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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

21 Aug 1997: De Lille, Patricia

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POM     Patricia, let me ask you first, over the last year the PAC has gone through a kind of internal crisis resulting in new leadership, the expulsion of the former president and the election of Bishop Stanley Magoba as the new president, what change in direction does this portend for the PAC in the future or is there any change in direction?

PDL     Well I would say yes and no. First let me say that the ex-president of the PAC was out-voted in a democratically constituted congress of the PAC in December of 1996 and thereafter he misbehaved and he was then expelled at that point. What the change in leadership means for the PAC is that the PAC has come to accept that we have got a role to play in this country and we then said to ourselves that if we have a role to play in this country what is that role and how do we want to play that role? So after convincing ourselves that there is a role for us to play we have elected a new leadership, we have looked afresh at our policies, we modified, reviewed and revised our economic policy, we produced a policy on the issue of restructuring of state enterprises and privatisation and we also prepared a response to the government's economic policy of GEAR so that set the pace for other policy issues to follow. Now the direction that we are going in now is that we want to provide a choice to the African people of this country that when it comes to voting first of all we should not have a one-party state but we should have a multi-party democracy and the PAC must be the choice for the African people, those who do not want to vote for the ANC. And after analysing the situation we came to the conclusion that there is in fact a potential to tap into that vote and by tapping into that vote we will be able to increase our numbers in parliament and therefore making a more effective contribution to the whole process of transformation which we estimate will take much longer than just five years.

POM     Let me just pick up a couple of points you've made there. Number one, I've been back in the country for I think three weeks, I came back the weekend of Roger's wedding, I don't think I've seen one mention of the PAC in the media. It seems just not in media horizons anywhere. Two, there was a poll that was just released yesterday by the HSRC which shows the ANC's support down from 63% in May of 1994 to 53% today. It shows the PAC's support in fact as the only party that actually goes up but it's to 2% from 0.4% in May of 1994. It shows that only 43% of South Africans are satisfied with the performance of the government. It shows 38% are actively dissatisfied. Yet this increase in dissatisfaction with the government has not translated into an increasing base, a significantly increasing base of support for the PAC. What's the problem? Why aren't you able to translate dissatisfaction or disaffection with the ANC into a positive vote for the PAC?

PDL     Well you've got a long question, let me deal with the media one first. We have also revised our media strategy and came to the conclusion, and I'll give you a copy, it's here, that we have to start working actively on the existing perception of the PAC in the media and that perception comes over of being disorganised, poor leadership, not co-ordinated and all of that, and we said to ourselves that will be our take-off point and what is best for the party; is it best for the party to react and respond to whatever you see in the media on a daily basis or to keep quiet sometimes? And we also felt that to enable us to consolidate, your second question, the support for the PAC we need to do far more work on the ground and not necessarily at this point in time go public on everything until we are certain that we are now in a much stronger position because whatever public statements you make it's better if you follow them up with actual action which we are not at all times able to do as the PAC. So, yes, there's a lot of work going on but at a very low profile. The other reason too is that why we're keeping it at a low profile we don't want at this stage that other political parties must scuttle our plans. We feel we're still weak. We want to just raise ourselves amongst the grassroots more, so there is a lot, lot, lot going on.

     So on the media one, yes we have agreed that at parliament, we will use parliament as the media platform because here it's more structured, it's more issue related, we are able to speak from an informed position because we don't want to be seen like, for instance, the Democratic Party or the National Party who just criticise for the sake of criticising and then come over as being a reactionary party. We want to respond positively because we also feel obligated as a party with a majority support from the African people that we also have a responsibility.

     So it's a matter of trying to position ourselves. We've not done that successfully. We are feeling our way through until we can find that now we are in a position to place ourselves left from the ANC. If you look at, for instance, the responses and the utterances from COSATU and workers about some of the ANC there is almost hardly any difference from what the PAC is saying but should we latch on to that, latch on to what COSATU is saying all the time, it will seem as if we are also opportunistic in jumping the gun type of thing. So we are much more measured and controlled, let me put it that way, and we are also trying to avoid a situation whereby we have too many spokespersons on issues. We want to have and we are busy putting together our media strategy now so that we have spokespersons in Cape Town and in Gauteng and create the channels for consulting between what we say in Cape Town and what we say in Johannesburg and that's why maybe you've not seen us much lately in the media. It's consciously that we are doing that.

