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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

20 Aug 1997: Holomisa, Patekile

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POM     What do you like to be called by the way?

PH     I still have never made up my mind. You can call me Chief, you can call me Nkosi, you can call me Advocate.

POM     I'll call you Chief.

PH     It's easy for you.

POM     The last time I talked with you I think there was some question of you being hauled before a disciplinary committee in the ANC, is that correct?

PH     I would imagine that is so. Well we have since made peace with each other.

POM     How did that work out?

PH     There was this Council of Traditional Leaders that was to be established and at the time it appeared as if I might be elected Chairman of the Council and then we did some soul-searching, I did some soul-searching with myself, by myself, and I consulted some colleagues in the ANC and other colleagues who are traditional leaders and I felt that it will be important that the Council of Traditional Leaders, which in turn would mean the institution of traditional leadership as a whole, would not be prejudiced because of the hostility the ANC might have towards me and I felt it important that I make peace with them. So one of the penalties that has been imposed was that I must apologise publicly to the President of the ANC and to the organisation itself. I felt, therefore, that if I gave them that apology they had been begging me to give then I should do it so that there would be no animosity which might be misdirected to the Council of Traditional Leaders, that in fact they had a gripe with me. So they were jubilant to get that apology and even discarded the other three penalties, there were three other penalties.

POM     What were they?

PH     The one was that I must be reprimanded.

POM     If you are reprimanded, what does that mean?

PH     It didn't really make much sense, you must never do this thing again, something  like that.

POM     Were you hauled before a committee? Who tells you that?

PH     They had written me a letter before I had tendered the apology saying, "Comrade Holomisa as a result of the findings of the Disciplinary Committee you are now reprimanded severely for what you did." It was in those exact words, "You are hereby severely reprimanded for what you did." But they discarded it afterwards, after I had given this apology. And the other penalty was that I must not hold any position of seniority, that I must be removed from the position of chairman of the Portfolio Committee on land affairs in parliament, and the other one was that I must be suspended from the organisation for a year. Well, I am still the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on land affairs and I am still a member of the ANC with all the obligations and privileges and rights that go with that. So in effect the status quo is still the same. Oh, one important thing was that in the letter of apology while I did state that the apology was given unconditionally, I did indicate that the cause of this fight between myself and the ANC was the failure by the ANC to give direction on the question of traditional leadership. They don't have a policy, still don't have a policy, the ANC, on the institution of traditional leadership, only it's constitutional role. So they agreed then that they would look into that and I think there are processes under way now in order to try and formulate a policy on the question of traditional leadership. There will soon be a policy conference to precede the national conference that will be in December and I am sure that the question of traditional leadership will be attended to in that policy conference.

POM     There was a conference of traditional leaders last week I think?

PH     Oh in Johannesburg, yes Pretoria. That was organised by the Department of Constitutional Development. I think the officials were merely sounding the views of the traditional leaders on all the issues that touch on them.

POM     What emerged out of it?

PH     Well nothing new emerged. We reiterated what we always said in terms of the fact that we need to have a role in the legislative process, we should have delaying powers as we had under the interim constitution.

POM     Delaying powers, you could review legislation and delay it's implementation for?

PH     Not implementation, we would delay the finalisation, the passing of that bill by a period of 30 months. We have basically given 30 months within which to make up our minds as to what we feel about a certain bill.

POM     Thirty months?

PH     Did I say months? No days!

POM     Would this be on bills that would - ?

PH     Traditional leadership and land.

POM     And under the final constitution?

PH     We don't have such powers.

POM     Why do you think that power was taken away in the final constitution?

PH     The people in the forefront making the constitution in the ANC were not enamoured with this question of traditional leadership. They see it as a problem. To them if there could be a way of wishing it away, make it non-existent, they would follow that way. The interim constitution had its own short-comings even with regard to the question of traditional leadership but it was elaborate enough as to what responsibilities and all we had and it was made in the presence and with the active participation of traditional leaders,  but this one was made without the participation of traditional leaders. There was a big workshop that was organised by the Constitutional Assembly at the beginning of 1995 about the views of traditional leaders and interested stake-holders and none of those views were entertained when the final constitution was made. The traditional leaders believe that it was an act of treachery on the part of the ANC in failing to pay the necessary attention to the role of traditional leadership. If you look at the constitution and find the chapter dealing with traditional leadership, it is the shortest chapter and it's bordering on being meaningless.

