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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
03 Aug 1998: De Lille, Patricia
POM Patricia, it's just one year since we last talked, 21st August last year, and at that time you had talked about the reorganisation that the PAC was going through, you acknowledged that it was operating from a weak base, that it had gone through some internal crises with regard to the whole leadership issue. One year later, where is that reorganisation? Are you pleased with the way in which it is going? Public opinion polls still show that you're stuck at 3% or 4%, that you really haven't made any significant movement in the last year, or the last several years for that matter.
PDL Well on the first question about the reorganisation, while we have achieved basically what we wanted to achieve, we are running the organisation more on business principles now, we've got a sound administration, we've achieved more or less a stability within the party although there are still the day to day problems that come up and we are able to deal with those too. So we are pleased with the developments. The various independent opinion polls that you have indicated, yes they've indicated growth. In fact we are the fastest growing party in the country at the moment. There are of course different surveys and different results. Professor Laurie Schlemmer gave us 8%, Markinor gave us 3%, some other group gave us 6%, so there are all these fluctuations and variances. We are not only looking at the independent survey, we also realise that to enable us to have a much stronger administration and management of the election we have to strengthen our local branches because they should become the nucleus of the whole election campaign and that's what we are busy doing now and even there we have achieved a measured success.
POM Who did I talk to out in Soweto? Your representative out there? (Sandile Mpimi). Well I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he was a very bright young man. So compared to where you were last year you feel that you have made significant advancement. What role do you see the PAC playing in the elections in 1999? Everyone more or less concedes that the ANC is going to win, it's just a matter about whether it be less than the size of the vote they have now or will they pass the magical 66% which they set for themselves? Has the PAC, in terms of opposition politics, talked to other parties about forming some form of coalition or is the idea that you would still operate as an independent though small party?
PDL Well we've got no intention of forming an alliance with any political party, not before the elections. We have to restore the credibility of the PAC, we have to move away from that 1% perception and we feel we will be able to move away from there. Obviously there is a need after the election to form a coalition in some of the provinces or even at national level with other parties. The PAC will consider that. The second question about the other preparations for the elections, we are prepared to work with parties, form some kind of - not an alliance - but get together for the purposes of monitoring the administration and the management of the elections. We will be coming together with other opposition parties to share party agents, to work together in the election polling booths, to monitor elections. On that level we will be working together with other political parties, but not at the political level in the form of an alliance.
POM If you look at the last four years, what impact do you think the PAC has had on government and how do you see its impact being different in the post-1999 period?
PDL You see it is difficult to measure that because of the attitude of the government. They have assumed that they have a monopoly on policy making. They have not listened to any other political party on their input, on their suggestions, on their proposals. You make all these debates in parliament where you make suggestions, say look, this is what the PAC proposes, there's not even an acknowledgement of your proposal even at that level, so they have exclusively occupied the domain of policy making although they have used that through consultants and paid millions of rands for glossy documents which was not a process followed which came out of the consultation with the ordinary people. So, therefore, too they must take responsibility for their policies and even specially those that are not working today. So you can't really measure the impact of the PAC on government. What you can say is that, which was very obvious, there are certain issues where if the PAC says the PAC has said that or criticised the government, it had more weight than what the DP or the NP will have because of their past history and their past records and so on, because PAC and ANC come from the same base, we come from the constituency. We have effectively remained the conscience of the ANC to remind them about where we come from. Although they have not indicated that they have listened but you could see in some of their responses that they were reacting to some of the things that we were saying. So, no, I can't measure the impact that we had on government. It's not possible.
POM There has been this talk in the air recently of some kind of merger between the IFP and the ANC. Do you think that's all just talk, rumour, speculation?
PDL I've just attended the IFP conference recently, we were invited to attend. I think the mood, and just reading the mood at the conference then, the mood at national leadership to maybe get into bed with the ANC to me seems to be quite possible. It doesn't seem possible to me at the grassroots level. The response there was not that warmth and glow and so on. The IFP will be swallowed by the ANC and I can't see how the IFP and ANC could come together when they have so many differences, differences of policy. The Communist Party of course is most vocal and outspoken against any merger with the IFP so I think there are a number of problems that they have to iron out first.
