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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
24 Jun 1998: Motlanthe, Kgalema
(Accompanied by Caroline Barker)
POM Last time I saw you, you were Secretary General of NUM and now I see you and you're Secretary General of the ANC. Do you consider that a promotion in life or a demotion?
KM I'm not sure of the hierarchy as such but to me it's mere deployment. In the NUM I used to focus mainly on the plight of mineworkers and in the ANC now I have to deal with all the unions, not only one sector but all of them. I have to deal with all sections basically of the South African population.
POM I'll probably get to it right away, you got a copy of the transcript of our last interview?
KM Yes I saw that, I went through that.
POM We had been talking about the labour legislation and COSATU wanting to introduce, have it legislated that a 40 hour week should be the mandatory thing and you said and I quote, "When we discuss some of the legislative changes the government is introducing at the Employment and Standards, for instance, which calls for a 40 hour week and so on, whereas that is an absolute correct thing to do but in terms of the present phase of reconstruction, reconstruction means that people must work even harder than in accordance with a programme that's missing. What we're going to need is instead of a 40 hour week, we need a 48 hour week. Eight hours will go towards contributing towards a reconstruction fund and addressing all these immediate priorities, yet today COSATU embraces a 40 hour week." So I would interpret that by saying people, to make this country succeed, must work harder and longer and that's part of what will make this country succeed. If they start adopting western standards of 40 hour weeks, 35 hour weeks or whatever and make that the criterion of what labour relations should be about, the country will falter. Given where COSATU is, where is the ANC on this point since it's pivotal to the direction of the economy?
KM That view is a view that I still hold even today in the sense that you reduce, my view is you reduce working time only as a consequence of the sophistication of your instruments of production, your technology, the know-how and expertise that you have in utilising that technology to improve on your productivity and that you can't simply reduce working time when you still rely on backward instruments of production when your technology and the sophistication of your labour force still lags behind the rest of the world. Therefore that's a point that I still hold even at this point in time.
POM But do you articulate that?
KM I do actually, I do because -
POM Just as a matter of interest, again since what I'm doing won't be published until the year 2001, and God knows where we will all be at that time, but what's their response to what you say?
KM The response differs. When I speak to people who understand the distinction between the objective of a better life for all and the detail of the many building blocks which would bring about that objective and people who do not therefore elevate the detail of the many building blocks into the be-all and end-all, there is a common understanding of what we are talking about. But there is lack of understanding of that distinction by many unionists who elevate collective bargaining detail into the be-all and end-all of their struggle and we've tried in my discussions with many of them, and I have done so even now in my capacity as Secretary General of the ANC, I have been visiting the provinces and meeting with the provincial leadership of the alliance and I have made this point repeatedly that the accumulated disadvantages suffered by the majority of our people can only be addressed if we were to implement the RDP to its entirety and if, therefore, we understand that RDP it is made up of many building blocks. There is a section on education and education alone and there are lots of incremental transformative stages that have got to be implemented where if education as education is to be run properly and efficiently there is a whole range of state organs. The public service, that has got to be transformed in the same way. The economy has to be transformed in the same way.
POM Let's deal with three important points you raised. It would seem to me that Minister Bengu just threw in the towel when he was dealing with COSATU.
KM With the strike?
POM Yes. That he just gave in which has a number of implications including the budgetary process and the relationship between the provinces and the central government, that the threat of a nation-wide strike in education worked. Would you agree with that, that he threw in the towel?
KM No I wouldn't say he threw in the towel. I think what actually happened is that the introduction of Regulation 593 which deals with the pupil teacher ratio which had to be agreed as part of the settlement of this looming strike was premature because you cannot when you say that the provinces should act within their budgets, which budgets have to be worked out by the provinces themselves, because at the moment what happens is that each province is given its overall budget and it has to handle the allocations itself. Now when you do that kind of budgeting you cannot at the same time at the centre then say the teacher pupil ratio has got to be 1:35 and leave it at that because then the provinces will attempt to implement that and find that their budget does not allow for that. Then you're creating a dislocation and a contradiction. So what's required was for the central ministry to take full responsibility, firstly to have a data base, do an audit of the teacher strength not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of areas of specialisation, whether in each province you will have enough teachers to teach mathematics, for instance, in each province. Now when we have that kind of data nationally you will then know that this province has got more teachers for mathematics, if we are to do a pupil teacher ratio of this kind and therefore we may have to transfer a number of teachers from this province to that province because that province only has 2%, for instance, I'm just giving you an example. So you needed that kind of exercise first at national level and also to say that education in terms of where our transformation agenda has been identified as a priority area. That is why even at national level -
POM Identified as? So the (poorest) gets the largest slice of the national budget?
KM Yes. Therefore you can't say because it is a priority and it is given the largest apportionment of the national budget that that is enough. You've got to make it very meticulously, very meticulously. We've got to ensure that it works and by that we mean that you can't simply treat it like any other public service because delivery of education is done by people so personnel is not something that you can dispense with like in any other section because teaching means that there must be a teacher there, a warm body teaching. That's what it means, so when you look at what goes towards personnel costs from the budget, when it comes to teaching for instance you can't treat it in the same way as in other sections of the public service where you could say well this service can be rendered by fewer people because technology should be able to take care of the following things and so on. When it comes to teaching it's slightly different. And yet what was happening was that at the same time as this regulation for the teacher pupil ratio was being promulgated there was also a move to rationalise temporary teachers, to cut back on them. And all I'm saying, purely on the basis of figures, that if of the 40% that goes towards education, allocated towards education, if 90% of it goes towards personnel costs therefore it means that spending is skewed, we must reduce on personnel. You can't do that without having the total data. So what I am saying is the ministry did not give in, it had to correct what I think was a hasty decision on its part to attempt to deal simultaneously with the introduction of revised teacher pupil rations on the one hand, and on the other hand to try and rationalise temporary teachers. It was putting the cart before the horse. The first point had to be an audit so that they then progressed and proceeded from an informed position. So as far as I am concerned this was a correction.
POM It would seem to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that I could restate what you said in a different way and that is on the one hand the budget or fiscal constraints or whatever calls for the retrenchment of massive numbers of teachers or their redeployment in ways that won't work. Two, you have a very powerful union who says you're not going to retrench us or we're not going to work under certain conditions and that in the strength of the power, I suppose what I'm coming back to in a generalised way just using the teachers as an example because I want to talk about the public service after that, is that they're saying we will just shut down the schools and we have the power to do that, we just call a strike. Like in the public sector there is the threat of a countrywide strike because the package agreed with the government three years ago can't be fully implemented and the increases they were going to be granted in this year they're going to get maybe 2% less or 3% less than they thought, and they said, well OK, strike, shut down things. How do you deal with that? How do you deal with - you being labour and also a member of the SACP - how do you deal with this conundrum of where in a sense highly organised unions have the power literally to shut down the delivery of most services in this country which sends signals to other countries that SA is not a very good place to invest in because anything can happen?
