About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

12 Oct 1999: Maduna, Penuell

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POM     Minister, as I indicated in a letter that I sent you, I don't know whether you got it or not, but it was a thank you letter for seeing me at such short notice. We first met back in 1989 in the Protea Gardens Hotel in Hillbrow in August and you had just come back from Thokoza where you had been trying to make peace between two warring factions.

PM     It must have been 1990.

POM     That was just the beginning of the outbreak of the violence. A lot of things have happened since. Could you perhaps give me just a review? Then if somebody said well in 1994 there will be a South African ANC led government formed, you will be Minister for Energy and Minerals and in 1999 you will be Minister for Justice, what would your reaction have been?

PM     Well I would have said I'm not sure about that because you would never know where you would be going as far as those things are concerned and those decisions in terms of our constitution are not made by anybody other than the President. I'm assuming of course that he does consult people so if you said to me that was going to happen to me I would say, look how do you know about all that when I don't? That would have been my reaction. I personally never went into any of the positions that my country and my President, and the former President, have been so kind to honour me with, I never went into them with any kind of personal political ambition. I never in other words said, look, I want to be a minister of anything. I've never asked for anything and I want to believe that whatever I have been given is given to me because the two Presidents, Mandela and now Mbeki, thought I had a contribution to make. Whether or not their decisions have been justified I don't know, but again here am I, I have been given the responsibility for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development as it has been renamed now. It's an exciting moment for me. I approach every challenge that I am facing with alacrity and zest and it's part of my nature. I am happy and I am more than fulfilled. That's what I can say.

POM     This conference in Durban, this international conference on corruption, it's the ninth international conference on corruption and it would appear that every year speakers come back and say things have gotten worse around the world not better. What have you, just in the first couple of days, I know it's hard to draw a conclusion from a couple of days of proceedings, but what has struck you as the most significant thing that you've learned about the operation of corruption that didn't strike your consciousness before?

PM     You know corruption is not a new thing, as I certainly pointed out in my own speech. What has impressed me is the obvious groundswell of support of any campaign against corruption, against crime in general. That has been the most impressive thing about this conference. When we were making final preparations for it we might even have begun wondering whether we would be able to attract anything up to 1000 people and it's a fact now that the conference has attracted well in excess of 1600 people, people coming from many walks of life and from many countries or from many parts or regions of our world.

     The opportunity it gives all of us to meet, to exchange ideas, to talk about our own experiences and to discuss what all of us can do about the scourge in general and corruption in particular is also exciting indeed. I have met quite a number of people whose names were certainly known to me but whom I had never before had the opportunity to meet and interact with and it's fascinating. Virtually every other hour I'm having meetings, discussions with people on these matters.

     For us as a new democracy, well maybe you want to argue that we are five years old at the very least and therefore we are no longer new, certainly for us as a new democracy the honour bestowed upon us to host the Ninth International Anti-Corruption Conference is highly appreciated. More than that we are a government, country, that would want to do quite a lot to stem the tide of corruption.

     We inherited, as President Mbeki said on Sunday, a system with numerous problems. I was saying to one of the people I was talking to that right now out of a police force or police service of about 180,000 people there are a good number of people, about 30,000 who are functionally illiterate. Now in one sense it saddens one but then again I wish that the story ended there, we are sad, etc., but it's something that we need to do something about of course in collaboration with the people affected so that they can play a meaningful role in their own personal development so that eventually also they can rise in the ranks of the police service. We have a major problem, as you can imagine, because that number of people who are functionally illiterate will never be able to interview people when they come to report crime.

POM     Write a docket.

PM     Write dockets, to take statements, to even pursue matters, pursue the criminal element. They can't even take accurate measurements when simple accidents have happened on our roads. So it's a big problem but we need to do something about it. It's exciting indeed because business people, in SA and internationally, are coming out to work with us on these matters. There are also, of course, opportunities for us to interact with international bodies like the United Nations.

     You might be aware that in fact one of the speakers in the session that I chaired yesterday, Pino Allacchi who is heading the UN Narcotics Division (UN Office for Drug Control & Crime Prevention ODCCP), I can't remember its exact name, was here and he is launching today, if he has not launched it already, a rehabilitation centre and a programme to assist us to deal with drug abuse in our midst. It's a big achievement indeed for us as a country. We would want to hastily roll that programme out in conjunction with our education people as well as the Health Department because we need to help those who abuse these substances, rehabilitate. I said to the former President that though of course we need to punish people for possession of narcotics my own approach would be a slightly different one. In instances where people have to be helped out of their quagmire I would rather that we focus on that.

