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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
05 Sep 2002: Maharaj, Mac
POM Mac, you were talking about the circumstances in which you had attempted to resign in 1990.
MM In January/February 1990 from the underground I informed Lusaka that I would be retiring. Comrade Slovo and those who saw the communication did not know what to do, how to respond. Madiba comes out of prison and he goes on a visit to Lusaka, it's his first trip. There he is informed by Joe Slovo that here is this communication from Mac that he wants to retire and Madiba says to Slovo and company, "Leave that to me, I will attend to this boy." So he comes back from Lusaka, meets me in the underground and pushes me to withdraw my retirement and I in the end concede to that and say I will withdraw that for the time being to allow somebody else to take over my position. So I withdraw that resignation. Then when the first National Executive Committee meeting takes place in June after I surface legally and I am appointed to the Organising Committee I say I will serve in this committee for six months to allow me to retire. Nothing happens, the six months comes up in December and I retire quietly. I retired until July 1991.
POM So were you 'retired' when you were arrested in connection with Vula?
POM Because you went back to Sauer Street.
MM In June I was there, I informed them that in six months time I would like to retire. I am still in the NEC, I am still serving in the Organising Committee when I am arrested. I come out from my detention and I am now on trial.
POM Are you now retired or unretired?
MM Not yet retired. I'm on trial but comes December 1990 when a conference takes place at Nasrec and the NEC were expected to be there. I stayed away because I said my six months is over, I've given notice that in six months time I will be wanting to retire and my six months has expired so I retired. I come under pressure from the membership, from comrades. Comes the July conference of the ANC, July 1991, and I go to that conference as a delegate and comrades nominate me for the NEC elections and I then agree to stand. So I retired effectively from the end of the December to July and in July, under pressure from the membership, I got re-elected. So that's the first stint.
Then not to conflate things the next time I tried to retire, I decide to retire, is one year before the elections of 1999. This time Madiba is the President of the country. I go to him and I inform him that at the end of my term, 1999 when the elections take place, I will not stand as a candidate for parliament when the ANC draws up its proportional representation list. For that list process people have to nominate you and you have to sign and say whether you agree to that nomination and then you would go to the vote. I informed him that I wanted to retire at the end of the term, which was the end of his term as well, and this time he asked me why. I said to him, "For my family reasons." And he said, "It is the one argument that I cannot challenge. Have you thought about it carefully?" I said, "I've thought very carefully about it. I have now served four years in the government, there's a year left, I will serve that year. I am proud of the work I've done", but I am clear that I need to spend time with my family. So he says, "You know, I can't disagree with your reasons."
We then discussed how I would handle it. I said to him I would next go and see Comrade Thabo Mbeki who was the Deputy President of the country and now President of the ANC. So a few weeks later I went to Thabo Mbeki and I informed him in his capacity as President of the ANC that I would be retiring and I gave him my reasons as personal. Thereafter I waited and I decided before oh no, with Thabo the question came up, Thabo said, "Don't announce it, don't announce publicly that you will be retiring. Let's wait for the time. The ANC process will require you to sign off whether you are accepting nomination or not and then look at indicating that you will not." I said, "The problem about that is that that process takes place much later in the run up to conference, in the preparation of the election list." I needed to free my hands to now look at alternate sources of employment and I wouldn't want people to pick up that I'm looking for a job and then ask the question, what's happening? I said that would be wrong, "It's better that we manage this process in a more smooth way." OK, we left it at that. A few months later I then decided that the time had come to announce it. By that time the idea that I would join First Rand had come up.
POM That you would join ?
MM First Rand. So I went to Comrade Mbeki during a cabinet meeting. I think it was the last cabinet meeting or the penultimate one and said to him that I would inform the Secretary General of the ANC that I would be retiring and I then wrote to Kgalema Motlanthe, the Secretary General, and said I would be retiring, I would not accept candidacy. Left it at that. A week later I then announced in a short press statement that I would not be available to stand for the elections and I would be retiring and the next time I saw Thabo I went to him and said I would be joining the First Rand Group. I thought out of courtesy I needed to inform him of that. And that's the process by which I retired.
Just to recap. The first effort to retire in 1990, January/February, Madiba intervenes and asks me to retract and withdraw retirement. I say to him I will withdraw but for about six months, or for a limited period. Comes the June National Executive when we meet for the first time inside the country as the National Executive and I'm appointed to the Organising Committee I indicate that I will serve for only six months. Comes December the six months are over, I quietly retire. Six months later comes the ANC conference, I stand again for elections and I am elected to the NEC once more.
POM When you say you 'stand again for elections'?
MM Well every conference in the National Executive, every ANC conference re-elects the National Executive and you have to stand up and be voted for.
POM So in that case you withdrew your own
MM I said right now I'll stand, I'm available again, and I am re-elected. So since then I continued again but comes 1999 I decide one year before that that definitely now I'm leaving. I inform Madiba, I informed Thabo, I then informed the Secretary General and then I make a public statement to say I'm retiring and I retire at the end of that.
POM So Madiba intervened just on the one occasion.
MM The one occasion. And then a detail, you say here, "I was not present at the birth of my daughter Joey, he was unable to be present." In fact her birth I was present. I was present at Joey's birth.
POM You were not present at the birth of - ?
MM My son.
POM OK. I was writing without reference to the transcripts, I was trying to recall from my head. OK, on we go.
MM That's just a factual thing. Now, when you look at this background that I've given you, the way you elaborate my retirement and then, "When we became government of a free SA I was putting my cabinet together, Mac again said he wanted to retire."
POM Yes, so that's next, he hasn't the children. I can switch that around.
MM Yes, that whole paragraph is written like I wanted to retire and here he had to say to me there's an important task, I want you to be a minister. That never arose as an issue.
POM But I can go and say, "We had to build at the beginning and that's why I wanted him in the cabinet." OK, got it.
MM Yes. I wanted him in the cabinet and then you answer the question why Minister of Transport. Again, I think that just before that, this phrase here, "An advisor on every sensitive issue in my path." I think we'll drop that. I don't think he would want to say that he saw me as an advisor on every sensitive issue.
POM Could you say, 'and an advisor'?
MM And an advisor and one whose advice I valued.
POM And one whose advice I often sought and always valued.
MM Now the next is the story, why Minister of Transport. It's not his version, it's a version that Kathy says. So we can say that when Kathy takes people to Robben Island he tells this joke. Right?
The next one, "Mac arrived on the Island about six months after I arrived with Walter, Kathy and Raymond." I think you've got to avoid a problem. He arrived there with the Rivonia trialists.
POM After I arrived with the other Rivonia trialists.
