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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
25 Jul 1992: Goldstone, Richard
POM Richard, you have just referred to the agreement regarding marches, parades that had been negotiated between the South African authorities on the one hand and what's broadly called the liberation movements and the IFP and other organisations on the other. Could you just briefly run through the process that that entailed and what the lessons of the process are?
RG Well the process is quite complicated. I'll try and keep it as short and simple as possible, but in January of this year I decided that the relationship between the South African Police and the vast majority of South Africans was fundamental to the whole peace process and putting any curbs on the violence and it seemed to me that the commission should act as sort of neutral or independent organisation in trying to bring about new policing and new attitudes to policing. After much consideration we decided that the entry point, both because it was highly relevant to violence and also it was one which we felt the authorities could live with, was mass demonstrations, marches and picketing and for that reason we set up a sub-committee which I decided to chair myself to look into this question and one thing led to another and in April of this year in a discussion with Professor Philip Hyman of Harvard Law School Centre for Criminal Justice we conceived the idea of setting up an international panel of foreign and South African experts to advise our committee and the commission on the rules and procedures which should apply in South Africa now and in the future in respect of mass demonstrations, marches and picketing.
It was a novel procedure because normally we would have hearings and evidence and so on. Here we asked for submissions from the main parties and we got excellent, well considered submissions from the ANC alliance and also very good and constructive submissions from the South African Police. We heard from a couple of Human Rights groups, that didn't really take the matter much further. The Inkatha Freedom Party only joined in after much pressure, at a very late stage, and they put in a short submission. But the international panel had one meeting in London in May and Phil Hyman then gave an excellent report in public at the opening day of the hearing which was on the 9th of this month, 9th of July, in Cape Town and there was a lively debate and what was more important though is that the legal teams who were represented met privately with each other and with the panel and reached a surprisingly large measure of agreement on a number of issues. A fundamental one was that the preferred method for arranging mass demonstrations is not as it has been hitherto in South Africa by application for a permit, but by simply giving notice to the local authority and the police and negotiation, if necessary, on the provisions relating to the demonstration.
In view of the large measure of agreement that was reached in private and in public at the hearing, which stretched over nearly two weeks in Cape Town and finished on the 17th of this month, it occurred to me that that measure of agreement shouldn't be allowed to dissipate and should be formalised in some way, and in consultation with the panel I drafted the broad terms of agreement on what had been arranged and in particular that notice should be given and setting out ten important aspects that should be covered in the notice, information that should be given in relation to the march. Obvious things like the route, anticipated numbers, number of marshals, times and so forth. It was interesting, the first party to accept, I asked all the parties to accept the terms of the agreement, the police accepted almost immediately before everybody left Cape Town. The Council for the IFP and ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance, both with justification and understandably said they had to get instructions from their clients. I heard nothing for a couple of days and again didn't want the enthusiasm of Cape Town to be dissipated and I issued a public statement saying that the agreement had been entered into and informing parties that if I didn't have their agreement by 12 noon last Tuesday I would go public and, to put it bluntly, embarrass them by saying that this had been agreed publicly in Cape Town, I had set it down in a document and they were now not prepared to confirm their agreement, which would have been embarrassing for everybody concerned especially as the police had agreed.
The ANC, I would imagine, were sticking on the provision, on the agreement that demonstrations should be peaceful. I say that because my understanding is that there is at least a faction within the ANC, on the Communist Party side, that I would imagine would not want to go public on demonstrations being peaceful. Anyway, for whatever reason, their agreement came just before 12 noon on Tuesday. The Inkatha agreement came also on Tuesday morning but they weren't prepared to agree to what had been agreed by their counsel, on their instructions I presume, in Cape Town, namely that dangerous weapons should not be carried during public demonstrations. They said they wanted to meet and search for a compromise formula and having regard to the mass action that's going on in South Africa right now, I replied by telefax and said that I didn't have time to search for any new formula and that in any event as far as I was concerned, as far as the commission was concerned, we had made our position absolutely clear that the carrying of dangerous weapons in public is unacceptable without any conditions and on that broad principle the commission wasn't prepared to compromise and I'd publicise the Inkatha attitude and our refusal to compromise on it.
