About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

04 Aug 1997: Nefoloyhodwe, Pandelini

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POM     Maybe you'll let me start with the very same question I began with last year which is whither AZAPO, where is it fitting into the scheme of things? If one goes through the newspapers for the last year one sees less and less reference to it.  What one sees really is a situation of where the ANC seems to be consolidating its power and marginalising all of the other parties whether they are African parties or whether they're Afrikaner parties or whether there're National Party parties. So where do things stand?

PN     Things stand as follows. You must remember also that throughout the world any party that comes into power it has been a general feature that that party uses state machinery and state resources directly or indirectly to strengthen itself. It also can use state resources, and this is also a general trend, to weaken the opposition. That is a process which in our view is happening also in this country. Not only that, the second point I want to mention is that in a situation such as ourselves here in this country there are two things that people must look at. This process of democracy here came into being largely as an outside imposition. The world was sick and tired of apartheid, I have said this time and again, and as a result the world clubbed together in order to see some kind of solution and the solution which we have is that which is backed by the international community, rightly or wrongly, and under those circumstances any other party that has not joined that process it's bound to have a lot of obstacles and this is where AZAPO has found itself. You must also remember that the media, particularly in this country, it's owned by the rich and the rich under normal circumstances once they support a process it means their media and all other things that they use will be able to reflect on the processes of those parties and organisations that are actually strengthening the basis upon which the rich continue to make more and more money for themselves. Now the ANC in this respect has done exactly that.

POM     As far as you're concerned has the ANC become almost a Thatcherite organisation subscribing to the dominance of the market and that the market will rule and expenditure must be slashed on the government side and budgets must be balanced? The economic policies it's pursuing are very different from the economic policies it ran on in 1994.

PN     Absolutely, absolutely. What has happened here is that the ANC, as I said, got into the position in which it is as a result of these forces and the international forces are like that and they are predominantly capitalist forces, predominantly. And in these instances by the time the ANC became the government it was spear-headed largely by forces and political parties that were all of the mode of conservatism throughout the world. If you check them during that era you would find that it was all those kinds of forces. When it got into power it had run on a ticket slightly different from what it is designing now but that was because of the pressure.  Looking back Nelson Mandela once said he wanted to nationalise industry and there was a lot of pressure applied up until the ANC had to announce that they are adopting the strategy of the market forces and in doing that they were then forced to appoint Liebenberg, the other fellow who came before Trevor Manuel. But that was to please the capitalist status quo. The ANC was misled to believe that the only way of delivering to our people is to trust that the economy as is managed by those who have presently must be increased and when the ANC talk about growth they talk about the growth of the forces and the economic forces that are not owned by the people but that are owned by the different companies and individuals for their own purpose. So when they tell you that they want a 6% growth they are actually talking about 6% of growth of these capitalist ventures which they do not own, which have not even had a programme that will trickle down to the people. Also the trickle down policy throughout the world it has been found that there is no such thing that things will trickle down to the poor. So that is where the ANC is. It has gotten itself into a situation where it is operating on the basis of those that owned the wealth in this country and it is caught up in that reality.

POM     Can that situation within the ANC last indefinitely when you have the SACP that, well if it's a decent minded Communist Party it must at some point say hold it, we've had enough of capitalism, you have COSATU who even at this moment as we talk has just called a one-hour strike ten minutes ago. How far can these tensions co-exist with each other before there is not some kind of implosion within the ANC itself between those who are in fact capitalists and between those who are in fact non-capitalists and before those who say a 6% rate of growth is fine and those who say a 6% rate of growth may be fine but we're creating no jobs?

PN     But you must remember here that when we talk about the Communist Party of South Africa we are not talking about a communist party at all, we are talking about a communist party in name. It has become fashionable and it had been fashionable even in those days for those that belonged to the South African Communist Party to call themselves communists but in our organisation, AZAPO, we always believed that they were not communists.

POM     How would AZAPO ideologically define itself now?

