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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

06 Jun 2005: Maharaj, Mac

POM     Let's start with the first reference that I came across in the Vula coms and the response, in fact in Ivan Pillay's notes, in November 1988 you brought to the attention of OR and Slovo that there were suspicions about Bulelani. Your direct involvement in that would have been on 20 April 1990 when the matter was raised in a discussion with Madiba and Nzo. This was when you were discussing Madiba's appearance and there seemed to be a guy in the background at rallies he was attending and that was discussed and then Bulelani's name came up. Why would Bulelani in the latter discussion come up? Do you have any recollection of that?

MM     I haven't got anything in front of me but my recollection goes as follows and it's more an understanding of the context than a recollection of what was said. You're talking about April, let's first of all talk about November 1988. It would have been in the context of my reaching out to organisations at the mass level and therefore a concern probably in the context of … or it might be UDF that I'm discussing people with them which would include the possibility of discussing Peter Mokaba. Now when we come to Madiba again the context would have been the person in the background who was close, so far as it could be seen on the TV, I think it would have been because the latter was brought to my attention probably by Siphiwe Nyanda or one of the comrades in the structures who had been watching the TV programme, the new support and so on dispersing, but I have a feeling that it might have been brought to my attention by Siphiwe Nyanda, so I would be drawing Madiba's attention to that in the context of his security. In that context it is possible that we would have had a very brief discussion about possible agents in the mass organisations which Madiba had been interacting with.

     So that context, Peter Mokaba, Maxwell Xulu. Xulu I think has been used more at that stage as an example of a person who was now no longer at national level and against whom I think you will recall that Lusaka took some steps in informing people in the trade unions and although I think the matter was held clumsily but they did get by without revealing the source of their information. That's the Xulu matter. The Mokaba matter that we discussed there was because Mokaba was very visible in the public arena, so that would be the context.

     Can I recall anything about it? I don't recall that the matter detained us at all. It did not lead us to have an extensive discussion on the matter. It would have beenI'm just merely keeping him informed, he would be wanting to keep informed and for the rest I would have assured him that I am sending it through the structures. And here too now we would be looking at another context, we would be looking at the leadership coming home, structures becoming locally based and therefore valid interactions.

POM     But in all your discussions about Bulelani, all the way through, you're relying completely on the information that was provided by Mo's unit?

MM     Mo's unit and I would be relying on Lusaka. My purpose in reporting to Lusaka was to say this is what we hear here, this is one of the obstacles that we have to go across in our work and we are taking those steps to carry on with our work. Lusaka now if it has anything to say different to that would say it or if it has anything to add that the danger was bigger than we saw would say so.

POM     Because in the beginning, in March/April 1989 when Jacob Zuma had been trying to find out whether or not you're in the country and was creating some problems for you, he met with OR and they straightened the whole matter out. Zuma mentioned that he didn't like information from Bible going to other people before it got to him. You seemed to know more about – he felt that I get the information first and then maybe it's shared with somebody else, not that it's shared with somebody else first and then I get it. But Bulelani was then mentioned specifically as being an agent with a certain number.

     As far as you were concerned Mo's investigation into Bulelani had received confirmation from Lusaka. In other words Mo's procedure was to send that information to Lusaka and then for Lusaka to verify it or to say they had conducted further investigations and had found nothing to support his conclusion.I mean you took his finding as having the blessing of National Intelligence in Lusaka.

MM     Let's put it in a context. Now you've brought to my memory some of the things. The protest of JZ to OR arose over Francis Meli, as far as I can recall, because the information about identifying Francis Meli led to JS in the party taking steps to ensure that without saying anything to Francis Meli steps were taken to avoid his having to attend the Party Congress in Havana as an immediate protective step irrespective of whether the identification of Francis Meli was fully confirmed or not. That decision related to the party congress and obviously JZ was involved in that decision and JZ would have found himself in a little bit of an embarrassment that an identification of a person at that level had reached JS without it reaching JZ first. So he would have been furious about that and for some very good reason, that is the counter - part of the resolving how to handle Maxwell Xulu.

     By the time OR and them had received our information and had received JZ's information OR informed me that there was thought that when the COSATU delegation went to Lusaka for a meeting that Maxwell should be detained. I recall objecting to that as a useful step. I said it would complicate matters because Maxwell was an elected national office bearer of his union and any step by Lusaka to detain him in that visible way as a delegation of COSATU goes there for discussions and suddenly one of them does not return would raise legitimate questions in the union and in COSATU as to what happened to this man. And if it was known that the ANC had detained him, why did they detain him? And you could not escape a public demand from a union which was legally existing and whose office bearer, the National Treasurer, was a properly elected officer.

     Now that advice was heeded by OR. On the other hand I had proposed that Lusaka's inability to take any counter-intelligence steps to obviate a dangerous situation at home and I was prepared to contemplate Zuma engaging in an effort to assassinate him. OR came back insisting that I should not get involved in any such step. He said Vula was too important a project to be allowed at this stage of its work to get involved in such a step. They would find their own ways to solve the problem. He appreciated the urgency. So that is the type of discussion that would go on if he felt that the person's placement in the mass democratic struggle was such that it constituted a major obstacle for us which we could not get round in our own way.

     Now Peter Mokaba was a much – like Maxwell, a high profile, much more high profile in the media terrain and the name had been passed backwards and forwards between Lusaka. Fortunately, he did not present that type of major obstacle to Vula. He was operating at the national level in the youth forum. There were enough people inside SA in the UDF who entertained suspicions about Mokaba and therefore his primary knowledge was in the youth movement leadership and he was therefore not somebody that we would want to get anywhere near in the course of our recruitment and strengthening of our underground. Above all his name, terrain of activity and base was the Northern Transvaal and what today is Gauteng. We had not yet spread to Gauteng in that strong way as we had done in Natal. So while the matter was shared with Lusaka and Lusaka shared with us, we were not pressing Lusaka to say do something because we cannot find ways to work by just getting round him. So that was different.

     In the case of our friend BN, I do not recall it becoming a major problem because as far as I was concerned at that stage, now that's 1988, it was in the context of trying to reach NADEL. It may have also been in the context of trying to reach the Western Cape. Remember, the Western Cape would have become a province of our activity much later than that. We're talking about November 1988, I think the Western Cape comes into our province of activities round about May/June 1989. When we did begin to get involved in Western Cape the first thing was to discuss with Charles Nqakula and company and the second was to now find out from Lusaka who were the party comrades in the Western Cape so that one could quietly make contact with the party structure to get some footing in the area. Remember I reacted very badly when I returned to the country at one stage and found Gebuza had sent a number of comrades and he was on his way to the Western Cape.

