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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
16 Nov 1994: Nefoloyhodwe, Pandelini
POM From the AZAPO point of view how would you interpret the election results of last April?
PN The last year results of April revolved around two major issues; they revolved around Mandela as a person, not Mandela as an ANC leader. They revolved around sympathy with a man who went to jail fighting for freedom irrespective of whether he came out of jail with the same intention. People did not bother about having to find out whether Mandela, the international man of stature, whether he thinks differently now. That is going to be shown as we talk. Many people had sympathy with this old man who stayed for 27 years in prison for the sake of black people. That's the first thing, and therefore most of the support that the ANC got was Mandela the man rather than the ANC's objectives and policies.
Now, secondly, it revolved around what is normally understood in politics, even in your country, that the best person who wins the elections or an organisation which wins elections in most instances is the one that promises the future in the most simplistic fashion. We will build you houses, we will give you jobs, we will do that - the future is bright. And the ANC worked for that particular 'the future is bright' irrespective of whether the vision is bright or not and they succeeded in that respect with the future is bright. But the conditions are different now. The people who voted want to see whether it is bright or not and it is no longer as bright as they suggested. So it will revolve around those things.
The third element was that our people wanted an alternative and they sincerely thought that if they were to give the alternative to any of the liberation movements that would bring more freedom to themselves and that is why the election of last year revolved around those issues. But what the election of last year didn't do was that they were not able to transfer the instruments to bring about the promise. The elections couldn't, the vote was a meaningless vote just to put people in office as is happening now. So there were no instruments which were transferred which could make the Mandela government to be able to exercise authority over governing the country and authority over money, authority over everything so that the changes should be actualised. Because, one, the instruments of government in any country revolve around three key issues. You have to have the backing of the military. That is, you have got to have the security structure that is controlled by yourselves so that you could be able to protect the citizens in the manner in which you want freedom to occur. Now if you check of late the police even assault Cabinet ministers, you will have read if you have been here for two or three weeks, because the mentality of the police, who are predominantly the old structure still regard a black person as just another black person and in this case they assaulted the minister, not knowing, just their attitude against black people and only to learn later you have assaulted a very important person, the person who pays, because that instrument of governing has not been given the correct perspective about the new South Africa. That goes also for the army. That's the one hand.
The other element is the element of the civil service. The civil service in any country must be of such a nature that is attuned to a democratic system that is in place. Now in other countries, like yours, it is better because you are no longer fighting with democracy, you are no longer saying let's democratise our country. You are saying, that party and that party for one reason or another will bring us more benefits and therefore the security establishment has no problem. Whoever goes to government they are able to follow and therefore there is no sabotage in terms of the civil servants owing allegiance to the old order and the new order. Now that civil service was not transferred or completely organised in the new fashion so there will be a problem about it. So that if you give a directive from government to be implemented you still have a problem whether its directives will actually lead to the proper direction.
The other element that is very, very serious is that however much a government may be, a government must be able to have some measure of control over economic policies if it wants to change, whether in a democratic society or not. For instance, if Clinton does not have control over what he wants to bring as a Democrat then that's the end of Clinton; he won't be able to effectively change the lives of the American people. Now in this country again we are locked up with a situation where the control over that, not control in terms of taking the mines or not, but just to have measurable control, key elements, key people who draw the line and who agree with the new policies of the new government. At the moment we do not have that. The old establishment is still old and controlled by the old order.
So when you look at the elections of last year, look at them from the first three elements that I mentioned about Mandela the man and all that, and also that those components of power are still intact and therefore we are still more or less at the same place where we were before and that the votes that people exercise had no capacity to change the country into any better country whatsoever.
POM Surely some time must be given the new government to eliminate the old structures and build the new. Like, in a sense, they inherited the old structures and are trapped in them for the moment but they are trying to build new structures. Or are they?