The result has been surprisingly good. I hope I'll be saying the same thing in six hours. But at least to this extent, that as a result of the publicity given to the agreement, it was only made public at 10 o'clock on Thursday, the result was that negotiations suddenly virtually broke out like a disease whereas before the ANC alliance was refusing to negotiate at all with the authorities. When the agreement came out negotiations were held and as far as I'm aware agreement was reached for the marches and demonstration this morning in all the major cities, certainly in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and in consequence the local authorities have given their consent for all of these demonstrations. According to this morning's paper the police, certainly in Cape Town, will keep a low profile and I just hope and pray that they will go off peacefully and without violence. I think it's a good example of people being prepared to adhere to procedures and processes in respect of which they have been consulted and they agree.
I think the attitude until now of the liberation organisations has been, in respect of public demonstrations, has been controlled by legislation which they found anathema. They've had to make two separate applications, one to the local magistrate and one to the local authority. The magistrate consults the police. There have obviously on many occasions been different attitudes and crossings of wires and they have refused, as I say, in many cases to seek permission. According to the Institute of Race Relations Publication recently in the eighteen months after 2nd February 1990 speech by de Klerk some 10500 marches were held in South Africa in eighteen months. It was that statistic that really egged me on into believing this was an important area and every one of those 10500 marches had the potential for violence. There was violence and deaths in three of them. The Sebokeng march was one of the 10500. It also made me realise that there was a great deal of discipline on both the police side and the organisers' side when you think that almost 10500 marches went off peacefully. An important point of those 10500 marches, the majority were illegal in the sense that no permission had been sought, and I'm hoping that the result of this agreement will be that the number of illegal marches will reduce considerably. Our committee in consequence of the Cape Town meeting is in fact drafting legislation which we hope we can get before parliament when it has a special session in October which will really set out completely new rules and procedures for mass demonstrations which all the parties in effect agreed to in Cape Town.
POM You can draft legislation and present it to the government?
RG Well as part of, we've got no express, we can because nobody says we can't. Our brief is to make recommendations to the government and these recommendations, as we've announced publicly, will include draft legislation and we've had seconded to us from the Dept. of Justice one of their top parliamentary draughtsmen who will put into parliamentary language what our committee considers in the light of the international panel's report to be sensible rules. And, again, I think the very fact that everybody's been consulted and agreed is a fundamentally good start to that sort of legislation being adhered to even before we have a democratic legislature.
POM Your commission has assumed a much higher profile particularly in the international media, at least in the States since we saw you last, and on occasion it appears that one side or the other is trying to manipulate you.
RG Not manipulate the commission but it's reports.
POM It's reports, yes. There's two I'd like to address. The first report that came out which the government held on to for some period of time.
RG It was in fact the second interim report.
POM And then the more recent report that was issued shortly after Boipatong which said there was no direct, there was no evidence of a link between the violence and the de Klerk Cabinet or senior security officials, and in the context of that report we have asked people in the ANC in particular how they interpret that. Does this exonerate or not exonerate the government? Does it exonerate them? And in fact the New York Times and the Washington Post reported this in terms of it being an exoneration and the ANC saying, no it's not an exoneration, that you being a judicial commission have to look for evidence and there has to be evidence of guilt, there has to be evidence of guilt for you to reach that conclusion to say that there is no evidence of a link between, is not to suggest that in fact it isn't going on. So if you would address the two interim reports and the ANC's interpretation of that latter report?
RG Well I suppose as is usual in this sort of situation there is some justification on both interpretations. The ANC is correct, and it's something I've discussed at some length with both Mr Mandela and Cyril Ramaphosa, it is a judicial commission and we can only make findings on evidence and procedures again are important even if frustrating. If we have evidence we have hearings and they have to be proper hearings and if people who are found guilty haven't had their proper opportunity to examine witnesses and to test evidence they are not going to accept findings. I think it's very important, even though there may be urgency, that we follow proper procedures otherwise our findings are going to be of no consequence and of no use and will lack credibility.
The statement that we made in that report arose from allegations which were being made more and more frequently by ANC leaders, including Mr Mandela, accusing President de Klerk of direct involvement in the violence and it seemed to me to be inappropriate, incorrect and unfair to make that sort of allegation when after nine months of its activities the commission has received no allegation, no evidence at all of any such involvement. And the statement I made wasn't a finding. It was misrepresented by some political leaders in the ANC and particularly in some of the ANC supporting press that this was an incorrect finding by the commission. It wasn't a finding it was a statement of fact that no evidence had been given to us implicating President de Klerk, Cabinet ministers or senior police officers and I added, and there was a constant omission of this sentence in the same paragraph, that if such evidence is presented to the commission it will be thoroughly investigated. So it wasn't a finding that there was no direct involvement. It was a statement of fact that we have been given no evidence of direct involvement.
