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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
28 Jul 1998: Chalmers, Judy
POM Judy, we had just been talking about FW de Klerk. How do you think he will be remembered by history?
JC Well I suppose it would depend where you're coming from. If you were coming from the more reactionary sector of society, the white community and the Afrikaans community, they would see him as a sell-out, as the man who put their nation really on the skids. If you came from the probably more liberal sector of white society they would see him as the man who had the courage to realise that for whatever reasons white rule and apartheid were no longer an option for SA and they would see him as quite a hero in a way. If you came from the black community and people like myself who have come through the struggle years, I view him as a man who had, I guess, the sense to realise that he had no alternative, primarily because of international pressure and the complete destabilisation of society in SA that he had to move in a different direction and he did have the courage to do that, and had he been of the ilk of PW Botha, he might well have still hung on tooth and nail to what he believed as the safest option for SA which was to maintain by force white supremacy. FW de Klerk, I think, got out of the NP at the right time for him. I think they certainly have a limited future in SA in their present form, although they certainly have fairly substantial support in the Western Cape from the coloured community, but there are all sorts of historical reasons for that, and I think FW de Klerk will go down as the man who facilitated change for whatever reason. To me they were not moral reasons, they were pragmatic reasons, but change did happen as a result of his decisions.
POM So do you hold him responsible, as does President Mandela, for the violence that took place in the early nineties? He would argue now that President Mandela is president that as president is finding out that a president can't keep his finger in every pie and that things go on whether it's in the security forces or other places, corruption within departments, over which a president has no control, that President Mandela to a certain extent overestimated the power of what a president can and can't do?
JC I think possibly President Mandela underestimated the momentum with which the forces of evil had been put in place over so many decades by the NP and the momentum that those forces had which just continued and are still continuing for a whole multiplicity of reasons. I don't think he would have put the word out to say continue to destabilise, he wouldn't put himself at risk in that way. I think he would just let things carry on the way they had done for years and particularly through the eighties, that there were all sorts of clever and consistently destabilising ways of not enabling society to settle down to change. I don't think I would hold him personally responsible for that. He didn't have to do anything, it had its own momentum anyway. The security forces, what was happening in the homelands with the chiefs, and the way that society was managed in those little parts of SA, what was happening in KwaZulu/Natal, it had a momentum of its own but I bet you he didn't say, look before 1994, I bet you he didn't say to the security forces, we now have a completely different situation here, I want you to go out and I want you to enable society to start working towards peaceful solutions for this country. I bet you he didn't say something like that. It wasn't in his interests for it to work.
POM But why would it be in his interests to on the one hand end apartheid, release Mandela and on the other hand to completely destabilise the country? What would be the strategic purpose of that?
JC When you look back on everything he had come from, which was that blacks actually didn't have the capacity and ability to run this country in a way that was civilised, everything that he had said up to 1990, everything that he had believed in and his people had believed in was not to enable the blacks to have an easy passage into a new SA. When the violence erupted in various parts of the country I bet you he wouldn't have said to himself, this is morally unjustified the way that my security forces are acting in terms of being a third force, etc., and it's a cop out I think to say that the president is unable to keep control of all the unsatisfactory things that are happening in this country. I think it's a cop out for President Mandela and I think it was a cop out for President de Klerk as well. It may well be that things are not completely within control but ultimately the president should take responsibility for what is happening.
POM Putting that just in the context of crime, if one goes abroad there is an immediate association of crime and SA as being an inherently unsafe place and foreign businessmen will bring it up as one of the reasons for their hesitancy to invest here. Why has the government not been able over four years to get a grip on this problem, i.e. in terms of the allocation of a larger proportion of the budget to it, in terms of the retraining of policemen, in terms of stiffer laws, in terms of the training of the detectives, in terms of rooting out corruption?
