This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
06 Oct 1999: Holomisa, Bantu
POM. Let me begin with a statement you made at our last interview which was in June 1998 when you had talked about the prospects for the party and you said, "So far the surveys are putting us around 5%. I hope at least that will be satisfied. I think we will have done well if we can get between 10% and 15% of the poll. A setback would be to get less than 5% so if we can be in that category, between 10% and 15% it would be a good start for us having launched a party within 18 months, but less than 5% would definitely be a setback." You in fact received 3.5% of the national vote. Your comment on, first of all, your own party's performance and does your performance constitute what a year ago you would have regarded as a setback?
BH. That was June last year. Yes, it's true and I still stand by what I have said. The lack of funding for our party obviously contributed tremendously to us dropping not to reach all the corners of SA campaign. We had only about two million rand budget competing against parties which had over R20 million like the DP, NP, and ANC over R100 million. So obviously at the time I said so. I thought at least we would get we were budgeting about R22 million at that stage when I spoke to you but we couldn't raise money to that level. Be that as it may, we feel strongly still that with a two million rand budget within a period of 20 months we still have done well in terms of international standards. Most of that we have even done far better than well-established liberation movements like AZAPO and the PAC. So I think we have laid a good foundation because, unlike for instance the IFP, we are not a regional party. We are the official opposition in the Northern Province, we are represented in Mpumalanga, we are present in Gauteng, we are official opposition in Eastern Cape. We have 14 MPs at national level and two MPs at the NCOP level, 16 in Cape Town. So with that spread I think we have laid a good foundation. We are now busy concentrating on continuing from where we were before elections, that is to concentrate on building the party, not just a party to participate in elections.
POM. But you're a military man so that you had set these objectives: below a certain threshold I will regard this as a defeat, to use a military term. Have you done an internal assessment, a round table gathering of the seniors in the party and say OK what went wrong, why didn't we do better, a critical self-examination rather than pointing the finger, well we didn't have money, if we had money we would have done better, if we had this we would have done better. What if you had to run the campaign again, what would you do differently than you did before?
BH. We are not querying the campaign strategy at all because we were not confrontational in our campaigns, we were just addressing the issues. We recognise that we didn't do much because of lack of resources to reach all corners of SA. It was too early for us to have reached all the corners with the amount of money we had for the party. So the internal assessment, of course, was to look at the leadership at local level and provincial level. We went to the elections fully knowing that we don't have strong leadership in the provinces and we can counter that, but as a result we didn't do well in those areas. Some of the surround leadership at provincial level, we are looking at that, we've had bosberade, conferences to look into that. We're meeting again next week to chart a way forward. The ANC, they were in charge of the IEC and the Electoral Commission, so anything could have happened. We know, for instance, that hundreds of boxes, particularly in the Eastern Cape, which are still in police custody have not been counted.
POM. Hundreds of boxes in the Eastern Cape? What happened to them?
BH. They were not counted because they were confiscated by our agents from the ANC Presiding Officers who were IEC members. In other words IEC appointed ANC officials as Presiding Officers.
POM. And they confiscated boxes in certain places?
BH. We did that and then we brought them to the police that, look, these people are having a bogus station here, they have a mobile station here, they are taking these boxes, they are not bringing them in. And the police of course intervened but we have not had one of those people appearing in court. We arrested a mayor tampering with the ID documents.
POM. You arrested a mayor?
BH. Yes the UDM mayor of Umtata. It was big, big news just the day before the elections when they were issuing out ID documents.
POM. The SAPS arrested him?
BH. Yes he was arrested by the SAPS. A lot of wrong things happened. So we say if that one was happening, what was happening in other areas? Maybe it's because in that area they were vigilant so we didn't have, for instance, Election Monitors to monitor everything because you have to pay, these are your party agents, to check whether the counting is fair, people are voting fairly. Those are small minor things which count at the end of the day. But personally I think if we had that money we would have achieved that 5% definitely. If you were here in June the whole country was littered with posters from other parties and in a number of areas it was difficult to see our posters, rural areas, small towns. We just put in Cape Town, Johannesburg, but in a way, well we have proven a record because personally I was chucked out of the ANC, I was removed from parliament by the ANC in 1996 and then I'm back in parliament on my own terms and I'm not alone, we are many, and I don't think they were amused by that. They would have preferred that we get zero.
POM. If you had to fight the war again with resources you had on hand, you would deploy them essentially in the way you deployed them before?
BH. By that time, by the next election in the year 2004, we will have many people who would have bought into the vision and mission encouraged by the new brand of leadership which is coming into the UDM, understand the issues. I am happy wherever I go, Gauteng province and other areas, after we have performed so well people are now coming into the movement. We will still continue to say there is a need to concentrate on the problem of the quality of life of our people, not just promise but implement policies. Look at the ANC now, they are actually following what we have said in our manifesto.