POM     But do you ever think that the ANC is so large, so just ingrained in the public imagination as being the liberation movement that even though people may be disaffected with it they will still vote for it or they won't vote at all rather than vote for another party? The fact is that no matter what poll you would look at would show that your support base after three years is no more than 2%, even double it and say it's 4% or 5% or whatever, there is an enormous leap to go from that point to be a strong, vibrant opposition party before you even think of becoming a governing party.

PDL     No, no, we're quite realistic, Padraig. We are not saying that in 1999 we will be in government. We come from a very, very weak base. The point I'm trying to make is to say that we are building up that base to be more solid, have a more solid base and then maybe put our hopes on the year 2004. But what we will be satisfied with as the leaders of the PAC and that we are working so hard towards is just to move away from that 1% perception. If we are able to do that successfully, to show to the country that we are growing, that we are bettering ourselves, that our performance is better, if we maybe set a target for 10%, 15%, right now we've got 1% and we are five members of parliament. If we've got 5% we will have 25 members of parliament because we're going to use the same electoral system. So we are not looking for an immediate jump, we want to go step by step.

POM     Have you had discussions with Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer? Do you see a future for the kind of party they're trying to create or are they just a temporary blimp on the political horizon?

PDL     You know we have not had discussions with Bantu or with Roelf, also for the same reasons that we are too busy getting our house in order and we are measuring ourselves. We've just had a National Executive meeting about a month ago on Robben Island where we made our own assessments. We've got our own performance indicators to see how we're going but nevertheless we've got a principled agreement that there is a need for alliances and there is a need for working together on certain specific issues, but that is the next phase of our programme, if I can put it that way, and that is to reach out.

POM     If you enter into alliances too quickly you lose your identity before you have established it.

PDL     That's right, that's right. We're very careful. And also just on Bantu and Roelf it seems to me that they are building their base around people who are disillusioned and it's a very shaky base to build on because if you cannot also as leaders, Bantu and Roelf, later on deliver, those members will also get disillusioned with them. They have not come up with very clear cut policies. You can't place them anywhere in the political sphere where they are left or right or centre or where they are. It looks to me as though they will most probably come out with a very centrist approach type of politics. But, no, we've not had discussions with them.

POM     Now this HSRC poll that I mentioned gives overwhelmingly that disapproval with the government's economic policy ranges from 83% among whites, 63% of coloureds, 48% of Indians, 45% of Africans. 73% believe that corruption is rife in the public service. The big issue by far is jobs, 46% rate that as being the most important. Crime comes in second at 18% and the economy third at 12%. So if you take jobs and economy you have 78% of the people who have some aspect of the economy as the number one issue, the critical issue, not crime as is sometimes, I think, the popular perception.

     One of the people I talk to every year, in a way like one of the barometers I use for the fiscal condition of the country, is Derek Keys and then I talk to trade unionists and tap his ideas off theirs. I find a consensus emerging that (i) GEAR isn't working, it's not going to achieve 5% growth rate per year and it's a mirage to think of creating 250,000 new jobs or 500,000 new jobs per year, it's not going to happen. The economy will grow at about 2½%, maybe 3% at best but that's about it. When you add in the rate of growth of population you might get a 1% increase in per capita income per year. The result will be that there will be no job creation. In fact there may be even net job loss when you take the number of new entrants coming into the labour market and jobs being lost because of the fact that you're entering a global economy. (ii) that the mass of the poor are going to remain exactly that - poor. There may be some improvement in electrification and water but by and large the poor will remain poor. (iii) that the inequality in the distribution of income will remain about what it's at. In fact it may even increase a little.

PDL     It's the highest, the difference between the rich and the poor is the highest in the world.

POM     Yes, eight times.

PDL     Chile is the next country.

POM     They call it ...

PDL     Yes ours is point six.

POM     This is not going to change very much. About the only people who are going to be the gainers out of the newfound freedom, so to speak, are an emerging black middle class, the professionals, bureaucrats, whatever, that black empowerment is carried out through schemes like Cyril is involved in, for example, are not creating wealth, they are creating a newly rich class but they're not creating jobs and they're not creating additional capacity in the economy. Foreign investment is going to remain just about where it's at, moderate, very moderate. In the face of all that, (i) would you agree with some of things that I've said in terms of what others have said, and (ii) what would the PAC in government do differently in this regard than the present government is doing?