POM You could never envisage a situation of where, because of the fundamental differences between the ANC and SACP over GEAR that after the election the ANC would tell the SACP to go its own way and form an alliance with the IFP?
PDL The SACP is really not a political party because any political party will strive to get into power and get some kind of control. They don't have their own election list, their own election machinery. They are not putting up candidates as SACP. To me the SACP is more a pressure group than a political party, a pressure group with sectoral interests within the ANC and using their influence as that so-called communist group to push the ANC in a certain direction. I think what would emerge, not before the elections but rather a year or two after the elections, is a situation whereby you find not leftist but a more workerist party that will be formed.
POM Will that come out of COSATU?
PDL I think it will come out of COSATU, it will come out of some left forces in the country, to deal with the issue of GEAR and to look at the whole economic situation because obviously GEAR is not working, GEAR has failed us hopelessly. You see that is one example where you can look at the type of policy making within the government. Once they produced this document it's almost cast in stone. PAC would like to see a policy development process whereby you by experience adapt and change your policies as you go along, not have something like GEAR which was implemented in 1996 and in 1998 it's not working but nobody is going back to the drawing board because this thing is sort of cast in stone. So I think that kind of shift will take place.
POM Why do you think the ANC is so dogmatic about GEAR? I think the President talked about that GEAR is ANC policy and it will be ANC policy 'over my dead body'.
PDL Well he was contradicting himself because at the COSATU conference he said that, yes, not enough consultation took place and this was drafted by some few men outside of the ANC and then just a few months later he claims the policy, so there are a lot of contradictions there. I think GEAR is based too much on assumptions which assumptions are not also correct. First of all I think it's a bit embarrassing for them to come up now, after they've sold this whole thing to the world, and it's private sector driven, it's more a policy designed to please forces outside of SA rather than inside. I don't know why they are not honest enough to say that the policy is not working.
POM Their response would be if not GEAR, what? In other words that other parties criticise GEAR for not working, for not achieving its objectives but none of them come up with a policy alternative.
PDL No, that's not true. No, there are many alternatives being offered. They don't even want to look at it. The DP has proposed, the PAC has proposed, the IFP have made a proposal. What nonsense is it that the parties are not making proposals. Yes we have and they are not taking notice of it because they think they've got a monopoly on policy making. They think only they themselves are entitled to know what's good and what's bad for this country. No, it's not true, it's completely not true.
POM I'm going to give you a quotation and then I want you to identify the person who made it. The quotation is: - "You can actually smell authoritarianism tendencies in the air in South Africa. 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 demagoguery and managerialism. It holds terrible perils for democracy."
Who do you think might have said that? It was Jeremy Cronin.
POM Do you think that the government is becoming more authoritarianist, more dismissive of - ?
PDL This is exactly what I've been saying, that they think that they have the monopoly of policy making, they have the monopoly to know what's good and what's bad for our people. They have the tendency to blame, they start blaming apartheid, the NP, the PAC, that opposition party, they're so busy blaming that they've forgotten that they are in power, that they're supposed to govern this country and it all comes down to - to me it's just arrogance, it's a type of arrogance which is just above me that a group of people could be so arrogant and they are arrogant because of their big majority.
POM And yet they want to increase that majority to more than 66% which could allow them to effectively amend the constitution or substantial parts of the constitution.
PDL Well I don't have problem with a two thirds majority, that's democracy. If two thirds or more than two thirds of the people of this country want to vote for a particular party, fine, so be it, that's democracy. Basically what I want to know is that, yes, they want a two thirds majority to do what? If they can tell us what it is in the constitution that they want to change and they have not done so. They have not said we want two thirds majority to change A, B, C, D. So from the PAC's side we are saying that if you want to have a two thirds majority to change, and we're busy compiling a list, you want to change the property clause in the constitution, the lock-out clause, the whole issue of some of the clauses in the bill of rights, there are a number of issues that we have identified. If you want to change those because like, for instance, the property clause, with that type of property clause in the constitution no government will be able to have a proper land reform programme. Up till now they have only redistributed one percent of land in the redistribution and land reform programme.