POM. Mbeki is putting the complete emphasis on implementation.
BH. Implementation, clustering of departments, portfolio committees when they are doing things like justice, police and this unit, because in our manifesto is that you need to have special task units and that's why I'm
POM. The Scorpions?
BH. Scorpions and other things. That's the kind of democracy we need. We need to talk and people, without saying so, well so-and-so has got a body, because they cannot say it is Holomisa who
POM. Two follow-up questions. One is, it would appear from the first 100 days of the Mbeki administration that he is going to be a fairly tough taskmaster, at least he's giving that impression to the media and that's the impression they're giving to the public, that his emphasis is going to be on management and implementation and performance by ministers and senior officials and they are going to be held accountable for the way in which they succeed and then get kicked out the door if they don't succeed. In a way that's stealing your thunder and if you don't differ very much with the ANC on the question of policy per se and where they stand on the issues and Mbeki begins to take care of the problem of implementation, (i) does that not undermine you to a certain extent in trying to build a larger constituency and, (ii) is there not room for a rapprochement between yourselves and the ANC or are there personality conflicts that make that impossible?
BH. We cannot base our beliefs and thinkings on the spur of the moment, like what he is doing now. We commend, of course, what he is doing because in my earlier interviews I said to you the problem is we have a government which is not decisive. So at least he is improving that image now. Yes, we need a strong government here, a tough one too. I think the honeymoon is over now and the sooner they implement this it's good for the nation, more than the UDM. We are happy with that because if we don't do this people are going to lose confidence in the arena of politics and they might start resorting to violence and crime, another revolution. So it's good that at least he is implementing this, it depends on us who can still claim the victory that we are thankful that he is now beginning to implement what we have told him to do, so it's normal. But in any given situation, you can go to US or anywhere, Republicans and Democrats, it's very difficult to distinguish what exactly because both parties are talking about issues, tax, infrastructure and so on, so I am happy that at least now all of us who have moved away from politics of ideology and we are concentrating and marking each other on why are you building one-rooms instead of building three or four or whatever, is that improvement of quality of life.
POM. Sorry, building one - ?
BH. One-rooms instead of three or four rooms.
BH. So it's good that the debate is around that. We are not enemies to the ANC.
POM. Do they understand that?
BH. They do, they do understand it even if you can talk to them. When I was in parliament I said to our colleagues, here our mission is to build an alternative government to the ANC and that would entail that we must concentrate on political realignments and so on. Tony Leon is in opposition, he is opposed to the ANC, opposing ANC. The ANC is transforming the country. Tony Leon says he is opposed to the ANC. So is he opposing transformation or what? We have to stay away from that because in our papers and policies we are for the transformation. We rather concentrate on building an alternative rather than talk politics of opposition. Of course we will differ with them in some areas, differ in modalities and so on. We have therefore lifted ourselves, let the DP and NP bark at the ANC. We will just come and say today we want to introduce a motion of acceleration of job creation, and I presented that. And another day we will come with a different topic and then you leave them there shouting at each other. As a result it is very difficult for the ANC to attack us. We've made things difficult for them to even try to open up and say we are attacking the Holomisa policy position. We presented our manifesto to Mbeki on his inauguration in parliament and we said if he follows this, this is a solution to SA. I am happy now that some of the things
POM. Did you receive a positive response from him?
BH. He accepted it and Mandela was there on that day and everybody clapped hands in parliament. Ours was constructive criticism, we criticise them but we offer a solution.
POM. It's not criticism for the sake of criticism or criticism to make a headline or to get on television for a minute?
BH. No, I'm not interested. I say, this is the problem: we think if you continue like this you are leading this country to this area. However, we suggest that you do A, B, C, D.
POM. Do you not think that in such a scenario that there is a fairly high probability of you losing your profile? You're there, you're influencing, they're taking up some of your ideas, they are implementing some of your ideas, it makes the people happier, it makes the people more inclined to vote for them.
BH. But at the same time it depends whether we are effective in claiming our victories.
POM. How do you go about doing that?
BH. You say so in parliament that you are happy that at least out of what we advised that you do, you have done A, B, C, D, E. It is our right to do so. But in politics I don't think, especially here and particularly UDM, it cannot speak the politics of DP. DP are pulling back the process of transformation. UDM is checking on the ANC and is pushing them to implement policies quickly. So we will see, it's still too early, we have got another four years to go.
POM. You're only starting.
BH. Maybe tactics would have changed.
POM. You don't rule out that some time in the future that if you found that in fact the ANC were listening to your advice, were implementing your policies, were moving more in the direction of the UDM, that you would say we could consider an arrangement of a coalition between the two parties where we would have a share in government?