PDL     I think, Padraig, if it's OK with you I will give you copies of our response to GEAR and our critique and I will give you a copy of a critique done by SACOB on our own position. But let me start with the foreign investment. The foreign investment so far that has come into this country has not created jobs, it's money that's coming to the capital market and that's where it's being played around with. I put a question to the minister in parliament when they announced that they had a 3% economy growth and wanted to know how many jobs were created for that 3%. It was less than 50,000, so it's a clear indicator that foreign investment, yes, but so far it's not created the jobs that we are all seeking. And then also the unemployment figure, the number of poor people is rising. Where some employment has been created that employment has not been created for that group coming from the poor because that number is growing, it's not decreasing. So where employment has been created it's for the other groups who can be classified as not being poor.

     Again, I don't just want to give an off-the-cuff answer, but we have spelt out in our own suggestion what we see as the way forward for creating jobs, we insist that the government must put more money in infrastructural development. Secondly, that they must play a more interventionist role in the economy which they are not at the moment. Then, thirdly, the way we are measuring the government's GEAR policy is to watch what they are doing in different departments because they say in their GEAR strategy that they will be cutting down on government spending and if you look at where they have been cutting it's social spending, education, health, all those things and we are saying for South Africa coming almost out of a war situation the government should invest more in social spending not decrease social spending if you look at the welfare cuts for instance, because the poor are becoming poorer.

POM     Do you not find an immense contradiction here? Here is an alliance, two elements of it being the trade union organisation representing most of the workers in the country and the SACP who must be party to decisions made that say let's cut social welfare, let's cut expenditure on health. It's topsy-turvy ideologically.

PDL     I think the alliance really is just in name. I don't think that they can function if they are principled organisations, both COSATU, SACP and the ANC, there is no way that you can compromise on principles at the drop of a hat. I can accept that you can differ on policies, but on principles? And if you look at the RDP document, the one on which the ANC basically won the elections because that created a perception that they are ready to govern, there is a major shift, a complete major shift from the RDP document that put them into power. I agree with you, there are major contradictions there.

POM     Have they sold out their constituency?

PDL     Definitely. And the thing is this COSATU and the SACP have not made noises right from the beginning. They were part of this euphoria and it's only now that they realise but we are into problems. And also the SACP, I do think it's a factor, if the SACP really want to be recognised in this country as a force to be reckoned with they should stand on their own. Why piggy-back on the ANC all along? Why, if they are so dissatisfied, are they not breaking away from the ANC for instance? So I agree with you there are a lot of contradictions there.

POM     Again, why hasn't the opposition to the ANC been able to hammer away at the contradictions in what it promised the electorate in terms of policy, never mind in terms of delivery, and the policies it advocates and implements today? Why isn't that more clear?

PDL     I think we have attempted, although it might not have been published that widely, but we did express our opposition to quite a number of issues and because our newly elected president feels very passionate about the poor in this country, he comes from a constituency where he worked with poor people for ten years, we have spoken up on several occasions, it might have not been properly communicated. I hear what you say because that message will be far more acceptable if you can have a big rally with, say, a lot of people come to listen to the PAC and you make those kinds of statements, whether you make it in parliament or whether just in a press release. I think the impact is less because we've not made it on the right platforms because you have to back up your statements with action, you have to show. And this why I'm saying we've been quiet because we don't want to be embarrassed at this stage. We want to first mobilise properly and we've planned from the beginning, from December this year you will be seeing more and more of opposition politics coming from the PAC.

POM     Just very briefly if you could say what would be the thrust of your economic policy in terms of emphasis that would be different from the ANC's?

PDL     You know the ANC's first document says growth through redistribution. Am I right? They have shifted now by saying that wealth must first be created before it can be distributed. I think that is the major difference, if I can summarise. Now we also are saying that it's not going to help to take from the rich to give to the poor but that the government should create the conditions conducive for the economy to grow and then out of that growth you then start redistribution. Now they have not been successful in growing the economy successfully and therefore they are not able to redistribute.

POM     The point that Keys and others are making is that you can get to 2½%, you can maybe even get to 3%, but you're not going to get beyond that because the financial constraints or the external constraints or the internal constraints are such that that's as good as we can do. What if you're stuck with growing at 2½% a year? What do you do then? Do you need more massive redistribution? Does this mean loss of skills? Do you have to borrow from institutions whether you like it or not, such as the World Bank and the IMF and in that case they kind of have you in their pockets because you have to then follow their rules?

