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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

11 Nov 1999: Magoba, Stanley

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

POM     Let me start out first with maybe with some quotes from our interview last year. I don't know whether or not you've had time, probably not, to glance through it.

SM     I don't remember now.

POM     One was that you said, this was in August 1998, "Actually our target first of all is higher than that, we are expecting to win 50 seats in parliament minimum with a possible 100 seats. That is achievable, it's actually within our present support level and we think that if ANC does something silly between now and the election we might even get in as an alternative government. It's not impossible but it will require hard work. Our party will get at least 10% of the votes. We didn't get that last time. Now we will double that 10%. We should have got 10% of the votes, we will want to double that and we are looking at 20%." Now obviously that didn't happen.

SM     No it didn't.

POM     So maybe using that as a context, maybe you could first of all comment on the  results of the election. You had the ANC looking for its two thirds which you said they wouldn't get, but which they just about did. You had all other parties, save the DP, lose support, and when you think of the ANC particularly in the context of alternative, here was a party going into an election where its approval across the board, from every racial, ethnic category was majority disapproval with regard to their handling of law and order, their handling of justice, with their handling of creating jobs, their overall management of the economy you name it and on all the major issues they had a higher level of disapproval than approval and yet they go out and they get a higher percentage of the vote than they did in 1994. I've come to a guru to tell me.

SM     I think you have said it all. First of all the election really surprised us. Surprised us not because of what we thought we could get just wishing but because ever since you left us we were in the field, out there, talking to people, addressing crowds and beginning to really think that what I had said last time was achievable. What happened at the elections surprised us. We came out not only the same strength but weakened. I think it would be easy to look for excuses but I want to say that I believe our analysis from time to time has indicated that first of all when you have this type of result you have got to look at yourself, introspection and look at the body itself. I think that there were major flaws in our structure particularly in terms of capacity to deliver what they wanted to deliver.

POM     Election capacity? That's to run an election?

SM     Yes. We started seeing it with some of the rallies which were very poorly organised so they did not have the right sort of capacity to get the people together. We even started suspecting that perhaps that does show that we are going down. But in effect we have reason to believe, and this is a very subjective view I must say, we have reason to believe that we failed dismally because we became a real threat to the ANC, they perceived that.

POM     That's kind of a paradox. Now I remember last year they put out this bulletin lambasting you and ridiculing you.

SM     Yes, they just immediately realised that now if they don't come all out to threaten me and threaten my party I will perhaps, what we said would happen would actually happen. And I say that because by and large there are areas where we had better support than the ANC, but that didn't happen at the election. Between the time when we thought now we have support and the elections they were able to come and crush us and they did it in two or three ways which are very, very clear. First of all they stopped rallies of a political nature. They would say, OK, like we were doing, we would go out and say we've got a PAC rally or a meeting and people would come. They stopped doing that. Why? Because they did not get support. Actually in one area in Kimberly to be specific, it happened in several places but the Kimberly one was particularly clear, where the present President actually went there and he had all the resources, he booked a very huge stadium and he had the police and the traffic cops coming out and making noise in the street, people coming out to see him arrive. He arrived by helicopter but still there were no people there. As a result he stayed there for seven minutes but within that time he promised them something like R70 million for health, for their health needs. Now immediately after that we saw a change in their strategy. This change was that instead of running the election as a political event they were going to do it as a government. What they would do is they started saying all right, we're going to look for events within the Department of Health, like opening clinics and hospitals, we will open a school, even schools opened long ago they would come and dedicate them and there was one particular case where they actually opened a hospital that was not complete, they were still building it.

POM     The hospital hadn't been open for quite a while?

SM     No, it was still being built.

POM     Oh it was still being built but they opened it?

SM     Yes they came and opened it and they got the President himself to come, Mandela, and they said he is coming to open the hospital and say goodbye and then they had 125 buses bringing people to this particular area, and then of course a big feast. I am just giving one or two of the scenario events that happened. Then they stopped all their usual rallies and they went on these types of community based things.