JC I was reading in the Sunday Times of this week an article by Meyer Kahn, and that is the $64,000 question that is being asked of him, the journalist said to him, "You said that if by June substantial advances had not been made in cutting the crime rate in this country that you would pack your bags and go", and they said, "We notice you're still in your office and are you going to pack your bags and go?" And he apparently levitates at a question like that and said, "No, what you must realise is that we are living in a country where there is no value system, where there is unlimited weaponry, where violence is the easy option, where 140,000 jobs were destroyed so far this year, and you must realise that there are no easy answers."
I think we all realise there are no easy answers. The point that he is making is that there are points of hope really in little police stations all over the country and what he's hoping now to do is that they will have a ripple effect and be an example to the less competent and less effective police stations and that there will be eventually a growth between the achieving areas and the non-achieving areas that will end up in creating a situation that is more acceptable.
The crime rate, from what I'm hearing, has not increased, has not got worse but apparently that stabilisation had happened even before Meyer Kahn came into office. I think we came into office with a situation of an entire lost generation, I think we all know the historical background. I remember sitting in my Advice Office in the early nineties in Port Elizabeth and a very nice man came and he was looking for a job and he was sitting opposite me at the desk and he said, "Look, I've just served a two year sentence for housebreaking. I've been out for two months. If I can't get another job you'll probably see me back here in two years time because my family have to eat." He himself was not a criminal type, he was not a violent man, but he seemed to feel that he had no option but to go into a criminal activity because he couldn't provide for his family. I'm scared, and I think the average citizen is scared. My house has been burgled twice this year.
POM That's in PE?
JC In PE. Cleaned out the first time. The second time less substantial because most of the stuff had gone anyway, but some of my precious things were taken like my mother's rings and things like that which are irreplaceable and really of no great value to anybody else. So that was sad. So now we've put a burglar alarm system in and hopefully that will do the trick, but it is that you're living at the edge of - you're living in a society where you are extremely vulnerable, first of all being caught in the crossfire of random violence in a taxi war or something of that nature, or if you are perceived as one of the haves, and we all know the huge gap between the haves and have-nots in this country, but if you're perceived as one of the haves you're very vulnerable especially if you are of the older generation. I've never had a gun, I never will have a gun because I consider them to be an invitation to violence, but I fear for my children. The one is on a farm and every night I pray for their safety so that they get through that night safely. The other one is in Johannesburg and her house has been burgled twice in the last 18 months as well. So that's how we live and I think that they are getting more jacked up as far as some of the types of crime are concerned. I think the security firms are making a fortune because it is a growth industry in this country, understandably so. When I go to Australia to see my children and grandchildren there it is a great revelation to me to be able to see how they live and how they walk out of their houses and they don't lock and the kids leave their bicycles lying around on the front lawn and we can't live like that here now. I don't think we anticipated that it would be like this, which is sad.
POM Some people - I raised this question yesterday with General Viljoen who attributed part of it to what he would call the over-revolutionised mind - that the dogma of revolution was so deeply ingrained that part of the residual response to it is crime. As you said, you have the haves and the have-nots and it's a form of forced redistribution of wealth.
JC I don't think it's as logical as that but funnily enough I was in hospital for a small op two weeks ago and the very nice Sister, black Sister, came and chatted to me. She recognised me and she said to me, we were looking at the newspaper together and there was another attack on a farm, she said, "You know what I'm hearing from the community is that people are saying they had so much for so long and now it is our right to take it." I think it can be rationalised by a criminal but I think it's really the fact that there are great huge sections of our society without the skills or expertise or experience to enter the job market, they don't have the concept or vision of just making it on their own and crime is the easy option.
