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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Aug 1992: Delport, Tertius
POM The first thing I would like to ask you about, since I've asked other participants in the Working Group 2 on the whole issue of what happened regarding the percentages, the ANC coming in with their bottom line of sixty six and two thirds percent, the government with seventy five percent and the ANC moving to seventy percent and adding a proviso to it and the government turning it down. I've heard so many different versions of it I'd like your comments as you were actually there. I'd also like your comments to introduce that on the tone and manner of the discussions themselves, of the negotiations in terms of the interaction between the participants, you and the ANC negotiators.
TD Let me start with the second one. The negotiations had a very, very fine spirit, especially in the Steering Committee and Working Group 2 which did most of the preparatory work. It was a very relaxed atmosphere. We had tough debates but never any real tension. Everything changed when the ANC went back to consult, because remember the first time they put anything in terms of a compromise, they shot down our proposals, and the first time they got back with a substantial proposal was when they came back with the seventy percent across the board, seventy five percent for the Bill of Rights and then the rider. I sensed that the mood had changed when they came back after consulting.
POM They had been at sixty six and two thirds percent and then they came up to seventy percent?
TD Yes. They came up to seventy percent and to seventy five percent for the Bill of Rights and they added that if those majorities are not achieved within six months then fifty percent would suffice after which such a constitution would then be put up to a general referendum and a fifty percent majority would then be enough. So I reacted by saying that this makes nonsense of negotiations. Any party or alliance commanding fifty percent can simply sit it out for six months and then have it its own way and that's not the object of negotiation. But it is also very interesting, and I will give you a copy of that document, was that the ANC themselves afterwards said in writing that they had to deadlock rather than accept the compromise we put forward. They had to deadlock because they could easily have found themselves locked into that interim constitution and they were not prepared to be, as they put it, locked into a constitution from which they cannot escape because of the high majorities.
Secondly, it is interesting to note that after - I was going to make another point, it's escaped me for the moment. Oh yes, when they came up with their fourteen demands and ever since CODESA 2 deadlocked a new term has crept into their vocabulary and that is now a 'sovereign' Constituent Assembly. In the past they demanded a Constituent Assembly, now it's a sovereign Constituent Assembly. I don't know at this stage in time the exact meaning of a sovereign Constituent Assembly, whether it refers to the fact that we insisted that that constitution making process and the interim government must function within the framework of a constitution or whether they want to reject that concept with the term sovereign or whether they want to reject the idea of an increased majority, I'm not sure but they use the word now sovereign Constituent Assembly.
POM So essentially you're really in a situation where they put forward a proposal that they knew you would reject because they wanted to get out of CODESA 2 at that time?
TD They wanted to get out because they said, this was in the document I want to give you a copy of, they said this was a trap set by the Nationalists. They wanted us to agree to a constitution and that constitution could then become the constitution because we would not be in a position to achieve the necessary majority, and now one can add in their own words, 'to change it our way'. That is why they added the rider of fifty percent after six months. If we accepted it, very well, then they could sit it out for six months and discard everything that's happened before that. If we rejected it then they could claim that we are now withdrawing from all the agreements. Remember also, always bear in mind that there was never, ever any idea that CODESA 2 would receive any form of final report. It was a progress report and we could have reported substantial progress but they were not prepared, they withdrew from all the agreements.
POM So they wanted a deadlock. Why do you think they wanted it at that point?
TD To get out of the agreements.
POM That they had already made. Just to run through, I know that one of the things agreed to in Working Group 2 was that regional boundaries and powers of regional governments would be decided in phase 1 prior to elections and require prior consensus from all parties in the constitution making body for these to be changed. So as far as you are concerned, in the Charter of Principles that was set out: number one, the ANC has agreed to the principle of regionalism, number two, they have agreed that the powers of those regions should be entrenched in the constitution and number three, they have agreed that the boundaries of the regions will be drawn up before a Constituent Assembly. Is that correct?
POM Do you think they are now trying to get out of all those three? Do you think this is the core of the problem?
