About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Sep 1999: Cronin, Jeremy

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POM     These are some quotations from 'Move Your Shadow', a book on SA published by Joseph Lilyveld.

     Jeremy, let me first start with your analysis of the 1999 election results. In 'normal' democracies a party going into an election, facing a situation where you had a deteriorating economy, increasing joblessness, where the public perception was that the government was losing the battle against crime, among other things that it had failed in terms of its delivery, in terms of housing and education, it would be a party in real trouble and yet here the ANC improved in its performance rather than their seeing any diminution in its performance. One, how do you account for why it did so well, and two, could you run through the other parties and say what their proportion of the vote indicates about their relative positions not just in the eye of the electorate but as opposition parties in parliament? Of all these parties I will rely upon your quick intellectual mind to –

JC     I think first of all the election result raises questions about the common wisdom about how ANC performance was perceived. There are those in the ANC who would push this argument harder than I do because I think that there were serious levels of disaffection and concern within the ANC's own core constituency with a year to go before the elections, sort of mid-1998, but I think that the levels of disaffection and perceptions of non-delivery, failure to address the crime issue and so forth were often exaggerated by the particular – by the media, for instance, with a particular kind of readership which would be an upper middle class, often white dominated set of news editors and things like that. So I think that one would need to qualify it a little bit. I think the underlying perception was not quite as antagonistic or concerned or demoralised as was sometimes portrayed. But nonetheless the ANC's own internal surveying confirmed that there was a drift away from the ANC, not towards anybody else – I think that's important to understand – but just a sense that the expectations have been frustrated, the situation was not any better and above all a very deep-seated sense that the ANC leadership was drifting away from its constituency: they weren't available, they weren't around, they seem to be doing very well themselves but they weren't around in townships and so on. I think that that message struck home quite sharply within the ANC leadership within the third quarter of 1998 and I think that was a wake-up call and as a result there was, I think, a very effective election campaign by the ANC relying on its old strengths and old abilities to listen to its constituency, to talk with its constituency. So a decision was taken quite early on, I forget exactly when, around October/November of 1998, that the first part of the campaign needed to be one of re-connecting with the mass base.

POM     This is the 'Listen and Learn Campaign'?

JC     Yes, and not to say that things were perfect; for the ANC leadership to identify with the concerns that people were raising, not to dismiss them as ruling parties are wont to do but to say we agree with you, the crime problem is outrageous, we agree with you, the unemployment problem is a disaster, we agree with you, that other things – there's been slowness in delivery. Not also to too easily fall back on 'well it's all apartheid's fault and not ours', although that was certainly part of the message and I think was not wrong to be part of the message. But fundamentally the message was (i) to listen, (ii) to identify with the concerns of the constituency, (iii) to say it's not necessarily our fault as the ANC in government, but to say it's our responsibility, so not to escape responsibility, so the message was kind of 'it's not necessarily our fault and a lot of this is just the legacy we've inherited. Sometimes it is our fault and sometimes we've done things which have been confused and so on, but whatever the guilt it's our responsibility and we're asking for another term of office'. So I think it was an effective campaign, listening to the messages that were coming that turned the thing around for the ANC. In percentage terms the ANC did better than in 1994, in terms of the number of people that voted it was slightly less.

POM     The turnout was slightly lower.

JC     Yes. So it was a better percentage but on a lower turnout, but nonetheless it did incredibly well.

POM     One would never expect the turnout that you got in 1994 anyway.

JC     And repeated in 1999 – I mean a very high turnout in 1999 despite all the obstacles we put in the way by way of IDs and things like this.

POM     I've put this question to a number of people and they have kind of skirted it and I want to get back to the other parties, it is that Africans in particular when it comes to elections have no other choice, even if they fail to get their house or water or electricity they're not stupid enough to turn around and vote for a party that oppressed them for 50 years or a party like the DP that's associated with –

JC     Yes exactly.

POM     So that the outcome in a way, people voted racially.

JC     Yes, I agree with that. I think that overwhelmingly the African constituency, the core constituency of the ANC, which had shown signs of disaffection nonetheless remains deeply loyal to the ANC, that's a fact, and what was on offer by way of alternative was not very inspiring. The potential other African based parties like the PAC ran an abysmal election campaign and lost support, the UDM was a sort of scrabbled together miscellaneous party which won a little bit of support here and there, it did take a little bit of support away from the ANC in its African constituency, but largely on an ethnic card or disgruntled Bantustan, ex-Bantustan bureaucracy elements and so on. It picked up little bits here and there but again it's a project which is not going anywhere, it's such a miscellaneous project. The rest of the parties were just very – the DP made the choice of trying to become the white party, which it did fairly successfully, a party of suburban disgruntlement.

