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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

30 Jul 1998: Camerer, Sheila

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POM     The last time we talked, Sheila, was in September and you were very depressed.

SC     Yes.

POM     About whether or not you should have made a decision to go with Roelf. You were disillusioned about the leadership of the party, you were disillusioned with, not its direction, but the non-direction in which it appeared to be going. You thought that in retrospect the idea of what Roelf had proposed in 1997 of throwing in the towel and forming a new party -

SC     His January proposal, yes.

POM     - might have been the better thing to do.

SC     When was this? In September last year?

POM     Yes. At that point you didn't even know who you were going to vote for when it came to the vote.

SC     Oh did you interview me before I left, because I wasn't here. I managed to escape the vote.

POM     You said you would probably be punished as a wicked person for that.

SC     Well I wasn't.

POM     So instead you got promoted.

SC     Well I don't know if you could call it that really, let's be honest.

POM     So six months, eight months, nine months down the line, what would be your reassessment of what your feelings were last September?

SC     Well I don't think my feelings have changed much but I was persuaded that one should give the thing a try under a new leader. Actually when I came back from visiting abroad and found that Marthinus had been elected, to my surprise he called me in and said he was going to rely on me a lot, etc., blah, blah, blah, and there was a sort of love-in going on with him and Tony Leon at that stage, with the Democratic Party and it seemed as though a possible coalition held a lot of promise. In fact quite shortly after that we had talks and I have been part of the negotiating team with the DP and we are even talking to the Freedom Front but mainly focused on the DP.

POM     Are those still ongoing talks?

SC     We had little meetings and then we had a big meeting before the end of last year and somebody leaked it and then there were all sorts of allegations from the DP that our guys leaked because Renier Schoeman, I don't know if you talk to him, was alleged, as he's very against the whole thing, that he tried to scupper it.

POM     What's his name?

SC     Renier Schoeman, he's our Executive Director and one of the last surviving broeders in the party I would say. Marthinus isn't a Broederbonder, he's quite sceptical of them. Anyway, there he is, old Renier. Anyway there was a leak. Who leaked I don't know but Tony Leon and the DP are convinced it was Renier who didn't want this thing to get anywhere, which I can't believe actually because I think the Nats were much keener than the DP on it in a way. But I think we've always seen that the DP wouldn't be the only target because to have an all white party or to have a party that's even whiter wouldn't make all that much sense from fighting an election point of view. It might make sense in terms of being invited to be part of a GNU again because if Mbeki feels that he needs to show a government of national unity situation to the investor community abroad again it might be an option for him to invite a party that represents most whites in SA. Well there are so many balls he keeps in the air, but be that as it may.

POM     Balls Mbeki keeps in the air?

SC     Yes. He's a supreme political juggler I think, that's my view anyway. Be that as it may, we had to surely go ahead with these talks, which we did, and then it kind of drifted and I think every time the allegations in the TRC get a little worse the DP gets a bit shyer but in the end they were winning all these by-elections against us during this last year so they weren't really very interested in joining us and I don't think they're very interested in having a coalition with us. What they have said is that it's very difficult for them to join up with the Nats and I was proposing at one stage that if we were going to have our federal congress now in August we should change our name, announce it as being preparatory to joining up with a coalition of parties if we could get it going. Nothing has happened except that before I went away we had another major meeting with the DP and there was a bit of a confrontation at first because unfortunately we were embroiled in yet another by-election and this was on the eve of it and nasty things had been said about each other's leaders. Anyway there was a bit of a shindig before we settled down and talked. It seems that they're really not that interested in talking or co-operating except on a logistical basis but it's taken nearly a year to get to this point which is nowhere at all really.

     We've had similar talks with the IFP, Buthelezi is keeping his powder dry as he always does right to the end, so who knows what he will do. In the end he may decide to succumb to the blandishments of Mbeki and become part of an all-African scene. I don't know that it's true to his previous form. I would imagine he's too cussed to do that, he would perhaps hold out for - I mean they would have to meet his terms, he keeps saying that, and I don't think they will. But he may in the end think, well he's seventy and it would be nice to see out the last five years in politics as the Deputy President and who knows? He might be given that anyway whether he comes aboard or not, or maybe he'll just go with his old coalition partner.

