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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
17 Nov 1993: De Tolly, Jenny
POM A good place to start, the difference between the perspective somebody has who is totally involved in something and the perspective one gets on it when one is more removed from the scene. We were talking about the Wilton Park Conference. What were the specific things that stood out for you in terms of divergence of view, of what you would have had from somebody on the ground here all the time and the view of people more removed from the scene?
POM But you were saying that British academics in particular, or the frontline states were saying, don't fall for the economic appeal of Derek Keys and Trevor Manuel or whatever, send your money here and we will become the economic engine of Africa. They were saying give it to us and we will take care of ourselves.
JDT Yes. They are all saying that a resolution to South Africa's conflict is absolutely essential to stability and growth in their countries. What I was a little bit worried about was that people like the Namibians seem to be saying once the ANC is in power our lot is going to be a better one in Namibia. There were expectations of a new government being more financially giving and helpful economically to the frontline states, sort of an assumption that a black government would be more kindly disposed to helping them toward economic recovery. Now obviously it's going to be fundamentally different than the relationship they've had with the government we've had now, we don't have to repeat these things endlessly but which has destabilised and ruined them in a lot of instances. But I quite worry about that because I think that South Africa is going to have so many economic problems to address within the country itself that to be realistic about it the country is not just suddenly going to become the fairy godmother and wave the wand and there's going to be economic recovery. I think that certainly recognising the fact that the health of the region is important to the health of South Africa and vice versa is crucial but there just seem to be quite large expectations of a much fairer deal and I quite worry about that because of the demands we're going to have to be meeting at home.
POM When you look back at the process that has taken place now over three years and that seems to be culminating today or tomorrow ...
JDT Amazing isn't it?
POM Are you amazed that it has come this far in three years or do you get the sense that some of the major issues involving the Constitutional Court, the deadlock breaking mechanisms and the like have been either shelved or not dealt with adequately and so that they would present problems in a future government?
JDT Well I would hope that the arrangements that have been agreed to by now are indeed interim ones and that some sort of process of making the final constitution and the final Bill of Rights will be done in less of a rush and will, I don't know how you consult with people more broadly, but what we've had out of necessity because of the time frames is an accord of elites, that's the deal that's been struck. I think it's terribly important that that deal be sold to the people of this country because we generally have been totally excluded from the process.
POM In fact as time went on and the deadline drew nearer it became clearer and clearer that this was a process that really involved just the ANC and the government and that everybody else was peripheral despite references to sufficient consensus and whatever.
JDT Well there were certainly endless attempts at bilaterals. I suppose really if one is being cynical about it, the bilaterals were a case of the ANC and the government getting the others to agree to what they had agreed upon. I think that this process needs to be opened out a lot more. Some of the contentious things like the court, I think that's been rushed through at an incredible rate, and quite a lot of the agreements I wonder if they are going to be able to stick. I am personally very thrilled that the customary law, the suspension of the equality clause in favour of customary law has been removed but there might well be a lot of tribal leaders who are pretty mad about that so quite a lot of convincing is going to have to happen in the interim. I don't know, I just quite worry about an agreement that has taken place in such a tiny, tiny circle but I think it has been very pragmatic and I really think it is quite astonishing what has been achieved. I get some hope from it in that some of the pieces of legislation that have come out of this process according to our analysis are actually quite good pieces of legislation given the sort of time frames and the pressures and things like that, things like the Electoral Act, the (I've forgotten the names of the Acts) but the ones around the media as well. According to those in Sash who have analysed it they have actually been quite good pieces of legislation. This is all happening in a ridiculous time frame, an absolutely ridiculous time frame. It's got to happen.
POM I just want to go back to the Constitutional Court for a minute because it struck me that at the heart of the process is the Constitutional Court and essentially the government of the day has been given the authority to pack that court whatever way it wishes which in a sense undermines the whole basis of both the constitution and the other arms of government.
JDT It's pretty scary. That one's pretty scary. One is still absorbing it and hoping you can fight it.
POM Do you think people are at a point where they say, "Just let's get on with it" and they are prepared to let a lot of things go by the way that they would not have let go by the way a year ago?
POM They are just sick and tired and say we've got to move from where we are?