KM I want to remain with the specific issue of the education that we were discussing, to deal with this issue first and foremost. Education, like I said, has been identified as priority number one because the education in this country - one of the most serious crimes of the old regime was precisely in the area of education and therefore this country which has characteristics of the first world and the third world has as its major, major, major problem, skills, skills firstly because among the formally privileged white groups in this country the skills are also skewed because they could be subsidised by the abundance of cheap labour which could be exploited and therefore create conditions of high quality living for a section of the population. Now you see you are no longer dealing with a small section of the people, you deal with the entire population and the skills that the white people in this country thought that they had in terms of, relative to the rest of the world, are now being proved to be limited actually. They are limited and that manifests itself in a manner in which in the corporate world companies that were regarded as super models in this country in terms of their successes and the manner in which they are organised and levels of efficiency, it has been proved today that in fact they weren't efficient at all. They were merely comparing themselves to nothing. They were setting their own standards away from international standards. The banks today, all the banks in this country, everybody - I mean a few years ago if you were to say that these banks are inefficient nobody would have listened. People would have thought that you're mad. But today when other banks come into SA and begin to operate on a completely different plane in terms of efficiency, in terms of orientation and focus, the local banks have come under tremendous pressure to re-position themselves to refocus.
POM Let's differentiate between - I want to concentrate on the power of unions in the public sector where every commission that has made recommendations in the last four years has said that the public sector must be cut, state employees must be cut by between 55,000 up to maybe 100,000 employees, and the unions are saying under no circumstances, under no circumstances whatsoever is there going to be a large scale retrenchment of state employees and these are black unions, the black leaders who are saying no, this is not going to happen because we will just simply close down the operation of the state. What does the government do in this situation? Where does the ANC stand with regard to this situation? Do you say, well we need to retrench 100,000 but let's strike a compromise and we will retrench 25,000? So you don't really reach a solution or a decision, you avoid the tough decision that has to be made that this must be done?
KM No, what has to be done will have to be done but what has to be done will have to be targeted and be correct because, you see, the public service sector consists of virtually all the state bureaucrats in all departments as it were. Some of those departments have what are called supernumerary speakers. You had pseudo-independent homelands created and a white South Africa on the other hand. Therefore for administration in certain provinces you would have - say, take the Northern Province which consists of three former homelands plus the old central administration, so in essence there for every one job in the public service you have four warm bodies. And yet in that province the public service is a major employer. There is no other major employer bigger than the public service and yet for every one job you've got four people. Now at the same time just looking at education, in that province of the entire teaching strength only 2% teach mathematics. Now if education is really priority number one, in other words we must invest in improving on education in order for us as a nation to attain a competitive edge, then you can't go about it purely and simply on the basis of commissioned reports that say, well you have this public service, it's bloated, you must rationalise 25%. You can't simply go about it that way. You must be targeted, you must be able to say in this Northern Province -
POM Why after four years hasn't that targeting been done? In the last couple of weeks since I've been back I've talked, as usual, to a cross section of people from every community and every organisation and party and they say that a common thing comes through that the ANC or the government, they're almost synonymous, can't make decisions, hard decisions. It can put out green papers, white papers, yellow papers, but when it comes down to taking a hard decision it can't do it. Now I want to relate that to what you said and also to the question of can you name in the last four years three or four really tough and unpopular decisions that the government made in order to advance the long term national interests for the long term prosperity of the country?
KM That's a good question. The answer to that question must lead us to an analysis of what the negotiations were able to achieve, that should be our starting point. Now put very crudely, from the liberation point of view the negotiations were a success insofar as we were able to persuade the then ruling groups to participate in general elections when they knew that they were going to lose those elections. That's what we were able to achieve. But in turn those ruling groups in the course of those negotiations extracted concessions from our side and those concessions consisted of protection to property rights, job security to public servants. I am citing those two because we are talking about the public service. Now if we understand that it then means that even the rationalisation in the public service can only be handled in a particular way because when you rationalise, as I said you've got to do it in a targeted way. You can't do it purely and simply on the basis of the numbers.
POM Across the board.
KM Percentages, because in the military, for instance, the main body, the main military body was the SADF and then you had armed forces in the former homelands, then you had the liberation movements' armed forces and the process of integration meant that you are bringing into that old force people from the liberation movement. Now people who were in the liberation movement who were trained were not necessarily military people. They were politicians with arms and most of them would be in the Reserve Bank now, in government corridors, in the public service as DGs and so on, others would be in the private sector as it were because they never really regarded the military as a career. So the numbers of those who were left and ended up being integrated are far less than the army that was available to the liberation movement. Therefore, in terms of numbers the military would still be predominantly the old force. Now when you rationalise, even in that sector, you cannot simply say the percentage is this because you will find that in that force in terms of hierarchy and absorption there are a few people from the liberation forces right at the top and the entire management structure still of the old order. And if you leave, therefore, the process of rationalisation in those hands they will no doubt target people who came from the liberation movement further lower down for retrenchments. If we go back to the teaching set-up none of your highly skilled, highly qualified white teachers would like to go and teach in a village in the rural areas. They would not accept that. They would rather take a package.
POM But does that surprise you? That's human, if I were a white teacher living in Cape Town where my family was based and I was told that my choices were either to go the Northern Province or to get a retrenchment package, what would human nature say? My family is in Cape Town, my friends are in Cape Town.
KM You take the package.
POM You take the package.
KM But you see your taking a package would not remove those children in the Northern Cape who need a teacher, who need to be taught. Therefore, those teachers who would still be willing to go and teach there in that remote area cannot be rationalised.
POM Yes, but my point would be why shouldn't that policy have been thought through to the point of where you say you don't lose good teachers and you don't put conditions of - it's almost like, I hate to use the phrase, a forced removal - you move or you're out and that you keep teachers who have taught in their indigenous areas if they are good teachers in those areas. You identify who are the good teachers, you identify who are the bad teachers and you get rid of the bad teachers in each particular area and then you talk about redeployment. So the policy would seem to me, in its assumptions that you could move teachers around like this, that it almost smacks of the old era.
