This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
09 Oct 1997: Konigkramer, Arthur
POM. I suppose, Arthur, the obvious place to start is with Walter Felgate's speech to the Institute of Race Relations yesterday and maybe you can just comment on some of the things that he said in the course of that speech. He said that Dr Buthelezi's declining importance in politics is due to the fact that he had misread the strength of the ANC while its leadership was still in exile and as a result the IFP was bleeding and he himself was in the political wilderness.
AK. Let me respond in this way, the first issue and I think it's a very important issue that one needs to deal with, is that these accusations that are being made have got to be read against the background that in fact Walter Felgate was the architect of those policies. Now the question that one needs to ask oneself is if he has indeed undergone a conversion on the road to Damascus what is the reason? A man of 63 years old to suddenly completely change his opinions. Now he was the author of the confrontation politics in the IFP which myself and many others opposed, and you know from past experiences that that is true, so the question one needs to ask oneself is why is he saying these things when in fact he was the author of those policies? I, for example as you well know, was removed as Chairman of the Constitutional Committee and he became the driving force behind it and it was all on the question of this radicalism. So that's the first issue, why is he doing this? He's been working with the IFP leadership for 15 years so why has he suddenly undergone a change of heart? I think that's a very critical issue.
POM. Why do you think he has?
AK. I believe as I have told you before, that I believe that Walter Felgate's mission was to destroy Buthelezi. I think that's what his job was and I've told you that before and this is his final act.
POM. So you believe him when he says that he was a former member of the ANC?
AK. Well I don't know who his master was, but definitely he was acting with some sort of agenda. But let me also say this, yes, he certainly had an agenda and I don't think he was acting always in terms of his own convictions because as I say I can't see that at 63 years old you can suddenly radically change almost a 360° change, I don't think that's possible. You will recall that in past interviews I have told you that in my judgement the IFP which was in fact to a large degree the author of the changes which took place in 1993, 1994, because the IFP had engaged the National Party in discussions under Frank Mdlalose and Oscar Dhlomo for more than ten years and I sat in on many of those discussions and in fact they were the author of the document which actually contained the modalities in terms of which the ANC would be unbanned and all the leaders freed. But in my judgement the IFP never in its wildest dreams actually believed that that would then happen so quickly and so in that sense I believe that the policies that were being followed by the party were predicated on the fact that the liberation struggle would last for another ten years or so. The great irony is that although it had, as I said, authored the parameters within which it happened it then, in my judgement, failed to come to grips and to understand the implications of the changes that had taken place, the actual reality of the ANC coming back. The necessary changes were not made.
POM. On a broader scale, what are the implications of Mr Felgate's resignation from the party? Does it signal upheaval within the party itself or among white elements in the party?
AK. No, no, I don't think so. I think first of all, to come back to the question, one must ask oneself why because Walter Felgate was not an ordinary member of the IFP. There is something else to it. But secondly, I think in my own personal judgement, the removal of Felgate or the disappearance of Felgate from the IFP in fact was a very positive thing and it was very, very widely welcomed. There was clearly an openly expressed joy at the National Council meeting when this happened on a wide front and it was articulated very openly. But there is no doubt also that I think he is in a position to do the IFP a lot of damage and that's what's going on now.
POM. On his second assertion, had he, Dr Buthelezi, moved into the final constitutional negotiations and had Inkatha taken up its position as an opposition party that could expand its domains by bringing up issues the voting public had once addressed we would have a much simpler scenario to face. He's talking about the development of normal opposition politics.
AK. I don't want to parrot what Walter Felgate says. If you go back to what I told you more than a year ago you will find that what I in fact said, you know that, for example, I fought long and hard and a very bitter battle for which I paid great personal sacrifices to get the IFP to go to elections. I believe that that was a wrong strategy to delay as long as we did so I don't want to comment really on what Walter Felgate said because I believe that I articulated that more than a year ago.
POM. But there's just one thing that I ask you to comment on because he says, "The IFP's lack of democracy was still demonstrated by the fact that when controversials had to be confronted in the party's National Council, a speech was prepared for Dr Buthelezi with resolutions from the council prepared in advance. Buthelezi speaks, he is supported usually by one or another cabinet minister and then one member after another will stand up to support him and then he tells the world that the National Council has spoken and as a democrat he has no option but to follow the directions of the party. I know, I wrote the speeches and framed the resolutions in advance."