JDT Yes, there has been a very, very real sense of desperation, a sense that let's try and strike some kind of a deal, let's try and let's hope it will be as right as it can be but let's just get on with this interim process and let's just get to an election. Yes, there has been a very, very real sense of desperation now. Let's hope that that election does resolve some of the issues. Let's hope that that election first of all shows well enough that it can be considered reasonably free and fair and that it gives some legitimacy to authority because at the moment we're living with these broken down structures of administration that are kind of floating around in a vacuum and it's part of the instability that we feel. At a local government level, just as one example, they don't know which way to turn because they don't know who is going to be the authority, who is going to take what kind of responsibility, who is going to have a job? And I think that's repeated in a lot of different sort of structures. So I'm saying the structure of government and authority to that structure of government needs to be settled so that one can get some form of stability. Now, of course, whether it's settled in a way that's going to help us attain accountability, openness, transparency, democracy, all those things that we've been fighting for, is a question because at the moment we're trading stability for democratic process.
POM On the one hand it seems to be like you've got two South Africas, you've got the South Africa of Kempton Park where elites come together and try to hammer out a deal and then the population at large you have the South Africa of the East Rand and Natal where the violence is increasing rather than diminishing and the two seem unconnected in some way. If the Freedom Alliance stays outside the process, so you think that poses a real threat to the stability of any future government that might emerge?
JDT Yes I suppose it certainly would.
POM Do you think that Buthelezi has the capacity to be a real spoiler?
POM And that if he stays outside the process you have an ongoing, low intensity civil war in Natal, you certainly won't make the country very attractive for foreign investors who are going to sit back and see what happens?
JDT Well I certainly think he does have the capacity to be a spoiler. I think he is being a spoiler and I suppose I would understand it from his point of view. There seems to be a large group within Inkatha who is preparing for elections and I would like to think that a lot of his tactics at the moment have to do with winning as much ground now before an election as he can in terms of concessions, in terms of federalism. Well he's lost the one on the two phase process because the two phase process is going to go ahead. I don't see them being able to stop that in its track. It's not going to be a one phase process it seems to me.
POM It seems that he has lost on federalism too to the extent, at least my understanding of what they finally agreed to which is sometimes very difficult to understand.
JDT Have you understood what they've agreed to?
POM Powers will be devolved to the regions and entrenched in the constitution and whatever. The centre would have the right to override the regions, which is not federalism in the true sense of the word.
JDT No it's certainly not federalism in the true sense of the word but it certainly is a huge step away from the sort of centralisation that the ANC envisaged when it started the whole process of negotiations. That is what for me has been quite remarkable, is the degree to which so many concessions have been given to reach this kind of talk that we have now.
POM If you had to just look at that, looking at the process particularly since last year when it broke down in June, what do you see as being the major concessions made by government and the major concessions made by the ANC?
JDT I don't know that I have analysed this enough. I think that certainly for me the issue of regionalism as a concession on the part of the ANC has been a big one. Now what has the government conceded because they have been incredibly clever in this whole process? It looks like they are giving all kinds of things but they give absolutely nothing. I am sorry I haven't actually thought hard enough about what the government has conceded. When I think about it I'll let you know.
POM Does it concern you that de Klerk's base seems to have eroded in the last year? That polls show that perhaps one out of four voters who voted for him in 1989 would vote for him today? Some polls put his level of support at about 11%, that in fact his constituency has either disintegrated or fragmented to such an extent that he may not even speak for the white community?
JDT Does that concern me? Well, no. I never thought he did. He spoke for a section of the white community in the eighties. I suppose he reflected the majority of the white community but in years before if you looked at the numbers that he was representing, that the Nationalist Party was representing, it wasn't that huge. Anyway the problem is that he didn't represent me so I don't care.
POM What do you think happens to the white constituency? Does some go to the Democratic Party but there seems to be no rush in that direction?
JDT It's going to be hugely split because after all what white people are being asked to do in an election like this is to recognise and to vote for the disappearance of their privilege. So for most white people, except those who believe that what they've had up until now is terribly unfair anyway, it's actually hugely problematic. I don't know that they would know who to vote for because also I'll tell you what is very difficult at the moment is that I don't think anybody's policy is clear. This election isn't about parties and policy it's about transfer of power. It's called sharing of power and there will be a degree of sharing of power but I actually see it as a changing of the guard in a way. That's the way it seems to be heading.
POM That changing of the guard will face unprecedented economic problems, social problems with the level of expectations out there particularly in the African community that shows no signs of diminishing.
