheek?

     But there is that sense of not only distancing but refusal to recognise and denial of the past which I think many whites in South Africa are doing. You will be hard put to find a single white who ever supported apartheid these days. There might be one or two fanatical Nats but the average white South African, you sometimes wonder how it even happened. No, we had nothing to do with it. I mean they voted for it election after election after election, including the last one, they still voted for the bloody National Party, the party of apartheid. They never turned their backs on it. Oh no, we're not responsible for it. OK, fine, you're not going to do very much about that but presumably the very act of distancing themselves from those past atrocities hopefully has some purging effect that people will say, well I don't want to go back to that. Hopefully. I don't know, maybe some of them are different but one imagines that they would say, "Gee if that's what it means I'd sooner not have it."

POM     There's a book out, I don't know whether you've heard of it or read it called Hitler's Willing Executioners.

PJ     Yes I've read about it, I haven't read it.

POM     It's over 1000 pages, it's heavy reading but it makes the case very compellingly that the holocaust could not have occurred without the -

PJ     Without the connivance and support of -

POM     Of hundreds of thousands of people.

PJ     No, to be sure, that's pretty obvious and then there's also the footage, the week before I arrived in Germany they had released this footage which people had been sitting on since the war, because there was a lot of connivance both on the part of the victorious western powers and then the German authorities post-war to suppress a lot of the evidence. Yes, a lot of film footage showing the ordinary German soldier who presumably, well who has been portrayed since the second world war as just an honourable fighting man doing his duty and serving his country by his best lights, etc., to have been just monstrous. Because you see what has happened, well it was the SS, the Gestapo and the fanatical Nazis, that the rest of the Germans were not quite involved, the ordinary solider no, the general staff, the military high command were not, gee the military high command even tried to overthrow Hitler, that type of thing. But of course a lot of it is ash in the mouth but now it's coming out and as a result of that footage being made available in photographs there were huge demonstrations by the neo-Nazi skinheads, many of the veterans of the second world war who are having to face up to the things they committed which they have so vigorously tried to deny and suppress. So I think these things do take time. Whether they have the desired effect or not I am not certain but hopefully it will have the effect of people saying because of that I don't want it. It's very comfortable, let's face it, to have the best part of the pie and the lion's share of it all the time. Not very many people turn down that sort of privilege and they don't think while they are consuming it what it costs, that it doesn't only mean that someone else is not getting any pie other than crumbs, if any, but that it involves cutting off other people's hands who are trying to reach for it.

POM     On the contrary I find that there's an attitude of we worked for what we got, we pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps.

PJ     But isn't that part of the dominant - everywhere in the world now, especially in western countries, that's what you get. It's Thatcherism and the dominant ethos now. Unemployment, get on your bike and go and look for a job. Same sort of thing, it's a continuation of that.

POM     What about the National Party and its efforts to reconstruct itself in some new way and the task Roelf Meyer has been given to go into a room with a blank piece of paper and come out with a plan that will create a non-racial party, attract millions of black votes and be a force if not in 1999 maybe in the year 2004, and then to reconcile that with De Klerk's second submission to the Truth Commission in which he is belligerent and truculent and even less confessional than the first one and less apologetic than the first one? Are they building on quicksand? Is there any way that you see how a credible political party could emerge out of the ashes of the old NP? What would have to happen?

PJ     Well I think the operative word there is 'reconstruction' and that is what the NP is unable to do. It's an unreconstructed party and unreconstructed in every sense of that word. I think it's caught, I don't know even how to characterise it, but it's a trap of its own making. You see the NP won most of the white votes in the 1994 election and it has to be a party with which white South Africans feel comfortable. If it doesn't have that then it will disappear. The electorate and the character of South African politics has undergone total transformation. South African politics has got to be determined by a black electorate. 75% African, 85% black in the sense of Africans, coloureds and Indians. So if you are going to trim your sails to a white electorate you are always going to, in a sense, paint yourself into a 15% party. Now the NP has been, I think, lucky in 1994 in that it was able to play on the very base fears, in a very crude fashion, of the coloured population in the Western Cape. That's what brought it to the 20% mark otherwise it didn't have a hope in hell if it hadn't been able to do that. That's its dilemma, that's its problem, that it has to base itself on the whites and all those attitudes you mentioned. Well De Klerk is actually speaking on behalf of that white electorate in his truculence, being less confessional, being belligerent, etc., etc. That's whose mood he is giving voice to when he speaks like that in the Truth Commission. Now the same De Klerk and the same party wants to make inroads into the families of those people who were aggrieved who just feel anger because I am sure even some of the blacks who voted for the NP, except the ones who were absolutely committed to the apartheid regime in any case, but the average odd black voter who was persuaded by this, that or the other -

POM     Who voted for the NP?

PJ     Yes, it was 'My God!', is actually reminded of things that they knew which they maybe have suppressed and maybe things that they knew but they thought that De Klerk had turned over a new leaf. I mean De Klerk speaks like this, sort of saying to them too.

POM     Up yours.