BH. No, we are talking of building an alternative government.
POM. So you will not under any circumstances enter into a coalition?
BH. It's completely out. That's why we didn't even accept MEC positions, for instance, in the Eastern Cape when Stofile was trying to offer a post to the UDM. We rejected that.
POM. On the basis that you can't be part of it was De Klerk's problem too, that you can't be part of a government and at the same time feel outside of it and oppose it if you are part of its decision making process.
BH. You see what we are now doing, we are talking to a number of parties, including DP, where we are comparing notes on the need to establish an alternative and if so what should we do from now up to 2004. My view is that we need to have a summit of all the leaders of the political parties, in particular opposition parties and parties outside parliament, if there any, and any organisations of our communities to openly debate as to how do we strengthen our democracy. You can't strengthen your democracy only by having splinter small parties. But we talk an alternative, if ANC were to be embarrassed by corruption scandals one after the other as they continue to merge, the people would say, all right, they are delivering but they are corrupt, we don't want a corrupt government. I am just citing that as an example. So people will be saying, and so, what? Who else? So I am talking to Tony Leon, I am talking to other parties and what I am saying is the best is to have a summit of all leaders. First of all let us chart a way forward and agree as to whether there is a need to talk about alternative government. If the answer is yes, let's have a convention next year of all those parties and endorse this and then further consult the population by establishing different commissions, an economic commission, a land commission, so that those commissions will come up with policies which might serve as an alternative to the current policies and easily, understandably implement the policies. Then perhaps just before the elections we can decide maybe to disband all those parties and campaign under this new banner of one very strong political party.
. That process, if we were to start it next year, it would have interest right through to the year 2004 and there would be a lot of international attention to it and local attention to it and that would actually make things difficult for the ANC because they would know now that out of that group is a possibility that even other MPs from the ANC can move away, join this new alternative government. But that alternative government must make sure that they understand that in SA you have to recognise the social problems and that the state cannot sit and idle, it has to get involved. You can't say to the people, no you will wait until the market forces have performed. As the government you have to be creative and try and intervene here and there to make sure that at least people have shelter, water, health and so on.
POM. Do you believe that both the last government and the Mbeki government, which is really a continuation of the policies set the last time, are too enthralled, too what's called the Washington Consensus, to the IMF and the World Bank prescriptions of tight monetary policy, cut government expenditure, at all times keep government expenditure under control, which leaves, after salaries are taken out for the civil service, that few resources are left for spending on the needs of the neediest?
BH. Theoretically that is the dream of the IMF but even outside the offices of the IMF in Washington you will find that the state still intervenes, spends money to address social problems. So there is no such thing as tight fiscal that they will not engage public moneys to a thing which the government of the day interprets as a help to needy people. It depends on what country and at what level of your government that country is. We are a developing country, we are not a developed country, so it's good to say when you look at the computer and say, no, cut there, cut there, cut there, but when you come to SA you will find that 70% of the population, almost 90% of them, do not have computers, do not have access to information. So you still have to go to them, drive to them, there are no computers in rural areas like KZN, Transkei and so on, Northern Province. So until you improve the infrastructure first so that you make sure that people are not done a disservice by merely saying you are cutting, say, 55,000 civil servants for the sake of doing so and on the other hand the people are not helped, so the principle of IMF, that principle of fiscal control and others, we cherish it even in our policies, we support that, but there must be less interference by them.
POM. By their part?
BH. Yes. We cannot they don't dictate to America.
POM. They sure don't.
BH. They look for these small countries like us and so on. That's where they have got interest, if that developing country has got resources they show more interest whereas they should be concentrating more on coming up with solutions. If they go to the poorest of the poorest nations, let them come up with a model, then we'll take our hats off, but if we know they know that we have got gold here and platinum, this and that, then they want to control, I'm not interested. I think Trevor Manuel
POM. In a way they want to take away part of your national sovereignty.
BH. That's true because I've been saying I think we would create more jobs if we were to spend an amount of certain billions to go and buy this technology to process our raw materials here and then we export finished products from here rather than taking them to Europe, to USA and then they are sent back and then we buy them.
POM. Have you talked to Trevor Manuel?
BH. They know my position. I didn't say so to him but the UDM is saying how about putting more investment on bringing in technology.
POM. Adding value to primary products within the country rather than exporting them, having value added overseas and then re-importing the finished product and paying a higher price?