AK. Padraig, I would prefer not to comment on that. But my question to you is, as I have indicated earlier, what was Felgate's agenda? The reality is that there was ecstasy in the party when he left and he was the most incredible manipulator there was so what's the point of accusing Buthelezi when in fact he was the manipulator and what was the purpose?
POM. One of the ways in which the IFP has been faulted over the years is that Dr Buthelezi has prepared no obvious successor, there's no leadership structure of national stature that's there to take over if he were to resign tomorrow.
AK. I don't think that's the issue. I think the issue, and I've articulated this before, one of the IFP's greatest failings is its inability to build middle management. I don't think the leadership - that always happens naturally. I think the real fault is that we as a party have failed to build any middle management and the results of that I think are now painfully obvious. That is why we have suffered the reverses in urban areas. That is why we have suffered reverses in voter support. That's the reason.
POM. You have talked about this dilemma before, it became apparent in the local elections in 1995 of losing support in urban areas, particularly losing white support, and the party increasingly solidifying its base as a rural party. One, has anything changed to address that in a substantive way, and, two, this is like a death wish, as more people leave the rural areas and move towards the cities so your voting base is shrinking all the time rather than expanding?
AK. Well you know I have articulated this many times before and the reality is that in 1994 if you really look at the results, the reality is that the white voters actually won the election for the IFP. Now that's an unpalatable fact to many people but it's a reality.
POM. That's here in KwaZulu-Natal?
AK. Here in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere. There has been constant criticism in the party, they talk about people without constituencies, for which you can read whites. But what they fail to accept is that if you look at the results, I am generalising a little, but in broad terms the IFP and the ANC had roughly the same black support. The IFP was marginally stronger, but the real balance came from the white vote and to a lesser degree from the Indians and the coloureds. So therefore the reality of politics in KwaZulu-Natal is that the minorities, the whites and the coloureds and Indians, they actually held the balance of power and any party that doesn't understand that reality is going to be punished very severely at the polls because in my judgement the IFP and the ANC will again be evenly matched and it is the minorities that will determine the fate of the government and they will do it either by casting in their lot with one of the two major parties or alternatively they will vote for the minority opposition parties, the DP, the Nats and so on and that will mean that you have a hung parliament. That is the political reality.
POM. Now recent surveys, going from the Human Sciences Research Council to the IDASA poll released this week, suggest a serious erosion.
AK. No, no. You've got to see that in context. The IDASA poll and the HSRC polls suffer from one common fatal flaw and that is that they only poll the urban areas and they only do so by telephone, so therefore it's very skewed. Now if you look at the 1994 polls, most of which were predicting that the IFP would get between 2% and 3% of the vote and in fact it turned out that we got 10% of the vote and just over 50% in KwaZulu-Natal. That's the first issue, so that is wrong. The research which we have done which is much more broadly based in KwaZulu and in Gauteng has shown that the IFP support in the rural areas has in fact remained constant, well not constant, in most areas constant but there has been fairly significant growth in some areas and all the indications are that the ANC have lost about 15% of the support they had in the rural areas. So therefore that figure is simply not accurate but as I indicated to you earlier, yes, the IFP has lost substantial support in the urban areas. Now remember there is the distinction. Those polls are only polling the urban areas which are essentially ANC and dominated by other parties so in fact the results are totally skewed. But, yes, we have lost support.
POM. You say you have particularly lost white support?
AK. Yes. And among blacks, urban blacks.
POM. A white person occupying a position of senior leadership in the party, people like Koos van der Merwe, Mike Tarr, whomever, do you feel at home in this party?
AK. I think we've been through that before. The reality of South African politics is as follows: that no party without mass black support has any hope of really influencing anything. If you form part of an essentially white based party you're essentially an onlooker. That's merely a matter of observation, it's not a matter of policy or conviction. The matter of policy or conviction is as follows: I believe that the IFP has got the best policies, I believe that its policies of pluralism and particularly of supporting free enterprise, those are sound policies. I could not be at home in a party like the ANC although it, of course, has changed dramatically. In fact it has colonised to a very large degree the policies of the IFP. However, there is still a predominance of communists that dictate foreign policy, that dictate monetary policy, and it's only because of pressure from the west that essentially those are watered down. So, yes, I believe that the IFP has got the soundest policies.