TD That is they are against any form of federalism. They want a unitary state, central command structure and they are not prepared to go for any kind of federalism. We, as a compromise, we said, I said "Let's avoid a theoretical debate about unitarianism versus federalism." I said so because we had in fact to address the problem because our terms of reference, as agreed by all the parties before CODESA started, was that we should agree to basic constitutional principles which should be enshrined in the constitution and not contradicted by anyone. I think it's not possible to agree to the basic constitutional principles unless you decide whether it's going to be a unitary or a federal state. It's absolutely basic. Now let us avoid that debate. Let us agree there will be a regional government and let's agree to the power giving and functions of those governments. Then we leave it to the ... afterwards to work out what sort of government or state we have, whether it is a union with federal characteristics or a federation of member states or whatever. That was then not acceptable to them. They said that's detail. We said we are looking at what's maybe detail because we want to avoid the basic debate of unitarianism versus federalism, but that's as far as we got. But they did accept the agreement, regional governments with powers, duties and functions executive and legislative that would put them in a position to govern effectively and there was also agreement, unanimous that the three tiers of government each must have it's own fiscal base. Once again it was agreed unanimously but the ANC said that should not go into the report. It's an agreement but don't tell anyone.
This you may find useful. That was immediately after 21st May, it was the Wednesday after the meeting. I spoke in parliament, inter alia on the whole deadlock and that is the negotiations bulletin of the 18th of May that I'm referring to.
POM Why don't I set up a time with you now and let you get on with your work? I assume all of your days are very long at this point.
POM So are you up to talking now?
TD Yes, sure.
POM I've just been listening to the news coming in here on the shooting in the Ciskei.
TD That's why I say it's been a long day.
POM Yes. Let me start, Tertius, again with going over something we covered very briefly but given the fact that I have heard so many different versions of it I'd like to hear it again from the horse's mouth, so to speak, and that is the direct sequence of events that led to the deadlock at CODESA and the question of the percentages. Who made what offer, when it came, what counter offers were made, if any and when the rider to the percentage question was added, whether it was there initially or not there initially?
TD OK, fine. I'll give it to you as briefly as possible. Regionally, various parties set various majorities for writing the new constitution. For instance Inkatha, if I remember correctly, said eighty percent. One of the parties in the House of Delegates even said one hundred percent because we needed consensus. So we put forward the idea of both Houses, the National Assembly and the Senate should adopt the new constitution by an increased majority. The ANC said sixty six and two thirds percent. Then we said all right, we can live with the one House, the House of Assembly, or rather the National Assembly, which would basically be the first House, the House elected on proportional representation. We can live with that, excluding the Senate and accepting that the National Assembly would adopt by a seventy five percent majority, we would be happy to accept that.
And then there were long discussions and the ANC didn't really put forward any proposal at that stage or at any stage whatsoever. They sat back. Then eventually we said OK we can accept seventy percent across the board but for the regional dispensation seventy five percent and for the Bill of Rights seventy five percent. It stood at that and then for the first time after a long consultation with their principals the ANC came back and said, OK we accept seventy percent across the board and seventy five percent for the Bill of Rights. And then they introduced a new concept, they said but then there must be a deadlock breaking mechanism and what they proposed was that if within six months after election the National Assembly did not reach the required seventy percent and seventy five percent of the Bill of Rights, a proposal that will enjoy fifty percent or more of the support in the National Assembly would be put to a referendum and if a majority of the people in South Africa accepted the proposal then that would become the new constitution.
So we said that is not acceptable and our arguments were, and I was the one that reacted so I said no. We said if you introduce that sort of deadlock breaking mechanism, any party or alliance or coalition that commands fifty percent of the vote would simply be in a position to sit back for six months, to stall negotiations and then have it it's own way. We motivated and said that all over the world increased majorities for constitutional changes are required in order to force the majority party to take cognisance of the views of minorities provided it is a substantial minority and all over the world a third or thirty percent of a population or support or political view would be accepted as a substantial portion of the population, of the voting public, and that's when we reacted and said that the proposal of the ANC which they presented as a final offer was simply not acceptable.
POM So you are of the belief that the ANC was in fact looking for a way out of negotiations at that point?
TD I have no doubt about it. They were looking for a way to get out of the agreements that were reached already in CODESA and later in their negotiations or their internal negotiations bulletin published a week afterwards they stated categorically that they had to deadlock rather than accept the compromise. The way in which they deadlocked was to introduce the concept of the referendum and the fifty percent after six months because they knew if we accepted it they had it their own way. If we rejected it, it would give them a way out.