     But as I say our situation doesn't look particularly positive as far as an alliance is concerned so there is serious re-thinking now. The party has more or less decided it will have to go it alone. In the province of Gauteng I think if we go it alone we will be asking for trouble. I think we'd be very lucky to return half the members we did last time on a list unless things change a lot but the election is a year away. One has got to try and revitalise or revamp the NP. We're being tarred with the brush of old PW and the worst excesses of the securocrat era which washed over into the early years of De Klerk before he appointed the Goldstone Commission.  But what is also irritating is that De Klerk, I mean I have always trusted him and so on, but one has doubts again as to whether he really was frank with the Truth Commission. It all seemed so unlikely that he didn't know anything at all. That's why I think we lost a lot of support anyway because people said how could he not have known what was going on, and then he did this strategic withdrawal.

POM     Strategic withdrawal from?

SC     From politics, from the leadership a year ago, nearly. And it's not only because of his lady love I'm sure. He could have ridden that out. So one wonders what is coming up. It's all been very damaging to us as a party. I think the fact that his image has been severely dented by (a) leaving, (b) having the affair and now (c) it being alleged by ex-colleagues that he actually did know what was going on.

POM     He makes the distinction, the very clear distinction between having knowledge of some of the deeds that were committed or that were communicated to him and he having been a participant in the making or execution of that decision.

SC     But you see I've been pretty close to him while all these things were being discussed and he sort of more or less when I sort of glared at him, he sort of said, hand on heart, "I never took a decision or participated in anything which could be regarded as an offence or crime or for which I could be sued, so I can't apply for amnesty." Obviously he knew about some things. I mean he always indicated that he got wind of something and then got Goldstone to go off and discover what was going on, so ipso facto he knew about things but he didn't give orders and he wasn't aware that other people were giving orders to do wicked deeds at the time it was done. That's how I had understood him. He's going off that slightly I admit. I am still trying to catch up with the newspapers while I've been away but what he seems to be saying lately is exactly as you've put it now that he personally didn't do anything but he obviously would have known. But that's a shift in his position.

POM     I saw him the other day, in fact it was the day after the allegations were made by Vlok about his knowledge and he was remarkably relaxed, more relaxed than I have seen him in previous years. He's finishing off his book which is being published and launched in London. It's called 'The Last Trek and New Beginnings' and he has to submit to his publisher by October and it will be out by Christmas.

SC     Is it a Christmas book?

POM     Ironically it's going to be launched in London, not in SA.

SC     Why is that? Did he say?

POM     Could be marketing, maybe a bigger market for the book over there.

SC     Who is the publisher I wonder.

POM     MacMillan.

SC     Oh is it? So that's the big Christmas book from SA? OK. 'The Last Trek'. I hope not.

POM     I asked him how did he think history will remember him. How do you think history will remember him?

SC     You mean you want me to say? Well I think they will remember him in the way you imagined unless something really frightful is revealed. He did play a very important role in the transition to democracy, to take the decision as head of state to release the political prisoners and go for a negotiated settlement. Everybody has acknowledged that that was a very courageous thing to do and he had the vision to do it. He took advantage of the end of the cold war. So I think he certainly earned his place in history but I do think his shiny bright image has been a little bit dented for present consumption purposes if you like. History tends to kind of wash over these things but at the moment I'm fed up with him actually. I think he did the wrong thing getting out of the GNU and I could never understand why he was so shaken up and did things as wrong. You can be broadly supportive of the TRC in concept and general direction but the excesses of the TRC and some biased things they've done, which are quite significantly biased -

POM     Like?

SC     Well this ridiculous business of the amnesty applications for the 37 ANC leaders. It turns out in response to a question I asked Mbeki in parliament, he said that actually he agreed with me, it was just a symbolic application and they didn't even make it themselves, the TRC officials made the application on their behalf! Now on what basis did they do these things? It's impossible. This is after all court cases were embarked upon to get the amnesties the TRC actually gave them on the basis of totally inadequate disclosure overturned by the courts. We succeeded and only then did they come with these acknowledgements and admissions about 'symbolic applications'. No, the whole thing is very off and biased as far as we're concerned I think. Now you've lost me, I've lost my track because I was saying this by way of illustration.

POM     Well the original question was how would history remember De Klerk, will it be a lot kinder to him than it is being right now?