POM. Why hasn't the IFP been able to capitalise on the blunders or inefficiencies or inability of the ANC to deliver, for example, say on GEAR? Now GEAR is, at least to me, like the Emperor with no clothes. You have this plan that is supposed to produce a 5% growth rate per year up to the year 2000, produce 250,000 jobs a year and the reality is that the economy may grow by 2.2% this year, most economists say it won't grow more than 2.5% per year between now and the end of the century. When you factor in population growth the per capita income may be rising marginally, there are no jobs being created. In fact with downsizing and the fact that the economy has to become part of the global economy you're going to be losing jobs rather than creating jobs.
AK. You are absolutely correct. The IFP and other political parties have failed in that sense and at the end of the day you have got to ask yourself, if people look at the IFP and it's got sound policies and I think, in my judgement, the bulk of South Africans black and white would accept that, you must remember that 40% of the black people are unemployed and I can't see 40% of the unemployed voting for a party that doesn't deliver. However, at the end of the day the voter takes a realistic assessment and looks and if the opposition parties are perceived not to be in a position to change things they're not going to vote for them. That's the reality. And clearly that is what has happened and I think as a party one needs to look and find the reason. You need to adapt your policies, you need to begin - I think a lot of political parties, and ours included and maybe ours in particular, very often fail to understand one of the most simple lessons in democracy and that is that at the end of the day what matters is not what the party thinks, it's what the people think because they have got the vote and if you don't do what they want you to do they won't vote for you. Clearly we have not been able to put those two things together.
AK. Bad strategy.
POM. But this must be a subject that comes up for discussion?
AK. I think it might be articulated at times but it hasn't been implemented.
POM. So when strategy is looked at?
AK. It's never implemented.
POM. It's never implemented. But is there a strategy?
AK. For example I was chairman of the Media Task Group that was tasked to first of all commission the research which I've spoken about and then to evaluate the research and then to devise a strategy to deal with it. Now we had prepared such documents and I think they are very sound documents, in fact I know it because we bounced them off people with knowledge, and they have been ignored.
POM. When you say 'they' have been ignored, by whom?
AK. The party.
POM. Then how can the party continue on this course? It's almost like exercising a death wish.
AK. Those are your words not mine.
POM. Well what words would you use instead?
AK. The reality is, I have said to you again that the reality in South African politics in KwaZulu-Natal is that the minorities hold the balance of power and unless you undertake initiatives which will make sure that that minority has faith in you and actually votes for you, you are not going to win the elections. The other issue is this, that you correctly pointed out all the failures of GEAR and the failure of delivery, now from our research we know what the issues are, we know what they are but they're not being implemented and that is inexplicable but that is the reality.
POM. So as you enter 1998, if I look at just the broad spectrum of surveys and polls, we know the only poll that counts is the poll on election day, but you have this very odd situation - I had breakfast with somebody this morning and I was just going through it, that in one of the HSRC polls 75% believes that the public service is rife with corruption, only 43% thought the country was actually being run well, one third of the people were satisfied with the performance of the economy yet when you look at all of the figures you have no growth in support for any of the opposition parties. Despite the fact that it too had lost support you had, relative to what other parties had lost, the ANC not only in still a quite comfortable position, almost facing an increasingly fragmented opposition. There was even a possibility that it could win all nine provinces.
AK. I don't believe that that's going to happen. I don't believe even remotely that that will happen. I think the rest of the issues you raised are accurate but let's just deal with KwaZulu-Natal, you're going to end up - the IFP could win the province comfortably if it did the right things, comfortably, I know that without any shadow of doubt.
POM. But will it do the right things.
AK. No it won't.
POM. So it may not win comfortably?
AK. No, but what's going to happen is you're going to have hung parliament. You're going to have a hung parliament where the IFP and the ANC will be roughly equally poised and the others will have the balance of power, so you will have a hung parliament. In the Western Cape I don't believe that the Nats will lose and they will certainly win the Northern Cape, there's no question about that. They lost it very marginally and it was only because the DP threw in their weight with the ANC in that province that the ANC is actually governing it. So the chances of them winning all nine provinces I think are zero. I don't think they will win the Western Cape. I think the Nats will win it. The Nats will win the Northern Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal you'll have a hung parliament. Otherwise it will remain unchanged.
POM. So where do you see opposition to the ANC emerging, what I would call viable opposition whether in the national parliament or wherever there is a coalescing of opposition forces?
