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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

03 Dec 1999: Pahad, Essop

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POM     Last time we had talked a little about the emerging black middle class and I remember in previous years having discussions with people about the impact this would have on the structure of black society particularly in townships. As happened in the United States when there developed a black middle class the tendency was for those with better education and income to get out and move into other areas so that the townships, or the ghettos, in the United States just became repositories of the very poor and the underclass, drug addiction centres and whatever. With that tendency now beginning to appear here, having probably begun with the relaxation of the Group Areas Act regarding residency, is there at the same time as there is developing a larger black middle class is there also developing a larger black underclass so that you now have two divisions, not just between black and white but between black and black?

EP     I'm trying to understand the nature of the question because it seems to me that you are talking to some people and therefore want to change the nature of the debate in this country.

POM     What is the role of - ?

EP     No I'm coming, because I think to answer your question there's no straightforward answer and there's no such thing as there's a huge black - .

POM     I'm quoting directly from a black writer.

EP     No, don't worry about what some people write in The Citizen. There's a huge working class in South Africa, it's always been predominantly black. There is a large section of our people that are unemployed that live in conditions of poverty. They are black. I don't know what underclass is. They are black, they are poor. They have been that and with all the changes we've made, and we've made some very profound changes in this country to fundamentally improve the quality of life of millions of people in this country, the issue still remains that there are millions more who still live within appalling levels of poverty so there's no such thing in my view as therefore you having a black middle class growing deaf or you have a black underclass.

POM     I'm not saying the one is connected to the other.

EP     Think of your question, I'm trying to be serious with you, think of your question and the implication is there. That's what I'm saying that I want it to be clear before I answer your question.

POM     I am saying on the one hand you have a growing black middle class, a very, very good thing. On the other hand you have a growing black underclass.

EP     That's what I'm objecting to.

POM     More, more black people coming at the end of the scale.

EP     No! No, please man, you don't know what you're talking about. I'm saying to you that the nature of the question comes from a misunderstanding. What do you mean more underclass? I must question your assumptions. I don't believe there is a so-called, whatever underclass means. I don't think there is such a word, it's just some sociologist when they don't have anything to do in the United States or somewhere else go and find a class and then an underclass and then the bottom class. There is a working class, there is a whole group of people who live under conditions of poverty and there are millions in our country.

POM     That is a non-working class too?

EP     Yes but they are living in poverty but they are working class in terms of the fact that if you go into their background and origins and everything else. Now, so I was trying to say to you that there is a problem here in the approach, for me, and that's why I'm not answering your question because the approach is to say that here is this black middle class growing, there is the question that the relative poverty of the people at the bottom is getting worse and worse. It's a misunderstanding of what's going on in South Africa. I'm trying to argue with you.

POM     Are you saying that's not true?

EP     I'm saying it's not true because there won't be any concrete statistical information to prove this. On the other hand I say to you it depends on what you mean by poverty. You can't sit here and talk to me about some ghettos in the United States. Poverty, the quality of life of people means access to clean water, access to electricity, access to better roads, access to a better health service, access to the democratic process in this country, the right to be able to vote for and to be voted as representatives of the public. That's all part of what happens in poverty. Access to land, access to capital if you're a small farmer, possibilities of developing entrepreneurship skills. All of this is in place since 1994 in this country. It never was there before in SA, never in the history of SA. All of this was only for whites. How can anybody say to us that there has not been an improvement in the quality of life of the people? I accept that there are appalling levels of poverty but you cannot say to me that the converse is true.

POM     I'm not saying that, what I am saying as clearly as possible is that there is a growing black middle class which has to be encouraged to all extents and purposes. At the same time because of job retrenchments, because of the lack of job opportunities you have more black people at the bottom scale.

EP     But you don't have more black people at the bottom scale. That's what I'm saying is your problem.

POM     Well I've looked up these statistics and I'll get the source for you, but this guy Vusi Mona, do you know him? He's a journalist, he's doing a series of articles in which he's making the case that you have a disparity, a growing disparity of income between the top 20% of blacks and the bottom 20%.

EP     If you want to do an interview, if you want to argue with me come and argue with me separately please.

POM     No.

EP     So you want to do an interview, do an interview. Don't come and throw articles from Business Day, from Vusi or somebody else. I'm trying to get you to understand what is the conceptual approach, don't throw a journalist to me, in terms of relative changes in life. In the US too it can be demonstrated that for some sections of the Afro-American population relatively they've got poorer to those who've had some wealth but nobody would therefore argue that the US is more poorer on the whole in the country as a whole. Nobody.