POM     That's when you came after being made legal.

MM     Yes. But I reacted badly because he would not know how to get in touch with the party people, and I'm talking about stalwarts, who would then guide me and give me a footing in the area so that my activities at MK at ANC level are informed by people with a longer history in the ANC, in the unions and in the party.

POM     You may have been asked this at Hefer but I put it in two contexts, I asked you this before: so that all these suspicions going around about Francis Meli, he's sidelined from going to Havana and then he turns up sitting on NEC meetings, no action is ever taken against him from attending. You come back to the country and you attend the first meeting in the country on I think it was 16 June 1990, that's where you were appointed as the Organising Committee along with four other Vula people, Steve Tshwete at the head of it, but attending that meeting is Francis Meli. Does this not surprise you?

MM     It didn't worry me because what we were discussing there was open strategy, tactics and implementation of having a legal ANC. There would not have been a reference there to any of our clandestine work.

POM     But did it not worry you in the sense that this is an NEC meeting that's discussing difficulties in setting up in some places and problems in other places and how you do this and how you do that and here's the guy who's sitting there who may be reporting the contents of this right back to the government?

MM     Let's take an example of the most – the ready example that comes to mind of a sensitive piece of information, that information was the decision of the NEC on 22 July that at the meeting of the 6 August we would go there to that Pretoria meeting and offer a unilateral suspension of the armed struggle. That was the level of the sensitivity. We were going to do so as a surprise move and in order to hold the moral high ground. Let us assume that that information is passed by an agent to the enemy.

POM     Say Francis Meli was at that meeting, as he would have been as a member of the NEC.

MM     I would have expected that Nhlanhla and Zuma would then go outside of the meeting to Madiba, possibly to warn him, to say, "Listen chaps, we've taken this decision, we know there is at least one agent here, we know that this information would be passed over. We have to work on that assumption." Now if it reaches the enemy we would expect the enemy to turn that information to its advantage. They would sit down and say, well Madiba would say OK, let's suppose the enemy gets to hear about it before we get there, how serious would be the harm to us? And Zuma and them from the counter-intelligence point of view will have to put an answer to that, and they might say it is serious, etc., if you say yes, but serious in what way? What would they do to us that would be harmful to us and beneficial to them? And again Zuma and them would put all sorts of small arguments and we would say, but chaps, our information will in no way arrest the negotiating process and may rob us of some of the tactical advantage but in the meantime compel the enemy to realise how serious we are to force them to start formal negotiations. So it's harmful, is it so harmful that we now have to take steps? And we would say, why have you left him operating there? And their answer would be that we ensure that he does not have sensitive information to pass.

POM     But he just did have, about the ceasefire.

MM     Yes, but we are assuming that he will tell them.

POM     I can establish – I can't, that's one of the meetings we want the minutes of.

MM     Let's assume he was there and I'm coming to the question that Madiba says, you who know this, why are you leaving him to continue functioning in the NEC? And they would say, we did the following, we ensured that a very good excuse was found for him to be deployed in some activity internationally during the time when the party congress was taking place so that he could not be present at that meeting. We ensured that he is not at this July meeting, or maybe we didn't know that such a serious matter would be discussed but he was there, but if we knew that there was a serious matter we would have done X, Y, Z steps. And right now we are contemplating in the legalised situation that you should deploy him, instead of deploying him on X, Y, Z, tasks such as Sechaba's publication should now return and be home based for a while. And he would say, OK, OK, remember, we know that we could never operate in a situation where nobody at the national level could be 100% guaranteed to be not working with the regime.

     So that sort of discussion may take place just as it took place with JZ and myself over Cyril. I challenged him and I said, "What now?" I told him how sensitive the information was that the man had in his working with me and how none of it has been reaching the enemy and therefore we agreed that the next time he would do a … based on information and supporting information for discussion with me. Not that we were saying I'm right, or he was saying, I'm definitely right, that's the decision now. We were saying the matter is open between him and me to take it up further.

     So you ask, Francis Meli? I don't know what was the decision of counter-intelligence. In the old days when OR was fit and alive it would have been taken to OR and the counter-intelligence strategy would have been worked out with him and not brought to any meeting. I would expect the same practice would continue with Madiba. When I brought information to Madiba on the table it was to ensure that he was aware of some of the people around him that could constitute a danger, but it was not saying to him, don't relate to them, don't speak to them, don't allow them to be in any structure. That decision could only be taken together with counter-intelligence.

POM     Just kind of rolling this over to Bulelani, when he's appointed, and this came up in various ways at Hefer, but when he was appointed head of the National Prosecuting Authority, did you not say, hey, Jesus Christ! We had this guy tagged as an agent.

MM     The truth of the matter is that in 1998 when his name came up I didn't even recall that security rating issue. Secondly, I would have expected Madiba to have cleared him with the NIA because the same comrades were in charge. I would expect a procedure of clearing people not to be a mechanical one to be reported to cabinet, but to be brought to the President. I would have expected the President to say to Nhlanhla that it is now clear that it was not done. I mean Nhlanhla was Deputy Minister of Intelligence attached to the Ministry of Justice.

     So I would expect that processing to happen. I wouldn't expect any name to come up to cabinet with anything that says in proposing this name, say in paragraph 10 under the heading 'Security Clearance Obtained', the procedure had not been set – nobody, nobody was appointed in that first cabinet on the basis that cabinet was informed that a security clearance has been given. That practice was not there in the government of national unity, as I remember. I think I myself in my mind assumed some such practice is being worked out in the background. So when Penuell Maduna stood up in parliament and said that Mac was present at the meeting when Bulelani was appointed, blah, blah, blah, and that Mac said nothing, it meant nothing.

     As I say, I did not even remember that Bulelani featured in that way. You will recall in 1989 I spent a major part, the latter part of 1989 abroad. It is at that time that Bulelani seems to have become appointed to the Western Cape region of the UDF. I wasn't aware of it. And when later on in the negotiating phase Bulelani and company had run into different areas, the link between this is Bulelani and this is the person who featured as an enemy agent did not strike me. It was outside of my focus of attention because I was assuming at all times that the specialists in that field are taking care of it, and if I recognised the person that he's still here I might have gone to anybody in Intelligence, say so-and-so higher up, I would say so-and-so, what is happening there? And they would say OK, it's been attended to and I would say fine, to myself, they are attending to it. Because our answer was not kick the person out, arrest the person and try the person. We could do that in exile but even in exile we acted, we attempted to act with sensitivity. You know the Stewart Commission was held and we had decided that we could not have an arbitrary way of dealing with such people.