POM Is that because of the - ?
PDL Because of the property clause in the constitution, the willing buyer, willing seller, all of those things, market related prices and so on. There are a lot of - and it's because of the property clause. Now we are saying to the ANC, and that is PAC, that if you want to have two thirds majority to change the things that we think should be changed to enable any government to successfully address the disadvantage, the imbalances of the past, then we're prepared to go with you for the two thirds majority but if you don't know why you want this two thirds majority tell us. Because what I am also worried about is that this whole debate, as it's put by other opposition parties, that stop the ANC from getting a two thirds majority, we are not saying that as the PAC, we are not part of that opposition where people are saying don't give them two thirds majority because what can be done - you know how the NP in the past successfully used swart gevaar, rooi gevaar to mobilise the electorate, and they will use this two thirds in the same way like they used swart gevaar and you don't need to tell anybody that we've got a black government. You can just say stop the ANC from getting a two thirds majority without saying stop swart gevaar, it comes to the same thing. So that could be misused. So PAC is not part of the group who says no two thirds majority. We say if the people want to give them two thirds majority, fine, we're even prepared to consider it if we know what they want the two thirds majority for.
POM So you're prepared to say that if they were to want to alter the property clause to facilitate land redistribution or reform then in fact you would vote with them to ensure that you got the 66%? But they give you no response?
PDL Land reform, there's just one example there, there are others too. Yes. They have not come out clearly to say why they want this two thirds, what they want to change in the constitution.
POM How about the TRC? Now you had two cases that were controversial granting of amnesty, that was in the case of the St James Church killings and the Amy Biehl killing. We talked the last time about what's political, not political, what motivated it. Do you think that in these circumstances that amnesty can be denied to Clive Derby-Lewis or that the political pressure not to give him amnesty would be so great that it simply won't happen?
PDL Well you see fortunately we've got a law that's governing the TRC and that is - I mean I always had problems with this right from the beginning, the even-handed doctrine of those who fought in the defence of apartheid and those who fought against apartheid are being treated exactly the same. So, yes, that is enshrined in the Act of Parliament and the TRC are under obligation to look at that clause and implement it accordingly. Taking into consideration that this is the way they must operate without having to listen to any political interferences, I don't see why the concern. The TRC should treat everybody equally and I think they have been trying very hard so far to show that they treat everybody equally. So we just have to wait and see what the Clive Derby-Lewis thing will give up.
POM Well in your opinion, if it should treat everybody even-handedly, would Clive Derby-Lewis be released?
PDL My own personal opinion and just observing what has happened, to me I think what might hamper their application for amnesty is that they've not been telling the truth all the time. There have been several contradictions in their evidence and whether they will also be able to prove that it was political. I think there are a lot of contradictions that have come up with the hearings. I think that, rather than the equal treatment, will hamper their application.
POM There was a survey that was released just last week and it said that 74% of Asians, 72% of whites and 62% of coloured and Africans felt that the TRC had contributed to worsening race relations, that it hadn't succeeded or was not succeeding in bringing about reconciliation. Would this reflect what you run into at the grassroots? Thabo Mbeki in his speech on 4th June in parliament also said there had been no progress towards reconciliation in the last four years. Is there any significant degree of reconciliation taking place or are race relations becoming in a way more polarised rather than less polarised?
PDL Well you see again the reconciliation is a process. Nobody can pronounce on reconciliation and the tendency has been to believe that the TRC and the TRC alone is responsible for reconciliation. Very little has been done at individual level, at group level or whatever to compliment what the TRC is doing because it was not only the atrocities of the past and the excesses of the past on both sides that had to be attended to and people needed to know the truth. Several other things had to be attended to and from just ordinary communities people have not reached out to one another, it is still the same - the legacy of apartheid is still deeply entrenched and I personally feel that it will not even happen in our generation, it will happen in the next generation where the racial prejudices will begin to get less. But it's not that racism will go away for ever. That was going to be a process that will unfold over ten/twenty years. You can't really successfully say that the TRC has achieved it or not and the TRC has not even completed its work. The TRC must still deal with reparations and I just have this gut feeling that some people went to the TRC and put up a hell of a show and crying and hoping that they were going to get a substantial amount of money out of this thing as compensation and to me it doesn't look that way. It seems to me that people will get very limited amounts and people might then feel that it was not worth the whole, we would rather want to have justice, take this person to a court of law and let him be punished for what he did. So we have to wait for the process to be completed.