I went on to say that in the absence of that evidence it seemed to me unfair, unwise and dangerous to make those sorts of allegations. I didn't realise at the time that perhaps I should have and it was insensitivity of the very sensitive spot that I was touching by making that statement and I understand it. If I had had the last few months again I think I would have said what I said. But the sensitivity I think arises from, again it's an insensitively on the part of the government to understand that when you've had 45 years of apartheid and 300 years of racial discrimination, you can't suddenly turn round to people and say: we're very sorry we've adopted a wrong policy. We've caused tremendous dislocation to many millions of black South Africans which has resulted in the deaths and injuries of many black South Africans. It was a wrong policy and we're starting again. And to expect that there's a clean slate and that people will suddenly believe that all the leopards have changed their spots and that they must start again.
I'm not suggesting it's ever been my attitude, but I think that's the backdrop against which this sort of response to a statement must be seen because the arguments criticising that statement have all been based on incidents which took place before 1990, Trust Feeds and all the other items. I was reading this morning an article by Anthony Lewis in the New York Times where he gives four or five, item 1, item 2, on police misconduct, in a different context but they all relate to pre-1990. Now I can understand any black South African in particular saying it's all very well to say that there's a new policy since 1990 but the police are the same policemen, the government ministers are the same government ministers and we're going to continue judging them by their past failures and misdemeanours and criminal activities of the police, aspects I've dealt with in the report, and I think the objection was at that level and I understand it. But at the same time it cannot be allowed, that sort of statement I don't believe can be allowed to be said without challenge because it's dangerous in the sense that it's violence provoking.
POM I guess what puzzles me is that if you look at the catalogue of incidents, even since 1990, at least taking at face value the allegations, the whole series that the Weekly Mail ran on security forces funding Inkatha, operations ...
RG Pre-1990. 1986. We're investigating it incidentally because of the still current and recent involvement of some of those trainees in current violence. That's the relevance and that's why we're prepared to go back to 1986 because we want to see what training they got in order to understand what they were now doing.
POM It suggests that elements in the police force, at least by not carrying out their duties, by standing aside ...
RG Oh I agree. In the same statement we said exactly that.
POM Why hasn't de Klerk taken sweeping action? For example, why after Boipatong did he not immediately suspend whoever was the police commander or say that this was going to be thoroughly looked into. In addition to the Goldstone Commission I'll have a special commission. You know, be seen to be doing something. Be seen to be responding to the allegations. He is not seen as doing that.
RG It's very complicated. I think it's really a question I suppose you should ask him. I'm not suggesting he would have done it anyway, but I think it was made more difficult for him to do because of the extreme allegations that were made immediately about police involvement, his involvement in relation to Boipatong. I just think it was, at least on a psychological level, made very difficult for him to do that sort of thing in the light of then very provocative statements made. There's no question in my mind that the ANC made adroit use, and I don't in any way want to lessen the horror of what was a tragic and awful massacre, but it wasn't all that different from other incidents of violence in South Africa. I think the timing, it's being linked to the Security Council debate, the whole very well organised, and I say it with absolute admiration, because it was a well organised, and I'm not suggesting that it was in any way improperly organised, but it was a well organised publicity campaign against the violence and as it turns out directly against police inefficiency at best for the police in relation to the steps that could have been taken to prevent it and the subsequent investigation.