PN     Right through the struggle for liberation they were largely a party that listened to the Soviet Union and it has now come to be proven, things we have said time and again, that the Soviet Union itself was not a communist state, it was a dictatorship, bureaucracy, all kinds of usurping power of the working class, usurping their status was actually the practice. It had nothing to do with the power of the very working class that people talk about. Now that is where the South African Communist Party's thinking comes from. That is why it is not very difficult for the SACP to accept the ANC's capitalist deal. So at the moment for all intents and purposes they are communists perhaps by way of one or two individuals but as an organisation called the South African Communist Party it is no longer communist because it has never been communist. So we are talking about the name rather than - and if people normally think that what COSATU does is of a socialist nature. The last statement which was issued by COSATU General Secretary, that was last week or so, he then said at one of the rallies that they will oppose the government of the ANC by way of what they are doing now but they will vote for it. Those are exactly the terms he used, that we will oppose it but we will vote for it in the next election. Now that shows you that the framework under which they operate is that of the ANC, but obviously the ANC has also inculcated, just like all other capitalist societies do, inculcated the spirit that you must toyi-toyi, you must go into picketing, you must do that because once you do that you contain the masses. You must give them some kind of leeway, that that is precisely what they must do and one is not surprised that they are allowing that. In fact if the ANC has to stop that it will actually be destroying the very basis upon which they are pursuing a capitalist route. A capitalist route in these circumstances must allow people who are angry to feel that they have demonstrated, they have done something. You will not see any single programme that is consistently going to say to hell with that ANC government, we want an alternative. It will not happen.

POM     For the first time, I would say, in the several years that I have been interviewing people, I have come across Afrikaners and whites in general, businessmen and whatever, who never had a good word to say for the ANC's management of the economy, who are now saying, well the economy is doing better than we expected, it's growing at over 3% a year, we're becoming more competitive internationally, the balance of trade is good. For the first time real foreign investment is beginning to flow in, people from abroad are beginning to believe in the future of the economy and the stability of the country. What would you do in power that would maintain that rate of growth or increase that rate of growth but in particular maintain foreign confidence in the economy, and in a global economy foreign confidence is something that you don't have control over. If you don't get foreign investment you don't grow.

PN     Let me tell you one thing that I have always told. The first thing is that that theory, that outlook is not entirely correct. The international community which is foreign investment and the likes of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, they are in business and we can't blame them for being in business. They have been in business for many, many years and being in business therefore it means that you must influence processes and decisions which would make your business thrive. There is no way whether they will influence the world and their different investment capacities to be contrary to what they want to achieve and when you hear the trend that the foreigners are coming, foreign investment is pouring in, you shouldn't just believe that story and say that story therefore it means that we will get better. It doesn't work that way in economic terms. What would have been, what we must check, is what kinds of agreements have been reached that the foreign investors would do in order to improve the lives of the poor. So I'm interested in that. I'm not so much interested in the story that they have confidence, they are coming. That coming I see but that coming has got a price to pay. If we were in power we would say, yes in fact we must work with everybody in the world but we work with everybody in the world precisely for our objectives as well. They have their objectives also to reap a little bit of the profits for themselves because they are in business.

     We also have another objective of making sure that another revolution should not occur and therefore we should reach an agreement that if you come here these are the other benefits that are going to go there. But if you just say they must come, what you are merely saying is that they must come and increase the capacity of the companies and the capitalist companies that have always made profit on the basis of the cheap labour that we have and unless that equation is tempered you have not begun to do - and that is precisely why you have found in the white communities who are generally speaking, if you look at their status before we came into what is called the new democracy, they were relatively in a position where if the economy which they were managing together was to improve as it is, they have more opportunities in that and that is precisely why they can't be negative if that which they maintained which used to feed them had not been tempered, in fact it has been increased so they can get into the different streams that makes them more and more richer.

     I will give you an example. The white farmers are now leaving farming in our country, they are no longer prepared to farm. Many of them are gradually getting out of farming, they are selling the farms and they are going to places like Mozambique to do farming there because it's more profitable. They must be happy about the government's attitude. Some of them are going towards Africa, up here, to go and do farming there. So the opportunities that have been opened by the fact that our country is no longer isolated largely have benefited those who were well off because indeed if I was well off and I was not allowed to do business in Zimbabwe and now I am allowed to do business all over the world, I increase my capacity to make more money and that is why the policies of Mandela within white communities I would have no doubt, in fact that is what AZAPO alleges has happened, the rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer.