POM Well, my understanding, Tertius, would be that their objections could fall under three levels. One was that they really saw using CODESA as a place in which an interim constitution would be drawn up and that this interim constitution would only be amended by the National Assembly and that if it was writ in stone, so to speak, at CODESA it would be very hard perhaps to muster seventy five percent in the National Assembly to override any provision or to amend any provision and that therefore in that sense the interim constitution would become, so to speak, the final constitution, so that the National Assembly or the constitution making body really wouldn't make a new constitution as such. What would you say to their saying that?
TD That's what they're saying. That was the argument in their negotiations bulletin. They said it was a trap set by the National Party and they would become caught or stuck with an interim constitution from which there was no escape. That is why they say they specifically stated, that is why they had to deadlock rather than compromise. The important point is if you can get a constitution to which all the parties are agreeable and it's acceptable to all the parties, because also the ANC would have a veto, if you can call it that, on such an interim constitution, you've got something that has the support of all the parties across the board and surely if you want to get out of, if you want to deviate from that constitution you need a substantial majority. That's been our position all along. It was not a trap. If it was a trap or it was perceived as a trap by the ANC then permit me to say they were rather stupid because we said that all along. If we can come forward, if we can produce from CODESA a constitution, albeit an interim constitution, but a constitution that has the support of all the parties, the endorsement of all the parties, then you must surely make sure that you have a substantial majority before you deviate from that constitution.
POM Now the second reason I see for their wanting out pertains more to the questions that you raised in your paper, which you gave me a copy of, and that was their concerns about regional government. Again, it's my understanding that, and is this correct, that CODESA agreed that regional boundaries and the powers of regional governments would be defined in phase 1, that's prior to elections and that they would require consensus from all parties in the constitution making body for these to be changed?
TD Yes, that is correct.
POM And second, that the powers, duties and functions of the regions would be entrenched in the constitution.
POM But the powers would not be delegated from the centre. In fact the centre would have powers that were residual powers rather than the other way round.
TD Well that was undecided at the time but it was quite clear to me that the ANC was not willing to enter into negotiations because they do not trust their own negotiating ability so they did not want to get involved in those negotiations because remember the powers, duties and functions and the boundaries were left open in the agreement and it was stated that that must be negotiated in CODESA and entrenched in the constitution. But they knew that they were losing support all the time because the majority of the people in South Africa favour a dispensation in which there would be strong regional government.
POM So do you think by accepting that the powers of the regions should be entrenched in the constitution that they were in fact accepting the principle of federalism?
TD We argued all along that we should avoid a debate between federalism and unitarianism. We said, "Let us call it regionalism, let us debate and agree eventually to the powers, duties and functions of regional government and then leave it." And I remember distinctly that that was my argument. I even on a lighter note said, "Let us then leave it to the academics afterwards to thrash out the whole problem whether we've got a federation or whether we've got a union with federal characteristics or whatever we have, but let's be pragmatic, let's agree on the powers, duties and functions and I think it wouldn't be that difficult to come to an agreement on it and let's avoid an argument about federalism or anti-federalism."
POM You now seem to have shifted your views somewhat in this paper that you delivered on 21st May.
POM So would you see in the event of negotiations resuming that this whole question must be put on the table and debated in so far as - I want to state unequivocally that the whole question of whether a new constitution will be based on a unitary approach or on a federal one is so fundamental, so essential that we can no longer evade this issue by taking the view that it is so-called mere detail?
TD That's what I've been arguing. I've been stating that all along. I said in CODESA, in Working Group 2, I said the whole question of whether you've got a unitary state or a federal state is an absolute fundamental question. You cannot, you cannot by any stretch of the imagination, you cannot say that you are putting down, laying down as we were tasked to do by our terms of reference in Working Group 2, that you are enumerating basic constitutional principles and at the same time not come to a decision on whether you've got a unitary or federal state. Then I said, "But in order to evade this sort of debate let us see whether we couldn't get a short cut, whether we couldn't agree on the powers, duties and functions." But that proposal having now firmly been rejected by the ANC I say we've agreed our own terms of reference drafted by ourselves and say that we must agree to basic constitutional principles which must be enshrined in a final constitution, not be contradicted by any clause in the new constitution. Now whilst our compromise position has been rejected I say we cannot move forward unless we address the problem of whether we're going to have a unitary state or a federal state.
POM Is that the position more or less being adopted by the government?