MM Because otherwise you will have to add the name of Motsoledi, Dlamini and Govan Mbeki. Then next page, the story about the pick. The pick, where is it, the pick broke.The pick didn't break, his pick slipped.
POM When my pick slipped.
MM And clashed with his pick handle.
POM Oh your pick broke?
MM Madiba's pick slips.
POM And clashed
MM With my pick, injuring my thumb.
POM The thumb which had to be attended to, right?
MM No it didn't have to be attended to.
POM "Later I bumped into Mac. "
MM That afternoon. It couldn't be evening because there's no way to bump in. Now we come to this paragraph continuing onto the next page. I've just put a mark. I'm not so sure at that time I had reached a place where in discussions, yes I challenged the status quo, put alternatives, not necessarily always, Padraig, not necessarily always.
POM I'll take that out. I'll put 'on occasion.' We're back on page three.
MM I think that sentence, that last two lines, "But not in a way that was only negative, Mac did so in order to present alternatives and he will challenge us to figure out the implications of his alternatives." I think that sentence ought to be dropped. It's enough to say he challenged the status quo and was provocative in discussions.
POM He would challenge us butprovocative, would challenge us to figure out the implications of what we were saying.
MM Would challenge us to be more rigorous in our argument.
POM That's on page three.
MM Now this paragraph here I don't think is an accurate reflection because you are assuming that we would be discussing apartheid is going to collapse, what are wegoing to do in the new SA. No, our preoccupation was what are the tactics that we've got to be following in the struggle, right now. It was going to be a very long struggle, how were we to prosecute it to be successful? And that is where friction developed in our ranks. If you look at Reflections in Prison, you look at Govan's views on the Bantustans, you look at Walter's views, you look at Kathy's views, you look at Madiba's views, there's a clear divergence of opinion and it is known in the Mayibuye Centre. Andre Odendaal presented a talk some time post-1994 that he found evidence that there were very, very sharp divisions in prison between Madiba and Walter on one side and Govan and Raymond Mhlaba on the other side. It was over the strategy and tactics that you had to use in the struggle, not in order to determine what should be the strategy and tactics of the movement but to deepen our understanding as members of the movement so that those who would leave prison would be better equipped. So the fractious, heated debates were around the strategy and tactics to be used rather than what would the shape and the type of institutions we would create in the future. Right? So I thought I would make that remark generally.
MM This paragraph is only talking about discussions where what should it look like, what institutions should be created. I just put a whole question mark here.
POM But is it OK to say that, "There was no doubt in our minds that apartheid would collapse"?
MM Yes, sure.
POM So I could end the sentence with that.
MM Yes. Then we come to this sentence here, "Reflect the views of the leadership.""These essays reflect the views" not of the leadership because that gives a sense of a collective decision. They reflect the views of individual leaders on the Island.
Then the next page. Obviously something is missing here.Then this one here, this box, just underline that. "The bottom of a box."It wasn't a box, it was the covers of files, we made concealed spaces in the covers.
POM Covers of files.
MM And they never found those concealed spaces. You know what I've done, what we had done is that take a file like this, imagine this file. You can have a file with a clipboard so that you pin the manuscript inside, you normally get that. So we constructed files like this with a thicker cover and created layers of this cover and between these covers we were allowed a space to fit in those A-4 sheets of paper.
POM OK, so you were taking files.
MM We constructed files and I was taking lots of material filed into those files outside, my study notes.
POM Your study notes?
MM Yes. So inside
POM So you would create a file cover that had layers to it and within those layers you would put a sheet or two sheets.
MM Several sheets because if you made a thick cover like that
POM But you didn't want to make it too thick did you because then they'd - ?
MM Well I made it thick because one of the main concealments was in a fairly big file. I had collected the statistical maps issued by the SA Statistical Bureau for my economic studies, fairly big maps in booklet form and I filed all those booklets as a collection and they were a bit bigger than A4. For that I constructed a file cover, fairly thick because it was a thick file like that, fairly thick file cover and therefore was able to put 20 odd sheets in one cover on one side and on the back cover another 20 30 sheets and do it nicely so that it looked like a professional file, one bought at like these files.
POM They didn't ask you where you got the files?
MM Oh no, we had files, we constructed them and kept them in our cells. We had files of this type, we had thicker files, we asked for those box files, bought them from the stationers and had them in our bookshelves, those who wanted to file their material nicely. Like those Lever Arch files. Let me get one, I am sure I can show you one. So I just want to try to find a file, it's a file.
Next page. Now here my difficulties with you are of a different order. Starting right at the top.
POM Page six?
MM Yes. I think that there's a defensive tone coming through as if to say he has to set a record straight and that makes it defensive. Rather find a way to deal with it by saying, "About a couple of issues around which there does not seem to be clarity."
POM Around which there does not seem to be clarity.
MM Yes. Now this one here is about Vula. I find this sentence, "Lusaka could call the shots and everyone heard the same reverberation." I think that leaves the impression that Lusaka used to order things.
POM Which paragraph, Mac?
MM Line six. I think the approach that we had towards the mass organisations was Pravin Gordhan did an interview somewhere, he said where he used to interact with me, "Mac never gave us instructions. What he would do was to discuss the issues and leave it to the forces on the ground to decide." So the ANC sort of seek ways to build the synergies between the different pillars of struggle.
POM But I used that phrase and I took it out. The ANC and the NEC and created a synergy between the four -
MM - pillars of struggle.
POM And created a synergy between the four pillars of struggle.
MM I'm going to pull out because I have started tracking, just switch off, I'll just explain toyou.
POM Pick up on you had received
MM A response to a report that I had sent outlining the number of units we had now set up in the Durban region and I said we were now ready to kick off with a regionally based leadership group, committee, in the underground which would be modelled on the outside structures and the outside structures were called Regional Political and Military Committee. So it oversaw both the political underground arm and the military underground arm. Their response was, and I said we are ready to kick off such a structure with at least thirty units under it. They were extremely excited by that but they said don't call it a political and military committee, call it an area political committee because while it will engage in military activity we want to emphasise the predominance of the political aspect. So don't call it a combined political and military committee, call it a political committee. It will be the leadership over the military and other forms of struggle but don't put military into the title. And they said they are very taken up with my suggestions of how the structures on the neighbouring countries have to be adjusted to meet the requirements of inside and they said we will be following that through. So there is that response and it was saying that the idea is to bring in more and more senior people from outside to come inside, not necessary just to serve in military capacities but to serve in the leadership capacity. So when we come to these last few lines in this paragraph on page six
POM OK, I'm going to change, line six, "We had the MK."
MM If the armed struggle on a more intense level was going to be necessary we had MK in place. No. And then etc., etc. Right?