POM. What about this, and this is a small issue but maybe an important one. It struck me because I was just going through Braamfontein the other day and there was a big traffic tie-up and I said to my driver, "What's going on?" and he said, "Oh they're removing all the hawkers." The police were out and the teargas was out and it was a scene that if it had occurred in earlier years before apartheid ended would have international news, police spraying teargas at poor hawkers. Yet these poor hawkers, (i) they are showing some enterprise, (ii) they are living, they are surviving day to day, (iii) they're not waiting for a government hand-out, and, at least to me, to form a strategy of saying we will rebuild Johannesburg as the hub of Africa or whatever by getting rid of all the hawkers on the streets because they get in the way of people, that's (a) a really false premise and (b) that they shouldn't be doing anything to discourage people that are eking out a living, it's supposed to be a compassionate government, and (c) that if you moved them into parks or whatever, street trading is built on something is available as you walk by. If you want a packet of cigarettes for example and you see somebody selling cigarettes on the street you buy the cigarettes right there, you don't say well if I go down, take two lefts, a right and I can go into one of these hawker trading parks then I can buy a packet of cigarettes. You're not going to do that.
BH. Well I think there are symptoms that we are shifting day by day towards totalitarianism.
POM. You've mentioned that before. Could you elaborate on that a little?
BH. You can see in the way Mbeki is centralising everything, especially to his office, and appointing his lackeys in various places. A good example, the unions recently had a strike.
POM. This is the Public Service unions?
BH. Yes, and out of the blue the minister just shuts the door and says, sorry, and that's it, I'm going to implement this, if you don't want it we will see what to do and I am going to retrench, that programme of retrenching. That was not that minister, it was Mbeki himself. Oh yes.
POM. In fact he was doing it very cleverly, he was using a minister who is a member of the SA Communist Party to do his 'dirty work'.
BH. So there is a little bit of fear creeping up, the old African style of rule. We have seen this in the Matanzimas where at least if the President has said, so nobody must come
POM. This is in the Transkei, your predecessor?
BH. Yes. Do it or else. So I think all what you are saying, people are worried about whether there is going to be balance between hard-lining and also shall one still enjoy his freedom and rights? So looking at these hawkers, it's still too early, one wouldn't expect that to come from the ANC government which has been voted by the poorest of the poor, the majority support, and they were warned not to do this publicly but seemingly their arrogance and bellicose approach to these things may tend to force people to take a back seat, keep quiet and once people are quiet then you don't know what is being fomented there which means one day there can easily be a big outburst and so the way I thought this matter should be handled, if you want to remove the people in the street first you must tell them where to go. If you say you don't want them there, what is an alternative place? Then you would be supported by the population.
POM. An alternative place where people pass by, where their customers pass by. It's no good putting them in a park and saying here's a nice park.
BH. For instance, let me make an example, I went to Saudi Arabia one time, Jeddah. I was impressed where they built shops for the people, small shops, they have their own keys. During working hours they open up, the public come, part is in town, and their cities are neat and clean and healthy. On the other hand I am sure those people are paying taxes in order to develop the country. So to just remove them, on the other hand you are not providing jobs, and telling the people that it's fiscus control, you don't put more emphasis on micro and enterprise development. They are sensitive to it. So Mbeki, to me I see him as nothing else but a person who is representing the big business, or representing the haves.
POM. Sorry, he's president of?
BH. Mbeki, I say he's merely representing big business and the haves. He doesn't care about the entrepreneurs and the small business person because a number of these shops in Johannesburg, I don't think there are more than 50 blacks who own properties in the city centre, they would be lucky if there are more than 50. So those businesses and complexes, most of them, are for the people who have. So I think he has to review that situation because it's not right, it doesn't suit this environment.
POM. If you say Mbeki is the president for big business, in his speeches he continually harps on this theme of there being two nations, the privileged and the under-privileged.
BH. Look at what he has said. If he is talking about two nations then the other nation survived through selling in the street, why change that, why teargas them? So he's not honest. It's as simple as that.
POM. This is a hypothetical question going back to last year, if I had said to you that the ANC after four years in government was going into an election where crime was way up and people thought that they had lost the battle on crime; where the economy had ceased to grow and per capita income had begun to fall; where joblessness was increasing, no jobs being created, they were being lost; where even matriculating students coming onto the job market couldn't get jobs; where education was a mess; where all the issues on which people felt strongly and not only do they enter the election with that record but they did better than they did before, they got a higher percentage of the vote even though the turnout was a little bit lower, but one would never expect the turnout to be as high as it was in 1994.
BH. In fact everybody is surprised about that, including the voters, the man in the street. They say, these guys, how come they perform so well because we didn't vote for them, I didn't vote for ANC, why? Was the cheating so sophisticated that it was difficult to detect perhaps?
POM. Do you believe that there was cheating?