     So that's the context, was it appropriate for an organisation such as the ANC to leave matters to be attended to in that way? That's an open question because the danger with a certain way of handling these matters and a way which is well documented is that if you took action that was the sort of action that you would only grant to a state organisation with certain laws and procedures, we could have been arrested and sentenced for dealing with people without being a state and we would be asked whether we had proper legal procedures in terms of human rights charters. It remains an issue. Many people are of the view that our procedures in exile did not conform and therefore opened us to charges of gross violations of human rights. Fortunately, it hasn't gone to the extent where people have said, 'therefore we oppose', but it is one of the reasons why Thabo Mbeki, for example, was not prepared to fully accept the report of the TRC. He refused it on the grounds that there was a narrow equivalent established between apartheid and the anti-apartheid struggle.

     So that's the context, Padraig. I was just saying, rounding up on Maduna, he could not find, I am sure if I had time to argue with him, that ever did we in cabinet say so-and-so was lacking the security clearance. De Klerk and Buthelezi would have been entitled to say, "So what? That is all past now." Georg Meiring is Chief of the Defence Force. What's the problem? Do you have any doubts that he was working for the enemy? He was the enemy, so what's your problem? And we would be on a back foot in such a discussion in cabinet to say, "By the way, this post of National Director of Public Prosecution is an extremely strategic and sensitive post. It must be occupied by a genuine ANC aligned person, an anti-apartheid person." And Buthelezi would say, "I'm more anti-apartheid than you people were." So you couldn't discuss that issue that way.

POM     OK. We move to Schabir Shaik, the Scorpions go to his home, his offices, seize all his documents and whatever and then you appear in the Sunday Times. Do you have the date actually of that? It doesn't appear, believe it or not, in the Hefer Report or in your Aide Memoire. The date of the Sunday Times article that –

MM     On me?February 2003. You want the exact date?

POM     2003, yes of course. 16 February 2003. Now before the Sunday Times published that story did they contact you?

MM     They contacted me on, to give you the exact date, on Friday afternoon, that will be 14 February, on Friday afternoon while I was at a meeting out of town. Where was I? Let me just think. In my submission to the first enquiry I said that:-

     "The Sunday Times reporter contacted me allegedly to obtain my consent because during the course of my interaction with them I got the impression that they were contacting me simply to cover themselves. Initially the focus of the Sunday Times investigation seemed to be that I was the subject of a state investigation because of bribery and a conflict of interest. It later seemed to change to a breach of the parliamentary code. I was confronted with various allegations and given very little time, in fact only hours, to respond. In the light of this and because these were serious allegations that implicated not only the government, my wife and me, I adopted a policy of saying very little at the time so that I could have enough time to consult with my wife and check our records. I also wanted to avoid a situation where my wife and I and the government under the leadership of Mandela was tried in the media on such serious allegations. I still believe that this was a prudent approach."

     That refreshes me that the details are given, I would have it somewhere else. I know I was contacted on the Friday by a journalist who said that there were allegations of corrupt awarding of contracts and I said I was out of town, I would be back by a certain time at my house, could they ensure that the questions would be given to me so that I could study them before they contacted me again. I gave them a time by which I should be back at my home. I think that I was back after three or four, the questions had been delivered. I looked at them and now they clearly indicated that they were looking at corruption in regard to the roads contract and the drivers' licence and Schabir Shaik and payments to my wife, but not enough detail. I phoned, had chats with them, told them that it was unacceptable that they would be talking just in that way, keeping me in the dark, they need to put the facts on the table. They shifted it to whether I had reported it in terms of the parliamentary code. I insisted that there should be a proper detailing. I then spoke to the deputy editor, I forget his name at the moment, and he said he would come back to me. A little later they did, I gave them my e-mail, and by about six o'clock that evening they e-mailed a set of questions giving some information that they had been instructed to do so and asking me to respond to questions immediately based on all that information. Given the length of the communication I responded to say that I deny any corruption in the award of those contracts and as for the rest of the information not possible to go into it in that way.

POM     Just to clarify one thing, because I have it here, I've written it down, Nkobi Holdings, did that have a 5% share in the company that was awarded the contract to build the Maputo Corridor?

MM     No. The matter is that that was the first time I became aware of Schabir being in a consortium making a tender and that was when they had lost it together with Rand Merchant Bank and there was a protest from that grouping that they had not won that tender. That was before, I think, the setting up of the Roads Agency. I called a meeting on a Saturday together with my counterpart from Mozambique. On a Saturday morning in Johannesburg where the entire consortium were present, invited, we heard their complaints. We then went into a meeting, the minister, myself, my DG and the minister's DG, asked them to give us explanations about all the criticisms that were raised at the meeting and amongst the people who raised it were two spokesmen, Schabir Shaik and Colin Coleman. Colin Coleman with a strong UDF, Five Freedoms Forum record, and Schabir Shaik. We then asked our DGs what explanation in the light of the criticisms raised, they gave us their explanations. We told them to leave the room, the minister and I discussed the matter.

POM     The minister?

MM     The Minister of Transport from Mozambique.

POM     OK, yes.

MM     He had called his DG and I had called my DG. I said, "Now gentlemen, you've heard all the criticisms, what are the facts, what's the explanation of the criticisms?" They explained to us there and then and then we said, "Leave the room." Myself and my counterpart were then alone to discuss what do we do. We said, "We believe that the criticisms do not stand the test. Explanations by our officials satisfied us." We said we would tell them that we could not entertain their criticisms to block the process from moving forward and we agreed to offer them that after the contract has been negotiated with the preferred tenderer and was now in implementation stage, we would open our doors to them coming to meet us and we will give them an explanation on each of the criticisms that they had raised, why we believed that their criticism was not valid. So Schabir Shaik and his grouping, including Rand Merchant Bank, did not win the Maputo tender.

POM     OK.

MM     I don't know whether you noticed that in the Squires judgment, very early on he said that in the case of Schabir's interaction while Zuma was in KZN, Minister of Tourism and Economic Development, Schabir's company only won one contract and lost every other contract that it bid for.

POM     You bring it to the bank, you offer to go on six month leave of absence while they conduct an investigation. Those two investigations or audits were carried out.

MM     There were two.

POM     Two audits. Yes, one was carried out by?

MM     Hofmeyer and something and their report was treated by First Rand as clearing me but not sufficiently robust and they decided to draw in Deloittes who were supposed to do an audit of that. Instead Deloittes took over the investigation and did a further one of their own.

POM     OK. Now in this six month period you and Zarina were both questioned by the Scorpions?

MM     Yes, in June 2003.

POM     Now is it during this period that Bulelani, through intermediaries, suggested a mediation of sorts?

