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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

01 Oct 1997: Hartzenberg, Ferdi

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POM     Dr Hartzenberg, let's perhaps, as we did last year, take up on a point we were discussing before the interview when we were talking about the changes in the leadership of the ANC that will take place in December and you were saying that you thought that Winnie Mandela still posed a partial threat in gaining the Deputy Presidency. Would you like to just elaborate on your thinking behind that for a minute?

FH     Yes I think so, I think perhaps we must go back to what we have said last year, and I think last year or perhaps the year before last I said that I think Mrs Winnie Mandela is a strong candidate to become the President of the ANC and therefore the President of South Africa. But at this moment I think I will scale it a little bit down, I think it is obvious that Mr Mbeki will become the President but I think there is a strong possibility that Mrs Mandela will become the Vice President and for that reason there is this onslaught on her by the Truth Commission and all sorts of things to prohibit that. But I think perhaps she will be able to outlive that one and become the President and I will be very sorry for Mr Mbeki if he is the President and she is the Vice President. I don't think Mrs Mandela is so powerful and is such a strong person as the propaganda has made it out and has built on over the years, but as a result of that image I think she will be a threat and she will be a problem for Mr Mbeki and she will have on her side the Women's League, the Youth League, the radicals, the labour unions and the Communist Party and she will play the radical things and, of course, that will be her platform and for that reason she will be a threat to Mr Mbeki and the other people who I think at this stage realise that socialism and communism are not the answer for South Africa but the normal things that make a nation great, namely hard work, you must save, discipline, all those things, which are not popular, but those are the things that make a nation great.

POM     Do you think that since the ANC came into government that there has been a fundamental change in their thinking in this regard, like as you said, a realisation that as in an age of globalisation, concepts such as communism and socialism are just outdated, they are the kind of garbage can of history?

FH     Well I will not say they have bridged that gap but I think they realise, and for that reason you have the RDP, they fought the election on the RDP, and after the election they came forward with GEAR and there is a difference between those two things so I think there is a realisation in the ranks of the ANC that the classical socialist and communist propaganda and clichés and policies do not work and they must make a change and therefore the new economic plan differs from the old one. But I don't think it has been accepted in the ANC and its allies as a whole and there is still turmoil and there is still a difference of opinion, they are fighting it out at the moment. But there are people who realise that you must make a change.

POM     Are you pleasantly surprised by that?

FH     Not really, not really because the policy of communism I think is the worst policy that the world has ever seen and it doesn't bring any prosperity, any wealth to the world as a whole and for that reason it is a failure and of course in South Africa it will also not work but it is popular to go to the masses and tell them that you can inherit everything that somebody else has worked for. It is popular. That is what Mrs Mandela is going to do and that is what the trade unions are going to do but they will not be able to maintain it.

POM     Are you pleasantly surprised that there are people like Thabo Mbeki and Trevor Manuel and other very influential people in the party who realise that a fundamental shift in economic policy away from these outdated concepts was necessary if South Africa were to have any chance in being competitive in a global economy?

FH     No, I'm really not surprised that people realise that. That is a normal fact, people should realise that. They should have realised that long before the elections but the fact is I will be surprised when Sam Shilowa and COSATU and the Communist Party admit that. Then I will be really surprised. The problem that I think we have to face is that the SACP, the trade unions, they will influence the masses and although there are people like Trevor Manuel, like Mbeki and I think even perhaps President Mandela and others who realise that you cannot build an economy on redistribution but on actual performance and dedication. There are people who realise that but they are in the minority and I don't think this government has the political will to see that through. That is a problem in Africa. You've got a lot of smart plans, lovely economic plans that satisfy the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-Development Bank and all the other institutions, the banks and the financial people. The plans are there, nice plans, but there is not the political will to implement it and I am afraid that will be the situation in South Africa.

POM     Last year we talked a little about the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and you were of the opinion that it was basically a witch-hunt.

FH     Yes I still think so.

POM     You still think so?

FH     I still think so.

