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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
08 Jan 1993: Gwala, Harry
Chairperson of the Midlands Regional branch of the ANC and member of the NEC of the ANC and of the Central Committee of the SACP
POM Let me begin in the middle and work backwards. One of the questions that I asked everyone I have interviewed over the last couple of years was whether this was a process about the sharing of power or the transfer of power because every government official that I have spoken to has always said that it is a process about the sharing of power and just about every member of the ANC or SACP that I talked to said it is a process about the transfer of power. Then you had Joe Slovo's article in The African Communist followed by the publication of the draft of the Strategic Perspective followed by an open debate in The African Communist in which you were a participant and then a version of the Strategic Perspective was adopted by the National Working Group on the 18 November and so became ANC policy. Now that seems very much to point in the direction of the ANC being willing not just to share power in an interim government but to consider clauses in the constitution, with sunset clauses perhaps, that would provide for a sharing of power in certain dimensions for a number of years even after an interim government. Would you care to give me your opinion as to the nature of the debate that went on and where you see things standing and, again, coming down to the bottom line, what is this about, sharing or transferring?
HG Well let me start by saying that there's no unanimity on the issue within the ANC itself. I must say that this matter has not yet gone to the regions of the organisation in that it's a document that has not been discussed and adopted, notwithstanding that it has been adopted by the NEC. So it's not a policy document but it has left a lot of criticism because we are not agreed on some specifics in particular the question of transfer and sharing. When you are talking about power, precisely what are we talking about? We are not talking about a constitutional power where you go to the polls and have the party of your choice elected, because that's not yet power because power lies elsewhere. As far as I am concerned power lies in the control of the lives of the people and this control is based on the needs of production of the people themselves. And then the state apparatus, the army, the police. Now in the interim who is going to be controlling that? As far as the army goes, that will still be in the hands of those people who control it now before this transitional period. There will be a very big tussle there.
Now they are not going to solve the question by trying to appease the state apparatus to say we will give handsome pensions and that we want them to be looked after, because that's not how they look at things. They look at things differently. They look at things as a collective, who best serves their interests and those who serve their interests are those who control the wealth of this country. Now until the ANC can definitely take hold of the economy of the country we can't talk of the transfer of power.
In any event the second point on this question of power is, can power be transferred? This will be a unique situation in history where the ruling class comes on to the platform and says here we hand over power to you, in other words power is now transferred to you. I think where gains have been made through the struggle of the people aided by the international community we have been able to push the apartheid regime into the position where it is today, where it says all right let us talk let us talk about one person one vote, etc. I think that is how I see it.
POM Say negotiations were resumed next month, do you think that the ANC negotiators are empowered to negotiate according to the principles laid out in a strategic perspective or does that document have to be ratified at the regional level and at the local level first.
HG I would be happier if before negotiations resume if we, as the NEC, called a special consultative conference of the organisation and get a mandate from the people themselves, the constituencies. I will not be happy to go with a thing which is not receiving the majority support like this one which has been rejected by some regions among them Southern Natal, all the regions of Natal have not gone along with this Strategic Perspective and I believe the other regions have criticised this very strenuously.
POM So do you think it could create problems if the negotiators attempted just to go ahead and negotiate some kind of a settlement that would be based on a power sharing formula?
HG I think if we have real programmes, because where does the power of the African National Congress lie? It lies in the people and if you don't enjoy that power or that support then you are in a very weak position. While on the other hand the government relies on state power, largely a white community in this country. That is our problem.
POM If you could explain the dynamics to me of what was happening over the last six months. You had the stalemate at CODESA followed by Boipatong and the collapse of CODESA, followed by a period of intense hostility between the government and the ANC culminating in the stayaway at the beginning of August and the march on Pretoria, then reaching a climax with the massacre at Bisho. Then you had Mr de Klerk and Mr Mandela getting back together, reaching a Record of Understanding. You've had a meeting in the bush and everyone comes out of the bush apparently smiling and shaking hands and saying the path is open to future negotiations and it would suggest that most obstacles have somehow been dealt with. What's your reading of the dynamics that have been taking place during that period?