I've been visiting the prisons in PE particularly to see what the conditions are for juveniles who are under 18 and I spent a morning there a little while ago just sitting. I went with Mary Turok who is a member here and all these juveniles, 130 of them, were sitting in a courtyard and we said to them, "Have any of you got particular problems you want to talk about?" And one of the guards behind me said, "Oh they'll never talk to you." And about 40 of them stood up so we spent the rest of the morning sitting on a one-to-one basis just hearing what they were in for, if they had parents, did they have special problems, were they part of a gang and the conditions were appalling in that they were again and again being held there without the appropriate conditions being looked at. For instance, they shouldn't be held there for more than 14 days, they should be receiving visits, their parents should have been notified, all those sort of conditions. But it was interesting to hear them talking about themselves and you'd say, "What Standard do you have?" "Oh I have got Standard 2", this is a 16 year old. "What would you really like to do?" I would say to them. And they would say, "Well I would like to be a doctor." You know the ambitions and the hopes are there and don't stand a hope in Hades of being realised 99% of the time so there is an ongoing absolute frustration in that sector of society which is very, very scary in fact.
POM Is there any sense of there being an ingrained work ethic?
JC Not with any sort of continuity. There is a great hope that is unlikely to be fulfilled but the few that would be prepared to just knuckle down and get the qualifications, the educational qualifications that would make it possible for them to go further with their lives, those youngsters I would say there is very little chance of that. If they do have a spark and an ability it's more likely to be a good criminal than to be a good citizen I would think. Although funnily enough last week - in PE there's a wonderful centre there called Stepping Stones, there are only two in the country, it's a one-stop centre for juvenile offenders. They get picked up in the street, they then appear in court at this centre, a juvenile court, on the same day with a magistrate, an enormous man of about 6'8", big burly Afrikaner, but who really knows what he's looking at. Then there's a finding service that goes out and looks for family, brings them in. There are social workers there at the same time who start putting in place rehabilitation programmes for them, that start looking at different ways of them serving their sentence to the point that they meet with the victim and they will go and wash that victim's car every Saturday morning for the next two months instead of going into St Alban's Prison where they will be sodomised, they will be mixed up with the gangs, they will learn how to make weapons in very creative ways. So that was something that was good and that was exciting but there are only two in the whole country and if there was one in every major centre and a few smaller units in the rural areas I would say now we're getting somewhere. But if you look at those youngsters, the 14 year olds, a 14 year old picked up and put in prison for stealing a pair of socks from Shoprite, is something like the Victorian era in the UK, the types of sentences.
POM At the same time you have rapists who are being released on R200 bail and sentenced to six months or two years.
JC Yes, and come out and do the same thing all over again and these kids get sodomised there and they become brutalised and they're much worse off when they come out than when they went into the prisons. The one little boy said to me, "I was all right when I was in the cells because I was in a cell with the others who were the same age but when they took me to court I was waiting in the room downstairs", and one of the big boys got him there just before he went into court and he said it was horrible. So you have to comfort - I just said to him, "Just remember, anything that happens to you, there is nothing that can touch you inside your head, it's only your body." Well, I mean, you know as far as he was concerned it was painful and unpleasant and he wasn't the only one. Yes, the crime factor is very difficult.
POM Let's look at the corruption factor. I have noticed a change at least in the statements of President Mandela in the last year whereas before there was always a defensiveness about the uncovering of corruption, (a) it was a more transparent society therefore at least it was being uncovered, (b) the corruption that was going on now was nothing compared to the corruption that went on under the NP government. Now he moves more in the direction of saying there are many of our comrades who are busily dipping their fingers into the cash basket and taking what they want. You've had prominent cases in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, in the Northern Cape, in Gauteng where it is corruption by the new order on a fairly substantial, sometimes a very, very substantial scale. Is it becoming, again, a serious problem where more must be seen to be done to weed it out before it begins to just spill its poison over the whole public service system?
JC Here in parliament there is something like R500,000 has been overspent by members on their travel allowances. We know jolly well how many tickets we're allowed to travel free and we know when you reach that limit, well we should and if you don't then it should be immediately taken off your salary. But they don't do that, they allow it to mount up and mount up and then they come to a member and say, "Well you're R30,000 in the red, where is it?" And I think if proper administrative measures were put in place a lot of the damage would be more containable. I think what is happening now compared with the old regime is that it's much more public. We all knew about a lot of the scams that were going on before but the press couldn't publish, the police immediately were instructed to cover up and so except for a few notable exceptions like the minister, I think he was the Minister of Water Affairs, Fanie Botha who was removed from office because of corruption in the mid 1980s, there was almost no exposure of what went on whereas now that is happening.