     If we were to come to power, as I told you, we will check and the yardstick we will use, let me tell you the yardstick, we will not use the yardstick of saying the economy has grown by 6% therefore we are well off. We will use another different yardstick which says, well it is growing fine, because it has to grow, but how far away are the poor from where they were yesterday? That is the yardstick. There must be a little bit of shift towards acquisition of better life even if it is small but that we must measure. If you measure now you will find that instead what has happened is that they have gone towards the negative, they have gone backwards. There are more people who are homeless than when we got into government. Obviously people can talk about science and say well people are getting born and you know, but a government which has committed itself to housing and getting the housing backlog done shouldn't talk that nonsense. It should actually be saying when we took over we had a housing shortage of 70%, by now five years from the day we took over we have reduced that by 5%. That's fine for us, how far away from where they were are they moving towards a better life, creation of jobs? When we took over there were 40% people who were not employed but the little we have got has reduced that number to say 38%. Now that's the kind of language as an answer to what you asked me one could talk.

POM     Do you think Cyril Ramaphosa is a sell-out?

PN     No I don't believe he's a sell-out at all.

POM     Do you think what he's doing is genuinely intended to create black empowerment?

PN     No, he is not a sell-out but that's for different reasons. What he's doing also is not to create a black empowerment process. What he's doing is that he got himself into a position where he got a bit wealthy by being the champion of a process that was supported by the very people who have employed him now. Are you with me? That is another way of proving the point I was making earlier.

POM     What I meant by sell-out was that he was one of leading union leaders in the country championing the rights of the workers and improving their conditions and now he's a wealthy capitalist by any standards.

PN     Yes but you must know also that some of the great minds who have lived before us have said certain things about this kind of character and I am going to mention one of those, who is not very much liked by the world. It's Marx, Karl Marx. He is not very much liked by the rest of the world because to some extent he brought in a fury rightly or wrongly from his own position of which I support most of his analysis. And I will tell you one which would fit Ramaphosa. Marx once said that the struggle of the proletariat it's a struggle of themselves, meaning the workers of the world, they must champion that struggle and he talked about betrayal of that struggle by the intelligentsia and Ramaphosa and many of us are a group of intelligentsia. And he struggled to find a way in which the intelligentsia can legitimately say they are part and parcel of the working class struggle because his framework was that that is the struggle for those who are in that position and because they themselves, they feel the pinch and they must rise. Obviously he got into trouble with those who would not believe they must rise and one can understand but he then went further to say that for the intelligentsia to properly execute the struggle of these guys they have to commit class suicide, he said, because the intelligentsia are in a class of their own because he talks about classes and the workers are in a class of their own and for this class of intelligent people who want to enter the struggle they must then commit a class suicide. What I get from him is that they must change their perception and mind so that they can concern themselves with the legitimate aspirations of the poor. He says on the basis of that then they legitimately can belong into this struggle of the working class. Also he says that as the struggle proceeds, because this class of people anyway he says they have got aspirations which are not to go backwards. You know the intelligentsia don't have aspirations to become a worker normally, they have got aspirations to become those that they are opposed to and Ramaphosa has fitted that particular description at the moment because his real aspiration of advancing life towards wealthy as an intelligentsia has been actualised and has been actualised because in Marxian terms once your material circumstances, the way you live every day, the way you bargain and your circumstances, the house you stay in, he says that determines your consciousness, that your consciousness is determined by the things you do every day. And I can see why Ramaphosa happened to now climb the ladder because once he left this where he had to commit that class suicide he left a pool of thinking of the working class and then operated a structure which was no longer talking working class objectives and he also went into a life which is no longer the life he was leading by driving a van or a small car.

     Now those material circumstances, if I were to believe Marx more, happen to surround him to the extent that he no longer needed to return and that is why he had to advance. But he's not a sell-out in the sense that he is going according to what the intelligentsia normally would have done anywhere in the world. They are big people, even the intelligentsia at some stage once they get up there they actually service well the capitalist establishment. Who runs factories? Who are professors who make theories about where production should go? Who are the investors? Who are the scientists employed by the firms? The best story that I have ever read in my studies was when they are meeting a lot of resistance in the field, they more often than not employ scientists to investigate and they publish the findings of authoritative people to guard against - and who can stand up, workers and say no, no your medicine is up the wall, when the authority and the institutions and everything concerning that is in the right directions. I'm just giving you the nitty gritty of life and life is just like that.