KM Not quite. The point is that at policy level the policy might be noble and very good sounding and very rational but it's quite a distance from policy to actual implementation face and you therefore need, once you've developed policy, you need as well to take the necessary steps of being informed concretely. But you can't handle a matter like pupil teacher ratio, I will keep on using that example because to me it's the nub of what was wrong with that promulgation of Regulation 593 because I don't see how you can do that without having data of what exists in every school and every township, suburb and in every province, not only as I said in terms of simply - that I've got 30 teachers and 300 students in this school, no not only simply in that, but also in terms of subjects, in terms of key subjects whether you have the right kind of skills spread evenly across for that ratio to be introduced for implementation. Therefore, the point I am saying is that there was still lots of work that needed to be done to go into this process and I understand perfectly well why the teacher unions demanded that that regulation should be withdrawn. I think it is a reasonable position. On the other hand I am saying that if as a country education is to be prioritised we can't simply say we are prioritising it by allocating more money to it. We've got to ensure that the management mechanisms to ensure that we get optimum output out of the money allocated happens, are replaced.
POM But don't you also prioritise it in a way that you ensure that the best teachers in the system remain in the system and don't take retrenchment packages or get out?
KM Without admitting to be being blackmailed, because the history of unionism indicates that those who have skills, and I'll give an example in this country, this country has got probably about 4000 chartered accountants, the whole country, and of those less than 100 are blacks. The whole thing is such that the examinations, the examinations are such that you can't pass, you are not allowed to pass because it's a tightly controlled sector and therefore makes those who have that qualification to fetch very high prices. Now education is not supposed to be handled like that because once it is handled like that it also means that a few individuals can powerfully and well-knit individuals can hold the whole nation to ransom. So I am saying that education is a priority to the extent that we are also saddled with the effects of a racially determined education, Bantu education, for instance, which had as its main assets the denial of natural science skills to the majority of people also means that even as we say we are an educated intelligentsia we suffer very serious limitations. In other words we are distorted, as it were. Now if we were to correct that it will prioritise that. Firstly you've got to ensure that you put in place a curriculum that is going to empower and offer equal opportunity of employment to the younger generation. So you're looking at really the younger generation and then working backwards you can then look at how by way of affirmative action problems you could give a second bite to the cherry to the adults that were distorted or limited by the system that existed in the past. If you look at it in that way there is no, therefore, first kick magic solution to the problem of education in a country like this one.
POM No quick, no silver - the magic bullet or the silver bullet?
CB The silver bullet, yes.
KM So you've got to look at it in that fashion, that in fact what you are doing is to lay down a foundation for a system that would produce wholesome, well educated people as an investment and therefore that is why to me the allocation of the budget is but one tiny element in it. The most important of all is the management to ensure that in fact this foundation will lay down efficiently to ensure that there would be no chinks in it.
POM But that's not happening.
KM I'm admitting that there are those weaknesses.
POM Is it not going back to COSATU wants a 40 hour week and you're saying, goddamn it, if we want to build a nation we've got to work 48 hours a week. Now somebody has got to say to Sam, listen for God's sake forget your members, we're talking about the whole country, we're talking about nation building, we're talking about sacrifice on behalf of each other.
KM Yes but the point I was trying to illustrate is that that kind of understanding for nation building of that nature which couples sacrifice, hard work with minimum and basically survival returns and rewards can only come with full understanding at the political level of the end objective and the detail of these building blocks that we must put in place. If there is no such political understanding, then from a trade union point of view, a trade union is there to look after its members, it is there to angle for the best advantage in the collective bargaining processes and therefore the teachers will call for more and more and more and never ever stop to ask what they give in turn in terms of the system. Therefore, that is why it is important that when you lay down a foundation for improving education the management mechanism must be efficient and must be in place so that even as an individual teacher who belongs to a union and the union says we want more money, we want more holidays and so on, but the programme and the curriculum must be such that I cannot succeed to use all my work and I was to study privately and improve my own qualifications instead of teaching. Because that is what is happening as well, is a problem now where most of the teachers would say, look we were disadvantaged, we suffer limitations, we need to improve on our own qualifications and therefore they are studying privately. Most of them are registered with long distance colleges and they are studying and they study, do assignments and so on and prepare for exams during working hours which means that not enough of their time is being put into preparing for teaching. So in fact the discipline for teaching is itself an area that needs to be corrected and transformed. The problem is a bit more complex.
POM What has been the failure of the ANC in this regard, that it hasn't been able to communicate that vision to society, to people?
KM You have said it, you have said it. It is really the omission to communicate that vision. That is the nub of the problem. That is why sometimes you speak to people who are ANC members and they are in doubt, they express doubt as to the ANC's commitment to continue with the transformation agenda. That doubt is born of the fact that there hasn't been sufficient communication of the constraints and difficulties and the vision and the distinction between that strategic objective and the processes or building blocks. In my meetings with the alliance, for instance, I've used a very crude example to illustrate this point because they say to me, what do you mean by a distinction and link between the end strategic objective and the detail of the building block? They ask me that question because I say it is important to draw the distinction, it is important to understand the relationship between that end point and the many building blocks, and they say what do you mean? I say, no, every journey strategically speaking begins at the end, you start with the end point and then you work out the compass or road map to get there. That's how it works and therefore all of us have agreed, and I take them back a few years, that we all agreed that the key problem in this country is discrimination and therefore poverty, and we all agreed that the RDP as a programme that all of us put together was the programme to address those legacies. And I say go back to the RDP, read any section and tell me how many details because transformation is a series of incremental steps. How many such instrumental steps are needed in terms of ensuring that only one aspect of any one of the many building blocks must happen? Then once you've done that, because as you take those incremental steps some you will get some right, others you will get wrong, and therefore should we then say the RDP begins and ends with this detail or this one step or are we going to recognise that this detail, this one step is but one step in a myriad of many other steps that need to be taken in order to improve the quality of life. And still I find that they throw the question back at me so I use a very crude example and I say to them, look you now reside in an informal settlement where you have access to running water, there is no school in your own community, your children have got to walk to the next township for a school, you have access to electricity, you have a satellite link in this informal settlement, what would be your response if we were to come and say the government wants to come and build an Olympic size swimming pool for your community, what would be your response to that? I ask that question. And they say - (break in recording)
POM The tape ran out at the end where you were giving your example of going to either members of COSATU or whatever and saying what would you like, houses or a swimming pool and they would say - (break in recording)
POM You can re-ask the question.
CB Yes. The question was the interest that I have in the issues of policing and police reform, the challenges that the British government is going to face in Northern Ireland as it looks at some of these issues of integration of a part of the community, of changing a modus operandi that is unacceptable to some in the community and where would you say the lessons are from SA, the successes of transforming the police force, where are the problems that remain, the challenges that are still to be faced?