MM     I'm trying to think of the dates. It would have been after we have given our statements in June. It would have been in July/August. No, it would have been towards the conclusion of the First Rand enquiry in August. Early August.

POM     Can you go through the circumstances of the two moves that were made? I think one was Ivor Powell and Dirk Hartford meeting with Yunus and then the other was –

MM     Dipak Patel phoning me.

POM     Dipak Patel and then there was a meeting of Bulelani with Ayob. Could you kind of cover the circumstances of those three?

MM     That would have been August. It would have been in August, in fact one of the issues that arose was that First Rand, I said, "My position has become untenable", because the issue now with First Rand was also, OK, OK, we hear this report and there are one or two questions that are not properly answered, etc., or to their satisfaction, but what about the larger question? Are you going to be charged for corruption? And one of the things that Bulelani said to Ayob was that if I agree to play ball he would immediately pick up the phone and reassure First Rand that there would be no charge.

POM     Can we go through just the sequence?Yunus says that Ivor Powell made the approach to him.

MM     Yes. Yunus is at a café, he is approached by Hartford who is in the company of Ivor Powell, they get into a discussion and that discussion is around a possible mediation. Powell proposes Ismail Ayob as the intermediary, Yunus rejects that on the grounds that what it needs is somebody who has got political status, savvy, and some clout and therefore what about Cyril Ramaphosa? That's the basis on which Yunus comes to see me and I see Cyril on that basis, but Ivor Powell comes back to Yunus and says Cyril is acceptable to his principal.

POM     Meanwhile does Bulelani meet with Ayob before or after the Cyril thing?

MM     Let's put it this way: I don't know what day of the week but let's take an example. OK? Tuesday evening at the café Yunus, Ivor Powell and this other chap meet in the café, the proposal there is mediation. Initially Ivor proposes Ismail Ayob, Yunus instantly says, "No, what about Cyril Ramaphosa?" Later in the evening Yunus gets a message: Cyril Ramaphosa is acceptable. Next day, Wednesday, at my work, and that's left that evening, at my work I receive a phone call, eventually at about lunch time, I'm in meetings, at lunch time I look at those messages, it's Dipak, I call Dipak, he's in meetings, a little later he calls me and we establish contact on the phone by Wednesday round about two p.m. He advises the possibility of mediation, get Ismail Ayob to go to this man. I then come, leave work, I go to Ismail Ayob, speak to him and ask him to go and see Bulelani. Ayob agrees that he will do that. I leave him. Wednesday evening at my home Yunus Shaik arrives, briefs me of what happened Tuesday evening and asks me whether I could speak to Cyril, make contact with Cyril and speak to him about being a mediator.

     That's my first time that Yunus appears to discuss this matter with me. I then tell him about what happened on my side and we compare notes about the similarities, the only difference is that I send Ismail on a probing mission. However, we contact Cyril, we call him, we brief him and he says he will think about it but he's amenable and he goes away. The next day, Thursday, I am at First Rand.

POM     How could you be at First Rand? Are you not on leave of absence?

MM     Yes I'm on leave of absence but my fucking report has been put there and now I've got to settle what happens, they're discussing my leaving.

POM     OK, got you.

MM     It's at that meeting during one of the breaks that Ismail Ayob arrives at about ten. eleven a.m. and I actually meet him in Ferreira's office because my lawyers are in discussions with First Rand about my leaving them, terms, conditions, etc. Ayob briefs me about his discussion with Bulelani because he had met him at the Sheraton Hotel, gives me his briefing and I listen to him and I say, "Thank you very much." He says, "What must I say to Bulelani?" I say, "Just tell him you told me and I haven't said anything yet."

POM     Now what was his briefing?

MM     I told you I've got to look for the notes. You want me to run through it now by memory or rather give you the notes?

POM     It's better to give me the notes.

MM     The summary you know it, it was Schabir to plead guilty to a set of charges and there would be a plea bargain; Zuma to co-operate in answering the 35 questions, giving it to Kessie Naidu and they would settle if agreed and there would be no charges to follow; he has nothing against me but Zarina must plead guilty to contraventions of the Company Act and there would be a resolution by plea bargain.

POM     You mentioned before they told Ayob that he had no charges against you if you could play ball. 'Play ball' being what?

MM     He didn't use the words 'play ball'. All I am saying is this is what he was saying: number one, get Schabir to agree to plead guilty and there would be a plea bargain on the punishment.

POM     You were to convince Schabir?

MM     I am saying to him, "Why are you putting this to me?" Because I need to influence that process they wanted. He wanted me to play a role in persuading Schabir, in persuading Zuma, in persuading my wife. And I said, "Why, when you've got nothing to charge me with?"

     That's why this word 'play ball' arises. Nobody has said, "I want Mac to pressure them." He would have simply said, "I want a solution to the entire problem, not just to Mac's problem, and the solution therefore is three components: component one around Schabir Shaik, component two around Jacob Zuma, component three around Mac and Zarina. So he says, "This is the form."

POM     You had run through the three components.

MM     Right, so I'm saying he would have said these three components are a package and obviously I'm conveying it to you, Ismail, to take to Mac because I want Mac to play a role in ensuring that the whole package comes about. And yet the message is saying I've got nothing to charge Mac with. So I say that's blackmailing me if he's saying the only way to sort matters about my wife on a Company Act problem or a tax problem is that I must get her to plead guilty. Secondly, I don't even know what charges I must persuade Schabir to plead guilty to. How do I do that? He's actually asking me, blackmailing me when he's got no charges, to do things that are in his interest. So I said to Ayob, "I have no response, I have noted the message." Of course I didn't tell Ayob that in the meantime the Cyril development is taking place and I wanted to hear what comes from the Cyril side.

     So, you ask when did Ayob go to see them? After it transpires the evening before an approach had been made to Yunus and after the next day an approach had been made by Dipak to me, I went to Ayob and Ayob went the following day.

POM     OK. This has to be speculation, but what was Bulelani after? If he was prepared to allow, let's say you'd said, fine, and let's say you had gone to Schabir and said, listen, they want a plea bargain, they want you to plead guilty and they will plea bargain a sentence or whatever, or a fine or whatever, and he said, OK, tell me the amount, that doesn't look so bad, and you said to Zuma, if you answer these questions there's going to be no prosecution or anything and that will be end of the matter as far as I can see, and if he says Zarina, this is only a technical thing, you walk in and pay ten or fifteen thousand for not filing taxes for a company, and you walk out and everything is done, so Zuma is out of trouble, Schabir is out of trouble, Zarina is out of trouble and for you, you get your clearance and go back to your job.