POM     What is the official, or does the Conservative Party have an official position on the application of Clive Derby-Lewis for amnesty? Do you think he will get it?

FH     Well I think that he has no option. He must apply because he was convicted and he is in jail and there is an opportunity. He must now apply. Of course we support his application. We think it is necessary for him but the fact is, I think, the application of Clive Derby-Lewis and Waluz will be a tremendous test for the TRC because on merit I think they must be successful because it is a political deed, it was a political motivation, everything. The fact is that they didn't act on instruction of the Conservative Party, that is true, but I think the fact is that Mr Clive Derby-Lewis, they thought and they were of the opinion that they acted on behalf of the Conservative Party and that that is what the Conservative Party and the Afrikaner nation stands for, on behalf of. I can understand that they thought that they acted on behalf of them. I think if you take the evidence into consideration then it is obvious that they thought that they acted on behalf of the Conservative Party, and that is a stipulation in the Act, and I think in that respect they must get amnesty. If they don't get amnesty I think that will be obvious that this commission and the Amnesty Committee is not an unbiased committee.

POM     Since we talked the last time we've also seen the resignation of Mr de Klerk as leader of the National Party and the taking over of the party by a relatively young man, Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Do you see any future for the NP or has it bound itself into so many contradictions that it is just becoming an increasingly diminishing force in national life?

FH     Yes I think so. The fact that Roelf Meyer has already moved away was the first step and I think Van Schalkwyk has a problem that inside the NP there are people who realise that this constitution is outdated, it is 50 years old, the present constitution of South Africa, although it was adopted last year or the year before last year, it doesn't make provision for the existence of the cultural and national groups that exist in South Africa, only for individual rights. In the NP you have that group of people, and I think it is a minority, who believe in only individual rights but there are other people who realise that individual rights alone are not enough, you must also make provision for the fact that in South Africa there are different groups and that is the next split that I think is going to take place. Sam de Beer and those people, they believe in individual rights. They actually belong to Roelf Meyer's group but, of course, the traditional power base of the NP it is the people who voted yes in the 1992 referendum because FW de Klerk told them there will be checks and balances and what the checks and balances meant at that stage nobody knows but I think it was the fact that they said there will be own schools, own local governments and those types of things that are internal autonomy. Definitely for that reason there are two groups in the ranks of the NP, those who believe in one rainbow nation and the others who believe that you must accommodate the various groups in South Africa in order to bring about real peace and prosperity in the long run.

POM     Now in that regard where does the Roelf/Bantu show fit? Is it filling a vacuum?

FH     I think there is a need for something like that because it is actually on the same basis as the ANC. The alliance of the ANC, COSATU, SACP, that is based on socialism and communism, but Roelf and Bantu Holomisa and we will have to see what actually their policy is in the long run because I think Holomisa and Roelf they are actually opportunists but we will have to see what policy they will come with. They will accept also the unitary state, the rainbow nation, but no socialism, free enterprise, democracy and so on. It will not be an alternative to the present situation, not constitutionally, only economically and in that respect constitutionally it will be the same concept and for that reason I think what they are aiming for is to get a certain number of votes so that they can form a coalition with the ANC to get something. I don't think they realise that they will not take over the government. I don't think they think it is possible but perhaps they think they can get enough votes and then they will co-operate with the ANC because Bantu Holomisa said he has no problem with the ANC policy, he agrees with the policy, and the NP blames Roelf Meyer that he didn't oppose the ANC. So I think they are really looking for a power base so that they can negotiate with the ANC and form a coalition government so that they can get on board with the government and make some inputs and they will advocate free enterprise and things like that in opposition to the socialist policies of the ANC. They definitely do not have a constitutional alternative to the present constitution.

POM     Where would you see them attracting their votes from? Would it be from disaffected ANC voters or disaffected NP voters?

FH     Well they will get votes from the NP and they will get votes from the ANC and in that respect they will divide the vote, votes for an undivided unitary state, they will divide that vote. That's a good thing because in the meantime another development is taking place in South Africa and that is that people are realising that there are different groups and the more they divide the vote for the unitary state the stronger the position of the people who will advocate the recognition of the different groups. It will strengthen their position.