PDL     You see what we have done before the budget speech in March, the PAC put out what we said were our expectations of the budget, what do we expect from the budget. Then thereafter we will listen to the actual budget and make our comment. So we first released a statement on 6th March to say what we expect from the budget. We said reduction in unemployment, reduction in poverty, human potential development training, reduction of income and inequality, development of social and physical infrastructure, crime prevention, economic growth and development and more resources for education and that the country cannot develop without education. Then we went further and outlined the principles and values to guide the budget allocation and we said that more government role in capital investment such as infrastructural development, I've mentioned that, training and development, reduction of unemployment and poverty. Then we've got what we said the government investment programme must crowd in the private sector. I'll give you a copy too. Then the provisions of incentives, access to productive economic resources and then we also said that this is not time for a minimalist state and in our document we explain what we mean by a minimalist state. Then fourth, we said fiscal and monetary policies must stimulate effective demand and to enable economic development and growth and should reduce the cost of capital to priority and strategic sectors. Then we went on to say that the country cannot afford to retain the kind of level of government budget deficit so long. Government expenditure is for capital investment and not consumption and government capital investment will stimulate opportunities for willing private sector institutions to engage in capital investment. This is what is known as the crowding-in effect of government and capital markets.

     So we put out this document and then after the minister delivered his budget speech we then gave comments on the budget, the PAC's expectation. We said principally the budget had to be evaluated against expectations and principles that had been announced before budget day and then we made an overall assessment and we made priorities and we then said has the budget met our priorities? And we said that the budget has not come out with specific and massive investment programmes led by the government and we said where we expected the government to invest. We then said, after the budget speech, that the government should have pronounced themselves on physical infrastructure investments like in roads, water, sanitation, transport, telecommunication, ports, dams, land reclamation, electrification and so on.

POM     Where does the money come from?

PDL     Social infrastructure, especially in areas of technical training, public works programmes and so on. We went on to say that the Minister of Trade & Industry got three billion rand which represented a 7% fall, 7% reduction. That also means a reduction in the promotion of small scale business development, industrial development initiatives. We went on on the decrease in transport, we went on to say that we've got a population that is 50% illiterate and this had to be corrected with a budget of R13.1 million which we felt was totally not enough. No budget exists either as allowances or direct support for enterprises and we went on. Then we say, failing the test with regard to meeting the priorities that we have spelt out in the country for 1997/98 and you can read through all of that.

POM     Let me relate this to something. South Africa is a poor country, it's a developing country and there are huge disparities in income; there's a first world sector, there's a third world sector and probably even a fourth world sector. Now at a time when the leaders of the country should be mobilising the people behind the idea of transformation, whether through growth or redistribution, where it should be propagating an ethos of we're all in this together and we must pull together and work on behalf of one another and make sacrifices in the short run so that we gain in the long run, you have COSATU out looking for a wage week, not that I'm against it, looking for a wage by law, a working week that is a first world working week. I had this out with Tito Mboweni the other day; he said, "We passed legislation increasing overtime rate from one and a third to one and a half, we passed legislation saying that rather than having two weeks annual vacation you have to have three weeks annual vacation." In the United States, by law, two weeks is what you get and it's like saying, well this isn't the way, this is good for the minority of the workers who gain these things but this isn't good for the masses of the unemployed, this isn't the way to create employment, this is not the way to share. Do you not find - it's like as long as I'm all right Jack I don't care about the next guy?

PDL     Well I don't think it's that severe. I think we have to look at the labour struggle in conjunction with the broad liberation struggle and my own feeling is that the labour struggle was fought side by side with the liberation struggle and because the labour struggle made a significant contribution towards getting our country to be a democracy today I think there is almost this feeling of entitlement, that we are entitled to certain things. We cannot say today it's because COSATU wants a 40-day working week that we're not creating more jobs. The problem is much bigger than that. COSATU alone, and even their demands that they are making, are not responsible for the situation that we find ourselves in now because they themselves have said if you look at the GEAR document it was written by what they call 'eight white men', and there was no consultation. So I think you must see COSATU's dissatisfaction and their fight for better worker rights but in a context. If now you say there is going to be a decrease in the creation of jobs if COSATU gets a 40-day working week, I'm not convinced because there are many other factors responsible for not creating jobs in this country.