MM The idea behind Vula was not just to have MK in place. We would have an integrated political leadership in place, political leadership in place and that leadership, I say integrated because it would be made up of people from outside, senior people, as well as people from inside. And as a leadership it would be in overall charge of guiding the mass organisations, the political underground.
POM Which would be in charge of guiding
MM The mass organisations, the political underground as well as the military work of MK.
Now if that is the proposition then your last sentence on that page, "All the structures for a people's revolution were in place before we decided to seek" 'negotiated revolution' falls away because we were not moving to say we will only negotiate when everything is in place. Right?
Then we come to the next page and that is paragraph three. Now here you have imported a discussion based on your understanding and you argue between the meaning of the word 'suspension' as well as 'cessation'. I think the distinction between suspension and cessation is valid but I don't think it's a question of Madiba saying don't let up, there was no question like that. You are dealing with a much larger question: was De Klerk of the view that Vula was in breach of that suspension? The issue must be seen in this way, Madiba met me in the underground and, fine, carry on with your work. But we were now engaged in meetings with Madiba, how do we re-focus the work of the underground, military and political, in the new situation?
POM We would meet, how to refocus the work of the underground and the military in the new situation.
MM Both political and military in the new situation.
POM You met with Madiba many times?
MM Oh yes. Madiba, Walter, you could say several times. It was a dangerous situation because Madiba, Walter, Kathy and all were very overt, Raymond Mhlaba, Govan Mbeki, but we met to discuss this question. The prospects of negotiations were there so the first question was how to pursue the negotiations and in that framework what do we do with the underground formations? How do we re-focus them? Do we shut them down, what do we do? In this context the first problem that arose was (i) the negotiations, how to pursue it, how to ensure that the mass struggles were not demobilised so that the pressure on the negotiating process was maintained. The second issue that arose was that black on black violence, which we believed was being manipulated by the state, was on the upsurge. How do we handle that question in a situation where the state is not intervening? In fact in our view we suspected the state or elements of the state are involved in it. From my side a third element was present. How do we protect the leadership made up of the Mandelas, come out of prison, are operating openly and their lives are in danger, and translate that down the line as we're creating the ANC structures, how do we protect them? Whether in the context of black on black violence or from rogue elements in the state or covert elements of the state.
POM How do the ANC structures on the ground provide for these contingencies? Right?
MM Yes. So those were the issues at the start and of course the answer to that was it cannot at that stage just unwind the underground. Then a new element cropped up by June/July 1990. The Groote Schuur Agreement had been signed in March/April/May. We were heading for another meeting with government in Pretoria in August but the government was prevaricating on implementing Groote Schuur. The release of political prisoners was not complete, it was being staggered. The granting of indemnity for the return of exiles was being staggered and no formal negotiating process had been set up. These issues posed a key tactical issue for us. One, how do we force the pace of negotiations so that it begins to reach a formal process and some time line? The second issue that arose was that how do we ensure that we consolidate our moral high ground of the anti-apartheid forces?
Remember, Padraig, what was happening was from February 11th De Klerk was being portrayed like a magician who pulls a rabbit from a hat and everybody was saying
POM He was all over the place. Hero, hero.
MM Fantastic guy, he's going to solve the problems. But we know he's not going to solve the problems without a formal negotiating process, we need some time conception and we've got to make sure that the moral high ground that we've enjoyed throughout the world is consolidated on our side and what we've got to do is while we've been engaging now with the government on little details, release this one, release that one, give indemnity to this one, indemnity to that one so that they can return, it was just becoming bogged down. So it is in this context that in preparation for the Pretoria meeting the NEC met in Johannesburg in late June/early July no, mid-July. And it is at this NEC that Joe Slovo proposed that we should go to the Pretoria meeting armed with a mandate to unilaterally suspend the armed struggle. He had canvassed this issue with Madiba and Madiba had debated, debated and said OK, let it arise at the NEC and at the NEC Joe Slovo gets up and proposes this.
POM Now you're at that meeting? You had legally returned to the country at that point.
MM Mm. I had legally returned. This was in July the meeting. In fact I think the meeting was on July 20th as I think back. So when Joe Slovo proposes, now remember there are about 90 people in the NEC, when Joe Slovo proposes this Madiba sensed from the chair that it is going to become a debate in which 90 people are going to take part, for, against. So it's going to be a diffused debate. So Madiba proposed from the chair that, "Look chaps, this question that Joe has posed, can we allow a committee of four people during the break, tea break, to draft a proposal and bring it back into the meeting so that we would have a concrete proposal which will debate?" And he proposed that the committee should be made up of Joe Slovo, Thabo Mbeki, Ronnie Kasrils and myself. Now he knew that I had been in Vula, he knew Ronnie was in Vula.
POM He knew you were, you still were, right?
MM Well Vula had been unwound now, was being unwound. It was being re-focused, the entire underground was now being addressed, how should it be re-focused, but he knew all four were members of the Revolutionary Council.
POM OK. You had not been arrested?
MM Not yet.
POM Nyanda hadn't been arrested.
MM Nobody had been arrested.
POM So Vula is OK, go on.
MM But the issue is, no, Nyanda had been arrested.
POM So you were on the run?
MM I was living openly but expecting to be picked up. But he knew that these four names were members of the Political/Military Council, Slovo, Mbeki, Ronnie, myself, so he knew that at the back of his mind and he said, "I am proposing that these four comrades be allowed during the tea break this morning to meet on their own to formulate a proposal to bring to us so that when we resume after tea we will have a considered proposal before us to guide us as to what position we should take at the Pretoria meeting." The four of us met and we drafted a proposal, a resolution, a motion, in which we advocated that our delegation should go and surprise the regime, without waiting for the regime to put criticisms and niggling details, to simply steal the limelight, steal the position, go on the offensive but instead of an offensive of criticising the regime go on the offensive of putting a proposal on the table: unilateral suspension, we're announcing, we want to do this, want negotiations to push ahead and we want all the petty details out of the way. So we drafted this proposal, it was in my handwriting, I was like the scribe for the four, they were saying, "Oh you write it up." Went back into the meeting and Slovo put the proposal so that now debate can take place and the NEC endorsed our view, endorsed the motion as it was.
POM The motion was?
MM That we would go to the Pretoria meeting and there, boomp, we would open up saying we are unilaterally suspending
POM Temporarily suspending.