SC     I've said to him that I felt, at the time he wanted to get out of the government, that it would be much easier to go through the TRC process if he was part of Mandela's Cabinet. Anyway he said yes, he'd thought of that but he didn't necessarily agree. I think that was a major mistake.

POM     Getting out?

SC     Well that in any case. It was a major mistake not to take that seriously, that aspect seriously, that it would be much easier to go through the TRC process with the protection of the Mandela Cabinet umbrella, if you like.

POM     A lot of people say that De Klerk underestimated Mandela and the ANC.

SC     Oh yes, I agree.

POM     That he thought that he could manage the process of the transition, that even if Mandela were President that behind the scenes he could still manage the way things were done. In fact what he found out was (a) many people would say straight out that the NP was simply out-negotiated at the negotiating table and (b) that when the government of national unity came into being Mandela had already made it clear that while they would be looking for consensus that the majority would rule and if the majority of the Cabinet voted a certain way then that was it.

SC     That was a crucial part of the negotiations actually, how Cabinet decisions would be made and I remember us chewing over it a lot at our various bosberade. Anyway we threw in the towel on that one because the Nats at one stage had said that it can't be majority decision, you've got to keep a veto, there has to be consensus. Anyway we threw in the towel on that as with so many other things. You've had the benefit of Patti Waldmeir's book now which I think is pretty close to what went on from my own experience. Yes I agree, he did lose control and he was out-manoeuvred by Slovo, Ramaphosa and Mandela quite often. I saw it happen quite often. But I think he was aware that he was really up against it with Slovo. Well I remember I was sitting behind him once, the day the September Agreement was signed, the Record of Understanding in September when we came back to the negotiations, or at least the thing was started, and I was sitting behind him and when the last document was passed across the table, it was slid across the table to Mac Maharaj or whoever was sitting there, and immediately they all gathered round Slovo to look at it together and Roelf and he were looking at this and he said to Roelf, "Whenever there's a crunch it's always Slovo who says yes or no." He was the brains behind a lot of it, as has been acknowledged. But, yes, he did realise he was up against some very clever people but he had taken certain decisions by then anyway, this was half way through the initial process.

POM     Why did the NP in the end in a sense, as Patti Waldmeir said, throw in the towel?

SC     I think Roelf was fairly realistic. In the end with the process advanced as it was it was a matter of going back to the trenches or being as accommodating as it was possible to be without losing face because the reality of a big majority was there sitting behind Ramaphosa and company. What can 10% say to 80% in the end?  This is the reality of the situation and I think that the theory of negotiating a consensus settlement was very different from the reality once you were in it. But Roelf realised the reality. I think people have been very unkind to him, I actually think he did quite a lot better than he might well have done.

POM     I find it interesting now that he once, having been the darling of the ANC, is now referred to as 'that stalwart of apartheid who was Deputy Minister of Law & Order and Minister of Defence'.

SC     Yes  they have recently started fishing out all that part about him though they had said nothing at first. It was interesting, in the first ANC submission to the TRC they said not a word about all that but in the second ANC submission they were suddenly fingering him and they kept talking about his role with the Joint Management Committees and so on as Deputy Minister. I remember that very well, I remember him briefing us with no less a person than Joffel van der Westhuizen. I wasn't even in politics properly then, I was a councillor I think and it didn't mean much to me but I do remember the two of them standing there telling us how they were winning the hearts and minds in the townships.

POM     This is back in?

SC     1984/86.

POM     And he was saying that you were winning the hearts and minds?

SC     Yes, well, he was explaining to a whole lot of - actually the thing was done by SA Breweries, arranged by them, a whole lot of businesses plus local councillors were getting a briefing about how the Joint Management Committees worked and how it was all being turned around positively.

POM     When you hear, whether it's day after day or week after week, the revelations that come before the TRC and the excesses of the security forces in so many different forms and the brutality of the actions and this whole question of bio-chemical warfare and -

SC     Well the whole thing is quite horrifying.

POM     - things that would be aimed specifically at black women to make them infertile, what went wrong?

SC     Yes, one asks oneself constantly because one was totally unaware of anything nightmarish like that going on. Leon Wessels put it best when he gave evidence to the TRC, but I think you've got me on record about that. I think he put it correctly that we didn't know but in a sense also we didn't want to know either.

POM     I think I have a different quote from him.

