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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

06 Aug 1997: Schlemmer, Lawrence

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POM     Professor Schlemmer, I want to take you back to a statement that you made when we talked last year and you were talking about issues and you said, "The issue which is coming to the fore as the really critical issue in government or in party choices is funnily enough not economic policy or all the things that the party like to pride themselves about, it's the issue of social morality and social discipline. People feel there should be a deeper emphasis on law and order, a restoration of social discipline and greater responsibility by the ordinary citizens in the country." So when you talk about politics edging towards a fifty/fifty balance you see it on the basis of a moral revival among Africans who would then vote with opposition parties. Now these people have tended not to vote up to now and you say, "In my opinion polling there has always been a large category of people who have said we have no party but if you look at their social attitudes they are the moral brigade, they are the law and order people, they tend to be social conservatives." In view of that and the attempt by Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa to launch a new political party, do you think that they can actually target a real constituency across racial barriers which would be responsive to this kind of approach?

LS     I think it's going to be difficult. Can I just start off by saying that I think that issue has become somewhat more crucial and the people who don't vote, who don't have a party, are these days somewhat more varied but nevertheless they still contain that category of people who tend to be the moral brigade. When I said they are large I meant relatively large, obviously the bulk of people still vote for the ANC but it's certainly, as far as black voters are concerned, the second biggest category in the non-voters of the ANC. Now Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa join the opposition parties in trying to get these people across to them. They have had some initial success and my indications from polls are that at this stage they, together Meyer and Holomisa, have probably got about the level of support that the DP has got. So they have achieved some visibility. But in order for them to start getting people to vote in larger numbers, black people to vote in larger numbers for an opposition party, they've got to convince the voters that it makes a difference and I don't think that that concept or approach or motivation in voting is very well established here. I think that there's fairly substantial disaffection with government but a lot of the black voters feel that that's it, that's about all you can do. You can say that you are frustrated, that promises haven't been delivered on but that there's nothing more you can do. They don't really have a conception that multiparty competition, that a strengthening opposition can actually produce more responsive governments.

     I think it's a more general underlying problem, and I'm not saying it's an African problem, I think it's a problem which is there to a lesser or to a greater degree in all electoral systems and that that is once you have a large party, particularly one which has a great deal of symbolic content to it, people somehow tend to assume that it is the natural government and it's very much an attitude which people might have to a monarchy where the King may be popular and the next King may be less popular but the monarchy remains and if the King dies it's 'the King is dead, long live the King'. In other words it becomes a fact of life for people. The natural government of this country has now become the ANC. For the old white voters we know that a lot of people were disaffected with the National Party but the National Party had established itself as the natural government for that partial or truncated democracy that we had, if you could call it a democracy, but you know what I mean. I think the ANC has stepped into that perception and these people don't really have a very clear feeling that somehow or another that it is possible to conceive of alternatives to the government. So there's a certain amount of limpness in the electorate on this issue.

POM     So in a way they are psychologically disposed to, there's a psychological barrier to seeing the emergence of opposition parties that would actually make a difference in the way things are done?

LS     Yes. It's not so much a barrier. If you confront people with the question and you say think about it, then they say yes, I guess opposition parties will make a difference. But in the normal run of events people think that from now on we have - we used to have the white NP government, now we've got the ANC. It's not necessarily a resistance to opposition, it's simply that it's an assumption made that there is not likely to be an alternative.

POM     You're saying they don't see an alternative to the ANC, that is an alternative that would make a difference?

LS     If you probe and you say let's think of a future scenario where the ANC is becoming weaker and opposition is becoming stronger and there may be a change of government, they look at you and they say, wow, that's rough stuff you're talking about. A lot of people make the assumption that an electoral challenge to government will not be peaceful. They make the assumption that it will produce violence. They say, then you're talking about fighting, we've had enough fighting. It's rather similar to the situation one gets in Zimbabwe where even opponents of the Mugabe government often tend to say, particularly in the Ndebele areas in the west of the country, tend to say he's not our man and we don't really like him, we think he's a real shit, but at least we're not fighting any more. So violence imposes penalties on democracy long after it's stopped because the memory of it remains as a reminder that it's perhaps better that things have settled down even though we're not entirely happy with the government because alternatives are full of turmoil.

POM     And uncertainty.

LS     And uncertainty.

