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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
01 Dec 1999: Fivaz, George
GF. For the purpose of passing information around in Cape Town, most of those people were absolutely for the purpose of getting something on record I think for the purpose of the million rand reward. There was no information at all. So we told them you must be very careful to send people in because some of the people arrived here and some were really two ladies for instance, and you can't ignore that because we want to solve that case and you never know whether they have indeed information. So two ladies were here on the basis of they are seeing visions and the visions are sort of putting them in a position to make notes of possible suspects and the possible suspects are most probably the following people, but total irrelevant type of information. Maybe that is why they stared at you saying is this not perhaps one of those people.
POM. It's my beard!
GF. It's usually information about -
POM. This is the only building I think I've entered into in SA that has no security system at all. Third rate companies have elaborate security.
GF. Yes that's true. We have started some, and we have stepped it up at one stage it was non-existent. The problem with the building is it's a very old building and it's very difficult to secure it in total. Now we are going to rebuild the entrances. It's one of the issues in the new year. It's going to be re-done totally, the entrances of the building and we are going to install proper security arrangements and equipment as from the beginning of next year. You are so right. It's totally insecure.
POM. You go into company offices and you go into a box and you have to press a button to get in and press a button to get out, they check your case not only on the way in through a network, they check it on the way out. I said, "Gee, this has never struck me before. This is the only building you can walk into."
GF. Yes, it's the one supposed to be
POM. The most secure. Anyway let me get down to business because I know this must be a busy morning for you. When I looked at the headlines
GF. Yes, I'm fighting and one shouldn't see that arrogance to protect your rights.
POM. Let me just for the record say what we're talking about. We are talking about a report from the Portfolio Committee on public accounts which reported to the minister that the National Police Commissioner had well they reprimand him in a sense for highly improper and unbecoming behaviour including accusations that you treated the committee itself with contempt and that you queried and disagreed with the Auditor General's report. This being kind of the last month of your office, so to speak
GF. You see the real issue is, I think it now becomes a personal clash between myself and the chairman of that specific committee because we appeared before the committee and some aspects in the report of the Auditor General are not factually correct. So it's a fact, we pointed that out to the committee during the session and it seemed that it was not acceptable to the committee that I made a point that some of the aspects in the Auditor General's report we are not in agreement with. So immediately the Chairman and some of the other members of the Portfolio Committee said, "But is it possible? Are you saying you are not in agreement with the Auditor General? How dare you?" I said, "Of course I am saying that on the basis of facts." For instance there is an amount of R16 million being identified by the Auditor General as a loss. It's not a loss, it's a liability from the side of the department around the issue of home loans for officials. So it's not a loss. And the Auditor General agreed with that in the committee and there are a number of similar issues I pointed out in the report. But it seemed that the committee never took cognisance of what we are saying so they continued with the line of bad management and bad financial management in the Police Service and I was not in agreement clearly with that. So when I arrived back at office I wrote the chair of the committee a letter setting out exactly what the factual situation is around specific issues where we are not in agreement, in a very, very professional manner. I see in their comment there are saying now that they obtained legal advice, that I was indeed in contempt. But we obtained legal advice as well before I sent the letter and the letter we made 100% sure that the letter is not emotional, that it is factual and we pointed out in that letter please don't perceive this as contempt, it's an effort from my side to give you the right facts and the factual situation in terms of the interpretation of certain clauses in that report. I must tell you I am still absolutely 100% convinced that we haven't acted with contempt, that we stayed within the framework of giving the committee the right facts and if that is wrong then I am totally amazed because there is one very specific rule in our constitution and that is the rule in terms of fundamental rights to be heard, the audi alteram partem. So I have a right to defend myself, I have a right to make sure that parliament specifically has the right facts.
POM. The Director of the Land Bank won a landmark case the other day with regard to not being discharged without a proper hearing, disciplinary hearing.