MM     Yes, but what has he done to me? What he's done to me in my retirement, he's brought me back into the arena to continue to play a political role. I'm now at his beck and call. He can call me any time, and remember I'm of the view that it is his machinery that has leaked the matter. Now I'm saying if you're investigating me why leak because you have the power to prosecute. It's clear to me now by that message that you have nothing to prosecute me but you throw it into the public arena so that I am tainted and crushed, my reputation is destroyed. Now nothing further happens, what renews my reputation? Nothing. What help is it that there's a statement made in public that the Scorpions and I have resolved my matter and that there are no charges? The damage is done, the newspapers would be saying, "But what about all these allegations?" That's one part of it.

     The second part of it, remember by this time Tony Yengeni has been sentenced and one of Tony Yengeni's claims is that he arrived at an agreement with Bulelani that he would plead guilty, he would plea bargain, there will be a sentence that would not be more than a fine. When he appears in court he's got a four year prison sentence.

POM     Just to back up a little. You know this thing later on, which we'll get to when Mo decides that Bulelani is smearing Zuma and goes public with the spy thing, before that what did you think Bulelani was after?

MM     Now that became my problem. My problem became that once I was satisfied that the leak was from the Scorpions the problem was where in the Scorpions? And when I saw the affidavits of Vusi Mona and the other chap, Phalane about the confidential briefing that they were given at the hotel, I think there were six to eight black editors and Bulelani was accompanied by at least two of his top officials, Leonard McCarthy and his deputy. Once I became aware of that I faced a big problem: what is he up to? Until then I thought their rubbishing me, it's part of the old story that for some reason or other, even though I'm in retirement, I'm perceived to be some form of threat. But once I saw that Bulelani himself was doing it and that he had proposed this mediation in a manner in which he wanted to use me because he thought I could influence Zuma and Schabir, I then began to feel that there is a larger game at play involving not just me but involving Zuma.

     It is in that context that I began to ask what was his motivation and in trying to understand his motivation when I was reminded by Mo of the security reports around him, secondly I had information about some of the people from the old order who are occupying various important positions in the Scorpions, I then began to feel that the answer to him would lie in an agenda that coincides with his position in the past with others who today have positions in the political arena. So I went back to those reports to try and understand the unscrupulousness of his behaviour. What was his agenda? I can't say. I think it is still about who succeeds Thabo Mbeki; it is about the direction that this country takes; it is about whether it was going to be GEAR undiluted or it was going to be a market economy but a regulated economy; and I think it is about who can make the most from black economic empowerment. So it's economic power, political power and therefore also direction the country will take.

POM     But if Schabir pleaded guilty to the charges, which were unspecified at that time, an arrangement could have been made that would allow Zuma to be off the hook?

MM     In a way that Zuma would have become a compliant person.

POM     You mean that Zuma would be indebted to Bulelani?

MM     Yes. It would be said, and Bulelani would have taken some heat to make a public announcement that he has found nothing against Zuma and he would be explaining all that. Zuma would have signed off some paper or other. But a relationship would have been established of some level of indebtedness and some level of fear. I think the key to understanding this fear is what happened, how nobody would give me an affidavit even though that mediation effort had come from his side. They were all afraid that if they played ball and gave an affidavit the heat of the Scorpions would be turned on them, not because they were necessarily guilty of anything, but it is standing up to that environment where something is leaked through the media and the media carry a story. The dangerous thing about it is it's not just imposed by the Scorpions, to some extent it is self-imposed as well. That's the peculiarity of this form of intimidation and censorship.

POM     OK. Now two things happen. Which comes first, this is where you more or less have irrefutable proof that leaks were coming from the Scorpions when Jovial Rantau phones you and says that Zarina is going to be arrested or whatever for tax evasion, company law, and he rings back and Joey gets her tape recorder and records him saying it comes from the Scorpions. Is this before or after the bank? So you have now said to Ismail nothing, "Just tell him I've heard what he said." Meanwhile the Cyril effort breaks down – they should have met and they didn't and then it was rescheduled and then the story broke in the newspapers and Cyril backed away from it, or they both backed away from it. This is all before the release of the bank report. So there had been nothing more from – communication between – oh, I think Zarina said that Bulelani rang you once.

MM     There were quite a few times, there were calls going between him and me. The first time when things happened, the Sunday Times, I called him and obviously he didn't take his phone, his driver or somebody took a message and he called me back. At that stage he told me that there was nothing, I was clean but he could not issue a report until he issued it in the context of the whole arms deal, and when I kept saying, "But I am suffering at the moment", "Ja, but Comrade Mac, I can't do anything, I have to issue the report as a full report. If I issue for each one, for you, then each one as they are cleared will want their clearances and that would make my whole larger arms report very difficult." So that sort of communication did go on between us. In fact at Hefer I gave a list of the dates of some of the calls as listed on my cell phone and the duration of those calls to indicate that the discussion was not just small, idle chat about how's the weather.

POM     Is that in your papers?

MM     I submitted the exhibits to Hefer, the cell phone records.

POM     Do you still have those or are they with your famous attorney?

MM     I'll have to look for it. She did deliver whatever she had. I'm going to look for it. I hope I've got a copy of my own but the exhibits are a bit of a problem but we will have to look for it.

POM     And then the bank report. What date was that?

MM     I don't know the date, I think the bank report would have been about 14, 15 August.

POM     The 14th. Let's say that. We will have to check these dates and make sure we get them right. I flew up for that and attended your press conference, if you recall.

MM     It would be the same day.

POM     At that point you said if Bulelani had something against you he should charge you.

MM     Yes.

POM     So that passes. Now we're into a different cycle, the story on the spy –

MM     The mediation story breaks after the bank report, doesn't it?

POM     I don't know. I don't have the chronology of these things. Maybe they're in my files and I haven't found them.

MM     I can't remember now at the moment. It couldn't have been that the mediation story would have come out in the public because at my press conference nothing about mediation arose. So the mediation story would have been after the press conference.

POM     That's right. The mediation story only involved Cyril?

MM     Yes.

POM     But the meetings with Ayob had taken place beforehand. All of this had taken place beforehand but it was reported after.

MM     The same day as we approached Cyril.

POM     Then you have the spy story in the City Press on 7 September.

MM     Yes. No, before 10 September I have my meeting with Thabo Mbeki.

POM     When do you go to Thabo?

MM     23 October.

POM     No, no, no, 23 October? No, August.

MM     Yes, Saturday, it's a Saturday.

POM     On 23 August.

MM     And it's the day that Bulelani and Maduna have the press conference on Jacob Zuma.

POM     OK. So you ring to make an appointment with the President, do you have to say what purpose it's for?