POM     Some people have suggested to me rather cynically that they gave the review powers in the interim constitution because they wanted your votes and when it came to 1996 they already had secured your votes so -

PH     They are discarding us now that they have secured their votes. That's a legitimate interpretation of the situation.

POM     It is?

PH     Yes.

POM     This must make for a situation where traditional leadership or traditional authorities in general feel alienated from the processes of government.

PH     Yes they do and it's not part of the way of life of Africans. You don't make laws that are going to affect the community in the absence of traditional leaders, or at least without consulting them. That's why this system is viewed as un-African.

POM     So what's the relationship, say, at the moment between local councils and -

PH     Traditional authorities? Oh it's very bad, relations are very bad. In fact in the Eastern Cape they are not even trying to work together and as a result there is no development taking place. The traditional leaders don't recognise the local councils as being legitimate.

POM     What do the people think?

PH     Well it really depends on who is on the platform at a given time but in the main the people don't see the need for these councillors.

POM     They don't see the need for a council?

PH     For these councillors, elected councillors, in the presence of traditional leaders and their authority. One of the reasons is that since 1995 they have been there but they have never been holding any meetings. If they try to hold meetings nobody comes unless they solely seek the support of traditional leaders, so they have not been able to deliver and also they have created an atmosphere of hostility now between themselves and traditional authorities and the people in the rural areas are familiar more with traditional authorities than with these new forms of government and they believe that it would have been better if the government were to strengthen traditional authorities and give them the necessary infrastructure and resources to be able to deliver the necessary services.

POM     Since if you're a traditional leader you're a traditional leader for life, how do you integrate or how would you propose integrating traditional leadership structures so as to make them conform to more democratic norms?

PH     Newly acquired democratic norms. The institution has always been democratic in its operation, at least here in South Africa it has been. I don't know in other parts of Africa.

POM     Sorry, which has been?

PH     It has been democratic.

POM     Which has?

PH     The institution of traditional leadership.

POM     Democratic in what sense?

PH     In its operation, the way in which it works in the sense that the traditional leader is merely the leader and the ruler but he has to take the views of the people into account, he has to consult. You have the Assembly of the People, known as Imbiso, where the people are in a position to question the actions of the traditional leader and besides that you have the council that works with the traditional leader. You must have heard of people saying the Chief acts in Council, the Chief in Council, meaning that the advisers of the Chief are themselves representatives of the various communities under the authority of the Chief so that decisions taken in council by the Chief will have to be disseminated to the people and if the people are not happy with them they can always communicate their views to the traditional leader through these councillors or advisers. The other forum, like I say, is the People's Assembly, the Imbiso, everybody is in a position to bring the traditional leaders to account. So in essence there is no need for elected structures of government but we concede that we have since acquired this new form of democracy, this new form of government which is that of elected representatives. So we are saying, therefore, let the home of the traditional leader which has always been the centre of activities and of government, the seat of government in terms of the African system of government, let it continue to be the seat of government, let the traditional leader have his traditional councillors, who are usually themselves traditional leaders, continue to remain in that council but at the same time have elected representatives to be part of that structure.

POM     So you're saying expand the structure to bring in the elected representatives?

PH     Expand the structure in order to bring in the elected representatives. In that way you should then be in position to have harmony. The problem with the system of the west is that the party the people elect want all the power to themselves. It is alien to them the concept of sharing of power. Our system is about seeking consensus. You want to reach decisions through consensus rather than fighting.

POM     Now people who would be elected to local councils in rural areas, would they be people from those areas?

PH     From the same area.

POM     From the same area, so they would have been raised in the tradition of the tribal authority, of consensus building. So why do they not want to share power?

