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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

05 Oct 1999: Alexander, Benny (!Khoisan X)

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POM     !Khoisan, we just had been talking about the comparisons between the negotiating process in Northern Ireland and in SA and you were saying that the negotiating structure here, first of all the CODESA structure and then the Multi-Party Negotiating Forum, were constructed along lines that turned it into a permanent organisation. Could you elaborate on that a bit?

KX     What we did is create a structure, a negotiating forum we called it, but it was an institution as a result of which you would go there every day, it would be your work to go and negotiate.

POM     If you didn't go was there a penalty?

KX     You would lose out on what was being done. What would be similar in Northern Ireland is if they form a parliament without calling it a parliament, just calling it a negotiating structure, because if you look at what we did at negotiations we did more than just setting the ground, we actually did pass some laws, we actually drafted some legislation. We were not a legislature but we drafted legislation. We drafted legislation for, for example, the Walvis Bay issue which was a colony of SA, we gave it back to Namibia at negotiations. We drafted the Electoral Act, we drafted many other pieces of legislation for the parliament to go and endorse, but the fact that we were drafting legislation means that we're overcoming the problem of people saying in our respective parties, you are in a parliament with the enemy and the enemy has not done A, B, C, because now it wasn't called a parliament, it was just an institution.

POM     Was this separate from the TEC?

KX     Yes, that was living alongside the TEC because the negotiating forum was the ultimate, we had 26 parties who were sitting down and negotiating.

POM     So would you draft legislation there?

KX     We would draft legislation.

POM     And then you would send it to the TEC?

KX     No, we sent it straight to the NP government, to the apartheid government, straight from there. The Electoral Act we drafted went straight from there to that, so you could see that we went quite a way. We even drafted the constitution. Now you find that in another scenario in the world, whether in the Middle East or in Northern Ireland or elsewhere, they would negotiate the traditional way. You come and you talk and then you go back to talk to your constituency and after six months you come and talk again and go back to your constituency and so on. We didn't allow that because we said that's a recipe for endless negotiations, let's institutionalise it, don't call it a parliament because if you call it a parliament then you have got problems with your party, your party will say that we've not even gone through elections, we've not even done this and that, we're already going into parliament, you're already going into bed with the enemy and so on. So now we said, no we're not in bed with the enemy, we're not in a parliament, we're just negotiating, this is just an institutionalised negotiating platform but with a broad agenda that will even allow us to draft legislation. What would happen akin to that in Northern Ireland is where they come together and they just say we're just talking. If they just negotiate on that, in that form

POM     But they were elected first. They had an election first.

KX     No, we had no election.

POM     In Northern Ireland?

KX     No, here, I'm saying here.

POM     Oh yes.

KX     We didn't have an election so we just sat down and discussed but we discussed broad issues and all the issues pertaining, including to the constitution, even drafting the constitution, the interim constitution. All of those type of things we went through, we spent 18 months day in day out just doing that. So that was what was a structural uniqueness about the South African negotiating process.

POM     Let me just ask you two questions on that, and I am sure that in previous interviews we may have gone through them but I am interested in them now, I told you because I'm doing this kind of comparative study. It began as an article I was supposed to do on the conference we had on Northern Ireland and South Africa in Arniston in 1997 but suddenly the article took on a life of its own and I've now gone to 120 pages and I'm only addressing the first point of sixteen. So it's one of those things.

     The ANC maintains that it was in the NP's interest, or the government's interest to bring CODESA 2 to a halt and the NP insists that it was in the ANC's interest to bring CODESA to a halt. The ANC insists that De Klerk wanted an election as far as possible in the future, as long as he could postpone it, and the NP said, no, we wanted a rather quick election, not a late election. One, who was the net beneficiary of the halt in negotiations in CODESA 2? Two, do you think that De Klerk wanted negotiations to be halted and negotiations to be dragged out or do you believe that, what they say, that there were internal divisions within the ANC between the militants and the moderates and the militants thought the ANC were giving too much away and they wanted to get a breathing space to go back and reorganise their troops and get them all under the same roof?

KX     I think the whole view that you just expressed is based on mythical misconceptions, everything that you said is not true. The reason for that is that the ANC when they came into the country they called, the ANC and the NP together, separately they called for a consultative conference. The NP called for a consultative conference and the ANC for a consultative congress and that consultative body should be an interim government, both of them said so. On the 80th birthday of the ANC, following the year after Mandela's release, he made it very clear, he said, "We sat down, this is our annual statement where we put forward the way forward and that is what we stand for, we stand for a consultative process, a non-elected interim government." He made it very clear.

POM     An interim government composed of?

KX     Of whomsoever, that should be worked out who should comprise that. The NP only differed with the term, they just used the word 'conference' instead of the ANC's word 'congress'.

POM     But they agreed to the same thing?

KX     Yes, yes. They absolutely agreed on the same thing. They had a negotiating process that they were comfortable with where they went into what is called 'bosberaad' go into the veldt, discuss amongst themselves, ban the media from what they're discussing, agree on how to sensitise the news and how to bring a collective face to the people on what they discussed. At that stage we decided, as the PAC, to increase the armed conflict and we called for transparency and we put the word 'political transparency' in the South African lexicon of politics. We were primarily and totally responsible through armed activities during the time that they were involved in these talks in the bush, we said that no smoke filled room things, negotiation must take place in an open forum with the media present at all material times and all parties in the country are free to come and participate in those negotiations as long as they are a political party with all the trappings of a party, annual conferences and this and that, elected leaderships and whatever, they have a right to come and participate. Whether you call them an organisation or a party or whatever, or a movement, we're not going to debate that, they can come as long as they've got the trappings of a party and an organisational life form. We, through force of arms, brought an end to that whole negotiating process. That negotiating process, if you go back, we a process that was well on its way to install an unelected government by the ANC and the NP.

POM     Which would have been composed of?

KX     Well I'm not sure who they were going to put in there.