     So he has not sold out, to let me summarise, he has done exactly what the material circumstances now of a person who grew up with the negotiation process and in those negotiation processes they found him where he did not have much wealth and they built up a resource for him with awards that he won in America and those little moneys that are put as part of the awards they become part of you and as soon as you become that, if someone says come and invest in aeroplanes  because you have, how do you stay with that man and say I am attached to the working class for ever? So he was tempted to go where he will increase his money and increase that which the intelligentsia normally do. There are very few people from the intelligentsia in fact who stick, you can mention them in the world, who stick to the balance of wanting to free people.

POM     Do you think he can ever go back to politics?

PN     Yes he can go back to politics under the following conditions: if this country was to move into a direction different from the institution he is now leading of a capitalist nature he won't go back to politics. If he goes back under those circumstances he is merely going back to - he will only go back to the extent that he would want to change the direction so that it can suit his objectives. You know now he's running a huge establishment whose objectives are not necessarily the objectives of the poor. Now if this country moves towards alleviating more and more of the poor it means the objective of his company will also be tempered because they would no longer have to maximise the profit as they want because they might have to be taxed. Then he might go to parliament for purposes of wanting to change that will. Now that is the only route I can see him going back but if this country remains relatively in a situation where the capitalist world has got a grip as they have it now there will be no purpose for him to return because he makes more money. He might return when, you know these people who retire and they want just to have this or that interest, but he is not returning there for any particular objectives. He would just be returning to enjoy, to be there with the other fellows and to say, well, I am making a little bit of a contribution. That is how I can see him returning there.

POM     Could you ever see him as a future President or has that opportunity gone when he left?

PN     I have never seen him as such because I have been with him at one of the institutions and I was once his leader and I was once influential in giving him another position within the leadership of my organisation.

POM     Which organisation was that?

PN     The South African Students' Organisation, SASO. Now when I was SRC President at the University of the North I was also the South African Students' Organisation local chairperson and then -

POM     Sorry you were saying?

PN     When I moved from the position of being SRC President and then I was elected the National President of SASO which was a black organisation - it was actually the organisation that was formed by Biko, that was his first organisation involved. So when I moved to be elected the National President of that organisation I then influenced, together with other leaders, that Ramaphosa should be made the local chairperson of that organisation. So when I was President of SASO he was the local chairperson of the University of the North, he was equal to the other local chairperson. I don't doubt his capabilities. I really don't have doubt but I have never considered him material for State President because one thing, the political dispensation we have now does not convince me that I need that kind of President because if I were to need that kind of President it means the plight of the poor will forever be where they are. I would not go where I could get a President from the capitalist establishment, neither will I be happy with a President who has brought the compromising situation of the nature that we have where the rich continue to be richer. That is why he has joined them because he could see that they will continue to be richer and the best way is to join them. Now that I would not count at all. Of course if you go in this circus of the white radicals, these white liberals and radicals, they will probably tell you that Ramaphosa should be the President, again, precisely for the statement you made that they are now happier with what is happening now than what used to be and they would need to have someone who brought it up so that they can continue to enjoy it as it is because they now know that the person has been tested over a period of negotiation, that in fact his thinking will in fact not change and they can see it coming to fruition by him joining Johnnic. So they have no doubt that if he becomes President the affairs of this country as perceived from their own side would be in good hands.

POM     Would Mbeki be any different? Let me put the question this way, AZAPO is very much a Black Consciousness organisation and Mbeki talks about Africanisation a lot. Is there a difference between the way AZAPO talks about Black Consciousness and what Mbeki means by Africanisation?

PN     Absolutely, there is a difference. Now Africanisation, I do not know his meaning, I do not want to really first to - but I am going to describe you the meaning that has always been there. Africanisation we feel is narrow because it merely means that you must have as many Africans being in charge so if you say I want to Africanise a department, I want to Africanise a country, you have not said anything other than you just feel like this country must be manned by African people or the majority must be African in every institution and then you can have your African personality, when you enter an office it looks like it's an African country. But you have not gone further because you have not tampered with anything except that you have become a little bit racial. You have not tampered except that you can always become very happy with that by saying that, look, I am affirming.