POM     So if you have, and I think we've covered this before but it's a year later so it's in the light of a year's further experience of the new South Africa, if the NP appears to have lost its identity or its bearings to a large degree, if a new party, the Holomisa/Meyer endeavour, has limited potential, it might get beyond the 5% that the DP gets but not much more, and the DP will maybe siphon off some of the NP's vote, the PAC even under Stanley Mogoba won't make any significant breakthrough, it would appear that the only opposition to the ANC that might emerge would have to be from within the ANC which would envisage a split along ideological or class lines or whatever. Now last year you didn't envisage that split happening. So if I gave this scenario, I talked to Derek Keys yesterday and he said GEAR is dead, it's dead.

LS     He said what? GEAR is dead?

POM     Dead. This country is going to be stuck with a 2½% growth rate at best and that's it. This talk of 5% is just not going to happen.

LS     Yes I agree with him.

POM     So under the best of circumstances you might have a 1% increase in per capita income a year that's if the new statistics of the census are right and the rate of population growth is less than -

LS     No, but they're not right.

POM     He was saying that if we can lose four million people like that, maybe that's one way of getting per capita income up. That you are going to have the COSATU again going back to mass action, looking for a 40-hour week, looking for six months maternity leave four months of which is paid, which you don't have in some of the most industrialised countries in the world. Jobs are not being created, if anything there is more unemployment now perhaps than there was three or four years ago due to downsizing and companies becoming more competitive as they enter the global market. You have some kind of a clash emerging. The level of poverty is not going to be significantly reduced in the next generation and this talk of the transformation of the South African economy is talk and that's it, it's not going to be a transformed economy in the sense of this great leap forward. What happens to the ANC? What happens to the internal components?

LS     Theoretically what should then happen is that the ANC should split and that a sort of labour based workerist party emerges as the most powerful opposition and the ANC centre then gets supported  by the opposition parties in parliament because it's at least committed with qualifications to macro-economic discipline. But that's theoretically. That assumes that the required amount of mobilisation can occur. But I don't think it can. Already, for example, people are saying that Sam Shilowa of COSATU, the head of COSATU, is being drawn closer to Thabo Mbeki and that he is likely to become the next Minister of Labour or at least get a prominent cabinet position.

POM     Is this called co-option?

LS     Yes, it's definitely a form of co-option and for Mbeki it's a very, very sage and intelligent move. One also finds that the South African Communist Party is fence-sitting and they are allowing the fight over economic theory to be conducted outside their ranks mainly. There is a movement or a centre called The Centre against Neo-Liberalism (I forget the exact name), where parts of the Communist Party are mobilising hard to fight the theory of fiscal discipline but the Communist Party itself is quite clearly occupying a range of positions on this and, I think his name is Nqakula, he's also being drawn closer, he's also in a different position quite clearly, he's much softer on government than that white fellow, Jeremy Cronin, and some of the younger people. Now I don't think one must under-estimate the capacity of the ANC to so organise the dynamics within its own ranks to make sure that if a split occurs it won't be a very marginal split and the really prominent people in the split at this stage seem likely to be non-Africans. One also hears, for example, that Blade Nzimande, who is another tough fairly far left African, is being set up for an ambassadorship and this applies to a couple of other people. In other words the ANC is very aware of this. This is very much part of their strategic planning, or Mbeki's strategic planning. Their parliamentary representatives, their caucus and in the provinces, so I can say their caucuses are all over the place but there's a fairly coherent mobilising system within the ANC which I think is quite able to protect itself against a really damaging split. Quite frankly I still don't see anything like a split which could in a major way alter the balance of power occurring before well after 1999, well into the next century.

POM     When you talk about that the major people who might be involved in a split would be non-African, could you identify just some - the Jeremy Cronins, the - ?

LS     The intellectual leader of the anti neo-liberal movement is somebody called Patrick Bond who may not even be a South African as far as I know.

POM     Where is he? Is he at this centre against neo-liberalism?

LS     Yes he's part of it.

POM     Is there any connection here between what you're talking about and Mbeki's emphasis on Africanisation? What's your understanding of what Mbeki means by Africanisation? How would it differ from, say, the PAC's or the Black Consciousness Movement?