     I saw very interesting programmes in the United States in September where people are not punished for their disability they are assisted to work themselves out of that disability and I attended a programme in Washington DC where judges were scrapping cases involving people who had participated in rehabilitation programmes over time and these people were so grateful and they were saying, look I have been in drugs all this time there was a chap, for instance, who said to us who were gathered there that he was grateful for the opportunity that was being offered. He had qualified and had got a degree in Information Technology in 1979 and for 20 years he had never worked IT because he was into drugs and he said, "Look, it's farewell to drugs, to the world of drugs. Thank you for this opportunity." There was another one, a younger one who said he would never want to be seen in the precincts of the court any longer except as a prosecutor or as a defence lawyer. Now that impressed me. There were many others who made very interesting statements to show their appreciation of the programme. So I would want to see similar programmes started here and of course there are other areas which I would like to see receive the necessary attention from us and from the point of view of the assistance we get from the international community. These are training of our people, our prosecutors for instance, our judges, the magistrates and judges, etc. Everybody accepts that there is a lot (to be done).

POM     I want to talk about that for a minute. Just after I had come back I had been at the AIDS conference in Lusaka and it was just after you made whatever statements you made about the judges, or some judges, that hit the headlines and there was this whole controversy. What I want to get at is, the number of prosecutions has gone down in the last number of years quite significantly and the number of sentenced prisoners has only gone up marginally, the number of prisoners awaiting trial is something like 34% of all incarcerated prisoners, the workload of the judiciary does not seem to be an excessive workload. Is the judiciary one of the areas of society that is slow to become part of the transformation? Does it still retain an elite status? Do you think that the judiciary think of themselves as somehow having been above apartheid in the sense that they sometimes went against the government or they only followed the law and exactly the law and what the law called for, but they didn't step outside the law, that they somehow regarded themselves as being never part of the problem and the time has come to give them a good shake up and say you're part of the problem, get your act together?

PM     Let me put it this way, firstly it was unfortunate that the media reported my statement the way they did. I think there was an element of mischief on their part because whatever they said I said I hadn't said. I never attacked any judge, I would never attack the judges as a collective either. I said to them, "Bring one statement which says exactly what you say I said", I said, "I want to make you an offer I will hand in the keys and resign and go. Just one statement which bears out what you are saying." They couldn't. Of course they sensationalise anything that anybody says. I'm not the only victim of bad reporting. It doesn't matter what you say to a SA journalist, you may sit with them here and say these are the facts.

POM     Now do you think that's deliberate on their part?

PM     I think it's deliberate because you are taking to people who can read and write, who can hear, who have no hearing problems. It's deliberate. I don't think they can deny this because you say to them, "This is what I'm saying and I gave you the text of what I am saying, here it is, no deviation from it." What gives you the right to interpret it this way? But then to come back to this, judges are human beings and as such they are, like all of us, susceptible to, prone to reacting to all sorts of phenomena the way ordinary human beings would react. Forget about this notion that judges once appointed live in the loft far from the ground, etc., etc. I would be the last minister to believe that therefore what we ordinary human beings are all about does not affect judges. I was asking about efficiency and inefficiencies of the system and I was applauded as long as I was confining myself to the magistrates, saying, how many hours do you do per day, how many cases do you dispose of, what are the problems, what are your own ideas regarding possible solutions, etc? Now when I turned in the direction of the higher courts people starting saying, I mean some people started saying, "Hey look, you can't ask those questions of these people." And I said, "But this is an institution created by us, by this polity, to serve this polity. It's not a deus ex machina, it's created by us here to help us resolve problems."

     It's important for me to know, for instance, why a certain seat of the High Court would do only 85 criminal cases in one year with ten judges grappling with criminal matters. Surely I must acquaint myself with that? I need to know what's happening because when I'm asked why they do only 85 cases I should be able to answer. I should never say I don't know, they are independent and I have nothing to do with them and all I do is ask you to pay them, etc., etc. I must know if indeed there are problems which can be resolved from the point of view of the budget, etc. I would be prepared to do something about those but I must first know what the problems are. You tell me that the Constitutional Court in its height has never done anything in excess of 20 cases per year, now when you then look at that in relation to the investment that you make, nobody would accept that kind of scenario. There are Constitutional Courts in this world which do far more work than hours. Then it's only proper that in a transparent democracy, which we all strive to be, you should ask these questions and ask them openly.