POM     But it would have been power sharing between the two?

KX     Power sharing. The ANC's position has always been since they came in, look at all their media statements on what should happen, they say that their first phase should be a government already in place and that government should call for elections, no elected Constituent Assembly for us, and we are the ones who came as the PAC and said that even if we have to use force of arms we will force the issue on the agenda of an elected Constituent Assembly. And that is what basically led to the formation of an elected Constituent Assembly and transparency. The CODESA process itself which they engaged in, which we didn't want to take part in because of a number of reasons, chief of which was the fact that the way the whole process was taking place, also the role of women in that whole thing, our women's lobby was very strongly opposed to that because they had what they called a Women's Consultative Committee headed by Frene Ginwala who is now the Speaker of parliament, and they could sit there and let the men talk and then they were allowed to give a comment on how what the men were talking about impacted on women and then they will consider that, but if they can't justify what they are saying impacts on women then they had no say. We came and we destroyed that Women's Consultative thing and said that women must form part and parcel of the negotiating teams, they must speak on every conceivable topic, they are able and capable to do so and we must have a rotating chairpersonship and women must chair every second rotating chairpersonship. All of those type of issues that were brought on the table there were issues that we brought there as the PAC to the table. So that's why I'm saying that the facts do not bear out the notion that the ANC wanted an elected Constituent Assembly. There is no fact that bears that out, no statement, nothing.

POM     So what did they want? They wanted this consultative council and then there would be an interim government, an unelected interim government?

KX     Non-elected interim government.

POM     Then what would that non-elected interim government do?

KX     It would do an interim constitution and call for elections.

POM     It would do an interim constitution and then there would be elections.

KX     Afterwards, yes.

POM     And then what would happen with the interim constitution?

KX     It would then become the constitution in the meantime.

POM     So it wouldn't be amended by the new parliament or anything?

KX     Well they didn't think so far. I don't think they thought so far. But what I'm saying is that the first parliament, according to the ANC would have been an unelected thing.

POM     An unelected parliament that would draw an interim constitution.

KX     And we said that we want the negotiating process where we spell out the rules for an interim government to make a new constitution, the guidelines and so on, and we would go to the electorate on that basis and get a mandate to form an interim government and to form an elected, under a vote, you would then get representatives and in terms of the outcome of the vote then the elected representatives would sit down and come up with a constitution for the country in a Constituent Assembly. And that is something that we put forward against the ANC and the NP. Through force of arms we brought an end to what they were doing and the ANC was just too happy when the Boipatong massacre happened because when the Boipatong massacre happened they said that's it, we're pulling out of the whole thing, of CODESA, let there be a new process, let's hear what the other people say. Then they accepted all our recommendations and then what was called the Multi-Party Negotiating Process superseded CODESA.

POM     So in your view CODESA, the ANC were looking for a way to get out of CODESA?

KX     I think they were looking for a way because our marketing process and our propaganda was so strong at the time, we totally discredited that process the ANC was involved in.

POM     You totally discredited ?

KX     CODESA was discredited.

POM     So the ANC were losing support?

KX     They were losing face more than support.

POM     Did that give rise to internal divisions in the ANC itself between those who were saying, for God's sake we should be taking a more militant route?

KX     I would well imagine so but I wouldn't be able to quantify that, I wouldn't say that there would be a 50% split this way and that way or 40%/60% and that, I wouldn't be able to say to what extent but I would imagine that would be a necessary article.

POM     How about the NP? Where did it - ?

KX     I don't think the NP wanted the elections at all. I agree with the view that the NP didn't want it. They agreed, they very strongly felt that there should be an unelected government.

POM     An unelected government, but they were in CODESA, right? Did they want it to continue or did they want it to end?

KX     They wanted CODESA to continue, absolutely.

POM     So then when ANC people say that it was De Klerk who was responsible for bringing CODESA to a halt because he wanted to drag out the process as long as possible, he didn't want a solution at that point?

KX     I think he wanted a solution that would because he knew what he was putting forward. I am saying that there is a convergence of interests between the ANC and the NP on that CODESA thing because the NP was losing support to the right wing and the ANC was losing support, I wouldn't be able to say significant members, but I would say they were losing face to those to their left which was the PAC. At the time that they were negotiating, you remember that was the time when Vlakplaas was operating fully, people were dying in the trains, people were dying at parties, at funerals, they were being shot at, drive-by shootings and so on, by forces of the NP and the purpose of the NP was to bring an idea of battle fatigue amongst the masses so that through that strategy the masses would then accept anything for the sake of peace. That was their strategy and we were combating on the ground and the ANC was not combating the strategy so we would then come up with our own counter-attacks on them and would justify those counter-attacks as counter-attacks to what the government was doing to us. In that they were losing face because here you're sitting talking to people who are killing us and the PAC is doing better than talking, they're hitting back at these guys. So at the same time that we're hitting back at these people we were seen to be defending the people and it was extremely popular. You can't find a person at that time that was opposed to our counter-attacks. Even our business leaders like Nthato Motlana, the biggest black personality in black business, he was on Radio 702, he said that whatever Bennie Alexander is saying is right, I agree with him totally, his analysis is correct, everything. So we had widespread support.

POM     Why did that widespread support disappear when it came to election time?

KX     There were many reasons for that. The main reason is that the ANC put their issues forward. The PAC misread the mood of the people and the mood of the times because at that time the PAC put forward a strong Africanist line at the elections and the ANC put forward a reconciliation line and it was a time for reconciliation more than for Africanisation. After the first elections the PAC changed from Africanism to reconciliation and the ANC changed from reconciliation to Africanisation. So the ANC went into the second election with the Africanisation and African renaissance platform and the PAC went into the elections with the reconciliation platform, totally misreading the mood and the people voted for what the PAC wanted but not at that time. It was the wrong election. We had the right message at the wrong election and I think that was one reason that accounts for the PAC's decline.