TD I think more or less it is a fair reflection of the government's stand. Maybe I feel a little bit stronger than the government as such on this issue but as a constitutional man I say there's no go in negotiations if you cannot even agree on the very, very basic, basic proposition of whether you're going for a unitary state or a federal state
POM There was one other thing that struck me about the discussions, Tertius, and it's a question that we talked about last year and that is that since I've been going back and forth to South Africa in the last three years now I hear two languages and the two languages I hear are, on the one hand the language coming from the government, the National Party and to a lesser extent some other parties, and it's the language of the sharing of power. And the language one hears from the ANC and their allies is the language of the transfer of power. In a sense these two languages came into direct conflict at this point in CODESA. Do you think the two sides are still speaking, again as you said, the ANC speaks unitary state, the government is speaking federalism. This is not a difference in detail, do you think, in the same way? The government is speaking sharing of power, the ANC is speaking transfer of power. Are there two languages that are in conflict with each other?
TD Yes I think it's in conflict. I think it's incompatible. I think we are, from our side when we talk about sharing of power, we are using political terms. In terms of constitutional terms we talk about federalism, in other words the distribution of political power and it's totally incompatible with the ANC's view of a unitary state in which they will take over and that is why they are looking at a unitary state because they feel confident that they will get a majority. I'm not so sure about that. But be that as it may that's a political evaluation. From our side we say that you draft a constitution knowing full well that somewhere along the line in elections you may well be the loser. So we look at the distribution of power, they want all the power in one hand most probably under the influence of the communists who would like to have a central planning system, would like to introduce a Marxist/Leninist state and that they're not going to get.
POM Do you still take seriously the possibility of the introduction of a Marxist/Leninist state despite the fact that the failure of communism world-wide is so documented and so pervasive?
TD Oh yes. I've talked to many of the participants and confronted them with the collapse of communism world-wide and the answer of the die-hards is simply that people were at fault, not the system. Now you cannot, you cannot negotiate, you cannot talk to people with that sort of stupid attitude.
POM After the deadlock in CODESA you had this period of a month within which it moved from deadlock to collapse, where in that period the ANC came forward with their fourteen demands, another fourteen demands for the resumption of talks, you had mass mobilisation brought from the back burner to the front burner, you had Mandela making very direct personal attacks on de Klerk regarding the violence and then in the middle of it you had Boipatong. And then you had a policy conference where they specifically mandated their negotiators to go back to sixty six and two thirds percent on all matters relating to the constitution in a constitution making body and where they also said that the powers of the region should be devolved from parliament rather than being enshrined in the constitution, which seemed to be two resolutions in direct conflict of what was already agreed upon in CODESA. Is that correct?
TD Yes, they do not hesitate to renege on agreements which shows that they cannot be trusted. They do not keep to their word.
POM What's going on? How do you read the dynamics that were going on in the ANC during this period? How did you read their behaviour?
TD The radicals have taken over. The radicals have taken over. There's no hope of negotiations succeeding whilst the radicals are in command.
POM Do you think that situation prevails now or is it a kind of ...?
TD Yes absolutely because only radicals would embark and persist and lead to the total violence we've seen today. They are reckless about the lives of people, they do not care and I see no hope for any negotiations whilst the radicals reign supreme within the ANC. They do not want a negotiated settlement, they want liberation through the struggle. If they can get a proper negotiated settlement through negotiations they do not want it. They want the emotional impact of so-called liberation through the struggle.
POM Again, is that the feeling that you say would be the viewpoint of the government as a whole?
TD No, I'm speaking on my personal behalf. I wouldn't say that's the feeling of the government. I think we're dealing with people, that's my personal opinion, I think we're dealing with people who are not committed to negotiations, who are not committed to a peaceful settlement. They are only committed to grabbing all of the state power in this country. Surely they are on a confrontational path. They want confrontation and I'm afraid they're going to get it if they persist.
POM Last year you referred to Cyril Ramaphosa as a moderate. Would you still put him in that category?
TD He's a pragmatist. He will yield to whoever is in power or whoever has the upper hand. At present the radicals have the upper hand and he will play up to them.
POM Where would you place Mandela on this spectrum?
TD Mandela is a has-been. He is not a factor any more. He's been manipulated.
POM So who do you see as the emerging radical faction leadership?
TD Oh well that's Hani and his compatriots and the Communist Party.
POM So you see the situation as one in which the ANC has been hi-jacked, as it were, over the last 2½ years by the radical elements who are now making their play for power?
POM How do you relate that to mass action?