POM     Really using governmental structures rather than party structures?

SM     Yes, and banking on their ministries, each ministry had now to come up with something that they could do there and then they would come with all the might that they had. I think above all we were lambasted financially. The money that the ANC was able to collect, I don't think there has been a political power in the world that had that muscle. They just got lots of money from inside the country, they got lots of money from government itself and then of course got a lot of money from overseas, the billions that they got from overseas.

POM     Just on that, because I know an NGO, the National Democratic Institute, in fact Patricia just came back from Bosnia, she was on one of their trips, they had some years back commissioned a study on the financing of political parties. It's not many countries that allow parties to accept money from foreign governments or from individuals in foreign governments but there's no law here that prohibits that.

SM     There is no such law.

POM     Like the government of Saudi Arabia saying here's R10 million, we're just giving you a gift, no strings attacked. There's no law?

SM     There is no such law here and we discovered that and, yes, they went shopping on a scale I don't think anybody knows the extent of the money or the extent of the fundraising. I think they got lots and lots more than we know and it became evident of course in the way they were using it lavishly. They had posters almost on everything in the rural areas. They were in the street, on the lampposts, they just had them everywhere. Even people from overseas who came here they said they have not seen another party outside this country that had that massive resources and they were using them lavishly like that. You will see that part of my election poster. You've seen that one? We had several of them and there was one area which was very, very interesting. We put on this poster, ANC put on theirs and others did. Then the rain came and claimed everything, ours and theirs and everybody's, but after a day their new posters were up and with us our posters were finished. We didn't have anything to put up.

POM     You didn't have any money?

SM     No the rain had just washed them out. So we were unequal with lots of the very, very major international force that was brought to the ANC to enable them to do what they did. Then of course I must mention the Mandela factor. The Mandela factor was used maximally. When it came towards the election they just stopped all other people and brought him alone and took out the others. Not Mbeki, the new man, it was Mandela who ran the election, he was at the centre stage. He moved to centre stage. Mandela did and did that right up to the election and I would venture to say that he has continued even after the election.

POM     I see more of him on TV now. If I was Thabo and I turned on the TV news every evening and the first thing I see is Mandela opening a school, bringing businessmen to some place, in Israel, in Washington, I would say why doesn't he retire! Where's my picture?

SM     No they wouldn't retire him. Actually the ANC has been living on Mandela for a long time. When he was in prison he worked for them. When the Release Mandela campaign happened internationally he was in prison but they were using his name in prison. You will remember that there was a time when actually the Nationalist government wanted to release him from prison and they objected - the only case in history where a party would say that their leader, that they have no business to want to release their leader from prison!

POM     But they wanted him to retire to the Transkei, right, and renounce violence?

SM     That's right, but that really wasn't that. What I mean is that they basically said he mustn't be released. The first time it was about the renouncing of violence but the next time there was no renouncing of violence. They were just saying we will release you. There was some talk that there might be another motive for wanting to release him but the truth of the matter was that politically speaking we haven't got another Mandela. We in the PAC haven't got somebody of Mandela's kind of stature and I want to venture to say in the ANC they haven't got another. If he were to die tonight they would have serious trouble tomorrow because they haven't got another Mandela. Mbeki is a very capable person but he's not Mandela. I would venture to say in all the political parties they don't have another Mandela. Actually I would venture to say Africa hasn't got another Mandela and I could go on further than that. Hence he is in great demand everywhere. They want him in Israel, they want him everywhere where things are a bit weak and they feel he is the only man who can help them through.

POM     Did you know him or did your period on Robben Island coincide with any period when he was there?

SM     Yes I know him very well. I knew him before he was in prison. In prison I knew him on Robben Island although he was kept separately and, as you know, I became his Bishop.

POM     I didn't know that.

SM     Yes, I was Bishop of his church and I visited him as Bishop in prison. When he came out I still served him as Bishop. Even now he likes telling heads of state that this man is my spiritual leader, but he's opposing me in parliament.