PN Well I'm not sure. I will tell you why even if they have the intention of building new structures they would not. Now you are correct to say that any government that comes in, even an AZAPO government, must be given time to change old structures into new ones. Fine, but it must be given that chance only if AZAPO in coming into power has transferred the necessary instrument which will be able to change that old order. If AZAPO gets into power or it gets into office, I always say these guys have gone into office. What it means is that they occupy the offices that were occupied by other people before and that we can say because the instruments now which must be used in order to change society have not been transferred. The offices are open, you can come in, you can draw up whatever you draw as a document, you can feel how big you are but for as long as we own the security establishment, for as long as we control the civil service, for as long as we control your economy and you have no way of bending it in order to meet the demands of the new society then you have got into office, finish and klaar, that it has stayed there and we are happy. In fact we will become more happier that actually we have got people who can carry out our intentions without us being in parliament. So that's what I'm saying, that you could give any government a chance. Fine. But it must be given with the necessary instrument. This society through election has not given the necessary instrument for change.
POM But you would say when the ANC guaranteed that no civil servant would lose his or her jobs they essentially locked themselves into the old structures?
PN Yes, exactly, exactly.
POM And they are also committed to reduce the number of civil servants. It doesn't provide much facility to bring in blacks.
PN And now they are saying that their old boys who fought with them, they were dismissed, let us remain with the old military. But it's unfortunate that countries are ruled the way I've described it. There is no country which is ruled without control over your security forces. It's impossible. Once your security forces owe allegiance to another party you are locked up in a situation where you can't change your society. The point I'm making, which is very fundamental to us, is that if AZAPO comes to power it will seek to have those instruments that any government in the world has in order to change the old order. Then we can go to our people to give us time. But if we don't have that instrument we are wasting our people's thinking to say give us time because it merely means that we will give you everything that is there. Five years will come to an end without anything happening.
Let me just give you an example of how pathetic it is to me. This RDP they are talking about, it is a very good document. There are certain things we don't agree with, but the intention is very good. Unfortunately, they actually don't have the pockets of money to implement it because they have no instrument of changing situations where the pockets of money, which are there in our country, could bring that money on to the RDP. So what they have done in one respect, what they have done, Mandela has gone to your country to ask you to assist us with RDP, whilst a lot of money is locked in many of the companies here. Some of the money is going to Brazil. Anglo American is in Brazil, it's opening up some concerns and jobs there and Mandela is struggling to create jobs at home. Now if he had the instrument he would have made it clear that all companies that are indigenous here would have to invest inside the country so that we create jobs for our people. Don't carry money and go and invest somewhere else and create jobs for other people before we create our jobs. He has no instrument to stop that, to accumulate the little money that is around by way of legislation. But he can't do that because he doesn't have the instrument otherwise they will threaten him with the economy having to go down and production being low and therefore that's the end of Mandela's government. He won't get tax, he won't get that so he fears that arena. That arena also is not manned by people who agree with the objectives of the new South Africa as seen by Mandela. So that's really the essence of it.
POM I would take it then that you believe AZAPO made the correct decision not to contest the elections?
PN Yes, absolutely.
POM What are its attitudes with regard to the local elections that are scheduled for October next year?
PN We have decided at our congress that we will not take part in those local elections that will take place next year, primarily because AZAPO does not want again to promise people at local level that we will do this, we will do that, when AZAPO does not have the instruments to do so. Our problem, number one, is that we do not want to be cheating our people. For instance, we could cheat them and we think we can win if we cheat them by saying the new government has not given you jobs. The new government has not given you houses. It's talking. We as AZAPO, if you elect us at local government we will bring you houses. We will be cheating because we know that in order to build houses we would need capital to do so and there is no capacity from the government and ourselves to be able to tap that resource in order to build houses and therefore it will be useless because the constitution that was agreed upon at Kempton Park, it's of such a nature that it controls certain key instruments of power.