GF. Yes, that's it. You see I stick to every line, every word, every paragraph in that letter of mine. Will the committee now accept that as fact or emotion? It's their prerogative. In my case I can substantiate everything I've said in that letter and I'm going to stick to that. There is no way I'm going to say I'm sorry, I wrote you a letter, it's not factual, I'm not in a position to substantiate the letter, because that's not true. I am in a position to substantiate every line in that letter and as a matter of fact Meyer Khan is a big business man, he's a very competent person, he's over the years well known in SA as a very, very outstanding manager. He assisted the Police Service over the last 2½ years with the financial management of our department. I'm convinced that we have made progress in various fields in terms of better, improved financial management and I think it's grossly unfair to say to the Police Service that you haven't achieved anything over the last five years. You know, that type of thing we have pointed out in a very professional manner and not biting type of negative, destructive criticism. You will not find one paragraph in that letter where we are destructive. We are trying to be very constructive in the letter. So I'm very surprised to see that now the committee is saying I've acted with contempt. I'm not in agreement with that and I will never be in a agreement with that because that was certainly not the intention in my letter and I think the approach of the letter, the style, the format of the letter is not at all in contempt. It's trying to explain to the committee exactly what the factual situation should be and how they should interpret certain facts in the report and certain findings in the report.
POM. Would it be possible to get a copy of your response? I'm not using it until the year 2002.
GF. I will give you a copy, certainly I will give you a copy because that is the agreement, that you are not going to
POM. Not before then.
GF. You will see if you read the letter it's a straightforward explanatory letter trying to focus on the facts. What I was very, very concerned about, and I made mention of that in the letter as well, a day before the hearing, before we appeared before the so-called Select Committee on Public Accounts there were a number of statements by the chairman of the committee stating that the financial state in terms of financial management of the Police Service is more serious than those under investigation against Commissioner Sithole of Correctional Services. And I made mention of that in the letter saying that that is grossly unethical to say something like that because in the interim Sithole has been dismissed from the civil service and there is no mention and nothing has been said in the report of the Auditor General relating to embezzlement or fraud or theft or self-enrichment or whatever the case may be. So I am still of the opinion that that was a total, total unfair and unethical statement before we were really before the committee to explain our case. So that in itself I'm mentioning that in the letter and I'm also saying after the same chairman made a yes Gavin Woods he made a statement in a meeting where he met the Press Club in Cape Town saying it's the agenda of the committee to humiliate Directors General. He made that statement. I also made mention of that in my letter but up to now they haven't answered anything. They decided to write a letter to my minister saying I've acted in a manner unbecoming. So I think in my mind there is nothing to be investigated by the minister, there is nothing of the nature of unbecoming a person of my status and rank. It's a matter of I'm entitled to defend myself, I'm entitled to put the right facts to parliament and it's for parliament to decide whether they want to accept it or not. But I stick to the content of the letter.
POM. The new minister, Mr Tshwete, he asked you to stay on to the end of your term and you advised him that you thought the time has come for there to be a black Commissioner at the helm, that there would be a visible sign of transformation.
GF. That is exactly the case. Immediately after his appointment as Minister of Safety & Security he had a discussion with me and he made the proposal saying, "Commissioner, I think you must stay on for another term, even five years, because we have confidence in each other", and I am working, I must tell you, hand in glove with the new minister. We have a very good relationship and I think a very constructive one as well. And I said, "No, Minister, I would like to consider it." I made it very clear from the beginning that I am going to serve for five years and then I am going to end my contract, I am not going to renew it. So you must have the right mindset to do this job, you must be very positive and you shouldn't be half way in it. So I just want to think about it and I had another discussion with the minister saying, "Minister, I am of the opinion really if we want to be constructive you must find a credible black person to take over. I don't think it will be a good thing, I don't think it will be progress to extend my contract."
. I think what is necessary now is a very visible, as you are saying, indicator that we are serious about transformation and over and above I think it's very, very important for the Commissioner to have the total and wholehearted support of the political structures of the country as well. I am not a member of the ANC, I'm not a member of any other political party. For the purpose of this position I am 100% neutral and I think what will be necessary will be a person that will have the support of the ruling party in SA 100%, not that I haven't had the support, but I think it will be important to have the support, for instance, of our Department of Finance because it will be very vital for the department to have additional funds in the couple of years to come because all the programmes are really in place and we are moving forward on the programmes to create this new Police Service we want to see eventually, a 100% competent and effective Police Service. But the problem is you have obstacles in the way of implementation and most of those obstacles are finance related so it will be important to recruit more police officers, make sure that we recruit high quality, that we phase the functional illiterate police officers out over time and that we make space for a process of rejuvenation of the Police Service.
POM. Now when you took this up in a very broad context if I said, Commissioner you are now leaving after five years and give an account of your stewardship of the Police Service during that period. We are still confronted by a situation of where most people see crime as the major problem confronting the country, where most people do not have confidence in the police, where there have been recent brouhahas about the levels of rape, abuse in homes, the level of literacy of the police themselves. How would you give an account of your stewardship of the problems you faced coming in?