POM     So you would have known Oliver Tambo too?

SM     Yes.

POM     Many people I often feel, just myself, that Tambo is a forgotten person in the liberation struggle.  People who I've talked to who worked with him in Lusaka have nothing but the highest praise for him, for his intelligence, his leadership qualities, his strategic vision, that he held the organisation together throughout all those years, its different factions, that he built it, in a way that he was the brains of it.

SM     He really was. That is true, that view is true but he did not have the charisma of Mandela so that the two complimented one another. Tambo was a strategist, administrator, visionary and he did all that but Mandela is a party man who can be used as a balloon in campaigns and everywhere. He's that type of person.

POM     Do you think if Tambo's health hadn't deteriorated and he had come back to SA too that Mandela would have deferred to him and said you're President and I'm a party man and you're President and you've been President for a long time and I'm not going to oppose you?

SM     No he would not.

POM     I don't want to become President and that Tambo would have become President?

SM     I think so because he was the man with the hands on administration of the ANC and I remember that when he came here after his first affliction there was an election in Durban at a congress there and I remember that he was actually allowed Mandela had great difficulty in coming in and he said, "No I'm not going to stop, I'm not going to come into the election. Tambo is the man who must come in", although it was clear that Tambo's health wasn't good enough but even at that point he still said, "No, we have one leader and that's Tambo."

POM     Was that when they had their first conference in Nasrec or something where Tambo appeared?

SM     Yes. That's right. Up to that point everybody, including Mandela, felt he should be the leader but it was clear that in terms of health he would not make it but they also felt that OK, even so we should continue to

POM     So when Mandela has said throughout the years, "I'm a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC", he really means it, he doesn't elevate himself and say, "I am Mandela and you are - "

SM     He would not have done that. He really respected Tambo and I think the ANC was really shaken by the illness, the stroke that Tambo had. Of course the two would have been a very powerful combination and I believe they would have been as powerful combination I believe the old Sisulu was a power, they used him, he's not that level of leader but he had his strengths and they used those strengths maximally together with Mandela's and Tambo together. I think if Tambo had been around and still strong the ANC would have been a very powerful body.

POM     It is a very powerful body.

SM     Well yes. I have my questions about their actual strength for two reasons, one is the fact that they have an ideological crisis.

POM     Could you explain? This is the SACP?

SM     The fact that there was a time when they wanted to move away from the policy of being an African National Congress, of being a strong player on the continent. They shifted away from it to a point where they were attacking it. They were not just saying we are leaving it, they actually went from place to place and they lambasted Pan Africanism and Africanism. Now at the time of course that was the high ground of communism in the world and everybody did think that communism would take over the world. By all indications that was coming but when all of a sudden something happened, we don't know what it is, that did not happen and the ANC had a crisis. They were coming to a country that had been prepared as an anticommunist country by the Nationalist Party government. So to come here and say here we are, we are a communist party, they would not have lasted a long time. So they played that one down. But with time they actually sat down as far as I can see and decided that now they need to re-think their position and that's when Mbeki came out in parliament and said, "I am an African." He is the only leader in Africa who has ever gone to parliament and said, "I am an African." Why? Because he was not an African. Not only that but he actually denounced and condemned being an African. Now he comes back, "I'm an African." He comes back and supports the Pan African movement and actually says I am bringing something new which is African renaissance. He was afraid of using the word, up to today he has never used the words 'Pan Africanism' although he means the same thing. So he went all out and he said, no, no, I'm not talking about Pan Africanism, I'm talking about African renaissance and he has come out full blast and used all the power he has over popularising himself, which is a policy that we have been standing on since the beginning, hence our name Pan Africanism. But he has never said come, let's talk. And when we say to him let's talk he ignores us, doesn't come and talk to us. So we are confused, one of the reasons why

POM     So do you mean as leader of the PAC and since he has become President you've never had an opportunity to sit with him and discuss the ANC and the PAC?