POM I understand from the commissioners that I've talked to that there's a real problem with reparations simply because there's no money there.
PDL I think they should have just not said reparation because how can you compensate for a person who has lost his life, a person who has been degraded, dehumanised? How do you work out the compensation for that?
POM I was talking to, and you probably know him as he spent time on Robben Island as a member of the PAC, Joe Seremane, who is head now of the Land Commission. His brother Timothy had been tortured and killed in the Quatro camps and he eventually decided to testify before the TRC and ask what happened to his brother and he got, according to himself, a very unsatisfactory explanation but an application form to fill out for reparations that amounted to R3000 and he said he felt insulted. He wasn't looking for money, he was looking for the truth. He wanted to know who killed his brother, where is he buried, "I want him exhumed so I can take him home and bury him. I don't want money. They were saying we have decided there was a gross violation of human rights, you qualify for R3000, fill out the following 15 forms." He said he just felt like tearing the whole thing up.
PDL It's very easy, it's too early to assess the results of the TRC. I think it's a phase where really people -
POM What I get among whites, what's worrying me, and it's been there from the beginning, is that (i) whites see the TRC as being essentially something that was set up by - that 15 of the 17 appointments are ANC appointments or something like that, at least that's the figure they bandy about, (ii) they come from the perspective that there was a war on and it was a war against communism and there were excesses committed on both sides but in war there are always excesses but their excesses are being treated far worse than the excesses of the ANC whether in the Quatro camps or in the townships with the necklacings which they say were never investigated so that it's one-sided and it is trying to make them victims. And even when revelations come out about the excessive wrong-doings of the security forces there is a denial factor. They are saying, oh my God if I knew that was going on of course I would have been out there in the streets protesting, saying it was wrong. Do you believe that the average white person could have lived in this country and not known that people were being detained and that blacks were being detained and tortured, of the impact of forced removals, of the impact of the pass laws, do you think they could have been oblivious to it all?
PDL I think it's lies. No, no, I think it's really a lot of lies. I can't believe that people didn't know about the excesses of apartheid. I can't believe that they didn't know about it because it was the same people who voted for the NP and if you look at the little bit of opposition from the United Party, PFP at that time, very few people, white people, actually voted for them. They year after year put the same people back. I am not convinced and I do accept that, look they're not a homogenous society, there are some good ones, there were some people who actually stood with the oppressed and those people were ostracised by the same communities for being, some call them kaffir boeties for standing with black people. So, no, I'm not convinced, Patrick, and I think also there is this underlying, subtle, racism - I don't want to use the word racism - but people are pretending. It's very difficult to find somebody who supported apartheid all these years, who voted at the same time. So I think there's also that contradiction and a feeling of guilt but also a feeling of wanting to have kept the old apartheid system because it was so much better than the new one. So I think that's also part of the whole transformation process that people are going through and they have to just - I plead just for honesty, say yes I knew about it but I benefited so why would I have stood up against it. But people are not honest about it I think.
POM So just to run you through some of the things that Mbeki said, whether you agree or disagree. He said, (i) there was no progress towards reconciliation. By and large is that, would you say, true?
PDL I will say yes it's true but I think we also have to look at the reason. One of the reasons I feel that there is not enough progress around reconciliation is because we have not as South Africans reached consensus on what we understand reconciliation to mean. The perception in SA that reconciliation means President Mandela putting on a number six jersey, going to have tea with old lady Verwoerd, doing all these little symbolic things. As a nation we have not aired the thing of reconciliation properly and reached consensus that this is what reconciliation means, because many people say that we want to do something but what do we have to do? What will qualify for us to succeed or to be accepted that we are serious about reconciliation? What are the issues? What exactly do you, Patrick, want me to do if you say I must reconcile? That debate has not been sufficiently aired in this country so that we could get some kind of a consensus or some kind of an idea of what we mean by reconciliation.
