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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
01 Oct 1992: Myeni, Musa
POM Hello Musa. This is Patrick. Did you have time to put something in your stomach?
MM Hello Patrick. So, the long discussed call. You'd better start.
POM Let me start with this weekend and maybe work backwards. You had this meeting between Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk and their Record of Understanding and the way seemed open to the resumption of negotiations and then Dr Buthelezi says he is withdrawing from talks. What's going on with the IFP? What's happening?
MM Well, I wouldn't say there's something going on which is not normal with the IFP. What is happening is that the Communist Party alliance through Mr Mandela and the National Party apartheid regime through Mr de Klerk are now trying to close gaps at the expense of everybody else in the country by agreeing on things that are of a fundamental nature like what form of body will have to draft a new constitution. The two of them have got no mandate, no right to conclude what sort of an organisation or body will draft a new constitution and they are even agreeing that the same body will be responsible for running the country as an interim parliament and you can just imagine what will happen if there is misunderstanding in the administration of the country and the process of drafting a new constitution will be negatively affected. So none of the other parties, in fact, has agreed to that kind of a set up. So these two guys have got no mandate to bind all of us.
To make matters worse, on something else, they have agreed to fence off hostels and those hostels were identified by the ANC and the ANC excluded all hostels which are controlled by their members but listed hostels that are controlled by the IFP and now this is what I call a record of conspiracy because it is now going to really provoke another round of terrible violence. I am just from a meeting now where delegates from all the hostels in the Transvaal tried to meet with the Transvaal Provincial Administration and the meeting broke up as the hostel residents' representatives walked out because the white members of the Administration were simply dictating terms. So our people have resolved (i) not to pay any more rent, (ii) to tear apart whatever fence they are going to put up - just tonight they are going to break down a fence that is already in existence in one of the hostels. And (iii) there is going to be a spate of violence because according to this agreement the police are going to intensify the searching of hostels and the removal of traditional weapons and other dangerous weapons. But now the problem is that this is one-sided. Only one sector is going to be disarmed and fenced off and searched. Houses belonging to ANC people and squatter camps are not going to be subjected to any of these searches, so you can see that our people are perceiving the whole record of so-called understanding as a real conspiracy to kill our people with licence as De Klerk has recently released political prisoners, so-called, who killed our people and now they are out. So this is going to lead to more violence because they are provoking violence deliberately.
POM So is it the official position of the IFP at the moment that if talks, that if CODESA - ?
MM Our official position at the moment is that we have suspended all talks with the government and that we shall make our demands and will only negotiate once we are confident that our demands are being addressed. So, yes, we might have bilateral consultations with the government but we don't think the way for multi-lateral negotiations is already open. So we think that is going to be delayed a little bit until we clear up all kinds of misunderstandings emerging from the 'record of misunderstanding'.
POM So what are the main demands that you would have?
MM Our main demands are that the military wing of the ANC/Communist Party alliance must be disbanded because just now they are busy killing people. Even just yesterday three people were killed by the military wing of the Communist Party alliance and one of the ANC/MK, that is their military man, was injured by his own people when they were attacking businessmen in Durban who are members of the IFP and they kill, and this guy of 65 years of age was also the Chairman of the Lamontville Grange and he was slain yesterday. So we are demanding that the military wing of the Communist Party alliance, that question must be addressed to the satisfaction of all parties and, secondly, we are demanding that the negotiation process must not be conducted on a bilateral level particularly when it comes to the constitutional matters. That must be an issue for multi-lateral negotiations. But thirdly, and very importantly, we are also demanding that not only His Majesty the King, but all other traditional leaders from other ethnic groups, must be represented in such constitutional negotiations. And fourthly, that we must broaden the base for negotiations so that even groups that were not involved initially should be given an opportunity to participate so that whatever will be agreed upon will become binding upon all South African groups. And I think these are very reasonable demands.
POM Now how do you distinguish between your being a member of the IFP and a member of the Zulu nation?
MM Well it's very difficult to distinguish between an American citizen who at the same time is a member of the Republican Party or a Democratic Party. How do you distinguish? Very difficult. Because I am a member of the IFP out of choice. OK, it's a hat that I'm putting on. But I'm a Zulu by birth. I cannot jump out of my Zuluness, nor can an American jump out, but an American can jump out by taking out citizenship of another country. Being American means that you are a citizen of America but if you are Irish and if you are English, if you are Dutch, if you are Russian, you can never jump out of that even if you want to. I'm a South African and that's my nationality. I'm a South African but I'm South African of Zulu extraction and I cannot wish that away.