SM     No. The only person who did that was Mandela. He invited me and we talked about my policy. But, again, you could see that he was keen that we should talk but he was afraid of the party.

POM     Mandela was?

SM     Yes, on the question of - he wanted me to join the Cabinet and the PAC to take one or two seats in Cabinet. But when we examined that it wasn't clear how we should come in. It was a question of saying, come let me swallow you, which we didn't mind really if we agreed on a few things, the whole idea was we don't want to fight an hysterical struggle because we were different or we had different perceptions in the past that those must continue now. I am one of those who said, no, let's stop fighting these ideological battles, let us look at them now. Where are we now? What are our points of difference? I still challenge the ANC today in debates in parliament.I want to know what our points of difference are now because they become thinner with time because they actually encroach that into the policy we share with them.

POM     Would you consider, if President Mbeki said let's sit down, there are differences between our two parties that are minimal to non-existent, it doesn't really make sense, that ideologically we agree philosophically at this point and we both agree on the priorities facing the country, there are issues that must be addressed on equality and poverty and whatever, so let's join forces, become part of the government, take a place in the government.

SM     No, we would discuss it openly, we would do that. What I mean by that is that we would come in as very, very junior cabinet members but what we need to do is to sit down and dialogue on what it is he's saying.

     (Unintelligible section here)

POM     But you couldn't consider the NNP because of the baggage of apartheid and you had a question mark with the UDM because of its part   Why would you pick the Freedom Front and not see it as carrying part of the baggage of apartheid, whereas you would have more question marks about the UDM which contained a former NP leader and the leader who in a way negotiated them out of power and Holomisa who even though he was the head of an independent state, as soon as the ANC was unbanned he was a supporter of the ANC, he was a deputy minister in the ANC, he was on the Executive Council, he was a close friend of Chris Hani, he harboured Chris Hani for a couple of years, why would you see them as carrying more apartheid baggage than the Freedom Front?

SM     Yes, I think it's not a question of more, it was a question of the fact that they were the main nationalist party, the core group of the Nationalist Party that was the father of apartheid, who were actually part of government. The Freedom Front was also part of that structure but because of the fact that they were not the government, they moved out of the government, they also were slightly different. The real reason why I did say the Freedom Front appeal to us and we appeal to them, that feeling was mutual, was because they were strongly nationalistic, that they had no place to go, that SA was their home, that they were African.

     I was saying that the amazing thing about the Afrikaner is that the truth of the matter is that he really ought to be embracing an open door towards sharing the country, where we are talking about this being home to all of us, that we belong to it and we must develop it together because the Afrikaner has no other home really in the world. His language belongs here and although he has rejected us and rejected this country in a sense, he really has no other place in the world so he really has got to be an ally of people who are saying let's sit down and talk. The Afrikaners thought we would reject them, we did reject them, but we would not reject them if they say they are Africans, we will not reject them if they say, no, we really have a strong sense of belonging here and we feel that you also belong here and together we belong.

     True enough when we mentioned this to people like General Viljoen he became very excited. He never really thought that, he regarded PAC as a very, very extreme anti-white party that would kill every white man that they came across. We said, no, we're not, we're non-racial and we're Africanist and we explained what we meant by being African, he said, "I'm excited about it." And that confirmed what I said earlier about the fact that the Afrikaner by and large if he leaves out his ideal of racial superiority he would have no problem working with us. And we also of course would have to throw away superiority in terms of saying we're black, we're Africans, we belong alone. So all of us would have to throw away something, compromise and talk future which I think I must have said last time.

     I went round all the political parties, to all of them and most of them were excited about it. If you take a party like AZAPO they were quite excited about us too at a certain point, but we never really got anything concrete coming out of it and even Mr Mandela was excited at one time and that's why he called us and we started talking. In other words we were saying, now look we are looking for parties that can sit down and seriously say what is the future of this country, what are the major divides in terms of policy and are those divides unbridgeable. If they are unbridgeable of course we would leave them but if they are bridgeable we are prepared to look at them.

