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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
29 May 2004: Maharaj, Mac
POM This again on Vula "Getting up and Going", page 19, insert 1. You were talking about –
MM Buthelezi had in the Bantustan a Minister of Labour called Dladla. He was a very dynamic person, in fact seen as almost second to Buthelezi. Good as he was, by the time I came out of prison shortly thereafter there was a strike in the sugar industries in the South Coast of Natal. Yes, his first name was Barney. Barney Dladla in his capacity as Minister of Labour in KwaZulu intervened in that strike and he went and saw the employers. Of course he spoke to some of the employers and he came out of that meeting with an improved wage offer to the workers and he settled the strike. It appeared on the face of it to be a very good thing. I was now working in the Internal and from the ground, from the workers side, I heard the problem. They say he did this without consulting them and one of the comrades sent me an amazing communication which showed how politically clued he was. He said, "Look the problem with this is he had gone and settled the strike, (a) he has not consulted us but (b) he has left us with no recognition by the sugar cane mills so that we can address our problems on an ongoing basis into the future. What he has done is that we have to keep going to him whenever problems arise and he will tackle matters as he wishes, whereas what we needed from him, if he had met us, was to say Mrs Adler, go to the employers, insist that there must be a mechanism where the employers and we, the unions, talk. Now if he did that then it would show that he is supporting the liberation movement."
As it happened now this became a problem that we now needed to address because we couldn't say, "Don't worry, Barney is good." But from what I was picking up, this is a very good man, it was saying it's a person that we can talk to but before we could engage in that he died in a car accident and that was the end of Minister of Labour in KwaZulu at the time.
POM A very good example.
MM Now they know what's good for the people.
POM Without that contact.
MM Yes. I have to check on that. This was the problem of parliamentary democracy, same thing. There they are sitting MPs, provincial councils, local government, unless there is a mechanism where they are in dynamic contact with their constituencies, reporting back, accounting for what they are doing beyond the once in five years accounting through the election process, it's so easy for them to believe that they know what's good for the people. The next thing is that we talk like royalty, Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV, that's how they'll be talking.
POM On page 31.
MM This is after Madiba was released in February 1990.
POM I'll come back to that at the end. Just read the end, the last paragraph I had here. Away you go.
MM It wouldn't during the first round of arrests. The first round of arrests is before I am arrested.
POM After the first round.
MM After my arrest.
POM No it's not after your arrest, because he went when you went to see him on the 18th. You went to see him on the 18th.
MM I went to see him on the 18th.
Shortly after Madiba was released in February 1990 and during the period when emissaries were travelling from abroad to SA to meet the SA government officials to arrange issues such as amnesty, commencement of bilateral talks, etc., one of the senior intelligence officers of the ANC informed me that a member of the SA Military Intelligence section had made contact with him and informed him that there were plans afoot to eliminate Madiba. When asked to substantiate this information the MI man said that he was part of the group assigned to carry out that task and that they already had been assigned the weapon to be used. It was a weapon with an optical sight. Because he did not intend to carry this out he was prepared to entrust the weapon to the ANC intelligence officer. When this matter was brought to my attention by the ANC comrade it was done in the context that do I have facilities to store that weapon inside SA, to store it safely, and I said we could easily store it but what is more I suggested that it may be of some use to us even while it was under our storage and care. That's how I would put it, OK?
POM Now the two guys in the Security Branch set up, one was Taylor?
MM Taylor and I think it was a Botha. I'm trying to get Mo and I can't get him to bloody answer his phone.
POM OK we'll get back to it.
MM I would avoid it. There's a publication by the party, it's coming out regularly, I can get it rapidly. Do we want it on stencil form for reproduction? Do we want it ready printed? I'll print it. How many copies do you want? Let's distribute. Then we will later talk about how can we write on the ground.