     The second thing, of course, was the strategy by the ANC which was a strategy that said define the elections for the people, tell the people the election is about keeping the white people out at all times, at all costs, so no return to white rule and therefore we must vote strategically, we must pool our vote, we must not split our vote. That was the message that they went with. They put it into anti NP rhetoric but it was more anti black opposition, the call for strategic unity, united vote and they had the icon, Mandela, around which to do it. So the PAC did not have a response, a propaganda response to that. Even the second election the ANC went to the masses and said that this is not a time to look at performance of the government at all, this is a continued liberation vote. They are still voting to keep the white man out and the NP out in particular. It's the same vote.

POM     So would you say in a broad sense of the word that the ANC is anti white or anti white participation in government more so than the PAC?

KX     No the ANC is not opposed to whites who are members of the ANC.  Those are the right kind of whites. No, it's those who are outside of the ANC, those are the whites that must be kept out. So it's not anti white per se, anti non-ANC whites.

POM     Where would the PAC stand on that?

KX     Like I say, the PAC came at a time when people wanted to know, while it's now four years, you're going into a second election, you've said let's reconcile the first time around, now what about us? What are you saying about us? Now you're saying Africanisation of the institutions, of the powers, of the economy. I'm saying Africanisation, I'm saying it's Africa's turn through a renaissance, a resurgence. And the PAC came and said, "We are saying that it's time for reconciliation now." People said, "No, PAC, your message is not the right one." So that accounts basically for the demise of the PAC.

POM     We're really talking a party that's close to demise. Its proportion of the vote in the last election was so minuscule that it would take a revolution to put it in the position of becoming a viable alternative to the ANC.

KX     Not at all because a week is a very long time in the life of a politician, as the saying goes. What you need is that we need to be able to look at the dissatisfaction of the people and be able to articulate that dissatisfaction and overnight the PAC would become very, very popular.

POM     Well why didn't you do that in the first four years? Here was a government headed by the ANC going into an election with a public perception in the black community as well as the white that (i) it had failed to come to grips with crime, in fact that crime was winning the war, (ii) that the economy seemed to be on a perpetual slide, (iii) that joblessness was increasing rather than decreasing, (iv) that education, rather than improving, was in a mess. On all the major issues its performance was rated poor, unsatisfactory by almost every opinion poll and yet that party went into an election and increased its percentage of the poll, whereas in most other countries it would have been kicked out of office.

KX     That's right. Well you find that in the developing world that is something that they never understand. A ruling party can take inflation from 5% to 1000% and still win the elections. It happens only in the developing world and first of all people can never understand the psyche behind an economy that has a tremendous part of in a country where there's a lot of backwardness.

POM     Sorry, I'm a little bit deaf.

KX     Cannot understand properly what happens in an economy where there is a lot of backwardness, economic backwardness, because first of all they cannot understand the perceptions of people in the backwoods, the economy. In our own country, for example, the majority of black people are illiterate so they don't even read the newspapers. Image formation and symbolism is very important and the ruling parties know how to use that. Like I say, the ANC came and told the people that, yes, there might be a threat of all the social ills that you mention that are not being addressed, but they were saying that there's a bigger bogeyman than all of that and that is the NP. If they come back it is from the frying pan into the fire and there is a greater motivation for uniting to stop the going into the fire than there is a motivation for getting rid of the ANC. Faced with that choice the ANC said we're the only real alternative. All the other black oppositions are in disarray, hardly have functioning structures, hardly have this and that we're there, we might not be the ideal party but we're the best of the lot. And for many people it is true.

     Of course the PAC came with the wrong message altogether. You see one thing you cannot do, you cannot rubbish PAC leaders, you cannot rubbish the PAC. You cannot say the PAC is not a liberation movement, it's a reactionary movement, it's a sell-out organisation or what, you can't say that because everybody knows the PAC and its history. It was a revolutionary movement, it has this. So the credentials of the PAC are beyond question. The only thing that people question is its ability and the strategic issues pertaining to leaving one liberation movement for another and splitting the black vote and the ANC played on that and said don't split the black vote, we're going from the frying pan into the fire.

POM     They did it very successfully.

KX     They did it very successfully.

POM     Why weren't the PAC out there saying, listen, you've had four or five years.

KX     Because the PAC misread the mood. The PAC thought that this is a time to talk about reconciliation.

POM     With all that discontent out there?

KX     With all this discontent. The PAC's posters read 'Partnership'.

POM     How could they make such a fundamental mistake? You didn't have to be a rocket scientist.

KX     The main message of the PAC's posters was the word 'partnerships' of all stakeholders, national reconciliation. Totally misread the mood on the ground and paid very dearly for that.

PO     Your association with the PAC, are you still a member, are you still active or you've retired from politics and moved on with your life?

KX     I will always be a political animal at heart. I'm not a leader of the party, I do attend all its meetings. I attend its conferences, I speak from the floor. I'm still held in very high regard and amongst the masses in the streets the more the government fail the more I'm greeted more warmly by the day, so it appears that I'm becoming more popular because people are saying, where are the leaders of yesteryear who could speak out for us? And certain names come to mind, not necessarily because they want you but because the needs of the moment call for them to make a re-think. People are beginning to talk in the shebeens and say what happened to this one, what happened to that one, and so on, and amongst these names that come up my name comes up from time to time as well. I'm currently completing a book under the heading My Stand on the African Renaissance.

POM     You're doing a book on that?

KX     That's the heading of the book, My Stand on the African Renaissance. Of course the publisher might come and change the name, they always do that, but that is the name that I have.

POM     What's your reading on that, on the African renaissance?