POM     But it would be a contributing factor. In other words it would encourage employers, since it would increase labour costs, it would encourage employers that when it comes to a choice between hiring somebody or putting in a piece of machinery they would go for the piece of machinery, just substituting technology for people. I mean it's happened all over the world. Joblessness or even growth without the creation of jobs is not unique to South Africa. It's all over Europe. The average unemployment rate is 13%, 14% and they can't budge it.

PDL     Also you know the issue of the debate around the 40-hour week, if you look at the evolvement of the trade union movement, I come from there myself, in the early seventies what we always negotiated was for better substantive conditions of employment which were in a very poor state and the unions were able after lots of strikes and fights to bring South Africa not to international standards, because we were part of the ILO, part of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, we were very knowledgeable about what went on in the rest of the world and our struggle was always to bring South Africa up to the international world standards. But you must accept that in our country that we have a so-called first world and a so-called third world in one, in one country at the same time, and I think that is where we must find a balance. It's either COSATU must accept that we are not a 90% or 99% first world but we are rather 80% third world and 20% first world. That equation must bring in the balance of COSATU's demands. But it is true that the South African economy is almost developed as some first world country. All these years they have been over-protected by legislation, they have been protected against competition, the companies had a job reservation clause and there were many other factors.

     So what I see today is that people are not taking the time to analyse properly the demands of the workers and I know also as a worker myself that if the government, because you've got NEDLAC, you've got the government tripartite situation there, but it's also a matter of attitudes.  Business wants to continue in this country as if nothing has changed, business as usual. If business can be made more conscious of the reality of this country and that is that we have inherited a mess and that business together with government and the workers must find a solution. But what I see is a lot of bad faith negotiations going on. It's still the old type of management that you are dealing with who can't care a hoot who is in government today, whether it's the ANC or the National Party or whoever as long as they are making profits.

POM     But must there be an attitude shift as well on the part of labour, of labour saying we're not a first world country and if we are to create jobs that means we all have to share a little.

PDL     You see it comes back to Thabo's point, the issue of a national consensus. We have not all agreed in this country that we have inherited a mess, that we all have to work twice as hard to bring this country out of the mess that we've inherited. The government should have come with a kind of a Marshall Plan I believe, like they did in Germany. But that cohesion is not there, that national consensus is not there and I think I agree 100% with Thabo because it's only once you commit yourself to that type of consensus, that this is the situation that we find ourselves in and we move from that premise together, that you will find also a more reasonable trade union movement.

     But all the changes that have come about in this country seem to have not sunk in in the business world. They have not accepted that there should be partnership between public and private sector and the workers to work together. Then of course another contradiction is that nowhere in the world, nowhere in the world do you find that the workers and government and employers have the same interests. You don't find it anywhere in the world. We are trying to impose a belief or a principle that the interests should be the same. Then if the interests are the same then there is no need for trade unions in the first place. We're also very naïve to believe that their interests are the same. I don't know, unless you can quote me some examples, but that is why we have to work harder to reach that consensus, that we put national interests above any interests. I think COSATU has indicated that they are prepared to do that, to put national interests first, but they are making it conditional, conditional that the employers also accept that attitude.

     So this is how I read the situation and, of course, also the trade union movement has moved after all these years they have achieved proper sick leave, proper holiday, you know the substantive conditions of employment have improved. But that's only for 20% of the workers that belong to unions. There is still a lot of exploitation going out there. Look at the domestic sector, look at the farm workers. So in short what I'm trying to say is that we're still a long way off, still a very long way off.

POM     Why doesn't President Mandela, do you think, not devote more of his moral stature and authority to just dwelling on the theme that you've raised on the need to build a national consensus, the need to link arms and work together now so that our children will inherit a better future?

PDL     You see we have this anomaly whereby people don't see Mandela as part of the ANC which is in fact wrong because what they criticise the ANC for they don't criticise Mandela for and Mandela is the leader of the ANC so he must take overall responsibility and that is the weird situation in South Africa. He seems to have focused more on reconciliation rather than the broader picture of seeking that consensus. I am hoping that he will still make his contribution because of his stature and because of his respect. Across party political, across races, across religion, people all love him and he should really play a more prominent role there to bring about national consensus. But also we need to prioritise. We can't get everything at the same time. We need to prioritise the key issues and try and build around them slowly and then work on to touch other issues.