HG Well I am not in a position to say how much the government is genuine on these matters. I am aware the ANC is very genuine in the matter. But my problem here is that things which happened before these negotiations took place are still happening. Let me make one observation before I proceed, on the question of Boipatong. I don't think that Boipatong was the real issue because we have had thousands of Boipatongs, worse ones than this. Boipatong was one of those things which added to an exacerbated situation, but fundamentally people were beginning to realise that the government was becoming adamant and that the only way out was to intensify the mass action. As a result of this mass action the government seems to have agreed on certain things to be done, but you can't say because they have that automatically that is so. You must keep on pushing.
Now this brings me to this very important point, that of negotiations and the struggle of the people because there is a tendency to draw a line between the two when essentially negotiations are a product of the struggle itself and they are a part of the struggle. When you talk of negotiations you are talking of another terrain of struggle, not something apart. That is where some people make a mistake. They think that negotiations are a stage, we have reached a certain stage where everything must stand down to let negotiations proceed. It can't be so. I'm from Brandville where the hostel was burnt down and where the police have been harassing people and Inkatha threatens killings and people are being killed right and left, all over. People defend themselves. They consider that part of their struggle. If we tell them everything has changed because they are going into a period of transition they think I'm mad because down on the ground there are no visible changes.
POM Would you say the average black person is worse off today than he or she was in February 1990 when the ANC was unbanned?
HG There are artificial changes. You can live anywhere you like in town. Before 1990 you couldn't, but in theory yes, in practice you can't because there exists economic apartheid. How many people from this area can afford to live in town? You can enter any school, white school, but can you afford the fees there and with the pattern of Bantu education it would put them at a disadvantage. Even in the universities, the old English speaking ones, I don't want to talk about Afrikaner universities, they are still predominantly white dominated despite all the so-called changes. So the nature of the roads here, slum areas, nothing has changed. In fact there are more people unemployed today and there are more hungry children today than there were.
POM Does this create problems for the ANC where in February 1990 the people had such great expectations of what a new South Africa was going to be and yet here we are nearly three years down the road and for the average person things appear to have gotten worse not better?
HG Let me give you an example. In February 1990 Comrade Mandela addressed a mass rally in Durban, there were over two hundred thousand people. He came to Pietermaritzburg and there were about a hundred thousand people he addressed at the stadium. Since then we have hardly managed fifty thousand turn up. The last time there were about sixty thousand when Oliver Tambo and Mandela were in Durban but it was a far cry from that February 1990 because people had high expectations. Now when they saw many things happening, when the security forces where still running loose and doing anything and were not being inhibited, people saw no changes at all except that Mandela spoke to de Klerk and in the kitchen it was just as you were. Fear of inflation, the decaying economy. You understand what I'm trying to say?
POM Yes. Does this put pressure on the ANC to move quickly to get their hands on the levels of power?
HG It does because people are asking themselves, you see you have the Freedom Charter, a simple document which is understood by every lay person. The land shall belong to those who work it, it will be sharing the country's wealth, school doors being opened. Now instead of hearing these things today, the leadership is theorising about that. The theories are so high and so difficult to comprehend so even those who propound these theories get confused themselves. So what do you think of the ordinary people? Until you have addressed the question of jobs, the question of housing and the question of farm labour tenancy and the shortage of land, people are not going to understand. And the harassment by the police and the killings by the killer squads, Inkatha, Gqozo, etc., people are not going to understand you.
POM But if there's more pressure on the ANC to get their hands on the levels of power, it is because their constituency is in a way moving away from them because the ANC hasn't delivered anything tangible yet. Doesn't this simultaneously put pressure on the ANC to compromise?
HG Well it does put pressure on the organisation. But now I think the organisation has got to be very careful. According to that Strategic Perspective it talks of reconciliation, giving and taking. Now that's a strange proposition. What can you expect the ordinary man here to give? He has nothing to give. He has given everything he had and the other people were just taking all the time. So it's a question of these people now giving. We have nothing we can give. We want to receive back. In labour we give everything, land we have no land, land shortage. And here now if you come here at 8 o'clock in the morning and leave about 4 o'clock you won't get water. There's no water here.
POM You won't get water?