I am quite pleased with some of the measures, like the Heath Commission in the Eastern Cape, the fact that they are uncovering all the ghost pensioners. But in the Transkei it was the norm, it was the way of life. You never got anything done unless you paid the official involved and that was how it worked. Ciskei as well, not as bad as Transkei but both those homelands that was how they functioned and come the change of government there was no way that there was going to be any immediate turnaround in the way that officials went about their duties. But it is being uncovered, although once again the police are very often where the problems lie. I know there was an uncovering of a huge scam in the school feeding scheme in the Eastern Cape and the minister, the MEC for Health there, was aware of it. Charges were laid, they worked on the cases, all the cases were held in a police station in the Transkei and the whole thing went up in flames. So they lost track of those.
POM You mean it was really in flames?
JC Literally in flames, they burnt the whole lot. Gone. In many instances it's like a wild west society. In Transkei particularly with 14,000 superfluous officials who do nothing, they are paid and they can't be winkled out of their jobs because the constitution - unless there is very proven corruption or a very serious case is brought against them, but there are too many, they are supernumeraries, so they earn their salaries and you can be jolly sure that they are very vulnerable to using their time in a way that could be termed as fostering corruption and it's an unhealthy climate and I think there is an enormous amount of corruption going on. I don't say it's worse than the old regime and I think there are things that can be done now that will bring them to book but then you've got to have the police on your side and you've got to have them actively on your side which probably might well not be happening but it's a big problem.
POM Somebody in Thabo Mbeki's office said to me the other day that their loose estimate was that about one quarter of the police were involved in some kind of scam or illegal activity or whatever.
JC Yes, I was talking to a policeman about it the other day and he said the only way to do it is to move your police from station to station on a three-monthly basis so they don't get their networks set up and they don't get their connections and he said for now, because of where they've come from, that is the only way to control the corruption because he said once you get a police station that is corrupt they're all going to be in it and none of them are going to spill the beans about the other one so you're locked into a situation that is completely unacceptable from the simplest things like traffic fines right up to people who are involved in some of the major crime rackets. I think SA is on the list now as being fertile ground for some of the big time international crime operators especially in the drug scenario, which doesn't make for a society that is confident in its future.
POM So here you had Thabo Mbeki talking in his Two Nations speech that there had been no real progress made towards reconciliation, that the divide between the haves and the have-nots was as great as it was before the new government took over, that there was a collapse of moral values. He was calling for some kind of Moral Summit. Has there been a collapse in moral values?
JC Well I think there has been a steady undermining of moral values for the last 40 years and fundamental to that has been the destruction of the family system where the fathers never stayed with their families and the mother was left to try to hold the family unit together with the help of the extended family. So I think there has been an enormous destruction which the whole removals policy, the forced removals policy fed into that as well. I don't there has been a recent collapse of moral values. I think if anything people are wishing that the older values could be - the older, almost family, values, possibly in some instances tribal values, could be reinstated which is not likely to happen. I think the divide between the haves and the have-nots is enormous and terrifying and I just think that there has not been nearly enough done for the truly impoverished. I think the RDP was a policy that made sense and gave people quite a substantial amount of hope. I think the GEAR policy, I am not a communist but I have an understanding of their concern that it feeds into the global concept of industry where exports are going to be the great money spinners for this country and I have grave misgivings that that is not going to happen. It will happen in isolated instances but I have grave misgivings that the RDP may be marginalised in the interests of GEAR and I hope that doesn't happen.
POM What more could be done where there are such limited resources?
JC What more could the government do?