BH. A good example, on the last days of counting, I remember one time they added 800,000 to the ANC, and IFP they added something to them that the ANC will be in power and IFP would be official opposition. Then we queried where were these 800,000 votes coming from in the IEC Centre. Then the computers had to stop for about two days or a day or two to trace that. Now if they were doing that but not in that big figure, let's say 100,000, 200,000, that would have not been noticed, but 800,000, we said where is it coming from?
POM. Did they come up with an explanation?
BH. No, but they said, no, let's remove that.
POM. So what did they do? They took the 800,000 votes?
BH. Then DP remained as the official opposition to the ANC.
POM. So they wanted to add 800,000 votes which would have made the IFP the official opposition?
BH. ANC got 800,000 and I think the IFP got another 300,000 or so.
POM. But it would have moved the IFP - ?
BH. The IFP to the opposition.
POM. - to above the level of where the DP was, so they would have been the official opposition. And after you queried that they revised the figures and said let's go back to no 800,000.
BH. Our guys in the IEC and other parties said, no, no, hold on, where is this one coming from? Because those guys were clever, what they were doing, in fact you see this election, these things, this counting, if ANC gets more votes and DP counting, the parties at the end lose when they count. The more they get then we lose. So it was clear that by adding that 800,000 maybe we would have not been in parliament because half a million people, over half a million voted for us, so by adding 800,000 to the ANC surely we would not feature anywhere, because that 800,000 the more you add there the lower you are and you lose. We exposed that fraud, for a day or two the computer was at standstill. In Transkei we even found that the results, if UDM is 300 and say ANC is 58 in a station, they will tippex it and say UDM 58, ANC 300. We reported those and sent exhibits to the IEC.
POM. Did the IEC respond?
BH. That's ANC Electoral Commission. The IEC would never
POM. Judge Kriegler was correct to resign by saying that it was no longer independent, that it had become a government
BH. ANC Electoral Commission. So personally I have a problem to answer your question in a nutshell in that everybody is still surprised as to how did they get to that figure. On the other hand you can also say, maybe people said, OK let's give them the last chance. And remember also that Mandela in the last election was also effective because he still campaigned.
POM. So in a sense people were still voting for Mandela rather than voting for the ANC. He didn't just campaign, he campaigned really hard.
BH. Oh yes. In the Eastern Cape they sent the heavies, they sent himself and Winnie Mandela, Mbeki, all of them, camping literally to counter but I beat him even in his rural area.
POM. Is that right?
BH. Qunu, yes the UDM won there.
POM. Is that right?
BH. Yes. "I understand that you did well even in my area", so he would have said.
POM. Have you talked to him since?
BH. Oh yes, I've been to his house in Qunu.
POM. What is your relationship?
BH. He did say it is a pity that we were not official opposition or at least IFP because he said he doesn't think DP understands the politics of transformation in this country. I said, well, I didn't say it to him but I said inside myself, had you not campaigned against us we would have been. Mandela, whenever we meet and we talk over the phone, there's no difference, you don't detect that one is moody or one is against another, but I am a leader of a political party now and one has to be careful. He's retired now. As I said, I said once he gets out of the office, (you remember?) I said I will go to his house and I did, I went to see him and drank with him and he said I must keep in touch. There are things there at home in which we are involved together. In a sense we both raise funds, sponsors, for our football club there, called Tembu Royals, that's our club so together there are certain functions at which we have to appear together. If we are talking about traditional leaders, leadership, for instance he went to my brother's function in April at home, my home, to participate in the official installation of my brother, Patekile, cousin, brother, Patekile Holomisa. So we meet even in Sandton at functions, "Hey Bantu, how are you?" So we chat. There's no bad blood relations between us.
POM. Do you think part of the problem with the DP, and a number of people have said that, is that they don't understand African culture or the way that African politics work, that they're Euro-centric, they'd be fine in a Westminster style parliament where you bark at people across the benches?
BH. I think that is their main problem, it's a thing which we didn't adopt at all from day one in parliament. We said, no, no, we're not here to just come and put a new culture, let's debate issues and this is how we say it even in this situation, which was in the papers a few weeks ago. We took a constructive approach, we said how about conducting a preliminary investigation out of this and then from there once we get a report then the minister and the cabinet can decide whether there is a need for a judicial commission of enquiry, but all we were trying to say is that the government don't be seen to be hiding. Investigate through a preliminary investigation and appoint a retired judge or a magistrate to take these allegations from De Lille under oath and say, "Right, you are saying this, tell us all", and then the magistrate or a judge can recommend to the minister or president that there is prima facie evidence which requires a judicial commission. The ANC they always put the interest of the party ahead of the nation on matter of that nature. They close ranks.