HG Water. We don't have water. We've got taps in our yards and when there's a thunderstorm you don't get electricity. Now what do you expect of these people who have nothing to give? We're talking of compromising. What must they compromise? They must compromise their own lives. They have given everything they had. So I don't understand the logic of giving and taking because the person across there has taken away everything and we're left with nothing.
POM I suppose what confuses me a bit is that when we were here in July and August, again from talking to a lot of people in the ANC, one got the impression that had the government accepted the ANC's compromise of 70% veto threshold for the inclusion of items in a constitution that they might have had great difficulty in selling it at the grassroots, that the grassroots felt they hadn't been consulted about what had been going on at CODESA. They wouldn't have understood why there should be 70% veto threshold before an item should be adopted in a Bill of Rights.
HG That was the biggest problem of the organisation because if you move ahead, you know there is a saying by the strategists if you are a leader you must be very careful, don't move too far ahead of your people because you will be cut off from them. Similarly, don't tail behind them because you'll engage in opportunistic methods of struggle trying to interpret what people are saying. Lead, move in front, but with the people. Now you are talking about 70%. This 70% was never discussed with the people themselves, branches, etc. Negotiators up there tend at times to reach agreements which are not tested on the ground.
POM But if they went ahead now and re-entered negotiations and did so on the basis of the document adopted by the National Working Group wouldn't they in fact be repeating the very same mistake all over again?
HG What would happen is what happened in other countries. You think you have arrived at the solutions but people continue struggling and now it will be the leadership that was leading the people yesterday that will be discredited now and the people are saying you are no longer leading us. That sort of problem. And then you'd be forced to adopt what they did in Africa, the so-called one party states because you are afraid of criticism. Look at a man like Kaunda who was an ideal man in Southern Africa but when it went to open elections, gone, finished. We don't want that sort of thing, because he was not testing his credibility on the ground. He always thought that he was speaking for the people when the people knew he was no longer speaking for them. His name was OK there, but it didn't reflect the aspirations of the people.
POM Can I put what you said in the context of your well known support for the Communist Party in Russia as it existed and at the time of the coup I believe that you sent a message of congratulations to the leaders of the coup against Gorbachev.
POM Where is the consistency? I mean I would have seen what Gorbachev was doing was a way of at least opening up, trying to bring people into the process and here you had hundreds of thousands of people, the masses on the streets being confronted by the military, the might of the state and yet you seem to have come down on the side of those who didn't want to listen to the will of the people?
HG That's a good question but that's not the substance of the issue there in the former Soviet Union. The substance of the issue was that Gorbachev was dismantling socialism as apart from what he was calling democracy, but was dismantling socialism and this was precisely what happened. He had the premises out of which the conclusion was drawn and that process came back to Yeltsin, the destruction of socialism. No-one has a quarrel with people expressing their view but the socialist system had to be defended and Gorbachev was not doing that. That is why we said Gorbachev must go.
POM At that point in time would you have thought it more important that hard line communists who didn't believe in democracy re-established themselves in order to protect socialism rather than for the free voice of the people to be heard?
HG I think we should be very careful when you talk of democracy. Precisely what do we mean by democracy? All right, you start from the Greeks who popularised the word democracy, but they didn't have democracy there because slaves were only considered articulated tools. They didn't vote, women didn't vote and the poor peasants in the countryside didn't exercise any vote. It was the democracy of the slave masters. That's what it was. Even under feudalism, the feudal lords enjoyed their form of feudal democracy. Today what do we mean by democracy? You mean ... democracy, as we communists call it, because it is the dictatorship of big capital over everybody. South Africa is run by Anglo American, then comes Sanlam, Old Mutual and about four other people. They control everything here. In Britain what do you find? In the United States what do you find? We're talking about the government of the people as propounded by Abraham Lincoln. He was talking about an idea. I can't be President of the United States even if I like because I've got to put up a lot of money to canvass. Now here when you're talking about the dictatorship of the proletariat as expounded by Marx, Engels and Lenin people get a fright. They think that you'll have a sort of a Hitler who is going to tell you to do this and do that. But it doesn't mean that. You have the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, dictatorship of capital. There's an English saying, 'No penny, no pie'. Now when you are talking about the dictatorship of the proletariat all you are saying is that the working people must decide how the products of their own labour should be administered.