LS     Oh I think it's very different, very different. I think it's a much inclusive concept than the PAC's even though the PAC's, as you know, is fairly inclusive. Mbeki's concept of Africanism is what I would call a syncretic view of national identity. In other words it can include people who identify with certain patriotic sentiments and I think underlying it is a great deal of pragmatism in both the good, modern sense of the word pragmatism and the original sense of the word pragmatism, which was a much more cynical definition of the concept. It's a blend, it's really holding things together. It's a kind of nationalism, if you like, which would exclude hard divisive claims but which tries to cobble together some kind of moving symbolically based coherence among different classes and categories and ethnic groups. It's probably closer, even though it doesn't have the label, Theo Hanf, the German a couple of years ago used the concept 'dirty syncretism' which I think is a very useful concept for countries and governments in the South African difficulty or predicament, 'dirty syncretism'.  Theordor Hanf of Germany, he's a German sociologist and Theo had looked at Indonesia and Malaysia and he had come to the conclusion that the way in which the countries accommodated diverse claims in a broad and inclusive centre was in fact by the use of symbolism, by keeping contradictions in balance, by a very non-Protestant, if you like, non-Vabarian(?), but creative irrationality in politics which he called dirty syncretism. And I think it's an enormously useful thing and I think that this is exactly what Mbeki's Africanism is. If an Afrikaner who is willing to toe the line comes to the ANC and says I want to work for you chaps, they say come in, part of the team chap, you know you can carry on being an Afrikaner, you just mustn't make any claims that cost us, you can have your identity but make it cheap. And the same goes for Indians, the same goes for class differences. They will accommodate big business. As a matter of fact if you really think about it what is happening most successfully in South Africa at the moment, what is streaking ahead as the most unqualified success in all the transformation? That is the economic empowerment of a new black bourgeoisie and I don't mean a petty bourgeoisie. The petty bourgeoisie is struggling, the small businesses are being quite frankly left in the lurch. Small black business feel the government is ignoring it, or at least neglecting it, but it's the big guys -

POM     The Cyrils.

LS     The Cyrils.

POM     It's not wealth creating empowerment, it's stocks and shares.

LS     It's leveraging and shifting assets around in the large corporate sector and it's broadening the base.

POM     But it's not empowering the black population, the masses of the people. It's empowering an elite.

LS     Except to the extent that within those businesses there's a great deal of affirmative action which is empowering a new black middle class. But it's not empowering the other categories. I am still alarmed at how weak the competitive small and medium sector black business is. It's very weak. Just recently I had to draw a sample of black businesses in Gauteng. I got hold of lists, they were supposed to be up-to-date lists, we went there, we had to re-sample about three or four times in order to get our required numbers because so many of them had gone out of business. You see it's not really a thriving sector but the tycoons are marching ahead and they are creating the zone of patronage in the management sphere, in other words affirmative action is advancing. Now I'm glad about this, I'm not critical of it. I could imagine that the South African Communist Party must look at this with great, great concern. It will ultimately strengthen Mbeki's attempts to try and resolve and balance contradictions. My scenario for the future, last time I spoke to you, the time before and it still is today, I call it 'the juggler', that is South Africa's future and I agree with Derek Keys, it's the juggler, it's a set of compromises, qualifications, it's all wrapped up in dirty syncretism. It produced 2½% growth on average, the black middle class benefits, the poor get poorer, the people with jobs marginally increase and the poor get fed symbolism or they remain in the fold because of the assumption I've told you about, that they think that things are not very good but things can get a hell of a lot worse if we start fighting each other again.

POM     Is this, again, instanced by not only people like Cyril Ramaphosa going into big business but people like Tokyo Sexwale dropping politics completely and moving more or less into the same realm?

LS     Yes. That's part of it, yes, very definitely.

POM     Some of these in the old days were well known communists and now they're well known capitalists and the transformation seems to have been very, very easy.

LS     Yes. But you see there I think that people always took their ideologies too seriously and Heribert Adam and his wife and Slabbert have just written a  book where they express great surprise that you now have comrades in business. But on the other hand quite frankly a more cynical view of politics the world over, not necessarily of South Africa, would say, well why they hell shouldn't they be because they were using communism as a route to power and alternatives have arisen. I don't think they've changed. I think that they have altered their rationalisation but power remains the essence of the whole thing.

POM     Now not moving off that track but coming back to an issue you raised last year and that was that you thought crime had the ability to be a consensus issue. Is the perception of the crime problem worse a year later than it was, is the perception of the breakdown of law and order more firmly rooted a year later than it was a year ago? Is the perception that the government is failing in its fight against crime more deeply rooted? Are perceptions out of line with reality? Are the police in fact making some gains? I was looking at some fast fact statistics for August and in many categories in fact there had been some significant drops in crime. But, again, is the perception taking such a firm root that reality is no longer a consideration?