TD It's part of their strategy. They were quite willing to go along with mass action, to have a phase 4, I think it was phase 4, during September where the government would be toppled. Now poor Mr Mandela reacted by saying they're not insurrectionists and they merely want to remove the government from power. I mean it's ridiculous that a man in his position should admit to that. I have no doubt whatsoever that the first aim was to topple the government. They will not succeed and I think they've realised that. They have now concentrated on the Ciskei. We know, and it was admitted in one of their documents that's become public since Friday, that they debated the whole issue on whether they should first go for the Ciskei and then for Bophuthatswana and KwaZulu or whether they should go for it all in one swift move. Obviously they've tried their hand now in the Ciskei. The aim is not merely to protest it's to take over the government there. And why? Not because Brigadier Gqozo is a military ruler, because what about all the others, the other two military rulers? And then the same argument does not hold for Bophuthatswana which has in October had an election and they challenged the ANC to register as a political party and to take part in the elections which the ANC surely declined because they do not want to test their strength in an election. So the whole effort is to take over the government of this country, step by step, not through negotiations or through democratic means and procedures but by force.
POM So have you in the last year become more, I won't use the word 'disillusioned'?
TD Disillusioned is the correct word. I do not trust the ANC. I think they have a hidden agenda. Those forces within the ANC whom I would like to trust are being manipulated. I see no sense in negotiating with them.
POM How do you see the way back to the negotiating table in those circumstances?
TD Well I'll go back the moment they want to return but I wouldn't trust them as far as I can see them.
POM But can you have successful negotiations if the element of trust is not there?
TD No. I don't think so.
POM So where does that leave you?
TD It leaves us in a dilemma. It leaves us at a point where I am looking for a change of heart from the ANC because once again their true colour is shown. They have embarked, we have warned against mass action in the Ciskei. They have persisted in doing so. We've warned against it, we've pleaded, we've asked. Now they're blaming the government. They have said we should keep out of the situation. Now they are blaming us. We have not taken steps to prevent the bloodshed in the Ciskei. You can't trust them. They are radicals. They favour violence. I am not going to trust them as far as I can see them.
POM Let me give you an analogy and see how you respond to it. During the referendum last March, some people say that the ANC and its allies were understanding of the government's position. They knew it had to find a way to rein in or get control of its right wing which was acting as a constraint on its ability to negotiate. So even though they were vehemently opposed to another election that involved only whites they made the ritual noises of condemnation then kept a low profile and in the end even Mandela came out and urged whites that if they were to vote they should vote for the government. So they were understanding of de Klerk's dilemma. The corresponding analogy would be with Mandela that he has this radical wing, that he has to find a way of bringing it under control, that mass action was a way of allowing them to have their day of bringing them under control and then of getting the process back on track. Some would say the government wasn't very understanding of the dilemma that Mandela faces.
TD No, no, no. That's not true. That's not a correct evaluation because we said we will allow mass action officially. We say and we have said and we still say that democratic protest is an acceptable means of expressing a democratic attitude and feeling, but there was no reason whatsoever to persist in mass action after it has run its course. They are not now embarking on the original mass action. They are now in phase 4, exit-gate, toppling the government, removing from office everyone that does not come within the fold of the ANC. It's intimidation, it's nothing less than intimidation. It's strong arm tactics and count me out.
POM There is a Professor Philip Nel at Stellenbosch, I don't know whether you're familiar with him?
TD Oh yes, Philip Nel, yes.
POM He wrote after the deadlock and the collapse of the talks. Let me just read you an extract of what he wrote I'd like to hear how you react to it. He said : -
"CODESA ignores the fact that the ANC is a mass political movement and not a traditional political party. The ANC's legitimacy has rested on its ability to project itself as the representative of people's power. Because of this the ANC is exposed to a myriad of grassroots influences which the leadership can ignore only at its peril. Ideologically and emotionally the ANC can't be drawn into an elitist arrangement even if material improvements in the daily lives of its supporters would follow soon thereafter. The followers of the ANC made it clear that the grassroots would not tolerate an elite pact. Mass action was decided on to address the fears of its followers, that the leadership was no longer interested in people power. This implies that a future negotiated forum would have to accommodate the people's character of the ANC."
Do you agree with that analysis?