But Inkatha to an extent has correctly pointed out that there was a Crossroads massacre where Inkatha supporters were killed in large numbers, but there was no international outcry. So, again, there I think it was difficult for de Klerk to be seen to be taking that sort of action in relation to Boipatong when he hadn't taken it elsewhere. On the other side I don't think it's all that easy. It's a huge police force, it's a huge army and so far, certainly as far as anybody is aware, it's remained fully committed to supporting government policy. I don't think it's all that easy for the government to take any steps it wishes. I think it's been coming through to me loudly and clearly in the past few weeks that there's tremendous unhappiness within the police force. They are feeling beleaguered, they are being attacked from all sides, many of their members have been killed, hundreds of policemen have been killed, well over a hundred this year, both white and black policemen. And many of them are feeling that whatever they do is being criticised as being wrong. Some of them are saying, well let us be blamed for omission rather than commission, at least less of us will get killed. We're not part of the violence. The attitude of many white policemen is that black people are killing each other and why must we get our lives laid on the line, and many of their families, especially in conservative quarters, are saying, "What the hell's going on here? Police are going into these troubled areas and being killed, why must we be involved?" So I don't think it's that simple, I don't think it was an easy decision.
POM In a way you're addressing what would have been my next question, it relates to this issue of alienation and morale. Can de Klerk take an action that would involve sweeping the organisation of the command structures and peace work or whatever, does it further undermine the morale of the police on the ground, alienate them from the government and make them maybe less willing to carry out their responsibilities as police officers or more disposed to thwarting the will of the government?
RG I hope Dr Waddington's report will assist in that regard. I think it's an important document and I have no doubt that de Klerk played a very active role in ensuring that there was a sensible response from the police to the very serious criticisms contained in the Waddington Report. It's been a very unusual response from the South African Police there, in a way thanking Dr Waddington, saying that the report is being taken very seriously. The Minister of Law and Order has called for a response from the police to him within seven days and they are going to re-think and have a new look at all of the absence of systems and all the criticisms that Waddington had. I think what's important too in the Waddington Report is what is really praise for the lower ranks who were involved in Boipatong. That they were left in the lurch by their leaders, that there was no leadership in the police, that there were no proper systems of investigation. I would imagine in the lower ranks that will be seen as some sort of support for what they must realise, even subconsciously but now perhaps it will come more to the surface, that they haven't been given proper support by leadership in the police.
POM What puzzles me in extracts of the report that were available in the newspapers that I have read, that in the past one has this image of the South African police force as being one of the most ruthlessly efficient police forces in the world, that just to smell an ANC activist ...
RG It's a fiction.
POM - from 15000 meters away as it were, followed every lead, pursued everybody involved in what they called subversive activities and had enormously successful and powerful investigative practices at its disposal and yet this is all broadly fiction?
RG I think it was partly a fiction. Again I'm not a police expert and what I'm saying may be way off the mark but it's my own impression, and I assume everything I'm saying this morning is not on behalf of the commission or on behalf of any official position I may hold, but it seems to be that until recently the South African Police success, and they have been successful, have rested on two elements. The one is confessions. I think Dr Waddington points out that it's a confession orientated police force. They believe in solving crime by getting confessions rather than by good detective work. And more importantly than that even, I think and it's no secret, I think it's accepted that the South African Police over years built up very, very efficient and widespread systems of informers. I think the informers have dried up as a result of political changes and intimidation. I think it's become a lot more dangerous in the early 1990s to be a police informer than it was in the 1970s and the 1980s and to that extent I suppose violence and intimidation have had success. But I have no doubt that this whole idea of an efficient police force is incorrect both in relation to the actual methods used, but also in relation to manpower. I think it's a tremendously over-stretched police force and one is seeing more and more admission of that. That there's a shortage of manpower even with the increased numbers of policemen who have been appointed recently by the government and I think it's a dangerous fiction because I think it's particularly unfair on de Klerk. If you assume an efficient police force the fact that they don't perform, particularly in the black areas leads to one of two inferences. At best for de Klerk they are not carrying out their duties. At worst for him he's told them not to carry out their duties. I believe both are untrue.
POM This is a staple at this point of liberation movement propaganda. It's one of their foundation structures so to speak which is really aggravating the situation rather than helping to find ways to solve it.
RG I just believe there's only one cure and that's for the truth to come out and be put on the table so that people can take decisions based on facts and not on myths. I think there's exactly the same problem in the ANC. There's an assumption that the ANC leadership is in control on the ground and it isn't. That was admitted to one of our commission hearings by the Deputy Leader of uMkhonto weSizwe who admitted, a lot of publicity was given to it here, I don't know whether it was in the United States, but he admitted without reservation and said we don't have control over our MK cadres on the ground. And I thought that was an important admission. I think it's true, perhaps to a lesser extent, but nevertheless true of Inkatha. I think Inkatha's probably a more monolithic authoritarian organisation but I don't believe that Buthelezi has control over everything that goes on in his organisation. So I think everybody assumes control within each of the three organisations, the police, Inkatha and the ANC, including all their satellites and affiliated organisations. But when bad things happen each side blames the leadership as if they were in control and directly involved in fermenting that sort of violence.