AK. I would say this to you, I believe that in the short term the new movement led by Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa is actually going to be very destructive in this sense that it is going to further divide and fragment the opposition vote. Just as an aside, that's maybe what Roelf Meyer's mission is because that man is, I don't want to go into this in great detail now, but he definitely is a stranger to the truth, he lied to the IFP over the policies that were negotiated with the ANC and he in fact never carried out the wishes of FW De Klerk, so that may well be his mission. I don't know. Maybe that's a little bit Machiavellian but I think personally there is more than a grain of truth in that. No, I think what will happen is that after 1999 -
POM. Would you mind just elaborating on that a little?
AK. I think that Roelf Meyer essentially is a supporter of the ANC and so anything he can do to fragment the opposition is obviously in the interests of the ANC and I think that's what he's doing. And remember where Bantu Holomisa comes from. But be that as it may, whatever the motives are, the reality is that it will fragment the opposition vote so therefore you're going to find that the opposition is going to be even more divided which will suit the ANC. I believe what will happen is that after 1999 that's when the real realignment will take place in politics because I think a lot of leaders are going to learn some very harsh lessons from the voters, people will disappear and I don't want to go into who is going to disappear but people will simply be forced out and I think then in my judgement you will find that new leaders will emerge and I think they are going to emerge from civil society, they will not emerge from the current political leadership and those leaders will then have five years to begin to marshal the opposition and I think by the end of the next term, which will be 2004, then I think the ANC for the first time will face the prospect of possibly having a hung parliament. I think it's majority could be reduced to below 50%.
POM. Peter Mokaba of all people has opened a Pandora's Box which is a discussion paper prepared for the ANC conference in December where he is arguing that an organisation can't run when I as a member of the SACP who is also a member of the NEC go in and become part of a decision made by the NEC which is a binding decision for the ANC, then I leave that meeting, come outside, take off my NEC cap, put on my SACP cap and as a member of the SACP criticise the decision I was just part of.
AK. He's absolutely right and Peter Mokaba is actually articulating a feeling which is shared by, I would say, arguably the bulk of the ANC. Now whether or not they will be able to hold sway at the end of the day I think is a very moot point. I personally don't believe so, that's why I said that will have to wait until after 1999, it won't happen before then. There is no way that the SACP will be forced out by 1999. It would be stupid to do so from a purely tactical point of view because the reality is that the SACP does provide a huge amount of intellectual input and also skill so therefore for that reason alone it won't be allowed. But if you look empirically at the number of ANC people who run very senior ministries and have a great influence over the country they are out of all proportion to their voting strength, in Foreign Affairs, in Finance, they're everywhere.
POM. But many of these people have moved, they are almost neo-Thatcherites.
AK. No, no, I don't believe that. I think, as I said to you earlier, that is by force of circumstance. I think that's simply been imposed on them by the western democracies, that's a political reality. Communism is dead and anybody who tried to do that would not do business with the west and who else can we do business with? You can't do business with the communist world. It doesn't exist. Most of the new trading partners of South Africa where the ANC is now hugely involved come from Malaysia, Indonesia and so on and those are not communists. I think they're just reacting to the realities of the modern world and South Africa is becoming part of the global economy. For anybody who wants to be part of that to preach communism - I don't think they are neo-Thatcherites, I think circumstance is forcing them to do that.
POM. The IFP and the TRC, Dr Ngubane has now entered the fray. Is it deeply held within the party that this is an instrument that is out to nail them?
AK. Without a doubt and that can be empirically demonstrated very easily. If you take off your political hat for a moment, if anybody thinks that they can get away with certainly in the IFP alone, the murder of at least 10,000 people, the serial murder of 10,000 people, is living in a fool's paradise. That will not go away. There will always be that bitter resentment. Those are the sort of seeds that will really lay the foundation for conflict as you have in Ireland because those people will never forget that. So therefore I believe it's in the country's interests that that be rectified and I believe it is going to be rectified.
POM. Just going back to that, there has been a lot of emphasis put on the fact that since 1994 the level of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal has diminished. Are the symptoms being dealt with but under the surface all the tensions that existed before are still there and this thing could erupt at any time?
AK. Absolutely. Yes, violence has diminished dramatically. However, there are large areas of KwaZulu-Natal which are no-go areas.
POM. Still no-go?
AK. Oh yes, oh yes, to both parties. Unless you address those matters in the longer term - I just want to make a comment as an aside. The other very critical factor with regard to that is this, that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Now there will never be peace in this province until a few things happen. First of all on a pure practical level mechanisms are going to have to be found to be able to get those people homes. Now the reality is that South Africa does not have the money to do that.