TD Please, please, please. That is the dilemma of any political organisation. If they want to play politics they must play politics. If they want to embark on liberation through the barrel of a gun and through the so-called struggle then they must say so and then we will know how to handle that. If they want to play politics they mustn't complain because they are now in the position of any other political party in the country. We've also got a constituency. We've been bending backwards to accommodate them whilst they have been at us hammer and tongs to discredit ourselves, they've been calling the State President a mass murderer and we must sit back because we must allow them to keep contact with their grassroots support. Forget about it. Those days are over.
POM Remember after when the deadlock happened there was a lot of commentary that had you accepted the ANC's offer that they would have been in real trouble with their own constituency, that they would have had a hard time selling the package to them. Do you believe that?
TD The package was, what they offered finally was to get out of it. We couldn't have accepted because it would have meant that you sit out six months and then you write your own constitution if you have command of fifty percent support.
POM Even leaving aside the rider, the feeling in many of the ANC circles that I have talked to was that the negotiators had already gone too far, given too much away.
TD But that's their problem. I come back to this simple statement; if they want to play politics then they must abide by the rules and I cannot go out of my way to put them in a position to retain grassroots support. I think that's what politics are all about. If they want to be a liberation movement, if they want to liberate South Africa through AK47s, tell me that and then I know how to react. But if they want to play politics then they must abide by democratic rules. You can't have a mix of the two. That's what they want. They want to have a mix and then they want to accuse us if we enter into the political debate to expose their double talk.
POM I suppose when you talk about double talk this is what I find mystifying. In July you had Mr Mandela referring to Mr de Klerk as the murderer of his people and I think a week or two before I left you had Mr Mandela praising Mr de Klerk as a man of courage and vision. Going back to Mandela, does the government see him as the spokesperson or somebody in control of the various factions or does he have a difficult role in trying to keep his own organisation together, to keep the various elements of it together or is he simply not in control any longer?
TD Well this is not the government's view because the government does not hold a view on particular political leaders. I have my own view. My own view is he has over-estimated, he was built up by his long term in jail, he was mystified, he was being held out as the leader of all times and the truth is that he is a very mediocre leader. He does not have the personality, the vision really to lead his people, his supporters.
POM Is there anyone you can point to among the ANC whom you think has that kind of vision and capacity?
TD No, because they haven't been in politics long enough for the true leaders to emerge. They are a mix at present of the radicals and the middle of the road people and others that like to see a peaceful negotiated settlement. There is no such thing as the ANC, there are ANCs. There are different ANCs and they will have to thrash it out and I hope soon because we can't go on not knowing who we are dealing with.
POM What impact is all this having in your own community. Let me put the question this way: if the referendum were held today would there be the same result?
TD It would not necessarily go the same way because the people were under the impression that we are dealing with reasonable people in the ANC. There's a hardening of attitudes amongst the Zulu people, amongst the white people. There's definitely a hardening of attitudes and I think quite simply speaking people are fed up with the ANC.
POM Do you think parts of its own community are fed up with it? Parts of the black community are fed up with it?
TD Of course. Of course they are getting tired, they are getting tired of the strikes. They gain nothing. Strikes and boycotts and marches. They gain nothing. The only thing they gain is temporarily they get an emotional outlet and after the emotion has died down there is nothing to show for it. I think in their own community they are facing a reaction.
POM When you looked at the mass action that was there at the beginning of August, were you impressed by the numbers that stayed away or do you think that the numbers who stayed away stayed away because of the intimidation or coercion factor?
TD Many stayed away because it's an easy thing if you tell people to stay away and you've got nothing really to lose, I think it's the way of least resistance. It's an easy thing to impose on a community. They were assisted in the mass action or the stayaway was assisted by the fact that they were able to make use of intimidation as well and through the lack of transport, because of various factors, I was not impressed. The test is not the stayaway. The test would be the numbers taking part in the marches. In other words, not the passive reaction of staying away but the active reaction of taking part in a march to demonstrate and I'm sure they are very, very disappointed with the numbers taking part in the active part of the mass action.
POM Mass action is kind of the last weapon that they have in their arsenal short of going back to some form of military campaign and if they repeat mass action again and there are diminishing returns to it each time, surely the pressure on them to return to the negotiating table increases. Do you think that pressure from their community is there or that it's making itself felt?
TD I don't think there's a pressure from the community to resume negotiations although we look at the opinion polls, the vast majority of people favour negotiated settlement. They are, I think, losing touch with grass roots ideas and grass roots preferences and options, preferent options, but I don't think they will heed that. I think they will simply carry on with their own ideas under the pressure of the radicals that are pressing for a forceful takeover of government power.