POM That's a very interesting point you brought up because I was talking to a senior white politician the other day and it came down to one of the other statements of Mbeki which was that whites enjoy all the privileges that they ever enjoyed and he looked at me and said, "Well what privileges do I enjoy? What am I supposed to do with them? I have a house, I have a car, I send my children to school, I work 12 hours a day, what is it that makes me so privileged and what am I to give back? Am I supposed to say here's my car, here's my house, take it from me?"
PDL It's totally undefined and the other idea I also have about why reconciliation has not been completed or has not worked, there was a statement on 8th May 1996 when we adopted the new constitution where Thabo Mbeki made this famous speech about 'I am an African' and you know there was this Professor of Sociology at University of Western Cape, Professor Kwesi Prah, who wrote an article saying that it's absurd that an African person in Africa calling himself an African and the whole country sort of roars about this. What is wrong with us? Has the leader lost his marbles? I'll give you a copy of it. And when I read that I said, you know this man is so damn right. But why I also suspect, because many whites that I speak to, is that in SA because of the legacy of apartheid an African person is still seen as a black person. I still have endless problems, I'm just sitting with a group of people next to here who are so-called coloureds like myself, and I'm telling them I'm an African and they basically look at me, but to hell you are not black. And this debate of Thabo that I am an African and that Africa is this and Africa - it has excluded in this definition according to the thinking of the other groups, they are excluded. The whites feel they are excluded in that speech, the Indians feel they are excluded, the coloureds feel they are excluded. People are now more withdrawn than even during the apartheid days because in apartheid you could talk about black people and conveniently say it includes coloureds, Indians and Africans but today nobody wants to be called a black person. They say, no I'm a coloured, I'm an Indian.
POM You were talking about how people before would be prepared to be called black together and now they're saying I'm Indian, I'm coloured?
PDL I find that people are more openly saying or wanting to be seen to be part of a particular group. So his speech had the opposite effect from what he intended it to. We understand it in the PAC because that's our language and we've always been talking about Africans, and African not being according to a colour, but the rest of the country does not. They even call us racist even though we said our African knows no colour. We've been seen as the biggest racists in this country. So these are these contradictions that we have to work through as a society, the issue of the identify crisis. We are going through a serious identity crisis. We don't know who the hell we are. We're the only country in the world where we struggle to identify ourselves and I think that links up with the process of reconciliation because who must reconcile with whom and why? Those questions still need to be debated and I think once President Mandela moves on, who has been seen as a symbol of reconciliation, it is the right time now to begin to raise those questions. He's moving on to greener pastures, he's going to rest and what should we do as South Africans, the rest of us do to continue the process?
POM That's a very potent point. Why is the DP seen by the ANC as almost in a harsher light than they look at the NP? Someone said to me the DP is the favourite villain of the ANC.
PDL I think again it comes back to a simple thing and it's the arrogance of the ANC whereby they don't accept criticism, they don't accept the democracy where people are free to voice their opinion, they don't accept participatory democracy and anybody who is vociferous and who criticises them is almost seen as treason. I am not surprised that one day they will have to open Robben Island again because some of us will be sent there for treason, for speaking out against the government. It is that arrogance that makes them feel that the DP is that. And not only the DP, even myself personally. I'm going through a hell of battle with them. We just had a debate last week in parliament and they never responded to what I said, they went for my character. So nobody must criticise, we must just be this loyal opposition, faithful opposition that doesn't criticise and I think it's in that light that they feel so about the DP because the DP has been very outspoken, especially Tony Leon.
POM I looked at some of the remarks that the President had made at the 50th Congress where he lashed against everybody. I said this isn't Mandela.
PDL The speech was written for him by Thabo.
POM Is that the conventional wisdom or - ?
PDL This is what people have been saying.
POM I'll just give you some of his comments and you can say whether you agree again or disagree. He said that the white dominated media was a force opposed to the ANC. Do you think the media treat the ANC all that harshly?