KX     The first section of the book deals with the theoretical framework, on development in the third world and what the inherited Eurocentric universities teach. As a model for development they come with three world theories, that there is a first world and there is a second world and a third world and sometimes they just talk about two worlds, the developed world and the under-developed world. They say that the latter must catch up with the former by taking the models and the steps that the first world have taken and they're basically saying that's where they're prepared to put aid, to even assist you and give you models to follow and if you follow those models you'll end up where they've ended up. They say that they have a problem because they're not getting the desired returns for their aid and for the loans that they give and they give reasons: they say that there is a lot of tribal backwardness, there is a lack of capital, there is a lack of technology, there's a lack of infrastructure, there are political instabilities, and all of those things in the under-developed world which makes it difficult for them and they must enable them to overcome these impediments and so on which is, of course, a very nonsensical view of the world. I put forward the very clear views on globalisation and what they are trying to put forward in their model and why it will never work.

POM     Why globalisation could never work?

KX     It could never work. I'll tell you why, the direct world view is that there is one world economic system of imperialism and it's that one world system that takes the under-developed world, not undeveloped, under-developed world and put it into a structural supply side, satellite relationship to the metropoles of the first world. So we exist to supply the metropoles with a lot of capital, resources and all sorts of things like that, commodities and everything else. It's that structural relationship, not a phase, not a stage, a structural relationship that holds us down and that keeps us backwards so that the west, even the whole notion about money flowing from the western metropoles to the under-developed world is nonsense. If you look at the balance of trade figures of 90% of the undeveloped countries and you will see more capital is flowing from the under-developed world to the western metropoles and vice versa and that it is the undeveloped world that is not getting the desired returns.

     With regard to the issue of globalisation, the main thing about globalisation, number one, the question of the need for the free flow of capital, that itself is something that we reject because of the purpose of the exercise. Why do you need free flow of capital? In 1970 95% of all capital flows in the world were for real investments, only 5% were speculative investments. Today it's vice versa, 95% is speculative investment and 5% is real investment. So that speculative investment has a life span from the western investors into the undeveloped world, has a life span of one week, and 80% on the first day. So of all their investments that they put in, 80% of the investment they put in in the morning is taken out in the afternoon. The rest of it is taken out within seven days so the notion that they need free flow of capital so that they can repatriate their dividends has no basis in the facts because this is not real investment, there are no dividends involved. This is just fleecing of the third world, so-called third world. So that's a problematic thing.

     On the issue of the need for the free flow of goods, there ourselves we have a very serious problem. You might say what is wrong with the free flow of goods in the world and we say that we have a problem because, number one, 50% of all international trade is intra-firm, it's the same firm trading with itself. Ford USA would put up a plant in Mexico called Ford Mexico, send materials there for value to be added cheaply, send that back to Ford USA, you can call that a transaction but you cannot call it trade. 50% of international trade is intra-firm between the big corporations of the west. It's not trade at all by any definition. Number two is that it's impossible for the under-developed world to compete. If you take, for example, either the relationship in NAFTA for example, if Ford USA want to invest, put up a plant in Mexico producing there, they are subsidised by the American government and subsidised by the Mexican government. So we in the undeveloped world cannot go and compete with them. You know yourself if SA wants to go in the European Union and go and sell potatoes they have agreements amongst themselves and trade blocks whereby they give each other discounted prices and government subsidies. So when I come here from SA to go and compete in France with Germany and I come to France I have no subsidy for my goods and I have no agreement to give for preferential prices and Germany has that. So Germany comes with a big advantage over me in that. You find that there are trade blocks and the result of those trade blocks is that you have now the result of that is the geo-political sidelining of Africa in the world. That is what globalisation is doing to us. When we take away the terminologies and say but let's look at the real terms, what's happening in real terms now? Here I'm a farmer, I want to export, you say free flow of goods, what does it mean for me in real terms? It means you must sell at a higher price, unprotected and the World Bank and the IMF says that it's cutting its subsidies but yet United States is subsidising agriculture, Britain is subsidising agriculture, France is subsidising agriculture and I must go and compete with them.

     Then of course you have the issue of the triad, Japan, Britain, United States and the anti-competition structures that they are doing. Take, for example, Siemens and the US companies and the Japanese companies when it comes to the computer giants, to the manufacturing of chips. They're saying let's manufacture the chips together. Why? So that we don't have to compete in the under-developed world. So you find them coming together. So when it comes to real trade and it comes to investments in trade, 75% of that in the world takes place in the triad. When it comes to us in the under-developed world it's speculative investments, it's not the financing of trade or the financing of corporations or the acquisition of equity, it's that type of thing. These are the issues that if you're going to deal with the African renaissance you must be able to understand these dynamics very clearly at play. When Thabo Mbeki went, for example, to the last OAU meeting he said, "I am for globalisation", what was the man saying? He doesn't know what he was saying. The problem is that the politicians who are there of the day do not have the insights.

POM     What does Mbeki mean by the African renaissance?

KX     What he means by the African renaissance, he means a Washington Consensus, which of course you know is what his policy is all about, his policy is all Washington Consensus. In fact the Washington institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, sent people here to sit down with Mbeki to work out his GEAR policies on the basis of the Washington Consensus.

POM     Trevor Manuel is now the Governor for the next year for the IMF and the World Bank.

KX     That's right so it shows you. It's the IMF, this is the IMF consensus, and they are saying that these bitter medicines of the IMF and the World Bank could be a way out of our malaise and it could be the basis of an African renaissance.

POM     What could be now?

KX     The Washington Consensus.

POM     They're saying it could be?

KX     It could be, yes, and that's what they're basing their own economies on and what it's going into the rest of Africa with. We're saying that unfortunately you just don't have the political savvy and insights and everything by the politicians to take him on. Take, for example, next week Wednesday, no tomorrow, tomorrow the petrol price is going up by eight cents a litre again in SA. Why? So that the poor should subsidise the rich. The government has just given the workers an increase, salary increase last month unilaterally after they couldn't reach an agreement and the government gave it to them with the left hand, this is one way of taking it back with the right hand. Inflation for the rich -

POM     These are the public service employees?