POM. Are they displaced internally?
AK. From their homes, and their houses have been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people.
POM. In KwaZulu-Natal?
AK. So that is going to have to be addressed and I think the government, both at national and provincial level have accepted that, but of course the problem is that we don't have the money to attend to it although the government has made available an amount of R100 million to do that, but that is a drop in the ocean. That is the first issue. The second issue on a political level is that there are still, as I indicated, no-go areas. Now specifically to answer your question about the fact that the TRC is part of that, yes it is part of that and let me give you some concrete examples. We have a huge public enquiry into the so-called Caprivi trainees, 300 people, of which a couple apparently got involved in violence and we have this huge outcry through the TRC where people who are convicted murderers, who have perjured themselves in courts of law, are paraded there as witnesses, there's no possibility to cross-examine these people. They make these statements which are sent forth into the world and which hugely stigmatise the IFP.
. Now on the ANC side let's look at the reality. They sent more than 40,000 people for military training, not 300, 40,000, with the stated objective, which is well documented, of terrorism, of destroying people's property, of murdering policemen, etc., etc., etc. There is no enquiry into that. Into KwaZulu-Natal - members of the current national cabinet were involved in the smuggling of huge amounts of arms into this province as recently as 1993. The TRC has not investigated that. The IFP, apart from overall losing about 10,000 people, more than 400 of its leaders have been murdered and assassinated. There has been no enquiry into that. Now, with the best will in the world there is no way that you can bring about peace and reconciliation with those sort of attitudes. It can't be.
POM. Maybe I'll ask this question on a couple of levels. One level is that you had some General yesterday defending his - he said everyone knew of ... murder, he tells the Truth Commission. These are revelations, this is just General Joubert, Major John Joubert, but when you hear day after day revelations by security police in graphic detail as to how they abducted and -
AK. There's no question about that and I don't want to defend that.
POM. But the thing is that do you find the official explanation, i.e. by the government, that we never knew anything about that, if we had ever known about that we would have been the first persons to -
AK. That's untenable, totally untenable and they are lying, there's no question about it. And again if you, for example, read the IFP submissions to the TRC you can see, let me give you concrete examples in KwaZulu-Natal. When the PAC coming out of the Transkei started murdering white people in the south of KwaZulu-Natal immediately De Klerk threw a ring of steel around the Transkei because whites were being killed. But he knew and he stated it in parliament, you can go and read it up, he knew and the South African government knew that the Transkei was using hundreds of millions of rands of South African state resources to import terrorism and violence into KwaZulu-Natal to murder the IFP. It never stopped it. It never stopped it, why? Because blacks were being killed and because it was politically inconvenient to take on the ANC. Now those sort of things, as I say, in the longer term of history - didn't the ordinary people know these things? And so, therefore, if you think that you can have a commission like this that is going to sweep that under the carpet and the world outside can see freedom fighters in shining armour coming to liberate from the terrible apartheid and nothing else happened, that is extremely naïve. It will not bring peace and that will lay the seeds of conflict like you have in Northern Ireland and we don't need that.
POM. When FW De Klerk or his senior ministers say we never had any idea of what was going on?
AK. I don't believe that.
POM. Do you think that's part of the reason that there has been this decline, what would seem to be a pretty precipitous decline in support for the NP?
AK. No I don't think so.
POM. Or are they falling apart because they don't know what they stand for any more?
AK. I don't think it has anything to do with it. In fact if anything it would increase support because the vast bulk of whites were opposed to terrorism and all those things, so, no, I don't think that's the issue at all. What is happening is that, I think we've been through this before, De Klerk actually sold out the Afrikaners and he sold out the IFP and the Afrikaner people and white people in general have actually understood that. Therefore, this is why I said to you, this is the reason I made this statement, that I believe that at the end of the day the new leaders will have to emerge from civil society and anybody who thinks that a 37 year old Afrikaner can lead the NP doesn't understand Afrikaners. Like the Zulus they don't respect youngsters, they look to people with grey hairs.
POM. Someone made to me what I thought was a very interesting observation when they said that Marthinus van Schalkwyk made his first major mistake when he attacked Mandela and talked about 'Madiba-jiving' and that you do not in this society attack older leaders.
AK. He doesn't understand.