POM Of course the leadership is never really in a position to say: listen we're not really in control of what goes on because they're no longer a powerful leader. You're just kind of a hostage or a prisoner of circumstances which compounds it. Last year, at Christmas, I asked you about the question of ethnicity and you said that there was overwhelming evidence of an ethnic component to the conflict and then in the first interim report that you released you referred to the rivalry between Inkatha and the ANC.
RG Yes. I think the political difference more than ethnic. An ethnic component but I think that the political one is more ...
POM OK. Could you elaborate a bit on that? The political rivalry and the ethnic component of the political rivalry and the relationship between the two?
RG I'm in the happy position of not remembering for a moment what I said six months ago. The obvious example of where it's not ethnicity is in Natal where the rivalry is between Inkatha and the ANC, they are all Zulus, not all but 90%. Zulu fighting Zulu and this is one the problems I have with the Inkatha justification for carrying dangerous weapons. The ANC Zulus don't. Inkatha Zulus do. It was put to me by a senior person in government, I don't want to identify him, who said, "Oh, well the reason for that is because the ANC Zulus are more sophisticated than the Inkatha Zulus". Well I suppose there might even be an element of truth in that but it doesn't say much for Inkatha supporters. I think there's a good example of where it's not ethnicity but strictly political philosophy and political, what the politicians were urging their supporters to do. My attitude, and I'm fully supported by the other members on the commission, is an absolutely uncompromising one and that is that it's irrelevant whether it's traditional. I don't believe it is incidentally. The carrying of dangerous weapons in Natal was outlawed by the so-called Natal Native Law for 100 years, until the eighties when new regulations were passed which made it possible to carry dangerous weapons legally. So if it was a tradition 110 years ago, it's hardly tradition if it was illegal for 100 years. But as I've made clear, even if it was a tradition that tradition must be stopped. It's just unacceptable in 1992 in any decent society to go around carrying dangerous weapons in public and whether the AWB is doing it or Inkatha is doing it as far as I'm concerned makes no difference.
There's obviously a lot of ethnic rivalry on the Witwatersrand where there's a huge polyglot community, where people tend to live in the same areas on an ethnic basis and obviously the ANC has more appeal because of its leadership to the Xhosa than to the Zulu group and it would be strange and surprising if it wasn't because government policy for decades in South Africa has been to foster and encourage ethnic division in its sort of divide and rule policy that was really at heart one of the cornerstones of apartheid. So it would be obviously impossible for there not to be the ethnic basis for it. As I've said, and I think the causes of the violence are very complex and to simply latch on to one of them, ethnicity, political differences, would be to ignore the others which would make your assumptions and any conclusions based on them inaccurate.
POM One of the figures that absolutely astounded me is the fact that of all - first of all that here in Cape Town is the murder capital of the world with a per capita rate that makes even Washington DC look like an oasis, two, that of all the murders that are committed only 30% are politically motivated, so you've got this astonishing number, I think close to 12000 murders last year, only 300 of which involved whites. So you have not just intolerance breeding political murder but you have a society where violence is endemic at every level. Do you think this can be attributed, if you looked at that without being a sociologist or whatever, would you differentiate between part of it being due to apartheid and part of it not being? The fact is that since the apartheid structures have been lifted the levels of violence, at every level not just the political level, have multiplied at an expediential rate.
RG The short answer, Padraig, is that I don't know. I suppose in a way I'm fortunate in that the commission is involved in political violence only, which is obviously a smaller component of the total violence situation in South Africa. It horrifies and surprises me that there are so many South Africans who are involved at all levels in the most horrible violence. It worries me because I've always assumed, sub-consciously if not consciously, that people who can commit violent acts unprovoked, without serious provocation and without any proper motive, has been a small way-out, tiny fringe element of society. What's worrying me is the huge number of people who can commit wanton violence in South Africa, for whatever reason, and I think the best example of that, to get on to what is very much our concern, is, for example, the train violence. I can really within me understand somebody for political reason planting a bomb and blowing up policemen or army personnel. I can understand the sane person doing that if they were driven to it by political motivation, let alone personal involvement in tragedies you have in many parts of the world. But I can't understand the mentality of a normal person, one assumes that they are not mentally disturbed, getting on to a train and opening fire with an automatic weapon on men, women and children who they don't know and who may be as much part of their own side as against them. It's that sort of mindless violence which has become so prevalent in South Africa that I think is a terrible concern. I think a lot of it obviously is associated with the economy and the huge unemployment rate.