KX     Absolutely. Inflation for the rich is low down, that's inflation that does involve housing bonds and those type of things, they're very low down, that's inflation of the rich. But if you take the headline inflation, the one that doesn't include housing bonds and properties and whatever you find that it's high, it's very high and they negotiate with the workers on the basis of an inflation factor, that doesn't apply to the working people, but you just don't have the leadership and the vision who can get up there and say that look what they are doing. You have nobody, everybody is quiet, they said the petrol price is going up eight cents a litre, that means that transport costs for the workers, the normal foodstuffs for the poor that's what's going to be hit, not properties, not the other things for the rich, that's not being hit by all the price increases being announced. You can go through all the newspapers from the time the government made the announcement last week up to now, not one person said a word, not one word will you find.

     We are living in a society also where you find that things are under collapse, the hospital services are just collapsing. In Gauteng today's newspapers, 5th October 1999, clearly states that people have to use linen in the hospital, dirty linen, they have to use it again and again and again. So it's taken off and brought back just as dirty as it was. A total state of chaos and misrule in our hospitals. People die of preventable diseases, preventable from the time you enter the hospital, they die thereof in large numbers. One doctor in Baragwanath just sat down for a whole year and just noted all the cases of death that could have been prevented from the time the guy came in and he just gave that to the government after a year and the government's response was that they were going to die, people were going to die anyway, nobody is going to live for ever. A cynical response like that and there was no reply to that.

     Look what happened with jobs, there is no job creation here. The IMF promised that there will be 6% per annum growth in the SA economy. Last year the growth was .01%, negative growth, in other words we're shedding jobs, we're not creating jobs so people cannot hold on to jobs at the moment.

     Look at the moral fibre of society, the moral fibre of society is totally gone. Leading women activists are writing articles in the Sunday papers in which they say that they're no longer prepared to fight against rapists, we just walk along with condoms hoping that if somebody wants to rape me I just give in and hope that he will use the condom because one in three girls in the townships have been raped during school hours in the classroom. One in three. Those are the statistics. So there's a total breakdown even at that level of morality. And you say to yourself, in an environment like that, why is there no alternative to the government? Certainly it should find immediate resonance among the people but you find that the alternative parties, it's not that they're drowned out, they're so intimidated because of their weakness, internal structural and other weakness, they've now adopted the problem of survivalism and they are more preoccupied with their survival than with the broader political agenda.

POM     That's parties like?

KX     Almost all of them. What is the NP pre-occupied with now? What is the PAC, what is AZAPO, what is IFP, all of them?

POM     Let's look at the NNP and the DP. The fact of the matter is that Africans are not going to vote for the NP no matter what name it makes up for itself or for the DP for that matter. They're just not going to do it. Even if you don't get a house and you don't get your electricity and you don't get your water, you don't say, well my answer is I'm going to vote my oppressor back into power.

KX     So the real answer that remains is that IFP, PAC, AZAPO these guys are more if you look at Buthelezi now, Buthelezi is more preoccupied with his position, his status, he's very acutely aware that he's an older person now and that in his last days he needs to have a very senior position in government and he must be seen

POM     Why didn't he accept Mbeki's offer of the Vice Presidency?

KX     He didn't want to give up his lever because his lever is KZN and he is always having a threat there, every month or two some fight will break out again to show that if it wasn't for me the fight would be out of hand. So Mbeki wanted

     (End of side 1 of tape)

KX     - and take a senior Cabinet post.

POM     Is there life in the IFP after Buthelezi?

KX     I very seriously doubt it. I think the IFP will go one way now.

POM     So the IFP with its diminishing base of support mostly in KZN is going to become more diminished.

KX     Absolutely.

POM     AZAPO is going practically nowhere.

KX     They're going nowhere.

POM     The PAC has managed to halve the small vote it had.

KX     Yes but that is about one point something percent. The PAC's reputation is bigger than its organisation so what you need to do now, what is required is a leader or leadership to bring the organisation in line with its reputation. You talk to any black person in the street who didn't vote for the PAC and ask them, do you hate the PAC? They will tell you, no, I don't hate the PAC. I dislike the IFP, I dislike this. I said, "Do you dislike PAC?" He said, "No I don't dislike them but I had to vote for somebody. I thought strategically it's better to vote for the ANC." So I am saying that there is no anti-PAC sentiment amongst black people, the majority of voters, there's no hatred, disgust and that feeling.

POM     That may be because you simply don't count.

KX     No, that is so because historically you did not come with an abhorrent thing, you are part of what they regard as their liberators. So that is the esteem that you have. I'm part of the liberators of these people and of this country and the people hold you in high regard for that. So, therefore, they don't hate you. I'm saying that unlike the IFP about whom some people say we don't like them, many people say they don't like them, I'm saying we're already halfway there, you must just be able to inspire confidence in yourself and your ability to rule, pick yourself up by your shoe straps and show the people that you are worthy of their support and that you stand for their interests. The problem is the PAC is too financially dependent on the goodwill of those who do not share its vision.

POM     Those who do not share its vision?

KX     That's right.

POM     So, what must the party do, looking ahead, to move from a position of having 1%, one plus whatever percent of the vote, to making a breakthrough whether that's 10% or 12%, forget about 50%, but just making a breakthrough, what must it do? It would seem to me there has to be a complete change in leadership, it has to be an organisational structure that actually works, that knows how to turn out voters. There must be reorganisation from top to bottom.

KX     The first thing that they must do is that the leaders that they put in must come, unfortunately have to come even if they are not the most capable, but they must bring capable leaders who have an individual reputation of having been from the ranks of the liberation forces. So you mustn't come from the academic circles, you mustn't come from the business world, mustn't come from any of that, you must come from the ranks of the liberation movement and you must have those credentials.

POM     Bishop Magoba fulfilled those credentials.