I nearly forgot, because that's also the framework from which you should look at the elections, these elections were conducted under a framework, general framework which has protected such an interest of the old order. For as long as that constitution is in place there is no way you can do any other thing, they will resort to the constitution. For instance, there is protection of property which includes land and you know that the land that is available to black people has been 13% of the 87%. Now this constitution we are under says that nothing should be tampered with of that particular area. Now if we want to build houses where will we get the land to put the structures on? And anybody can refuse to give us that land. We can negotiate in whatever place, but there is a clause in the constitution which protects property including property that is in the form of land and therefore we are back to square one.
So that's why we do not want to get in because we feel that we will not be changing anything. We can get in, into an election which would lead to majority rule. Just like in any country. That's why sometimes one talks about other democracies. I may not agree with your country's democracy, I may not agree, but the fact that all democracies centre around the majority that have voted in a party must be allowed for that period to govern the country. And if you don't agree you can wait for the next election to propagate your policy. But what it means is, if the majority are allowed to rule then you have transferred the instrument through the majority so that the party that is in can always say I'm doing it on behalf of the majority that said we must do A, B, C. Now this constitution, despite the fact that the ANC has attained the majority in terms of the vote, it has not also transferred the necessary power to exercise majority rule. It then went into what is called power sharing, whether you are a minority or not, and that is actually the one that makes it difficult for anybody to do anything. You actually can't do anything because the other parties will go to court and say you won the most seats but we agreed that we rule together and that you won't do anything to exercise the majority vote that you got. I want really to see how this country - for now it probably will not do very much better than what it used to do before.
POM I saw in Business Day this morning that the rate of growth that is projected for the year is 2.6% which is less than the rate of growth of the population, which means per capita income will in fact go down not up, which begs the question again, the tax base is very narrow, where is the money?
Do you not think that AZAPO stands in danger of marginalising itself because you are standing outside of the political debate that's going on in parliament or whatever, that if you were in parliament you could get your point of view, you could make your points that you are making to me every day, remind the majority that they might have a majority but they didn't get the transfer of the instruments of power?
PN But that will be just going to parliament to talk that way. Now I personally, and our members, we don't want to be in parliament to talk because we can talk outside parliament. If it is a question of influencing our country we actually are in a better position to do so if we didn't go to that talk shop because there we will be harnessed by just talking and we will feel very bloated that we have told them, but again, because they don't have the instruments to transfer what we are telling them, it stands still. You see the ANC has got probably the same intention as AZAPO, although I doubt it, but they can't do anything other than that which is prescribed by the agreements. Now if I go to parliament, if that is the case, then I can't pass legislation which is going to be against the agreements for now. They are trying to draw up a new constitution, possibly that new constitution will free these instruments I'm talking about. AZAPO in reality we can go to parliament but we are gaining nothing by being in parliament and in fact we gain more by being outside parliament in order that we can point out to our people that where are these things? We told you that that system is not a better system for you. Hopefully if elections are conducted which meet our requirements in future then we can enter the elections and we hope to win. We think that we will be in a better position to do so. And also we regard that as our democratic right. I always come to this point. We regard it as the democratic right of AZAPO to participate or not to participate and to wait for a situation that would suit AZAPO and the population in our country in order that we could transform this country into a better democratic society.
POM What happened to the PAC who in terms of ideology and promulgating radicalism would be closer to AZAPO than to the ANC, now they just didn't lose, they got wiped off the map so to speak?
PN It's because they don't understand what I am saying. They didn't understand that the elections we were going in were not to transfer any of the powers that I'm talking about. They didn't. They thought it will. They went into a platform of transfer of power when actually what was happening had nothing to do with that. So in terms of meeting the objectives of our people who just wanted to vote for the first time, in most cases people just said, "I want to vote before I die, it's a long time I've been waiting for the vote", there were no issues. It was not like in your country now that every time your vote comes you are not bothered about whether you will exercise your vote or not. You will go for the issues. Who comes with the issues which will save my life? Now our people were not really focused on issues. They were going for this big, open space, promises of the ANC of jobs, security, and they could see and they thought, "Let me just go and exercise that vote, everything will be OK." They didn't look at what the PAC wanted to point out. The PAC kept on saying, "All right, it's not rosy but you have take over these instruments, that land, that this, that this." So they went into issues at that time which were not what people were bothering about. They just wanted the old man, they wanted their vote for the first time and they saw this open space described fully by the ANC. The PAC kept on saying, "The constitution is not right, even if it is a rosy future you won't have." It's only now that our people are realising, and look what they lost out. So they went into an already agreed upon solution and spoke politics that were outside that solution. It was a big mistake.