     But in Black Consciousness we don't do that. In Black Consciousness we are talking about freeing the minds, the thinking process, people must be freed to become themselves. They must be free to compete with other people as equals and once you have freed people and you have made them equal to other people then you don't Africanise, you don't. What you do is you remove those obstacles that makes the competition unfavourable to them because of past practices. Are you with me? But then you are not targeting Africans, you are targeting everybody who can be affected by those obstacles and unfortunately you will find that there will probably be fewer whites but that was not your intention. Your intention was that anybody who has been affected by apartheid to the extent that this competition was not favourable to that person whether that person is white or is black, that person must be allowed that we must release that barrier. Obviously when you release barriers you are getting into other people who have already acquired a lot of skills, acquired a lot of acumen, acquired a lot of wealth, so what your government must now do again is to make sure that this wealth and this acumen, education and other things must also be taken to those that did not have. That is the context in which, if Mbeki talks about that then he wouldn't use 'Africanisation' as a concept.

POM     When you hear him talking about it you really don't know - ?

PN     You don't know what it is, he is just appealing to - you know sometimes people who are in government have got a tendency of appealing to your last guts. If you talk a little bit about my roots you might get my vote without my understanding where you are taking me to and I think that is what he is doing. Of late you find a lot of writing which is doing that and we are saying unless he becomes Black Consciousness, because Black Consciousness is that you can't live side by side with squatter camps and believe that you are OK because these people who live there they are as much human beings as you are. Now society led by any political organisation must see to it that that must be alleviated. If we were to come to power we will not worry about a lot of things. We will come with a programme which merely says, do you agree that this poverty must come to an end or you don't, and we are not appealing to you because you are black or you are white so all those who agree that let's get rid of that poverty, one side, and that is what the programme of AZAPO is. If you don't agree then we will have to make sure that you agree because other human beings cannot be left at that. The international community when they bring their investment, do you agree that we must get rid of that so that this world also can be free of these squalid conditions? Now once they agree on that then we do that.

     One other point that I forgot when I was talking about foreign investment, I wanted to give you an example about what is called the Asian tigers. I have now interested myself in reading where they come from, Malaysia, Indonesia, those countries.

POM     Thailand.

PN     Yes, including Taiwan. Now those countries measure success whilst they refused to operate on conditions as laid down by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Seriously, that is their basis of getting their economic boom because they had felt that if they continued to do that, probably, as I told you, the World Bank is in business, it will streamline things with structural adjustment so that when it is adjusted it favours their investment and it favours you having to pay loans right through up until you die and they are happy with that situation. Even when you go to the international community you say, no, please cut a little bit of those loans, they are not worried about it. That's business. Now those guys they blocked that. Today everybody wants to follow them. Now that is the story which I would be interested in listening to. What can we do here in order that we must get rid of poverty in our country without necessarily jumping into the tune of those that already have the resources. We have to find a way and if you have the resources but those resources mean that our people are continuously going to be poor then we have to find a balance where we must achieve our own objectives in as much as you achieve yours and that's where the war is. The war is no longer Soviet Union versus the west. It is now the war between those who do not have and those who have. We have to fight some other war here of making them understand, those who have, that there is no way we can live this way for ever lest we will rise against you and that is the fight that AZAPO would be prepared to fight.

POM     Where do you place this attempt by Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa to form a party? Do you see any future in what they're trying to do or that it's just something that's just going to be a piece of fluff and fall by the wayside, that they've talked about that the two main things to be addressed in the country are poverty and crime? Do you think they have a future or that they are really peripheral to what's going on?