POM     Is part of the decline of the New National Party, or whatever it wants to call itself, the fact that it hasn't established an identity as to what exactly it is and who exactly it does represent and how far they're prepared to go in any particular direction?

JC     I think that's its dilemma. Essentially it smells and it's trying to attract new, basically black, voters. It understands that in order to make any headway a party has got to get out of its narrow white base, there's no future in that, no sustainable long term future in that so it's trying to remove the smell, the odour of the apartheid past but the trouble is that its core constituency likes the odour, whereas the DP sort of unabashedly pursued the odour. It was unabashed about representing narrow, white, xenophobic concerns and it did so with less concern because it tried to present itself as a party that was not - it obviously wasn't the ruling party under the apartheid period.

     I think if you look at the range of other political parties, (i) Inkatha confirmed itself as a regional and ethnic party with some support but it's a provincial support and it's an ethnic support and it's declining but it's real and it's not going to just do that overnight but clearly the long term future of Inkatha must be in bounds because the process of democratisation, a chewing away at a narrow ethnic card, and unless things go very wrong and create a climate for ethnic mobilisation down the line, intra-African ethnic mobilisation, I don't think there's a long term future in that and that's why also you see Inkatha moving closer to the ANC on many issues, partly out of sheer opportunism but also partly because it's constituency is pushing it in that direction. It's core mass rural poor constituency has no problems with ANC education policy, or has the same concerns as our own core constituency around water or rural development and so on. The things that get added on by Inkatha around hit the unions or greater powers to provinces and so on, those are really the interests of a sort of ex-Bantustan elite and not the interests of their core constituency. So it's a party really that's not going anywhere.

     The DP I think entered the elections with a fairly smart, in narrow electoral terms, agenda which was to capture National Party voters, Conservative Party voters, white voters and by pursuing that particular tack to emerge as the official opposition which they successfully did but the trouble is the pursuit of the prize of becoming the official opposition has also put them into, in my view, a political corner, a cul-de-sac, which they now are trying to extricate themselves a little from, but the leader, and that campaign was very much based around Tony Leon, a kind of cult of a leader, has made it impossible for them in my view to expand beyond the kind of constituency that they've got. They might still eat into the traditional NP base or into the traditional Conservative Party base and it might shift them up a few percentage points but it's not eating into the ANC's constituency which any party that wants to grow, which is what the UDM was trying to do, but it's a party now in full crisis post-election because it's eclectic, it has no clear politics other than the politics of trying to pick up disgruntlement mainly from the ANC but it's not sure which way that disgruntlement will peel, whether it will be on the left or the right and so on, so it's a very chameleon-like party. It may be around for a while to come but it's going to have to make choices somewhere along the line I think and it's not prepared to do that.

     The NP has tried in parliament now to define itself as a more centre-left project. It's tried to define itself as a party concerned about poverty, I suppose a kind of Christian Democratic, a kind of German type party that's not narrowly neo-liberal in its ideological profile. As long as its core leadership is what it is I don't think there's much future in that and I think it will remain a provincial party which it is, it's confirmed that, it retained significant support amongst some coloured urban working people. But again that creates tensions inside of the party between a provincial dynamic and a national dynamic. It's able to be the second largest party in the Western Cape, it's come down from being the largest to the second largest, on a sort of Afrikaans coalition that unites whites and coloureds, sections of coloureds and sections of whites, but that kind of stance which is based on a kind of anti-ANC feeling and an anti-African feeling, also a sentiment among certain strata of coloured people doesn't position it effectively nationally so there are going to be tensions there.

     One could go into the smaller parties, smaller still parties, but –

POM     The Freedom Front practically –

JC     Wiped out.

POM     Should its poor performance mean that the concerns it was articulating, not so much with regard to the volkstaat which I think even Viljoen a long time ago gave up on as being part of eternity rather than -

JC     It's a metaphysical notion rather than a physical place.

POM     That their concerns about cultural self-determination, language and things like that should be treated with any less concern?

JC     Certainly one needs to be – I think their problem is to turn that into a political and electoral project but clearly cultural concerns are things that one has to be extremely sensitive about.