POM But when you think of yourself do you think of yourself as Zulu first or as a South African first?
MM I'm a South African first of Zulu extraction.
POM I'm going back to the inclusion of the Zulu King, King Zwelithini. If that condition is not met, what are the likely repercussions? Dr Buthelezi has made it quite clear that the Zulu nation will not be party to any agreement made which excludes the Zulu King.
MM As you know at the moment the very largest ethnic group in South Africa is not represented in these talks. KwaZulu government is not party to these talks and the Zulu nation is not party to these talks. Now the IFP itself is not party to these talks. So you are looking at a very major party which is not party to this. Hopefully, I suspect that all these grievances and demands will be addressed and that we can bring back on track multi-lateral negotiations, but the conflict does not lie in the present, it lies in the future because if traditional leaders, not only His Majesty the King of the Zulus, that if traditional leaders are not party to these agreements then you can easily have a long protracted warfare in South Africa of various large groups and small groups going underground resisting what might be seen as the handing over of the country by De Klerk as a timid and frightened person or apartheid must die, handing it over to what will eventually become a Marxist totalitarian rule in South Africa. So we are faced with a situation where such groups will not abide by the decisions that might emerge from a process in which they are not involved.
POM Now I have talked with quite a number of rank and file members of the IFP who are in hostels, particularly in the hostels out in Thokoza, and most of them see the ANC as a Xhosa dominated organisation that wants to establish a one party state and sees the Zulu nation as an obstacle towards achieving that goal. Do you believe that the ANC is primarily a Xhosa dominated organisation?
MM It is indeed Xhosa dominated and we are seeing Xhosa imperialism being promoted through the Communist Party alliance and we are therefore seeing a tribal element becoming more and more pronounced in the present conflict in South Africa.
POM Do you believe that this tribal elements contains within it the ingredients for inter-ethnic war along the lines of, say, the conflict in Yugoslavia?
MM And Nigeria for that matter, yes. Actually just now we are witnessing the invasion and incursions across the border of Natal and Transkei. As you know Transkei is Xhosa. Trained soldiers from the Transkei are being deployed across the border and they kill civilians, unarmed women and children, and then go back to the Transkei. And the ANC and the South African Council of Churches don't even say a thing about that because it suits their interests. So, I am seeing the progression into a major conflict in South Africa becoming more and more complex. With now the new bloc formation I am seeing in the country you are going to have groups that are very diverse in beliefs and in nature, but clubbing together either because of the perceived external danger of a Marxist totalitarian government and then resisting that, or because they furthermore, as a result of that specific threat, believe in a federal formula as the best solution for South Africa. And then that is one bloc as against the other bloc which will be dominated, of course, by the Communist/COSATU/ANC alliance and in between you then have the NP not knowing who to go to bed with, such that some of the members might even slide towards the first bloc which bloc, of course, will consist of something like 42% of whites as of now together with the majority of the Zulu people, the majority of the Tswana people and some 35% or so of the Xhosa people and the majority of the Shangaan people and the majority of the Sotho people and therefore you will have a very major bloc which believes in federalism and totally reject Marxism, socialism, communism.
POM Who do you at this moment count as among your allies, as allies that you can depend on?
MM I've just counted them in fact if you heard me right.
POM I did, yes, but could you identify them by? Would that be Bophuthatswana?
MM Yes Bophuthatswana is one of them. Gazankulu is one of them. Ciskei, for instance, I'm just from Ciskei, we are going to launch our Ciskei branch. I have recruited quite some people already. I have somebody there who is doing a good job for me. And we have also the Sotho people in Qwa Qwa, then Bophuthatswana as I said, and then we have some Indian groups with us. Then we have all the right wing groups, including the already divided CP. All these right wing groups are divided amongst themselves but united with us you see, in a sense, because we are a big tool and they see their salvation coming from us and for your information a lot of white people are terribly, terribly disappointed with Mr de Klerk and even some members of his Cabinet, let alone ordinary members of the NP. So if the right wing groups and other moderate whites realise that Chief Buthelezi and these other allies of ours are standing together, the spill-over effect of that will be to actually influence defections also from the NP for as long as De Klerk continues to pander towards the ANC.
POM What members of the Cabinet would you identify as being disappointed with De Klerk?
MM I am not privileged in fact to identify them but we know for a fact that there is a lot of discontent and some of the people in South Africa even suggesting that the time for Mr de Klerk is up. Change is what everybody wants. Speedy negotiations leading to a stable South Africa is what the majority of the people want but what people don't want is Mr de Klerk handing over the country to the communist alliance.