KX     Bishop Magoba already for more than 20 years has not given intellectual assent to the cause of liberation. He publicly spoke against the armed struggle for the past 20 years. He publicly did a lot of things that just set him aside from others, so he's not in the same vein as those who in the past 20 years were struggling. He was inside the country, highly acclaimed, a church man who spoke out against the fundamental strategies of liberation movements. But I am saying that what you now need is you have to have somebody who in the past 20 years was known to have been in the trenches. I'm not meaning physically, he could have been on Robben Island, he could have been here, he could have been there, he could have been in exile without necessarily being in the armed forces of the liberation movement, but you must have been in the liberation movement during that period and you must be part of the last crop of leaders, not of the crop prior to the last crop. You should have that. Then they should have people who are able to make a proper social analysis of the situation that articulates the fears and the concerns of the people. Then they must be able to go out there, get their hands dirty. There is no alternative to working amongst the communities, mobilising them. Tomorrow we should have had a march to oppose the increase of the prices.

POM     Why isn't there? Is anybody in the party thinking? Who is thinking along your lines?

KX     But I am saying that the oppositions are so small nowadays and so concerned with issues of survival.

POM     Paying the rent.

KX     Paying the rent, they are more concerned about those issues than the broader political issues, the broad political agenda. When all is said and done there are just two alternatives to the programme that fails to deliver of the government. Number one, which is the most likely scenario as things stand, is internal ANC, from within the ranks of the ANC's alliance. If there could be from there a break and people form an alternative to challenge their party, that would be one. The other alternative to that would be if somehow the PAC gets its act together and it articulates the interests of the people, look outside of itself towards the people.

POM     What are the odds of the PAC getting its act together?

KX     I think it is question of you see we come from a tradition called the Pan African Movement which provided historically free articulate social analytical leadership. So you have in the USA, in their history, people like Marcus Garvey, people like WE B du Boys, people like George Padmore and others, people who were very articulate, give a social analysis and make them carry the people with them but even carry the professional classes with them because they are so articulate and well read and so on. And you had in Africa people like Kwame Nkrumah  and all the others, Sekatoure and others who come from that same type of tradition carried forward. Now the same tradition with the modern sophistication is what is required because those are leaders who have authority.

POM     Where can the PAC find those leaders?

KX     They are there, even in the ANC and the PAC and AZAPO and elsewhere, those leaders are there. Some people must just be nurtured more, some must be advised more, some of them must be brought to the fore and it's a problem of understanding strategies and tactics and having the right propaganda machinery around you. But we need that type of leadership in Africa, people who could even discipline black people, who can talk about the question of rape and the crime and the violence and instil discipline and lead that country. So there's a lack of leadership, people are playing around. In SA we are too Americanised, we're too much media pre-occupied so as long as the top leadership have their press conference of the day they're happy with that.

POM     As long as they see themselves on television at night.

KX     That's right, because what happens now is that white people have the same concerns as black people but they're changing the order. The first order concern of white people, of course, is crime, the first order concern of black people is jobs. So the government has decided, Thabo Mbeki for his first one hundred days in office he must attend to the primary concern of white people so the ministers of Police, Prisons and Justice are out there, being on the news every night, doing things because these are the concerns that make the headlines in the news and so you can even see that type of concern. And you will have to have opposition parliamentarians who can go out there and say this is right, that's good, now can you bring that same energy to bear on job creation as well? What about us? What about us here in the townships? But you don't have that.

POM     Do you see a Mbeki administration being different from a Mandela one?

KX     Oh it was just a matter of time because Mandela's policies are the same policies that made African leaders who stayed very long unpopular. The same laws that make them popular for ten years are thereafter unpopular. Mbeki's policies are just going to collapse on the basis that they failed to deliver. You can have what good machinery, propaganda machinery, and the ANC has the best propaganda machinery, it's better than most primary parties in the western world.

POM     Why will it fail to deliver if of all the political parties it has the best organisational structure, it has the best - ?

KX     On policies.

POM     On policies you say.

KX     Policies, because we're a structural supply-sized economy. We can't compete. The major countries in the world have formed trade blocs, we're geo-politically sidelined.

POM     What is the alternative, is it to step out of the global - ?

KX     You've got to struggle, you can't just step outside of it, you've got to struggle against it. It's not just a question of stepping out. There are tentacles that are holding you. You've got to actually struggle to cut those tentacles.

POM     I'll ask you and then I'll throw in my tuppence worth: what's the thing in the next ten to fifteen years, what's the single greatest challenge facing SA?

KX     The same challenge that faces SA for itself also faces it with regard to its neighbours and that is the issue of socio-economic empowerment of the many, because if we only become a powerful country for ourselves surrounded by impoverished countries it is going to deplete and become a scourge to that success. So we have to think regional but we can't stop for the region, we've got to go ahead with policies and strategies which are not just elitist. If you take a look at what they call black economic empowerment, you take a look at, for example, the Women's Movement, that Women's Movement is not an African Women's liberation movement, it's an elite Eurocentric feminist movement. What is a Eurocentrist feminist movement in North America and Europe doing? Number one, it's middle class, it is people who feel that they already qualify to also be in the commanding heights of the government, of the state and of the economy and they're kept out. So it's an elitist movement where they don't challenge even the transformation of their societies, they just say that my exclusion, it's all I'm fighting for.

POM     So they're fighting against exclusion, not against change?

KX     No not fighting against change, fighting against exclusion and it's only led by the elite.

POM     They're fighting exclusion, they're not fighting for change.

KX     They're fighting against their exclusion, for inclusion. So you find the well known names in black business, women's organisations, those are the elite, they are fighting against their exclusion, they're not fighting for change at all.

POM     Black empowerment has worked for the enrichment of the few. There's no trickle down impact of any significance?

KX     But it shouldn't be, your model shouldn't trickle down to the many. Your model should empower the many because fundamentally we believe that conditions for the development of the one are the conditions for the development of the many. African people are fundamentally a humanist people and it is our humanism that counters national chauvinism, sexism, all these other backward notions. It's our humanism that reduces to rubbish backward ideas. If I'm human and you're human then conditions for my development must be conditions for your development. You can't have a policy that says I must develop and it must trickle down to you. The conditions make me develop conditions for your development. Conditions for me to be educated must be conditions for you to be educated. I can't be educated and then the result of my education trickles down to some benefits to you. Why can't you be as educated as I am?