POM In your paper you said the road ahead, and you said, "If there is one lesson to be learned from the negotiations that have taken place so far it is this, it is absolutely no use to formulate agreements aimed at papering over differences rather than resolving them because this leads to new points of conflict that will in fact lead to the interpretation of what has been agreed on and this leads to reproaches and allegations from both sides and does not advance the process." Could you just elaborate on that a little?
TD Yes, I think we must face up to the fact that we are at loggerheads, that we differ radically and if we don't address the differences then we're not going to make headway. Many people in South Africa at present are hoping and praying even for negotiations to start. There's no point in restarting negotiations if we run into a deadlock within two, three, four weeks again. We must address the differences and I think the surest way and I think I said that months ago already, let us agree that it's not about whether you're for or against democracy. The question is what sort of democracy. We favour, and we say that's the only solution, a democracy in which power will be diluted through being distributed and if we cannot agree on that we're not going to make headway.
POM This comes back to a question I raised last year which is that the ANC sees South Africa as, I won't say a homogeneous society, but a diverse society within which one man one vote in "an ordinary democracy" can suffice, whereas I think you and others would see South Africa as a deeply divided society where the concepts of ordinary democracy simply are not sufficient.
TD Would you call the United States of America an ordinary democracy, or Canada, or Germany or Australia? You see, that is what it's all about. It's about what would be the best form of democracy or the form of democracy best suited for the South African situation. The ANC says, "I want a democracy in which fifty plus one percent will give me all the power." And we maintain that if you look at the map of South Africa, if you think that you will get peace, progress, real democracy, if you take a region like Natal where most probably the National Party and Inkatha get a clear majority, if you say Natal shall be, without any option, governed by the party getting central control (let us for one moment assume it's the ANC), if the Western Cape where the ANC will not get fifteen percent of the vote, that area will also be governed by the ANC, if you deny the right of what we call the North West area where Bophuthatswana is situated in the new dispensation, there will be no room for a regional government in which the majority in that region will also govern. Then you're courting trouble. Then we are going to have civil war in this country.
POM Talking of that, does Buthelezi have the capacity to be a spoiler in all of this? I visited him in Ulundi and visited the King too and found them both very militant, very angry at what they would see as the Zulu nation being put out of the process, making all kinds of militant noises about how they would not be party to any agreement reached to which they themselves had not been one of the negotiating partners?
TD One quarter of the people of South Africa live in Natal. Buthelezi is confident that he has majority support amongst the people living in Natal. If you tell Buthelezi that even and despite the fact that you have majority support in Natal amongst twenty five percent, actually I think it's twenty seven but let's stick to twenty five, amongst twenty five percent of the people of South Africa, but you will have no say in government, how on earth can you require him not to be militant? Then the ANC says even if you have that majority support in that region on a non-racial basis, on a regional geographical basis with historic boundaries in which you find yourself, you will have no say whatsoever. If his reaction is militant I understand his reaction because the ANC wants nothing but absolute and total power over the whole of South Africa. They have no tolerance, they do not understand the basic essence of democracy and that is tolerance, that you need to tolerate also in opposition. They are authoritarian in their views, in their point of departure and I have no sympathy whatsoever with their views.
POM What about the violence? There's a level of violence now in South Africa that would seem - could you have free and fair elections in the present climate of violence?
TD We can try and devise ways and means where you have so many ballot boxes and areas where you can vote that at least you can get away from the intimidation. But who's to blame for the violence? Who is to blame for the violence? I say the ANC must be blamed for the violence, basically. The violence has escalated since the ANC was unbanned and if you look at what was said over the last couple of months by ANC leaders they are fuelling the violence. They want violence because it suits the whole aim of a radical takeover of government, of a mobilisation, of intimidation. It's part of their strategy.
POM What about the CODESA process itself? Do you think that it has served its function in that a new kind of negotiating forum must be developed, one that must include the PAC, other parties that have been excluded?
TD Sure. We would like to see a very representative forum. We would like to increase the degree of representatives but the question remains, if we go back to CODESA will the ANC be willing to take up the unfinished business? Can we restart where we stopped last time? They wouldn't be prepared - we've been trying after CODESA, for many weeks, just to get on the agenda the unfinished business in Working Group 2, the unfinished agreement. They simply refused. They were not willing to take the draft agreement in Working Group 2. They were not even willing to table it, to have it on the agenda. So they are not interested in negotiations.