PH     I told you it's because they have at the same time been schooled in the traditions of party politics and party politics is about the acquisition of power all for oneself, it's not about sharing the power.  Like I say, that's an alien concept to the western type of democracy, multi-party democracy. So the reason they oppose traditional leaders is that traditional leaders continue to wield some power and some influence and they want that power, they want that influence for themselves exclusively.

POM     Why do you think the ANC, and I suppose because that's what we're talking about, or the alliance or whatever, is so anti, so lacking in its understanding of the position that traditional leaders hold -

PH     It's not lacking in its understanding of the importance of the institution, it's not. It is because of its very understanding of the importance of the institution that it doesn't want it, for the very reason that I'm saying we have power, we have influence as traditional leaders. We don't have to work for it, it is part of the setting in which we live as Africans. It's a way of life, it is a way of African life that traditional leaders must be the people who lead. Now the ANC don't want that, they want all that power to themselves.

POM     But the ANC are African too?

PH     Well they regard themselves as modern. Even as they speak about African renaissance, you never hear them mention traditional leaders.

POM     So is this a clash about two different value systems; the ANC on the one hand saying we're modern and believe in elected norms of democracy and you are, to use a crude word, feudal and believe that one is born into a position and have an hereditary right to exercise power?

PH     Well that's the criticism they always level. They have always complained that we say we are born to rule and that is true, we are born to rule. Our custom demands that we will rule. So they don't like that.

POM     Essentially they want to eliminate it.

PH     Like I said in the beginning if there was a way of eliminating it they would do that. But when you speak of African renaissance, you hear them speak of African renaissance or the need for African values to be promoted and so on, so that is stopping our Euro-centricism, but they will never make reference to the importance of traditional leadership. You cannot talk about revival of African values without involving traditional leadership in that process.

POM     Now the House of Traditional Leaders, there's a House of Traditional Leaders for each province and there's a council?

PH     At the national level, yes.

POM     What powers does the council have?

PH     It doesn't really have any powers except to advise government on matters relating to traditional leadership. They are supposed to advise the government on the role of traditional leaders.

POM     That is the provincial government?

PH     The national.

POM     The national government.

PH     The provincial councils have been established in terms of the old constitution so they do have a right to be given legislation, relevant legislation before it is passed by the Legislative Assemblies, but the National Council doesn't have those powers because it has been established in terms of the final constitution. So it's just a body, it can easily be a dummy body but it depends on whether or not resources will be given to it and also on the quality of leadership it has.

POM     Does it have resources?

PH     It has not been given any resources. In fact it's even treated less than the other commissions like the Youth Commission or even the Volkstaat Commission. You remember the Volkstaat Council? If you look at the payment given to, the salaries paid to the members of the council, in this country the government has still not  made up its mind whether the members are going to be, first, regarded as full time members or part time members and, secondly, whether they are going to be paid salaries or be given stipends or allowances for sessions.

POM     So you're saying in the Eastern Cape, in rural areas of the Eastern Cape, that the elected local councils in many or most cases haven't met since the elections?

PH     They meet on their own but they never hold community meetings to report back to the communities as to what they do.

POM     But do they make decisions and implement them?

PH     They make decisions when they meet on their own but it's the implementation side that is problematic.

POM     What happens on the implementation side?

PH     Nothing is happening. The roads, the conditions of the roads are in a terrible state. They were last repaired before 1994 or immediately after 1994, and are a problem that was set in place by the previous administration.

POM     So if you were to estimate the number of people that traditional leaders represent?

PH     Well it's been said about 18 million people live under traditional authority.

POM     About eight?

PH     Eighteen.

POM     Eighteen?

PH     Eighteen million, yes. Out of a population of 40 million, almost half of the population live under the influence of traditional authority.

POM     And is the relationship bad in all areas between traditional leaders and local councils so that the local councils are making decisions and the decisions aren't getting implemented?

PH     In certain areas, it depends on the level of activism adopted by the traditional leaders in a given area. In some areas the traditional leaders simply bowed down and do not oppose as the Eastern Cape is doing and KwaZulu/Natal is doing but they also do not like what is happening.