If you want to get into any election understand first its framework. What are these elections conducted for? If you understand what you agree at that given moment you then can be able to campaign successfully. Now all these other parties understood, the parties like the IFP. The IFP understood it. The IFP even went into another level of attacking the ANC which was to keep its membership not floating across. It went into a strategy of maximising hostility so that it retains its members; indeed it did work. It didn't also have issues if you check. The IFP came on a conduct which says if you give everything to the ANC we all perish. And it went up. Constand Viljoen did the same. If you give everything to the ANC what about the Afrikaner? Vote for me. Now those are not issues really, I'm not talking about I'll bring you a better economy. Nothing, and the Afrikaner stood behind Constand Viljoen. So I can tell you much about those parties. The problem with the PAC was that it went for issues that were not part of this particular - and AZAPO kept on saying it can't get in because we are issue orientated and we don't want to cheat anybody by saying we will go to parliament and we will be able to bring about any fundamental change when actually we can see. We are hoping that as the new constitution is drafted the campaigns of the future will centre around the issues we refused to go to the election for. And we are better placed for those issues.
POM I assume that the Constituent Assembly will hold public hearings and have submissions from experts and things like that. Will AZAPO participate in that process?
PN It depends on whether the Constituent Assembly is going to open the whole package to be scrutinised. If it doesn't open to be a complete process of making a new constitution it is still dovetailing AZAPO into getting into the framework. So it will depend, but they have not spelled out how they are going to do that. But if it opens up completely AZAPO has got branches, it has got regions, it has got regions on the ground who will encourage our people to participate in making sure that a new constitution must be made which will acceptable to the majority of our people, thereby making it even easier for AZAPO to participate in the election that may be called after the new constitution. So it depends what they want to do. At the moment they haven't spelled out that, they have reached a compromise now, they want a proper constitution for the country and that anything that is constitutional can be debated and can be changed by majority consensus. We will also agitate, as we used to, to say that whatever is agreed upon must be put through a vote, a referendum, so that in the final analysis whether AZAPO agrees or not, at least people have been asked specifically to say, "Is this the constitution you want?" And we will add that that must be the democratic process because we don't believe that if AZAPO was to go into that forum necessarily the constitution will be acceptable to our people. It is the people, not AZAPO's presence in those forums, that makes the constitution a constitution of the country. So we draw that distinction. It's nice to have AZAPO there but AZAPO cannot guarantee that this is the overall constitution. AZAPO may be wrong so we would rather go the other route of democratising the process towards making a new constitution which includes the question of having to cast what comes out of groups in a proper fashion and we will go into a referendum and if our people say that's the constitution then AZAPO has no business to say it's boycotting the election of the future if our people have said we accept that. This one, unfortunately, the one that we are under, we kept on saying, let's test it. We have not tested it and therefore what is happening now is something that one cannot say our people agree with.
POM After the election there were lots of allegations of vote rigging, the NP saying about the ANC, the ANC complained about the IFP, the IFP complained about the ANC. Only about 70% of the vote was counted, 17 million votes disappeared some place. Do you think that a kind of deal was brokered, not that the election was fixed, but that the leadership understood that broadly speaking this is what the people wanted of the parties contesting the election? Because it turned out to be an election in which everybody won, miraculously. You went from one week the country was sliding towards anarchy and civil war, the next week a peaceful election, then Buthelezi gets KwaZulu-Natal so he's happy, the NP get the Western Cape and they're happy, and the ANC gets a huge vote, not two thirds but enough to give them a comfortable majority if they ever want to exercise it to effectively do what they want. Do you think in the end it was more important that the government that came out of it had legitimacy rather than that the elections be free and fair in the classical sense of the word?