KM I am not sure where there are any successes in terms of transforming the police in SA save to say that this is where the old ruling bloc still holds sway and is one of those areas in which their influence has barely been dented. Now you will recall that the police were a key instrument in the hands of the old regime in terms of detecting, suppressing and identifying any forms of resistance in the past and therefore was not only a well resourced unit but also were a unit that was given carte blanche by authority to do as they wished. They were a key cog in the apartheid machinery and were therefore working hand in glove with the whole judicial system, your magistrates, your prosecutors, your judges gave credence and respectability to the workings of the police. What we have to do is follow, by reading a novel by Antjie Krok which is based on the revelations at the TRC and maybe later once the TRC report is out do take the trouble of reading it.
POM Is that Eugene de Kock's - ?
KM No, Antjie Krok.
POM Sorry, I've got it, yes, the book.
KM ... the right kind of ideas and it's trying to steer the force to buy into the new order and values. But right from the top management of that police, the personnel consist of people who were put there by the old regime, whether any of them would have a change of heart, of approach, is a moot question and therefore the point I'm making is that the transformation of that department is urgently necessary but would also entail almost a surgical overhaul of that department if it is to be a police unit that is there to serve the people. They don't have investigating skills because in the past they never really had to investigate. All they had to do - if you are arrested you are guilty and they could extract a confession out of you which confession would be accepted by the prosecutor and the magistrate and that was it. So in a word, the need to transform the police cannot really be sufficiently stated. Any black policemen who were there would be policemen who would have been in the force anyway and the mere fact that they hold rank today is not any reflection of their abilities. It would be in the main a reflection of their subservience because if there were not subservient they would never have risen or had any progress within that force. So it's one of those areas where there's really a great deal of need for surgical overhaul.
There are other areas like the judiciary itself, the judges and so on, all those areas. These are the areas that I referred to at the beginning of our talk when I indicated that our analysis should have as its point of departure the nature of the settlement that was negotiated and I said that the old ruling groups agreed to participate in the open general elections when they knew quite well that they were going to lose those elections and that they relied in turn for the concessions they extracted, the property rights and job security for the public servants. I said that they also relied very much on the sway and influence that they still had in key strategic organs of the state and that ranges from the judiciary, the judges, right down to the police.
POM Why doesn't the government say our number one problem is combating crime, high levels of crime are now associated throughout the world with SA. It is often quoted as one of the big disincentives to inward investment. Why doesn't the government beef up the police force, put more resources into training the police force, fire those who are incompetent and just take hard, tough decisions. Am I naïve?
KM No you are not naïve but the point is that if my description of this force is accurate it therefore means that what we would need would be a team of highly competent managers in the police force who could then come up with work programmes but would ensure that there is proper supervision and monitoring of activities to ensure that those that are inefficient are easily exposed by the work programmes. Secondly, we would need a succession plan because the police force is structured in a regimented way and operates really not that different from the military and is a command structure. Now the minister is the political head of that department but there is a National Commissioner who has Commissioners of Police in all the provinces who report to him and that is the direct command structure in that police force. So you have got to change the top management structure, people who determine policy whether it's employment policy, recruitment policy and so on, you've got to change those people and get in there efficient people who buy into the values of a new nation in this country.
POM Then why isn't that done?
KM To do that ... (break in recording)
CB ... existing ones but just develop them.
KM Develop their role and focus then.
CB Are we back on line?
POM Back on line, lights are on. Just a few last questions.
KB We've got a World Cup match, South Africa is -
POM I love that. Everything should close down.
KM As a patriot I'm expected to give my support.
POM You're on record as saying that the ANC is going to seek or try to get more than two thirds. Is that a good thing for democracy, even given the fact that President Mandela said in 1974 that he was relieved that the ANC didn't achieve two thirds?
KM Well you know we are in a period, if once again we go back to the negotiated settlement, we have this period of government of national unity which is coming to an end next year at the time of the elections. The opposition parties are determined to thwart the ANC from obtaining an overall mandate from the electorate because they do not doubt the ANC's commitment to continue with the transformation agenda and they know that the protections that they were able to extract at the negotiations would be coming to an end if the ANC obtains a sufficient mandate to continue with the transformation. They have pulled all manner of tricks out of the hat to try to depict the ANC as a dangerous organisation that cannot be trusted with a mandate from the majority of the population. They have even gone on to say that should the ANC obtain two thirds in the next elections that would be a death knell to this fledgling democracy. That would mean that democracy would be jeopardised. We have unpacked what they mean. What they really mean is that democracy is a continuation of old socio-economic privileges for a few to the exclusion of the many. They fear transformation which would bring about a better life for all our people. The constitution itself of the country places no ceiling on the number of seats that any one party is allowed to garner in elections. In the provinces where they are the majority party, like the Western Cape Province, they have placed in all the strategic positions people from their own parties.
POM The larger question would be that getting more than two thirds gives you the power to amend the constitution at will. Is that a good thing that one party should have the capacity to amend the constitution at will?
KM The SA constitution requires and spells out the circumstances under which it could be amended and the requirement is that you would need 75% of the votes in the National Assembly plus support of at least three provinces in the NCOP.
POM Why does everybody mention two thirds as being the - ?
KM It's a red herring, it's a red herring, but the constitution itself is very plain on that. The constitution admits that it is subject to amendment, it can be amended but it can only be amended with a certain vote in the Assembly, which is not two thirds, it's 75% as it were.
POM Why do you use the figure two thirds, that we want to get more?
KM It's a target. As I said, nothing stops us from getting 90% of the seats. It's a target, we are setting a target because targets focus minds. We are setting a target for ourselves in the same way as the opposition parties have set a target for themselves and their target is that the ANC must not get two thirds majority at all. That is their target and that they should try and bring about a situation of a hung parliament. The point I was making is that the constitution itself makes provision for it to be amended and very clearly spells out the requirements for that. Now opposition parties, and of course the mass media in this country, have been at pains to instil fear in the population, they preach politics of fear, fear of the will of the people, that it is wrong for the majority of the people to have the right to amend the constitution. It is correct to have minority parties having a veto power by way of being the balancing force if we have a hung parliament. That is the best form of democracy. Now I'm not sure whether debate around any degrees of democracy is a helpful debate at all because democracy must be the expression of the will of as many people as possible in society. The ANC's history has been a history of fighting for democracy, 86 years relentlessly, and for parties that only four years ago had no qualms whatsoever in determining and changing the constitution as they wished throughout, for them to come around today and say they are the only ones to be trusted with democracy, it is only when they have the final say in the matter that democracy would be seen to be working in this country and that the ANC cannot be trusted with democracy, is ingenious actually.