POM     It would appear that there are very few, I think you said the last time the major difference perhaps was that the ANC tends to speak in terms of top-down in terms of economic transformation whereas you tend to think in terms of bottom-up. Their black empowerment has, as far as I can judge from observing it and seeing it, has not been about wealth creation but about a number of people making deals and mergers and counter mergers where they come out with a lot of money in their pockets but it doesn't create very many jobs.

SM     Yes and it is amazing that most of the things that I was saying last time may not be true now because the ANC has been studying what we are saying and they have been absorbing it. So most of the things about bottom-up they acknowledge that and I spoke about the poorest of the poor, the unemployed, they took all that language, so slowly there has been closer coming together but they still believe that they are different, that there is something different. I don't know what it is.

POM     You've mentioned, and this struck me quite forcibly when I was reading a transcript, just to give you an anecdote: when the violence began in 1990, the train violence, simply the violence here, the massacres there, I would go round to other black parties and say who do you think is behind the violence and almost to a person they all said the ANC. They all would point to the past and say the ANC can't tolerate opposition and whatever pocket of opposition exists they would move in and take them out. They had done that with the PAC and they had done that with others, AZAPO, and the reason I was given for the war in KwaZulu-Natal was in a way because that was the first time they ran into an organised opposition that was strong enough to say you can't just tell us what to do. There was a fight back element involved that other organisations didn't have the capacity to counterweigh. Then in its last appearance before that 50th Congress of the ANC at Mafikeng Mr Mandela attacked every political party in a very un-Mandelalike speech. He had nothing good to say about any party. To be a critic of the ANC was to be unpatriotic, to be somehow part of the enemy camp, a third force, the whatever. Do you still think that kind of attitude prevails within the organisation, that it may perhaps even be stronger now that they have dominated power so completely? That it's our way or no way?

SM     Definitely that vein of intolerance is still there. They have demonstrated it very, very ably in their interaction with the IFP because it looked like the government of national unity was going to go bust and they were very keen to get back and almost lost the IFP and they had to work hard to try and get round to get the IFP back as a partner in government. The only reason why they wanted the IFP was because they knew they could not match them in Natal and they have a strategic thing of saying we must hold on to you, which they have done. But their attitude towards the NP, towards the DP now particularly, has shown how very, very intolerant they are. The arena of action has changed somewhat. By that I mean that the new arrangement of power in the House has got to be different. I don't quite understand the ANC, for instance, I mean they almost got the New Nationalist Party, at one point I thought they were going to have them.

POM     Nearly got them to?

SM     Into a coalition, particularly at the point of saying they didn't want the DP, at the point of saying we want Louis Luyt.

POM     The rugby guy who took the President to court?

SM     That's right, they brought him in, he's not there yet but they pushed away the DP as Chairman of the Judicial Committee and they put him in. That surprised everybody. The situation politically is confused but I still feel that they would rather work with anybody else but not PAC.

POM     Not the PAC. Does that go back to the past?

SM     The past but also the manner in which at the moment we are a threat, which is funny because in terms of ideological position it would have been easier for them to talk to us so that we become one.

POM     Your only other party that has credible black leadership and is an alternative is to emerge, it has to have credible black leadership and no other party has credible black leadership. The DP may have the white vote but they've cut their throat as regards ever getting a black vote for the time being. How do you then assess the position of the PAC? If you were so off the mark in your projections of what looked likely a year ago, with six, seven, eight months to go to the election, with your diminished base in parliament and therefore your diminished capacity to raise money, what role do you see the ANC playing where it exercises an influence on policy making and the manner in which the government operates?

SM     I believe that the PAC - funnily enough the amazing thing about it is that the morale amongst our members is still very high, they have not been shaken by the election results and when I move around people are still where they were before the election. They know that they have been out-manoeuvred by forces outside themselves but they have not lost the vision particularly because they are aware that the ANC can't really move on without us. They either have to destroy us

POM     When you say the ANC can't move on, what do you mean?