POM     I'm not arguing that.

EP     Then change the subject because what I'm trying to say to you is that if you take a totality of the country, if you take the totality of the black population in SA then there has been some considerable improvement in the lives of the poorest of the poor. If you look at all of the questions and I'm talking about of how to understand poverty but at the same time there are still enormous, enormous challenges that we face to deal with this backlog that we have in terms of the poverty levels of our people. So nobody denies that there aren't appalling levels of poverty in SA. Two hours arguing that the growth of the black middle class, particularly the African middle class, does not lead to the consequence of people being poorer.

POM     Of course not.

EP     So I said now sometimes the argument changes political circumstances in SA is to try to argue to say, well now let's move away from this approach which is a national approach, they say move away from a racial approach, what you now have is a pure class approach as if we're talking about the US, Germany, England. And I say no, of course there is always a class element in the thing but the national element remains because the appalling levels of poverty still fundamentally affect the African people in SA. Sure there are a few whites who are poor, sure there are some Indians who are poor, but fundamentally so fundamentally the national question, fundamentally the question of addressing poverty is addressing the issues that face the African people in SA and not one of saying now there's a class thing so what you do is you're going to mobilise all of the poorest of the poor against those who have some wealth.

POM     Well I'll quote from President Mbeki, he said in a document, The State in Transformation, Mbeki warned that the economics between blacks and whites at one level and between the rich and poor among blacks would burst the bubble. Nowhere is it better captured than in a discussion paper he drafted in 1996, The State in Transformation. There he warned that, "When the poor rise they rise against us all. Helping the underclass is not only a moral obligation but a self preservation imperative." That's the President.

EP     That's the President in the last part, the first part is somebody's interpretation.

POM     No, no, that's quoted directly from the President.

EP     No.

POM     It's in quotation marks.

EP     The one has to do with The State and Transformation document which is not the President's document.

POM     I know, that's wrong too.

EP     It is an ANC discussion document. What was he saying there? What he was saying to the ANC, what he's saying to the people, is that fundamentally it is the task of this government to address the issues, the concerns of the poor. If you don't do it then you're going to create a situation in which some poor people might rise up against you because you have not addressed this is what he was saying. He was not making the comparison that I'm discussing with you now because whether or not you had, or the extent to which you had the growth of a black middle class is now said you must have a black capitalist class otherwise you can't deal with the racial ownership of capital in this country. In his last speech that he made what he was saying was that sure you need all of this but most critically we have to keep on addressing the concerns, the needs, the aspirations of the poorest of the poor because if you don't do it then you're creating whatever words you used there. I'm trying to say this is the political approach. There are other political forces who want to change the thing. They will not succeed because we will take our own decisions.

POM     I suppose my more basic question is that in a situation where you have a growing black middle class what role does that middle class have in helping to alleviate or be instrumental in alleviating - ?

EP     The way I would see it is that inevitably you must have a growth of what you call the black middle class. Inevitably you need even the growth not of a middle class but essentially even of a black capitalist class if you are to change the racial ownership of capital in SA. Now what kind of politics would then motivate this black middle class? Would it be one in which it becomes so self-centred and so selfish that all it is concerned about, I'm first talking about as a class, is itself and its own empowerment and it's own enrichment? It is possible. Or a growing black middle class that recognises that as a class it has responsibilities well beyond just looking after their own class interests. We, and certainly speaking from the side of the ANC too, think that we need to do a great deal of political work, conscientising, to recognise that the roles and responsibilities are to the rest of the community too so that as this black middle class grows, as it becomes a more important role player in the economic life of this country, political life of this country, it should also recognise its responsibilities on a much broader scale. That's absolutely crucial for that to happen and this means as ANC, as government, we need to do that kind of political work with this growing black middle class. You are going to have elements

POM     Now what kind of political work do you need to do to create that consciousness?

EP     As we've been doing all along in the course of the struggle, in mobilising the people. The ANC is the only one that has managed historically in this country to mobilise across the spectrum. That you keep on engaging with people and it is the only way you can do it, you can only do it by persuasion, you can't force somebody to do things, you can only do it by persuasion and you persuade them by your arguments. Now we don't think it's an impossible task because if you look at many of the people who you would now regard as part of the black middle class, specially let's talk about Africans, at this moment many of them do have some struggle record in the seventies, eighties, so they grew up with a certain level of political consciousness already. But as you go on this recedes into the background so you're going to have a new crop of people emerging whose own understanding of the history of the struggle will be also that much more limited. So there's a lot of work to be done in terms of just educating and conscientising people about the history of the struggle, about the people involved in the struggle, about what the objectives of the struggle were, what the objectives are now, what is the objective of the ANC, so that you begin to involve these people in that process. A very difficult process but it must be done to address the question you're raising which is a correct question because the chance is happening.