POM But anybody who is realistic and every poll that has been taken in the last four years, despite some of the negative aspects of non-delivery, etc., is that every poll indicates that the ANC will comfortably win the next election. So do you not think that it is healthier for democracy to have more vibrant opposition parties rather than one party that is so dominant that it reduces the voice of opposition parties to a mere whisper?
KM The point, well I'm very biased here and I must say that my views are very biased, the point is that the ANC itself was founded as a church for the African people. It was founded on the lines of the Westminster parliament. In 1912 it had a House of Chiefs and a House of Commons and its constitution was only changed in 1944 to call on individual people to join it in their own right. Prior to that when a Chief of a particular tribe joined the ANC it was taken that all the subjects of that Chief were members of the ANC. So it has come a long way.
POM Is it also true that no white person could join the ANC at that time?
KM At that time in accordance with the laws of this country otherwise it would have been outlawed even as early as that time. But by the mid-fifties, in 1956, you already had the Congress Movement. For whites there was the Congress of Democrats, for the Africans it was the African National Congress, for the coloured people it was the Coloured Peoples' Congress, for the Indians it was the South African Indian Congress, and all of these came together and put together the Freedom Charter. Then of course once the ANC was outlawed the other components were not outlawed but in the underground and in conditions of exile the laws of the country were not applicable. All of those people could join the ANC and did in fact join the ANC and became leaders of the ANC. So in a way the ANC is an embodiment, a microcosm of the SA nation because it accepts members regardless of race, creed or colour.
POM But yet if you look at the profile that comes out of surveys it's like 4% of white people support the ANC, a larger proportion, but not a majority, of coloureds, an even smaller proportion of Indians, whereas the UDM with whom I was talking yesterday said they have a far more representative profile in their membership of what the actual composition of the country is. So what would you say to the statement that while you speak for the overwhelming majority of South Africans you have failed to attract any significant element of other races whether white, coloured, Indian? In fact you're an African party.
KM That is not accurate because, as I said, it is the leadership of the ANC that was charged for four and a half years with treason for having a leadership and a membership that was representative of the mosaic of this country, from 1956 to 1961, 156 leaders of the ANC consisting of all the national groups of this country faced charges of high treason. It is the ANC which had as its approach non-racialism from that day and throughout and all other organisations were racially based. The ANC's leit motif has always been the struggle against racial discrimination, for an all-inclusive non-racial society. Now however the majority of the white population in this country have benefited from the practice of racial discrimination and have been fed and weaned on that diet for many years in which the old regime had a monopoly and the license to demonise the ANC publicly through public broadcasts and through all other means. Therefore, the ideas that the ANC represents are resonant across all the sections of the SA population. There is no argument. In fact the UDM has no policies as yet. They are founded on the basis that - all they say to people is that the ANC has failed to implement this and that of its own policies. They have no policy as yet. I have described their claims that they are more representative of the new nation in SA than any other grouping. They have tended to claim that the ANC is more African. Indeed the ANC is more African precisely because there are more blacks in this country than whites just in terms of numbers, sheer numbers, and also precisely because the whites in this country are still suspicious of the ANC, not from the point of view of the ANC per se or the policies of the ANC but because they themselves still have to part with the past and it's more of their problem than the fact that the ANC's policies make up a constitution that excludes them. But I have described the UDM's claims of being more representative of the SA population in the following terms: that when you look at the UDM it is a project that was born within the NP. Roelf Meyer was tasked by the NP to explore and examine means and ways for the NP to reach out to other population groups. He undertook that project with such enthusiasm that it made some conservatives within the NP very uncomfortable and he then had to be cut off because the conservative base of the NP was going to become divided at the bottom and instead Roelf Meyer had to leave with that project. Therefore, yes indeed if you take the relationship between a carcass and worms that emerge from that carcass, indeed when worms claim that they are different from the carcass, they are fresh and they do look fresh, you can't argue with those worms, because indeed worms are fresh, maggots are fresh and they are different from the carcass. They don't emit the same kind of smell as a carcass from which they emerge, but they do not represent any future. They represent the final stage of decay actually. Therefore until the UDM comes up with policies which would then indicate -
POM Which they will announce on Saturday.
KM Whether they represent the future or whether they are a final stage of decay of the NP we will have to regard them as such.
POM Where do you put Bantu Holomisa in all this? He is the magnet and Mandela once described him as his favourite little General and for the Executive in the 1994 elections he garnished the biggest number of votes and was very close to Chris Hani.
KM No, not quite because you see -
POM He wasn't close to - ?
KM No, no. You see we must not invest in normal courtesy more than what courtesy means. You see African culture dictates that when you are regarded as an outsider, when Africans welcome you they embrace you and give you treatment that is more than what they reserve for family members. I guess that goes for other nationalities as well but it is more pronounced with Africans. They would reserve cups - I grew up and I used to have this quarrel with my mother where she would have a certain set of cups reserved and I asked her, "This set is going to end one piece after the other, we never get to use it, you only reserve it for visitors."
POM That's exactly the way I grew up.
KM So it is really that kind of - it's an expression of the same sentiment that a person like Bantu Holomisa, and it has not only happened to him alone, it happened to many other activists who ended up in the ANC. It happened to other homeland leaders, former homeland leaders. If you recall in the run-up to the 1994 elections there was what was called, Comrade Mandela said we needed to form a Patriotic Front, let's include even these small homeland based parties and they were included and some of them ended up in the national parliament and so on.
POM Bantu ended up getting the most votes on the NEC outside of the Executive.
KM Yes, he ended up on the national executive and there are reasons for that because as someone who was on the other side, in real terms not as an operative, because the manner in which the old regime operated was that, as I said earlier on, for black people who were in the police would have risen to any positions of rank they would not have done so as a result of their value to the force but as a result of their subservience to the force because the manner in which the old regime operated was that they would fast track the promotion of those whose loyalty was not in doubt at all. If you take the Generals in the military on the one side, in the SADF, those are Generals in the true sense of the word. Those would be Generals who would have gone through the mill and been given all the relevant training. Then you come to the homelands, they were creating these pseudo states called homelands and they would take a person who was like Charles Sebe, who was a Sergeant in the Security Police in the Republic, and when they created a homeland called the Ciskei and they give it pseudo independence they take that Sergeant in the SA Security Police and make him a General in that homeland. So they fast track the rank and qualification but it is not underpinned by the same amount of training and experience invested in a white General. It was partly informed by the fact that this is a subservient person who would never question the makings and values of apartheid on the one hand. On the other hand also an element of mistrust that indeed whereas this is a very subservient person but how far can you trust them really that you could give them sufficient training and so on?