PN Now we had wanted the elections to be free and fair and that's still our operating point. We would have wanted to have a voters' roll which in this particular election there wasn't. The voters' roll assists you to check legitimately as to who and who voted and that there is no chicanery. Now by virtue of the fact that a voters' roll was not there already from the beginning, you have to accept from the beginning that you cannot have elections that will be smooth because elections are controlled primarily at the level of knowing who stays where and you are registered properly and now here we had so many foreigners who came from neighbouring states and reference books were just being given. At some stage they were only giving voters' cards without worrying about you being properly registered. We used to go to somewhere and say you are applying for a reference book and then they give you a card to go and vote. Now that system on its own was bound to lead to the complaints you had. And indeed there were irregularities all over the country. But if you have met Judge Kriegler who was in charge, this is what he said when people started talking about the elections have been rigged, Judge Kriegler said, "You must understand that these elections were never meant to be really free and fair. They were meant that reasonably speaking we could reach a conclusion that to all intents and purposes the intentions have been met." And he went further to say, "The elections were not really the ones that everybody was thinking about." Their understanding was these elections were for some kind of change and reconciliation which is different from elections per se. If you had to meet him he might budge more on that. We agreed with him that these elections were never meant for anything else. They were meant just to make sure that our country, one way or the other, agreed to some kind of direction. The issues have not as yet been dealt with and therefore one will go with the view which says that whether the elections were rigged or not the leadership also understood from the start that these elections will not be like other elections in other countries and they generally agreed that even if they are flawed we must just agree rather than reverting back to square one which would probably bring more conflict. And that is why in the long run everybody just agreed when even there was proof that these things have been rigged. People have tried to raise this matter now and the NP now is trying to come with the matter later. But at that stage nobody wanted the election to be repeated.
POM Despite the fierce animosity in KwaZulu-Natal between the IFP and the ANC and the fact that the IFP squeaked in at 50.3% of the vote, I've never been in a country or heard of a country where an opposition party didn't challenge the winner, if the winner got 50.3% of the vote, for a recount. Why do you think they didn't challenge?
PN I'm trying to tell you that there was a general agreement and in particular now, in particular to IFP, you must remember that the IFP was brought late into these elections that took place and a lot of agreements had to be arrived at which would give the IFP enough space because everybody was fearing that if you leave the IFP out then there would continue to be violence in the townships and therefore that is why even in those instances they felt that let the IFP come in rather than we challenge things and then they stay out; we are going to have a problem, particularly because it is Natal. Their people have been dying for a long time and these things are surfacing, now they are trying to go back. But the reason why the IFP was almost left to do certain things, it was because it was agreed that it must stay in and so it had a lot of advantages because everybody did not want it out. And also that was to draw more of the opposition parties in so that you can marginalise those that stay out and therefore you have a bit of legitimacy one way or the other.
That is why even now, if we were in government Chief Buthelezi would not be a minister now. If AZAPO was in government there is no way, after that fracas of the studio, we can't leave a minister to go and harass people in the studio. He is denying them their democratic right to voice what they want to voice, whether directed at him or not. People must be allowed to say, "I don't like the way that minister is doing things", in a public broadcasting station. That boy didn't go around looking for the Chief. He went into a public broadcasting station supplied by our country for airing views and here is the minister who storms in and wanting to assault a fellow. Now, you must ask yourself, why ultimately they agreed that the Chief is not to be deprived of his - it's again this point I'm mentioning to you that there is a compromise reached which makes the IFP almost like the Dalai Lama so that it mustn't decide to continue with the activities it was continuing before. That is why sometimes you find Comrade Mandela whenever he goes to some stadium to talk about peace, he literally takes along Chief Buthelezi to demonstrate some kind of unity, whilst there is no unity.