     There are times when you think that sometimes when people who think of themselves as now having been part of the black middle class would argue that life hasn't changed very much. Why? Because they might be owning a Toyota and they thought they should be having a Mercedes Benz by now so their life hasn't changed. Sure, maybe life hasn't changed that they haven't been able to move from a Toyota to a Mercedes Benz but you see the lives of other people have changed. Now you're going to have that because I think it's natural, it's inevitable that you would have that and therefore within what we would broadly call the black middle class there will obviously be also different political tendencies, different approaches.

     But so far my own reading, leaving aside the individual I was talking about and there are people like those, there are people who still put their own interests above everybody else's interest, that I still think there is enough there, the people that we work with, enough of a consciousness that they need to do more. Coming back to what the President said, in the end it's in the interests of this black middle class itself that they address the issues that the President talked about because if they don't

POM     People will rise against them.

EP     - people will rise against the system because they want a better life. So it's a combination of these things. You are absolutely correct, quite clearly this growing black middle class must begin to integrate into themselves and into their own thinking the whole issue of a social conscience, social responsibility and a determination and a commitment to deal with this issue. And lots of times we've been using the Malaysian example which seems to me, even now, to have had some success in terms of the Bruma Park element. So I certainly would agree that they have quite a responsibility here.

POM     I want to address that to the other part that I didn't get across, as role models for young people. What I'm saying is that as the better off get out of the townships to which they were restricted, which is good, get a better place to live and better facilities, is that whereas in the past under apartheid when rich and poor blacks, successful and unsuccessful, lived side by side there were role models that youngsters could look to as to who were successful. Now those role models have been pulled out and replaced by successful gangsters or people of that ilk. Last year I went to the funeral of Fingers Ramapote. It was like this man was a hero. He was a hero in the community. To look at the kids, the adoration in the eyes.

EP     Let me answer that question. Again, let me say it's nothing new if you look in the townships, if you live where I lived in Johannesburg. The first part is true that in a sense what apartheid did is you were more forced to live so even if you wanted a big house in Soweto you built it more or less where the poorest of the poor were cheek by jowl with you, although difficult for us always a bit different. But in these kinds of situations where life of township or life in an urban ghetto, historically I think you will find that gangsters stand to be role models. I would argue the same thing applies even now in the US in some of the worst ghetto areas. So in that sense it's not very different now than it was before and I take the point you're making that nevertheless there were the alternative role models which were people who were engaged in the struggle and they were in many respect much greater role models than the gangsters. So the struggle isn't there from the point of view of the passion, the intensity, the capacity to mobilise people against apartheid and racism, something deeply felt and held, it's not there. It's much more difficult to mobilise around poverty issues even with the poorest of the poor, so of course it's a different kind of context within which we're talking.

     Now that raises again the question from an ANC point of view: what is the role and responsibility of the ANC with regard to what we call in our ANC language 'political education'? We have been looking at this thing very seriously because in the ANC you've got to develop that revolutionary cadre. I mean you've got your large membership but within that membership which has again attained a level of political maturity, not whether or not they have matric, a level of political maturity, consciousness and understanding which then they are able to impart through the ANC structures to the broader community, to your local government structures. So the ANC has a critical role and responsibility to play here if you're looking at the ANC ten years, fifteen years, twenty years down the line, which I think we need to do, which I think the ANC is doing at the moment. It's trying to look ahead to see what can happen to a political organisation within certain circumstances and therefore what does the ANC have to do and what kind of political work does the ANC continue to have to do to meet what would be additional stresses and strains on the organisation. So we are doing that but I would argue that fundamentally it has to be done through that.

     There's a larger problem we face right now in this country. We've been asking ourselves for some time now: what is happening to the value system?

POM     That was on my list.

EP     But not only in terms of sure, the religious groups have a critical role to play but it's not a matter that's only for the religious groups because it seems

POM     You're saying the religious groups?

EP     Have a very critical role to play but you can't reduce it to a matter only for the religious groups to deal with because sometimes when you talk of value systems and morality they put it together with a religious group, so the religious groups have a role to play, very important role. But we need to understand that something has happened in the last fifteen, twenty years of apartheid rule, something so terrible and devastating that we are beginning only now to try to understand this, where those value systems that were acting as a kind of glue that kept the community together

POM     Are you talking about the black community?