POM But this did not happen in the Soviet Union.
HG It did happen. But from that there grew state bureaucracy and it is these bureaucratic practices - you remember Andropov (the President before Gorbachev). Andropov was a well-meaning somebody and they were always talking about democratising the institutions which was a very good thing because there was a lot of bureaucracy which had to be dismantled. But instead of dismantling bureaucracy Gorbachev wanted to dismantle socialism there. We think that state capitalism, bureaucratic capitalism was something that was a deformed type of socialism. It was not something that Marx or Engels ever propounded.
POM So if you had to contrast what the SACP stands for as against what Eastern European Communist Parties stood for, how would you compare or contrast the differences now between the two?
HG I would say that the problem with Eastern Europe is that the working class there was not as strong as the working class in the western countries. That is why after the Nazis were defeated, except for Czechoslovakia and I think Bulgaria, they didn't straight away form Communist Party governments. They had what they called Fatherland Fronts, Fronts of some kind, Social Democrats, Socialists, etc., etc. As a result of that, that tended to give a deformed type of democracy as we understand it. Now if you take Tsarist Russia, the most autocratic power in Europe of the time so that what came out of it would inherit some of those things. The party of the Soviet Union inherited some of those things, but if socialism were to be established, for instance, in Britain you wouldn't have that because Britain has been a democratic country for a very long time. And France I believe, and the United States. And precisely because the means of production was backward and the political institutions are backward then they tended to affect the party itself. Now when you get the type of socialism where most of the factors that are ripe, then you would have less of this conflict you found in Eastern Europe and Tsarist Russia.
POM You talked about how the ANC had moved away from the very simple Declaration of Principles in the Freedom Charter and you can scrutinise their economic documents today to find even the mention of the word nationalisation. It's as though it became a dirty word and was just gotten there and there is all this emphasis on a mixed economy which essentially follows the precepts of western market driven economy. Do you not find this very far from where your thinking is, what you saw this revolution as being about?
HG I discussed the question of the Freedom Charter in 1990 with Joe Slovo and he told me, by the way the word nationalisation is not there. I was taken aback. I went to have a thorough look in the Freedom Charter, I didn't find it. It's not there. The ANC has never talked of nationalisation. It has used in the Freedom Charter different words. I think the people are confusing the African National Congress with a socialist political organisation. The ANC is a mixed organisation embracing all classes of the people. In those days we used to say 'classes of the oppressed'. That is why the ANC talks of a mixed economy but it certainly does lay emphasis on control. Not controlling every fibre of economy but some certain economies of the country like these monopolies. Surely you can't just let them get away with it? So now as far as the ANC is concerned there will be some control but there will also be free enterprise.
POM So if I was a black person living in this township what should I reasonably be able to expect from an ANC or an alliance government after five years?
HG You should reasonably expect that people must have homes, there must be roads through this area. There must be lighting, there must be water, there must be a sewage system here. There must be schools for all our children. They are expecting that. Everyone would be employed. These are people's expectations.
POM But do you think those will be met within five years?
HG No. Five years is too short. There are too many people and the economy of this country is deformed because it was colour orientated. It's got to cater for everyone now and we are not going to say that we take away the economy from the white people. We won't do that. But we will work it in such a way that you introduce more people into the control of the economy of this country so that production must be ... For example now if you had to go to some farms here and parcel them up into small plots you would destroy the economy because such people can't produce for the market. They have got to take all those things into consideration because people in the cities must get their vote, but people in the country must get their clothes, etc.
POM So are the expectations of the people then still way out of line with the reality that lies there in the future?
HG If people see that something is being done then their expectations will be fulfilled that way. They will see roads being made, they will see water coming into their homes. Not every home gets water or electricity, but they say we are seeing a change for the better rather than that you only find these things in the cities. They can't expect - even in ten years there will still be this deformity I'm talking about. People will understand. They will be engaged in this process themselves.
POM So you see for this whole process to work, to keep people's expectations in line with what's possible, you would very much put the emphasis, if I'm reading you right, on it being a participatory democracy?