MM     I think I rang him on the Friday and said to him I'd like to come and see him, I have something to discuss with him. He didn't ask what it was about but he did suggest that I could see him on the Saturday at his home in Pretoria at two o'clock. So I went and saw him at two o'clock on Saturday and we met until five to three.

POM     What did you go through with him?

MM     I went through the reports that so far have been unearthed with regards to Mo andabout RS452, the analysis. I went through that with him.

POM     Did you give him the file? Did he ask for a copy of the file?

MM     I handed him the reports. He looked at them. He then asked me, "What should we do?" I was not saying that he should accept what was there in those reports. I don't even know whether there are older reports of what has been recovered so far, but I do recall the incident and my view was that he should not act on my word. I suggested to him that as the president of the country he should rather quietly appoint a group of top analysts who would look at all the information available, both what I could give and anything else in the state files, that this panel should examine everything, evaluate it and give him a considered report. On the basis of such a report he would be able, having done all this thing quietly, to come to a considered view as to how and what he should do.

POM     Did he ask you any questions?

MM     Yes. Besides asking me what should we do, he asked me whether I had suggestions about who should be the analysts. I said to him, "I don't know who are the people. You must have people in NIA, in the various Intelligence services. You have this opportunity to call in quietly some experts from even outside the state. You also have still going, unfortunately Nhlanhla is ill, but you have Mo Shaik around too, you should make them all part of the team because you want a processed well-evaluated report." So that was the burden of the discussion and he said, "Well, good", he'd think about it. I also told him about what I was hearing was going to happen that very day, namely that there would be a press conference called by the minister and Bulelani in which they would take a Pontius Pilate approach on Jacob Zuma, namely that there is a prima facie case, they do not have a winnable case.

POM     Where were you getting this information from?

MM     This was from private briefings that the Scorpions were busy giving to the media on a one-to-one basis preparatory to the press conference. I told him that this was going to be happening that day, the rumours were that the conference was supposed to take place at eleven, it didn't, it took place later. He said, "Is that so?" I said, "Yes, that's my information."

POM     Did it not appear kind of strange to you that you already knew what this press conference was going to be about and yet he appeared kind of - ?

MM     That appeared very strange to me. No, no, it wasn't strange. He told me that he knew, he said, "Is that so?" And he then said to me, we parted on the basis that if there was anything new I would tell him, that we should keep an open mind. When I got into the car, that's why I remember it was five to three, because I drove out of his place and you come into Church Street and I put the radio on and the three o'clock news came through on 702 and it was now carrying that press conference and I immediately phoned the President's home, the home switchboard answered and I asked to speak to the President and the person said the President was in a meeting, was not available, so I gave my name and number and left a message that he should call me at his convenience. He called me at four o'clock. I told him that the press conference had taken place, that what I had said to him had actually been the content of that press conference, and again he said, "Oh, is that so? Thanks for telling me, I'm going to make sure that I immediately get a transcript." And we left it at that.

     Now of course in my mind I was clear that he has been briefed before the press conference was held, that he was aware that the press conference was taking place. I don't know to what extent he would have been briefed, of the detailed positions that would be taken, but certainly he was aware, yet he did not say to me, "Look I know about that", he did not use the opportunity to say to me, as he did on his website subsequently, that he was aware of the claims against Bulelani, that the matter had been looked at by the organisation and that Bulelani had been cleared. He had the opportunity to tell me that and he had no reason to believe that I would not have respected his view. So that did leave me with a funny feeling but I thought I had completed the loop of discharging my obligation. That is when I now felt free to identify myself in the public arena with the existence of that investigation in 1988/89.

POM     But that happened a mere two weeks after you informed the President.

MM     Sure.

POM     Might he not have in that time been considering what you were saying and getting ready to put a team of people together?

MM     The fact that he didn't tell me, the fact that he didn't tell me about the press briefing, he didn't want to say, "I knew that he was aware", and that press briefing was a disastrous press briefing because it was the first briefing that by all accounts created a huge problem in the country. They were saying prima facie there is evidence but it's not a winnable case and therefore there's no prosecution, case closed. Nothing then after that comes about me. Let me also tell you that in the meantime I think I was already involved and interviewed by ETV but on the basis that they could not go public until I told them it's OK. I only allowed the matter to go public after I got no response. I did go public that I'd met the President on 23rd, I did so at Hefer when the counsel for Bulelani specifically put questions that told me if I denied, or if I did not say that I had met the President, he would reveal it and collar me and say, "You are lying to the commission." That is when in a very aggressive way I said I had met the President of the Republic of South Africa. I said that two or three times to warn that counsel that if you take me down the road of what happened in that closed room on the grounds that my credibility would be at stake, it would be you, counsel, forcing my hand to divulge to the public what really happened there. It would not be me voluntarily putting that on the table. So if one has the opportunity to ever look at those tapes you will see the aggression with which I said it. I recall using the words, "The President of the Republic of South Africa", on at least three occasions. So that was the background.

     When you asked me was that enough time? I don't know what would be enough time.

POM     But you didn't feel when the story was going to be published in the City Press, you didn't feel any obligation to ring him and say, "This story is going public and I'm going to confirm it"?

MM     No I didn't feel that. In fact, you're reminding me, I had got a little bit of feedback that he had mentioned my meeting to the National Executive or the National Working Committee. I never took it up with him but the sort of version that I got was that he gave it to them in a summary form but indicated at the end of his report that I was in breach of good faith because I was supposed to come back to him. That was the impression that he left with the members of the NEC. I didn't even go and try and find out and corroborate because to me cross-checking that would have meant now I'm in a fight with the President of the ANC and the President of the country and I knew I had to avoid that. So I didn't follow it up, but all these things coloured my view and said I can expect no sympathy for the views that I was putting. I had said to him, "I have not come here about my personal problem, let that unfold itself in its proper way. I have come here because I don't understand the conduct there, the abuse that is going on." And I had done my job, told him that there was abuse and that was it. I had done the same with the Secretary General of the ANC, I had gone to him and had at least two meetings with him.

POM     After or before?

MM     Well before all this, well before.

POM     When you say well before?

MM     July/August. After the news came out of that private confidential editor's meeting that he had held and after I had mailed Jovial. After that I briefed the Secretary General of the ANC, Kgalema, raised the matter with him. My mistake if I look back is that I kept saying to them, "I'm not coming here to raise my personal issues, I'm coming here to raise, through my personal issue, all the indicators of what looks like a serious abuse of power going on and it is the abuse of that power that I'm raising with you guys."

POM     You say that was your mistake?