POM. I want to come back to the question of you getting squeezed in parliament. This refers also to the centralisation of power in Mbeki's office. If you have a highly centralised presidential office, you have a cabinet that you have personally chosen so it's kind of a rubber stamp cabinet, you have a parliament in which you enjoy a two thirds majority for all intents and purposes, you appoint the premiers of the various provinces, the director generals of departments have their contract with you, not with their respective ministers, and if the major legislation for the transformation has already been passed by the last parliament, the major foundations of it, and now it's more a matter of implementation and all the oversight committees are now chaired by ANC who are not about to call their minister in front of them and give them a blast, it doesn't exactly advance your career. What is the role of parliament and does not the role of parliament become diminished and do you not get squeezed by agreeing with most of what the ANC is doing? They only want to see the implementation of it happening which lies with the bureaucratic sector rather than with the -
BH. I guess that we are in the right direction by saying let us talk alternatively, because in the way we are structured I don't think even DP can dream of such setting out.
POM. Well the DP is never going to attract black votes.
BH. No, it's out, but you may find that they can do and manipulate the system the way they are doing, but it doesn't mean that the voters there are in agreement on what Mbeki is doing. Whereas if we were to concentrate on saying if you don't look at what he is doing we are going the same route of other third world countries and in five years to come this is going to be the situation. So I think we are in the right direction as far as calling for the serious debate on the need to introduce alternative debate. That's all. Because an alternative to Thabo we would say, for instance, we need an alternative government because the present government is politicising the appointment of civil servants, top civil servants, independent institutions, and the people will say, yes it's all right, so let's do it the other way round. People must be appointed on merit. That is an alternative to what Mbeki is doing. So in that way he won't be able to squeeze you. You still have to fight him and if you are 20 against 265, I fought alone against the mighty machine of the ANC. If I was somebody else I would not be in parliament today. I didn't have any funding.
POM. One of the comments or commentaries that I read, or maybe a number of them that I read after the election, made the point that the vote you received was primarily an African vote, that there was very little of a crossover vote from whites. Is this a problem?
BH. I don't think it's a problem, it's a plus for us.
POM. Well you were hoping for a bigger - ?
BH. I was hoping to get more whites.
POM. More white support?
BH. But I think the noise created by the style of Tony Leon of playing on a race card paid for him and also created some fears among the whites. Some whites still thought maybe there's life under him. But this time by the year 2004 he will be the person who will be the whipping boy, like Marthinus van Schalkwyk, because whites would have said, no this is nonsense, you either go to parties which are led by blacks if you want to make a contribution in this country. So he will have to accept that reality, Tony Leon, and these leaders. Therefore more whites because Tony Leon used the race card and it paid dividends for him.
POM. Short term.
BH. Short term, yes.
POM. He consolidated a white vote but at the expense of
BH. But the whites now are moving freely, some are going to the ANC, some are coming to the UDM and so on. So at the end of the day I still maintain that there are two players here whether one likes it or not. Now we must not think that we are through our work, we must go now to DP and show them and say, "Guys, we think that the year 2004 if we are to do this, this is the route." We have to bring them towards the centre, let's not run on the right fringes.
POM. So it would be a multi-racial coalition?
BH. It's not a coalition but we must talk of party
POM. A single party.
BH. - as an alternative, people will listen to that. We were addressing big business with Tony Leon recently in the bush, there was a conference there. All these guys from the Stock Exchange, big business were saying, "We don't think there is a future where you balkanise parties, you won't be strong in future." So he's getting there in a sense. Their own people who funded him are now telling him that you have to change the stamp. They don't think that SA will be a winner to have splinter political parties. That's why I'm saying let's start now and learn. OK?
POM. One last question, or almost one last question, and that is the case of Sifiso Nkabinde.
BH. It has confirmed our earlier suspicions that the ANC might have had a hand in that because so far all the people listed are ANC members, others were bodyguards to the leadership of the ANC, ministers and mayors. Surely somebody must have seen those people. You can't just they think all of a sudden one night let's go and kill Nkabinde? There must be a hand behind it. Remember Mandela said it was third force and I challenged him, I said, "Unpack the word third force." Can he unpack the word third force? He said, "No, Nkabinde was killed by the third force." Is that third force? It's a question we are asking now, is that third force? They like too much to divert the attention, their masters, the ANC, from top to bottom. I think the UDM handled that case well because we said, no, no, we are not pointing any fingers, let the law take its own course.
POM. Do you think that when things don't go right or there's a screw-up or whatever that the ANC will point either to the legacy of apartheid or to elements of the third force still operating in sinister ways that we don't quite understand?
BH. They tried to discredit this case, still, when the first person was arrested. But now I think they have got a problem now because some of the people were their members. They have never served in the apartheid structures. They were uMkhonto weSizwe members who are now SANDF members, so they don't have a case there to say this is third force. It's ANC.