POM     You've just mentioned the word reconciliation, let me ask you a couple of questions about the TRC. One, do you think that it's in any way being successful in promoting reconciliation or is it perhaps contributing more to polarisation among races than reconciliation? Is it bringing justice and is it exposing the full truth? Is it in fact achieving it's goals?

PDL     Well you can't measure that accurately now because what is happened so far is that they listened to so many stories and atrocities and crimes and things, it will really come when they start pronouncing and who is going to get amnesty and not. So far they have only pronounced themselves on a few cases but they have heard hundreds of them. And I think it's when, they've now also extended the Amnesty Committee to deal with that backlog, it is when they then start making judgement on whether people should get amnesty or not that you will be able to judge the process that we are engaged in at the moment, whether in fact it has met the expectations of people.

POM     Do you believe that Dirk Coetzee should have received amnesty? Just as your personal opinion?

PDL     No really I think he should not have received amnesty. I think that especially in the case of Dirk Coetzee and that other guy, I just have got a personal thing with Dirk Coetzee and this Mufamela(?), the way they were so brave or had the guts to speak out about what they've done without remorse, without showing any guilt. I personally have just built up something against that whole lot of them. Maybe they should have waited to pronounce on the Coetzee issue until they have pronounced on more cases, but I personally don't think that they should have granted him amnesty.

POM     Clive Derby-Lewis?

PDL     Clive Derby-Lewis is messing up his own case. He is not making an impression at all. I think, never mind the content of what he's saying, just his behaviour and the way he's lying, he's not making a good impression at all. I don't think he will get amnesty.

POM     The young men who were responsible for killing Amy Biehl?

PDL     Well that one too we don't know yet what is going to happen. With the Amy Biehl one is that they have appeared before the TRC about a month ago, they have all been sent back to prison and they just have to wait for the TRC to pronounce on that.

POM     What's your own opinion? You have an opinion on the other two.

PDL     If I can make a comparison between the Amy Biehl and the St James, you must also understand that most of the things that we know now we've only heard there for the first time when these people came to the TRC to confess. In the case of St James there seems to be evidence that there was an instruction from the high command of the military wing to attack the church and that these young guys just carried out instructions without questioning them. You know you can trace that chain of command as to where the command was given and therefore they could maybe claim that they had a political motive for attacking the church. In the case of Amy Biehl there is no clear evidence that in fact an instruction was given to particularly go and kill her. That incident seemed more to be coming out of emotions where people had meetings and the ANC had this campaign Barcelona with COSAS which they now say is a PAC campaign. It was never a PAC campaign.

POM     Which campaign is this?

PDL     It was called Campaign Barcelona and it was called by the ANC student wing, COSAS, and then all the other student organisations supported them. And then in this frenzy of political speeches and people being worked up, Amy was killed, murdered. So it remains to be seen how the TRC will evaluate it because the people responsible there cannot, and they have not said that they were instructed or they got a command, it was a sort of a spontaneous reaction although they did admit that they were also influenced by the slogan 'One settler one bullet'. So it's a bit early to say, it depends, I think we need to leave it to the TRC to finally make a judgement because they now have access to all the facts and people have admitted for the first time, they have explained why they have done it so we will just wait and see.

POM     Why do you think that the TRC has put far more focus on FW de Klerk than it has on PW Botha where the worst excesses of apartheid were committed while he was either Minister of Defence or State President and yet they didn't even bother to summons him to appear before them and there is no kind of seeming investigation into saying did he know what was going on and was he aware of what was going on, was he ordering the elimination of people? It seems to be much more, did De Klerk know what was going on and did he sit in when decisions were made about the elimination of people. Why do you think that focus has developed?