POM     Just to come back to the constitutional issue, where is this movement coming from? If one looks again at public opinion surveys you will see either the Freedom Front or the Conservative Party gathering no more than 2% or 3% in public opinion surveys. If one looks at the raw data there doesn't yet seem to be any great ground-swell of support for constitutional change or for that matter for any other party other than the ANC.

FH     Well at the moment I don't think there is that indication but I think we must give things a little bit of time to develop because if you take into consideration this violence situation in South Africa, how many people are being murdered, what is the economic situation, what is the situation as far as corruption is concerned and the administration of the state, I think things are deteriorating at a tremendous rate at the moment and for that reason I think we must not come to the conclusion that the only alternative is what we have, that there is no other alternative. I think it would be wrong to come to that conclusion.

POM     The last time you had just attended the United Nations Convention on indigenous people in Geneva and I think I asked you at that point, or I may not have, whether there would be any possibility of getting the published report, or if there is a published report of the proceedings.

FH     Yes there was a published report after that.

POM     Is that available?

FH     Yes I think it is still available. Of course it has now advanced. It is now being dealt with by the Human Rights Commission itself.

POM     Of the United Nations?

FH     Yes. That report of the indigenous peoples, the Sub-Commission on Indigenous Peoples has been adopted and it is now being dealt with by the Human Rights Commission itself. In the meantime a lot of things happened. Two weeks ago the people in Wales voted in favour of self-government, some form of self-government, and the week before that the Scottish people voted for some form of internal autonomy and I think it is a very important development in the United Kingdom that an important portion of the United Kingdom, three to one, voted in favour of internal autonomy. It is in line with what happened at the United Nations, the Indigenous Peoples' Conference.

POM     Now is there an acceptance by the Indigenous Peoples' Convention that the Afrikaner is an indigenous people?

FH     No, no, I will not say that. I think there is a difference of opinion. They agreed on the rights of indigenous peoples, that is there is no difference on that one, indigenous peoples are entitled to have self-determination. But they haven't defined the term indigenous peoples. They are still in the process of defining what is an indigenous people.

POM     Now do you have input into that?

FH     Yes we have made our input and there are proposals when we have attended that meeting in 1995. Some people said that only the first people of a country are indigenous. That was the one extreme. On the other hand people said all peoples who regard themselves as indigenous must be indigenous peoples, that is the other extreme. In between there was a definition proposed by a committee of the sub-commission and we agreed with their proposal. We said we can accept it.

POM     That was?

FH     That definition more or less says that indigenous peoples are peoples who originate in a certain country and the main body of the nation is living in that country. Like the Germans in Germany, and if you get Germans in Belgium they are not indigenous, they are a minority group in a foreign country, and we agree with that definition because that means that the Afrikaner people who have originated in South Africa, and our language is spoken only in South Africa, that is our country of origin and if there are Afrikaners in Canada or in England or Australia they are minority groups who are living there. The main body is inside this country and our language is not spoken outside this country. So this is the land of origin of the Afrikaner nation. We are an indigenous people in this country.

POM     So you can be indigenous and a minority in terms of the whole population?

FH     Yes, outside the main country. But in Germany the Germans are indigenous but in Belgium they are a minority.

POM     But in South Africa, the Afrikaner population as a proportion of the total population - ?

FH     Yes we are a minority but we are still an indigenous minority.

POM     Yes. You had mentioned too the last time that you had met, since 1994 I think, you said twelve times with President Mandela, twice before he was elected president and ten times after that. Have you had any further discussions with him?

FH     No since last year not.

POM     So did you have any communications with elements in the ANC, for example, who are sympathetic to the arguments that you make regarding - ?