SC     I don't know, but I thought he put it very well to the TRC. One wasn't aware that these sorts of things were going on and in fact if one had been aware I think one would have been in a state of revolt and probably left and so on. It's a bit late to worry about that now.

POM     What did he say?

SC     I think he said we honestly didn't really want to know.

POM     He said, "It was foreseen that under these circumstances people would be detained, people would be tortured. Everybody in this country knew people were tortured."

SC     If you read the Rand Daily Mail you knew funny things were going on. That's true but one was in a cold war situation and you said, OK it's either the communists or us. They tried to overthrow the state by violent means and certainly one never condoned torture. In fact during that whole period when Timol jumped, or was alleged to have jumped or been pushed, out of the 10th floor of John Vorster Square, I was an Attorney acting for detainees. I was dealing with his torturers, if you like, trying to get access to detained children and so on. One was aware there was some bad news and this was going on. One was also aware, if you consider the times that we were in, well that's from 1976 to 1983/4, that supermarkets were being bombed, innocent people were being killed, land mines were blowing up grandmothers in land-rovers, etc. Well I don't have to give you a cliché about what it was and that was the context. But it's very difficult, I find, to describe to my daughter, who is quite a clued-up academic, that the cold war was at all serious in this part of the world. She thinks it's something we've all made up. She's got a Masters from Oxford, she's no fool, but it's so outside her ken that she thinks it's all just being used as justification for our past wickedness.

POM     How does she react to revelations before the TRC.

SC     She's shocked to the core and she can't believe that we had anything to do with any such thing like that. Well we say we didn't know anything, which is true. Really, we didn't know specifically. I suppose one knew jolly well that the security police were up to no good at certain riotous times but they had a job to do. I was on the side of the angels, raving around making sure they treated detained children correctly. So one knew to that extent. I have had endless negotiations with the security police, getting plea bargaining done in cases under the Riotous Assemblies Act, and God knows what, so certainly in those days I was against what they were doing but when things started to loosen up and there was a possibility of change and democracy round the corner if one only pushed it, I went the route where one felt one could do something about it. I think that actually worked. We did do something about it, but on the other hand this other thing that was born during the worst cold war time I think, certainly it had its seeds there. I think that PW Botha, when he made his Adapt or Die speech in 1979, at the same time felt that there should be a security ring round the process of change so that although you were going to democratise and loosen up and empower people in terms of the vote and so on, it was going to happen within a very stable society or there was going to be an attempt to. That was how it was sold to the electorate, the stability. So one needed a security force that was there on the ball to stop revolutionaries from disrupting the process, etc., I suppose, on immediate post-war, or end of post-war feel. Anyway the excesses are too horrible to even talk about.

POM     Did you understand people in the ANC saying there was no way the government could not have known what was going on?

SC     Sure. I am fully sympathetic with that view. Sure. Well who bloody well did know? Somebody had to know.

POM     They're saying that either the NP won't - in some way that there's a denial factor going on that people say we didn't know.

SC     I wouldn't be surprised.

POM     And they're saying that's not acceptable. For 40 years apartheid, petty and grand apartheid, operated all around.

SC     Yes but you're being very simplistic because basically the SA public knew on the surface that there was a government that had an apartheid policy and you either supported it or you didn't. Now I belong to a group of people who didn't. As students we protested against it, we felt it was unfair. I suppose at that stage I was sort of gradualist reformist. There was an awareness that it was an unfair system and that people possibly had been tortured by security forces. One was against them. One knew people had been forcibly removed from where they lived, one was against that. You voted against it, you protested against it in that context. That's one phase of awareness if you like, general public awareness. But as an MP coming into a reform situation where your whole focus had been to try and change the NP, change the approach, support the change as it comes, as an ordinary member of the NP caucus in parliament we were never told of any dirty deeds.

     I can remember once being briefed by old Tienie Groenewald, now of the Freedom Front, who listed the enemies of the people and one of them was COSATU, which I found quite ridiculous because I actually acted for the burgeoning, embryonic trade unions. One could squeak about that and so on, but you were never told of anything really anything nasty. You were told about the enemy and something's got to be done about them but you were never told that the idea was to kill them off and torture them in a nasty way. You arrested them if they stepped out of line. You had your security guys looking at them to see if they were going to try and set off bombs. By then I was in the government process and a lot of other people who were politically aware and active felt themselves to be part of a process that was going to change all that. I must say it's very disillusioning to find that some of the worse excesses were committed during that time. So the ANC are right, perfectly correct. But you see two things worry me, firstly that all whites are tarred with the same brush. Even Helen Suzman is called a racist if she dares to criticise something they're doing at the moment and, secondly, that with whole reform era after 1989 there is an attempt to sweep it under the carpet. Shall I say, the other side, the governing party's reform attempts are being belittled. It's forgotten. If you're a Nat, well you're bad.  One's just got to live with that but I think those two phenomena are phenomena at the moment and there's not much we can do about it I suppose.