GF. I really think if you look at where we are coming from and you are aware of the history of our country, the amalgamation of the eleven police structures of the past and creation of one single Police Service for the total population, high quality service rendering, transparent Police Service, a representative Police Service and that type of thing, it wasn't an easy job. I think it's easy for people to criticise and to say you could have been further, you could have been in a position where crime is totally under control but I think that is very naïve and unrealistic because if you look at the dynamics of our country in the first instance we are still in the process as a nation, in a process of transformation, we are still moving forward, we still have racism all over our spectrum not only in the Police Service, in the nation. We have it all over. We still have high levels of under-education, joblessness, homelessness, poverty and whatever you can mention around the issue of root causes of crime so the whole dynamics of our society I think should be taken into consideration when you are talking about crime levels and the fact that the Police Service is not the sole responsible party to deal with the issue of crime in SA. Of course you will have to deal with crime on the one hand, you must attend to the root causes of crime and you must remove these root causes. I am talking about poverty, joblessness, homelessness, high levels of violence. We still have a violent culture in our society as a result of the past and in the same breath you have to tackle crime via pro-active and reactive police action with the assistance of the community. So I don't think it's as easy as saying crime should have been under control by now. I think we are going to suffer from crime for time to come in this country because all the root causes are there. If you go to certain areas in our environment, to our squatter communities, like for instance L Section in KwaMashu in Durban, you will find that people are living without destination, in total despair, under the most awkward and ugly conditions, no infrastructure at all. Now if you see those environments then you can only ask yourself a question: how is it possible that there is not a criminal emerging from each and every one of these shacks because there are no jobs, there is basically nothing to live for? It's better off to be in jail because you are going to get three meals a day, so jail is not really scaring you off. If you are living under those very, very difficult conditions then there is a tendency to have high crime levels. So I think really in terms of my stewardship, you are asking, I think we have covered a lot of ground. We have attended to a very, very complicated situation, a very sensitive situation. We have succeeded to amalgamate the Police Service.
POM. That must have been a huge task.
GF. That was absolutely a nightmare.
POM. One of the biggest tasks that you faced.
GF. Yes. That was a nightmare. You see because what you have today, you still have individual police officers guilty of racism, guilty of sexism, guilty of hate speech, but that's individual, it's not the policy of the department. The vast majority of people are working together every day. I am visiting them in practice. It's heart-warming to see in certain areas how our people are really co-operating.
. I have been down in Cape Town two days ago after the bomb blast in Camps Bay. Now if you look at those police officers in Operation Good Hope, the police officers in our intelligence teams, in our investigative capacity, then you see that those people are really black, white, woman, male, people working together like professional police officers. It's not police officers coming out of various structures in the past any more, sitting with a mentality attached to certain principles of the past and certain political affiliations of the past. It's people who would like to work together as professional people and I think in that sense we have covered a lot of ground, covered a lot of ground in terms of making the Police Service more effective. But of course, I explained to you the other day, we still have a number of obstacles.
POM. Not the other day, it was a while ago.
GF. We have still a long way to go.
POM. Let me go back to a couple of points. One of the things you had to do in the restructuring of the Police Service was to bring more blacks into senior management positions. Now let me lay out what I think is the scenario and then you correct me if I am incorrect. It would seem to me that you were faced with a situation of where within the old SAP there were not many blacks in senior management positions and then that you had to amalgamate the homelands and the independent state police forces into your new structures where a number of the top management positions would have been occupied by blacks but perhaps in many cases not very competent or well trained blacks. Now, you have to take this pool which is small and recruit from that pool to put them into higher positions. One, were you faced with the problem of there being a calibre of capability and ability there given the way some of the former independent states were run and the corruption that was rife in many, in whole administrations? And two, would the people that were your pool, so to speak, to draw on since they were already in the police force could they be construed somehow as being in opposition to the ANC insofar as the ANC was the revolutionary movement trying to overthrow the state and the police were an organ of the state fighting that attempt? Do you get what I'm getting at?