PN     I don't believe that we can just rule them out. It's not something that AZAPO would want to know. In AZAPO, when I say normally it occurs, what we normally do is we want to see the extent to which it is supported and by whom. My gut feeling at the moment is that they have a reasonable reception from those that have, a section of those that have. To what extent that reception will grow will be dependent upon the kinds of feelings that same quarter has against Mbeki. Now it's known that Mbeki is going to be the next President but already there are certain quarters of that group I'm describing which have got certain feelings about Mbeki because obviously, you were talking to me about he now talks about Africanisation, and that quarter is not so much interested in that kind of business. They are comfortable with President Mandela and they would have loved that Mbeki must become the same way because that would stabilise their fears. So if it comes out that Mbeki continues to break away from the Mandela establishment, which is what we are living under, continue to break out and he brings about a momentum towards breaking away the Holomisa factor and Roelf Meyer factor, you must know the Roelf Meyer factor is largely also to contain the fears of white people and Roelf Meyer says 'in a new and changed version'. The international community will like that because in any event the international community only liked De Klerk to the extent that he was willing to destroy apartheid but they didn't like De Klerk's apartheid as a form of system but they co-operated with him, they gave him all sorts of help to the extent that now South Africa sells arms to the whole world but you must know that they were taught by the very world to have those arms but they were merely taught to have those arms to suppress us. Today the world is complaining differently, I am just digressing a bit, it's complaining differently. It is  feeling that South Africa might be a power now because it is led by different people. Now to the extent that Mbeki's factor does not entirely satisfy the capitalist world they will then get enough support because there is no other party that fits the alternative to them. I am talking about the capitalist world. If ANC cannot do what they want to be done they would like to have somewhere else to ballot, they wouldn't come to AZAPO, they wouldn't go to the PAC. They will go to Inkatha to the extent that they want to do business in Natal but they wouldn't go to it for purposes of doing business in the whole country.

POM     Do you think South Africa under Mbeki will be different?

PN     I am not sure whether it will be different at all. It will be different in rhetoric, definitely yes. We will get more rhetoric to national consciousness, national unity, under Mbeki we will get that rhetoric. We won't get also, because the other rhetoric, Mandela rhetoric will have come to an end because the rhetoric of Mandela is reconciliation and growth. So the rhetoric that will come in, as my projection, will be the one that deals with national consciousness, that we are nation, let's pull together, and it will still have the element of growth as perceived by the old Mandela growth factor, the GEAR which they have. So we will have more rhetoric to please the aspirations of the people but we would not have fundamental changes. Why? Because the wealth to change with is still in the hands of those - and nobody has shown, even Mbeki, has not shown a programme to tamper with that which will make the world to go the other way round. If he has not done that we will not see any other things except rhetoric and some budgets being tilted to housing, being tilted to that, but generally speaking the country shall not change.

POM     If I were to summarise what you're saying would I be correct in summarising it by saying that even though you have had the elimination of apartheid, institutionalised apartheid, and a change in government, and one man one vote, you haven't had a revolution?

PN     Yes. There has not been any change because change is not only - in fact change in AZAPO's terms is not the removal of this, removal of that. Change means that which affects you from that statement I've made, how far away from poverty are you today after what you have attained because the others, like one man one vote, that is a means to get you into a democracy, you have to pass through having to exercise. So we have exercised that means but the results of the means have not come out.

POM     You said last time we talked that you were quite confident that AZAPO would get a majority of the votes in the 1999 elections. Now being a realist, it's two years to the elections, in fact parties are already gearing up for elections, do you really believe that AZAPO is going to emerge out of, I won't say nowhere, but from a very small proportion in any opinion poll to suddenly get over 50% of votes of the people? Do you think that's going to happen in 1999 or that it's going to take rather longer than you thought?

PN     The only thing that can stop that - when I make a projection I am very serious, the only thing that stops that it's again the muscle of the international community because the international community, if indeed that which we project threatens to occur the international community has a capacity to stop it.  And I'm not talking just sweet talk. Now that is what we fear most. We fear that a situation will occur here where it is necessary for them to put in a government which would not be as radical as they perceive it to be but our only hope is that under those circumstances our people, after going through the five-year period of testing, they are now better off to decide than the day when they were feeling let's just vote so that we have a black President. The issue now is no longer just to vote to have a black President. It has now shifted to let's vote to have an Mbeki or a Makwetu or so-and-so. Now it revolves around who will do best what we want done and that's the yardstick we are measuring ourselves on and that if we were to go for issues now AZAPO will get the majority of votes. One cannot say we will have a landslide, you know landslides are different, but the fact of the matter is that the people on the ground are having different feelings about what is. So those that are governing now they will rather no longer promise because they have promised already so they will rather come up with some tangible thing. Unfortunately they have not done so. If I was them I was going to pass a lot of tangible laws which I can then throw to the next election and say look, this is going to bring you this, this is going to bring you that. We are no longer promising now, but if it is going to promises they are ... because we are not going to campaign on promises.