JDT I want to disagree with you on that last one because people keep on saying this. It's quite interesting in the voter education that we've been doing. Initially people's reaction is very much "Why bother?" And it's quite interesting when they start to realise what a vote could mean and largely they seem to say it's according me recognition of being a person. It's recognising my right, it's recognising my humanity. I think most of them aren't expecting one hell of a lot out of this.
POM I'm talking in particular about a poll done by the International Republican Institute whose results were released a couple of weeks back and they did a whole series of questions on expectations and something like 92% of Africans thought that housing would get much better, 80% thought that there would be more employment opportunities. They were unrealistic in that sense.
JDT The people we've been dealing with, let me put it this way and maybe rural women who are quite a few of them, they are hoping but I think they are quite wary. Of course there are expectations. I'm just saying I think if somebody came and questioned me of course I'd tell them what my hopes were. I'm just saying I wonder how many of them really believe it because we're getting a kind of - well it would be nice, but I wonder, I really wonder.
POM Do you find differences in attitudes between rural woman and urban women?
JDT The sort of people that we are dealing with is maybe an unfair example because the people we are doing the bulk of our voter education with, we're doing them in our queues every morning, now that's people who are coming, who are right at the bottom of the socio-economic scale, they are trying to gather the last pennies they possibly can. We're dealing with rural women, we're actually training rural women to be voter educators in the Transvaal and here and we are in Johannesburg in particular doing workshops with domestic workers, about 80 a week. I think that profile of people is obviously very different from a lot of the urbanised blacks that maybe are reflected in those polls. I'm obviously coming from a particular perspective because of the people that we generally reach out to.
POM Could you talk about that sector for a couple of minutes? What they think the process is about? Again, what they expect from it? Whether they favour a majority government or power sharing or a government of national unity or what?
JDT I think all of those concepts are actually not part necessarily of their understanding. Let me give you a tiny little example. When Jill de Vlecht did the first training session with 45 women from rural communities in the Transvaal they spent the first day having talks on the various aspects of the vote, secrecy of the vote. We can't, obviously because we don't have an Electoral Act, go into finer detail but just the whole notion of democracy, etc. The second day these women practised and you know the famous stories about African time, they were due to start at nine. Jill arrived at a quarter to nine and these women had been practising since half past eight. At the end of the process Jill did a little wrap up and asked them to just say how they were feeling about what they had learnt, whether they felt able to go back into their communities and this one woman said, "I come to these workshops quite often because I'm a leader in my community but I can't read or write and very often I leave feeling quite stupid but this time you've made me very full and I want to go home and I want to share my fullness with my community."
What I'm saying is that a lot of our voter education is a beginning step of empowerment. Now I know empowerment is one of those kind of words that sometimes means nothing but it has been that with a lot of the people we're dealing with because most of the people that we're dealing with are semi-literate. So it's the beginning of the whole process of becoming citizens so issues about majorities and the finer points of constitutions are just a very long way from the kind of people that we're dealing with. We're dealing with the beginnings of civil society so ours is a very different experience and quite insulated in its own way but incredibly rewarding also because it's particularly those women and particularly that empowerment that we've found as a very nice way of beginning the whole process of human rights education. The vote has actually been an incredibly important first step into human rights education.
POM In rural areas who takes the lead in things like voter education programmes? Is it the women or the men?
JDT We have been targeting specifically women. I'm not terribly sure what's happening with other groupings who are doing voter education. I just know that Randy Erentzen was at this same conference at Wilton Park as I was and when questioned about who is dealing with the women and who is dealing with rural women he cited the Black Sash which gave me a bit of a fright because I had assumed that there were hundreds of others in there doing the same thing. So I'm hoping it's more than us because we are actually draining a lot of our resources to do voter education but we are certainly not reaching the millions. We're just doing what we can with the resources that we have. But we have gone specifically through, in the Johannesburg case, as you might know the Transvaal Rural Action Committee was part of the Black Sash, we've reared it, we've sent it off on its own and the woman who formed the Rural Women's Movement, it is the women she is working with who were our contact into those communities and continue to be our contact into those communities. A lot of our work is starting to become more gender specific in terms of working with them. And similarly with the domestic workers we deliberately targeted domestic workers because we wanted to work with women because we realised that those are the people who are going to be left out of this process. So, yes, my perspective is very specific.