HG Yes. There is this crude socialism by the early Christians where they wanted everything together and this poor fellow, I think it was ... , didn't bring them everything and was stoned to death because he and his wife kept something for themselves. It was not the social way we are talking about. But at the same time we are in support of what they were saying, that he who shall not work shall not eat. For your own labour you must see that this is what I've done and this is what I reap out of my own labour. You want a double storey house? You are afraid to do that. You want to live in a flat? You are afraid to do that. But no-one must be inhibited but we must see that everyone works. Not what you find today. There are people who don't even know, who have investments throughout the world, but don't even know how those workers live. If you take Mrs Oppenheimer she probably doesn't know where Pondoland is, but she puts the whole wealth of the country into her pocket. But you know the type of society we are thinking of.
POM Shall we turn for a minute to the situation in Natal where for the better part of ten years now there has been, I suppose you'd call it almost a civil war going on between supporters of first the UDF and then the ANC and Inkatha. How do you characterise that conflict at this point?
HG Well before I say anything I must say that you are the only who has been able to lay one's fingers on the pulse of the issue because people have in a very nauseating way tried to say that there has always been a conflict between ANC and Inkatha, when it is not. Now the whole conflict here was not between UDF and Inkatha, nor is it between the ANC and Inkatha. The conflict is between apartheid on one side, which doesn't want the people to advance and the people on the other side who are trying to push forward to liberate themselves. Organisations like Inkatha, the impis, are merely used as a pawn by the ruling class in this country to uphold their apartheid institutions. The real problem is between the people and the apartheid regime.
POM Buthelezi has a vested interest in holding on to his power and holding on to his territory and a lot of this conflict is about conflict over territory because territory ultimately is equivalent to votes.
HG I think this problem applies to most of the apartheid creatures, like urban councils, mayors, the so-called homelands and all those people who benefit from these corporations. They used to call them BICs, Bantu Industrial Corporations. They have vested interests, they have something to protect so that they become the tools of the apartheid regime. They have got vested interests in apartheid itself.
POM How do you regard Buthelezi?
HG Buthelezi is an instrument of apartheid today because although he tells the people that he didn't take independence, what is the difference except in name? As you know Shakespeare says a rose by any other name will smell the same.
POM But as an instrument of apartheid he sees himself as a very powerful figure. The way he sees himself is not as being an instrument of apartheid but as the ANC and before that the UDF trying to kill his movement and kill his politics.
HG I think he has not moved outside tribalism. He's a type of a person who has read history and then is carried away by imagination, the heroic deeds of Shaka, Cetawayo. He sees himself as one of those, least realising that society changes in the course of time and that is why he talks of his great grandfathers being Prime Ministers. He dreams of that dead past and he has come to believe what he thinks himself. But apart from that, subjectively, he's a very ambitious man. He sees himself as a history maker.
POM But when you get down to the ground, I want to get back to Buthelezi in a minute, but when you get to the ground level, to incidents of violence in townships, sometimes shocking killings, savage, these are people who are operating on very primal fears and emotions. Is that kind of violence here in Natal close to becoming endemic? Is it close to becoming part and parcel of the fabric of the society itself?
HG Yes and no, because if the fires of violence are not stoked by the apartheid regime then there will be no violence because the weapons they use are supplied by the state and invariably the police in particular, they move around with Inkatha when it is going on the offensive. But remove that and Inkatha won't have that capacity. But endemic in one respect because you come and destroy my house and I want to be avenged, I want to destroy yours in turn, but if you can get the right people to stop that then the things will stop, it will not be endemic any more.
POM We have been talking about the war that's going on here. Would you characterise it as a war?
HG It is a war undoubtedly.
POM Now I suppose my problem when you say it's between those who are on the side of apartheid or supported by the apartheid regime versus those who are not, it's too abstract for me. It's like it's people in small shacks killing other people in small shacks, people chasing people out of one area and people claiming bits of territory here and there.