POM     What are the greatest problems facing the administration of justice as distinct from the police side, that is from the time the docket actually comes to the prosecutor and moves through the system and the case is disposed of?

PM     It's poor management, that's all, poor management. The judge answered my questions quite fairly. They firstly agreed with me that I'm right in asking the questions and he said, "These are the answers, minister." He told me that he was doing Circuit Court work recently and whereas he was allocated, I think, 29 days (I may be mistaken about the figures) but 29 days and 18 cases to do on circuit, and these are serious cases. He could only do six cases eventually because prisoners were coming to court late, dockets were missing and they were found late, etc., and there were other problems like, for instance, in one case he says there were six accused with five lawyers, all funded by Judicare, by Legal Aid, and all asking the same questions and therefore taking longer to dispose of the case because the defence was the same in respect of all accused and there was no need for them each to have a legal representative and these legal representatives were coming from Pretoria and he was holding circuit almost 100 kms away from Pretoria and they had to travel those long distances to and from Pretoria. All that was eating into the time allotted for these cases and he ended up disposing only of six matters out of eighteen, one third only. And he said he never thought that the Circuit Court and the time allotted were utilised properly.

     So, indeed, when you ask these questions you get the answers, the answers which are going to enable you surely to deal with the problems of management.  So when you ask questions it's not with a view to attacking people, you want people to come forward with answers and possible solutions.

POM     Are prosecutors paid too little?

PM     It's difficult to say because you see I want to believe that what they get is market related.  If indeed they are not happy with it nothing prevents them from

POM     But then do you get the best people? Like the best can't find a better market price so they leave to go into private practice?

PM     Oh yes certainly.

POM     And very often to defend criminals and they get a lot more money defending criminals than you do prosecuting them. So how do you correct for that?

PM     Let me tell you, no government in this world, including the government of the United States of America, will ever be able to pay public servants private sector rates. We can't, we can't compete with that. That's the truth. That's why I'm saying those who are not happy with their salaries hop off into the private sector in the hope that they will get more work there and when they don't some come back to the state. It's happened on many occasions, they come back to the state, they work with us and we welcome them back.

POM     Do many cases arrive on their desks where the investigative work, going back to the first problem you mentioned, has been badly prepared so the case isn't worth pursuing, they say it will be thrown out of court?

PM     Yes, or in fact the prosecutor takes long to bring it before court whilst trying of course and spends a lot of time trying to cure the defects, ask questions, interviews people, etc., before going on with the case. It's something we're trying to deal with. It's going to take time of course because we've got to train the police officers so that they can be able to grapple with their own work properly and professionally. There's a lot of professionalism among them by the way. Let me not be heard to be saying there is no professionalism, we've got to start from scratch. You're not dealing with a blank spot as it were, you're not dealing with a blank spot where you can write anything. There are good things and there are good people among them and we need to build on those. But having said so, there is quite a lot that we ought to do as this government to indeed beef up our capacity as the criminal justice system to respond to these problems. I may say also that we are dealing with problems of corruption. Each time we find corruption in the ranks of the police, the prosecution, etc., we act against them.

POM     Have you seen evidence, not just now but since you came back into the country which is almost ten years ago, that apartheid itself undermined respect for the administration of justice?

PM     Oh yes it did.

POM     And that you have to fight against that?

PM     We were victims of the law and therefore we had no incentive to respect the law.

POM     Is there a hangover effect from that?

PM     Yes there is because people had been called upon, quite rightly so, to resist the law, to resist the apartheid regime. Now a culture of resistance to law, a culture of doing everything to undermine the law developed over time and now we've got to un-educate people and re-educate them. We need campaigns to say the police are yours, the laws are yours, etc., etc. It's going to take time.

POM     How do you go about that?

PM     Well we hold meetings, we hold seminars, we educate people, we work very closely with organs of civil society including the churches, the religious bodies, etc. We try to rope in everybody. We also want to go into the schools, work with the schools so that at a very early age a culture of respect for the law, respect for the rights of others, respect of obligations we all have as citizens and permanent residents of the Republic is indeed created and nurtured.

POM     I've talked to some people who were involved in the negotiations for the constitution who in retrospect said, "Gee we really created too liberal a constitution, it's too rights oriented. It provides too many protections for criminals." I think you even had Steve Tshwete saying, or at least banner headlines the other day saying, criminals have too many rights, what about victims?