POM     Do you find a lot of disillusionment in the townships and in the rural areas?

PN     Latent though. You know these things that you are able to check, the simmerings, and that is the simmerings that now need someone to direct it, so the simmerings are all over and you can go on your own and you will find the simmerings. That's no doubt, we don't even need a survey. Unfortunately the surveys which are conducted are not conducted on the simmerings at the end of the thing.

POM     Are not conducted on the?

PN     On the anger, they are not conducting those kinds of research. They are continuously conducting research which centres around Mandela. I am a statistician, I know that when you conduct research the best form of wanting results to favour you as a party is to include the party's leader if that party's leader is very popular and your kind of question will be like, "Will you like to be led by an ANC government under Mandela?" But you are testing ANC government, that 'under Mandela' is an additional statement which influences the people to tick that sentence because there is a Mandela. And I can bet you that you will find that is what is happening at the moment. There was research just recently just testing the popularity of Mandela amongst this and that, but when it comes out to the world the ANC has support. There is no doubt that Mandela has support, absolutely no doubt about it and luckily the latest one was able to say Mandela as a person. Most of them were not doing that, even that is a factor which in statistics we normally criticise that it's not up to scratch.

     If they want to test they must just go and test not political parties at the moment, they must test as to where are the people going. They will find a different agenda altogether from the agenda of the ANC and for that purpose that is what AZAPO is going for. We are going for the agenda of the people and tell them that we don't promise anything. What we promise is that we will make sure that your agenda is exercisable but the duty of a political party is not to promise jobs. I always laugh when people promise jobs because how do you promise a job when in the first place the government does not own factories? That is why governments are being forced now to trim down their civil service. That is the only job that governments are able to give. Now when you go on talking that we will promise you jobs, you are meaning that you are going to enlarge your civil service and that is contrary now to world trends, so why should you say I will give you a job when Oppenheimer owns the mines?

     So what you should do is you should say to people that all that we can say is depending on your preparedness to free yourself our duty is to make that freedom must occur. We create circumstances for it to occur. But then once you have done so it goes with responsibility and the sooner we teach our people that kind of language the better they will be like the tigers I was talking about. Because that's what they did and for that matter some of them, if you judge them by the democratic principles that are accepted in the world, you will find that you will rule them being undemocratic, some of those societies. If you judge them by the world completely there is no democracy there. But they didn't go for that. They went for another type of responsibility, work ethics in order that people must free themselves from the rubble and they have succeeded with that work ethic and responsibility and discipline. Now we can jump now who believes in other forms of democracy? Ah, but you still chop people's heads when they have done something, that is not a form a democracy, you still hang them. Now that's a different matter but the reality is that at the level of housing, at the level of basic necessities, they are better off than anybody.

POM     They are better off. Two quick last questions. One, is the level of race relations better or worse in the country since independence and, two, what is the one thing that you are most disappointed in in 'the new South Africa'?

PN     The level of race relations really has never been better for people who stay in the platteland, that is the remote countryside, because the attitudes of white farmers and white people who stay in these little towns is still the same and the separation between them and the rest of black people is still as it was before. Here in towns, bigger towns, the separation still exists because you still have got Soweto. There has not been any creation of a model suburb. What has happened is that as soon as one or two black people become rich they can move into - that is the only leeway you have there. But what is happening is that you are moving into a culture and a milieu you cannot dictate which then means that the process of dominance by way of culture, by way of attitudes and by way of what must be done in the surroundings has not ended. So this country has not moved an inch away from the racial difficulties that we've got. The racial difficulties were not only defined by the fact that white people used to beat blacks, it was the way we operate. For instance, if I want a loan the situation has not changed so if I go to the bank now I wouldn't find a favourable atmosphere because the people who man these positions are still the ones who dictate the terms as it was before. Even if I find a black person there, that black person operates under the same rules as they were before.