POM Last December the Star ran an editorial that said, "The government is discredited and divided, the military may mutiny, Buthelezi wants secession and APLA threatens a race war. De Klerk fiddles while South Africa burns." The year before that in March of 1992 de Klerk was riding the crest of popularity after his smashing victory in the referendum. What has happened that has led to this lack of trust in him? I remember when I came here three years ago many blacks in the townships would talk about 'Comrade de Klerk'. They certainly don't talk about that today. What do you think has happened in the last year to undermine both his authority and his credibility and the sense of trust even that members of his own community had in him?
JDT In terms of perceptions of black people of de Klerk I think the things that have happened in the past couple of years that have maybe undermined that respect have had to do with the fact that he will not and cannot distance himself from the military and the fact that the military still seems, or elements of the military because you can never make these blanket statements any more, elements of the military still seem to go on doing their own thing. Last time we were talking about Bisho and the fact that the ANC had really used Bisho to quite good effect but things like Bisho undermined de Klerk's credibility hugely because he is always associated with it, he's always made responsible for these things. The most recent incident which was the massacre of those Transkei kids, the fact that he said that he supported that raid does huge damage to him. That raid, well we'll unpack it in the long term, but certainly the reports that we got immediately after it from the team from Lawyers for Human Rights that went to investigate was that those youngsters, I think the oldest was 19, were sleeping, that given the way the bullets were fired they could not have tried to resist or to shoot the police and the fact that he supported that in the press and continued to support that did him huge discredit. It also made such a mockery a few days later of the Peace Prize.
POM When you say that he will not and cannot distance himself from the military, how would you distinguish between the two? As his base of support disappears is he more reliant on the military to prop him up because if he loses the army he loses everything?
JDT No. Look, I don't think so. I think that in trying to maintain cohesion in the Nationalist Party has been extremely difficult because there is such a divergence between the negotiators and those who still want to fight it out. And I think he's still trying to retain that cohesion. About a year, maybe 18 months ago, there was very real fear around of military coups. Now that is not spoken of any more generally and I think there has been an erosion of military power. I think that he's actually just trying to keep all of those people on board still because otherwise who is the Nationalist Party? It's even tinier than it was before. Now I think he made some of that choice when he decided to negotiate anyway but I think he's been trying to hold that bit together and clearly there are elements of it that don't see it his way, within his Cabinet too.
POM I've heard a lot about that and asked some Ministers who I've interviewed about who are the hawks and who are the doves. Hernus Kriel would readily identify himself as being a hawk. People like Meyer would readily identify themselves as being doves and there was a lot of talk of the fragmentation of the party, the divisiveness within the party itself and talk of how there might be defections to the right, to COSAG or to whatever and yet when the vote came on the TEC, to a person the National Party all voted with the Whip. There was no divisiveness, there were no defections.
JDT They must be stunning lobbyists. Wow! I wonder what they offered. It was close though. There was a lot of talk before that but none of it materialised.
POM None of it materialised.
JDT Well you know they've taken the blood oath haven't they?
POM When Mandela says, as he said over the weekend, that de Klerk would not be part of the next government because he was insensitive to the quality of black lives and had no concern for the quality of black lives, would you see that as a divisive statement?
JDT I would see it as a typical politician talking out of both sides of his mouth to whatever constituency is there. It's all part of electioneering. It's a ridiculous situation isn't it? That you are negotiating on the one hand and electioneering on the other. So on the one hand you're trying to get agreement on things, on the other hand you're going round slamming one another. They must either regard it as an incredible game or be totally schizophrenic. I mean how do you sit down with somebody you've said the most appalling things about the day before and negotiate a deal? I don't know because that's not the way I operate. I think we might need a lot of psychotherapists after this schizophrenic politician. Some of that happened, I only arrived back on Saturday morning, 10 days in the life of South Africa is a long time. When I went to Wilton Park I had just prepared my paper and I left on Monday 1st and I delivered this paper about the 10th draft of the Bill of Rights (well we're on to number 19 already) so a lot of the things I was stamping my feet about like the customary law clause had gone. I had to warn them that I could be talking a lot of rubbish because it could well be gone by the end of the week. So, yes, it's moving so fast that the ground under you just doesn't stay very still and it's quite difficult to react with any accuracy because unless you're right inside some of these places it's also been very hard to get the information, for instance on the Bill of Rights, and this is the bit I'm talking about in terms of transparency and accountability.