POM. These are just one or two series of quick questions that you can answer yes or no or in one sentence. One is that after this last election, is democracy entrenched in SA?
BH. Yes I think so. Democracy is entrenched in SA. We are not questioning that. Democracy is entrenched here. All we need to do is just to improve here and there like the IEC to be seen to be independent and so on and take decisions quickly. If we can address those issues and also during campaigns and intimidation, we still need to address those. But overall, yes, it is entrenched.
POM. Will the constitution remain intact or will the ANC attempt to tinker with it or to change it in some fundamental way?
BH. I don't think they will change the constitution. There are things which are there which are nice in that constitution. All we need to do is to implement it, like the land for instance, land restitution. That is a good bill but we don't have money to implement that, therefore there would be no need to amend the constitution. We have to act rationally when it comes to decisions. I don't think there will be a rush to amend the constitution, there is no need. I don't see it. It rests with ANC because now they're in government, any decision they want.
POM. Do you think the Constitutional Court serves as an adequate brake on making sure that no matter what law they pass it can be taken to the Constitutional Court and the court can judge it constitutional or unconstitutional?
BH. I think the Constitutional Court has shown its independence. I'm satisfied with their performance. I think the population too have confidence in that court and it would be a tragedy to remove it.
POM. Do you think that given the results of the election and this kind of fragmentation of the opposition parties, that all the opposition parties must address the question of what role do they play in parliament?
BH. We know our role which we must play in parliament.
POM. That's UDM.
BH. But UDM needs to emphasise that to other small parties, including DP, that if you are not committed to the transformation process blacks in this country won't vote for you. It's as simple as that.
POM. Do you think that Mbeki will in fact crack down hard on crime and go a substantial way to getting it under control?
BH. I think he has got a problem. The intentions are there but he has a problem in that there are instruments that are not trustworthy. I'm talking about police and justice. They still have to overhaul the police force.
POM. That's transformation hasn't taken place to a sufficient degree?
BH. Not necessarily transformation but you read every day police are involved in crime as well, so it's a syndicate. Unless he starts from there and comes up with a new culture and sort of a patriotism style inculcated to the new recruits, the new leadership which is taking command to say if you do this these are going to be the repercussions.
POM. You say revert to a Verwoerdian style?
BH. No, no.
POM. You said he has to revert to a what style?
BH. I say he has to go to look at the structures and look at these commanders, look at this police and try and clean it and come up with a new look, new dedicated civil service and police before one can generalise and combat crime like this. You say you will combat crime but you find that your police force is not toeing the line, so you have to look at their morale, look at their training, look at their logistical supplies.
POM. You think a lot more could be done there.
BH. He has to.
POM. Do you think the same kind of racial tensions exist within the police that exist among branches of the SANDF?
BH. That thing is still there but it's not a major obstacle which causes crime. You can address it within the context of rearranging the police force and intelligence units.
POM. Do you think that race is still an issue?
BH. It's still there, it's still tripping up. They need to address it because also the problem is that some people are not trained and they merely use the race card at times to get into positions and say this is an affirmative action. If you haven't even done an officer's course and you expect to be given a rank of General, that's craziness.
POM. So do you think there should be less emphasis on there being quotas and more emphasis on developing the skills and promoting the people into the positions when they have developed the skills that are necessary for that position?
BH. Training. Yes because the period for reward and compensation is over now. They had a luxury the last five years but now we must be serious and say if you want to be a Chief of Logistics these are the courses you must go to, otherwise these toy guns we are ordering from all over, worth R30 billion are going to stay here and nobody is going to operate them, instead they will be a nightmare at the end of the day if now we are going to appoint a Chief of Logistics or Chief of the navy just because you say all right, I was struggling. There are blacks here inside and outside who were inside and outside the SANDF within the country who can do those jobs. It must not be a licence because you went to Angola that then you must be in charge of the navy whereas you knew nothing about the navy. You must be trained. The time for decoration is over, otherwise this expensive equipment they are ordering is a waste of money.
POM. Would the same thing apply to the police force?
BH. Everybody. Civil servants, DGs, on merit now. The question of, no I've got this colour, is nonsense. If you don't have B.Admin, if the requirement is B.Admin in order for the DG, forget it, there are other blacks. You see the problem I have here is that we alienate even other blacks who qualify because we say, all right I was with you in Zambia, then this is the post.
POM. There's a lot of patronage and nepotism.
BH. That's why I say the period of reward and compensation is over.
POM. My last question goes back to Chris Hani. You were close to Chris Hani. During the period 1991, when he came back into the country, did he use Transkei as a base from which to launch periodic attacks?