Therefore, Bantu becomes a General in one of those homelands, military General, and even as he came into the ANC there were many of us who had questions. We wanted to know as to where he was reporting in the past, to whom was he accountable because we know that all the homelands without exception, and if you were to ask any person in the ANC then about Generals in Bophuthatswana, the Generals in Venda, the Generals in Ciskei, they would say these chaps are puppets, there's a white senior officer who is in charge and supervising them. But you see when Bantu comes over those pertinent questions were not asked but there were many of us who asked the same questions, that has he reported to the leadership as to who his handler was and whether he has actually severed those relations or not. But of course in the wisdom of leadership you don't ask too many questions when leadership is handling a particular situation as it were. So when he quite clearly proved that he wasn't amenable to organisational discipline and the organisation had to expel him only then, and it is incorrect to raise questions in a fit of anger because pertinent questions must be asked on principle. And I am saying there were many of us who asked those questions even at that time and it is interesting that Roelf Meyer was head of the National State Security Council and all the military machinery which at that time reported to him, were under his supervision.
Even now, as I said, the sway of the old ruling group in terms of the police, National Intelligence, the army, remains undented up to a certain extent. People like Roelf Meyer still receive reports from those quarters and it is quite interesting that Bantu ends up with Roelf even now. I have no doubt in my mind that the truth will out in the fullness of time. I have no doubt about that.
POM You've been very generous with your time, I really appreciate that more than you think I do. But let me ask you, what would be the essential difference between taking a Sergeant, fast-tracking somebody in the SA Defence Forces from being a Sergeant to being a General without adequate qualifications or training and the degree of affirmative action which has occurred in SA? Many people I talk to, black and white, say that it was too rushed, too many people were put in positions for which they didn't have the training. They may have had education but they didn't have the training or competence for the particular job they were going into. What's the difference between what the apartheid regime was doing and - ?
KM There's a vast difference because affirmative action is different from the creation of a puppet. You create a puppet because you want to manipulate a puppet, you want to be God over that puppet. Affirmative action is quite different given our own situation that you give recognition to skills that were not recognised for no other reason except reasons of race considerations. You don't affirm someone who is without skills, the necessary skills. You affirm where skills that were denied, recognition that that existed. Let me give you an example where you would have someone who for all intents and purposes is an electrician in one of these parastatals, whether ISCOR, ESCOM or whatever, and they do every work done by an electrician and because of race considerations they are called an electrician aide. They do the work, the electrician gets the money and the recognition and the title but every work, every task is performed by this aide. Therefore when you then come into a situation like we have now you recognise that indeed this is a qualified electrician, but this person must write this exam and therefore get the diploma and you affirm because it was merely denied because of race considerations.
On the other hand affirmative action might also mean that you have an education system, I mean as a system, which says that natural sciences should not be the strong points of Bantu education. So you have many people with matriculation education who have no natural sciences. Affirmative action may mean that you develop modules in mathematics which can be undertaken in a year or two and therefore the expectation is that you would get these adults who had no mathematics at that level and say here are these modules, you can do mathematics. If they do those modules and complete them you then affirm them and accept that indeed that module improves their certificate or matric qualification and therefore accept them in institutions where they would have been excluded. That's affirmative action, you are affirming.
In this country there is no section of this SA population that has benefited and understands affirmative action better than the Afrikaners. There isn't, there isn't, because the Afrikaners when they assumed power in 1948 they had no skills, they had no skilled personnel and so on. Government institutions, business and corporate world were dominated by the British. And what did the Afrikaners do? Very innovatively they sent their intelligent undergraduates to universities in Germany and Holland and so on and when they came back they said you start an institution. They started universities, University of Bloemfontein, Rand Afrikaans University here, University of Pretoria, all those institutions were started by the Afrikaners exclusively to fast-track Afrikaner graduates for that purpose. They then had these parastatals, ISCOR, ESCOM, Telkom, Spoornet, the Railways, and all of them had in-house skills training projects. So they recognised prior learning and they linked them up with technikons, Technikon RSA, so that the prior learning experience through work, not any theoretical work, practical work. They then recognised that through these Technikons here is this Oom Piet, he's been working as an aide to an electrician for the past 12 years, this experience that he has is equivalent to the following courses in this technikon towards a diploma and they identified the remaining courses that he needs to complete, structure a course in modular form and Oom Piet does that and then they give Oom Piet the diploma and that diploma is already equivalent to certain credits towards a degree in one of those universities of theirs. And within minimum time they were able to produce Afrikaner intellectuals who could -
POM Why don't you do the same thing?
KM You see they were a minority and they could ride on subsidies exploited from the majority. Now we are a majority and we cannot copy that example because we have no section of the population to exploit. We have to do it for everybody. So when we speak of affirmative action it cannot exclude Afrikaner children, Afrikaner working people who may want to have a second bite.
POM But they don't understand it that way.
KM They can't understand it that way because their upbringing and history says you are going to be dominated. There is a case going on at the TRC in Boksburg of some of the AWB people who exploded bombs on the eve of the elections and one of them explains why they had to explode these bombs and he said, "Well we were fighting for an Afrikaner Volksraad, a piece of land that would be only under the Afrikaners and we were fighting against communist domination." Now the question then arises, if the communists were to be defeated by communism in the ANC, if the communists were to be defeated, in fact by communists they mean black people, if the communists were to be defeated and therefore you were to succeed to have your own homeland as Afrikaners there would be no need therefore - in fact the communists would have no access or sway or influence whatsoever in that homeland of yours. On the other hand if you succeeded to win your own homeland there would be no need for you to be engaged in any fights with communists as it were. Now why did you explode bombs? And the men can't explain because it doesn't make sense that you explode bombs in an endeavour to either defeat the communists from taking over the country or in securing your own homeland. They were saying they were securing their own homeland and therefore if it was secured there was no need for them to get involved in any fights with any communists because it would have been secured. So the point I'm making is that it is years and years and systematic indoctrination which will take time. In the majority of cases right now that kind of prejudice has completely collapsed, it's broken down. There are many Afrikaners who appreciate that in fact they are better off now than they were ever before. Now they don't have to be conscripted into the military. Now they are free to travel the world over and they can live a normal life. However, the prejudice will take time to erode because it was systematically ingrained.
POM It's almost a part of their identity.