POM Let me take up the question of Ciskei for a moment, and I've interviewed Brigadier Gqozo on a number of occasions including my last interview with him in August and I've always found him to be -
MM I'm virtually waiting for his call. So he has been trying to call me now.
POM Yes, but I've always found him very forthright and very tough and very passionate in his denunciations of the ANC and the COSATU/SACP alliance. Many people would say that he is a dictator, that he is un-elected, and that as such he doesn't represent really anybody but himself. What would you say to people who say that?
MM Well the question is, have we tested that? Because we know that he has got an organisation called the African Democratic Movement, ADM, and I've seen members of that organisation and I have also seen ordinary Ciskeians who really believe in Brigadier Gqozo, not necessarily because they are members of his movement, but simply because the man, besides the fact that he is a soldier, but the man is a very good guy and a very clear thinking person.
POM The Goldstone Commission just came out today, at least it was reported here today, with a very strong condemnation of the shooting that took place in Ciskei a few weeks ago. What is the IFP position on that, on the shooting that took place outside Bisho?
MM First of all we condemn loss of life, it doesn't matter who causes that loss of life. But also our position is simply that if the communist alliance had heeded pleas and appeals from different groups inside the country and outside the country and stopped their mass action there would not have been any loss of life. Or, at the least, if they had adhered to the conditions of the march but they violated every letter of the conditions and had actually pre-planned the escape on the march from the stadium to the offices of the Ciskeian government, and had it not been for that we believe that Ciskeian defence force members would not have shot at them.
POM Going back to your alliance for a moment. There are many who also say that if the SA government were to simply withdraw its financial support from either KwaZulu, or from the Ciskei, or from Bophuthatswana, or Qwa Qwa, that the regimes there would simply collapse because of lack of financial resources.
MM Well if De Klerk wants to take such punitive measures against those territories then he would be hard pressed to explain why he's not taking the same against Transkei. Is he clearly now siding with the ANC? Transkei has even increased its defence budget and when you increase your defence budget it's because you are anticipating something and not because of inflation only but because you are either preparing for war or you are doing something similar. And Mr de Klerk made a statement a few weeks ago suggesting that military governments must hand over to civilian rulers and it was Holomisa, the military dictator of Transkei, who made a statement telling Mr de Klerk that he was not prepared to hand over power to any civilian government because he did not get permission from Mr de Klerk to organise a coup d'etat in the Transkei which put him into power and Mr de Klerk didn't do anything about those things.
POM Let me say, for example, that the SA government were to try to take some action against Brigadier Gqozo either to try to force him to abdicate or to replace him with somebody else that they were more in tune with, would the IFP have a position on that?
MM On the replacement of Brigadier Gqozo? By whom?
POM If the De Klerk government tried to either have him removed from power one way or another.
MM Of course there would be little that we could do but we would still raise hell for Mr de Klerk because he would have to do the same with Holomisa in the Transkei. Because even Holomisa, I can assure you, he does not enjoy the support of the Transkeians despite his affiliation to the ANC.
POM When people say that all the government has to do to pull the independent states and the homelands into line is really to threaten to pull the financial plug, can they pull them into line by doing that or do either the independent states or the homelands have the means to organise resistance to the government without having the financial resources of the SA government at their disposal?
MM Yes, well, there is a potential, definitely we re going to see some confrontation if Mr de Klerk goes ahead with all these agreements he's signed with Mr Mandela. Then the capacity of each one of these homelands to resist varies from one territory to another, but we believe that we will have to work hard to actually prevent such a thing from happening.
POM Why have things gotten worse, do you think, between the IFP and the ANC over the last two years? Is it my imagination but every year I go back the relationship between the two organisations and Dr Buthelezi and Mr Mandela seem to be getting worse all the time, not to be improving?
MM Well I actually missed the other part of your question.
POM If one looks at the last two years, since Mandela has been released, the relationship between the ANC and the IFP has been steadily getting worse and nothing seems to bring the two parties to a mutual accommodation.
MM The Communist Party alliance wants to be the only one and they are shooting their way into power. It's as simple as all that. To date, 230 leaders of the IFP have been assassinated.
POM What do you see as necessary to happen to bring a stop to the bloodshed and for you and the ANC to reach some accommodation so you both can move together into a new South Africa?