HG It's not exactly that because you get the hit squads, those people don't want to chase you out of your area, they just want to eliminate you. And you get those people who go by night and take people in their houses. It's not a question of driving them out of the area. It's a question of terrorising them so that they must submit. What I should like to mention to you is that where there is no political activity there is hardly any fighting there. Now when I describe it as a war between apartheid and the people you find that this has taken quite a number of forms. Right from the time the Nationalist Party came into power, when they passed the Sabotage Act, the Suppression of Communism Act, then there was a lot of terror in this country, people dying in detention, etc. When people were forcibly removed from their homes, using force, that was a violent action and when MK started stepping up its operations that was an armed struggle by the people in an effort to liberate themselves. And then when the people declared the country ungovernable it was because they said they no longer want to be governed by apartheid and they were right. They were mowed down, they were terrorised, they were locked up, many things happened. It was an apartheid war. Then of course there are forces, surrogate forces like the ... in the Western Cape, like ... in the Eastern Cape, like ... in Kwandebele and ultimately Inkatha in Natal, all those forces were on the side of apartheid.
POM When I talked to Thomas Shabalala who is, at least in literature, called 'a notorious Inkatha warlord', and he would make the case of his people being intimidated and terrorised by the ANC. He talks about democracy, he talks about trying to provide jobs for people, about trying to establish co-operatives for people. At one level you could not get a more reasonable sounding person in the world, there is hardly anything that comes out of his mouth that you would disagree with unless you want to believe that he's really trying to hoodwink you, but he doesn't come across that way. Where would he fit in a conflict like this?
HG I think we must distinguish between what people say and what people do. Even people like Mussolini and Hitler, Mussolini preferred socialism and democracy, Hitler preferred national socialism and he believed so much in democracy but he stifled every democratic exercise in Nazi Germany. Now people like Shabalala have been terrorising people, killing them, have no right to be talking about democracy because that's hypocrisy. You must distinguish between democracy and hypocrisy.
POM Buthelezi has now put out a proposal to draft a constitution for a Natal/KwaZulu state and to hold a referendum on it and he has the support of the Natal National Party to do this. If he were to attempt to have a referendum on such a proposal would you oppose him or would you let him have his way?
HG They can't have a referendum. That would be a farce. A farce because he doesn't have the authority to do so. He is following his minimal support in beating down to the barest minimum and he can't profess to be speaking for the people of Natal when he is rejected all over. Let me give you a few examples. He used to hold his rallies here at the stadium. He dare not now except when he's accompanied by a strong contingent of police, he can't, and he has several problems in Durban itself. Where does he hope to hold this referendum? Who pays allegiance to Inkatha now? Because he has even terrorised people right at Ulundi where houses have been burned down, people threatened and he has asked for their allegiance. Why if he has such a popular organisation do you have to do that, threaten people into submission?
POM Do you see him as having the capacity to be a spoiler? That if he's not accommodated in some way that he has the power and the ability to continue to wage a low level civil war in this part of the country indefinitely and in that way be a destabilising force to a new democracy?
HG He hasn't that capacity. When he tried to open his mouth too wide when it was still PW Botha, Botha warned him and said, "Don't forget the hand that feeds you", and he shut up. Now when he had declared his UDI at Ulundi then de Klerk called off the bluff, [he watered it down to say that ... people's opinion]. He's not that powerful. He can't do that.
POM So do you see him ultimately as being a fairly peripheral person to this whole process?
HG I see him as someone who is going to become just a nuisance more than a force.
POM If today, if say next year there were an election and the level of violence as it is in Natal now continued at that level, could you have free and fair elections?
HG No they wouldn't be free and fair, obviously not. There would be intimidation. But you would rather have some form of intimidation and have elections than have no elections at all or postpone them indefinitely.
POM On the question of amnesty and the proposals that the government had for a blanket amnesty for anyone who might be involved in state crime in the past, I would assume you would oppose that?
HG The government has been so holy that every crime was perpetuated by the terrorists as it were and the government consisted of angels. Why suddenly must they give indemnity to people who have committed no crimes? Because they want to hide the atrocities they committed in this country. We are opposed to such an indemnity.
POM With regard to indemnity, what do you think the ANC should do with regard to the findings in its own report and by Amnesty International that mistreatment and often torture of prisoners, abuse of prisoners, took place in ANC camps? Do you think those people should be identified and expelled from the movement?