FH     Well I think we must be realistic and the situation at the moment is that the ANC realises that the Afrikaner is divided, that it is not necessary to make a lot of efforts to accommodate the Afrikaner because we are where they want us to be, divided, we are no political factor. For that reason I don't expect anything to happen. The important thing that now must happen is that the Afrikaner people themselves must come together and form some or other working agreement so that although we are in different parties, although we differ on certain things, there are many more points on which we agree and we must come together and work on those points otherwise we will never become a political factor.

POM     Is there not a kind of a fragmentation fear that works against you insofar as, say, Roelf's new party will attract some Afrikaners?

FH     I don't think Roelf's party is a problem. I think actually Roelf's party is going to help us because Roelf's party is going to take all the people who believe in the undivided present constitutional rainbow dispensation and it will leave a lot of Afrikaners behind in the NP and that will create an opportunity for Afrikaners who think there is a possibility for an alternative to come together. So in that respect I think we must thank Roelf.

POM     Have you had discussions with Marthinus since he has taken over?

FH     No we haven't. We have a congress this weekend and then we are going to take certain decisions and then after that we will start negotiations. We have already started negotiations with groups, cultural groups and other groups but after the congress I think we will have to have discussions with political parties as well.

POM     How about the ideological differences between the Conservative Party at this point and the Freedom Front?

FH     I think there are definitely differences but it is differences on the same side of the coin. They also believe in some form of self-determination and of course we believe in self-determination and we have pointed it out and we have stipulated  in our confederal freedom plan: step number one we must get our people together, step number two we must advocate and we must campaign for internal autonomy, and then from there we must take the last step to full freedom. In that respect I think there are points of agreement between the Conservative Party and the Freedom Front but there are of course also points of disagreement. But I think we mustn't emphasise at this moment the points of disagreement. We must emphasise the points of agreement and we must take note of the points of disagreement and see how far we can co-operate.

POM     Won't in some way the test of the strength of your movement, of bringing Afrikaners together, depend in some way on testing it in an electoral sense, putting a platform in front of the Afrikaner people that this is what we stand for?

FH     I think we can use the 1999 election and the proportional system gives you the opportunity to do that. But I think if you can get something psychological, something more, because we can participate in the election and the Freedom Front can participate and we can say to the people, look all the votes will count and they will be in favour of some form of self-determination, but if there is some form of agreement, of co-operation that will inspire the people, of course it can make a tremendous difference. So I think the proportional system makes it possible and that we must utilise to get them the maximum number of votes for self-determination but I think we must also strive to get psychological factors if it is possible.

POM     But will a psychological factor not be some kind of ... like the Freedom Front?

FH     We are not opposing each other.

POM     Again, has the party yet taken a decision on whether to participate?

FH     Well we are going to discuss it this weekend and I think we are going to decide to participate in the election because there is a difference between 1994 and now and we are going to participate and as a result of the fact that it is on the proportional basis it doesn't mean that if you vote for one party you exclude the candidate. All the votes are going to count for the idea of self-determination, but if you can get a positive psychological factor into it of course you can get more votes, I think so. That is my humble opinion.

POM     What do you sense as being the mood, as objectively as you can evaluate it, the mood in the country among white people in general and Afrikaners in particular? People would say that even though the goals of GEAR aren't being met, that under this government for the first time there has been economic growth every year, which was not the case under the previous Nationalist government, that the fiscal state of the country is held in high regard by world institutions, that white people in general haven't become any worse off in material terms than they were before and that there hasn't been a lot of pain attached to change.

FH     That is propaganda, that is true, but the fact is this month municipal accounts are at least 30% up right across the country and I think people now realise that we are going to pay.

POM     That whites are going to pay?

FH     Whites. And who is going to benefit? Not the people in the squatter camps. The elite, the black elite in government, on the committees. How many committees are there? Statutory committees? What have they produced? The Youth Commission, the Gender Commission, the Human Rights Commission, all these commissions, but the chairpeople of those Commissions they earn around R30,000 a month but they have produced nothing, but it is redistribution through taxes. The ordinary black man he doesn't get any benefit. In other words it is a matter of redistribution. Money is taken away from the white people, it is put into the hands of the black elite and the black people, the masses, they don't get anything. The white people are going to lose and this month if you take into consideration what your municipal accounts are then you realise what is going on. Secondly, on our farms, they are murdering us out on the farms to chase us away. Crime and those things are rife on the farms, so people are going to realise what is going on and I think the fact is that the white people realise that they are the victims, they are the targets and the masses of the black people are not going to get the benefit. It's only a small proportion of the elite who is going to get the benefit. I think something is taking place and after three years I think the development is what we have expected and I think three years from now it will be different.