SM     We think they will have no policy, they will have nothing to tell the nation. That is different from what we are telling the nation.

POM     So you think that the PAC, small though you may be, still sets the agenda in the sense that PAC positions are quickly taken by the ANC, that it's appropriated by them? They can't say thanks for telling us where we ought to be going.

SM     The truth of the matter is that we occupy a moral high ground in policy which is why for them it would be sensible if we sat down to talk but they can't get rid of us because each time they try to get rid of us there's a contradiction.

POM     They actually talked to the New National Party, perhaps even offered them a place in government, and talked to whomever but they will not talk to the only other party that was party to the liberation struggle?

SM     Not only that but one other thing I did not mention is the way they use the media. They put a complete blanket over us, complete.

POM     The media did?

SM     So that we just didn't feature at all. In parliament they forced us out of the prime time, viewing time, because the sessions of parliament are viewed up to four o'clock in the afternoon. They calculate it in such a way that each time we spoke it was after four, and I meticulously calculated. Then the other incessant thing that they did was if we were debating in the house and we said something they wouldn't respond to what we said in parliament. They would say what all the parties have said as if we had not spoken and they would finish the debate and they did that consistently, the idea being that they thought it was better to put silence over us because if they responded they would be forced to respond to the issues we were raising.

POM     That acknowledges your existence.

SM     Acknowledge our existence and also raises the points that we put forward. So the best thing is, cut them out, and they cut us out very smartly, throughout. I might give this anecdote, this is not really very accurate but for you it will help you see what I am talking about. We had a rally in Umtata, it was actually a military parade, final parade of our former APLA forces. We decided we must do it openly and they must have a final parade and we must have it reported APLA is now PAC, we have no war to fight except the election. We are a political party and the liberation, the army era, is over. Funnily enough it was the Ministry of Defence and some people in government who actually went against us in that. They said it's a good thing but when it came to the operation part of it they frustrated us. But that besides, that final parade was not a success at all, success in terms of attendance, and it was not what we wanted it to be. And because of that we had a lot of media coverage. We never had so much time on television, they actually went all out to show us.

POM     Make sure that nobody had showed up?

SM     Yes, that it was poor. Then the following day, that was on the Saturday, the following day we had a rally, we had a big occasion where we were meeting to honour the former head of APLA. He had died so it was the unveiling of his tombstone and we made it a political event. They were expecting that it was going to be a worse flop than what happened on Saturday so they sent a lot of media coverage to cover the event but when they got there they found it was the exact opposite of the Saturday. It was packed, there were more people we were also surprised at how we managed to get that crowd together and the media was there, they covered it, but not a point was reported in the evening news and the following day. They just forgot about it.

POM     It wasn't reported even though they were there?

SM     No.

POM     Didn't get into the news?

SM     And they had actually told the reporters because we confronted the reporters after that, that they must go and recover it because it was going to be the main news in the evening, that night. So those chaps rushed back even before they had to come and file their reports. But lo and behold it was not the main news, it was no news. Now I'm giving you this one because it was a real concrete event but many of our events landed up that way. If it was a bit of a failure we featured a great deal, if there was success they didn't mention us.

POM     I want to put this in the context of creating an environment conducive to the development of a good multi-party democracy, that you have this increasing concentration of power within the President's Office, you have director generals who are now appointed by the President and not by their respective ministers, you have the President saying he won't come before parliament to answer parliamentary questions, you have the premiers now appointed, not elected by the people, but appointed by the NEC, you have an increasing emphasis on not bringing the party in dispute, i.e. don't speak your mind, do it inside the tent but don't do it outside.

SM     Not even inside the tent.