GF. Yes. You see in the minds of a lot of people, specifically black people, we could have been further with representativity. I think many of the people do have and they still have unrealistic expectations and that is a problem in a process of amalgamation. If you take the history of the various police agencies of the past into consideration you will find that many of those people were promoted without minimum criteria, many of them. So when we started with the process of amalgamation in 1994/95 it was really a matter of taking over people totally incompetent and already in relative senior positions. That was one of the problem areas. So from the very beginning I insisted really on a process of making sure that we appoint people with potential, not necessarily people in all respects at a very, very high level of competence but people with a relative level of competence but with good potential. So you can at least put those people and involve those people in developmental programmes to make sure that they grow into certain positions and we started with a number of programmes. It was a very difficult and I think frustrating period for many police officers because the whites were of the opinion that we are competent and now we have to make room for people who are not competent. But in a situation like this you have to take into consideration the fact that people are coming from somewhere and they are in positions as a result of the systems of the past and you have those people, they have a legitimate right to be part and parcel of your structure.
. What you can do, you can have accelerated development programmes for certain categories of people but the fact is you must move those people into certain positions and of course you are not going to have high levels of competence, high, high levels of competence in all respects. But you must be very careful not to over-stretch the process because then you are going to allow the Police Service to collapse and to disintegrate. So what we have done from our side was to attend to this in a very responsible manner selecting people, making sure that those people will go into programmes, giving mentors to those people, making sure that they will be exposed to a variety of functions in the Police Service and I must tell you, this is now after five years, if you look at the calibre of black police officers coming through now in rounds where they are applying for positions, you will find that the quality has increased tremendously. Three years back we were basically in a position where 90% of a total list of applicants will be white and 10% will be black in terms of competence. Nowadays it's about a fifty/fifty when people are applying for positions. 50% competent white and 50% competent black people. So it's now much easier to select black people. It's not at all here and there of course you still have to make provision for representativity and affirmative action but in most of the cases we are in a position to appoint blacks now on the basis of competency, on competency because they applied for the position, they appeared before a panel, independent panel, and after selection many black people are coming out tops amongst whites. So the process, that is tell me the process worked and we have succeeded in the development of a good number of black people.
POM. Say you had a man, a black man, who was a Brigadier or whatever in the Ciskei, in the newly integrated police force he would come in as a Brigadier even though he might not have the qualifications that one associates with being a Brigadier. Were people like that, that you inherited from the command structures of the homelands and independent states, put through special training programmes to bring them up to the degree of professionalism required in a police service?
GF. You see many of those people we have exposed to programmes for the purpose of development but fortunately, and that is now not nasty, many of those totally incompetent people with a high rank have been phased out by means of severance packages, many of them. So it's only a handful left. I'm talking about the top brass now in the service. You still have it here and there people with a very low level of competence and in some cases to a certain extent functionally illiterate as well. They are still there but they are a handful. It's a small minority of people. So the younger type of police officer
POM. This would be at the management level?
GF. That's at the level you referred to, Director level. Fortunately nowadays most of the people, I can't say all of them, but most of the people at the level of Commissioner and up are competent people, people with university degrees, people with a high level of competency, people with the ability really because I think we have promoted those people already through the system and we have selected those people a couple of years ago. They have attended training courses inside SA, outside SA. We had diversity programmes, we had a number, and still going on, a number of assistance programmes from abroad and we are still sending police officers, most of them black police officers, abroad to attend academies, to make sure that those people are really being exposed to professional police work, professional international police standards and that type of thing. And I must tell you, I am the chairman of most of the selection or interview panels where we are appointing senior personnel in the Police Service and I am absolutely satisfied with the end result, people coming through nowadays. It wasn't the case three or four years ago. Every second black person specifically was not really up to standard in terms of training but nowadays it's going much, much better.
POM. Coming to that, many references have been made to the culture of the old guard, that the SAP had been a service that had been trained to track down terrorists or crack down on dissension in the townships or whatever, not really a Police Service to investigate crime and perform the 'normal' functions of a Police Service and that that culture had to be changed, policemen had to learn new attitudes in dealing with suspects, reminding them of their rights and things like that. This has been my reading almost exclusively associated with what's called 'the old white guard'. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would seem to me that if you had to draw on, and all you had was the SAP central plus these eleven other Police Services, that you essentially had to draw on police forces that were all old guard. The ones in the homelands were mostly black and they were old guard, they were for keeping their homelands and the independent states were the same and they abused people's rights and cracked down on dissension perhaps even to a greater extent than was done in central city areas like Belfast where there would be more of a media watch. Yet no-one talks about them as being part of the old guard too whose mindset had to change. Was it not a task of changing the mindset merely of white officers and white senior personnel but also of black officers and whatever black senior personnel were there, that they came from the same culture?