POM If other parties did come in, like the PAC, would agreements already reached have to be re-negotiated or do you think parties coming in would have to accept that a certain level of progress had been made and take it from there?
TD I would say that at least we would look to the ANC and say, "But we've come a long way already, why should we start right at scratch again. Let us continue where we broke off."
POM Do you find the involvement of the international community in the presence of the United Nations helps?
TD I think it's positive. I think it's positive because at least we get an objective view and we do not flinch away from objective views. Our experience has now been that at least whatever the ANC says has not been accepted as the gospel truth and that is a positive move. At least I think we can accept now that we will give an objective view and that's the best and that's the only thing we ask.
POM Just a couple of quick last ones Tertius. One is, when you look at the range of things that have to be negotiated, what do you think is the one thing on which the government would be least likely to compromise?
TD On regionalism.
POM Now if you had to give me a quick summary of the evolution of government policy since 1990, how has it moved?
TD I think we started off with the idea of power sharing but our concept of content that we're giving to power sharing has shifted. Power sharing we saw originally as a sharing of power, well some of government, I never thought so, but some thought of power sharing as power sharing between ethnic groups, between white and black to take a sort of a short cut. Then we accepted power sharing as the sharing of power between political organisations and I think our current thinking reflects the idea that power sharing is a political term. If you translate it into constitutional terminology then you would look at things like proportional representation right across the board, you would look at a federal or a regional approach with a distribution of political power and various other constitutional mechanisms.
POM Would you still see power sharing at the executive level as being an essential feature of what you were looking for?
TD I've always maintained that power sharing at the executive level has nothing to do with power sharing in the long run. I think power sharing at the executive level is an instrument to create the necessary confidence that can take us forward. If we can demonstrate to the world that the Buthelezis and the de Klerks and the Mandelas, that they are really committed to set aside political differences and that they want to rebuild the country and seek a new dispensation in which we can restructure South Africa and we can get to compromise results and situations, that would inspire confidence, that would inspire economic growth. So I see power sharing at the executive level in the sense of a multi-party democracy, a multi-party executive, or a government of national unity as a step towards economic growth.
POM Would this be something that could be phased out over time as that confidence developed?
TD I have no doubt, you cannot have that in the long run. If I were to be the leader of a minority party I would prefer in the long run to be in the opposition rather than to be caught up, so to speak, in a government with policies with which I do not agree.
POM At one point there was talk about the concept of concurrent voting, that each person would have two votes, one for a party at the national level and one for a party at the regional level and that the two together would make up the composition of a lower house. Did that ever get anywhere or did it just get washed out in negotiations?
TD Well in negotiations we talked about it and we agreed that half of the members in the National Assembly should be elected on a national list and the other half on regional lists, so the essence of what you were saying was there already and I think we also in the concept of regional government and favouring the idea that you should have an elected government at regional level, that would pre-suppose a double voting, that you have a vote at national level and also at regional level. We went further by saying in Working Group 2 that even in the national elections there should be room for it and allowed for some sort of regional representation.
POM Finally, last year before this whole process began you were fairly pessimistic about its prospects. Do you still have that level of pessimism?
TD Was I pessimistic?
POM Yes, I think so.
TD And I'm even now more pessimistic. Well I'm glad to hear that I was pessimistic a year ago.
POM There's a consistency here.
TD Yes at least you have a consistency. No I'm more pessimistic at present.
POM As you look towards the next year do you see continuing stalemate?
TD Well you see the problem is we can't go on like this. The economy is deteriorating, we do not make headway and I do not know what options we have in this regard but the hard fact is that something's got to happen. But we can't go on like this.
POM You don't think when negotiations resume that the government will be in a weaker position say than it was last May when CODESA deadlocked?
TD Well if the government is representing a certain constituency, the government would be in a stronger position because it's constituency is much more, let us say, inclined towards a rather stiff upper lip or a stiff back. There's a hardening of positions.
POM On that note I will thank you very much for your time and it's been well worth it as usual and I look forward to seeing you again.
TD Thank you, and I would like to have a look at what I stated a year ago.
POM Did you not get it? I sent you on a copy, did you not get a copy? I'll send you another copy.
TD I know, you did send me a copy. I'll get it out and see what I said.
POM Thanks Tertius, good night.