LS     You see crime has been stabilised, that's the word which is used, in many categories. By dint of really in a sense exploiting a terribly inefficient and over-stressed system, and that is the police and the justice system, but they have, let's admit it, they have stabilised crime in certain areas. But you know if you're being beaten up, if the blows landing on your nose are not getting harder but they are going on and on the situation of being beaten up is getting worse for you because after all it's not stopping and being clouted around for five minutes is bad, for ten minutes is worse, and even though the lout that's beating you up may be getting tired and he may not be hitting you as hard he is still hitting you, so it's getting worse and worse and worse. And that's the situation we're in with crime. You can stabilise it, you can even bring it down a little bit but while it is still a threat, the longer it goes on the more it accumulates in your own mind and sentiments as a dire thing. The level of danger that people are exposed to here is something which is only tolerable in the short run. So you can stabilise the murder rate, you can even bring it down by 10% but the longer it goes on the more it gets worse in terms of the sentiments because it's not a feeling or a perception which can last. It's in the nature of a crisis and this is why crime is perceived to be getting worse.

     Another thing that's happened, I've noticed now over the past few years in doing surveys, three years ago whites were much more inclined to mention crime than blacks. Now blacks have caught up and they are completely at a par. That's one common, and it had already happened last year which is why I mentioned it, it's a common perception now, crime is serious. It's a shared perception. It was always serious for blacks but because of the politicisation of the struggle it had been displaced for a while. Now that we're in a sense in a more normal context, now people notice crime and they are desperately afraid of walking around. People in the townships don't go for strolls down the road, they lock themselves up in their houses. Shebeen owners have got sawn off shotguns under the counter all the time, more, I think they've got AK47s there. It's some serious hardware. Any shebeen owner, any taxi driver that doesn't have a very high powered pistol or rifle is crazy. He's got to. It's part of his equipment. I was touring around some fringe areas to the north the other day, squatter areas, you can actually see BMWs, expensive BMWs loaded with six people just cruising around, checking out every car. You can see them, they're there, and people know they are always much, much closer than the police.

POM     That's the criminals are much, much closer?

LS     Yes. You see on a day-to-day basis I can live with the level but it's when I say to myself, will it improve in the longer run, and I say to myself no it won't, it can't, it can't improve dramatically, we can't return to being a normal society in the longer run. Then I begin to think of alternatives and options and people begin to think of emigration, of living in a sense in urban fortresses.

POM     Why is it that the government has been so singularly unable to develop an effective crime prevention programme? I just came back into the country last week and I think I picked up the newspaper and I said this is déja-vu, it says, "Omar proposing stronger bail restrictions", and I thought that was last year's headline. What seems to be the systemic inability to make a significant impact? And if they can't what are the consequences?

LS     They haven't got the personnel. The police are so eroded, all the effective policemen have left, that quite frankly they are operating with a skeleton staff of really trained and competent people all of whom are over-loaded with cases. Only half the dockets ever get to the prosecutor's office. It's like flogging a sick mule. That's why they can't do anything about it. You can write any number of policies, you can appoint Meyer Kahn. He may be able to do something because I think that if he takes the system by the scruff - you know they've appointed Meyer Kahn, the head of SA Breweries, the management whiz kid, to head up the police force? Now if Meyer Kahn goes to President Mandela and he says, look you must give me the authority, I want special legislation to give me the authority to circumvent the Public Service Commission, Commission for Administration, and all the other rules and regulations, I want to ask for tenders from private agencies, security agencies, to undertake critical policing functions, if necessary even to get the private security agencies to set up a detective corps or competitive detective corps that can tender for crime or investigatory work. I want to decentralise crime prevention. I want to establish companies at local level, Section 31 not for profit companies, where business and the police can get together and really form proper units where they can pay the salaries which are required. And he gets all of these things, then he can do something about it. But while he sits with the present corps of staff within the present set of regulations he hasn't a hope. That mule will just get sicker and sicker and sicker and move more slowly while it's being flogged, and that's the basic problem.

POM     It would seem to me that a number of things seem to be emerging on the horizon. One, that the economy is stuck and this miracle of economic transformation is a pipe dream, that poverty and the alleviation of poverty on any significant scale is not going to take place so that the masses will remain maybe marginally better off here and there but for the most part where they are. There's a gap between the advantages and the disadvantaged, between the first world economy and the third world economy will probably settle at about where it is with the influx perhaps of a black elite but for the average petty bourgeoisie, black, not making an awful lot of difference there either, that crime will continue to be the issue that preoccupies people, the fear for their physical safety. All of this doesn't paint a very rosy scenario of the direction in which South Africa is moving or can move. Maybe there are the external constraints as well as internal constraints. It's your belief that in the face of that situation that people will be, for the most part, bought off by the dirty syncretism and accept that they have moved from - there were promises but promises haven't been kept - they have moved from a kind of disillusionment to a passivity. We're not worse off and we do get to vote and they are our own people in power and if they are crooks they're our crooks, not the crooks of other people.