PM     I have asked anybody who says that, start with the very first clause of the constitution and take me to the last one and tell me what is wrong with each one of them. You know people are not able to do so. It's very easy indeed for anyone to scream blue murder each time we have problems but I would be the last person to agree that when you are facing as desperate a situation as we think we face at certain levels, you should respond desperately to it. I don't think so. Whatever rights we have actually woven into the system have a place in the democracy. I don't know of any right that we should actually scrap in order to be able to fight crime and fight it effectively. I don't know it. I have begged anyone who makes that kind of assertion to come forward and say, you see, there is a problem with this one. Scrap it, we don't need it. Look the basic rights like the right to a fair trial, what's wrong with the right to a fair trial? Nothing, nothing wrong. There are rights to bail unless the interests of justice dictate otherwise. What's wrong with that?

POM     But on the other side of that you've 34% of all prisoners are prisoners awaiting trial which is an inordinately high number.

PM     Oh yes certainly. I'm not sure what percentage we are talking about but certainly it's quite a high percentage. I would not dispute what you are saying, but again there are different reasons. There are people indeed who don't deserve bail but then there are those who are granted bail up to R1000 and they constitute quite a big number and who can't afford to pay so they then remain behind bars as prisoners awaiting trial solely out of poverty. I am, as minister, most worried about those.

POM     It costs you a lot more to keep them in jail.

PM     Precisely. We pay R80 per day to keep each prisoner behind bars.

POM     R80 a day to keep a prisoner.

PM     So indeed, if we could save that money why not do so? We are constantly reviewing the situation and the private sector, congealed around Business Against Crime, is working with us.

POM     So after 12 days if I can't afford R1000 in bail I'm costing the taxpayer money?

PM     There are instances where in fact we have paid more than in any event we would have gotten out of the person by way of a sentence because the court will then say, look this is the sentence we are imposing, six months, no option of a fine but we are suspending it wholly or in part because we take into account that this person has been behind bars all this time, etc., etc. So you find that indeed you kept the person there for that long and they are not effectively sentenced to serve any term of imprisonment. But more than that, you also ruin people's lives in a sense. Imagine a scenario where this person has not been part of your rehabilitation programme because they've been prisoners awaiting trial and they are sentenced with an option of a fine or the sentence is wholly suspended and therefore they leave prison. Where do they go? They have lost their jobs, some of them have even lost their families, etc. Where do they go? I am saying there must be a way, surely, to deal with minor offenders or minor offences slightly differently.

     But then you asked a question about victim's rights. Certainly I am in favour of rights for victims, rights for victim communities as well. My own approach to criminal justice is not retribution, is not based on retribution, it's based on rehabilitation, it's based on restoration. I espouse what is called 'restorative justice', allowing for interaction between the villains and the victims, allowing for victim empowerment, community empowerment so that the communities can participate in the prevention and fighting of crime, etc. I think the system has a lot to benefit from that kind of approach. But again it's concepts that we are developing. One thing I wouldn't want to encourage is for people to respond desperately to these conditions, even take the law into their own hands, etc. That can't be accepted, it can't be tolerated at all in any society. They are difficulties we are facing.

POM     That has been happening, there are vigilante groups.

PM     But it's interesting, they are quieter now these vigilante groups because we have made it very clear that if they commit crime in the process we'll take action against them, not because we want to protect criminals but because we want to protect people from crime. It doesn't matter whether those people are criminals or not. Leave crime to proper and properly constituted law enforcement agencies, then as a country we will have less and less problems. Of course if you tell me that there is corruption in the system I say let's identify those elements of corruption and deal with them. That's my approach. Help us to deal with them, identify them, expose them, right, let's hit them hard.

POM     Do you think the judiciary have always seen themselves as an elite and have been slow to become part of the process of transformation that's going on in other parts of South African society?

PM     They would deny that, they would say that they are guided by the constitution and the law and if a matter is clear they deal with it appropriately.

POM     But in reality?

PM     That's the problem, the reality is that quite a number of them, though not resisting as such, I don't think it would serve any useful purpose to resist, make all sorts of silly mistakes and all sorts of statements, by the way from the bench, like for instance the case that caused an uproar only last week when a judge said, "Yes you go to jail for rape but then for purposes of the sentence we will take into account that this rape happened within your family and therefore you don't pose any danger to society."

POM     He gave a seven year sentence or something.