MM For instance, Mandela needs to talk more and more to Chief Buthelezi than to De Klerk. That's number one. Number two, there is a need for more and more talks at junior or middle regional level of leadership of both organisations because those are the people who are actually in charge of those who do the fighting on the ground. Even if they are not fighting, the ANC is not fighting, it's only killing. That's all. It kills innocent civilians, and then they are just faceless people; you don't even know who they are. They come, they are even wearing sometimes uniforms of the SA defence force or the SA police.
POM Why do you think it is that in the international community Inkatha seems to get blamed for a lot more of the violence than does the ANC? Why do you think it is that in the international media Inkatha always seems to get more of the blame for the violence than the ANC?
MM Oh well the ANC is well represented in the media circles and the distortion of the news is alarming. Secondly, it is probably the view of certain groups that the ANC is going to be the next government, they may as well try to be nice to them. They are busy promoting the ANC. But also, thirdly, quite often the IFP gets accused of murders and killings and then only to find that at a later stage the actual killers are discovered and they are not IFP. And then the media does not correct the first false stories reported Then researchers who go around trying to audit violence in South Africa then don't check the reality about who actually did what. They do their research in the archives of these newspapers and concentrate on the original reports. And then, I think, finally, in the past when the ANC would attack the IFP they would kill, say, two or three people and it would not be news, but when the IFP then reacts it will then kill 20 and then that becomes big news. So the ANC has always cleverly and deliberately provoked the IFP in a pre-calculated manner knowing what reaction the IFP is likely to mount and this is what would make the news.
POM Do you see consultations between the IFP and Dr Buthelezi and the government taking place in the near future or are you going to have another period of - ?
MM It's difficult to guess what is going to happen but I think there is now hardening of attitudes among the IFP people and the leadership and also generally Zulu people are saying they have had enough. So I can just see some confrontation, real confrontation now emerging.
POM So you see more violence emerging rather than less violence?
MM Yes unfortunately.
POM Is there any way in this kind of atmosphere that you could ever even contemplate having elections? I know you attended that conference at Mount Etjo last year and that was one of the questions: can you have free and fair elections in a climate of intimidation and violence?
MM The violence is still going to continue but what I'm saying is that the right wing groups are likely to join the conflict at any stage and what you have seen so far will then look like a Sunday School picnic. By the way it will be interesting to know what has happened in Angola with the elections. Have you got the results?
POM I don't, no. What happened?
MM I don't know yet. The last time they announced they were still counting. At any rate we can continue on our topic. I suspect that more and more groups are going to resist the government and the ANC and Mr de Klerk has got to be more sensitive and stop flirting around and pandering like a frightened little schoolboy to Mandela, his principal.
POM Since Mandela has been released, I am sure you shared the joy of all South Africans on the 9th February 1990 when he was released, how would you assess his performance?
MM I was very grateful for him and I expected him to rise above the communist confines but unfortunately the communist Generals have in fact controlled his movements.
POM When you talk about the communist Generals, who specifically do you look at?
MM As you know the Communist Party, as far as we can now assess, has taken over the ANC so I think it is erroneous to call it an ANC alliance, it is more accurate to call it a communist alliance because most of the people even in the so-called marches are wearing red T-shirts with the sickle and whatever, and the star and so forth. When you look at the top leadership structures of the ANC you then discover who is who.
POM So who would you point to specifically as being the people who are really in control of the ANC who are communists?
MM In the alliance? Ronnie Kasrils, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Jeremy Cronin, all those are seasoned communists. Cyril Ramaphosa, the Secretary General, but not really a communist, and then they have people like Gill Marcus and so forth. And all these people are very influential.
POM So do you see Cyril Ramaphosa as being somebody who has lost influence over the last year?
MM Well he is seen as a good negotiator for sure with his trade union background but some people think, the militants think, that he is too soft for their liking.
POM Are there people in the ANC that you think you could deal with? That you could reach an accord?
MM Yes, yes. There are just a handful of people who I think could do a better job.
POM Could you just identify some of those? It just helps me because I may go back and I have already interviewed them and it's good to make points of connection.
MM I'm collapsing on this side now. I missed your question. I was drowsing.
POM I'll only keep you another couple of minutes. Who in the ANC do you think that you could do business with, that you could sit down with?
MM There are a few guys like Thabo Mbeki. I could do business with him. And a few others who are not as prominent as Chris Hani. I could do business with Mandela if Mandela could become a real leader instead of listening to these communist cronies.
POM So you'd have Thabo and you'd have Mandela. How about Cyril?
MM Yes Cyril, but at the same time I foresee a situation where these same people I'm mentioning might remain with what you might consider the ANC and the rest will move away with the Communist Party.