EP     Yes essentially, and fundamentally amongst the Africans. That kept the family together, kept the community together, that kept street committees together, that kept people together in terms of what they wanted should happen. Now it seems to be breaking down as a consequence of which you get the kind of, sometimes, mindless acts of violence, gratuitous use of violence, preying upon the most vulnerable. You know when I was young Friday was the worst day for workers, Friday, because when I was young you were paid a weekly wage packet. Friday was the day you got paid.

POM     In cash?

EP     In cash. So when you go home, very, very dangerous a Friday. People also have some cash so they might stop over in a shebeen and many, many people every Friday, the greatest number of victims of robbery was always on a Friday evening, lots of people were killed. What I am trying to say is that it's not a new phenomenon, it's just that the thing has changed but nevertheless there was still always you felt something. What I am saying is what we have to do is we have to address with the utmost urgency this whole question of in some areas, in some parts of our country, the collapse of value systems and keeping people together. We have to address that.

POM     Have you been able to, like in the analysis and discussions that you've had, to be able to identify some of the causes for the collapse in values other than throwing the whole thing onto apartheid? Understanding apartheid was an enormously effective factor. It's like breaking things down and saying, why now? What was happening during apartheid to our own value systems that when apartheid went our value system collapsed with it?

EP     Let me put it slightly differently. It's the apartheid system that led to this collapse of the value systems. Five years into a democratic government with whatever else you're trying to do the problem remains with us. So, sure, apartheid was the major contributor to this. The question is now what is it that we have to do with a democratic government to first of all arrest this decline of, if you like, moral value standards and then to do something about lifting it up. Now we think that you can identify a number of areas, well certainly one of them was the breakdown of any kind of respect for law and order, the whole eighties and everything else, which then continues afterwards. I would argue on the part of the ANC and on the part of the ANC Youth League too, as much as we've tried we have not yet succeeded in instilling this new kind of consciousness, new kind of thinking amongst large groups of these people.

POM     When you say new kinds of thinking, that is?

EP     Coming back to what I said earlier, that you were able to mobilise people around a common objective, the struggle against racism and apartheid and all these things. You were able to fire people with a passion and intensity of feeling that they were prepared to sacrifice their lives for the cause. Now we need to be able to tap into what is there but in a way in which you can once again inspire people but for a different cause this time, for a cause which is more difficult to define but for a cause which says we must each work for each other, what contributions do we make. Because that's the kind of value system that I think you've got to inculcate into many groups amongst our people. So one can identify the causes, apartheid, everything else, one can identify the fact that where there aren't as many job opportunities as one would like, one can identify the fact that whilst the education system has improved considerably nevertheless there are still very large pockets where the schools, just the infrastructure of the schools, have not been able to keep pace with the developments that have taken place in terms of policies. So you have wonderful policies, we have very good education policies. Your infrastructure has not improved to the extent that you can implement your policies as readily as you could in better resourced schools.

     So you still have a situation within the education system, for example, where I believe the minority was essentially too large a minority of teachers who have basically stopped teaching. Now if you want to go back to earlier times you will find that the teacher was quite a important role model amongst our people, quite an important profession for people to aim for but now you will find it difficult and you can go to township schools and you will find that many of those teachers are not doing even the minimum of work, never mind what a good teacher does, he works well beyond the call of duty and that's a good teacher. Now that's part of this problem I'm talking about that we need to address overall a whole set of questions to deal with it so whilst we must not forget that the system of apartheid was the major contributing factor to this, nevertheless having understood this and still we need to try to understand exactly where the breakdowns occurred, exactly what's happened to family relationships, exactly what's happening to religious groups. Yet you will find that the churches are not empty. It's an interesting thing. When you go to North America and Western Europe the churches are very empty, they had to close them down. Here they seem to be building them. If you go amongst the Moslems there, they are not Africans, but you have never seen so many young people wearing these caps and that. That never happened in my days. What I'm trying to say is you're getting contradictory signals.

POM     Dichotomies.