POM     Do you see a point where as another three years go by and the masses of the black people essentially have better water, electrification, site benefits that improve the quality of life, but that there will be no real change in their standard of living?

FH     If they want to get water they will have to pay for it because there is no free water anywhere in this world and that is a problem. They want the water because the government promised them the water but the government cannot create jobs for them to pay for the water and I think that will be the problem. The government, although you said 1½% the population growth is more than 1½%, so individually in real terms the quality of life is declining and I think it has started a long time ago because when the government of Mr PW Botha accepted the policy of power sharing people realised what that means and at that stage already it is declining and at the moment you have 1% and depending on what El Nino is going to be, but the fact is it is not enough. The natural growth of the population is say 2% or 2½% and then you've got the influx from Africa and we cannot cope. So the real economic growth rate of the individual is declining.

POM     How long do you think it will take before the black masses begin to say there's nothing, there has been nothing in this for us, we don't have jobs, we don't have houses, our standards of living are going down, we're looking at an increasingly empowered black elite running around in Mercedes Benz? In fact I was in the North West yesterday and there was a delegation down from the provincial government just to attend a meeting of SADTU, a regional meeting of SADTU, I counted twelve Mercedes Benz.

FH     And the Blue Train to Cape Town? The museum at Robben Island, R2000 per person? They said it was not very expensive, they can give bigger parties than that. How long will it take for the masses to become dissatisfied? I don't know.

POM     What happens then?

FH     I don't know, and that is the next thing. If they are becoming dissatisfied what are they then going to do. There must be something in place. Roelf's party will not be the answer because it will be the same thing so something else must in the meantime happen and it must start, it will start in the Afrikaner ranks and other peoples, Zulus, Tswanas, something there. Leaders must stand up and say, look we've had enough of this nonsense and now we are going to take into consideration the realities of South Africa and one of the realities is that if we want to be prosperous we will only be so if we work for it and if there is discipline and we cannot become prosperous on crime and those type of things. So it is necessary for people to become realistic and realistic leaders to come forward. I think if one group produced those types of leaders other groups will follow. I think so.

POM     Who do you see as your potential allies?

FH     Oh anybody.

POM     You mentioned the Zulus.

FH     Yes, that's what previously we thought was the situation, but it is not necessary that it will be because it can be any other group and I think there will be such allies.

POM     Because?

FH     Because people will realise that we are deteriorating and at a certain stage they will say so far and no more and now we must do something else.

POM     I'm going to read you a number of statements and perhaps you could give a quick answer, agree or disagree with a small qualification. The first is that the ANC and its government will for the foreseeable future maintain a mighty presence in South Africa. For at least seven years, possibly twelve, probably seventeen years and longer the ANC will, in whatever form, govern the country.

FH     I think that is the popular thing, that is so, but there is a possibility, a very strong possibility that people will become dissatisfied with the situation, that a sense of nationality will develop and I don't think that this situation will continue for seven or ten years. I think there will be a change before that time.

POM     The second is that the various partners to the alliance, the SACP, ANC and COSATU, will remain in alliance either through compromise, negotiation or whatever if only because hanging together means you hang on to power.

FH     That is so, of course that is very important to stick together to hang on to power, but I think it will become more difficult to keep them together and I think the upper echelons, the leaders will try to stick together but the situation can be different amongst the members and the followers.

POM     The third would be that South Africa will continue to be a highly centralised state, that the provinces are not going to gain much more in terms of powers or competencies that they have, indeed if anything there may even be more of a tendency towards things gravitating back towards the centre.