POM     What's the relationship between traditional leadership, say, in Transkei who would be, I suppose in many cases, ANC aligned and Chiefs in KwaZulu/Natal who would be IFP aligned?

PH     Well at the level of traditional leaders there are good relations across the country. We are able to speak the same language regardless of the province from which we come but then politics do interfere of course. You find that now and again one or the other delegation will find itself being influenced by the policies of the party to which the members belong but generally the relations are good.

POM     How do you see this situation evolving?

PH     It's difficult to say. Well, it depends on what the ANC does this time. The elections are coming and one hopes that this time they will come up with a final position which is not going to be too hostile towards traditional leaders. Like I say, I think they are beginning now to apply their minds seriously to formulating a policy.

POM     Do you think that the ANC has an anti-rural bias?

PH     It is urban biased.

POM     That has an urban bias.

PH     It is urban biased yes. It will say we are supposed to be taking care of the problems of the people living in the rural areas but in reality it does not. It's very outlook on life is urban biased and even ... biased, black as they are.

POM     Now you find yourself slipping  back and forth into in a way two different worlds. What's the difference between them? As you play your role here in parliament, urban, then you play your role as Chief both as head of Contralesa and your own tribe, how do you operate mentally?

PH     It might appear that one would have a dilemma but I don't have any because I've always believed that the two systems can be structured in such a way that they complement each other rather than being hostile towards each other. I understand, I think I am fortunate because I understand the way the educated lot think as well as the way whites think in South Africa because I have been exposed to a lot of their ideas through books and things like that, but at the same time I've been brought up as an African and I know how the original African mind thinks in terms of how things are supposed to be done. So I don't have a problem. I do have a problem in the sense that as a member of a party I find myself having now and again to bow to decisions that are not necessarily in the interests of the promotion of African values. But I do speak out, speak my mind still and sometimes the decisions will be tempered a bit in order to accommodate my concerns. I think that is the little bit of benefit one has for being part of the ANC because they are the makers of the decision. They are in government and they are likely to still be in government in the future. So it is important, therefore, that even as they make their decisions they must be exposed to what people like myself think.

POM     Now when you hear people like the Deputy President talk about an African renaissance what do you think he means by that?

PH     I think he means that the Africans must start asserting themselves, that the decisions and actions of government and society must be informed by what Africans would like to be. It boils down to judging from the conduct of the people who go along with this idea of an African renaissance at least within the ANC that we must take over the positions that whites are occupying, as Africans, and that whites must accept that this is Africa and that the majority of the people are Africans. Beyond that I don't see how, I've yet to see how he intends to promote African values in their true sense. But I say the weakness in him is that he doesn't want to draw traditional leaders into that process.

POM     So am I correct in hearing you say that your interpretation of what he means by an African renaissance is that you put black faces in positions formerly occupied by whites?

PH     That's a crude way of putting it but roughly that's what I seem to detect from those who are out to take over the commanding heights of the economy. I think it's more about Africans taking over the economy.

POM     Where in this would Indians and coloureds fit?

PH     Yes, well, they would have to identify themselves as Africans. In any event the coloureds are Africans  because they don't have anywhere else to go. They never came from anywhere else. The Indians, of course, still have India and they identify a lot with India. Most of them still maintain links with their homes and they still practise their religions and their customs. It's the Africans, the Africans who are floating in the air, who don't have roots, and what they are preoccupied with now is to take the commanding heights of the economy. They are interested in becoming rich. That's why I am saying they want to live in the houses that the whites are living in, occupy the offices that the whites are also buying and drive in the flashy cars that have up to now been the preserve of the whites. Beyond that there doesn't appear to be much evidence of them trying to revive African values.

POM     Which in a way would be contrary to a lot of the things that -

PH     Like greed, the individualism that characterises the white man's way of life. That's what they are taking over.

POM     So it's like almost adopting white values?

PH     Yes they are adopting white values.

POM     And calling it Africanisation, or an African renaissance.