MM Unilaterally suspending. We didn't put the word 'temporary' into this formulation. We were clear that a suspension is not a cessation. The idea was to force this pace of negotiations and, secondly, to consolidate our high ground. So we were not putting it as a quid pro quo, if we do this you do that, if you do this we do that. We knew, we knew we were deviating from the Harare Declaration but we were deviating for a purpose. We were saying we want to take the initiative of driving these negotiations and we felt that if we did that at Pretoria the initiative would now, there's a space there to rest the initiative of the negotiating process into our hands. That's the context of suspension. We did debate a little bit that if we suspend it, how difficult it is to revive but we said we'll handle that problem, we'll find a way to handle that.
Now shortly thereafter, in fact five days thereafter I'm arrested. In fact in my briefcase they find not only the typed version of the resolution but they find the hand written version in my handwriting of that resolution.
POM Now you were waiting to be arrested, right?
POM You'd gone to Sauer Street.
MM I was leading an open life.
POM But you said I'll go to Sauer Street and let them arrest me in Sauer Street?
POM Well did you not think that when they arrested you they would take these documents?
MM No, what had happened now is that they didn't arrest me at Sauer Street, they arrested me at Valli Moosa's home and when they arrested me at Valli Moosa's home as I drove in, I was in fact living at Valli Moosa's place but people didn't know where I'm living and as I drove in from the street and parked they were there. They stopped and intercepted me and went in with me into Valli's home. Of course I had material there and that material, lo and behold, what pops up? This resolution. So the surprise element in my view has gone and I am detained on 25 July in the evening. That evening I keep demanding to see General Basie Smit, head of the Security Police. Basie Smit only arrives at seven, eight in the morning. I've been up all night under interrogation and when Basie Smit meets me I said to him, "You have found that resolution and you better be careful how you are handling this problem. I know that you are going to give this resolution to De Klerk but I want to caution you people that you would be trying to exploit cheap advantage to exploit knowledge of that resolution." Basie Smit pretends, "No, no, no, I don't I'm police, I'm investigating a crime."
And then I tried to signal, to send signals to the chaps, trying to find ways to smuggle a message out to say, hey chaps, this resolution is caught with me. As it turned out later on the messages never reached them, the hints, they could not read the hints that I was sending. One of the ways that I got to send a hint was that Valli Moosa's wife, Elsabe Wessels, forced her way to Sandton Police Station to deliver clothes to me, a track suit, because I was just arrested in my clothes, not allowed to take anything and so she came there with a track suit to deliver to me. I thought, hm, any opportunity, let me cryptically pass a message. They didn't allow her to see me so I tried to send a note in my clothes hidden. It didn't reach them. But I understand why they didn't understand what I'm trying to signal, because with my arrest De Klerk had changed the scene. De Klerk now demanded that Madiba drop Slovo from the delegation to Pretoria, which was to take place on 6 August.
POM This is also the Tongaat thing?
MM Yes. So De Klerk was demanding, and I could see the headlines as I'm driven in the police van, 'DE KLERK DEMANDS SLOVO BE DROPPED', Red Slovo. Now this was the problem that Madiba was sitting with and the ANC. They are heading for Pretoria, they've got a mandate, they are not aware fully that that mandate is known to the other side and they are grappling with this problem of De Klerk saying remove the communists from your delegation and that there is a group of people subverting the ANC's negotiations. That's the Vula people. Madiba fends all that off, insists that Slovo is going to be in the delegation, but I know that Madiba when Slovo said, "I wasn't at Tongaat" , Slovo actually produced his passport to Madiba and Madiba was now on secure ground. He didn't take the passport and show it to De Klerk, he just insisted he is going to have Slovo in the delegation and so August 6th takes place.
Into August 6th using the advantage that they had of knowledge of our position, when it came to drafting the Pretoria Minute the final communiqué read, "ANC is unilaterally suspending the armed struggle", and then they put a comma and they put, "And related matters." Nobody knew what this was doing but I believe that that 'and related matters', that phrase, was inserted by the government side and they tried to use that 'and related matters' phrase to say it was improper then to be continuing to import arms or to maintain an underground structure. We don't have to go into that detail but I'm giving you the details so that you understand it.
In the meantime when I'm in detention and on 26 August I meet Basie Smit, Basie Smit tells me, "You're going to see violence that hits this country that will make all previous violence look like a picnic." It worried the hell out of me. What are they up to? Couldn't read it. Madiba in the meantime is demanding to see me in detention. They hold off Madiba. They go through the Pretoria meeting on 6 August, they finish in the early hours of the morning and only allow Madiba to visit me on 7 August after the Pretoria meeting. Madiba comes to see me at Sandton Police Station.
POM Why do you think they did that? You would have told him?
MM I would have told him, yes.
POM That they had the information about the so he had to play his hand maybe slightly differently.
MM Or at least they did not want me and him to get into communication until after the Pretoria meeting and, indeed, on 7 August they allowed him to visit me in the early hours of the morning at Sandton Police Station. When Madiba walks in and I am brought to the office there's General Basie Smit and one or two other Security Branch officers, I don't know, I was under interrogation and suddenly they come and call me from that room, take me into a room and there's Madiba and there's General Basie Smit. So we greet each other, we embrace and we sit down and General Basie Smit gets up to walk out of the room. He says, "I'll leave you two together." Madiba says, "No, no, no, I want you to sit here." So Basie Smit sits and Madiba is preoccupied with a different question. He says, "How are they treating you?" I am preoccupied with another thing, what are the things that I have to tell him that are crucial and here's Basie Smit here. So I say, "Madiba", but remember the Pretoria meeting has taken place so I say, "Madiba, they found that NEC resolution on me." To him that's past because the Pretoria meeting has taken place. To him his mind is trained on how do I safeguard Mac and his comrades who are in detention? So he says, "I want to know from you, in the presence of Basie Smit, speak up, don't be afraid, tell me how they're treating you." So I say to him, "No, how they are treating me I can cope, I am more worried about you people." He says, "Neef, put that aside. I want to know, have they given you blankets, are they torturing you, have they assaulted you, are they giving you food?" So I think here they are, Basie Smit is here, I say, "The first night was rough, they did attempt to assault me, they have continued to threaten to assault me, they haven't, they are threatening me." Blankets, food, I went through that. So he turns round to General Basie Smit, he said, "General, those conditions are not acceptable. They're not acceptable, you'd better treat him properly." Proper blankets, food, have you got a bed? He knows about my neck problem. Get a bed, etc. "Have they access to doctor? Decent food and no torture, no assaults." Basie Smit says, "Yes, yes, yes." Madiba says, "For the rest, Neef, we're handling the problems, don't worry." When Madiba leaves I'm taken back to the interrogation room, the interrogators are present, Basie Smit sees Madiba off, comes into the room.
POM You were taken straight from where you were meeting Madiba to an interrogation room?