EP     Yes, which I think is inevitable given where we've come from. The question is, do we have the capacity as the ANC to be able to deal with this multi-layered set of issues and problems that arise? Does the ANC Youth League have the capacity to deal with this in this way? Do we have to find different ways? We have to, I'm quite convinced, different ways of going and mobilising and organising amongst the youth. You will have to say that how do you use your whole IT systems, which is do you now say an ANC Youth League office should really be so technologically advanced that the young people would want to come to the ANC Youth League office because they can access the Internet? Now when I was young the Internet was not even in our thoughts, but you have to do that. You have to respond to the musical tastes of the youth. It's not going to be my taste, I don't share the same taste as my daughter and son, but if I'm unable to recognise that they have different tastes and if I'm unable to recognise that that is what has meaning for them in music, then you are going to be able to get to them because they are on a different plane from you. Now I'm saying that the ANC Youth League is much better positioned to do that than those of us who are now at the age that I am, surely has to say to itself, look we have to have a totally different way of mobilising and organising, totally different from what the previous generations had to do. And that's part of what I think needs to be done.

POM     Does the ANC Youth League recognise that?

EP     It does.

POM     Are there serious debates going on there as to what their role is, as being almost a transition between this generation and the next generation?

EP     I would say that within the Youth League leadership very serious discussion is going on throughout the ranks because they have had a depletion of members in most parts of the country. So in their own interests they've had to address this issue but they've had to address this issue because it's part of the discussions in the ANC, because all of us are very concerned, extremely concerned about this issue of the collapse of the value system. You don't know how much time it takes of our own discussions inside the ANC. It takes up a lot of our time because fundamentally that's the future of the country we're talking about. All these other things we've been talking about before will have much less meaning if we aren't able to deal with this issue. And so I would say, yes, my own understanding and talking to the ANC Youth League leadership is that this is what's happening. I think as I am talking to you on this day, Friday 3rd December, we are still far from having all of the necessary answers and therefore we still engage in very intensive discussions amongst ourselves as to what is the best way to move forward and what is it that we have to do to address this question, and it's going to continue to take up a great deal of time of the ANC as well as the ANC Youth League as well as the ANC Women's League.

POM     Just a follow up to that, and two questions. The last is almost a factual one. The follow up is, do you sometimes, or often, think that the pervasiveness of western consumers, the pure consumeristic values, shop, shop, shop, buy, buy, buy, mall, mall, mall

EP     Acquire, acquire, acquire.

POM     - acquire, has become the value in the global society we live in that is kind of subsuming all other values?

EP     That surely is one of the problems we have to confront because it's not only earlier we were talking specifically about SA. You are quite right it's a much more general problem that we do face. But you know when I think back I'm always inspired by the young people in Western Europe, in the continent, in North America who were the backbone of the anti-apartheid movement at the time when buy, buy, buy, acquire, acquire, acquire was beginning to be the norm in North America, in Western Europe, but yet you found thousands of young people very far from SA engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle, giving up their spare time, putting in energy, drive, to keep this anti-apartheid movement going, students throughout universities in the US ready to go into action to demand sanctions. So I feel very inspired and I say to myself, yes, here you saw thousands of these young people prepared to do this for a country very far from theirs. It tells us something about human beings, it tells us something about the capacity of human beings to want to be engaged in improving the lives of other people so if we are not succeeding it's because we are not succeeding in tapping into that enormous reservoir of energy and drive that exists. So it's not the people therefore, it's we then as a political organisation who are not yet able to tap into that. So I never despair, I never get despondent. I look in SA itself and I see thousands of young people, go to the poorest of the poor rural areas as we did do in the election campaign, young Africans coming out enthusiastic, enthusiastic supporters of the ANC, willing to do voluntary work much more in the rural areas than in the urban areas. Nowadays sometimes in the urban areas they want to know how much you will pay them to distribute a leaflet. So it's there. It's not that it isn't there. It's there, there are these

POM     How to find the way.

EP     Yes, and as I said there are contradictory processes going. It's what we have to find as a political organisation.

POM     The very last question is in fact a factual one and this was told to me by Joe Matthews, that there's a law on the books that says if you are a renter in Soweto or whatever and you've been renting there for 20, 40, 50 years or whatever, there's a law on the books that would transfer, like rather than paying rent to the municipal authority or whatever, but would transfer the ownership of the land, the property to you and you would become an owner. He said, yes, it hasn't happened on any large scale measure despite the fact that it's been on the books for two years.

EP     It's been on the books, yes, I won't argue with Joe about legal things.

POM     For a while and yet it hasn't had

EP     No, Joe is a bloody good lawyer.

POM     It's wrapped up in technicalities and

EP     No, we've raised this matter. If I'm not mistaken Joe himself might have raised the matter in one of the meetings and the Minister of Housing has raised it herself. You see, but what are these councils doing? Because it's not in her power, it's in the power of the councils.