POM But a lot of African countries they would have higher levels of unemployment, worse economies. What I'm getting to is does the endemic violence in the society make political violence as almost a spin off, just a side shoot rather than being something that has its own causes and own effects. It's all inter-related?
RG I don't know. Perhaps I haven't asked sufficient questions but then I've been asking easier questions. It would be interesting to know the answer you would get. I don't know whether you, I presume she's on your list, but Mamphele Ramphele would be a good person. she's Deputy Vice Chancellor at UCT.
POM Yes, that's the second time she's been mentioned.
RG Have you not met her?
POM I haven't, no. We tried to get her last year.
RG She should be really very high on your list. She's a sociologist of international repute. Interesting background. She was Biko's common law wife and has two children with him and she was very much a Black Consciousness, PAC. She had dinner with us here last week and she seemed - I don't know her well, it's the first time I've met her, a sort of small social group - but she seems to be, I think, somewhere between PAC and ANC now, certainly hasn't embraced the ANC or left the PAC, but she seems to be much more independent, in the middle. But I think she would be an excellent person for you to speak to.
POM In your view is there any way in the near term that you could have free and fair elections in South Africa or is the level of violence and the factor of intimidation so strong that it would really render it impossible?
RG I've got no doubt, (a) that if there was an election in the near future, there would be a great deal of intimidation and 'free and fair' I think is an elastic term. But (b), I think that's irrelevant because I think that I don't believe that the process of moving to a really democratic, non-racial government, that we can afford to hold it up until there's some halcyon situation in which there can be a proper free and fair election. I think until we've adopted what are seen by the great majority of South Africans to be a fair process resulting in an acceptable government we're not going to stop it. I just don't go along with holding up the whole movement to a democratic system until the violence has been solved because I think the violence isn't going to be solved until we've got a democratic government in place.
POM Could the level of tension, violence and intimidation, especially in Natal, really render their votes in any election there rather meaningless?
RG I don't think meaningless at all because I think certainly in the urban areas which, as I understand it even in Natal would be the majority of people, I believe one could have - and it's obviously a matter of degree, but one could have a free enough and an absence of violence to a sufficient extent to make the results meaningful. And especially, and I think there are ways of assisting that, for example, having the election over a week or two week period. It's much more difficult to have a sustained intimidatory onslaught over a two week period than it would be if the election is on one day. It was a step the government took during one of the black local election periods some years ago and it worked, I think, quite well.
PAT In 1989 I think they had 30 days of voting because of the intimidation.
RG That's correct and it seems to me that that sort of thing, and obviously a proper police presence, I think international observers and monitors would play an important role. I don't think one can overstate it because they couldn't be at every rural polling station but there could be random checks to see what was going on. I've got no doubt, as I say, that there will be some intimidation which would vary from area to area and I've no doubt, as I've indicated, that in the large urban areas it would be obviously far easier to police that sort of thing than it would be in the rural community. And again there's the other method of using postal votes and even with the illiterate members of society that could be organised at schools or magistrates' offices or whatever where people could have it explained to them and whether it's a thumbprint or whatever method is going to be adopted in respect of people who cannot write. I suppose everybody can make a X.
POM We've heard two views of the debate at the Security Council. One school of thought saying that in looking at the politics of it that the government was the winner, there was no harsh condemnation of South Africa as there would have been in the past, that the resolution passed by the UN Council was a soft resolution, that it essentially urged the parties to get back to the negotiating table and that the presence of black leaders from the homelands who are opposed to the ANC prevented other dimensions of opposition to Mandela coming from blacks. And then you have those who say, well the ANC was the winner because the very fact that it was debated at the United Nations, internationalised the problem in a way that it had not been internationalised before, that a couple of years ago de Klerk or the South African government would not have accepted the need for any kind of UN presence and the fact that Cyrus Vance is here alters the dynamics of the process in a way that it is no longer simply a South African problem. It is now, as I said, internationalised.