POM     Not even inside the tent! Your career depends on parliamentary portfolio committees, if you're an ANC chairman you're hardly going to take your minister and haul him over the coals, it's not going to do very much for your advancement within the party to embarrass your minister. The opposition is largely ignored. Is the country from being a one-party dominated state - and then you have this Re-deployment Committee which places key ANC personnel in key segments of civil society. One, is this all a disturbing trend contrary to creating the environment for a viable multi-party democracy? Two, is it not slightly reminiscent of what the Afrikaners did in 1948, for a different reason, but doing the same thing?

SM     Yes I would say that is true, it is a disturbing trend, but I want to say that funnily enough the ANC is doing it. What I said about them last time is true, they had a crisis, they have a crisis of delivery and Mr Mbeki is aware that in the last five years if he doesn't deliver now he's out, finished. In fact, as I said, it is a miracle that he has come back but he knows it. He knows that, he used strategies which confused the people on the ground and he got the results which don't reflect what the people are saying down there. The only thing that we can't attack, criticise him for, is if he delivers jobs, if he does everything that the people are wanting now nobody can criticise him and he knows that is his line of survival. So he has moved into this mould of ensuring, trying to ensure that he regiments his party in order to produce the results he wants to produce on the ground. So I am saying that funnily enough this gives credence to what I said, what we said, our analysis earlier that that was the problem. It was the problem and under normal circumstances he would not have won anywhere. Now the truth of the matter is that he knows it, hence the continued use of Mandela, hence the build up of Mbeki himself, Mbeki/Mandela partnership. The elections are over but as far as the people are concerned and the media the election campaign is continuing. You don't do that after winning a very big victory. No, but he knows this victory is a fake so it is this which is actually turning him out into almost a dictator and he wants to dictate because he wants to make sure that within five years he will have done so much that we and others can't criticise him. We will criticise him but the people on the whole who are really desperate will say, no, this is our government, it has done A, B, C and D for us.

POM     So he's saying that in order to get A, B, C and D done dictatorship is not a bad thing?

SM     No in fact he already is beginning to have it in ministries, the various premiers of the provinces, he calls them periodically to come and give an account and if they are not performing out, immediately. I mean he has even thrown away some of the members of the cabinet that we never thought he would throw out, like Peter Mokaba and Pallo Jordan and Derek Hanekom. You would have thought that he would have just deployed them, moved them because they had not done very well, they were powerful forces.

POM     Within the ANC itself.

SM     Peter Mokaba actually helped the ANC to win the Northern Province but he threw him out. So he is becoming a dictator but the real reason goes back to what I said about the ANC, an analysis of where the ANC stood at time, when I said we will get 56 I was basing it on that analysis. So it wasn't that that was wrong.

POM     Your positions were simply appropriated.

SM     They changed that quickly in a confused way, confused us, confused the nation and got the vote but they know that can't hold for a long time. So Mr Mbeki now is becoming a dictator and I can understand that. I don't know whether last time when you passed here I had already made my remark about crime, I made a very funny, what was perceived to be a funny remark on crime because I said crime is intolerable, it is reaching intolerable proportions, it must be stopped. And I said it must be stopped by all means, even including chopping of limbs I said. I became so unpopular and the ANC took it up and used against me. But now they're in power and they're doing exactly what I said they should do.  The crime in this country, if they don't do anything about it they will (unintelligible).  So for them it's not a choice. If they don't deliver jobs, if crime makes the jobs they must stop it, if they don't stop it

POM     Will the Scorpions report directly, are they directly under the authority of the Office of the President?

SM     The only thing about it is that it is actually an illegal thing because the law about Scorpions is not even out yet, so the House was saying bring the legislation, you must know how you're going to control it. What are the checks and balances?

POM     To whom are they accountable?

SM     The Scorpions? To the President and the Security Council, Ministerial Security Council. But they say, this afternoon they said, no we are ultimately accountable to parliament, we are transparent and we will come back here and tell you everything. But parliament didn't believe it quite clearly. We hear you but we don't quite hear you. They said it looks like you're taking us back exactly where you were when you were fighting against the apartheid government because the security apparatus of the Nationalist government was like that and they used it against political opponents. So parliament this afternoon said, you are going to use it against us like the Nationalists did.