PM     Yes, and people say but wait, aren't your family members part of society? Are they part of your own goods and chattels, birthright, you get the point? Are they part of your private property? Things like that. Can you do with your family as you please and is the law going to recognise that, etc? But my own inclination is to engage the judges in discussions so that they don't say these things, they work with us in other words to promote a good image of the judiciary. All of us have to do something about that so that we earn people's respect for the judiciary, respect for the law.

POM     Just talking about rape because this is an area that I've been looking at in more depth, the phenomenal increase in the number of rapes and the rate of reportage is among the highest in the world, it's nearly close to 50% I think. But the phenomenal increase

PM     I don't think that 50% of our women have been raped.

POM     No, but the reportage rate is, I'm not saying 50% of women are being raped. I'm saying of those who are raped 50% now report it.

PM     Yes, and that's good by the way.

POM     But the rate of conviction has gone down.

PM     Yes, the rate of prosecution has gone down in relation to what was happening in the past because the numbers are bigger now that we are grappling with and maybe our facilities, our infrastructure, etc. are overwhelmed by these numbers. It's something that we should look into. You see there isn't a sudden outbreak of rape, I dispute that. I would say we are now freer to report crime in general because conditions are changing and women come forward more often than not now to report and we need to create opportunities for them to indeed do so but also to be assisted to be rehabilitated, to be restored, to have their dignity restored. We need to work hard at that.

POM     Even though more are coming forward fewer are being prosecuted and fewer still are being convicted.

PM     No, no, I'm not saying fewer are being prosecuted. You know the rate of prosecutions is slow, I wouldn't say it's low, it's slow. It takes long to conclude any case and that's one of the things that I questioned when I first came into this office. I said, look, it takes rather too long to conclude very simple cases. I am told that in many instances it takes on average about 567 days from the day when the case enters our system to the day when it's concluded either way. So it's a worry. We have said to our prosecutors they must set targets, we have said to the magistrates, to the judges, we need to set realistic targets, need to clear all these, need to check where the blockages are, etc. Again, the answers are not easy.

POM     The number of rapes reported between 1996 and 1998 increased by more than 160%. Over the same period the number of rape cases which went to court decreased by 28% and the number of successful prosecutions only increased by 30%.

PM     I am about to chase you out because the people who were supposed to see me at 2.30 are surely wondering why I am not inviting them in.

POM     Is it possible to see you for another half hour before I go back? This is my last round of interviews before I get down to writing. I'll be here until the middle of December.

PM     We will have to see about that. I'm going to be around here and will check on that. We will certainly make time, if not here then in Pretoria or Cape Town. But let me just say this, if statistics do not have a bearing on the rate of reporting of these they are not helpful. It's 30% of what? You see if 100% of the cases are reported and they are investigated and indeed there is a basis for prosecution in the majority of cases, then I don't think that we have a problem. But you see when matters are brought before the prosecutors and the prosecutor says we can't sustain a case here, it will crumble, do we have witnesses? It's this woman's story against the man, woman's word against that of the man, etc., etc. In any system, in any jurisdiction the guilt of the accused would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. If indeed we can't marshal a good case against a person it's futile going ahead with a case. So the prosecutors look at these, look at them from all angles before they decide they can prosecute and I have no doubt they don't sit back and say, no, look, we will draw a red line here, from here we don't prosecute, we will just prosecute these few. That's not how they do their work.

POM     Just one before I run out the door, I have been trying to track the history of amnesty since it first came in to indemnity for people coming back from prosecution began in the early nineties and you were one of the people who were brought back into the country to deal with that issue as I recall. But on the issue of amnesty, I was talking to Van Zyl Slabbert the other day and he said that he ran a television show in the nineties and that you were on one of his shows and that on that show you indicated that the ANC was in favour of a blanket amnesty for everyone on every side. Do you recollect that?

PM     No I didn't put it in so many words. I said there was a time when that would not have been questioned, and by the way that was true because the ANC came into the negotiations with a view to finding solutions rather than frustrating the process of finding solutions. I remember vividly when we said to them, "Level with us, what did you yourselves do in the course of this conflict. Put it on the table and let's deal with it", and they pretended that we were dealing with angels who had never participated in this. We were the criminals, we had to apologise, we had to apply for indemnity, etc., etc. They are the ones, in other words, who made this kind of work very difficult. If indeed they had been prepared to level with us and say, look, these things did happen, I am certain that with the kind of leadership that the ANC was exhibiting, the ANC would have been able to convince the country that we would let bygones be bygones.

POM     Sorry, to convince the?