MM Yes, and where my usual interrogators are. And Basie Smit sees Madiba off and comes into the interrogation room and he says, "Forget about any idea that you are here on holiday or living in a hotel. It is clear to us that you have penetrated the security forces, you have agents in the security forces."
POM Why was he bringing this up?
MM Listen to this. He says, "Whatever happens there is no way that I am going to stop this interrogation or modify it until you give us the names of the agents in the security forces. That I insist must be delivered by you." And I say to him, "General, what you are saying to your interrogators is that you're giving them licence to torture me because I want to say to you from my side there is no way you're getting that from me." He says, "I will give you the name of a member of your executive who is serving for a foreign intelligence service, you give me the names of the agents in my ranks who are working for you." So I say to him, "Don't come with that foreign agent story to me. Whoever it is, non issue, there's no trade off here." So he says, "But I will give you the name." I said, "No, you free me. You release me and then we can talk because as a prisoner, as a detainee, no trade, but if you release me, no conditions, then we can meet and talk but not from detention." He walks out, he says, "I'm not releasing you. I want that information and we are not stopping till we get that information from you." And he went away.
Why I am telling you this story, Padraig, is that on the one side the ANC delegation is in the dark and it's under pressure on 'drop the Vula people and drop Slovo from the delegation' and it's trying to grapple with that problem. The regime in the meantime has anticipated unilateral suspension but wants to put in clauses that will tie our hands. The regime side in the meantime, Basie Smit is advising De Klerk, he says, "Quite apart from this extensive network that we're seeing coming out of the information from detention, bloody hell, they have penetrated our security forces and it's clear they have penetrated us fairly high. So we don't know who on our side as government security forces are reliable and who's not reliable." And he says, "But that information I'm going to get from this man."
POM He wouldn't have said that to De Klerk?
MM He would have, he would have said it to De Klerk. He would have minimised the problem but he would have said it's an extensive network and that's the context on which, something that I haven't done up to now, is to go and read the newspapers from end of July, start from 25 July, from my arrest, and go through August, September and co-relate that period date by date using the 6 August, the date of the Pretoria Minute, 7 August Madiba sees me and Basie Smit says, "You're going to see violence such as you've never seen before." I believe you will get a correlation that the train violence cropped up post 6 August.
POM It did. Yes.
MM But you will find the exact date. That was their counter. They had been preparing it but they didn't have the suitable political moment but with the scare of the red plot and Pretoria Minute, suspension of the armed struggle plus their phrase, 'and related matters', they said we've got to push these chaps against the wall.
POM How would the ANC have allowed that phrase just to slip by them?
MM Without knowing, well to me it's so clear. To me it's clear but remember the Pretoria Minute as far as I can recall the meeting went on till the early hours of the morning. It was prolonged because there was clearly a battle about the precise formulations and the ANC delegation would not know, obviously the regime would not have highlighted this 'and related matters', it would have been highlighting other conditions as red herrings, but the fact that the Pretoria Minute meeting went on till the early hours of the morning of 7th tells me there was quite a tussle between the two sides.
POM So in a sense at the time that meeting took place, when it took place the government had kind of discounted the decision of the ANC to suspend the armed struggle and they were moving on to a different terrain.
MM Different terrain.
POM They said, OK that's out of the way, how do we use it now?
MM And the hawks like the Basie Smit's were saying we're going to unleash this black on black violence at a proportion that has never been seen. We will not be associated with it, the ANC will be forced to turn its attention to that problem. And indeed we did because it is in that period that the ANC decided to use its underground structures in the context of the Peace Accord to create the self-defence units. So that period was an intense period of contestation with both sides, the ANC unaware of the extent to which the hawks were now trying to run this show, and on the other side the government looking at how to change the balance once more. That's the period where bilateral negotiations are taking place about what's the shape of the negotiating process. What form does it take? And the regime continues stalling on that allowing three pressures to build up on the ANC in the context that the ANC is busy now for the first time in 30 years setting up its overt structures. Pressure number one, political prisoners are still languishing in prison and they start doing hunger strikes and all sorts of things. Pressure number two, the exiles, the bulk, are still sitting outside the country and the indemnity process is being staggered. Remember the indemnity process only gets resolved after the Record of Understanding. And pressure number three is the black on black violence which is completely disrupting the process of setting up the ANC and has sharpened the conflict between the IFP and the ANC. That's what it looks like all over and both parties are reacting that way, that it's IFP and IFP says ANC/UDM/COSATU. Those three pressures are sitting on the ANC manipulated by the regime.
I wanted to give you this background because I thought that it was not a question of just sharply saying, yes just maintain, or a big debate on suspension versus cessation.
POM OK. You want to go back here, where do you go back to? 'There's a difference - 'OK. Up to here.
MM I think you have to look at a way of dealing with this problem that the ANC prepared to go to the Pretoria Minute talks in order to force the pace of negotiations which has languished and to consolidate its moral high ground and in this context it saw the mechanism of putting unilateral suspension as the key thing to force that pace. The regime in the meantime was looking at how to exploit what they had unearthed in the Vula arrests to try and split the ranks of the ANC. Secondly, how to put constraints on the ANC so that its focus would be drowned by other issues rather than the negotiating process and to that extent you have the black on black violence come out. And these were the conditions that the ANC had to steer through in order to bring about a formal negotiating process.
POM OK, let's go through what I can keep and then what I will add. "There is a difference between suspension of the armed struggle and a cease-fire."
MM Just go back to the previous page. Last paragraph. The second matter I want to address: "When we announced a temporary suspension we did so in order to make a gesture of good faith and give De Klerk some respite from the increasing howl of sell-out coming from his critics from the right." Not correct.In order to force, to make sure that the negotiation process was speeded up and formalised and to consolidate the moral high ground so that the initiative for the negotiations, we would have space to take the initiative to push negotiations.
POM This would give us space
MM Yes, to take the initiative. The second sentence, second last sentence also I think falls away, "I also knew that even within his own party there were many who were sceptical of our intentions and needed to be reassured." No, those were not the issues. "In making our very concrete gesture we were telling the government we were acting in good faith and giving De Klerk more political space." No, again out. "Our action was unilateral." Correct. "We did not call on the government to do something in return." No, we did but not as a quid pro quo. What we called on was now formalise the negotiation process and speed it up.
POM We asked but not formally, now you say
MM No, at the Pretoria Minute the issues then were, let's get out the issues, the minor obstacles. We have removed a major obstacle, the armed struggle, we've suspended it, now all the petty other issues, let's get them out of the way and let's get negotiations moving. That's what we would have said and we wouldn't have wanted to spell out more than that. If there was an opportunity of a meeting of minds we would have straightaway proceeded to outline that.