PH     Maybe it's still to be interpreted, to be fair to him, but a lot of the black elite who seem to be supporting him that's what they seem to be doing, taking over and adopting the white man's values and making them their own.

POM     Within the ANC itself, Africanisation, would that imply in some way a diminution in the influence of again, say, the Indian elements of the leadership, their replacement by Africans?

PH     In any event they are a minority, even in terms of the constituency they bring into the ANC. One has doubts as to whether the leadership position is therefore proportionate to the constituency they bring, the votes they bring into the ANC. They are skilled as individuals but in terms of them bringing in their own constituency into the organisation that is very doubtful so it's only natural that one would expect their representation in leadership positions to be less than what it is.

POM     You have been here now three years, separating again your dual roles, when you look at rural areas, or your own rural area, has there been any tangible difference made to the lives of the people in the way of what's called 'transformation' whether it's economic transformation or social transformation?

PH     I think the situation is even worse what with the rate of unemployment being as high as it is. A lot of people who were supposed to be in the labour centres are wasting away in the rural areas because there are no job opportunities any more. Job opportunities have not expanded, they have shrunk. I was making the example of the roads which are in a terrible state. You will knock and knock at the doors of the relevant offices, calling on these people to come and make the necessary repairs. They don't come. The schools are also becoming worse and worse, they are becoming more and more dilapidated but on the other hand there are some new things that have been introduced like electricity. You find in more areas now having some lights at night, places that you would never have dreamt that they could ever have electricity but they do have electricity. In some areas you will find some water, tap water, and those are the improvements. I think the problem has more to do with management, besides the question of unemployment. But the question of delivery on those basic amenities or services, the failure there has to do with the fact that first of all the electoral system is not representative both at national, provincial and local level. The party list system, there are no people who are seen to be the real representatives of the people. Members are just floating above the communities, they don't have constituencies because you can stay in one street and be deployed miles and miles away in another.

POM     I want to come back to that point because I think it's very important, but with the advent of electricity have there been more televisions?

PH     Oh of course there have been more televisions, yes. In those areas where there is electricity there will be televisions and fridges.

POM     What I'm interested in is so many of the shows that are on television here are American shows and I often wonder -

PH     That's right, a lot of decadence.

POM     I often wonder what a person in a rural area must think looking at something out of Dallas.

PH     The Bold and the Beautiful.

POM     Or whatever.

PH     It's terrible, it's bound to wreak havoc on our values, on the morality that is to be found in the rural areas.

POM     Are people accepting of their condition, accepting that change is slow and will be slow? Are they disappointed with it?

PH     Well they are aware that it would not have taken place overnight but what is disgusting to them is the question of management. I think we have a management problem.

POM     So is that the management at the provincial level?

PH     At the provincial level and, well it's the management of the implementation of the programme. They understand the government has good programmes but it cannot manage them, with the result that it cannot implement them.

POM     How does that disappointment or resentment, how do you think it will make itself felt if it continues, if it doesn't improve?

PH     A lot of people, particularly those of the ANC, are now appearing to be supportive of the initiative taken by Bantu Holomisa, so they seem to think, especially in the Eastern Cape, they think that while he was in power the situation was better than what it is now. But then that will depend on how he manages to galvanise that kind of support, to turn it into votes. At the same time others think they would rather not vote than vote for the ANC. Well I doubt if there will be significant numbers voting for the National Party or the Democratic Party.

POM     So they simply won't vote?

PH     They either won't vote or will vote for Bantu's party, or vote for the ANC.

POM     And in the country at large when you look at it?

PH     Well Bantu's initiative seems to be taking on a national character but I am not clear of the extent of support in regions other than the Gauteng region and the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. I don't know the extent of the support he enjoys in the Free State, for instance, in KwaZulu/Natal, in Northern Province, North-West and Mpumalanga. But the same sort of disgruntlement you find elsewhere you find everywhere towards the ANC.

POM     If you were to look at the country at large would you say that by and large people are disappointed in the ANC?

PH     Yes they are disappointed but they still love the ANC, it's the party of liberation and it is the party that has consistently fought for change.