KM Yes, yes, and it is only when they are there now facing the TRC where the full gravity of their position becomes clearer to them but it is too late, they have committed all these serious crimes. But as individuals you feel sorry for them because they could have used their time much better and to the extent that they thought they were genuinely pursuing a political objective and yet their history, the fact that as Afrikaners united they lost the Anglo-Boer war in 1902 and that in 1993 when even the Afrikaners in the form of the NP and so on are saying, no, we are participating in the elections, to fight a war of that nature against all those forces arrayed against them, could only result in defeat.
POM I've just one more question, a quote from a colleague, but I want to tell you a story that in 1899 when Irish nationalism was beginning to ferment and Boers and British went to war, is that in Ireland there was a committee established called the Irish/Transvaal Committee and it was headed by Major John McBride and they fought at all the battles, at Ladysmith and whatever and they came back to Ireland afterwards and the Boers were looked upon as heroes, people who tried to fight colonialism, Brits, whatever. He took part in the rising of 1916 and he was executed after the rising and his son was Sean McBride who was the UN Administrator for what was then South West Africa and who oversaw its transformation into Namibia and Robert McBride who is now in jail in Mozambique is a relative. So it's just that thread I thought you might find interesting. Why has the government left McBride to hang out there?
KM There is a simple answer to it: whereas evidence contained in the Meiring Report, which was dismissed as a fantastic report, Georg Meiring, Chief of the Military who was forced - In that report Robert is accused of procuring arms for this fantastic coup that was going to be staged by all the men who were in line to take over in the military, all the Generals who came from the liberation movement who are in line to take over were cited as the key plotters of that coup and the intention, whereas the report was dismissed as fantastic by a panel of judges, the intentions of the compilers of that report were much more sinister actually. Were it that the President of the country was someone who was paranoid it means that those plotters would have been apprehended and all of those plotters were people who were in line to take over within this year and next year from the old Generals. So in a way it wasn't such a fantastic report. It was a devious report actually. But Robert is accorded a part in that report and his part was to procure for the plotters from Mozambique. Now what that says to me is there was an intention on the part of the compilers that at one point or another Robert was going to be apprehended in possession of arms here, not in Mozambique. In order to authenticate that report he would have been apprehended first and the report would have been sent to the President. The timing got messy for one reason or another. Now what I cannot understand is why Robert ended up in Mozambique. He wasn't there on any mission of the ANC, I've checked that, I should know, and he wasn't there on any mission of the SA government. That's what makes it difficult. Only he knows what he was doing there.
POM What I find ironic about it is that that it's quoted in Patti Waldmeir's book on the negotiations, was that during the negotiations about the Record of Understanding when the NP were slowly conceding one point after another Mandela, according to her, decided to up the stakes. As she recounts it he picked up the phone and called FW and said, or before he picked up the phone he said, "I've had enough of this chappie", picked up the phone, called him and said, "I want Robert McBride released within 24 hours." FW said, "Impossible, can't be done." Mandela said "Well in that case I guess I will have to leave here, go outside and say this conference was a total and utter failure." Half an hour later a telephone call back from FW saying he will be released within 24 hours. She quotes that Mac had to kick Mandela under the table and say, "You're going too far, you going too far." At that point Mandela risked everything on him in a certain sense and yet right now nobody from the SA government, even though he was travelling on a diplomatic passport, has said - because you were travelling on a diplomatic passport you have a certain kinds of immunity. One kind of immunity is being locked up in a jail and not being charge with anything, just being left there.
KM No, the Consul in Mozambique, the SA Consul has been in touch with him. We have been in touch with his wife Paula, the government keeps her posted on his plight there and the unfolding developments there. The reality of the problem is that when you have a member who acts on his own it makes it very difficult for the organisation to act on behalf of that member. Actually it poses the question as to who is he working with in fact. In the same way if someone goes and robs a bank, you know there is a popular poet here called Mzwaki Mbuli, in the days of the UDF he used to write very revolutionary poems in rallies and so on, and then he got arrested for a bank robbery.
POM This is the People's Poet?
KM That's the one. He appeared this week in court. He is an ANC member, and then the question is asked, why is the ANC not demanding the release of Mzwaki Mbuli? The same people who ask that question would in the same breath ask a different question, why is it that the ANC seems soft on crime? They would ask that question, the same people. The point I'm making is that the organisation as a collective means that membership gives you certain rights but also imposes certain obligations on you. If you act outside of that framework all we can do is really on a humanitarian basis help wherever possible, but we can't as an organisation. In Robert's case it's even worse, it's even worse in his case because as the ANC we have very solid relations with the Frelimo party in Mozambique. We speak to them many times, we can pick up the phone and speak to them. The SA government has very solid relations with the Mozambican government. Indeed there are bilateral agreements fashioned by Foreign Affairs. So the point I'm making is that it's even worse because you have that kind of bilateral relationship. The SA government, the old one, treated the neighbours in the region very shabbily in the past and this government cannot be seen to be attempting to lord it over not even Lesotho, not even land-locked Lesotho. The sovereignty of these states must be respected.
Now Robert, as I said, there is evidence to suggest that there was an intention to get him arrested one way or another for gun running, but how unwittingly or wittingly he came to in a way corroborate that kind of plan by locating himself in Mozambique under the circumstances under which he did is still beyond my comprehension and I've asked Paula that question. She couldn't shed any light. She doesn't know herself. All she could say was that Robert was going to investigate gun running activities there and his guns would be poured into KwaZulu/Natal. And the question is on whose behalf was it being done or on whose behest was he doing that? We drew a blank. But it's not the first time. Last time he rocked up in France and was asking questions, he actually said he was going to investigate Dulcie September's killing there and even then the head of the mission there frantically phoned Pretoria to say, "Now what is this?" and nobody knew why he was doing it, nobody knew why he was there. So it is actually the second time in this case, but as I said, we are being informed as to what is happening there and we pass the information on to Paula. Paula herself goes to Mozambique to visit him and we are all hopeful that the matter will be resolved one way or the other but we can't be seen as an organisation to be doing that. The opposition parties here have tried to put pressure, to say why is the government not doing anything, this is a person from Foreign Affairs. But we know why they are doing it because there are people who were arrested in Angola, SA citizens, for supplying guns to UNITA and so on and we know that they want the government to act on behalf of Robert so that they can then say, no but there are other citizens. Now there are many SA citizens, others arrested in Latin America for trafficking cocaine, others in the Far East, others in the United States. Now the government can only follow up the matters but you can't interfere with the processes of justice in those countries.
POM I will leave you with this quote - would it be possible to see you again before I go?
KM When are you going?
POM Well not until at least the end of August.
KM OK, I am sure we can make the time.
