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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
03 Dec 1993: Moodley, Strini
POM First one of the most obvious questions, Strini, where stands AZAPO?
SM Well in a general sense I think AZAPO is developing a greater degree of respect and a wider spectrum of support in the last, I would say, 18 to 24 months. It's begun to widen in the sense that people are beginning to appreciate the initial analyses that we have made about where negotiations would lead to and what its outcome would mean for black people and black people now themselves are beginning to understand just how meaningless those negotiations that were initiated in 1990 have actually been in terms of tangible changes that they have been able to witness. I think what basically black people are saying is that things are getting worse rather than getting better and that consequently more people are tending to say, yes, AZAPO you have been right, we should have listened to you before, or, AZAPO you have proved that you are right, now we think is the time for you to get in and get involved, or, AZAPO you see if you had been there from the beginning what has now happened might not or would not have happened. Those are three different kinds of responses I personally get from black people wherever I go.
POM Do you think most black people think that basically the ANC sold out?
SM Most black people are disillusioned, are just tired of all the games politicians have been playing and I think black people have developed a rather cynical attitude towards politicians. I think the way in which the ANC has performed has had an impact on the way in which people evaluate or perceive people who are involved in the struggle. It doesn't matter whether you were ANC or whether you were PAC or whether you were AZAPO because in a sense what nobody understands, and I think this is an element that nobody understands or very few people understand, that black people have traditionally and historically never made a distinction although they saw that there were three different organisations but they saw them as part of one movement. So that to answer the question whether black people think the ANC has sold out, I think there is a sense, a fear that that is happening. There is a sense and a fear that that is happening.
POM When you look at the constitution that was produced at the World Trade Centre, if you had to rate it on a scale of one to ten where one is very unsatisfactory, ten being very satisfactory, where would you place it?
SM I haven't actually read that constitution. I've come across snippets of it so I would not be able to give you an informed decision in that regard. What I can tell you is that I think, if what I read is correct, if what I read says that there shall be no redistribution of the land, that people who own their land will be able to keep their land, there's no indication of redistribution of wealth. If there is anything that has to do with emphasised regionalism then I think I would reject the constitution out of hand. But I must say that over and above that the constitution is an undemocratic constitution because no party that sat at Kempton Park received a mandate to do that. Perhaps the only party that may lay claim to it is the National Party but the National Party only received a mandate from one sector of the population of this country. So in that context there is no party that has received a democratic mandate to draw up a constitution for this country.
POM But the law does provide for total revision that when a Constituent Assembly is elected that it may start from scratch and draw up a completely new constitution.
SM Well not as far as I understand it. As far as I understand it the principle agreements, or the principles of the constitution cannot be - I don't know what those principles are, but I think subsumed in those principles is the whole question of dividing the country into regions, of ensuring the maintenance of private property, ensuring the maintenance of private wealth, all those kinds of things which in my view nobody has the right to lay that down. If any of those parties wanted those things in a constitution then they have to go to the people to get the mandate to put that in a constitution. They don't put the constitution down, say this is a draft constitution and then tell the people, well can you vote for me on the basis of this constitution? You're not giving people a choice and that is why AZAPO, to narrow your original question down of where does AZAPO stand now, AZAPO is saying that we cannot put ourselves up as a candidate on the basis of those principles and on the basis that Kempton Park has created because it is created on shifting sands. However that does not mean that AZAPO is going to spoil or act as spoiler. We are going to campaign. We're going to campaign in order to be able to highlight why we think the constitution is undemocratic and to tell people that if we are to vote there is a difference between what the people from Kempton Park are telling us to vote for and what black people have been striving to vote for. There's a marked difference between the two. They are two different things. Black people didn't just want the right to vote, they had the right to vote in the homelands, they had the right to vote in the tricameral parliament, in the local authorities and so on and so forth, they had the right to that. But that wasn't the issue. It's not a question of just having the right to vote. It goes a lot deeper than that. It's about what happens to my country? Whose country is this? What kind of country is it that I want? How do I see this country? What do you want to do with it in the future? Who do we want to rule us? Who is it that must do the constitution? All of these things, I think Kempton Park has failed to answer all of those questions.
POM You will campaign but you won't put forward candidates?
SM No. We won't put forward candidates.
POM So you won't partake even in an elected Constituent Assembly?
SM We don't see an elected Constituent Assembly coming along. Where is this elected Constituent Assembly? What we see is a government of national unity that will be the outcome of this election which government of national unity is supposed to also act as a constitution making body, which constitution making body has already had its constitution drawn up even before it was elected.