POM     You said at the beginning of the conversation that there was a time it looked as though you were being considered for appointment as -

PH     In the Council of Traditional Leaders.

POM     It would seem a natural development given your position in Contralesa.

PH     That was the original plan but we had apparently undermined the strength of tribalism within the ranks of traditional leaders themselves. We know normally for these positions you have to canvass your support and so on but I have never done that since I was elected to the presidency of Contralesa, I have always been automatically elected to be president. This time it turns out now that we are about to reap the fruits of our efforts. Some people felt that, no, no, no, this person has been at the helm of Contralesa, he's Xhosa and now there's a new institution how can we let a Xhosa be the head of this institution, let us rather have somebody else. And that's how I was not elected to that position. They were canvassing, even members of Contralesa, canvassing against my election to that position. We discovered it very, very late in the day that these people were campaigning.  I am sure they said there are too many national institutions that are headed by Xhosas. We have the ANC, the government, the church, both major churches, the Anglican Church and the Methodist Church are headed by Xhosas, you have parastatals, corporations like Transnet and others, they are headed by Xhosas, and then somebody said we cannot afford to have even this one to be headed by a Xhosa speaking person.

POM     Is that a concern, the very fact that you have said that so many institutions and organs of government - ?

PH     Yes that is a concern, that is a concern. A lot of people, a lot of resentment that is building up towards Xhosas. Within the educated lot you might think that you would not find that.

POM     The educated lot? Of Zulus and others?

PH     Well in my understanding not the Zulus. They don't have much. I think the Sotho and the Tswana and the other groupings that have hitherto been regarded as being a minority, they are beginning to assert themselves now because there is this perception that the Xhosas are out to get everything else. Well, that perception may or may not be justified, I do not know, because one tends to think that these people get these positions not because of the language they speak but because they merit to be in those positions, they qualify.

POM     But there is, just because of the very fact that there are so many in prominent positions, there is that perception at least that -

PH     You come across articles, articles in black-read newspapers, talking about the presence of a 'Xhosa Nostra', equating it with Cosa Nostra, the Italian, the Mafia structure. They say the Xhosas are out to make sure that they spread their tentacles all over and you find that some Xhosa now tend to be reluctant to assert themselves because they think it is going to be interpreted as yet another manifestation of the Xhosa trying to take over everything.

POM     Now what papers would you be talking about?

PH     Well you can have a look at the City Press, you know the City Press? And some of the black magazines like Pace or Drum. If you were to have a look at those, there are some in the library, it's just that I don't know which month the City Press one was because I was concentrating on the sport, seeing the sports councils and bodies headed by Xhosa speaking people even from the Eastern Cape, even if they may be coloured.

POM     Do you think this is an issue that's there, this issue of tribalism is like one of those simmering issues?

PH     It is but not seriously, no, not seriously but it is there. It is simmering under the surface.

POM     Could it become serious?

PH     It could. Even when you talk about the election of the leadership, top leadership of the ANC, considerations of the tribe from which a person comes come to the fore. You hear comments that it will be good to have Zuma because he is not Xhosa, it will be good to have Netshitenzhe because he is Venda, and that's all. We need now to try to strike a balance so that no tribe is seen as to be taking too dominant a position or that no tribe be seen to be overlooked.

POM     One sees, again, the relationship between, say, Contralesa and SANCO.

PH     It is bad. They fail to take our hand of friendship. From the very beginning we wanted as Contralesa to be friends with SANCO because we shared the same constituency in the rural areas but it turned out that they are out to take over our seats and that is why it makes the situation even worse in the rural areas because most of these elected councillors, even though they were elected on the ANC ticket, they were SANCO activists and for some reason SANCO has a problem which is clearly hostile towards traditional leadership, even more hostile than the ANC.

POM     Why so?

PH     Well they wanted our positions. Their local leaders, SANCO is a civic organisation, they are interested in positions of local power. Their national leaders are local leaders in the main, so we are an obstacle.