PDL They don't know what they're talking about, they really don't know what they're talking about. I think that the ANC conveniently and selectively sometimes forget about our constitution, which is the highest law of the land, which we all accepted and we all signed that constitution, there are all these freedoms and rights and so on, but those freedoms and rights are only appropriate and right if they are used by ANC; if they are used by the media or anybody else it's not appropriate any more. That's a double standard hypocrisy of the ANC. But then also the only point where I agree with President Mandela in that same speech is when he spoke about the tokenism in some of these institutions. But what he's failing to say is that those people who are tokens in some of these newspapers are all pro-ANC and that is why they were put there as tokens. I don't want to mention names but there is one daily in Cape Town where the editor was one of the people who went to Mandela afterwards and said, "But how can you call us tokens?" Who exactly today, if you look at that daily, it is almost an ANC mouthpiece. Other opposition parties just don't feature. We can also say the same about the media but I think that that thing is just not justified.
POM He talks about, he says, "Our experience over the last three years confirms the NP has not abandoned it's strategic objective of the total destruction of our organisation and movement, the leopard has not changed it's spots."
PDL It's part of the blaming culture of the ANC.
POM But the NP, to look at the figures, were disintegrating.
PDL Just on that particular day what happened, exploitation of a public broadcaster of the first order where the public broadcaster, paid for by public license holders of SABC, ran that thing for five hours, five hours, one political party. Do they do that kind of thing for other political parties? Did they come to the PAC conference? Did they go to the NP? They're supposed to treat all parties equally irrespective of whether they are in government or not.
POM So the only party conferences they covered was the ANC.
PDL They covered it for five hours, solid hours! Imagine the cost. You know how many phone calls I got then from people complaining about what is happening on our television screens, must we now listen to ANC, for five hours Mr Mandela spoke. They covered the whole thing.
POM The whole speech?
PDL The whole speech. They had clowns and I call him a clown because he is a clown, Alistair Sparks was there, the cream of the top of all editors of all newspapers were there. The SABC pulled out the red carpet for the ANC. They must do the same for other political parties if they claim to serve the whole community. So they must stop complaining about a white owned, controlled media being misused. They are misusing the SABC right now.
POM So again when he said, "That the DP which has no policy differences with the NP has sought to position itself as an implacable enemy of the ANC and on this basis to try and convince the supporters of the NP to switch their allegiance to itself."
Would you call the DP an implacable enemy?
PDL I'm telling you, Patrick, any criticism is seen as treason. I took them on on Wednesday in parliament. You know Thursday, Friday, not one of them greeted me. You should have heard the noise in the House when I was speaking and I was basically silent for five months because I lost my voice. It was my first speech in parliament. I could hardly hear myself. They were screaming and shouting because I hit the nail on the head and I was telling them the truth. You should have seen the display of arrogance, intolerance. If that kind of intolerance is going to be displayed by ANC members out there for the election campaign we're going to have a lot of violence. They with their intolerance that they're showing towards other political parties, they are actually fuelling violence in this country.
POM And again with the UDM he said, "It will draw into its ranks some of the most backward and corrupt elements of our society, that the presence of leaders of criminal gangs at its founding conference was no accident, that some from this group will seek to promote its interests by resort to criminal violence, that elements of the third force will not hesitate to link up with members of the UDM to further a common counter-revolutionary agenda."
PDL You've seen nothing yet. You should see the glossy pamphlet they produced about the PAC just a week ago.
POM That the ANC produced?
PDL 250,000 glossy documents on the PAC. This is what they have resorted to and if we are no serious threat to them why will they spend such an amount of money on the PAC?
POM Do you have a copy of that?
PDL I'll give you a copy.
POM So if you're four percent of the polls you become a major threat?
POM So what's happening in the country? At one level this is the first year where per capita income is going to fall and standard of living, the disparity between the rich and the poor is increasing, not decreasing, education is in a total mess, there is hardly a province that hasn't got a serious corruption problem on its hands.