POM Yes, when expenditure is limited to a percentage, or the deficit is limited to a percentage of the GDP?
JC Of course we are settled with a national debt which is such a crippling, absolutely crippling consideration. I feel we could have done a lot more in terms of public works. To me it would just make sense to look at an area such as the Transkei where there is an enormous need, for instance, for roads and to create public works schemes there where if there is a road needed to a village, and they all need roads, where the people of the area and particularly the women of the area build those roads and it wouldn't be substantial money coming into an area but it would be regular money and you can build those wonderful block roads similar to the old Roman roads that have lasted for centuries and they could do that and every woman in the village would get up every morning and she would go with her friends and they would go and build a section of the road. Why have such schemes not been considered, almost like a post-war - it was a war. There were sectors of society that came out of our war extremely affluent and huge, the majority of the people who have been squashed down to the bottom of society and they're still grovelling around there and there is not enough being done for them and I don't just mean welfare handouts, I mean work done.
POM As far back as 1992 we had a group of ANC delegates at our university where we spent two days discussing nothing but the programmes that Roosevelt launched in the New Deal to get the American economy off the ground, all built around the concept of public works, public works, public works. There seems to be an abundance of ideas but those ideas never translate into -
JC Projects and real development, yes. I don't know why that should be so. It makes me quite, absolutely frustrated that that hasn't been happening. Kader Asmal with the Work for Water Programme, it has just worked so well because it's achieved two aims, one is giving people a job, a regular job, and secondly taking out the invasive vegetation which is destructive to the environment and the economy anyway, and there are those projects that millions have been put into all over the country. I know in the Eastern Cape his budget is now spent and those projects are grinding to a halt and that's very sad to see because they have been able to eat and send their kids to school and it's been a wonderful minor miracle that has happened but if it stops now until the next budget I just don't think that's acceptable, it's absolutely unacceptable.
POM To come back to GEAR, in terms of its targets it has consistently failed to meet any of the targets that are set out. This year economic growth might be 1%, per capita income will in fact decline, there is no significant foreign investment pouring into the country. In fact you have the irony that whereas SA was supposed to be the engine that would drive Africa, the rest of Africa is now growing at a quicker pace than is SA. Wouldn't you think that in those circumstances the government would say we must re-examine GEAR, we must look at the assumptions we made and see whether they were realistic assumptions, examine why our targets were not met where they have not been met, maybe make readjustments or whatever rather than either President Mandela or Thabo Mbeki pounding the table and saying GEAR is government policy and will not be changed, over my dead body?
JC As you know I am not even beginning to be an economist but I would think that it is absolutely vital that there is a re-examination of where we're going in terms of - I have grown to gain a lot of respect for our Minister of Finance and I think that the money at the top is being well managed, but as far as sustainable programmes are concerned to enable this country to attract foreign investment I just can't see that the vision is there. One of the wacky things I think is that if you look at the potential of this country, of the natural resources of this country, of where jobs can easily be created, it's in the field of tourism and I think that is where a great deal of expertise and finance and thought should be being placed but it's just not happening, it's absolutely not happening. I'm in the Environment and Tourism Portfolio Committee, and I know it's not happening and I think that's stupid. I actually think it's stupid.
A lot of the Satour offices internationally have closed down, some of them were extremely mismanaged but that could have been rectified and it seems to be regarded as a luxury item. Instead it is fundamental to people, even given the crime problems there is just so much potential. I received this report from the World Travel Tourism Council on creating jobs internationally with tourism and it's what every country, Australia, Europe, some of the Asian countries, Taiwan, are recognising the potential but SA is lagging behind sorely and sadly as far as this is concerned. I can't give you statistics but they are there and we are busy studying them at the moment.
Just in our Eastern Cape the tourism potential there is enormous and it has so much to offer. It's a malaria free area, the rural areas are virtually crime free, it's beautiful, it can have specialised groups going there who specialise in all sorts of things from bird watching to whale watching to succulents and people who come again and send more people in, but it's done like the old Post Office tree. It's done in an absolutely mediaeval fashion whereas it's got so much potential and to me that's sad and a bit sort of stupid actually.