POM     If you look at much of ethnic strife when it comes down to it, it comes down to very simple things like language.

JC     Your language is not being taught in your school, yes exactly. I think the ANC, again the decline in those quarters, they were trying to mobilise people around phobias that Afrikaans would be wiped out, that it wouldn't appear on the public broadcaster, etc., etc., and that's not proven to be the case. Clearly it no longer has the sort of status, false and artificially created status that it had, but the ANC has been fairly meticulous about sending lots of warm signals about the future of Afrikaans which surely must be a correct position and not just an opportune position as well.

POM     Looking back and making an assessment of the Mandela presidency, what would you say were his greatest achievements as president and what were his greatest failures? The third part of that is, kind of collecting them, is do you have a personal or have heard a personal anecdote about him that in some way captures both the essence of his personality and style both as individual and leader?

JC     The great achievement is the one that I'm sure everyone will underline and that is that he provided a kind of national symbolic unity both within our country and also externally which played a hugely important anchor role through a very complicated transition process where the possibility of things flying off in all kinds of dangerous directions was ever present, misreadings of what we were trying to do in SA. Externally there's always a potential when a third world country tries to embark on a relatively radical project and one shouldn't assume that there's a spontaneous sympathy for such a project in leading capitals up north. I think Mandela's presence in the midst of the South African democratisation, third world democratisation process, I think was very important just in terms of steadying the way in which the world, leading countries in the world, handled the SA transition with high degrees of sympathy. Above all domestically I think that the worst fears, phobias, all of those kinds of ethnic confusions and so on which were rife in 1994, I think that Mandela's over-arching presence through those complicated negotiations, the elections and the first years of ANC government, all of those I think helped to steady things and reassure a large range of people. He brought a kind of a moral authority and personal integrity to the process and a kind of generosity to a wide range of South Africans which I think just helped hold it all together. I could go on and on but that for me would be it.

     I think the shortcomings relate probably to the strengths for that matter, the management, governmental management of that process was often not very effective. He was a whole lot more than a symbol but his role was symbolic more than the actual managing of the governing collective. Obviously that role was somewhat left to the Deputy President of the time, Thabo Mbeki, but there were often considerable slips between the one and the other, points of difference for instance, and because he was more than a symbol and would sometimes implement practical policy, Mandela, there was often a confusion of signals around some critical issues. Two key areas, I would say, related areas, the one would be international politics and the other would be economic policy. So you got contradictory signals emerging which were covered up a little bit.

POM     They being?

JC     Well China policy for instance. That wasn't of huge import internally to SA. The policy on Indonesia where you got sort of U-turns and confusions but also policies around economic transformation. Mandela jumped from saying in 1990 that nationalisation is our policy, to privatisation is our policy, whereas in fact ANC and government policy is a bit more nuanced than either the former or the latter and someone like Mbeki is more astute at presenting a much more nuanced picture and I think a more accurate picture, whereas Mandela was sometimes a bit lacking nuance, yes, in areas which have to be nuanced, not just for political consumption but because the policies themselves have to be that. Also I think that clearly related to that I would say that Mandela's strength is not in the area of intellectual strategic development, as some senior comrades in the ANC have said to me, he prevailed over a period – the ANC has always been quite proud of its record in the sixties, seventies and eighties, quite proud of its intellectual traditions of debate and discussion and so on, Mandela didn't really enjoy that debate and tended to suppress it if he was irritated by it. Therefore he presided over a decline, in my view, in terms of the sort of intellectual vigour and robustness of the ANC leadership collective mainly because it wasn't an area of particular interest to him.

     Anecdotes about him? I prefer to answer in a slightly different way. I might have said this to you in a previous interview, the Mandela persona is a very interesting and complicated one which has to do with, I think, his early formation as a youngster growing up in a royal paramountcy so that there's a certain kind of aristocratic dignity and sense of being born to rule, a huge kind of aristocratic but race confidence and dignity about Mandela, but it's not your Versailles aristocracy, it's a barely emergent aristocracy emerging out of sort of iron age communal societies. So this 'born to rule' sense that he has is born to rule but a rulership that has to be earned every single day in daily communication with your people and so those features of Mandela's presidency where he would plunge into crowds and listen to young kids and so on was not your sort of US presidential politics of kissing babies and so on at election time. It was quite genuine, absolutely genuine, deeply integral to the persona. So it's a strange blend of aristocracy and democracy, a kind of a populist democracy almost. I think a very interesting political features at the cynical end of the 20th century where he was quite unlike every other politician of note in the world and quite genuinely so, it wasn't something that he went and learnt at finishing school somewhere. I think it had huge strengths and it also had to do probably with the last 150 years of SA history which he embodies in his own particular way. It's a history that's been very telescoped. In his autobiography he talks about being deeply influenced by the tales of iron age societies resisting British colonialism so he sees the end of the 20th century from a perspective which is quite distinct from Clinton or Tony Blair or Fidel Castro maybe. I think it's a great strength but has a kind of quaint anachronism about it as well.