PDL Yes. You know all these things that you mention, it's very dear and close to my heart and that's why we had this snap debate on Wednesday and I will give you a copy of what I said about the unemployed, homelessness, landlessness and corruption. I just returned last night late from the Northern Cape where I've seen - I mean corruption, openly, people taking money from the poor, and the ANC has really perfected the art of corruption. They can't for ever blame everybody else. The NP was also corrupt but it doesn't mean that because they were corrupt and they stole and they ate people's money that you should do the same. And they don't want to hear, nobody must say a thing about it. We're supposed to be very quiet on the issue of the failure to deliver on houses, the failure to deliver on land. GEAR - more jobs were shed than were created. Foreign investment into this country is very limited whilst even the local business people are not investing in their own country but they want foreigners to come and invest. So there are a number of things that we are expected just to keep quiet on.
POM What's gone wrong?
PDL What's gone wrong with the ANC is the ANC is really going overboard because they have failed to deliver. And you know what? I summarise it in this way, that the people of SA understand the reasons why we are in this mess and they have accepted them, they understand what we've inherited but there's a total breakdown of communication between the various constituencies and the government and though people understand the reasons for the mess we find ourselves in today people are no longer prepared to accept excuses because what's happening now is the ANC is making excuses for their failure to deliver instead of explaining to the people, you know the reasons why we are in this mess, we've got a deficit, we've got a national debt and so on and for these reasons we cannot fulfil on all these promises. But they are not doing that and even that I can tell you many of the poorest of poor will understand that because they've been living in this for more than fifty/sixty years, another five or six years is not going to make any difference, but nobody goes and explains to them. Except the ANC make excuses, they begin to blame, they blame apartheid, they blame the NP, they blame the DP, the PAC, whoever except themselves, and I think if the ANC can just see that it's a big blunder that they are making and rather begin to explain why they are not being able to do things, rather than making excuses for the non-delivery, I think most people in this country will accept it. Because there are people - just like yesterday somebody said to me, you know Patricia we know it's only three/four years now and we know the backlog and we know we're not the only people in the country but at least give us some indication as to when. That's what people are saying.
POM Have you already discussed or developed a campaign strategy, is the organisation already running for the elections?
PDL Yes. Markinor has done a profile on the PAC and we are meeting with them in a month's time to look at how they arrived at the profile. They've given us a breakdown of supporting provinces, given us a breakdown of support around gender, they've given us a breakdown around the demographic profile of the PAC, race profile, home language, the demographic of gender, of working and so on.
POM Would it be possible to get a copy?
PDL Yes I'll give you a copy.
POM I'm not going to give it to anybody, as you know. One other thing disturbed me a lot and that was Mandela's 80th birthday bash and the extravagance of it in a country that was going through a very difficult time. You had 2000 of the elite of the country gathered out at Gallagher Estate dressed in their finest.
PDL I watched part of the bash on television and that also struck me but I was hoping that he would in his address to the nation, because it was covered live, I don't know whether you've seen it?
POM I was in Northern Ireland at the time.
PDL You must still give me a briefing. I want to go and visit them.
POM This is what I did to my foot when I was there the last time.
PDL I really want to go and visit them. So I was also watching the bash and I was saying to myself, I was hoping that after seeing all this glitter and the cream of the crop of the elite in the country being there and so on, I said to myself I am hoping that in his speech at least he will address the poor of the country because if the poor people are watching, that I was saying to myself, I was hoping that if he was going to address the nation that he will at least refer to the poor to bring some balance in what you've seen on the screen, the extravagance and so on. But he did not say a word, he did not say a word and lots of poor people who were watching it were saying that they made exactly the conclusion that I feared that they were going to make and that is to say why, is it necessary to go overboard like that whilst we don't have this, while this and this is happening? And it's exactly what's happening. He did not say a word, he did not refer to the poor or to the homeless or whatever. It was an opportunity for him to address the nation on him turning 80 years, but also giving them some kind of an assurance that, yes, I'm 80 years old but we are working on this and this problems. Nothing, it was just a night for a celebration.
POM 'I haven't forgotten where I've come from.'
PDL That's it, you said it better.
POM Why, he being such an astute politician and such a moral man, of undeniable moral stature, would he allow himself to be put in a position like that? I have talked to Ahmed Kathrada about this and Kathrada's response was that really Mandela had nothing to do with his birthday party, it was arranged and he dropped in.