On the Bill of Rights the drafting committee did a briefing for us after draft 9, the Technical Committee, and were very concerned about the fact they had been told not to talk to the press at all, that this process was going to be one of deals and that they had to shut up, that it would be dealt with by the political parties and I think that's pretty serious. We happened to work extremely hard to get those drafts and because we knew some of those people on the Technical Committee we would and we could comment on them and I think the Sash and Lawyers for Human Rights were the only people who made comment to the first 8 drafts. After that the Bar made a comment and the Judges made a comment and very late in the process the ANC and NP started to make comments. I think they only started to come in after about draft 6. I'm just saying the process has been quite awkward and very excluding.
POM But the ANC and the NP would have been the two parties who would in fact have instructed a Technical Committee not to talk to the press?
JDT I'm not sure exactly who told them and I certainly want to find out. But what they said to us at this meeting, which was perfectly public, was that they had been told by the negotiating parties that they were not to talk to the press. One of the problems with this whole process is that as each round of negotiations has been held statements have come out from different parties so you will very often get quite different points of view because you are getting the NP perception of what they have negotiated and the ANC's position of what they have negotiated so it's actually been a very closed process. I think also that the press has not made an effort to make the process transparent, maybe because the press was as confused as everybody else. I'm sorry I don't know how I got on to that.
POM That's all right. Keep going.
JDT It's just because I am terribly concerned about the lack of transparency.
POM Two days ago one saw the DP absolutely go ballistic over the Constitutional Court and how if this stayed as it was they would walk out and they would not be party to it and yet yesterday essentially they became a party to it.
JDT By remaining in the process even though they wouldn't vote for it you mean?
POM By remaining in the process and not saying this is an issue of such fundamental importance as that, but we take our stand. They had this clause added to the Bill which could be taken to mean anything.
JDT That's actually terrible.
POM So what worries me is all this vagueness which will give rise to differences of interpretation in the months to come where each side thought it was getting what it wanted in some way, was being accommodated where in fact not everyone can be.
JDT Well I'm presuming that that's what the next five years are about, trying to sort out those issues and which ones do finally get included and that's why the process has got to broaden out and more clarity has got to be got on a lot of these issues because what's also going to be interesting, I realise understand my myopia, and that is that we have focused not so much on the constitution in general but on the Bill of Rights in particular because that is where our interest is. As that Bill of Rights starts to get tested, and again this is where the Constitutional Court is critical, and as those bills start to get interpreted in legislation I think there's going to be a need for enormous vigilance because as we all know a bill's intent can be totally destroyed by the way in which it is either legislated or administrated.
That's what a lot of the Black Sash's work has been about, especially over the last eight years, in terms of the fact that in law it says you're entitled to a pension and administratively it doesn't happen. So I am saying that Bills of Rights are only one tiny part of making sure that people down on the ground are getting access to those rights. So I think not only what is written in those documents but the way in which those documents are effected is critical and that's where we would see organisations like ourselves playing a part because that is certainly what we've been doing quite intensively over the past four years, is picking up the patterns and the trends that arise from the 38,000 cases we see a year in our Advice Offices, analysing them and then looking at the reasons why those things are happening, whether there are any administrative or legislative roots to it and then trying to iron those things out and make suggestions about policy. For instance, pensions is a typical case of the work that we have done and trying to make recommendations about policy on pensions.
The stuff that we're involved in now through our Advice Offices, it's broadened out, it's the whole social welfare issue in this country and how social welfare is going to be dealt with in the future. So I am saying the Bill of Rights is only one little part of a whole process of bringing rights to people and that there are many ways of doing it. I think the educational route which, as I was saying the whole issue of voter education has been a very useful first step, but historically our role in that kind of thing has been that these Advice Offices are not for us to give people advice but to give people access to information about their rights so that they can make the decisions that they need to take. So I think that there's going to be a huge ongoing educational role about people's rights because they're going to change fundamentally with that Bill of Rights and assisting people in claiming those rights. So I am just saying there are a lot of processes that happen from a Bill of Rights.
POM Let's talk for a minute about the violence. We talked to Bishop Tutu yesterday and on the one hand he was saying that a report had come out that if you take the East Rand or Natal they are really the only two places where violence has been on the increase, the rest of the country is relatively peaceful. Yet overall the level of violence is going up it's not going down. One, do you think you can have free and fair elections in places like Natal or the East Rand if the level of violence continues at these high levels? And two, how does a new government, or the TEC and the government, go about trying to bring under control the level of violence in places like Thokoza?