BH. No, no. By that time I think Mandela suspended the armed struggle in 1990. Chris Hani came later.
POM. There was some kind of attack by the SADF on the Transkei.
BH. You see what happened here, I think, is negotiations started as early as 1988 with the ANC in exile. So by 1989 bombings and other things were going quiet, then the people now were getting into the streets, marches and so on. It was not accompanied by military hardware and so on. So when Mandela was released and he immediately said there must be a cease-fire and then that thing was implemented. So Chris Hani therefore never attacked SA from Transkei.
POM. If he were alive today, what do you think he would say about the state SA is in?
BH. I think he would have been more vocal on the need to use public funds to address the plight of the poor, I think he would have.
POM. Do you see Mbeki has having consolidated power within the ANC and it's structures?
BH. He's a god unto himself.
POM. He's a god unto himself. There was one last personal question: your own journey, it's been a long one. I know the first time I met you was in the Consul General's house where you picked me up there and took me to your own house but we had travelled all night and got lost. We'd driven from Durban all through the night and the driver got lost. I remember waking up about four o'clock in the morning in the car and we were bumping over - So you've got many careers behind you. Have you got as many careers in front of you?
BH. I'm not sure. I think it's still OK. If I wanted to be involved in business, I had a period of 2½ years banking and not even for a moment have I thought of forming a company and starting a business.
POM. It doesn't interest you?
BH. I did just that. I wanted to prove a point to the ANC and then I proved it. I think one is now going to dedicate himself in the next four years to building the UDM, more than making noises in parliament because in parliament they don't give us enough time to speak.
POM. Have you been assigned any portfolio chairmanships?
BH. I'm in the Portfolio for Environment, Labour, alternate Foreign Affairs and Sport.
POM. But does any UDM you don't have the chairmanship of any committee?
BH. Oh no, no, we didn't want to participate in that.
POM. The party wouldn't do that?
POM. Were you offered?
BH. No. Even if they had we said before, after elections we said no, we are out of coalition government. It was the same thing in the Western Cape, they wanted us in the coalition, we said no. We don't want to blur our vision, we are still building.
POM. Finally, your wife and children and the Springboks? Not in order of importance, OK. Sorry, in order of importance!
BH. My family is OK.
POM. Is your wife working?
BH. She's studying, she's lecturing at the SA College for Education in Pretoria.
POM. She's lecturing in?
BH. Environment, geography. My girls, Nomsa is now 17 years old and Ella is 15 years and Mandla is 12 years. They are big now. It's good.
POM. Last time that I say them in your house they were seven, five and two.
BH. Yes they are big now.
POM. Going on to college?
BH. My children, I think they gave me strength during the time I was kicked out of the ANC and up to the time I went back to parliament. They understood the constraints I was operating under. They were not like you would expect kids: I want that, I want that, but they were the ones who would sympathise with me and say, "No, don't worry Daddy, we don't want that, we send that back, don't buy that so much." But now that I'm in parliament now I'm reciprocating, it's all right. Surprise them. I must go to the shop, what do you want to buy and so on. It's a nice family.
POM. So is your home now in Pretoria?
BH. I'm still here because they are studying here, my wife is working here.
POM. But then will you commute between Cape Town and Pretoria?
BH. Pretoria and Umtata. I am maintaining three homes, R14,000 a month.
POM. My God!
BH. I have to go to Umtata, then I pay. Pretoria same thing, pay rent, food and so on. But myself I have never aimed to earn money in order to be rich. If I can get money for my car, fuel, food and clothes, that's Holomisa. I'm not interested in accumulating moneys, to be a millionaire. I must just enjoy it and have shares like in the unit trust, you buy them, they are public shares. It's enough for me.
POM. They're a good investment?
BH. I think so, and they are above board. You cannot be questioned why you are doing this, that company. You won't be hauled up and tangled into tenders and so on. It's easy.
POM. Well thanks ever so much and I hope when we meet the next time it will be a social visit.
BH. When are you finishing the book?
POM. Now I've got to get down to the hard part which is assembling 16,000 hours of material and going through it and turning it into a book. I've written bits and pieces but they're kind of experimental pieces of writing that I haven't exactly found the structure that I want to take.
BH. For instance, I told you I was still in Transkei, I said, no we are going to be friends. I was outside the government and the ANC. I could criticise them but I still believed that this is the right course. Like now I'm telling you DP has no future and the NP. It's worse, NP has not even one black man representing them in the National Assembly, all the NP, whites only there.
POM. You put it very succinctly, until white parties realise that they belong to a black party headed by a black person they've no future in politics.
BH. That's out. Not that one day a white person could not lead a party in SA, a big party, but it has to go another cycle.
POM. Sure. OK. Thank you.