POM     Mandela's speech to the 50th Congress, I don't know whether you read it or not?

SC     Yes, at Mafikeng, yes indeed.

POM     To me it was extraordinary the way he lashed out at everybody from the right to the left and in the centre. The only people he had a good word to say for were the IFP.

SC     Well they're trying to woo old Buthelezi. I just want to say, unfortunately, as leader I have to be there at two, the bells are going to ring at ten to two and I have to be seated there, in any case I've got to put a motion to the House.

POM     So, what do you want to do ?

SC     I don't know how far you have got. Well I must leave just in time to walk across, seven minutes to two.

POM     OK, well I could come back and see you again, I'm going to be here until the end of September.

SC     No, it's just that I was told you needed to see me by 3rd August so I said, oh well -

POM     Well I'm here in Cape Town until 3rd August then I'm going back to Johannesburg, then I'm coming back here, then going back to Johannesburg, then I'm going to Durban and Port Elizabeth.

SC     Well I'm around, it sounds now as if the session is not going to end on 23rd September but towards the end of October which we are trying to fight against in the Programming Committee but that's what the Cabinet decided, so it looks as though we're going to be here for ever.

POM     The phrase I wanted to pick out was in fact a quote and I'll give you the quote and then ask you who do you think made it. The quote is: -

     You can already smell authoritarian 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. There are swings between demography and managerialism. It holds terrible perils for democracy.

SC     Yes, I've read that somewhere. Is it RW Johnstone or something? It sounds like something he would write and send to the Telegraph.

POM     This is Jeremy Cronin.

SC     Oh, was it Jeremy Cronin! So we all come to a meeting of minds. Well no wonder Mbeki is trying to get rid of them and bring in Buthelezi.

POM     Do you find a creeping kind of authoritarianism?

SC     Well of course there is. In my little area, justice, I spend my life accusing my colleagues, ANC colleagues on that committee, of being control freaks, they want to control everything and they go to extreme excesses and we have to shame them out of it sometimes. Yes, absolutely, that's exactly what they want to do.

POM     Is this what the future is going to be that you will have an increasingly - will a Mbeki government, even though he's running the government now, but when he gets to choose his own team and reshuffle his Cabinet which we assume he will reshuffle his Cabinet. When I talked to Tony Blair 18 months before he tossed half the Cabinet out the window and said you're not performing, whereas the Mandela years will be remembered for there never being a single Cabinet reshuffling, no promotions or no demotions and people not getting rewarded for doing a good job and people not being demoted because they're doing a useless job. Do you see Mbeki surrounding himself with more people, again, who are loyal to him who are Mbeki people?

SC     Sure, but it's happened already to an extent. These appointments like - and I think some of his appointments are really appalling. Look at old Shepherd Mdladlana, they're all opportunists in the sense -

POM     Shepherd who?

SC     This new Labour Minister, he's a demagogue. I had quite a lot of dealings with him in the negotiation process and they always brought him in if they wanted a cheer leader to hammer the other side. He is a very unsubtle man, really quite shrewd I suppose. So I don't think much of him and that's a new Mbeki appointment. On the other hand he has some quite nice friends like Aziz Pahad and so on. Yes I am sure he will do that but I think they are control freaks and they want to control everything because it's a lack of confidence in themselves in a funny sort of way.

POM     One or two people have said to me that the problem with the government is not that it doesn't have good policies or doesn't produce good white papers or green papers or whatever, it is that there is a total inability or unwillingness to translate the essence of those policies into practice.