POM So if I began that by saying, "Our purpose was to lay the groundwork for a - "
MM - formal negotiating process.
POM "And for a consolidation."
MM Then the next sentence again is irrelevant and not correct. "If the government responded with actions that indicated to us that it was not serious about negotiations then we were in a position to return to the armed struggle although we would have done so with great regret." Not true, not correct. Remember, Padraig, what was happening now politically, we were going to force the pace at the overt mass struggle. We were ready to mobilise the masses to force that pace and I am confident of this statement that I've just made because when Madiba visits me in September in detention, this time it's in St Aidan's Hospital, Durban, end of September, he says to me, "Mac, I am sick and tired of the games that the regime is playing. I've just come back from abroad. I had left on my trip abroad on the basis that Walter Sisulu was attending to your matter", and Walter had been promised by Adriaan Vlok that I would either be released or charged by the 17 September, that he had been promised. Comes the 17 December nothing happens. Walter still tries to reach Adriaan Vlok, getting no results. "But you undertook, you said by 17 September he would be released or charged, what have you done?" Madiba then returns, he says, "Vlok is reneging on his word. I think that the time has arrived that we should mobilise a mass campaign of mass action to demand your release and to get you released." I said to him, "It's not the issue you're confronted with. I can handle whatever I'm facing." He says, "Well they are saying that there are very serious charges against you." I said, "Like what? Like murder?" "Well, yes." I said, "Don't worry about that, don't waste your time, don't have any sleepless night about that problem. I can manage the detention and there's no way that they're going to put me on the back foot on that, put me on the defensive. So don't worry about what happens to me, I can sit out my detention, I can face the trial charges. The real issue is the negotiations." He says, "Well, but this is how I'm thinking, I'm getting disappointed with their failing to keep to their undertakings and I think that we need to mount a mass campaign."
So that's why I'm saying I'm confident that in his mind if the regime did not respond positively to our unilateral suspension, in his mind what was going to happen was that he would seek ways for the ANC to mount a mass campaign at the mass level to push that pace, that the armed component, that re-focusing that we were talking about was re-focusing on a defensive strategy, a maintenance of the underground but a way to integrate it at the community level around the self-defence units. That was what was emerging in his mind. I am reading into it because I was sitting all that period in detention but that's how I read it. There was no attitude in his mind that said if they don't respond I go back to the armed struggle. No, that was not the issue. The terrain was changing and the correct response would not have been just to return to the armed struggle and to armed action. The correct response had to be found in the context of that train and hostel violence that was spreading.
Now we're on the torture part. I think, Padraig, you are grappling I didn't know, let me put it this way, I didn't know how this impacted on you. I'm quite taken up
POM It stunned me.
MM I am quite shocked by that.
POM Shocked because it's powerful. Everyone who has read Sue when she came to it kind of stopped, just stopped and didn't come back to the stuff until the following day. It's so riveting and the barbarity, it was getting you at the most vulnerable point a human being could be got at. It creates images in the mind, the way you tell it one can see it right in front of you happening. I've had three of four people just review it and they just are silent at the end of reading it.
MM Well you were at the book launch at The Fort and you were leaving that evening?
POM I was leaving, I had to go back for the Moakley thing.
MM Were you there at the time when Kathy spoke?
MM You missed a thing, it's only coming now, because I'm looking at a framework for you. I think there's a sense in what you've drafted, there is this sense of being overwhelmed by my story and I don't want to dissuade you from that part but I want to try and locate it a little bit so that what Madiba says doesn't go over the top, because I think it's a problem that society has to grapple with.
Kathy at the book launch, there was a lot of repartee going on, I had great fun as MC. Kathy was not billed as a speaker and Kathy was to feature, because I didn't want too many speeches, and I'd told Kathy that I would invite him to present the gifts, the autographed edition of the book, to people who played a part in the writing of the book, So using that occasion we gave a copy to Madiba and a copy to Walter and a copy to Kathy. When I called Kathy, because we have this relationship of ribbing each other, and I called Kathy to make the presentation. He went up to the microphone and he says, "Now it's my time to take revenge on Mac", because I had been making jokes about him and all the others. He says, "I'm going to speak." So he took the microphone and he spoke, saying all sorts of nice things about me, but I didn't know what to do when he was speaking because I never realised how powerfully the story of my detention and torture that I told them in prison, the little bit that I told them, had stuck in his mind, and the way he told the story the audience didn't understand it, they laughed because he told the story, he says, "This chap under torture and refusal to talk, people don't know, he tried to commit suicide." And then he described, the most graphic image for him was how I took the eggshells and tried to cut my wrist, from boiled eggs. You know when he was telling that story, because he had preceded it in a jocular tone, when he came to this part, parts of the audience laughed. They thought it was a joke. But I was so, is it embarrassed? I don't know what. No, not embarrassed. I know that there was a danger that if the story had caught, if it had not been seen as a joke, as he was telling it I knew what's coming and I had to walk away from the stage and stand down because I was afraid that I might break, I might show an emotional reaction. So I actually went down the stage, that little platform on the side, and lit a cigarette at that public function to try and contain my emotions. I was rescued from that emotional state that was building up in me as Kathy was telling the story by the audience laughing because it just shifted the pressure. That told me, when I reflected on it, I said, "Jesus!"
POM You buried something.
MM And that in the meantime it is sitting so high in Kathy's mind. So I had the same thing come up here when I read this this morning and I feel that you are dealing with the inhumanity and the brutality. You've got to get a handle on yourself in preparing this thing for Madiba. There's the one side which is the brutality but remember we were coming into prison, 1964/65, many of us tortured and some of the comrades in the single cells for years showed disturbance from this episode. I remember a chap called Vuyisele Tole from Port Elizabeth, Vuyisele was in our section and you know the grille, the inside of the cell, there's the grille door, steel and then there's the wooden door and that grille door is sort of a bit loosish in its lock, it's not a firm door, unshakeable like that one. At night Vuyisele used to in his sleep get up and you would hear the grille door rattling because he would be trying to climb and escape from his cell, reliving his tortures. Next day when we talked to him, it happened so many times, we would talk at work and you could see that this chap was unaware, it was in his sleep that he was reliving the torture and trying to escape.
So I am saying that this knowledge that by 1965 I had come to prison and others were coming in to our section, the knowledge of the torture that's going on in general and Madiba could see the manifestations in people. So it's not as if it's just the book that shocked him but at that time the stories would have impacted differently on him, from now reading it in the book. At that time all these stories would have been shocking but the bigger problem was, Jesus, this struggle has become rough! And for people like Madiba two things are sitting in their mind, how to hold the comrades together in prison and not having the expertise of psychoanalysis and all that, our response would have been keep the comrades together focused on the struggle and the future, keep this confidence that we're going to win, keep that cohesion going.