POM So do you think that the government basically out-manoeuvred the ANC till the government got what it wanted in the sense that it has a 200 page interim constitution, a fully fleshed out constitution whereas the ANC initially wanted just a small amendment to the existing constitution and that the National Party has managed to get entrenched in that constitution measures that would prevent it from being really overhauled to any significant extent?
SM Yes. That for me is the most painful part of it, that the National Party actually turns out to be the winner and the even more frightening aspect is that the media, and including the parties involved in those negotiations, are not telling that truth to the public and that is what we want to tell the public, that there is this kind of a constitution which is apparently so many hundreds of pages, it has all these sub-clauses in the fine print which actually ensure that white people stay in power, which ensures that white people maintain control over the wealth and the economy and the land and that is what you are going to go and vote for and that's what AZAPO wants to tell black people and if black people know that then I think the greater percentage of them will stay away from that election or they will spoil the paper.
POM If the government is the winner what do you think accounts for the fact that the National Party itself is virtually disintegrating, draws no more than 12% to 13% in recent opinion surveys, only one person in four who voted for it in 1989 would vote for it today. It just seems to be fragmenting at an accelerating degree.
SM I don't think that's surprising. The demise of the National Party was going to come anyway.
SM Because it's time had come. By 1989 black people were about to storm the Bastille, basically that was what was happening. Had the ANC stayed out of this country despite what De Klerk said, had sanctions been kept in place, had negotiations been refused, there would have been nothing that De Klerk could have done. He would have collapsed because he would not have been able to get the IMF and the World Bank to give him a break, he would not have been able to do the kinds of things that would help him sustain himself in power. The economy would have collapsed to an even greater extent than it is slipping away at the present time. A lot more money would have gone out of the country, a lot more people would have left the country. So the demise of the National Party was not something that still had to be planned for. It was in the process of being destroyed. What is happening to it now is just a part of that progression. You see what is called the TEC and the government of national unity are picking up the mantle and simply continuing the oppression and exploitation that the National Party was engaged in. So all I am saying is that I think in the next year or two we will see black people doing the same thing that PW Botha or JB Vorster or even De Klerk himself does.
POM So you think that an ANC government of national unity dominated by the ANC will end up being a repressive, coercive government?
SM In the context of the constitution as it exists now it can't do anything else. It's going to have to tell black people, no you can't get any land, no we can't give you jobs, no we don't have the money to build you schools. All of these things are now going to happen and we are not going to be able to build you hospitals, we're not going to be able to do this and they're going to have to keep what's in place in place for those people who have always had it and that automatically whether AZAPO is there or AZAPO is not there, whether the PAC is there or not there, black people are going to rise up. There's going to be a new party formed or a new organisation or a new liberation movement that will come in and want to act in the interests of the oppressed and exploited.
POM Do you see the ANC alliance, SACP/COSATU, making it through this period or will the internal inconsistencies of what each organisation is after lead to a fragmentation in that coalition too?
SM I think in real terms the coalition is just a coalition in name, let's get to grips with reality, because COSATU is almost non-existent as you stand now. As an organisation it's non-existent. It has adopted the attitude of siding with business against the workers so that the working class, the black working class even though he may be a COSATU member in a particular union, that union and COSATU is doing nothing for him now, or her.
POM Why would you say COSATU is on the side of business?
SM By virtue of all the agreements reached, in terms of what is happening in the national economic forum, in terms of clauses that are already being considered in terms of the Labour Relations Act amendment where they can put a stop to strikes, where they can treat strikes as illegal. They can do things that actually were being done before. COSATU has agreed that you can now do those things and I think that if people think black people are stupid they are making the biggest mistake of their life.
POM So do you see Trevor Manuel travelling along with Derek Keys to Washington to plead their case before the IMF and the World Bank for loans to be a complete turn around in ANC economic policy?
SM I've never understood the ANC's economic policy and that is why I never joined the ANC. So it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me when Nelson Mandela goes to the IMF and to the World Bank and begs them for money. It doesn't surprise me if Trevor Manuel goes with Derek Keys. It's not a surprise to me but I think what the ANC has failed to appreciate, what it has failed to understand is that black people did not participate in the struggle for liberation simply because there was a thing called the ANC. It was the conditions under which they found themselves that drove them to do the things they did and if the ANC thinks it can do what it pleased then it is making the biggest mistake. And of course if Mr Trevor Manuel and Mr Nelson Mandela are meeting with the World Bank and the IMF they are simply demonstrating their ignorance and their naiveté about what the IMF and the World Bank is all about. The IMF and the World Bank are there to protect the interests of capital, international capital. They are not there to act in the interests of the oppressed and exploited and if you look at examples throughout the world where the IMF and the World Bank has been involved and look at the plight of the working classes in those countries, it must of necessity tell you just whose interests they are there to take care of.