POM     President Mbeki's showdown with the public service unions, (i) how is this to be interpreted, (ii) the fact that one of your own senior leaders, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, was the bad cop, so to speak, in the situation, saying the issue is over, negotiations are over, this is the government's position and that's it, and (iii) where the SACP as a party still stands in relationship to that issue?

JC     Nice easy question, I'm glad you asked me this. Let's begin right at the end, the SACP's position is complicated first of all by the existential realities that you're putting your finger on, namely that we find ourselves in the Central Committee and even in the political bureau of the SACP, we find the key protagonists on both sides of the public sector wage dispute so our deputy chairperson is the key minister carrying out the negotiations and some would say she is being rather cynically and deliberately put there. I prefer to take a more generous view. The key public sector union, General Secretaries, some of them are our Central Committee members of the party as well. The SACP has said, "Look, we're not a negotiating forum ourselves and we're not going to get into the business of pronouncing whether the public sector workers should get a 3% wage increase, a 7% wage increase or a 20% wage increase. That has to be negotiated but we do want it to be negotiated." We have tried to use our collective authority directing it both at the unions and at the minister and the ministers more generally to say that the bigger picture must not be lost in this, that the government must resist the temptation of thinking that some kind of rolling back of the unions will represent a victory, medium and long term victory for government. They won't, that the development transformation agendas that we've got depend upon motivated professionals in the teaching profession, amongst the police, in the pension pay-out queue and so forth and therefore government needs to handle this strike sensitively. It might not be able to give way on the kind of fiscal constraints that it feels constrain it in terms of wage negotiations, that may or may not be the case and it's another debate, but however it handles it, it needs to do so in ways which don't demoralise, smash and roll back the unions. We need strong effective people in the public sector.

POM     Again you need a settlement that doesn't leave the unions feeling as though they have been defeated?

JC     Exactly.

POM     Is that being adhered to in the strategy the government is following?

JC     We're worried about it. Let me just complete the thought and then say where we are in the thing. To the unions we've been saying, for heaven's sake, also you need to see the bigger picture. By all means robustly raise – you have every right to robustly raise wage demands and so forth but at the end of the day the kind of role that progressive trade unions need to play in the thing is not confined to winning or losing of 1% in a wage dispute. We've got a huge HIV/AIDS crisis on our hands, we've got massive unemployment, we've got a huge illiteracy problem and we've got a crime problem and professionals working in the police or in education and so on need to see that those are the priorities facing them and facing all of us and that therefore we expect of our ministers who are communists to be effective managers but to be more than managers and we expect our communist trade unions to be effective trade unions but to be more than trade unions and to constantly see the bigger political challenges in the picture. We've tried to steer that course, it comes and goes, it starts to unravel and part of the problem has to do with this huge pressure on government from a whole variety of other sectors to force a showdown with unions to show who's boss etc., which is a very short-sighted perspective but one which we think that some senior ministers, not necessarily our own, but not necessarily those in the party, can easily be pitched into, that perspective of teach them a lesson which we think is very short-sighted. We are worried about where the thing is at the moment. Over the course of the last few weeks, through September, through late August, we've been close to finding what we think are face-saving solutions which then carry the thing to a new level.

POM     Like?

JC     Well there was a possibility, which we're very close to, which wasn't made public but which we were handling within the border lines because we've obviously been caucusing with the key unionists, the ministers and so on and as the alliance leadership, that there was a possibility of a further ½% increase early next year that would come out of the personnel budget so it wouldn't be off budget or outside of budget but it would involve creative manipulation of perks and so on for personnel in the public sector in exchange for the unions accepting that there would be no pay no work deductions etc., etc., It was a sort of package of things which we felt that we were close to and we hope we'll still get there, but at the moment it's in a bit of a cul-de-sac and that is worrying.