MM     That was my mistake. I think if I had said to them, "I'm raising my personal matter. I am a veteran, I am retired, I don't have any huge bank accounts. Guys, what do you want to do? Do you want me to be destitute and my children to be destitute?" I think I would have got more sympathy.

POM     Did you show Kgalema the file too?

MM     At the time when I saw Kgalema the file had not been found. But, again, I was perceived to go too much in public and not because it looks like then I'm in a fight with the organisation. Kgalema then met Bulelani one evening.

POM     You had just said that you had several meetings with Kgalema.

MM     As I say, again it's a matter that we didn't want to go too public. I had at least two meetings with him. He had a meeting with Bulelani and he, the next day, met me and gave me an account and his own comments on the matter.

POM     What did Bulelani relay to him?

MM     Well they didn't go into the details of my matter. He went to discuss the whole conduct, etc., and he came back – remember he has already gone public before that criticising the style of work of the Scorpions. It was in the newspapers. He called their style 'cowboy tactics'.

POM     When you saw him this was all before the announcement about Zuma?

MM     Yes.

POM     Did you tell him about the allegations of spying that had been made against him?

MM     I told him that it was a matter that had been investigated, as far as I could recall I think in my second or third meeting. Essentially I was briefing him about the abuse, my concern from my experience and that I thought that some harm was being done to the country in this way. I did not know what the agenda was and he expressed concern about the way they were conducting themselves. He had himself gone public about their cowboy style and I was saying that leaking it to the newspapers was by the Scorpions and it was intended to destroy my reputation in a way where I could never answer to the charges. In trial by the media you have to prove your innocence. The characteristic of the media trial is the person accused has to prove innocence, not the person making the accusation because the accusations are anonymous. I thought that this was particularly concerning.

POM     But he didn't say to you he raised the matter with Bulelani, what Bulelani's response was?

MM     No, I didn't go to him to go and raise my matter. I went to him to brief him about the problems and my perception of the problems arising for the country. I didn't go to him to say, "Kgalema, I'm facing this trouble, please help me out and go and mediate for me." No.

POM     Now you said that was happening during July and August.

MM     Yes.

POM     So all these things were happening in July and August.

MM     Yes, and the Kgalema meetings were definitely before I saw President Mbeki.

POM     The President, OK. And then on 7 September City Press runs the story by Ranjeni Munusamy.

MM     All I say in the City Press is I confirm that the investigation had been carried out.

POM     Then you appeared in a radio show.

MM     On radio and TV.

POM     So was the radio show the following day, on 8 September?

MM     It's possible, I can't remember.

POM     How did she come to you? She must have come to you some time before that since this story had already been with – so when did she first approach you?

MM     She must have approached me some time in August, but definitely before I saw President Mbeki. It would have been – the catalyst for me was the story of the press briefing and Rantau's phone call to me. Those were the two critical events and in search for an answer what explains this conduct: the reminder that he has been investigated and trying to avoid the system? There came a possible explanation for his conduct. So that became the crucial issue because until then if it was just a mistake, if it was over-enthusiasm, etc., if it is the type of correction …but if he was previously an agent for the apartheid system then the correction has to be different, we have to acknowledge that we've probably made a mistake in his appointment and we have to ask – can we correct it? We have to ask – who are the key people in the Scorpions? Has he put many, many people of the old guard? It's a question I still ask myself even over the Schabir trial. I look at the team there, it's all people who were trained under the old system.

POM     Like who were trained in that?

MM     Billy Downer, the woman who interviewed me, Anna Maria van der Poel, the man from Deloittes who handled the First Rand enquiry, Flip Stander, they were all trained by Klaus van Lieres, Attorney General of the Witwatersrand, the man who resigned on health grounds and went on to defend Magnus Malan.

POM     OK. So she could have published that story before you saw the President?

MM     No, when I gave the story I said, "Guys, you are not to use it. When you are ready to use it you've got to get final word from me." In her case, no, no, no, you are right. In her case I saw her after the President, in fact a week before she published. A week before she published is when she saw me.

POM     That will be about 1 September.

MM     Yes.

POM     So at that time she was peddling it to the Sunday Times, she was working for the Sunday Times wasn't she?

MM     One of the problems she was facing was this is an anonymous story, it's a serious story, it needs names to verify it and I, post 23 August, post the July confidential briefing and post Jovial, was now prepared to go public, and post finding the reports because now there was some documentary evidence to refresh my memory. The only thing that I hadn't found at that stage was the Vula communications.

POM     Now Mo was working with his own agenda.

MM     Working where?

POM     Well I think he said later, at the Hefer Commission he said that one of the reasons that he went public with the story, he would have been the main source of the story, right?

MM     Yes.

POM     Was that he felt –

MM     Yes, he felt about Jacob Zuma.

POM     About Jacob Zuma.

MM     As I say to you, the first time I became involved and became aware and was reminded was when Yunus Shaik came to my house and said he had been approached on mediation and could I contact Cyril and speak to him to see whether he would agree to go and meet Bulelani. That is when I sat down and I exchanged views and asked, "Chaps, is there substance to what you say? What is this about?" I'm having problems, I've had this approach for mediation, I've had this problem in the newspapers, and that's when I'm briefed about the progress made. Yes, that's the first time Yunus comes into the picture. There would have been an earlier discussion with Mo. Yes, there would have been an earlier discussion with Mo, Mo was going to go to Canada to get married. Padraig, I had not kept contact as you probably found as you go and interview people. Once a part of my work has been over I don't maintain contact with comrades.

POM     They have to die first, Mac, and then you remake the contact.

MM     Yes. That's what happens with me. I don't know where it comes from, I rationalise it on the basis that the relationship develops so close that I almost subconsciously feel that the only way they can fly with their own wings is if I keep a distance away from them and only years later would I re-establish some contact. I even avoid social contact and this happened with Mo, PG, Dipak after he left the department, you name it, Siphiwe Nyanda, Solly Shoke, Janet Love, all of them it's the same story. Is it a loner in me? I don't know. What I know is that in the years in exile when I would shift from one task to another I would actually say to some of the comrades, Sue Rabkin on, I would say, "Comrades, I am now going on to do something else. You guys have got to do this work and you've got to take responsibility for it and do it yourself." And I would never then start following what they're doing, never start commenting, start wanting to control them from the background.

     So Mo when he returned from Algeria and I have contact, when the first stories about Zuma are going on we still don't discuss. When the press stories hit about me I still didn't go to him. I went straight to First Rand and said, "Enquiry chaps, it's the only way out." And then it is when those press briefings took place that I made contact, that Mo and I contacted each other and the question of Bulelani's past came up. That was July, July/August.

POM     Just to refresh me, the substance of the press briefings was Bulelani saying he was going to, was it use you to get at Zuma? Use you and Zarina?