     So that is the fundamental type of policies that we need to do and we've done it many times over, many times over. If you talk about the time when even African people brought the light in Europe after its dark ages, when the Moors went to Spain and established their 800 year rule in Spain, when kings in Europe were in the dark ages, they couldn't read and write, the Moors taught the most backward peasant to read and write. They built hundreds of universities, built hundreds of hospitals, did a lot of things there and brought the first lighting of the torch of enlightenment during the dark ages through Spain and it was our own African people, the Moors who were doing that.

     Take a look at what happened when India, I'm talking about way before Christ, the first civilisation in Europe, the Indus Valley civilisation. Look at how the Ethiopians went there, built a powerful civilisation there. Take a look at the first civilisation that hit Greece, Crete, the civilisation in Crete where North Africans as the desert encroached on their lives and how they went to the isle of Crete and established a powerful civilisation there which became the basis afterwards when they were overthrown by the Greeks, the Greeks used that to build their own civilisation there based on that. It can be done, it has been done, there is no inability of Africa for thousands of years. Of the last 10,000 years, for nine out of those ten, nine and a half out of those ten, Africa was in the forefront of all human development and civilisation, 9500 years of the last 10,000 years. And there's no reason why, and even the current state of Europe it was built by African people, it was Africans, although they didn't go there as good guys. When they went to Spain they went as invaders but they were benevolent dictators.

     I'm just saying that the history speaks for itself about that. Greece was very slow in even picking up on what Africa was trying to teach them. Take the father of medicine, Imhotep, Egypt started it's nation status in 6000 BC and a number of dynasties and kings, pharaohs within those dynasties, the third dynasty, Djoser 3500 BC, his Chief Advisor Imhotep who built Sakkara pyramid in Memphis there, Sakkara pyramids are standing today, and he revolutionised the entire ancient world's architecture at the time. He built the first hospital, he was the first great physician and he was the first guy to build hospitals where people can actually go and book in for recovery, where your recovery can be monitored and so on. And from all over the world people came there for treatment. I'm talking about 3500 years before Christ. At that time Greece told the rest of western Europe that they are the bringers of a Greek or Roman civilisation to the rest of western Europe and that western Europe must always look up towards the Greek or Roman influences for their civilisations. But where did Greece get it from? At that time, 3500 BC, Greece was a very backward, peasant society. They came there but when Greece became a big nation, a great nation and their father of medicine, Hippocrates, he came 2000 years after hospitals were already a common factor, after medical enquiry was really a common factor, after written scripts on how to approach medical science was already a common factor, 2000 years after that he came and of course the Greeks called him their father of medicine. But by the time he was born all the things that he was going to say were already old hat for 2000 years. The hospitals, building of hospitals, old hat, all of the things, nothing new that he came with and he himself travelled to Egypt for his training. But when the Greeks told that to western Europe, when they brought their influence they didn't tell the western Europeans. They said we have this influence but they didn't tell them where they got it from.

     So when we talk about resurgence, the moment you talk about resurgence you place two responsibilities upon yourself: put the responsibility on yourself to prove that the African people are one. Right? If you say that the African renaissance must take place, an African resurgence, you place an onus on yourself to prove the African people are one, the Nigerian regards himself or the Jo'burg guy's otherwise, you can't talk about an African resurgence if the Africans are not one. Secondly, you can't talk about an African resurgence if there was no former greatness, then how can you resurge? When you talk about the African resurgence you are putting a burden of proof on yourself to prove those two things. And we can prove those two things so we can talk about the African renaissance.

POM     To just move backwards, when I asked what was the greatest challenge facing the country or even the region in the next 15 years, and socio-economic of the masses, why would you not have said AIDS? That is literally a plague sweeping southern Africa, reducing life expectancies down to the mid-40s, creating millions of AIDS orphans, skewing the entire demographic structure of countries, getting in the way of

KX     Why I didn't mention AIDS, because if I can come with the background of the world system at the moment, the world system arises from the Indo-European steppes during the time of the nomadic lifestyles and where women of course were just part of the properties of men, a patriarchal system and the reason for that was that the women didn't contribute to the security of the group or the family. In a nomadic lifestyle a woman can't contribute, she's physically weaker, how can she contribute? So it's only in a fixed settlement society that a woman can contribute to the security of the family or the security of the group and therefore status immediately rises to the same as the men. But if you are dependent on men then of course but when capitalism came into being it adopted certain of those practices. It wasn't necessary to adopt but they did. Capitalism adopted the urban bias, capitalism adopted a male bias, capitalism adopted a white male bias, so capitalism adopted, which it didn't have to, it's not the important point survival to adopt but it did.

     What is happening, for example, in Africa is that the hospitals are built in urban centres so you find that in our own country now in the third world you must just see what is the implication of that capitalism bias. In the third world the majority of people live in the rural areas and the commanding heights of the economy recruit men, so women are triple oppressed. They are oppressed as black people, they are oppressed as women but they are also oppressed as employees, as workers on the technical, because they don't get the skills, they are having to stay behind. Capitalism with its urban bias builds the hospitals and clinics or whatever. In a first world environment the majority of people live in the urban and few in the rural, so to have the many hospitals there you can justify but in the third world you cannot justify that bias because the majority are in the rural areas and the few are in the urban areas in a third world environment. So we find that there are sufficient hospitals in many African countries, in many Asian countries, in many South American countries, there are enough hospitals but the hospitals serve the urban few and not the majority.