POM     Is Mbeki moving in the direction of drawing a line in the sand, trying to send a broad signal to the labour movement that in the past you have been indulged and you've been able to play your card, the role the party played in the struggle and we've rewarded you for that but the time has now come when we are the government, you are a labour movement and you don't deserve special demands or special considerations any longer because of the role you played in the past, we're looking at the future now, we're looking at transformation.

JC     I think that reading is a possible reading, one hopes it's not the case because I think it's not going to work and it's a short-sighted perspective. A number of things point to that as a possible reading of what is happening and we're certainly endeavouring to engage him to move away from that. I think it goes further back, as I say there are a lot of constituencies, powerful constituencies and the media and so forth goading government in this direction to settle scores with the unions and show – out of narrow self interest they want government to handle public sector workers in this way so that they get a green light to proceed to private sector trade unions now in a similar fashion. I think some of the problems go back to that old macro-economic debate which we've talked about quite a bit. We've been trying to reflect in the last period a little bit more as to this now three year history of GEAR and the macro-economic debate.

POM     You're the first person I've interviewed since I came back who's used the word 'GEAR', it's the first time I've seen it in print. It seems to have disappeared.

JC     Well within the ANC yes, the government still is committed to GEAR.

POM     But they don't mention it. Is that part of a strategy too?

JC     Well it's part of our victory but it's not necessarily a permanent victory, it might just be a rhetorical victory. Some of those involved in the GEAR process, the macro-economists we've been engaging, we're going back to that and we're saying let's just review what's happened in the last three years, let's figure out why what happened happened and let's see if we can't rebuild on a sounder basis, try to build some kind of alliance but then even social, national consensus around the macro-economic framework that we're trying to implement. I think the hard lesson that we've learnt from the left has been that we probably under-estimated the sheer power of globalisation trends which have undermined our capacity to, as it were, march along a kind of sovereign national path.

POM     We talked about this before.

JC     I think we realise that and obviously there have been quite severe blows to the SA economy which have had largely to do with –

POM     External forces.

JC     - external forces and short term portfolio investments, flows which come in and go out very quickly and which have a real impact on your ability to manoeuvre. Now what's on the macro-economists that we've been engaging, who were involved in GEAR and who are also concerned that what they were trying to do in good faith has ended up somewhere else a little bit, that's their own feeling as well. Something that one of them has pointed out to me has been yes, there was a fairly secretive, fairly tight process in the formulation of GEAR in the first half of 1996. Maybe that was the wrong choice but it was done for good reasons and basically because if these things are too participatory, too negotiated and so on, the speculators themselves come in and speculate against what they anticipate that you're going to do and you end up without any steerage in the process itself. So that was a deliberate choice that they had made but the intention was to produce for the first time an effective macro-economic framework strategy but to accompany that with a major measure which was basically to devalue the rand by some 20% and that would be a sign of good faith to potential investors and so on that we do mean business, we are quite serious about trying to discipline our resources effectively and that we don't imagine that we can just allow things to drift. The hope was that having implemented such a 20% devaluation that would be rewarded with a flood of not just folio investment but foreign direct investment as well as domestic direct investment which would grow the economy and then create a favourable climate in which a consensus seeking macro-economic discussion could take place.

     What happened, according to this key macro-economist involved in the process, was that the thunder got stolen, the markets devalued the rand, depreciated the rand by virtually the same amount, 18.5%, so that all that happened was the event became a document rather than actual implementation of policy and therefore those that they were trying to attract on the one side were saying, well we like the document, it's starting to make better sounds, but are we really sure that you mean business? Then the economy didn't grow as anticipated, there were external shocks as well which probably had very little to do with any of us but Asia and Russia and so on, which did impact on emerging markets. We did better than many but nonetheless it obviously impacted, so all of those then meant that neither was there the dramatic measure which would have created the space, nor was there any particular reward for what was done. So both from the left and the right it's become sort of – then coming back to the point where you started, and maybe I need to end right here, is that in my view, and this particular economist that I've been speaking to, this alliance bashing, trade union bashing, has become the fall-back, there was no rand devaluation, it just depreciated, but to show good faith, to show that they really mean business, that they're really serious about fiscal discipline –

POM     It wasn't seen as a policy decision.