POM I mentioned that earlier. We knew that we were going to win, we never thought
MM Yes, how to withstand this manifestation would have been not the way we now understand it, talk, let the person come out with it, work through. First of all there wasn't that luxury because you would have had to turn to the prison authorities and you did not have the expertise. So that would be the overwhelming impulse, what is the way forward, keep the comrades as a collective, keep them focused on our ideals and keep them focused on the certainty of victory. With me there Madiba would have had a problem. Maybe he didn't come to push me, maybe he did that with others, maybe he spent time with the others with whom the manifestation of a breakdown passed or continually was sharper. I know that when Mike Dingake came, Mike Dingake had been brought to prison then taken away again from prison and re-tortured. This was round about 1967, and when he was brought back he was in a state because he came to me to tell me that, hey, this round of torture he could not withstand it. And so he wanted to pour out, I am sure Madiba spent time with him and allowed him to pour it out, but again with that same mindset, had to help a comrade get a grip on himself but in the context of the politics of the struggle.
With me, you may be right, that he found no serious manifestation and a sort of closure from my side. So I just wanted to say that on that paragraph. Now I said you're dealing with the brutality, then you're dealing with this second issue. In the face of such brutality and of torture as an instrument what makes people commit this evil? You deal with that and in that framework you are also dealing with a thing that you've missed out, that it would have taught him that torture is never a way to get the truth.
POM You would have thought Swanepoel
MM No, Swanepoel would not have Madiba would have realised it's a lesson for the future, that torture is never a way to get to the truth, that people will manufacture anything as a defensive mechanism to minimise or escape torture. So some would break down but you wouldn't know what is the truth in that context, whereas you've engaged in it to try and get to the truth.
POM Got you. OK, so I add on to that. My feeling is, number one, of what I know of you and I think this would be true, if he had brought it up you would have jumped and said it's nothing, it didn't matter. So he would say Mac's OK, probably went through the torture and lots of other people did but here he's reading for the first time blow by blow and I don't believe, Mac, that anyone - that is the most powerful part of what you have to say.
MM So, what you need to do with this section, you need to make it tighter and you need to deal with the three aspects that are coming, the brutality, torture as an instrument and the question of that relationship between Swanepoel and myself. There are three distinct issues you are dealing with and you have to find a way to deal with them in the most tight way so that even the reader of this foreword is compelled to say, I need to read that story.
POM OK, let's just go through it.
MM So I think that that paragraph there
POM Which one? We're talking about which?
MM Page 8, you're starting at paragraph, from the bottom, one, two three.
POM "And heard Mac's account of what he underwent which was the I put down the book and walked out to the veranda. I could not bear the pain that was throbbing through me. I just couldn't believe what I had read. Indeed - "
MM I think you need to come a different way there. That one, "I put down the book and walked to the veranda, which is my home in Houghton", I think you've got to go differently.
POM Cut that?
MM I think you've got to go a different way.'It forced me, who had heard so many stories in prison and seen the effects of torture, who had heard so many stories from the comrades, so it was not new, it forced me to re-look at this thing and to come to terms once more with what comrades had had to go through in this struggle at the hands of their torturers. He brought me once more face to face with that reality and to realise how easily we can forget it because time has allowed things to fade away.' That's the sort of idea.
POM And as that goes back into memory and the importance of you were talking about memories two weeks ago, we must never forget, must keep the memories. Memories are the historical part of the basis on which
MM And in holding those memories the issue is not whether this one broke down, this one survived and that one died. The issue is what is in it in the human spirit that enables us as nations to go through these processes and come out healed as a nation. Well maybe 'healed' is wrong.
POM OK, I'll play with that. But people recognise the need for healing.
MM How do we internalise? And therefore that leaves you to this internalisation, to the question of that torture, torture must never, never be allowed.
POM He can use what he read about you to revisit one, it shocked him and, two, he had to revisit, and then he has a message out of it too.
MM And the message from him is: I am Mandela, the leader who became the President, but the price paid by my comrades is part of what I should never forget when I look at who I am today. The world looks at me as an icon. Do they recognise what price in individual human terms was paid in the torture chambers to make me into the icon, to contribute into making me the icon that I am? That's the powerful message from him. That's the power of that message.
POM OK. He raises with you and he says, pretty severely, could you tell me all the torture ?When I occasionally pursued it, when I occasionally say, "Hey, I hear guys saying you're the most", you would just say, "I don't need to be, let's get on with our work."
MM And he says the manner of his response cannot hide the fact that so many lives were wasted at the hands of the torturers. And you can throw in some deaths. Wasted.
POM That's good.
MM And that all of us who hold positions today in society and on the world stage can never forget that we are what we are because of so many who went through those torture chambers. Then his admiration for me is a different issue, it's a balanced one now. So I think that that's the powerful Madiba that you've got to keep because it's in keeping with his humility.
POM This can be a very powerful passage.
MM And you see it's got a capacity for those punch lines: I know that for as long as I live, whatever I am and whatever the esteem showered on me, I will never forget but I hope that our nation will never forget because unless our nation internalises it as its memory they could easily go back and make the same mistakes. You see that?
MM Now it's the memory and puts it in a different place, why you must go for that memory.
POM So I'll leave the next paragraph in there, it's OK. But now, "I had heard his words and I wondered, do I know Mac at all?"
MM Just a detail question. You've used the word 'hammer' for Swanepoel, I take it it's about the penis, it was a baton. This thing about the respect between Swanepoel and myself, I have spoken about it but I would like to do a check with Michael Dingake's book.
POM He's got a book?
MM Yes, he's written a book published by the International Defence & Aid Fund (IDAF). When he came out of prison in the early eighties he was sponsored by them and he wrote a book, I think it was called Apartheid's Jails. I'll check it.
POM Where would one get that? Do you have a copy?
MM I've got a copy, but this is also for me because at the moment it's my side and I'm trying to remember which of the prisoners came and said this to me and in particular which of the prisoners said it to me that can be referred to because if Mike has said that in his book then it no longer becomes a story from me and it changes the
That's about it, Padraig.
POM Now I was going to add on, I have to do, as I said, (i) I'm going to do because I think it is important again, because it brings out this when we talked about the losses involved for people who were involved in the struggle. I know Mandela sits on that question, what it did to his family, and so that's one bit, it's a sharing, a reminder to people of all of us who were involved in the struggle and jailed and tortured or whatever, even though now we appear to be normal and may occupy high positions, in some way we are crippled. We will never get over that.