POM     Just one or two more things. One is when Mr Mandela was released from prison and it was at a time when the war in KZN was at its height, one would have thought that it would have been Mr Mandela's top priority to say this war must come to an end, all Africans must present a united front in negotiations against the government. He did ring Buthelezi and thanked him for his support while he had been in prison, he asked to visit him and King Zwelithini and to lay a wreath on the grave of King Shaka, which they agreed to and gave him dates and then the ANC NEC in Lusaka turned it down. Then he was to appear in joint rallies with them and the people in Pietermaritzburg, Harry Gwala, turned it down and said he used to use the phrase, he said, "The ANC said if I went there that they would throttle me." Number one, was that behaviour un-Mandelalike or since he'd just come out of prison was he relying on, since he had been away for 27years, relying on the advice from the NEC rather than saying this must be done because we're just killing each other? And had he done it, had he gone to see Buthelezi at that point and sought a rapprochement and agreed that the two of them should go around KZN and tell people they were partners fighting a common enemy and the enemy was apartheid and the NP government, blacks should not be killing blacks, do you think it would have made a difference or do you think that at that point things had gotten so out of control in KZN that it really made no difference?

SM     Briefly he tried that and it did not work.

POM     He tried going around with?

SM     Yes, he came back with a message, stop killing and we will sit down and talk and stop. It did not work. Actually he almost lost his leadership on that score. You remember the time when they had T-shirts with the head of Mandela, youngsters, they were very excited about it, but when he came back and said stop the violence they cut off the head.

POM     Throw your pangas into the sea.

SM     Yes, they cut off the head, his head from the T-shirt.

POM     This intrigues me the way in that - one gets the impression, you're given the impression in a vague way that all the violence in KZN was the third force or the security forces creating a war but you don't create a war where 12,000 people die, 4000 between 1990 and 1994, by just a third force stoking differences between groups. The very fact that the youth would cut Mandela's T-shirt up, well no third force came along and said cut Mandela's T-shirt up. There were deep hatreds and divisions that have not yet been recognised and dealt with, were never touched on by the TRC.

SM     Exactly. I would agree with that. Actually the remarkable thing is that ANC hasn't got clean hands in the violence, Inkatha Freedom Party hasn't got clean hands in the violence, but they are the strongest parties in the country at the moment and all the other parties that have not been involved directly with killing of their own people are not doing well, including ourselves, and we should be the ruling party in Natal because in that Natal situation our party has had nothing to do with the killings there and yet we are weak in Natal.

POM     My final question for you is where do you go now? Do you pursue this vigorously, this possibility of coalition and trying to create a coalition of opposition parties or do you say, well we'll hang in there but we have no resources, if you're realistic you're not going to raise a lot of resources, and we'll wait for Mbeki to fall on his face?

SM     The truth of the matter is that we think that, as I said, the spirit is very high in the party so we are continuing but we are aware that this is the critical phase, things must change one way or the other.

POM     Critical phase in terms of delivery or non-delivery?

SM     That's right, even in terms of policy, in terms of saying - is that what you stand for? We can't go on forever deceiving ourselves and deceiving the nation. There must come a time when the nation says, but what are you saying? Are you not saying the same things? Where actually are the points of difference? So if we don't do that I think the nation will force us to do it. Secondly, I believe that the ANC will be forced to come out with a clearer and more sensible position as far as this is concerned, as far as the future and the alignment of forces. I think that's going to happen. Also as far the white parties are concerned I think they are in a critical crisis position because no white party can rule this country any more, just as really no black party can rule this country any more. We need a party that is non-racial and if we don't move quickly into that the nation will force us to get into it. So I am trying to say that we are in a sort of trap situation but I think before long things will be clarified a little better and I sense that it won't take this session of parliament, the life of this parliament, before the end there will be a much clearer delineation of political forces and also policies.

POM     OK. Thank you, thank you for making the time. I know you have to rush off.

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.