JC     - so you start bashing us and there's polite applause out there. But I think even that is short-sighted and the economist that I speak to agrees with me. For your portfolio investors here there's a bit of an applause and they think OK, but the serious long term investors, bricks and mortar guys, don't like the Communist Party or the trade unions particularly, but for them the priority is not an incredibly tight budget deficit target or low inflation which are the priorities for short term hot money. They're concerned about institutional stability, predictability in terms of macro-policy and so on and so long as there's a hot debate and a shyness about using the word GEAR because the debate makes it difficult to use it, etc., etc., they must have a sense of, well, can I be sure that if I put money into bricks and mortar which is for 20 years or whatever that there will be relative policy and institutional stability? They must be doubting that.

POM     So you think that's the major reason for the - ?

JC     So on the one hand there's the attraction to beat us at our conference and so forth and to show his stuff and to stare down the public sector unions, not necessarily because you're trying to draw a line in the sand, as you say, but a line for whose consumption? Well, I think they're looking north often when they draw the line but I think it might impress your short term investors. I'm not so sure it impresses the real investors that we want to get. I think it's the wrong set of policies in any case for domestically whether it impresses or doesn't impress people out there.

POM     So just to finish that question, after four years of reflection why hasn't direct foreign investment come into SA at a rate that would create the basis for economic growth? Why have foreign investors been so reluctant to build factories here?

JC     I personally think that they're insecure about emerging markets, which apparently is what we are. I'm not sure that emerging markets emerge but anyway we're in that category. There's the global nervousness which wasn't around perhaps five or eight years ago so there's a tentativeness about that, not necessarily anything that we've done wrong or right, it's just that we're in a particular category. The arguments go on inside of the party as well but what I would take to be the hegemonic line within the SACP is that we need to put much more emphasis on real economy measures and industrial policy measures, that your macro-economic policy, I think we've said this before, needs to be aligned to those things rather than pursuing the goodwill of some kind of nebulous investor out there and that's where we need to begin. We need to sit down and say, what industries are we building in SA? Some we might not be able to sustain, they may not be competitive, we might have to take hard choices about those but if it's tourism then let's put a lot of attention, training, skills, infrastructure, transport, all of those things into that. Maybe it's the energy sector which is a developed sector with spin-offs into aluminium plants in Maputo and so on. So we've begun to do some of that but it remains still somewhat incoherent and not so clear and so forth. But it's by driving, in my view, real economy measures with supply-side measures, with infrastructural development which often is going to be public sector led. The public sector doesn't have the resources to do it all but the public sector may have to trigger and catalyse those things and then draw in the serious investors into that. I think that's the route that you go and then you look at what kind of macro-economics package you need to reinforce those measures. In my view it certainly isn't the interest rates as high as we've got them now. That might interest speculators but it creates severe problems for unleashing economic growth.

POM     So in a way the cart has been put before the horse?

JC     Yes, yes. Now there are real dilemmas because our key problem, our key macro problem remains a huge vulnerability in terms of foreign currency reserves. It's a little bit better, it was crisis levels in 1994, April 1994, the sort of goodwill investment that came in, short term hot money investment came and enabled us to get our nose above water but we've remained rather prisoners of those flows and the moment the economy starts to grow we import mainly capital goods as we try to sustain that and as we import our foreign reserves sink so we've got the dilemma of having to attract short term investors just to get our foreign currency reserves above the water but the pursuit of that often gets in the way of the kind of infrastructural and sustainable growth measures that we have to take which will attract both domestic direct investment as well as foreign. I'm not saying that there's some easy solution to that but we can't be fixated around portfolio investment to the extent that we forget that we've got to survive the short term to get to the medium term, but the short term keeps getting in the way of our attempts to get towards the medium term. I think the policy mix –

POM     It's like crisis management.

JC     Yes we get stuck in the crisis management, attracting desperately foreign hot money. We've got to do that but we've got to do it in ways that get over the hurdle and that we start to actually build. I think we may have a window of opportunity now: our gold price is starting to swing around hopefully, interest rates are starting to come down.

POM     It went up by the largest amount in 17 years. It can go down by the same amount overnight too.

JC     That's a problem, it's a major problem, but you've got to use the little windows of opportunity they've got to try then to get real growth going in the economy which we've not succeeded really in the last few years.

POM     It's difficult to make policy when in a sense so many variables are literally outside your control so when you make assumptions you make assumptions that –

JC     Well GEAR is the great example of assumptions.

POM     I know you have to go. I'm here till close to Christmas, I'd like to come back.

JC     OK. I need to be mainly in Cape Town now.

POM     OK, well I'll be down there.

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.