MM Again, you see, this question of wasted lives. It's not only those who died or were broken in detention and not only the brutal people who administered the torture, but it also comes back to the question, because Madiba would like to speak that. On those wasted lives he would say such wonderful people died and he wouldn't want to refer to anybody who has remained broken. He would say, we lost wonderful persons like this one and that one, Saloojee, Timol, Steve Biko, we lost them that way, lost to the country. But then when he talks about the other wasted part, that as long as you look at the individual price that your family has paid you will never find the answer whether it was worthwhile.
POM I have my notes, I can't read them.
MM You know what I think? If you have to live with that thing, in that sense you are crippled as a family, as an individual, as members of your family and as long as you focus on that and then ask the question, was it worthwhile, you will never find the answer. The only way to make sense of that is to cling to the recognition, did you serve your people and your country? Hopefully, not just the individual who went to prison and was tortured but also members of the family, the children, the spouses, will find a way to assuage that pain by taking pride that they were part of the process of bringing this country to where it is. That I think is the way he answers the question, for example, and I actually believe that there is a core there that is correct because if you're drowning yourself you can reach the answer, not worth it. But I don't think there is anything in Madiba that says not worth it. He says, "Oh, unavoidable, it's happened, I have to do something", and you can see the way he treats his grandchildren and everybody, but his answer to that question I can't answer it for myself, I can only answer was it good for the country and that's the only way you can manage to live with that aspect of the past. It becomes, in a sense, your crutch in which you can carry on walking.
POM Just in that regard, in terms of what you said, if I was him I would be so angry with Thabo that I would feel like raking him out publicly for the manner in which he has deal with AIDS, as he sees child after child after child that unnecessarily is born, as he goes to one hospital after another and says, "My God! My God! What has happened?"
MM Well it's very interesting, it's interesting that at the moment I'm reading this book, this edited collection on Thabo Mbeki's World, edited by Sean Jacobs and Richard Calland, and the part that I've come across that suddenly you've reminded me, somewhere round the year 2000/2001 (after he's left government), the quote an interview of Madiba where the interviewer asked him, "If you were to raise three key issues as the three priority challenges facing the country." It's interesting his answer. His answer says, number one, he didn't call it that but it's poverty, number two it's jobs, and number three he calls it 'building a caring society', and very, very gently he brings in the health issue. I'm not sure at the moment whether he mentions HIV/AIDS but he puts the health issue as an example or a test of whether you're building a caring society. So when you say he would be furious with the President, I think this thing has simmered in him but he's keeping a tight control on himself to say, what is the framework? And he's put that in the framework, are we building a caring society? Indirectly saying, the way you are handling AIDS, you are displaying a lack of sense of building a caring society. This is 2000.
POM Now I asked him on my interview last year, I asked him about AIDS, and he got almost visibly upset because I put it in a way that said, "You missed it on your run", and his response was that it "was one of the issues on the top of my agenda." And I know it wasn't because I can go through speeches.
MM No, it was.
POM It was?
MM Yes. Let me take you back. In 1990 when we came into the country AIDS was not talked about. Our health desk headed by Nkosasana Zuma was going around the country in 1992 mobilising for the anti-AIDS campaign. It had already begun to feature as a prominent issue in our health desk. When Nkosasana becomes Minister of Health under Mandela we actually set up a special cabinet sub-committee headed by Thabo Mbeki of ministers to tackle AIDS. This was 1997, under the Deputy President Mandela set up a cabinet sub-committee made up of ministers. I served on it, Nkosasana served on it, Thabo Mbeki was the chair, the welfare minister was on it. There were about ten ministers on that committee. So Madiba had raised it and said we want a systematic programme and the first year of that programme we put in R93 million. I am the one minister who went out and said, "I don't want a portion of that R93 million, I have gone to the Road Freight Association, the employers, to the unions, I've created a joint committee and the Bargaining Council of the employers and unions have put in money and we have started a peer group programme of truckers to conduct anti-AIDS work along the truck transmission routes."
POM You were going to get me - that's on the list of things you were going to get.
MM Yes, I've forgotten about it. And that was driven by Madiba, that was driven by Madiba.
POM OK. So that and Bop.
MM What do you want on Bop?
POM I'll write it first and then I'll bring it back to you. It seems to me, what I would say, that you were onto Bop, what was happening from the beginning. You were reading through the lines of what was happening. You immediately brought it to the attention of Cyril and Madiba and you were the man of action in that who insisted on going back with
MM With Pik Botha and Fanie and the head of the army, Meiring.
POM You were at the scene and you said, "I'm sticking with these guys until I see that it is exactly carried out according to the instructions that came through the TEC", and in that way had Bop gone the other way this country could have been in one hell of a mess because it would have changed Viljoen's mind, had Buthelezi scratching his head looking for an opportunity
MM COSAG had already been formed of the Bantustans, the white right, the AVF, the Afrikaner Volksfront. All right, I'll write it up slightly differently from the Madiba point of view.
POM Do you want to write that up or do you want me to have a shot at it?
MM Have a shot at it, that will give me a framework to say how would Madiba approach it.
POM OK. That and, yes, then he has to say a nice thing about the book and about me. When he does it and he says it's a bit long, your answer to that is, but is there anything in this that you don't like? Because if you don't like it we'll take it out but if you like it, it doesn't matter how long it is because, again, in your foreword you are making a contribution to history again in terms of clarity and this and that, because in his own biography in the later bit he kind of smacks over it and he runs on and, God knows, when he does his own book he starts with his presidency. It's a natural starting point. He says, well I'll go back to negotiations.
Let me work on this and I'll come back to you. When I see next week I'll work my day and I will e-mail it on to you. Where do I get you here? So I will send it to you over the weekend. You can look at it, I don't know whether you look at this stuff over the weekend or whatever, but if you're working on it and I'm working on it and we have this out of our by next week, that's my time for it, you could go to him and say, this is it, you read it, you see is it yourself? And then he knows the business. Going back to my publisher and saying Madiba has agreed and this is it and sending it to them, will send them starry-eyed. Then they start thinking about the book differently. Then they'll say, Wow! If you go to the New York Times, the publishing industry in the US is completely different than here. First of all there's the market, it's a nationwide publisher, it's not doing nationwide, it's doing its imprint all over the world at the same time. So they've got distributors and salesmen, meetings, but beyond that they design a marketing strategy and then they've got to get that to work. Part of that strategy is that they go to places where the important reviewers are. The most important reviewer is New York Times Book Review. They have thousands of books, they pick twelve books.
MM No, I think it's going well.
POM Then they have to sell why their book should receive not just a review but-
MM A prominence.
POM You want the front page or do you want the second page? You want a full page. That's business.
MM That's not a problem.