HG I think every case should be treated on its merits. I think it's precisely what you see today. Instead of talking about the tortures perpetrated by the ruling class in this country and all the atrocities, you want to divert their attention to what happened in the ANC camps just as you are beginning to say now APLA is trained now in the Transkei because you want to topple the Holomisa government because it doesn't dance to your music. We think that we must understand the circumstances under which people were tortured there and every case must be treated on its merits. There are those people who may need expulsion from the organisation but others may be reprimanded and allowed to continue.
POM Going back to the economy and the difference between political empowerment which comes through having the vote and economic empowerment which comes through sharing of the wealth of the country, the negotiations seem to be tending very much in one direction and that is in the direction of political enfranchisement without very much attention being paid to the need for economic empowerment accompanying it. I was looking for your opinion. Do you think that's true? You have political empowerment on the one hand, which you've talked about, which is the vote and then you have economic empowerment which is something quite different and it's quite possible that things here could move in the direction where you will end up with political empowerment but the concentration of wealth staying where it is with no real redistribution of income taking place. Do you think that sufficient regard is being paid to the second element, the economic empowerment in negotiations?
HG I don't know how much attention has been given to it because I haven't participated in the negotiations myself. But I think for that to succeed, which hasn't been the case before, COSATU and NACTU must be fully involved in the process itself because they are the workshop for the working men and women of this country.
POM So do you think at a restructured CODESA, if that comes about, that COSATU should have a seat at the table in its own right?
HG Yes, it must be included.
POM Are they supported in that by the Communist Party?
HG Yes the party is in favour of that.
POM Is the ANC in favour of it too?
HG The ANC was but I understand the government objected to it, but I think we must fight hard to have COSATU included. You can't have non-existent organisations like the Natal Indian Congress, the Transvaal Indian Congress and yet don't have COSATU there.
POM The first year we came here we heard a lot about the lost generation of youth, those who had come out of the schools during the Soweto uprising in 1976 and those who had followed the call of liberation before education, this huge number of youth who were unemployed and perhaps unemployable, hanging around the townships. Do you think that the radicalism of the PAC could begin to appeal to people like that who don't see anything coming out of negotiations, who don't see anything for them in a new South Africa? How is this problem of a this huge glut of young people dealt with?
HG I think the party has more appeal to the youth than does PAC. The youth has not abandoned PAC because you find a lot of the youth in the ANC Youth League but I think that we must be able to distinguish between PAC and ANC because ANC has got its own history. It was the youth that brought the organisation into what it is today, the Mandela youth, the Oliver Tambo youth, etc. Similarly here, if the ANC goes out of its way it is the youth that says, no this is the line. The youth is playing a very important role in the ANC.
POM So you would see the youth as in some way keeping the leadership of the ANC honest, so to speak?
HG Perhaps to say honest would be an exaggeration.
POM Well, not to take that approach.
HG What I would like to say is that an organisation is like any other organic matter, something that grows and it may even grow old. It must be injected with new blood. I think people of our generation are becoming very old now and we do need jacking up, an injection all the time to keep us going and prepare the way for the younger generation.
POM So as you look towards the next year, what I seem to hear you saying is that Buthelezi is more of a grumbler than a real problem in terms of his capacity to foment and keep violence going. That the way to deal with him ultimately is simply for the government to pull the financial plug on him.
HG We are on an effort now to try and draw him into the fold and I think that's the correct strategy. Say come along, even if he's recalcitrant to do so, but we will say your future lies here, why don't you come along here. Let him find a way out, but that's what we are saying to the Bantustan fellows. You have been used by apartheid but we think you belong here, your future lies with the people.
POM Do you see any real possibility of that working with Buthelezi or will he try to extract some kind of high price for it?
HG Very difficult question. I would not be able to answer that. At first I thought I had the answer but I found that I was mistaken because there must be consistency in human relationships. If we decide on something with you I must know that you will keep your side of the bargain and I will keep mine. But if we change positions all the time it's difficult to locate one another.
POM So do you find him constantly changing?