JDT Whether one can have free and fair elections is obviously something that we're all asking ourselves in those two particular areas. Now it's quite intriguing as to what constitutes a free and fair election. I spent an evening, a dinner, with the people who had come to supposedly advise Goldstone on violence around elections. They were actually designing an Electoral Act for us, and I spent time talking to Ron Goult and said to him, "How could you declare Kenya's election free and fair?" The consequences of not declaring it free and fair were far greater than the violations that took place. Are we in the same situation? We might be.
POM Essentially elections have to take place on April 27th because the consequences of their not taking place are far greater than the violations?
JDT Hideous, absolutely hideous.
POM So it almost sounds that you will start out with a democracy that is sufficient to move on to the next phase rather than being a democracy that meets the norms of democracy in other countries.
JDT But you know one of things I found very interesting and testing about some of the aspects of that Wilton Park is I think our western notion of elections and democracy is being turned on its head in Africa. I think we're going to have to think about what this thing means here. I have very cherished notions of it and having lived as long as I did in a place like Canada I think I've come with skewed vision. Canada is after all a very middle class society and the issues they are dealing with are not exactly huge and there's not massive tribal insurrection other than the French. I'm very tested by this thing.
POM Could you give me some contrasts between what you would see as democracy in Africa that would not be regarded as democracy, say, in Canada?
JDT Well number one, when you lose you lose. Uh-uh, no when you lose you still get to be part of government. And that was very interesting because there was also the Angolan Ambassador at this Wilton Park thing and a lot of talk about Angola's problems. They have offered Savimbi all sorts of things but it's obviously not enough and there was speculation as to whether if before the elections some kind of agreed deal could have been struck with him, whether he would still continue to run riot the way he is. Now I mean those have nothing to do with our notions of elections and democracy and the very thing that we're trying to punt and yet there I am feeling to myself, "Yes, why didn't they do it? Why didn't they agree on the compromises that have been agreed upon in South Africa for instance beforehand and try and keep the man to it?" We don't seem to have understood the concept that when there's an election those who lose are out of power because there seems to be a repeated pattern happening here and I think recognition that the likes of Buthelezi if they don't win, which they are clearly not going to win, must be part of some kind of deal in the end, is really quite a fascinating concept of democracy.
PAT Do you think there is that recognition? It seems to me that the recognition is that the process is going forward with or without him at this point.
JDT I think that that has been largely because, well obviously because he's decided to step out of the process. It will be interesting to see whether he is going to hold out for ever. It depends, I would think, on how much support he thinks he's got regionally and whether he is prepared to go for regional government as opposed to national government if the deal which is struck is sufficiently, and we don't know until tonight how solid it is do we? Or this afternoon. If it gives him sufficient power within Natal maybe he will go for it. But I would have assumed that Inkatha would get more than 5%. I don't know what the latest polls show but I would have assumed that they would. And I wonder how trustworthy polls in Africa are because weren't the polls just before the Zimbabwean election just a little bit wrong? Like everybody didn't give Mugabe a chance!
POM Do you think Buthelezi must be accommodated in some way in order for a stable South Africa to emerge? And hence, again, that this would necessitate a deal being made?
JDT Yes, I think he does need to be accommodated. I feel a bit like the Angolans who say what can we do with Savimbi, how can we appease him, how can we stop him tearing us apart? There were a few suggestions that are not acceptable and we have a similar dilemma in a way. It's just going to be very, very fascinating to see what his constituency really is. He claims six million as members of the IFP, Inkatha.
POM Is there any likelihood in your view that there is an election, there is a government of national unity, violence continues sporadically in the area in which it has been taking place, there is still this low intensity civil war going on in Natal and the conditions for stability in the country are being slowly undermined, could you foresee a situation where one of the first acts of an elected government of national unity would be to declare a state of emergency? More important at the beginning, stability or ...
JDT It's always been an interesting question as to whether a state of emergency does bring about stability or not. Does it throw a damper on things for a while and they then flare up again? It's certainly something that we'll have to face, something that is going to be very, very hard for a new government. The new government, God help them. I wouldn't be running for power at all! They've got the most appalling challenges haven't they?
POM What do you think is the single greatest challenge a new government will face?