POM OK, so I'll leave you with the quote that you can think about, so you don't have to reply to it, and it is from Jeremy Cronin. He said : -
"You can already smell authoritarianism tendencies in the air in SA. The ANC will win the next election by default because the opposition is so unfocused. There is a lot of jargon and not much thoughtfulness coming from the government. Mugabe epitomises where we could end up. We implement austerity but when we encounter resistance we give up for a few months. There are swings between demagoguery and a managerialism. It holds terrible perils for democracy."
Jeremy is a colleague of yours in a different capacity. Before we go into it, leave it for next time, would you agree, disagree, or say he's way off the mark or that he's pointing to something that must be looked at?
KM Well I'm not sure about that. I am sure if I were to take that quote and repeat it to him he would deny it. He would say you have distorted it.
POM I have an appointment with him next week and I will take it directly to him and we will see.
KM I'm saying that because a few weeks ago there was an article, he gave an interview to the Sunday Times journalist and there was an article on 24th May, a front page article in the Sunday Times, which relied very much on an interview that he gave and attributed certain quotes to him. By Monday 25th he came with a statement claiming that he had been distorted and the following weekend he wrote a letter himself to the editor of the Sunday Times which they published and he indicated how and where he felt that he had been distorted, what he said had been taken out of context and distorted. The editor inserted a footnote, that's the following weekend the 31st May, indicating that the article had been read to him telephonically and he had confirmed that the quotes were correct. He said that he was distorted, he was quoted out of context and so forth and I am sure he would not own up to what you have said now.
POM I'll be surprised. Thank you ever so much for your time and patience.
This is Caroline Barker filling in parts of the interview held with Mr Motlanthe the SG of the ANC on 24th June 1998.
At one point in the discussion Mr Motlanthe was talking about the road that is taken between the building blocks that the new government is establishing for nation building and transformation and the ultimate end point of achieving that transformation. He was talking about the discussions that he had with unions, people from COSATU and other union groups, and the example that he used with them was to ask them whether they do not think it's a good idea to build an Olympic sized swimming near a black housing settlement, to which the immediate response was always, "That would be government madness, what we need is more housing." He said that he then rephrased the question and said, "Well do you not think now that SA is part of the international community, that SA can take part in the Olympic Games that therefore it is also a right of children to have access to sporting facilities so that they can develop those skills and have the right and the opportunity to indeed represent SA in the Olympic Games and that therefore having an Olympic pool built near a housing settlement was as important as other aspects of building up the infrastructure such as the houses themselves, and he used this illustration to show how he brings some union thinkers round to recognise how one cannot talk endlessly about housing, housing, housing, there are other aspects of building up the nation in a global all-encompassing way and that this will indeed include electricity, water supply and also the likes of swimming pools.
I subsequently asked Mr Motlanthe how he would assess police reform in SA, where he would see the successes and where he would see the remaining problems and challenges. He responded that he was not sure whether there were in fact any successes. He said that the police was one area where the old bloc still hold sway and their influence "has barely been dented." He said that they were a key instrument at the hands of the old regime in combating all forms of resistance. They were well resourced and had carte blanche authority. They were the key in the apartheid system and the judicial and political system gave them credibility and legitimacy. He referred to the Antjie Krok book on the TRC and to the upcoming internal review written by the TRC as the best source for getting a sense of the role of the police force under the old regime. He commented that there has been less success in integrating the police force or integrating new groups into the police force than there has been in the case of the military. He said that the minister in charge had the right kind of ideas and was trying to steer the police force to take on new ideologies but that it was not clear that the top management was strongly behind this. The transformation, he said, is very necessary but would require "an almost surgical overhaul", that there was a lack of investigative skills since in the past if a person had been arrested it was just assumed they were guilty and any kind of confession would be extracted rather than using proper investigative skills to get the evidence. The need to transform, he stated, could not be sufficiently strongly put across.
He commented about black South Africans who were previously in the police force. Those, he said, who did hold rank were not there as a result of ability but rather because of their subservience to the police force. They would not have been given rank were it not that there were subservient in their behaviour.
Padraig O'Malley asked why then does the government, given all these problems, not put in more resources to the police force, fire the incompetents amongst them and take some really hard tough decisions to rectify the situation. Mr Motlanthe replied that if his description of the police force is accurate they would need a team of highly competent managers to ensure the proper supervision and monitoring so that the inefficient people and factors would be exposed. This would require a 'succession plan' because the command structure is so militarised and would need completely overhauling. Although the minister, he said, is the head of the police force as such, the National Commissioner has direct command through the line of command and this top management needed to change and needed to be replaced with people who bought into the values of the new system. This would require a succession plan. The British, he commented, do have a plan of support but they are more focused on the military than on police. He referred to the introduction of Meyer Kahn in reform of police and that he had brought some innovative ideas and steps such as adult education and training which was relevant since many of the black police had very low qualifications and, as he had commented, those who made it further up the ladder did so through subservience not qualification.
Education, he stressed, was the key. He remarked that students today do not see public service as an opportunity for them and rather want to go into the corporate sector, that even those amongst them who were politically aware felt that it was often enough just to get involved in political demonstrations in order to express their views. They needed to be persuaded into areas such as the judiciary or the police and to get into an environment where they could hone their skills. The old brigade, he said, by which he was referring to the old regime and those remaining from under the old regime, want to straitjacket those people into certain areas mostly on racist grounds because they themselves feel threatened in their positions.
I asked Mr Motlanthe about community policing and the building of relationships with communities and how far he felt that this had been successful. He replied that it was still very uneven, that community policing forums had been harmed by the fact that once a criminal is apprehended the constitutional right to bail within 48 hours combined with police inefficiencies mean that they could very quickly be back in the community and threatening people not to testify against them, hence the inefficiencies in police stations militated against the effectiveness of the CPF's. Many people, he said, agonised over reporting things to the police and this was a key problem.
He remarked on his own experiences visiting KwaZulu/Natal, the nature of the violence there and the continuing peripheral involvement of police. He remarked that in many clear cut cases the prosecution process was messed up by the system. He cited the case of, if I have it correctly, Siphiso Nkabinde who had been acquitted by a judge and the next day was then seen out with bodyguards fully armed and was not questioned nor apprehended.
Mr Motlanthe said that there was an ANC plan to develop their local branches in communities to provide a focus point to which people could come and convey information or concerns, report things such as truanting teachers, petty criminals and so on and so forth and they wanted to build up the role of these local branches.
The next question placed by Padraig was that regarding the healthiness of having a two thirds or greater majority for the ANC in the next elections, and Mr Motlanthe's response to this was recorded directly on the tape.