PM     Convince the country, that it was in the country's own interests that the past should be put behind us. Now there are many people who have not gotten amnesty either because they never applied for it or even in instances where they applied for it they never got it because they were not prepared to make full disclosure. Now we've got to use scarce resources to investigate these cases to prosecute people. In other words what we thought was avoidable, Nuremberg type trials, may in a certain sense prove to be unavoidable because then the information in many instances is out for all and sundry to see so people are going to say, why don't you prosecute?

POM     In your own view would you at this point say a line must be drawn some place in the sand or the past is always going to haunt us and we will never get into the future, let's call a general amnesty?

PM     No. We have said no to a general amnesty and I do believe indeed that that position, that stance, is a correct one.

POM     Lastly a political question, you can maybe ponder it. The TRC was scathing in its report, do you think the state would say there's a prima facie case here against Chief Buthelezi and institute proceedings against him given what the consequences in KZN might be in terms of political violence or in terms of disruption in the country and driving a wedge between communities?

PM     I can't say never, can't say it will never happen because I wouldn't want to say so as long as I don't know what happened. What if somebody or some people would come up and say this is what we did with him, etc., etc? At the same time of course I have worked very well with him on the basis of mutual trust and my own wish as far as the country is concerned is that we should not stumble into worse things than the TRC was able to exhibit, again because we can't live with these tensions of old for ever. At the same time of course the law is the law and we would have to act against people who don't have amnesty unfortunately, we would have to act against them. I can't say to the prosecuting authority, no, no, don't take any action because then they would say, on the basis of what are you making that decision? I can't say I'm sucking it from my own thumb. The law doesn't allow me to make that kind of intervention and I have no intention to make it. So if indeed there are things which people should be called upon to account for it would be appropriate for them to be called upon.

POM     Well Buthelezi has been called upon and he said, "Prosecute me if you want to", but it's not going happen, you know that, I know that.

PM     I doubt if you are right. Look if indeed there is a prima facie case against him which would stand judicial scrutiny, no-one can say he is an untouchable, no I don't think so. But at the same time it would be improper in the extreme to touch a person just because you want to flex your muscles.

POM     To even a score?

PM     I would never encourage that, of course to the extent that I would have anything to do with the prosecution of crime, I would want to be convinced that the action is warranted and is appropriate. I would have to be convinced. But it's a decision that is left entirely in the hands of the prosecuting authority. I am saying I would never intervene. I would say let the law take its own course but I would still have to be persuaded as a South African that there is a case against the man. If there isn't any it doesn't matter what my feelings and suspicions are. Eventually you don't create a just system on the basis of your suspicions, your feelings, etc.

POM     I am going to Judge Heath later on this evening so just to get the context of that supposed spat between you and him, was that another case of the - ?

PM     Can I tell you, there is no spat between us.

POM     It's another case of where the media took something and created a problem.

PM     They took nothing and created

POM     Created a whole week's, two week's worth of headlines when there was nothing there at all.

PM     They took nothing and created a problem.

POM     Do you think that's residual elements of the kind of third force operating or just that it's sloppy, unprofessional journalism, whether lazy or they want to create a story and the story is more important than the truth?

PM     I don't know what's happening because you sit with them and you say, "Please, I won't give you any interview unless I'm assured that what I say is going to be covered that way, otherwise get out of my office now." "No, no, no, we will never distort it." And the next thing you find it's far from (what you said) in fact everybody complains about it.

POM     So when you do interviews with, say, reporters, do you not insist on having a tape recorder of your own and say I'm going to tape our interview, I'm doing it to make sure that ?

PM     No. Let me tell you, I don't want to spend a lot of time arguing with them, it doesn't help. I have no time besides. I have to do my work. You can't be saying, no I didn't mean this, I didn't say this, etc., it's a futile exercise. I don't even indulge in it. Let me tell you there is no spat between me and Heath. No spat. Heath is a judge. It's wrong for a judge to be away from the bench for a very long time. So that one can never be refuted by anybody. The Chief Justice himself wants his judges back on the bench, it's where they belong. It's no spat between me and him. Again, the law that he operates under does not envisage a permanent structure, it does not even talk about a 'Heath Unit', it talks about a 'special investigative units'. You can create them as and when the need arises. In other words the law was not passed with Heath in mind or for Heath. We are not creating an special entity in that regard. Clarifying that doesn't cause any spat. No spat.

POM     OK. I will leave you and I'll have Judy ring your office to squeeze me in again. I'll be around for the rest of the week and another half an hour or so.

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.