JDT Well it is that stability. That stability together with starting to deal with the problems that can maybe help bring about some of the stability, addressing some of the issues that can bring that about. Somebody was saying to me the other day that there are young people, I think they were citing the Transkei, who are willing to do an assassination for R500-00, that there are gangs of these young kids who have essentially cut themselves off from their families. Again, another one of your stabilising societal structures, the family, has gone. That is seen as a means of livelihood. I asked a question at this conference and I think that it's quite an important one and obviously has very huge challenges to it and that is that the rewards of war are clear, what are the rewards of peace? And I asked that question because at our National Conference in April we had a fascinating session on Natal. It was four people who had been involved in monitoring violence over a fairly long period with a lot of experience and one of the things that they said that I found very, very interesting was that one of the problems was that in Natal there seemed to be very little reward for peace. In other words development didn't come to communities, that the spoils of war were still greater than the spoils of peace. I find that terrifying but I think it's something we have to address. In other words, what is there in it for someone in peace? That ties in somewhat with the challenges of starting to deliver.
POM OK that's a nice point to close.
PAT I want to ask you a question I wanted to ask earlier. It has to do with your work on human rights and the Bill of Rights and security files. The volume of the security files that are in the security apparatus of the state, list of informers, who informed on whom and at what point. Conceivably people sitting in government, people sitting in power structures, parties, in many of the Eastern European countries once the democratic forces took over it paralysed movements and destroyed people who had been in the forefront of the democratic liberation movement in many cases. Is there something in the Bill of Rights that protects people in this situation? And this could start to happen in three weeks when the TEC takes over and members of the PAC and the ANC are sitting on committees.
JDT What sort of thing are you thinking of that would be in a Bill of Rights?
PAT I wondered if there was any protection for people under the Bill of Rights from having their names disclosed or if the Black Sash feels it's necessary that all this information get into the public sector and then what? There are thousands of names of people that should be released and published or how would they be released, what are their protections?
JDT I don't think that there's anything specific in the Bill of Rights but as you most likely know we have a further indemnity bill and the indemnity bill is already taking effect, people are applying for indemnity and are being heard in private courts and are being given indemnity for actions. Is this what you are talking about?
POM Say a file was being kept on you and you had the right to see what's in that file, what kind of information they were collecting on you. One, should you have the right to see it and two, should you have the right to know the people who informed on you and, three, should the names of those people be publicly disclosed?
JDT We haven't even begun to get to that kind of thing, certainly the Black Sash hasn't and I'm not aware of it happening particularly. We're still dealing at that other level which is that indemnity bill which really has to do with people who have actually committed very serious crimes. We haven't even begun to think about those kinds of things.
PAT What happens though in two months when people go into those store rooms where those files are and the systems and this stuff starts to come out? Nobody is thinking about that, is this what you're saying?
JDT Not that I am aware of is anybody thinking about that.
PAT Wouldn't you imagine that some in the MK military ranks would love to get their hands on files and informants? They have dedicated themselves as much to figuring out who in their ranks are informers even more so than they did during the armed struggle.
JDT You would have to ask people who are likely to be damaged or affected by that kind of thing. We haven't even begun to think about it I must admit.
POM Can you give me the names of those four people who did that session in Natal?
JDT Jenny Irish, I think it was Jerry Maree, Ron Aitcheson, Thomas Hadebe and there's a synopsis of what they said there. The title is 'The Simplest Way to Encourage Peace is to Reward it', and that was quite an interesting look at the endlessly depressing stuff that we've had out of Natal for seven years. There has been a low level war.
POM Do you have telephone numbers for those people?
JDT I shouldn't think so, but - she's the National Co-ordinator for NIMRIC which is the Network of Independent Monitors based in Durban. [It's 031-3072813, Fax 3072814.] Page 44 of the Sash magazine if you want a synopsis of what they said. John Aitcheson is head of the Centre for Adult Education at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg and I don't know that we have a phone number for that. Thomas Hadebe, field worker for Peace in Natal and Jerry Maree a lecturer in sociology at the University of Natal, Durban. The person who put this session together was Georgina Hamilton [- tel. no. 237286] and that's Durban. So she might know how to get hold of Thomas Hadebe. It was a galvanising session I must admit. It was just interesting to have the analysis from four people who had been in the trenches for a long time and are very wearied by it, but were starting to come out with a notion at least to give one some way forward.
POM Thank you ever so much for the time.