LS     That is the most likely scenario. That's what I would call the juggler, the syncretism. Politics loses its vitality simply because it doesn't matter much any more. All parties lose support, percentage polls drop but there's no greater enthusiasm for opposition than there is for government so it just goes down. It's like Zimbabwe. I mean in Zimbabwe they cook the books to get the voting percentage up to 50%, everybody knows it's closer to 30% but it doesn't mean that opposition gets any stronger. The country gets locked into trade-offs and every now and again when Mugabe thinks that he needs to try and inspire his constituencies a little he threatens to close down a few more white farms, the farmers get angry and Britain usually has its Ambassador visit him, it's High Commissioner, and tick him off and he waits a while and he does it again later, buys a few farms to be distributed. It's small stuff.

POM     But being ticked off by the British Commissioner is part of the dirty syncretism because it plays into the nationalism.

LS     Yes you're quite right.

POM     So it's like he's being done a favour. Come every six months and tick me off so we can all pull together.

LS     That's right. That's exactly the way it works.

POM     So that when Van Zyl Slabbert in Comrades in Arms, which I've quickly raced through, when they argue that - Patti Waldmeir had a chapter why the Afrikaner gave it all away and they tried to answer why the Afrikaner gave it all away, and I think their answer is, well, the Afrikaner didn't give it all away, that the affluent Afrikaner gave away the poorer Afrikaner.  We were just saying that maybe the Afrikaner didn't give it all away, that the affluent Afrikaner may have, as they say, sold out the poorer Afrikaner but has done quite well by this deal. They have maintained position, opportunity, there is room for their educated, they had the economic system that they wanted and I think in many of the early interviews that I conducted with people, with even some of their party negotiations, one of the questions I would ask is if you had to make a decision between continued political empowerment or maintenance of your economic empowerment which would you choose? And the answer was invariably economic empowerment.

LS     Sure.

POM     So that rather than being out-manoeuvred and out-smarted and out-everything by the ANC perhaps their hidden agenda to hold on to the economic wealth has succeeded.

LS     Well that's a typical Heribert Adam concept.

POM     Which one?

LS     This notion of the Afrikaner elites have retained their positions and Afrikaner business. It's elegant and it has substantial truth in it as far as the top elites go but then you've got to break it down into categories and look category by category and you find a very mixed picture indeed, very, very mixed indeed. Perhaps I can just show you something. Do you read Fast Facts regularly?

POM     I get it, I should be able to lay my hands on it.

LS     In one a couple of months ago, I just want to show you. I did a survey of businesses in Gauteng where of course it's the economic heartland of South Africa and this was of all categories and sizes of business which includes certainly a very substantial portion of the Afrikaans private sector and by and large businesses were as gloomy as hell. They were two thirds or more pessimistic on just about everything except GEAR. They were pessimistic about the Labour Relations Act, they were pessimistic about crime, they were pessimistic about the quality of administration, about local government. And incidentally black business was only marginally less pessimistic. Now to say that the Afrikaners have kept it is certainly something one can arrive at by doing certain calculations and I suppose you can argue that their incomes have not dropped and that some of them may be making a bigger profit but their perceptions are that their circumstances and their prospects have taken a turn for the worse. There's no doubt about that. I do surveys all the time and I cannot say even remotely that Afrikaners feel, or English, or Jews, or Indians, or black business, or any category of the middle class aside from the new empowered affirmative categories that are coming through, I can't say that any of them had a perception that the trade-off has been positive. In another article for overseas consumption I wrote, I came to the conclusion and I can remember writing it, that in a sense the ANC government is being treated unfairly. Things are not quite as bad as the mood and the sentiment in the country would indicate. So, yes, I know that there are Afrikaner engineers who have benefited enormously from this surge of planning that has taken place at provincial level and all the new policy documents and they need engineering inputs and quite a few engineers have creamed it. Architects have not done too well at all because the property market is now buoyant. Some traders, particularly in hire purchase goods, have made a lot of money because of the splurge of spending, but equally their profits have been depressed by the fact that they had to spend so much money collecting bad debts and handing their clients over to collection agencies. It's a very mixed -

POM     But many of these things would not have been the product of the political settlement?