GF. I think if you look at the past and from what I've read about, for instance, Northern Ireland, the same type of development took place over many years and the same type of approaches were instituted, sort of a paramilitary force to deal with to a large extent infiltration of the so-called terrorist of the past and to a large extent police officers were really trained because that was the policy of the government of those days. So I think since the introduction of the new Police Service in 1995 we have learned our lessons as well. At one stage we were directed by our political head and his consultants to make policing totally, but totally, democratic in terms of approaching, in terms of training, in terms of way of thinking, in terms of addressing each other, in terms of showing respect to each other and there was an element of allowing the Police Service to become totally civilian. That was the first year or two. I think maybe it was a good process but very soon after the introduction of that we realised that we are now experiencing a drop in discipline. You are experiencing a drop in commitment of the Police Service. You are experiencing a drop in quality of service rendering to the community and we reassessed the situation and we changed the approach somewhat saying it's still very necessary to train a police officer in discipline, to make sure that the police officer respects his senior and his fellow colleague, to make sure that the police officer has the right poise, to make sure that the police officer is neat in his uniform, to make sure that the police officer will respect the public, to make sure that the police officer will be the example of the fundamental rights of people in terms of practising fundamental rights in the Police Service and acting in a way that the public will take example and will say that is a perfect example of what's in our constitution.
. I think over the last couple of years we have trained our police officers around the issue of fundamental rights but also saying you can never be, as a result of the fundamental rights in Chapter 3 of our constitution, be soft on crime. You can never allow a situation where police officers will stay away from work because they can get a medical certificate from a doctor. You can never allow a situation where a police officer will be disrespectful. That is why I am so concerned about this allegation of this committee that I am disrespectful. That is totally against our code of conduct.
. We have introduced a code of conduct and the code of conduct is really revolving around the issue of respecting the fundamental rights of people, rendering a high quality of service, staying away from corruption, making sure that you report corruption in your environment and building a proper Police Service respecting each other because then you don't have to concentrate so much on the issue of representativity and that type of thing. As long as you respect each other as fellow colleagues and accept the fact and respect the fact that black and white and male and female and lesbian and whatever the case maybe have fundamental rights in the country. I think this process is also now in motion and my feedback from my Provincial Commissioners is that the latest product coming out of our Police colleges are really high quality police officers because we have a good mix between academy and discipline and self-respect. Police officers are trained in a way that they will have respect for themselves, they will have respect for their communities and that they will have respect for what's in the laws of the country.
POM. I want to get back to the point of
GF. Our problem is now time, time once again. I have to go to the Police College and you know where that is? It's in Pretoria West on the other side of town and that media conference is starting ten o'clock.
POM. OK. Give me five more minutes. Quickly, there wasn't just one police culture you had to change. It's always said the white police culture had to be changed. You had to change the police cultures of eleven different police forces and many of them with scant respect for the rights of individuals and many with scant confidence at many levels. So for commentators to concentrate their attention on the old guard as being in terms of thinking attitudes. Is that right?
GF. If you look at the variety we have so-called inherited then you must realise that the values and norms were absolutely different from institution to institution. Criteria in terms of recruitment, criteria in terms of training and all those issues differed quite considerably.
POM. Are there any like when you say 30% or 20% of the police are functionally illiterate, I would assume most of these come from the former homelands.
GF. Many of them are coming from the former homelands but quite a number from the old SAP as well.
POM. How did they recruit people?
GF. What happened in those years, they introduced, and that was the government of the day, here in the late seventies, beginning eighties, they introduced the system of the Special Constable, so people were recruited to stabilise certain communities, like for instance the East Rand. In the East Rand they had continuous flare-ups of riots and whatever the case may be. The Defiance Campaign was in full motion during those years so they have recruited to obtain, as they call it, feet on the ground. They recruited Special Constables. They never applied any criteria in terms of minimum requirements. That was followed very soon, many of the TBVC and self-governing territories of the past followed suit and they recruited their own Special Constables as well because they were cheap. They were in many cases illiterate but they served a very specific purpose. They were put on patrol, they were trained for three weeks and then they were given a shotgun and they were put into a specific blue uniform, not the same as the Police Service, and they were responsible to patrol the streets and to make sure that there will be stability in certain hot spot areas. Those people grew to a number of about 45,000 over a couple of years and when we amalgamated in 1995 in terms of the constitution those people were taken up into the new South African Police Service and that is really the serious problem. So those people became full-fledged members of the new South African Police Service because they were on the payroll of the agencies of the past and those people are still our problem. Some of them very, very good people, very disciplined people, good people but the fact remains they are functionally illiterate. Some of them are basically useless. Many of them are very, very good police officers nowadays but the fact still remains they can't read and write properly and that is unheard of when you are speaking to other police services all over the globe, to say you know I have in my Police Service between 25,000 and 30,000 people who can't properly read and write, some of them can but most of them are functionally illiterate, they can't do all the functions that a police officer is supposed to do.