POM     So you've got this odd situation of where you've got Contralesa and you've got SANCO both supportive of the alliance and yet hostile relationships between the two of them?

PH     Well it's a bit unfortunate in a way this perception that we are supportive of the ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance because we have sought to assert ourselves as an independent body because as traditional leaders we are leaders of people belonging to all sorts of political parties but because of the history behind the establishment of Contralesa we find ourselves continually associated with the ANC. The ANC did initiate the formation of Contralesa through the United Democratic Front but from the very beginning we made it clear, we sought to make it clear at least, that we are not a wing or an affiliate or an ally of the ANC though we are part of the mass democratic movement which is aimed at the liberation of the country.

POM     Do you find it difficult sometimes, as you must, to juggle two roles at the same time?

PH     I do because ideally the constitution should have made it clear that this is what the role of traditional leaders is supposed to be and these are the benefits and obligations that will attach to a person holding a position under the institution of traditional leadership, and that, therefore, if you want to become a politician you are going to lose those benefits and take whatever benefits come with being a politician. But because the role has not been properly defined of traditional leadership you find that now some of us, for career reasons, want to be politicians, some because we feel that the decisions on a final role of traditional leadership are to be determined politically, we have to be in politics. I am afraid we have run out time.

POM     OK. Thank you very much.

PH     We did say we would meet for an hour, didn't we?

POM     But we haven't yet. This runs an hour. We started a little late didn't we?

PH     Yes we started a little late.

POM     So maybe you could give me another five minutes. You see my tape just runs an hour, so the end of the tape is the end of the hour. That's why I have to turn it over at 30 minutes, you see it does 30 minutes on each side but I think I'm nearly finished.

     Within the ANC structures, do you think there is a cabal that is simply opposed to traditional structures of leadership?

PH     Yes, there are elements, there are powerful elements who are unsympathetic.

POM     For example, the SACP would be?

PH     Naturally one would expect the SACP to be against traditional leadership but it has not, to be fair to them, it has not come out and said anything, but one would imagine that they do exert a lot of influence for the positions that are being adopted towards the institution of traditional leadership by the ANC.

POM     Just to sum up, I think a couple of things that I've heard you saying are that in terms of rural development other than electrification, some electrification and the availability of water -

PH     That happens here and there.

POM     It's sporadic.

PH     It's not happening on a wide scale.

POM     There has really been no transformation or no change in the quality of the lives of the people.  You were just saying that there has been no change in the quality of people's lives.

PH     No there hasn't.

POM     Do you and the tribal authorities have no input into policies that are made regarding rural development?

PH     They are in a position to assist in the implementation of the development programmes of the government but the government is not keen on doing that. They have always been better placed to do that and we've had the support of those institutions. There is no way that you can successfully implement programmes in the rural areas because people want to know why is the traditional authority being neglected.

POM     And lastly, there aren't any Chiefs, as far as I understand, on the working committees that are developing new local government policy?

PH     No, as far as I know there aren't any.

POM     And is that being queried?

PH     Yes, we pointed it out to the officials of the Department of Constitutional Development.

POM     And what was their response?

PH     Well they are merely officials, they say they were going to convey it to their minister.

POM     Do you find Valli Moosa in any way a sympathetic minister or an unsympathetic minister?

PH     I don't regard him as sympathetic but he has an understanding of the importance of institutions. He knows that there is something he needs to do to meet the aspirations of the traditional leaders but I don't think he has it in him to go the full extent.

POM     OK, we'll leave it at that. Thank you very much.

PH     OK.

POM     Do you find it hard juggling those roles?

PH     Not really except that, like I have stated before, there are contradictions. I find myself having to toe the party line even when I believe that it is not in the interests of African values.

POM     If you were called ultimately, this is a purely hypothetical question, if you had to choose between allegiance to one or allegiance to the other?

PH     Well I've always said it, even publicly, I will choose to be a Chief. I can't choose not to be a Chief. I am a Chief. I am not elected, I am born into the position and the customs of my tribe demand that I be a Chief and I cannot ignore the customs of my tribe.

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.