FH     Well that is the attitude of the government, perhaps the provinces will not be satisfied. I don't think that the province of the Western Cape will be satisfied. I don't think the province of Natal will be satisfied and I don't think other provinces will be satisfied to surrender the limited powers they have at the moment to the central government but that is the attitude of the government to centralise everything. It will be a problem for them to implement it and to maintain it. There will be a resistance.

POM     Do you think that it was a mistake to divide the country into nine provinces rather than adhering to the traditional structure of four, that the disparities between the provinces are so great?

FH     I don't think it makes a difference, that is not the question. Four provinces, nine provinces, twenty provinces will make no difference, but what can make the difference is what recognition is there for ethnic groups that exist in South Africa and in the constitution that problem is not addressed.

POM     Just to clarify one thing, the Convention on Indigenous People that's now gone before the Human Rights Commission of the UN, it accepted the principle of group rights?

FH     Yes, right out. The principle of group rights is accepted by the United Nations, not only by that indigenous conference but by the United Nations itself in various covenants, covenants on socio and political rights, economic and social rights where they say a nation has the right to determine their own political status. There are various covenants and declarations which have already been accepted by the UN, which accept that principle. So I think for us that is the road ahead.

POM     Next is that traditional political opposition parties such as the National Party, the Democratic Party, even Roelf's new party, yourselves, will never have any significant impact given just the demographics of the country.

FH     Quite correct, but therefore our attitude is not to try to take over the government. That is not our attitude because we know it is impossible, but our attitude is to get some rights and even sovereign independent rights for our nation, for the Afrikaner nation, that is what we are busy with. We are not trying to take over the government. We will never try to take over the government of this country but we want to get some rights for our people and we will support any other nation who also want to get the same for their nation.

POM     The next is that if the ANC does not succeed with nation building, that is with the development of a communal, co-operating South Africanism, South Africa will be destroyed by racism and ethnic conflict.

FH     That's exactly what we want to prohibit because our attitude is we have various nations and we have only one country and we must build this country, we mustn't destroy this country because we must live in this country. But by recognition of the existence of the various groups and people we can accommodate each other and together we can build this country, but then you will have to recognise the existence of every group and grant them some rights, even to independence if they want it. Some will not want it but that is the way we think we can build a prosperous country and that will in the long term mean a confederation and that will be, I think, the lasting solution for South Africa because then you recognise a reality. There are different groups in this country. It is a fact and if you don't recognise that fact you are making a mistake. You must take the realities into consideration, you must deal with all the facts and design a solution according to the facts of the country, not according to dreams.

POM     In that context do you receive more support for your concepts of self-determination outside of the country than within the country, in the UN?

FH     It is a very important thing, outside the country there are many groups who understand what we are talking about. They understand.

POM     Like?

FH     Like at that conference of the United Nations, in other countries where the people have the same problem, they understand. And inside South Africa there is an understanding but it is a movement right in its beginning and it is dangerous to come out and to say because people are afraid that they will be intimidated and so on. So I think we need some time and somebody must take the lead and other people will follow, strong leaders of other groups will follow and then the masses will follow.

POM     Have you had any contact with people from the former Yugoslavia where the attempt there to impose a unitary state that lasted for forty years then fell apart with catastrophic consequences?

FH     No.

POM      Do you see any parallels between the rights of - ?

FH     It can happen, we mustn't judge the history of a country in three years time. We must take a little bit more time. We haven't had any discussions with people from Yugoslavia but I think the same disaster can happen in South Africa if we don't recognise the fact that we have different groups in South Africa.

POM     The next would be that if the ANC does not succeed with black empowerment revolutionary instability is inevitable. It comes to what? That there's no trickle down.

FH     No, no, I don't think you must put it that way. In other words what you say is if the ANC can be strong enough there will be no revolution. I don't think that will be the case. I don't think that is the alternative. I think if the ANC is strong enough, if they get enough power, that will exactly precipitate a revolution. If they deteriorate and people can make in a peaceful process then revolution will not be necessary.