POM. Last question is the question of that you had a very, very high proportion of police officers who were behind desks.
GF. Yes. That one we are still busy with. We have succeeded to move about 4000 of those police officers over the time to functional police jobs because that is where they belong but in terms of what I mentioned, the programmes and the obstacles in terms of quick implementation really remain around the issue of finances. So if you want to replace a police officer you must hire the services of a civilian from outside, bring the civilian in to move the police officer out and that programme is slow as a result of the availability of funds but we are busy with the programme. Fortunately now we had a session with Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos a while ago and they have promised from the beginning of this new financial year to give the Police Service an additional cut. It's very unfortunate that I'm leaving now and the new person is going to have that benefit.
POM. Not an additional cut, an additional increase.
GF. An additional allocation for the purpose of speeding up some of the programmes and this programme is one of the programmes we are talking about. Another one is to recruit more police officers to phase the illiterate ones out over a period of time because it's totally inhumane to take those people and to throw them to the wolves.
POM. Just the very last, the famous incident you may recall where President Mandela and former President de Klerk when he was Deputy President had a famous kind of shoot-out in Hollard Street at Gencor, some function at Gencor where Mr Mandela referred to that 80% of police resources in the past had been concentrated in white areas and only 20% in black areas. How would the distribution go now?
GF. You see the distribution is still skew, it's still skew and once again to improve the situation, it's not to say that in the white areas you have surplus resources. I think many of the white areas are relatively well equipped but you are not really in a position to take away from those areas because then they are going to be totally under-equipped. So what you have to do is in terms of purchasing new equipment to make sure that most of the new equipment is going in the direction of the neglected areas. But once again the programme is totally in place. We have re-equipped, we have rebuilt a number of police stations all over where police officers were really accommodated in shacks. We have rebuilt 45 police stations in the old Transkei, for instance, in this programme. We have re-equipped many, many neglected area police stations. But this programme is also slow as a result of the fact that we don't have money to speed it up because we would like to have enough money for instance to buy at once, say for instance, 3000 additional motor cars for these areas and to make sure that within a shorter period of time you are attending to this problem. As we are going now we are making progress but too slowly.
POM. You have to run. Can I get a copy from your staff of the letter?
GF. I just want to make sure that I have maybe we were so sensitive about this letter.
POM. Maybe when I come back and you have quit we can do a review?
GF. We can surely do it. This is a copy. I'm going to ask Helene you are going to take this one? If you read that, that is now the letter, then I think you will agree with me that
POM. And the Auditor General's Report I will get from the Auditor General's office?
GF. You will get it from the Auditor General.
POM. Thank you ever so much. You run, let me hobble out. Thank you for all the time. Where will you be after you leave here? I'll be back on January 11th so you will still be here until the end. I will just ring to find out where you will be.
GF. I am going to be around, so Helene will give you my home telephone number. I'm going to stay on there because I still want to hear from you what is the latest from Northern Ireland.
POM. I've been involved there in recent weeks. All the parties that had the conference here for the Northern Irish in 1997 and they all, across the board, all the party leaders from Cyril Ramaphosa to Roelf Meyer to General Viljoen, all signed a letter to all the party leaders saying go ahead and go with these proposals. It was the first time that maybe parties did something together rather than in opposition to each other.
GF. What about the policing issue?
POM. Now it's beginning to build. The first big one -
GF. I think now as far as I understand it has been published for comment.
POM. It has yes but now the parliament, the new power sharing government has just been appointed today, it takes its first session, so today is the first day that you actually have parliament and you have ministers from former terrorist organisations, the IRA and former Paisley types all in the same cabinet. So now the real debate on the police this where the hard line right will now concentrate. They're trying to modify those.
GF. We are going to meet again and you must keep that secret.