POM Keys with the co-operation of the ANC would have to agree to strict monetary policies that the IMF imposes and structural adjustment programmes that the World Bank imposes which in many African countries are leading to disaster. What fundamentally has gone wrong in the ANC?
SM Everybody on my trip around the world, through Europe and North America, everybody asks me that question. I said, "But you can't ask me that question." I think the persons who have to answer that question are the ANC. We can't answer for them. I think if we look back on it and if all of us just took time out to take a couple of steps back, go through the history of the ANC, the ANC's major plan has been, since 1912, to be a part of what is happening. When the Declaration of Union was made in 1910 the ANC in 1912 or 1913 sent a delegation to Queen Victoria to say to Queen Victoria, "Please ask those white people to also let us be in the Union." And ever since then it's been a programme of, "Please let us become a part of you." Kind of begging, pleading for inclusion into an already defined system and if you look at Kempton Park it was all about how do we take this group of unruly blacks and include them in our system without causing much harm to the system itself? So that in the end it's not surprising that Mandela will agree to pay the debts of PW Botha and FW de Klerk to the IMF and the World Bank, which De Klerk in 1989 had to the tune of 5,5 billion rand and Mandela and Mr Manuel are agreeing to pay back that 5,5 billion, which means that the ANC is committing black people to paying for money that was used to prop up apartheid. And that's another thing that AZAPO needs to tell the people of this country. It's a fact that's not widely talked about or widely spoken about by the media, but this is part of our campaign.
POM In a government of national unity, my understanding from the ANC is that decisions would be made by consensus but if it's not possible to have consensus then the ANC as the majority party, which one assumes they will be, they will go ahead with whatever decision they have made.
SM I'd like to see that. The ANC said so many things. If you judge what they said against what they achieved there's a chasm so wide. I'm surprised that people still believe the ANC has the capacity to speak the truth. I don't know, I don't think they know the meaning of the word truth. So if the ANC is telling you when it's in the government of national unity and it's the majority party in that government it's going to do what it wants, it's lying, it's telling you a lie because the ANC has accepted breaking up this country into regions, it's accepted considering the fact that Afrikaners can have their own, it's accepted giving all the land back to white people, it's accepted that the wealth of this land must stay in the hands of white people, it's accepted that blacks will not strike, it's accepted so many things already that what it was saying ten, fifteen years ago it said it would never allow to happen. So if it's saying to us today that, no, when we are in the government of national unity we're going to go ahead willy nilly they are lying.
POM You would see everything that they have negotiated as being contrary to the whole spirit of the Harare Declaration and the Freedom Charter?
SM I don't know. The Freedom Charter and the Harare Declaration in my view are pusillanimous documents. They say nothing, they are just full of words, it's like an empty vessel. That is why the ANC could do anything it wanted because the Harare Declaration didn't say you cannot negotiate on these terms, you can only negotiate on these terms. The Freedom Charter says each national group must have its rights, that's why it's saying, no we can talk to the Afrikaner because the Freedom Charter says each national group must have its own rights. I think in a sense what we are saying, we have held our patience for so long because we did not want to shatter the unity of black people and the ANC we always felt was a part of the black community but each day the ANC is beginning to demonstrate that it has lost touch with the people. It has now become a comparable organisation acting in the interests of white owned business and white security and all that has happened is that white people have said we will accept a few more black people inside the door.
POM Do you see the Freedom Alliance being accommodated in some way so that they come into the system?
SM The Freedom Alliance is a way by which white society was able to bring the ANC to heel. De Klerk is not worried about the National Party. De Klerk is worried about economic interests and political control so that those economic interests are not threatened. He calls these negotiations, he ensures that he has all of his people in their own right there, Buthelezi as himself and all these other homelands and tricameral creations of his are all there as independents on an equal footing with the ANC and if I understand negotiations, if I were De Klerk, if the ANC kicks up a fuss about any issue once we have called an end or a suspension of proceedings I can go to Buthelezi and say to Buthelezi, "Listen here, what I want you to do is I want you to walk out of Kempton Park tomorrow and insist on your rights as Zulus in Natal and I will ensure that you will have Afrikaners who are in the right wing who will join you and stay outside and for as long as you stay outside I've got something over the ANC's head." Because in the end this government of national unity is about whites in whatever form they are and Buthelezi and the ANC are an after thought. Basically that's what's going to happen.