POM     If the ANC does not succeed in making reasonable progress with its macro-economic policy in management of its GEAR programme South Africa will fall into international isolation and irreparable domestic decline.

FH     That will happen.

POM     You agree with that?

FH     Yes I agree.

POM     If the ANC does not succeed with effective public administration, standards will decline to a point where good management will never again be possible.

FH     I agree but I will not put it so strongly, never, never again. I think it will deteriorate but I think it will be possible to restore it. I think it is wrong to say it will never be possible to restore it, but it will deteriorate.

POM     If the final report of the TRC backfires the failure of reconciliation will create a state of terror.

FH     I think the TRC is a farce and it will not succeed in what it is attempting to do but I don't think it will lead to terror. I don't think that will happen. It's a bloody joke, man. This whole bloody thing is a joke.

POM     If the ANC wishes to maintain itself by means of improper interference in the control of independent institutions.

FH     Like the South African Rugby Football Union. Bullshit. They can go to hell. They will do that. That is exactly what the bloody government like this one is trying to do. That is one of their mistakes.

POM     Trying to take control of - ?

FH     Control of everything.

POM     So in effect then -

FH     It's ridiculous man, it's ridiculous.

POM     It's more or less a one party dictatorship.

FH     Yes one party. It is ridiculous to control every bloody thing including sports organisations. That is ridiculous but that is what they are trying to do now. That is one of their mistakes.

POM     If the ANC can't find some way to deal with the labour unions, find some way to develop consensus with them, South Africa will become a classic African third world country.

FH     I agree.

POM     Would you see the major priority of the government in that regard as being getting a grip on the unions and bringing the unions into line?

FH     I would very much like to see them doing that but I don't think they will be able to. That is right, they must do that but they haven't the political will to do that. They will not be successful but that is what they must do.

POM     Just generally: that whites are building up a mood of rejection, that they are more disillusioned now than they were in 1994.

FH     I think so.

POM     That the ANC's integrity is increasingly doubted.

FH     I think so.

POM     That national nation building and reconciliation are deteriorating not improving.

FH     Yes I think so.

POM     Finally I suppose that political opposition cannot be left in the hands of political parties, that there is a crying need for a stronger civil society that can oppose what is at best a one-party democracy so that the opposition to the ANC doesn't come from within parliament, the other parties are so small, it must come from outside parliament.

FH     Yes I think so.

POM     Given where you were when I began talking to you several years ago and where you are now, where the country is now and where you are now in terms of your own political development, are you more optimistic about the future, more pessimistic?

FH     No, very optimistic. Very optimistic. I think it was necessary for this situation to happen because it is obvious already at this stage after three years that it is a failure in every respect. It is a failure but it must prove itself as a failure and from that failure we must build something new, something positive, something that will last and I am positive and I am optimistic that that will happen. So it is good. It was the wrong thing but it must have happened so that people can realise that those pipe dreams cannot solve the problems of South Africa and that we will have to come to realise and I think the Afrikaner people and the black people of this country are able to solve the problems of this country properly and in such a way that it will be permanent and that it will last, because we know each other, we respect each other, we know what to do but the outside influences have bedevilled everything in this country.

POM     What do you call outside influences?

FH     Outside influences like the bloody British influence right from the beginning, the American influence and a lot of other influences. We have nothing to do with those bloody countries, but who have bedevilled everything and let them do what they want to do. For instance, the United States, what happened in all the countries where they interfered? What happened in Iran? What happened in all the other places? The communists took over. They didn't solve any problems. Let them do the same thing in South Africa, make a bugger up of the whole thing and in the end let the people of this country then come together on the ruins and then we will solve the problem. So I am optimistic, we will solve the problem but there must come a stage when the white people and the black people of this country tell the foreign people who interfere in this country to stick to their problems and to solve their own problems because we are able to solve our problems. I think we are approaching that stage.

POM     OK, it's a good note to end on.

FH     A good note to end on. Mr O'Malley I will see you next year.

POM     Thank you so much.

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.