HG I find him extremely difficult. We had an agreement on January 29, 1991 where he would allow free political association but all that didn't work, just didn't work.
POM Is the IFP free to organise in areas that would be regarded as ANC strongholds?
HG I believe so because this is an ANC stronghold but people haven't got to fight IFP. They hold their offices in town, they move around here commuting between home and town. They are not harassed.
POM On the other hand IFP controlled areas, there would be no room?
HG They don't understand. There's no room for us there.
POM For you at all? To what extent is this conflict one about values, old values, people with traditional values, the older generation which seems to - the traditional chiefs and all that, that seem to support Buthelezi versus the urban young who move in the direction of the ANC?
HG No, they don't support him as such. They support their stomachs. They know where the other side of their slice is buttered. It pays them. You find that most of the chiefs are nothing now. The actual people who matter there are the warlords. And the ANC has never been against chieftaincy. In fact the chiefs were the founders of the organisation and it was the government that removed the chiefs from the ANC in 1951, not the ANC. For example, Chief Mlabe(?) is a member of our regional committee here and he uses the organisation's cars to go out organising the chiefs.
POM Just a couple of last questions and thanks for your time and your patience. Has the SACP formally endorsed the document of Strategic Perspective?
HG I don't think so. We haven't had a Central Committee meeting. Last time we met at the Central Committee meeting this was severely criticised.
POM So do you imagine it will come up again before negotiations resume?
HG It will have to come up.
POM And would you be surprised if it was endorsed?
HG Well if it went to the Central Committee, if it is the same Central Committee that discussed and rejected this, it would come to me as a bolt from the blue.
POM If they endorsed it?
HG If they endorsed it. They rejected it.
POM And will COSATU have to endorse it too as an organisation?
HG I am told, I am not certain, I'm told that COSATU rejected it.
POM Is that right? I didn't know that.
HG You will have to check with them, but that is what I was told.
POM As you see 1993 unfold are you more hopeful about this year, that it's going to be a year of change?
HG I'm very hopeful because I think that the international community wants settlement here and they are not going to put in their money all that easily if there is no settlement and that in itself is forcing the Nationalist Party government to do something about it. No country is an island today and the pressure from the people is going to bring about change in this country.
POM Lastly, going back to the unbanning of the ANC and the SACP, when you look at the alliance's strategy over the last two and a half years, what changes in direction do you detect? Similarly, when you look at the government where it began in February of 1990, what changes in direction can you detect on its side?
HG I think the government, whether we like it or not, is being pushed back from its positions but in doing so the ANC is trying to make some offers in order for the government to be pushed back further. We made offers but the fact of the matter is that it is the people who want the advance and that we are very close to reaching our goal.
POM This is what will be called the multi-million dollar question, if tomorrow morning you have an election and let us say the ANC win it handsomely and form a government, how do you transform the state apparatus? Power still lies in the civil service. Power still lies in the parastatals. How do you bring about a transformation at that level in a fairly quick period of time so as to have an impact on the lives of the people?
HG I think what I seem to see is that there is a rift even within the state apparatus as such. There are those policemen, I don't know much about the army, who feel that change is inevitable and they would rather adapt and I think we should work with those. I think on the bench there are far-sighted judges and those are the judges who we must work with and this should apply to the state apparatus in general. But you still find that core that will hear of no change here, that would rather go it together with the CP and AWB, but they will be the losers because they don't control the power.
POM This is the final question, in negotiations is there one thing which to you is not negotiable?
HG Yes. We have those things which are non-negotiable. Whether we still stick by them I don't know because the question of the wealth is negotiable but the question of putting in a new state apparatus, new police force, new army, etc., is something that is a must. Unless you do that they will not have changed anything.
POM What would you say at the moment are the non-negotiables?
HG Franchise. Who goes to parliament, that is non-negotiable. It's a must that those elected must go there. I cannot think of other things offhand because I think we have done a lot to read into the Freedom Charter. I would have said that the people shall share in the country's wealth is non-negotiable, but I still believe that the question of attending to the economy of the country is a fundamental issue.
POM OK, thank you ever so much for your time. In due course I'll have a transcript made and I'll pass it on to you.