POM Do you think that's what did happen, that it is all a part of ...?
SM Of course. I can't imagine that it could have been any other way. Buthelezi, he gets his cheque every month from Pretoria.
POM So do you see the ANC accommodating more of Buthelezi's demands?
SM Of course. Why do you think we've got nine or ten regions?
POM They still have four or five things that they want.
SM Like what?
POM They don't believe the constitution is a federal constitution. They want powers enshrined or entrenched that are exclusive to the regions. That's probably the main thing they want.
SM It's their bargaining chips. They realise now if you can do this to the ANC you can do a lot more, so the harder you push the more you are likely to get. They are testing the ANC. They are testing them. They want to see how far they can take the ANC to the cleaners. They have taken them thus far, why not let's try a little farther?
POM How about the white right wing?
SM The white right wing? I don't know. I suppose they are a natural result from hundreds of years of racism, they are not peculiar to South Africa, it's an international phenomenon, the Nazi behaviour.
POM Do you think they have the capacity to disrupt, that they have access to enough resources?
SM For only as long as they are allowed, for only as long as they are allowed to. The continuing pusillanimity of the ANC, of course, they are going to ... I think if black people and when black people, and I expect that will happen soon, get their own act together and if push comes to shove black people have been through so much pain, there will be nothing that will stop them from unleashing on white people generally. What amazes us is that when the white right gets up and starts killing black people nobody wrings their hands in horror and terror, "Oh a couple of black people, that's all", but let one Amy Biehl die in the township and there's such an international outcry it only leads to one conclusion that racism is alive and well throughout the world and black people's lives are expendable. If a couple of guys just hit an Afrikaner school and blow up a couple of Afrikaner children you'll hear the outcry. You'll probably have the American army sitting on our front door, the British army on our back door and many others, mercenaries from all over the world inside the country helping whites to survive against this hoard of barbarians, black savages. So the white right is as strong as it is allowed to be by those who are in power and obviously De Klerk likes them because they help his cause. If De Klerk was the democrat and the believer in peace and all these other flowery things he says he would have arrested the whole bang shoot of them, put them into detention, locked them up for 360 days, whatever. It's needed to demonstrate your anger against these kind of pressures. But he says, no, I'm democratic. Let one white person get killed or a couple of people get blown up in a hotel and De Klerk will not hesitate to move in and mow people down and if he kills a couple of children in the process he doesn't care a damn about it and the world keeps quiet. So the white right is part of De Klerk's arsenal.
POM From what you are saying, the scenario I see you painting is there will be more concessions to both the IFP, to Buthelezi and to the other members of the Freedom Alliance, that you will have a constitution even if it's an interim constitution that will have the federal features in it and the principles of federalism will be entrenched so that it becomes one of those principles that a Constituent Assembly can't touch, that an election takes place, an election that may be accompanied by a fair degree of violence of intimidation but the world will accept what comes out of it because there is already an agreement between the parties to have this government of national unity so no-one is going to scream foul, that this will be a government that will be either paralysed, that the ANC will be unable to take radical steps to revitalise and reconstruct the economy or it will be paralysed because the national party and other elements in that coalition would be able to paralyse things, that there will be little economic growth, that conditions under which blacks live will get worse and worse and there will be some kind of popular demand for change or a new party coming into being or a lot of black support going to AZAPO and the PAC. Is that the kind of picture you're painting?
SM In general terms I think that is the scenario that one sees. Whether a lot of support will go to AZAPO and the PAC I'm not so sure about. In that sense, by that time, I think what will emerge is that there will be a popular movement or a popular uprising or there shall be a series of uprisings and continual battles between the new government and the people generally. Except that in so far as concessions and Inkatha and the white right and the National Party are concerned I think, I don't distinguish between the white right, the National Party and Inkatha, they are all the same, they are all part of the same system. Inkatha is the creation of the apartheid regime in the same way as all those parties in Bophuthatswana and Transkei and Ciskei and Venda and you name all these homeland places. They are all creations of apartheid and the biggest mistake the ANC made was to recognise them as separate entities. The ANC just had to deal with one party, that was the Nationalist government. All the others were incidental. They were not involved in negotiations. They had nothing to negotiate because all of them existed on the face of the Nationalist government.