SC     They can't implement, they actually can't implement. There's nothing wrong with all the papers they produce on the whole, once they've been panel-beaten, and they brought in a whole lot of new intellectual life into the civil service, the ministries at any rate, and produce some very good stuff, but a lot of those guys have got fed up and gone again. But there's no implementation. There's an inability to get things done and a lot of it, I am sure, is because of affirmative action appointments. If you look at Maduna's department, now Maduna, you know Penuell, I always really liked him and admired him and he's a funny guy, sweet and clever, well how many people get doctorates of law and so on? But he's utterly unable to run a department properly and has surrounded himself with these terrible crooks and made a complete hash of things. One asks oneself really is it possible to get some sensible action going? What were we looking at the other day? This American guy is being paid six million rand a year to come in and save the airways, SAA. Now there were perfectly competent people running SAA who happened to be white and then they put in these black guys who hadn't a clue, obviously, they were put in too early or before they had come through the ranks or something, and now in order to get the black guys to do it properly we've got to bring in these extremely expensive consultants from somewhere else. So there's no doubt there are plenty of these white guys who knew how to run it around somewhere, probably in the private sector here, who certainly wouldn't ask for six million a year. So there's a very skewed business going on.

POM     Is there any acknowledgement that apartheid was wrong, many people would say evil, and that it worked to the benefit generally of whites?

SC     Yes racial capitalism, etc.

POM     And as part of the process of transformation into trying to make SA a more just society, which it has to become in order to become a functioning democracy, that there must be some reparation and that those who collectively, not even individually, but collectively were the beneficiary of the system in the past have to in fact sacrifice some of the good things they had in order to bring about a more equitable society.

SC     The last part of what you say is almost impossible to implement in a logical and fair, sensible and acceptable way, isn't it, and to implement without denting the economy completely. It's lovely in theory. In practice one wonders how on earth you can do it without disrupting - turning us into a complete economic basket case as far as the rest of the world is concerned. I've sat in New York for four weeks and I've got quite a few friends in the financial sector there, and they look at us as if we're terminal again. They used to look at us that way before democracy and now it's back to that and we're in pretty bad shape so if we add that to it I think we'll just go for a Burton and that's why I think Mbeki is so sensible to have staked his career on the GEAR policy which is redistribution through economic growth and not sharing out a reducing cake, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Also I think the picture is pretty skewed because there are a lot of white poor and there are a lot of black rich around, certainly in the public perception of it and factually as well. So whenever this sort of question is raised on, for instance, Radio 702 phone-in programmes you get everybody ringing up to say that will the black millionaires also have to pay this reparation or a contribution to it. It's not a simple picture I think. Clearly these sort of things have to happen but I think the only way it will be satisfactorily done is through economic growth, not through land grabs or punitive taxation. Again too, the white rich, a lot of them, may have been people who supported the ANC and supported liberation and funded them. Are you going to tax Oppenheimer? Well he did wicked things too but we all did wicked things, so did the ANC. Who's going to end it all? This wasn't a war in the classic sense. There are no winners and losers. We've got to knuckle down and make it work.

POM     Do you still find that your perception of the past, or your context for looking at it, it was a war situation, cold war?

SC     It was a low grade civil war linked to the cold war.

POM     Whereas the ANC come to it from a completely different point of view that this was an evil and oppressed system that for centuries had oppressed blacks and denied them most basics?

SC     Both are true I think. I think it is clear they are both true. The trouble is that the liberation army got linked to the communist evil and very firmly in the minds of the white privileged class here and so you were nobly fighting the communists and in that sense everybody nobly fought the communists living in a western orientated world and they were communists, they all were. You look at them and they all were communists, so there we are. So the whites felt fully justified, I suppose, in those days in participating in the cold war on the side of the good guys. I suppose it skewed the picture but hats off to De Klerk, he saw the window of opportunity when the cold war ended.

POM     Fanie van der Merwe whom I've been talking to who was one of the group negotiating between PW Botha and Mandela and he said they had this plan drawn up years beforehand.

SC     Good for him. Sitting waiting for the end of the cold war.

POM     Just waiting for the opportune moment. In fact they handed De Klerk the list and said you've got to do the following, you've got to release Mandela.

SC     You see that talk was around for a long time but I think we all said that. I can remember long talks with Stoffel van der Merwe in 1987 when we first came to parliament, we were part of his little liberal kindergarten I suppose, and everybody said that to each other, but the question was when was the opportunity? And don't tell me that Fanie van der Merwe predicted the end of the cold war and the Berlin wall coming down because not even the German top businessmen and Presidents did.

     I have to run.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.