RG I think South Africa was the winner in having the international community take an even-handed, sensible approach to the problem and to internationalise it in a way that I think should be acceptable and welcomed by most South Africans of whatever colour. To an extent the ANC may be perceived by some people as having been the losers. I think unrealistically in that until now, and for good reason, there's simply been an assumption that the ANC alliance has simply been accepted unreservedly by the United Nations. I don't believe that the ANC would regard it as having been a defeat or a failure at all and I can see no reason why they should. I suppose they might have expected a warmer condemnation of the South African government but I think that would have been unfair and unwise and I think de Klerk and the government deserve a great deal of support, understanding and praise for the way we've come in two and a half years. It would have been unthinkable, I've always been an optimist by nature, if you would have told me in February 1990 that we would be where we are now and this sort of debate could have taken place at the United Nations, I would have thought this was really bordering on the absurd, to put it mildly.
From the government point of view, again, I don't think it was a defeat in that it's become internationalised. I think it was inevitable and in fact when I was at the airport I was asked by the United Nations Representative whether I'd come and meet Vance on his arrival and Pik Botha was there (incidentally is he on your list of people?) but he said to me, and I don't regard it in any way as being a confidential remark, but he said that he was obviously thrilled to see what he referred to as an even-handed approach by the Security Council, but he also made the point at the airport that with the virtual demise of communism and the United States being the only super power, that no country anywhere is going to be allowed by the international community, he said for the next 10 or 15 years at least, to regard racial discrimination and other unacceptable behaviour by international standards to get away with it and to regard this as a private affair. There was an acceptance by him that the international community is going to play a role and that there's no point in resisting it. If anything one should simply accept it. From my own vantage point I think that the international community, and I think the international people do, certainly I haven't found any different approach from Cyrus Vance, I think it's important to use existing South African structures in relation to the international community. In other words I think it would be unacceptable, two points: firstly, no international involvement is going to happen without the government's agreement. It's not possible from international law point of view and it's not practically possible. And, secondly, I think there are sufficient structures in place, especially Peace Accord structures, to enable them to be used for the international involvement and I think the use of our commission in respect of Waddington and justice are good examples and I've made it clear that any part I can play in relation to the commission in getting more and more international involvement, I'm only too happy to do it. I think it's something we should welcome, I welcome it personally. It simply gives us more expertise and gives us more national and international credibility, so it's all to the good.
POM So at this point in your multiple investigations what are your conclusions regarding the minimum steps that must be taken to substantially reduce the level of violence?
RG A democratic government. I think that's the key. I think until people are consulted and participate in the whole process they don't accept it. It's nothing peculiar to South Africa. This is one of the ironies I suppose in the world, people don't assume as a starting point the fundamental proof that all people are fundamentally the same and South Africans are no different to men and women in any other country. I think they are driven by the same interests and motivations and they will react fundamentally the same way. It doesn't help in a way because conditions are so different and if you had apartheid and a South African history somewhere on the European continent I think you'd probably end up with the same sorts of problems that South Africa's got.
POM Thank you ever so much once again for part of your valuable time.
RG I'm looking forward to reading what I've said six months ago.
POM As I've said, nothing will be published for several years.
RG Did you hear his (Tutu's) statement yesterday after he saw Vance? On the news last night on SABC, his views that the mass action is going to cause violence. You know it's the Inkatha line and I was surprised, I just don't accept that. I think one should be positive about public protest and mass action. I think one should welcome it. I think one should put a tremendous responsibility on the leaders who organise it but it almost can become a self-fulfilling, horrible prophesy that there's going to be violence. Why make that assumption? Out of 10500 marches and three of them were violent is a very interesting statistic.
POM Only three violent out of 10500?
RG In 18 months, from February 1990 to end of July 1991. It's a very interesting book put out by the Institute of Race Relations. Written by Anthea Jefferies.
[PAT ... future personal involvement .... protest demonstrations in the past. His own personal involvement in the past in which he took place in non-violent protest.]
POM Where, Richard, would we get copies of the reports?
RG Of my reports?
RG From our office. But if you want I can see that you get them. I can ask them just to put you on the mailing list for all the reports.