LS     No, sure, but you see when Adam and Slabbert say the Afrikaner did not hand over, did not lose, or the Afrikaner elites or the Afrikaner upper middle class or whatever it is they say did not lose, in the perception of those people since the political settlement their prospects on average across categories and professions, on average their perceptions are that they have lost symbolically and materially.

POM     So do you subscribe to, I think this is out of Patti Walmeir's book, that the Afrikaner gave it all away at least in terms of political power?

LS     Yes I think that the Afrikaner gave away much more than I ever expected him to give away.

POM     Slabbert and Adam have a devastating sentence where they say, "De Klerk's negotiators were really a part of Mandela's team in facilitating the transition to majority rule, it was a pushover."

LS     Precisely. What I expected was for the Nats to walk into those negotiations and say early on, for them to have said, listen chaps we are going to have an inclusive democracy. We would like a government of national unity for a period but there are certain things which are non-negotiable. And then to say Model C schools which were on a non-racial basis, not an exclusive racial basis, but the privatised former government schools which were known as Model C schools remain as they are, non-negotiable. Right, one. Two, municipalities stay as they are. Non-negotiable. Our communities must be able to retain some coherence. Not negotiable. A couple of other things but those two things quite crucial. I expected it all the time. I didn't want it, I couldn't give a damn, but the fact is I expected it. It didn't happen. Roelf Meyer's head was up in the clouds. He had a whole lot of academic constitutional lawyers talking absolute shit at him all the time and they were being pummelled and pushed around by a whole lot of German constitutional lawyers that were talking endless garbage about Lender in Germany and this and that and the other thing, and by and large the whole thing was swept up to a level of obfuscation which castrated this poor bugger, Roelf Meyer. That's what I would regard it as being, as he did not think about bottom lines so that when the white Afrikaners opened their eyes the next day after this was all said and done because it wasn't the next day, but obviously after it had all crystallised, they found that community control over schools had gone. Now that's a fairly basic thing for communities. It's not something you trade all that easily. And local community boundaries, the definition of your local community had gone. It had been merged into big transitional local authorities, all the names had changed. Here as I sit now I'm really part of a local authority called Sandton. I have no connection with it.

POM     You're part of Sandton?

LS     Sandton yes. All these things, it all just went. Now when I say that Roelf Meyer handed these things away it may not make much of a difference to me but I can tell you it makes a hell of a lot of difference to a lot of people. Our rates here have doubled. My rates have doubled. If I was dependent on my pension that I got as having been for years as a professor and then as vice-president of a parastatal, so my pension is not small, if I was dependent on a pension this house would have already had to be sold and I would be living in a townhouse in order to bring my local rates and taxes down to affordable levels. All told I'm paying about R3000 a month. Now I can shift it on in various ways. My neighbour here, he's not an Afrikaner, he's a Rabbi, he has to turn over every cent, every cent. You see I get somewhat irritated when people make these sweeping generalisations and because Gencor is doing very well and a small fringe of Afrikaners and because Anton Rupert is now the fourth most wealthy businessman in Switzerland, then to say the Afrikaner - yes a top elite of Afrikaners have creamed it but top elites always do. It takes a holocaust to cut them down. They always have options.

POM     So would you agree with the sentiment that the Afrikaners in general were sold out by their negotiators?

LS     Yes. They were sold out. They were first of all confused and addled by the charm of FW de Klerk. He didn't do it deliberately, he was simply naïve. And then the impact of an army of constitutional lawyers who incidentally filled their own pockets in the process, who produced a most endless surge of semi-academic drivel about constitutions that I've ever seen in my life. All this created confusion within which the Afrikaners and the white middle class in general lost out in terms of key benefits. People are now sending their kids to schools, they are paying much more for rates and taxes, for private schools, they are paying more for security, all these things. Now they just put it in a general package and they say what's life like now compared to what it was? We've lost out. That's the perception of the thing and you know in politics perceptions are real. But then again, are they important? The rand has fallen which has captured them. They can't emigrate, they simply cannot make a living elsewhere with the capital that they can get with the rand as weak as it is, so they are captured, they're there, they've got to work in the system, they've got to make their resources available. So in a sense for the political system it doesn't really matter all that much. Except younger professionals who know that they've got to build from the bottom up are just leaving, the young doctors, young architects, young engineers are going in large numbers. And what's more, what I think is particularly bad is that young women at the very time when women's lib has promised them greater freedoms in the social sphere, crime is causing a lot of young women, university graduates, matriculants -

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.