POM Many people say that with the Record of Understanding in September of last year that what essentially happened, both the ANC and the government said, "We are the major players and we will make bilateral arrangements between ourselves and we will simply push them through the World Trade Centre." As long as the government and the ANC agree to something that is sufficient consensus.
SM That's what they said and that's what the ANC had hoped would happen, but that didn't happen because the Record of Understanding and whatever the ANC and the National Party were doing in bilaterals, whatever the ANC was trying to get and failed to get, the National Party will bring that into the Kempton Park talks and get others in Kempton Park to argue its case for it. And that is why the sum total of the Record of Understanding, or the logical conclusion to the Record of Understanding, is the moving out of the right and Inkatha and that is the stick that De Klerk wields with the ANC.
POM So if in the coming weeks Buthelezi were to say that he is prepared to take part in the elections because his demands have been adequately met, would that surprise you?
SM No, I don't think anybody in the whole world would be surprised because the IFP has already indicated its participation in the elections.
POM If Buthelezi came out and said that his demands had not been adequately met, that therefore he will not participate in the election and the IFP will not participate, would that surprise you?
SM It would surprise me. It would come as a surprise.
POM And if the other members of the Afrikaner Volksfront were to say, "We reject the process too, we retain the right to take whatever action we deem necessary", and if that includes a terrorist campaign or whatever, would that surprise you?
SM That wouldn't surprise me. That is De Klerk's final work. He will do that and he will ensure that the white right or a significant or small proportion of it stays out and will articulate that they are going to conduct a war whatever it is. And that's his safeguard.
POM There are comparisons made with the IRA which is a very small organisation in terms of what would be called active volunteer, they have paralysed Northern Ireland for twenty years, they have destroyed part of the democracy by having all kinds of anti-terrorist acts, rights of detention without trial, rights not to see lawyers. Could you see a situation here where the white right, a small group, would be able to conduct a campaign so that repressive measures would be introduced on a wide scale, i.e. detention without trial for which the constitution provides, a state of emergency for which the constitution provides?
SM Well if that's introduced I think that will be used against black people. The white right would become - I wouldn't want to compare them with the IRA, I would prefer to compare them with say your Ulster Protestant ...
POM Freedom fighters?
SM Yes. They would fall in line with that, who would actually want to protect private and white property. They would be used to do that. Whether they pretended their aspiration to have a white Afrikaner homeland, but in the meantime they are simply a bunch of thugs and gangsters and terrorists who are used to protect whites, used to attack blacks, used to maintain a degree of fear and suspicion, to sow divisions. They will be used for all that kind of purpose. They are going to be like a paramilitary secret force that will be used by even the government of national unity to keep the greater hoard in check, that black hoard of savages.
POM So you see whatever is happening in the short run as happening in an environment of great instability?
SM If you look at the country now it's absolutely unstable in terms of - where I am standing it's unstable, for black people it's completely unstable. Will I be alive by the time I get to work and come home tomorrow morning? Will my children be alive? My wife, my husband, my mother, my father? Will there be food on the table? Will there be a hospital for me? All simple little things that people don't have, haven't got and are subjected to this overwhelming reign of terror by people who claim to be fighting for either this, that or the other.
POM Just in the context of what you said of the role Buthelezi plays in the scheme of things and this kind of alliance between the ANC and the National Party, where does the violence here fit?
SM I think violence comes from all three quarters. It came originally, I think I told you the last time, the primary cause of the violence is the De Klerk regime and it has used the forces at its disposal. A lot of the forces it had at its disposal have supposedly become independent and moved into the white right. A lot of its forces have moved into Inkatha and the KwaZulu Police and all of them are now doing the job that De Klerk can wash his hands of. The ANC is also engaged in a programme largely because of the upcoming elections to secure as many people in areas for votes for themselves. So in the context of violence, the violence is going to increase and the road to April 27th will see a lot of blood flowing in its gutters.
POM OK I'll leave it there on that superbly optimistic look at the future! My bet is that Buthelezi stays out. Arthur Konigkramer says that the TEC will never be implemented.
SM If Buthelezi stays out and they have the elections, then I don't know what's going to happen in this country. But I don't think so. Buthelezi will go in. I know him. If the ANC starts mucking about, claims that it is the majority party and will do what it wants to do irrespective of whatever, you know if we don't get consensus, then they'll start dealing with them. They'll move in on that line of creating terror and havoc in this country.
POM OK. Thank you. You got your last transcripts right? There's no foul up?
SM No, I think there were a couple of spelling errors.
POM But you got it, last time you didn't. Thanks.