POM. The person made the point, I think it was Pik Botha when he said he got a call just before Mandela was president, but he got a call from Mandela and he was in George and he asked Botha did he have PW Botha's number and Pik said he looked up his phone book and said this is the last number I have for him and he said then Mandela said to him, "You may want to know why I want to call PW Botha", and he said, "It's because in our tradition if you're a Chief and you're in another Chief's area you tell him as a matter of courtesy." He said Marthinus doesn't get that.
AK. No he doesn't understand. It is foolish in the extreme because there is no way, the Afrikaners in that sense are very African. There is no way that in the current scenario that that man can have any influence over the Afrikaner people. I don't believe that. New leaders will emerge.
POM. How will history judge De Klerk when it comes to place him?
AK. Oh I think it will judge him well. I think so, because there is no way that you can get past the harsh reality that he actually had the courage to unban the ANC and free its leaders and to actually effectively relinquish power. He will be judged harshly for the mistakes he made by his own people. For example, as I said to you, naïvely believing that he could strike deals and that he could guarantee Afrikaner jobs and so on. That was extremely foolish but those will be, I think, footnotes rather than his major action. What he did is very admirable and I think history must show that and it will show it. You have a black government today and he did it.
POM. Would you say he did it with the minimal degree of disruption to the - what could have been a very rocky and unstable road?
AK. Yes but he could have, if he had not lost his nerve during the World Trade Centre negotiations, if he had not lost his nerve when effectively the ANC was beaten democratically over the issue of federalism and where it then responded by taking the people to the streets.
POM. When the ANC was defeated?
AK. Democratically in the negotiations. Then fortunately for them Boipatong happened and then they engaged in mass action and then De Klerk lost his nerve and signed the Record of Understanding.
POM. I don't know whether you've read Patti Waldmeir's book?
AK. I haven't read it yet, no.
POM. But it has this kind of contradiction in it which no-one has given me a good explanation of so I just try to get people's opinion on what they possible speculate on it.
AK. He made a serious error of judgement and I think coming back to that, the person who was responsible for that was Roelf Meyer. Roelf Meyer was the person, for example, I didn't want to go into it earlier, but when the Record of Understanding, when he was about to sign it, De Klerk ordered Roelf Meyer to go to Buthelezi and to discuss it with him. Roelf Meyer went to Ulundi and said to the Chief, "I have been sent to tell you that this is what the government is going to do", and those are two different things and that's actually what happened and that's when the thing started falling apart. It was Roelf Meyer who was responsible for that.
POM. Was FW aware that his instruction had not been carried out?
AK. Yes, I think this is ultimately why he was driven out of the party. He didn't have the courage to put it right. If you talk to any thinking person in the NP today they will readily admit that that was a catastrophic mistake, the Record of Understanding signed on 29th September 1992.
POM. I just want to get this down, that Meyer, that FW sent -
AK. He lied.
POM. - sent Meyer to Buthelezi to discuss it with him, to discuss it not as a done deed but discuss what the contents were.
AK. Yes. And he then told Buthelezi that he had been sent by De Klerk to inform him of what had been decided.
POM. My question also is going to be that the broad scenario that Waldmeir lays out in terms of NP strategy was that in the beginning De Klerk wanted to go for a quick election, that he was still basking in the glory of the release of Mandela, he had international praise, attention, in the townships he was being referred to as Comrade De Klerk and he thought the ANC was disorganised and if quickly now I can strike a good deal and get a quick election. That's in February/March. A year later you have CODESA. She recounts him coming out of CODESA after CODESA collapses saying she and some other journalists from the Financial Times had a meeting with him and he was almost in a buoyant mood believing that (a) the ANC would come round and (b) saying that he believed time was on his side. Now one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to realise that the last thing that was on his side was time. That's June, just before Boipatong, maybe it was May. Then she moves to September where she says by the time of the Record of Understanding De Klerk was desperate for a deal, he would make a deal almost regardless of content.
AK. That's right.
POM. And she quotes Joe Slovo as saying to her, smiling and saying, "They caved in on everything." What happened to him that he moved from saying, "I'm managing this process", to saying - ?
AK. Roelf Meyer, I think Roelf Meyer is the key to the whole thing. I really do believe that. You must remember also that after Boipatong when the ANC took the people to the streets I think that he actually feared that he might lose control, that the security forces wouldn't be able to contain the violence and that you might in fact be faced with a full scale revolution. I think that's what probably happened, it was a political miscalculation and by the time the deed was done - yes, I think he had been overtaken by events.