In the ministries of the Eastern Cape tourism, yes, well that's another story, but they put Environment and Tourism in with Economic Affairs. It's fine to put tourism there but I'm an environmentalist deeply at heart and it is destructive to our environment and the different ministries need to work in such an inter-meshed fashion to make it happen and it just doesn't seem to be part of the government's national agenda. Even our Minister for Environmental Affairs is - so there are so problems within the department as well. We should look at GEAR again. I completely concur with that.
POM Where does the country stand as it enters the end of the Mandela era?
JC I think we've taken a real knock as far as the economy is concerned when you look at the rand. I keep hearing that it's going to and must find its own level in the market. Look, I wouldn't live anywhere else. I have family in Australia and I love it when I'm there but I come back here and to me it is - when I get frustrated, Padraig, is when I hear young people, sometimes professional, all having received good education, subsidised education from this government, saying, oh no, there's no future. So I say, well go if you feel you must but if you're going to stay then you must contribute. You can't just sit on the sidelines and wring your hands and talk in your sort of dinner parties of the incompetencies of this black government. Everybody can contribute in some way and you will feel better if you do.
POM To go by Sheena Duncan -
JC Saying this is how the ordinary citizen in SA can make a difference to society.
POM What paper was it in?
JC It was in the Independent, no not last week's, about two weeks ago. I've got it here somewhere. This is how you can make a difference, this is what you can do even if it means getting on to your school board and participating there, even if it means getting involved in your church groups, if it means setting up a little literacy group for your domestic worker and others around but there is a sort of paralysis almost that seems to have taken hold of society, particularly white society, in this country and a sort of hopelessness that I feel is very worrying.
POM One can go to places like Rosebank or Sandton, go to restaurants here -
JC There is so much money.
POM - and the place is flooded with money.
JC I know, there is so much money.
POM People are complaining about their standards of living are falling when three quarters of the world would fall over backwards to -
JC They have been so spoilt. White society has been so spoilt and I think they thought it would be easy and it was never going to be easy. It was never going to be easy. I am hopeful in that - I think there are huge problems in the schooling systems and I think there have been a lot of stupid decisions taken, unfortunate decisions taken, but when you look at the old Model C schools which are good schools, good teaching, good facilities, and they are now, often at least a half of the students will be black. Now these are kids that are getting good education, that are mixing completely on a par with white kids and so there is an integration going on there. They occasionally go to each other's homes to play. They play sport together. There is a privileged section of society that is very much on the up and up and they will come out and they will be sought after, those black kids, for the jobs that are going. But at the same time there's a whole section of youngsters who are still receiving third rate education and goodness knows how they will ever get into the job market and of course they will feed into the criminal population as well.
POM Is part of the problem that SA gained its freedom just at a point where globalisation, the globalisation of the economy or even of most activities, has become the norm not the exception so that its ability to make decisions to affect its own future is now subject to so many outside constraints that in fact sovereignty in the traditional sense doesn't exist any longer?
JC Funnily enough, this was in yesterday's Business Day, and there's been a People's Summit in England which involved 9000 economists including George Soros and one of the things -
POM This is Business Day of 27th July?
JC 27th July. And what he says here is that financier George Soros warns that the globalisation of capital is inherently unstable socially as well as economically. He says the majority of people do not benefit from the global economy which benefits capital at the expense of labour and financial capital to the detriment of fixed investments. I think that's a very valid comment from a man who has been a global financier of the - well he's brought whole countries down.
POM He's one of the people who is speculating.
JC Has brought whole countries down.
POM ... the company that speculated against the rand. He's speaking out of one side of his mouth.