     So generally speaking if we're looking at the changes in terms of what is real, in terms of the practice, there isn't anything one can talk about. What one can talk about is the change in the learned, the people who have gone to school, the change insofar as they are now able to work in an environment with people they have never been able to work with but they are beginning to learn that process. But that is forced largely by market forces rather than by the government and the changes of the country.  Market forces dictate, if you don't do this, if you don't bring more blacks, the black market is expanding, your factory will fall. So people are beginning to do things that they would not have done, not because they wanted to do them but because circumstances have forced them.

     There is no programme in this country which is geared at changing perceptions of the inhabitants. I haven't found one and that is the fundamental programme which must be instituted. When you get into government you have to change the perception of the army boys who only know army duties as it was. The army, the police boys who know police duties the same the way as they were before. That is why there are various clashes and shootings with the police now because the police are like the old, they still come from the old status quo. So that's my summary of the changes. I can't see them in practice because the black people still board the train to come to work in town and when the work is over in the evening they are in their own little pondokkies. All that has changed is that you can now go and sleep in Soweto if you want to and nobody will say you are trespassing. That's no change, that's really not change.

POM     And what are you most disappointed in?  My tape has four minutes left.

PN     I'm most disappointed by the fact that those we were with in the struggle to free the poor when they got into government they have completely forgotten. I am most disappointed by that. But disappointed with a qualification that in the Black Consciousness Movement we have always analysed political parties by where we think they will end and in this instance we thought the ANC will end where it has ended and indeed it has ended there. But it is a disappointment in the sense that when they did so they were saying that they were going to end somewhere further than where they were. Now they have ended somewhere where our people are more in trouble. So that's the story I can give you.

POM     Thank you. I always enjoy talking to you.

     (Break in recording)

PN     The form of looking at how the society behaves rather than telling you this and that because I don't believe that is how we must deal with the situation. We must deal with the forces, the various forces, there are very many. At the moment we are in trouble in this country just to tell you, the forces of change have been marginalised completely. Whether they will rise up, it's going to be a very difficult struggle because that's precisely what the forces of reaction have to do. We must understand that in a situation of the world you can't just live - if you are committed to change you must know that there are those who are not in favour of your change and depending on your strength you might live without change for many, many years because you are not able to defeat the forces which are not for change. And the forces that are not for change sometimes when they see defeat they negotiate for a better position where they can rest a bit while they are planning an avalanche and in this country they found arrest. They arrested something that would have probably changed, they arrested it and they found a cushion. That is why they are very worried about what will happen when Mandela goes. Everybody, what will happen, what will happen? Because they must plan another way, even if they know Mbeki, you know the individual by himself, they never know when he is now told that you are now President, they never know. They are happy that we still have a man like him but they are asking, every time they are asking, what will happen?

     If he goes what will happen? Will AZAPO rise? Now if it rises how do we block them? At the moment that is what is happening and now money will talk and unfortunately it won't flow to AZAPO and AZAPO must find other means of torpedoing without money otherwise it is in trouble. If AZAPO was to sit here and say come elections we will have posters all over the country, we will have R90 million to spend, it is lying to itself. It is not the right organisation to go and ask for money from people it wants to overthrow. But all those organisations that will have the money from the people, that's why I'm saying Holomisa and Roelf Meyer, don't rule them out because when we checked them they have got the ingredients of servicing that very community and when it is not satisfied with Mbeki they also want to arrest Mbeki by another organisation that conforms part of -  they will not be happy if AZAPO becomes an opposition to Mbeki. That might be one and the same thing. So what's the use of backing a horse which is just going to make sure that things go in one direction? They must feel that AZAPO is going to accelerate Mbeki to the worse.

     So what are the things that you deal with? So when I see Roelf Meyer and this other fellow in the absence of De Klerk who is now being discredited by the Truth Commission, he is dying that way, in the absence of that you do need some combination which is not like Buthelezi who only is in one region. You must have a combination which can be in the Gauteng Legislature, in Mpumalanga. Buthelezi is unable to do that and how do you harness ...? You check AZAPO, AZAPO will actually tell Mbeki that you are not delivering, let's deliver more. So let's get other people who can say, Mbeki hey, you are going too far. Holomisa, they know he's a dictator but at the moment they're not worried about his past, they are worried about his potential to harness the process of Mbeki because I think they are not sure where Mbeki will go.  Let me leave you with that little sermon.

POM     OK.

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.