POM. Now others suggest that he moved from being almost a parochial politician in apartheid South Africa to being catapulted onto the world stage on the day he released Mandela, to being fêted in world capitals, to the Nobel Prize, to international acclaim and that his craving for international approval got the better of his own judgement. It became more important to him to be seen as internationally to be the statesman and peacemaker.
AK. No. There's an element of that I'm sure but I don't think that's the deciding factor. If you break it down into its essentials, essentially what happened was this, that in 1993 he had made a decision and the decision was within the context, the kind of world context with the collapse of communism and so on, that this was the right time to strike and what in his perception the deal would be was that we will give you political power as long as you actually guarantee the Afrikaners their jobs. In other words their physical needs. And essentially that's what happened if you look at it in it's broad terms because the whole agreement in terms of which the civil service could not be restructured, the jobs would be guaranteed, etc. So in other words they had for 40 years abused South Africa, abused the economy and empowered the Afrikaners economically and what he was now saying is I will give you the political power if you leave the economic power with me. That's the deal. And of course that was extremely naïve as we can now see. I don't think it was so much the world acclaim and so on that went to his head, it was the miscalculation that he naïvely believed that all this could remain in place. We know that it couldn't and we've now seen that it hasn't.
POM. A good portion of it not only has but in terms of market economy there are the guarantees about property which were given.
AK. I agree but why is the civil service falling apart? It is because large numbers of key people have been bought off, have taken the packages and so it's collapsing, so where does that leave him?
POM. Bought off voluntarily. I mean the packages were so good, they were offers that were difficult to refuse.
AK. Yes, you see they also read the political writing on the wall, so they will take the goodies while they can still have them and at the end of the day if his intention was to make sure that the economy continued to thrive he's miscalculated. That's one of the reasons why GEAR will not deliver, they're incapable of doing it. It's going to take maybe a generation, maybe longer before you've got the right people trained and able to implement.
POM. I was in Angola recently and when I saw the mess there I said, it reminded me of something Derek Keys said to me, he said once to me how through GEAR things weren't going to change. He said South Africa isn't a bad country to be poor in. So I had to go to Angola and Mozambique to find that out. But will this country settle into a low level equilibrium of there being a developed sector, like around Durban, that will be developed and around the corridor between Johannesburg and Pretoria?
AK. No I don't believe so. It will do so in the medium term but it won't do so in the short term. I think in my judgement you're going to be faced with increasing poverty, increasing political instability, increasing disinvestment and as long as people like Nkosazana Zuma are allowed to do what they're doing you're going to find that process will be exacerbated. And then of course violence will escalate and that will in turn lead to more disinvestment. Until such time as the government has the nerve to actually put down the sort of violence and criminality and deal with the criminals, and I don't think it's got that nerve, so I think in the short term things are going to get rougher.
POM. But we've heard the IFP out there saying this would be our law and order policy, we would be hiring X number of police, there would be minimum sentences, there would be -
AK. Indeed. And then the people have got to believe you, that you're capable of doing it. I can easily get up on a soap box and say I'm going to employ X number of policemen and I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that and then if a man listening to me says how are you going to do it and you can't tell him how, we've got the best policies but -
POM. Last question, a speculative one, will Jacob Zuma get the nod for the Deputy Presidency?
AK. That is a very difficult question to answer.
POM. As a betting man. Just so that I can come back to you in ten years and say Arthur you were dead on the mark.
AK. Well I think there is a fairly good chance that Buthelezi will be the Deputy State President.
POM. First or second?
AK. The first.
POM. A fairly good chance that Buthelezi will?
AK. That's the African way of doing things. Remember what I said to you earlier that essentially the ANC has colonised the IFP policy. So what's really the fundamental difference now? The fundamental difference is really that we haven't got communists in our party, although we've got a couple but they're not influential. Once that happens you will find people are then going to say, well what really is the difference between ANC and IFP, and maybe that's their policy.
POM. So would this be a way of essentially the ANC co-opting the IFP in its entirety and saying that's the end of any potential opposition from a party that could attract black support?
AK. I think it's a very real possibility. But that could be derailed very easily that process and I think there's a good chance that it may well be because things will go wrong and I don't want to go into the reasons for that. If it doesn't happen my guess would be Jacob Zuma. But there again you've got to hedge your bets because Jacob Zuma is very critical to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and if he's taken out of that equation it presents problems here because there is no obvious successor for him here. Yes it's difficult to know because there are too many imponderables.
POM. Thanks a million.