JC But he may have - his own interests, he may be able to set them aside and his history. But what is also, they put in place here, one of the things that they talk of is that an option, an idea which I think bears looking at, is that governments would finance the training of social entrepreneurs. "People with the same capacity as business entrepreneurs to see opportunities and bring resources to bear on them. They're not interested in profits but in making a difference within derelict communities. Research shows investment in social entrepreneurs produces ten times as many income producing jobs per unit of capital as the same investment in small business enterprises." So I think there were a whole lot of ideas that came out of this summit, that I didn't even know was happening, that are really innovative and interesting and I hope people take note of what was said there.
POM How will a Mbeki government differ from a Mandela government?
JC I don't think - look, I mean we all know that our great leader Nelson Mandela is a hero and he's a man who has an extraordinary aura and is symbolic of everything that SA has gone through, but I think Thabo Mbeki is a practical, a rational, very uncharismatic but with a charm of his own. People are saying to me what will happen when Mandela goes? And I say, "But ten years ago you were saying to me, what will happen when Mandela comes out? So really just get your thinking on track." Nothing will change I don't think. The ministers who are there at the present time will still be there. I think that Thabo Mbeki has extremely good relationships with the formal sector of industrial society. I think he has good relationships internationally with other nations. I don't think he has put a foot wrong in any major way since he came onto the scene and I think he is an extremely competent and capable politician. I could wish he was more accessible and that he perhaps had an ability to be something of the sort of charismatic leader that Mandela has been but Mandela is on his way now. He is removed from the corridors of power really and for people to say what will happen when he goes, I just say to them nothing will happen when he goes.
POM He's gone.
JC Yes, he's gone. He went a year ago. I am just happy he's got a nice lady friend. I think we're going to have trouble in the new election with ex-Comrade Bantu Holomisa because in the Eastern Cape he's going to get quite a lot of votes there and it's going to be very interesting and I don't think the ANC is taking him nearly seriously enough there.
POM He says that the violence at Richmond, that the UDM and the ANC should sit down together and try to work out a common policy to eliminate that violence or contain it and the ANC says under no circumstances are we going to talk to you, all that will do will enhance your political stature at our expense.
JC Which I think is a pity.
POM Isn't that an awfully short-sighted policy?
JC Yes and it's just playing into his hands because he will use that on every platform to say, I want to sit down and talk, if you've got problems with my leadership in KwaZulu/Natal let us discuss it. The man was acquitted of the crimes for which he was being charged and there is nothing substantial against him.
POM This is like the ANC saying the judge reached the wrong decision.
POM Therefore we're not accepting the rule of law in a sense.
JC Of course I absolutely hold the very strongly held conviction that Holomisa was a disaster in the Transkei and that one only has to look at his record there and bring out the facts and figures of that record for him to be on his way. But, of course, all the old officialdom of the Transkei are pro him. I believe what he does now, I've heard from people who are living there, is that he uses government transport because the officialdom make it available to him. He uses state halls for his meetings because they give it to him and he has a very strong relationship with all those people that he either gave jobs or upped their salaries before he went out of office and that is all documented, clearly documented stuff. I don't think we are playing our cards at all well. I am hoping that they will become more sensible in the run up to the election. He's a very charismatic guy.
POM I've been interviewing him since 1989. He still picks up his own phone, in fact, himself. There are two people that are kind of odd in that he always picks up his own phone and answers his own phone. That's one thing he does, and the other person who I'm going to see now is Chief Buthelezi who has been the only person since 1989 who has, when I have asked for an interview, has actually responded himself in a handwritten letter or a typed out letter signed by him and it's something that he wrote because you can recognise the style he uses. He uses the word 'I' so many times, only one person could have written this letter, but he always does it.
JC Yes, which is just great.
POM It's a courtesy.
JC When it's maintained like that says something about the man, doesn't it? Absolutely.
POM If you had one question to ask him what would you ask him?
JC Buthelezi? I would ask him whether he sees himself as part of the future government of this country and if he does what would he like his role to be?
POM I'll put it directly to him.