PDL     Well in the first place you know of course PW Botha has said that he will never go before the TRC and he will never, ever apologise for the past and what have you and the only thing that he did agree to do was that he will make a submission and even when he had to make the submission he said that he needs some money to engage the services of lawyers, which the TRC provided for him. He came with a very wishy-washy submission, basically saying nothing. I agree with you that if you want to take the 48 years, all of the duration of apartheid, you have to look at all of those who were heading the country at one stage or the other. I think why the focus is on De Klerk is that De Klerk has not come out clearly and made an apology. He has made a conditional apology. I think if he had made a sincere apology it would have been different but because all his apologies were conditional that put him in an area to focus on. Then his last pronouncement that what happened at United Nations and that apartheid was a crime against humanity blaming the ANC and the communists and so on, De Klerk has not calculated it properly. You know if De Klerk had in the nineties, when he had an opportunity, when he had the moral high ground, when he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela, he didn't capitalise on that moral popularity of his to maybe do what Mandela was doing. He did it half-heartedly in that even today the National Party is still fighting to maintain the status quo because they basically disagree with everything that's happening in the country. I think it's just a tactical wrong move by De Klerk. He's not calculated that he must come with an unconditional apology and accept responsibility.

POM     Yet you have this kind of peculiar situation of where Mandela calls PW Botha a charming man, a first rate gentleman. He rings him up on his birthday every year and his relationships with De Klerk are sour and nasty.

PDL     I really don't know Mandela is doing that and I must say personally I don't take those things seriously because he has also called De Klerk a man of integrity at one stage. I think there's something wrong with his judgement, definitely something wrong with his judgement. And maybe he's got a soft spot for PW Botha because PW Botha really started the process which culminated in the 1990 speech. I really don't know why Mandela is acting like that.

POM     One or two more things. Mbeki's concept of an African renaissance, what's your understanding of that?

PDL     Well you know I said to people the other day, if you go back a bit, the debate started about the Africanists within the ANC and it created a perception that the Africanists are against whites and that Africans should lead, Africans should be in the forefront and Africans should get positions and things like that. And I think for a month or two this debate was going on, a lot of people wrote on it. At that time already I became concerned in that the way the ANC portrayed Africanists, of course but we are in the PAC, is that it's an issue of colour and with us it's not the issue of colour.

     And then you debate then further a progress to the African renaissance and my own observation is that in the 1994 election there was a feeling that the ANC put too much emphasis on appeasing the whites than trying to appease the African people and Thabo is trying indirectly to correct that balance, to show that the perception that the ANC doesn't care about the Africans is in fact not correct. He's much stronger on that one than Mandela himself.

     But then again I think we should have a special debate on this whole issue of African renaissance. To us in the PAC it's nothing new. We've always been Pan Africanists, we believed in one United States of Africa, we said that Europe is united, why can't we unite? So to us it's nothing new. But to me it looks like he's stealing the limelight out of the PAC's policies for the ANC good. Also when he speaks about African renaissance he's really speaking past a lot of people. He must try and simplify more what he is saying because a lot of people don't understand it. Intellectuals, academics, yes, they can understand it and you can see how they jumped on and to put their views on it but it's a very much intellectual debate, very much so.

POM     Lastly, well two things, give me three reasons why the voter in the next election should vote for the PAC rather than the ANC, and three things that the PAC would do immediately if it became the government of the day, that are different from what the ANC is doing today?

PDL     I think the first one why should people vote for the PAC is that we are better organised, we have got better leadership and we have always, there was no doubt even in the past and now, about the commitment of the PAC to the African majority in this country and that should we be given the opportunity to be voted in or people make us their choice I think, especially for the past six months, we have displayed that sincerity and commitment towards improving the life of all our people in this country.

     Then the other reason, I would say, is that the perception that the PAC is anti-white, that is not correct, we have corrected that, we have got white members in our leadership, we have got, if you want to be racist for a minute, we are more non-racial than we were in the past. So there is room to accommodate the so-called different groups within the PAC. They are all represented in the leadership of the PAC right now.

     But then the most important one is that we will work like we have done in the past with the poorest of the poor. That is our target group right now because we feel that until such time that you address the needs of the poorest of the poor there is no way that all of us can feel altogether free in this country and that is where we want to make our contribution.

     What is the other one now? The issue of the youth. In the 1994 election you have come out with quite a lot of disgruntled youth who feel that although they were old enough to vote their concerns have not been considered by government. The same applies to women. Women also feel that although they voted and certain promises were made, the PAC has been party to creating all these mechanisms that we have in place now, the Gender Equality Commission, the Human Rights Commission, Youth Commission, all these kinds of commissions. The great challenge lies now in implementing and if we are given an opportunity those will be our specific target groups, the poorest of the poor, the youth and the women.

POM     OK. You're off the hook for another six months.

PDL     OK.

POM     Now you're going to give me some documents.

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.