POM So how would you, at this point, define the essential differences between yourself and the ANC?
MM There are many. Fundamentally we believe in a federal formula with devolution of power from the centre to the regions thereby having strong regional government. In fact we believe in an upward devolution so that the centre should never be in a position where it decides to take away certain powers from the regions and can do so with impunity. And then, secondly, we believe in multi-party democracy in the true sense of it where people and the sovereignty of the people will be restored to the people and people can elect governments into power and be able to remove them from power, whereas on the other hand the ANC believes in a strong central government with some kind of central planning and may be modified after debating with all of us and challenging them and so maybe they've learnt something. But they also believe in a strong central government with no strong regions. They also believe in some type of democracy which is foreign to you and me. They allow smaller parties to exist but all of them living under a very big unchallengeable party and that should be them, themselves. We also believe in peaceful co-existence and peaceful change. They believe in shooting their way into power and making sure that everybody lives under their fear. All these things can be overcome and I think their communist leanings can be also adulterated somehow and therefore can be overcome and I believe that where we cannot close gaps we will then have to resort to the principle of peaceful co-existence and I think those are the fundamental differences with very little similarities between ourselves.
POM You, I know, in CODESA were insisting on, I think, an 80% special majority for - ?
MM Well in terms of how the new constitution should be structured, and how a new South Africa will change or amend its constitution, we wanted the biggest possible percentage which was 75% by which the country can change its constitution. The ANC wanted a lower percentage because we believe that it probably calculated, but I suspect that it miscalculated, but it calculated just how many allies it has and what these allies will constitute in percentage terms in an elected Constituent Assembly and thereby agreeing first of all on a new constitution but as soon as they come into power, if they should do so, and then change the constitution completely and make it a Marxist constitution and everybody else will be out by then. So we wanted to make sure that we secured the biggest percentage from the population.
POM Just to wrap up, my understanding from the Record of Understand is that there won't be a full interim constitution drawn up at CODESA any longer, just some general principles laid out and that it will be the elected Constituent Assembly that will in fact draw up the constitution.
MM Yes that is what they want but we are just expressing a word of caution because if you are going to leave out a number of groups, the smaller groups, from the constitution making body, then you are already creating a fertile platform or ground for future conflict. We believe that the constitution making process should be all inclusive.
POM What is the one thing, and this is the final question, that you think the IFP would find it impossible or near impossible to compromise on? What's your bottom line?
MM Such as what? Compromise on what?
POM In terms of negotiations what are the things that are so important to you as a party?
MM Federalism is one and we are not going to compromise on that one. Secondly, we are not going to compromise on the question of a free market economy with minimum state intervention and, if possible, if such a thing could be guaranteed in the constitution, but I don't think it will be because it is not normal for such things to be guaranteed by constitutions. But we want to rest assured that economic freedom will be protected by the constitution of the land and to us that is very fundamental.
POM How about the inclusion of King Zwelithini in the negotiating process itself? At some point does that become a demand that must be met, the inclusion of the King at the talks?
MM Well that is for negotiations, only for negotiations. But I was going beyond that, so that one, we believe, will have to be debated very hotly. We have already been participating in these talks without His Majesty but now that things have changed we might actually make it a pre-condition.
POM Do you think that there can be a peaceful, stable South Africa under a new constitution if there are constitutional arrangements agreed to at CODESA between the two major parties, like the government and the ANC, that do not have the support of the Zulu King and the Zulu nation?
MM Well if one wants stability, of course one would have to ensure that traditional leaders, like in Natal we have about 200 Amakosi or Chiefs under the King and they are still in charge of vast rural areas and for stability, for the sake of stability one has got to address their future role during these constitutional negotiations. In the absence of all this I suspect that one is going to see a lot of unguided expressions of anger from all over and there will be more and more conflict.
POM I thought an agreement had been reached, at least the Financial Mail I remember last April reported that agreement had been reached that traditional leaders would be represented by four delegations based on provincial lines and that King Goodwill would lead the Natal delegation.
MM There were certain agreements made but there was no final decision taken so one can revive those clauses and maybe we can build on that, make a kind of agreement.
POM I know it's very, very late your time and I really appreciate your staying up to talk to me even though you are falling asleep.
MM Yes I'm falling asleep. I had a very long day and I'm speaking from my bed. This is why I'm collapsing. If I was in my office it would be difficult to collapse.
POM Well I'll say goodnight, thank you very much and I will talk to you some time in the new year.
MM Whenever you want Patrick, you're most welcome and may God bless you.
POM Thank you ever so much. Goodnight now.