PJ     Yes. So how is he going to address them? They are caught in that particular trap. Now my reading of it is that you've got maybe three or four simultaneous processes unfolding in the NP. As I mentioned before it's a federal party and the Western Cape I think is making certain claims. Look, if it wasn't for us you'd be nowhere. Because the NP since the days of Strydom was dominated by the mood of what was then called the Transvaal Nats and De Klerk comes from there, Vorster came from there, Verwoerd came from there and Strydom came from there. You've only had really two, since 1948, Cape Nats, Malan and PW Botha, but otherwise all the leaders have come from the Transvaal and I think the Western Cape are saying now, "We are the guys." Now the dilemma which that puts the NP in is that Hernus Kriel is like what one might call 'oatmeal' man. During the national campaign Kriel never featured on any of the posters, it was De Klerk that was projected and what's more even during the municipal elections they still used De Klerk rather than Kriel. I don't know whether Kriel is going to have the same sort of appeal to the coloured voter that De Klerk had. De Klerk had the appeal of being a reformer and apparently a Nat who had turned his back on the past, turning over a new leaf and all that. Does Kriel have the same image? I doubt it. But in the meantime Kriel and his lads are the ones who are now saying we are the guys who should be -

POM     Calling the shots.

PJ     Yes. In a way they are justified, they have got the votes. At the same time I think there is also the Roelf Meyer type of initiative which is trying to come to terms with the seasonal change in politics. Look the future is black, we have to become a black party. Then you've got people like De Klerk in the middle who are saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush lads, we've got the white voters and those are the people who kept us in office all these years, they are the people who are going to make us meaningful. All these promises that you have about transforming us to a black party, who will be the meaningful players in 1999 and 2004? Well, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I think all those things are happening.

     Now what I've heard on the rumour mill is that the dominant mood in the NP is actually to go with Kriel and you've seen it reflected somewhat in the badgering De Klerk has been taking in the Afrikaans press, led interestingly enough by Die Burger which is the Western Cape Afrikaans newspaper. "He sold us out, he didn't stand up for us." And then finding an interesting echo in Herman Giliomee who is head of the Institute of Race Relations. So much also for the bastions of liberal thought and opinion in South Africa. But that seems to be the direction. Frankly it might give them the Western Cape maybe for another term but there's no future in it, there's no future in it really.

POM     But do you think that, again we talked about this the last time, that there is something fundamentally flawed in the thinking and the attitude of people who think that they can suppress people for 300 years, for 40 years hold them in brutal oppression, and then within four years turn around and say to those people, "We're the right people, vote for us, we're more trustworthy than the ANC, we can do a better job than the ANC?" Is it not condescending to the people who have endured this? Do they not show a total lack of understanding of what's gone on in the past?

PJ     But what choice do they have really, what choice do they have? Of course the NP realised that that wasn't going to be a credible game which is why they went into those negotiations with about three or four plans of strategy which included, as is evident now from the evidence of the TRC, the murder squads and the black on black violence, instigation of IFP, and it's going to emerge now with this Tebbut Commission that people like Mangope and others who were recalcitrant in the end about coming into the electoral process either had the explicit or the implicit backing of the government, Mangope, Gqozo and these guys I am sure. So they came in with all those cards because they knew that going to the electorate with just saying, "OK this is who we are, these are our plans, we've changed now, vote for us, we can do a better job", would not be credible. So what they felt they had to do was to so mess up the constituency which would vote for the ANC that (a) the ANC would inevitably be consumed in fire-fighting and then (b) people would just be so terrified of the future because the transition was so hairy they would say, "Good God! Sooner the flesh-pots of Egypt than the hazards of the desert."

POM     Lastly, because I know we're running out of time, this whole series of allegations of there being spies in the government in high positions in the ANC and supposedly five senior cabinet members or whatever, how seriously does the ANC take these allegations, one? And two, does it think it's part of a process of disinformation that's intended to turn the ANC on itself in a kind of a witch-hunt for who might have been involved in what? And what about the list that was supposedly handed to Mandela by, I think, Michael Lisle from the National Intelligence Agency in 1994 that gave the names of 600 people who were supposedly police informers? Is it a problem for the ANC or is it one more counter-revolutionary action on the part of those who still oppose the ANC?

PJ     Well was it Gerhard Gaylin(?) who used to be Hitler's Intelligence Chief for Eastern Europe in preparation of Operation Barbarossa in his memoirs talks about one of the dirtiest tricks they pulled on Stalin which was to smear the leadership of the Red Army with accusation of treason and in his paranoia Stalin wiped out the best military commanders, the most experienced from Marshal Tukhachevsky down and Gaylin says, well when we marched in it was like a knife cutting through butter, zap to the gates of Moscow. Where were the Red Army Generals? They were in their graves. So.

POM     Is the ANC satisfied that this is all a concoction?

PJ     Look it would be absurd to pretend that the enemy did not have agents working in the ANC but the accusation that there were five people who are now in top government positions, etc., I think those are just provocations. Yes, those are just provocations. I would be very, very, very surprised if there was the slightest ounce of truth in them. I would be very surprised. Incidentally the question will be asked in parliament tomorrow and I believe that an answer is going to be tabled in relation to that, asked of the President and there will be an answer tomorrow.

POM     In relation to the report that he supposedly received?

PJ     All these reports that he supposedly received, etc.

POM     Finally, looking at the performance of the government over three years on a scale of one to ten where would you place it at this point?

PJ     Eight.

POM     That's confident and good and I'll end on that point. I'm sure there's at least one more question I could ask you.  OK, thanks a million.

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.