     Unfortunately you find that you can't talk about AIDS without talking about the issue of women, the issue of women's reproductive rights, the issue of a lot of issues pertaining to women and that is so because the women are the ones who are left behind, they are the ones who are in the urban areas, they are the ones who are suffering most from access to medical facilities. To talk about reproductive rights and this and that, you can get free this and free that, and there is no clinic that can give it to you is nonsensical. It's a right that cannot be exercised, it's a meaningless right. So you cannot just talk about AIDS in isolation of the urban bias of the economic models. That's why I'm saying that at the heart of addressing all of those things, I know that you can't talk about stages because it's a scourge that is there right now and it has to be attended to with all the seriousness, but you cannot just go on and attend to it with a briefcase full of medicine. You will just come to the first three, four streets and then you're exhausted. The infrastructural support for the attack of AIDS has to go hand in hand with a re-think of the urban bias and the entire economic model, the development model, otherwise in a developing country you cannot attend, you will never win that war.

POM     So where does that leave SA? There are 1500 new infections per day, life expectancy by the year 2010 will be down to 45.

KX     I'll tell you where it leaves us. We have, as a country, our medical systems in the urban areas are collapsing, in a state of collapse. On the day of this interview, today the 5th October, the headlines of the newspapers are about the premier province, the economic heartland, Gauteng and it's got reports about how the state of hospitals are in a total state of chaos. That's saying if you go to hospital now you are likely - if my wife is not going out I'll take the car and we'll go to the hospitals and you will see people sleeping in the corridors, on the benches there, you will see people sleeping on dirty linen, you will see that old linen is taken out and less dirty linen also unwashed will be brought in. It's an unhealthy place, there's no place for you to go. If the urban people can't even get health facilities, what about the rural, the rural many?

     So you have a situation where you have models based on the bitter medicine, a notion of the IMF that says cut back, cut back, cut back. So you have got a cut back situation on health and health spending and you have a huge plague facing you that can really reduce your numbers to nothing. I come from a tribe, the Khoisan people, who are the oldest tribe of humanity, before us there was nobody that was.

POM     You guys own everything!

KX     I'm just saying the Khoisan people, we have 250,000 years of human history. There are no people around in the world today who can even come close to that, not even half way. What happened when smallpox hit us in the 1600s and 1700s, it wiped our numbers out so that today we are the smallest tribe of black people in Africa. We were the proudest, oldest tribe, not just talking of the African people, of humanity as such. We are the Adam, all humanity comes from us. Before us there was nobody. So I know what that does, I've seen what that has done to the very group that I'm a member of and after whom my name is called now. It's a very serious problem. So AIDS is a very, very serious problem.

POM     What I would like to do with you some day, if you have the time maybe on a weekend, is I'd like to go out to Bara Hospital because I went out there in 1995 when the strike was on and found the place was being run by the military. I went around and interviewed people, patients, until they threw me out of the place, but I would like to go out there and talk to administrators, nurses, doctors, orderlies, patients to take a look at the very thing that you're talking about.

KX     Also I must mention on the educational field which we didn't touch on much in our discussion now, is that there is something drastically wrong in a country where you have 60% of Grade 12s, or as we call them matriculants, fail and it's regarded by the whole society as progress. Over 60% drop-out rate, failure rate. That shows you what the state of our education is.

POM     Would you have some Saturday or some day free? I'm going to be here until the middle of December or thereabouts.

KX     Not this Saturday but the following Saturday. This Saturday there's a Commonwealth Auditors' meeting in Sun City and I'll be going there, British Commonwealth Auditors so I'll be going to meet some of the Auditors.

POM     This I'll follow up when I talk to you next time, your life moved from General Secretary of the PAC, then you worked for a while as a consultant.

KX     What I'm basically doing now is that I'm working for myself. I'm doing infrastructure consulting to the public transport sector so I'm working with the taxis, the buses and all the other companies and consulting with them. At the moment what we are just doing is that I wanted to start with property and roads but I realised that there's a lack of administrative abilities so I've decided now to prioritise the issue of financial systems and management systems. I'm providing that type of consultancy work and after that I will be

POM     Who are your clients?

KX     My clients are the formal bodies, so the taxi bodies, the taxi organisations and institutions, government bodies and so on, I consult on infrastructural issues. I have consulted the World Cup Bid Committee on public transport systems for the World Cup and so on. So those are the type of things I do. I provide smart village cards which I'll show you a sample of, people use this as a smart card for financial service transactions. When you look at the back of the card you will see it is a smart village, it brings rural technologies, financial services and administration, parking, health, whatever my eyes are not good, I can't see all of it, telecommunication. I think the symbols represent all of that. So it's a 16-application microprocessor chip that we put in place there and I put systems in place for the public transport sector.

POM     Do you employ people?

KX     No, no, I don't employ people. I go to a client and then he must give me people or stay behind and so we train his people how to do it. I just have the occasional consultants who go in with me to train, set up the systems and then take a maintenance contract, but let the people run their own industries.

POM     Fascinating. So this card would allow me to use the phone?

KX     Medical, it will store your medical records. It will do a lot of things. It does 16 things, it has a 16-application chip on there.

POM     You would put this in a computer?

KX     Yes. As you can see all your particulars are scanned on the chip for security purposes. Your biometrics are scanned on the chip, there's no picture of you on the card. So you can use it for pension payments, you can use it for all sorts of things, to make things easy for people in the townships. There are so many industries that we can come with applications for but we've decided to first of all go for the public transport sector. The second big organisations would be the churches.

POM     Why the churches?

KX     Because churches have no systems and they are being robbed every day. People still pay 10% of their salaries to the churches so churches sit with a lot of money and so we need to put financial controls and systems in the churches themselves. Before you can talk about strategies by the churches, particularly clinics and all these things, if the church itself does not have any administration how will it run a clinic, how will it run anything? Sometimes you come into a village and there is only one building and that building is a church so we've got to use that building as a clinic, you've got to use that building as so many other things and if you're going to put systems into the rural areas there's no way you can by-pass the church.

POM     I will leave it at that for today. It's been a pleasure catching up with you again. You're a joy to talk to.

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.