PDL Of course I'm also a Trustee of the Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund and some of the money will be going to the Fund and I also serve on the sub-committee that makes the grants to the various communities, so some money coming towards the Fund will really be useful because we are just overwhelmed with applications for funding. But then the rest of the money, people paid quite a lot of money to be there, we have used money from the Fund to arrange as part of the birthday party a get together with foster kids in the Kruger National Park. That was done by the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund as our contribution to his birthday party and then the other - some of them were fund raisings for the Fund, for the Children's Fund. So it's not that, yes glitter and all of that, but I suppose part of the money goes to a good cause.
POM The glitter wasn't explained, this wasn't explained to people in a way that they would understand that, yes, this money is not just being - people had to pay to have a good time but if they were having a good time then their money was being taken from them to go into the Children's Fund and it was benefiting?
PDL Yes, because also the local artists complained bitterly because they were sort of put back stage and far away from the glitter and far away from Mandela. So I don't think the organising committee did a good job at all.
POM How do you see the election shaping up?
PDL I think it's going to be as hush, flush, rush towards the end. We are less than 300 days away and there's hardly any election activity except what's taking place here at parliament. I think we will most probably see an increase in the activity of all parties.
POM What state of organisation are you in?
PDL Oh we are at the stage of putting up infrastructure at provincial level, the PAC. At provincial level we've put a national election campaign committee, at national level we've duplicated the same composition at the provinces. We're in the process of interviewing people to manage the campaign in each and every one of the provinces at national level. We're busy with fund raising. What we want to do, we in the PAC are putting up permanent structures that can even serve the party after elections. We don't want to go at every election and go and put up these structures. So that is what we are kept busy with at the moment.
POM So what would you consider to be a good result for the PAC?
PDL You mean in terms of outcome? As I told you earlier on, we are very serious about moving away from the 1% perception party and that we said our target is to reach 35%.
POM To reach 35%?
PDL We know it's almost an impossible task but that is what we've set ourselves for. We will still be happy with 10% - 15%. The suggestion is very fluid and volatile.
POM Well if you got 10% that would be - ?
PDL That will be fine too.
POM If you got 2%?
PDL No we will not be happy. No, no. We want to move substantially away from that 1% perception. We've got almost 2%, we got 1.8% in the last election.
POM So an acceptable result would be 10%?
PDL Yes, 10% and more, let me put it that way, 10% and more.
POM And how do you think the ANC will do?
PDL I think the ANC support will decrease. A lot of disgruntled people will come to the PAC and to the UDM. I don't think that the DP and the NP will gain much by support lost by the ANC but the PAC and the UDM will.
POM Is the UDM being underestimated?
PDL I think, no, no, no, I think they make quite an impact, way beyond what I think really their substance is. Again, right now they are fighting to get support to contest the elections but I feel that they should first contest the elections to establish their support base before they get any funding from taxpayers. You know taxpayers can't help a political party to establish that party itself. So there is this whole debate and I think they're taking the Constitutional Development Department to court about the funding.
POM What do you think they might end up with?
PDL They seem to be doing quite well in the Eastern Cape, they seem to be doing quite well there. I have not seen any indication of other provinces and any breakdown of their support so I can't really answer that.
POM OK, well I'll leave it there.
PDL I'm so tired. I've been working five weeks, seven days a week and it's now catching up with me. This time of the day I get sleepy and tired.
POM When were you in the States?
PDL I was in the States from 20th June till 3rd July.
POM You and who else?
PDL I was leading a delegation of eight other members of parliament from the Transport Committee and we put the trip together with Roger and McDermot and O'Neil and we had a good balance of visiting private and public sector in Boston, Miami and Washington and Roger played a key role there and he travelled with us. McDermot and O'Neil gave him time off and he travelled with us and it was just good. We had fun, I was looking at the photographs the other day when we were on the beach with Roger. And Roger is doing well also here in SA. I've opened up a few doors for him, got some contacts for him and he's doing well. I am just getting used to seeing him in a tie and collar every day. You know Roger is always in his jeans.
POM Roger will do well no matter where he is. Thanks very much Patricia.