MM     He said the way to break Mac is to tackle his wife. He said that he knows me, he despised my wife, he described her as a comedienne, but he said, "I know one thing about Mac - "

POM     He describes her as what?

MM     Despised. He said, "I know one thing about Mac, if I can get to his wife I will crack him." Now you know that's a remarkable statement for me. If you have looked and you now know my background, you would know that that statement would be so much in keeping with our previous interrogators, the sort of conclusion that, hey, this chap if you want to crack him get to his children, get to his wife, but if you just tackle him straight on a political terrain, on his own conscience, you're going to get nowhere. The best report of that is a combination of Vusi Mona's affidavit and David Gleeson's article in Business Day.

POM     Do you have copies of that? Do you have copies of both?

MM     I never kept Gleeson's articles but the affidavits I would have filed with – the Mona affidavit I certainly filed with Hefer.

POM     When did David Gleeson write his article?

MM     Before Hefer. When the story began to leak out about this confidential briefing and that only black editors were called, Peter Bruce took up the line that he would allow David Gleeson to publish what happened at the briefing because of the exclusion of other editors. At that time he had no problems about confidentiality of sources.

POM     So Gleeson attended the meeting?

MM     No.

POM     He was excluded.

MM     He got it from somewhere and he used it in his columns. You should get it on the Internet.

POM     Yes. And who was the third guy?

MM     He is the editor of the Sunday World, I think his surname is Phalane, he is the guy who recently set up the meeting between Bulelani and Vusi Mona to make peace between them. He wrote that report.

POM     The report on what?

MM     This peace meeting between Bulelani Ngcuka and Vusi Mona a few weeks ago.

POM     Where did you read the report, in the Sunday World?

MM     The report appeared in I think either City Press or Sunday World. Sunday World.

     Three or four weeks ago. The poster headline was that Bulelani and Mona made peace.

POM     So who approached him for the affidavit?

MM     For which affidavit?

POM     For the affidavit –

MM     Oh Vusi Mona himself at some stage seemed to have decided he was disturbed about the content of the briefing and he wrote a report and gave it to the President of the Constitutional Court, the Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission, and through that route it got leaked into the public arena. It surfaced in hints in David Gleeson's column and finally David Gleeson began to publish huge chunks of what was in that affidavit and we got hold of a copy.

POM     Who went then to the second editor? What's his name?

MM     It seems that Vusi Mona in filing the papers with the Constitutional Court and the Chief Justice, after writing his affidavit, went to this chap Phalane who was present with him at the briefing and asked him and he wrote a very short, one paragraph, affidavit, verifying that the contents of Mona's affidavit were true and correct.

POM     Would that be on file some place?

MM     Yes, with the Public Protector and the Chief Justice.

POM     Maybe we should divide this into two bits, I am going to Durban tomorrow for the Africa Aids Conference and I'll be back on Thursday night so we can maybe pick it up from there.

MM     Just on the other thing on the Vula records?

POM     I'm going to go back on that. It would seem to me that General Steyn is still saying he's looking for the disks and it's my opinion he could be looking for ever. I said I would come to – tonight I'm going to, at some point between now and tomorrow morning, probably tomorrow morning sometime, send off the last of – I've reconstructed about everything and I'm going to send it off to Penguin and, of course, this will have to go in afterwards but I will tell them what I want to get from them is – they are now editing. I got that back from them because when I e-mailed her last week and said the stuff had gone missing, she said she was already into detailed editing. So I want to get an idea of –

MM     It seems, having decided to stop the book at 1991, then there's too much that happened between 1991 and now that makes this thing have a different sense, because now it raises, not in a sensational way, it begins to raise questions about which way the country is going, what are its options, what is the quality of leadership that's emerging, and what's behind all this Zuma thing, etc.? And these become important questions, but purely as a footnote to something that stops at 1991 they do not lay – because of the weakness of books like Gumede's book, there is no good book that takes you through, not even Sparks. Sparks is pure racy journalism.

     And yet there is need for material pretty fast, pretty fast, and it's not about – it's material, Padraig, about even looking a little closely at the performance of the Mandela government. Were there certain seeds left to fall on the ground in that period, seeds that would germinate into weeds? You can't deal with that in a sweeping conclusive chapter because you are dealing tentatively with were there such seeds and which ones are they, by looking at the little plants, shoots that are coming up and asking when did this seed fall on the ground, from whose hands did it fall onto the ground or was it just brought by the wind? So that's a different type, that's another book. And I say it's another book because there is nothing else that one can cite besides this study of Mbeki done by Jacobs & Callaghan, this number of essays. But even those essays are quite weak from the point of view of scholarship. They raise very important questions but in my opinion scholarship was lacking.

     So I remain a little ambivalent. I think that some of the things need to be said as pointers in the concluding chapter but some of the questions when they are said as pointers they raise larger questions of the negotiating field, what was negotiated, what relations, and about the performance of government over the last ten years, two terms.

POM     That is very definitely a separate book, Mac.

MM     Yours is one of the serious attempts, the level of foot noting, the level of comment, the level of using this life as a backdrop presents a fairly in depth view that takes you to sources that puts it in a different way and that raises the questions. I say not everything that is happening today is embedded in pre-1991.

POM     No. To me this chapter has a number of importances, number one they took away your, from you as a story, as a narrative, your livelihood and your reputation were taken away from you. Two, in the course of that and even at the Hefer Commission and all the constrictions that were put around it, some of the principals lied, lied outrageously, and that has never come out. Three, in what I am using more as my commentary supplemented by, or the other way round, by your story, it is that the people who would not give the affidavits, one by one they are beginning to talk and they're talking on a tape. So anything that is said, if I say "Bulelani lied", my publishers will say, "Hey, by the way we check everything for libel. How can you say that?" And I'll say I've got six tapes. And these things need to be put on the table because they do raise questions and in the end that is maybe what has to be raised.

MM     I think it has to be raised with a tiny paragraph which says: in this book there is much from that past that suggests that some of the things that are going horribly bad may have their links in that past. But there are other things that are happening that did not have their roots in the pre-1990 past but have it between the nineties and 2005. That's another story. There are some very large questions because SA's transition to democracy still holds the world enthralled. Is it becoming a very ordinary country just with all the grind and grubbiness and power mongering and pretensions that politicians have, or are there still those shoots which will make this democracy help the world to step beyond where it sits? So these questions need answers by looking at this book but by looking at other things that have happened also since then.

POM     I hate to tell you I think I've got half of the answer to that.

MM     You need to put it as a text.

POM     I know.

MM     Put it as a question because students at Bennington have to ask those questions.

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.