POM     Couldn't President Mbeki say: I want that law implemented across the goddamn board in six months?

EP     We've said that to them as the ANC, "Listen", that's where he's talking because it arose with some area in KZN and we said, "What are you talking about?" They said, "Why?" We said, "You have power, man, go and give the people their houses." So they said, "Do we have power?" "Yes! Tomorrow you can give those people those houses." "What are you talking about?" Now we've said that over and over again and we're going to go, when we go for this local government election, in fact I can't even go to the meeting this afternoon, the ANC meeting where we're looking at the local government elections, we're going to go back to these councils and councillors and we're going to go back to the people and say ask these people for an answer. What red tape or black tape or white tape or nonsensical regulation is there to stop them from giving you this house?

POM     You'd give millions of homeowners, your house, you've equity, you've the basis to borrow and it's your home not somebody else's.

EP     Why the hell must they keep on paying rent for something which they've paid for over and over again.

POM     My question is since that is the law that is on the books and this would be a totally revolutionary move, why hasn't that revolutionary move been implemented?

EP     You will find if you do a bit more serious work here, is lack of capacity at the local level and that lack of capacity sometimes turns into, unfortunately, too many of our councillors then tend to be too reliant on the officials. You see politically we who have been a long time in the movement have the capacity to stand up to officials politically. At the local government level it's not always the case and so what happens is that people say, "No, we are told by the ANC we can give houses away." So, all right, it's true. The officials would say, "Well you can't just give the houses away, you've got to establish that people have been living in this house for whatever number of years." Fine, sure you must establish that because otherwise you would get a squatter moving in today and asking for the house tomorrow. They can't be beneficiaries of the law. So you say, well OK what is the problem? How long does it take in your locality, just you, yourself? How many houses are there? 20,000? OK. How long would it take you to ask to see the papers as to when did the people move in there? OK, they don't have papers. How long would it take them to get an affidavit to show that they've been living there and you yourself you come from that area, you know who's been living in the area where you grew up. So you don't know in Extension 10 but in Extension 9 where you live you know. Why can't we start this process? We will come to Extension 10, sure, we'll tell the people in Extension 10 let's finish with Extension 9, we're coming to you, can you just wait even two more years please? And people will wait because they know that in two years time you're going to come to them, but if you don't do anything at all, and which is their due, so OK, all right, we think we can do that.

     Now as the ANC we've said no, we've got to go back to this thing. We've got to go back to our local ANC structures and say it's fundamentally your responsibility as the ANC branch that people should be able to access what are their rights in terms of the law. You're not breaking the law, you're not coming out against your ANC government, you are helping the ANC government to implement it's own law. "Oh, OK, Comrade." Now we need to do that and we have taken a decision as the ANC that we're going to have to concentrate quite a lot of our energies on this. Unfortunately what's going to happen, as we get nearer the local government elections of course other things will tend to dominate, who's going to be on the list, which councils are going to get amalgamated? Then that tends to act as a kind of block, unfortunately, in terms of people taking just decisions of implementation.

     What Matthews says is absolutely correct, what you say is absolutely correct and the ANC is very, very well aware of this.

POM     It's costless. You're not going to say it's going to cost two billion, three billion.

EP     It will cost you nothing. In fact it's going to save you money. In the long run it's going to save you money. As the ANC we are very, very well aware that there has been a serious weakness on this and we've taken decisions to deal with it.

POM     Just throwing out - I would say you've created an Electoral Commission and you said you've got six months to register three million people, get to it. This is like saying could you set up a commission that would say there are 15 million houses out there?

EP     No, what we have to do is to go back to the present councillors and say: report, why have you not given the people the houses because you don't deserve to be a councillor again. As ANC, if I was going to the meeting this afternoon, that's what I would argue.

POM     So when I come and see you again, whenever that is, in the millennium, next century or whatever ?

EP     We'll be dead. For me the next millennium is 2001. I will be long dead.

POM     Millions of people will own their houses.

EP     Yes!

POM     OK.

EP     I don't know if it's millions because each council has to see how many houses, how many years people have been living, but it is a lot of people and I am arguing, if I had gone to this meeting this afternoon this is what I was going to argue to say we have agreed that one of the tests we're going to use as to whether or not people should appear again on our council list is to what extent have they implemented policy. Let us go and ask them, you in this area, how many houses have you given to the people which is their right, it's not your right. And let's see. If they haven't done it, if they haven't done a simple thing, because they can't say they don't have money because as you quite rightly point out it's no cost to the council except to do some work.

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.