POM Backing up just a little, since the last month going around the country talking to the regional Premiers and it is very funny to see these guys who I have been interviewing now for three or four years and who lived in places like Soweto or Alexandra or whatever, now occupying huge mansions with servants, all cordoned off. It makes you wonder what their followers will say if they knew the luxury in which they live. But two things: one of them the RDP. Mention it to most people, ordinary people and they wouldn't have an idea of what you are talking about at all. Within provincial governments even many MPs were very hazy what it was all about. There were differences in interpretations between ministers in the same government. Again, we've already addressed the issue; where do all the resources come from? It's fine and dandy to talk about all this but there's not going to be a significant rate of growth, unemployment is not going to diminish to any big extent, the jobless situation will still be out there. People won't have the money to buy houses and the government doesn't have the money to give the houses away.
And the third big thing was on the tension between provincial governments and the central government on the issue of the devolution of power. Almost to a person every Premier was saying that the centre was not giving them the powers to carry out the things they had to do to get things going in their own regions. Lastly, there was a widespread belief among all of the Premiers and the bureaucrats that this country wasn't ready for elections next October. The voters' rolls hadn't been drawn up, boundaries hadn't been demarcated, wards hadn't been - the whole thing. The country is not ready and to rush into them for the sake of rushing into them would be a disaster. So those four or five things.
PN Now let me tell you why those things are there, is that, I'm going back to my point of the instruments, now these guys who were in power before they sat down and together with their friends in the world, sat down and analysed this situation correctly for themselves. AZAPO is able to see that. And they said to themselves that it is inevitable that these black guys will rule this country. They had no doubt about that. And then they sat down to say, can we prolong them not being in office, their not being in this mansion? If we prolong it we are going to be in trouble. But what can we do to work into the process that will still not make them to change our lives as they wish? One of the things that they succeeded on was to bring a concept of regional government, these provincial governments, because the white establishment knew the value of separating, not centralising, power. They knew the value because they had had an experience of the Bantustans, but then, which was bad, they then did not pass a constitution which prescribes the powers before they went for a vote. But they were doing that purposely and we who came from the liberation front we were just interested in being there, being there inside, but we were not checking that it will take us another five years to agree who has which power. But that is good for the old establishment. If there are no powers then there is no change that can take place where we are staying. That's one of the things that they put into the system, so that if you want to change anything dramatically you have no power to do so up until it is agreed upon. That makes you go for years and years and as years go by we who come from the old structure, who fear change, can adjust. So they were giving themselves enough space to adjust. And whether there will be an agreement tomorrow or the day after tomorrow one can't see.
Now, as I was saying, AZAPO would have gone for the following situation. AZAPO would have said for now the country is going to be run as it was run before. It will be central government as it was before to avoid us having not to know what to do. But if you guys, you want to regionalise and make a country (of regions) that will then be given as and when we pass - so the next election will be the election which would then have included the regional government. But by that time we would have been knowing what we are giving as power. But not the other way round of demarcating an area, put someone but you don't have the power for that person to operate. Again, as I say, it was a strategy from the Nationalist Party which negotiated very well on that point.
So all in all if you go by AZAPO's way of thinking, what we see is a consequence of the constitution which the Nationalist Party was able to see its advantage for the foreseeable future and that's where we stand. That's why we should not be surprised that the Nationalist Party itself, even before it went out of power, it then appointed a commission on salaries. Now when you hear about the gravy train, the gravy train is not Mandela's baby but the Nationalist Party being clever; it brought in packages that no person who was staying in Soweto would refuse. But again that is a strategy to make you to come in without power and enjoy the luxury and you fear getting out of the luxury and therefore you remain part of our control. We control you that way. Unfortunately when the gravy train happened to be tampered with, but that was the Nationalist Party strategy. The salaries were made ready for Mandela and company before even an agreement was reached but it was a package of the Nationalist Party to make sure that the servants and all that surrounds you and then you forget where you come from, and you even think you have power because when you see that and you see millions of soldiers standing at the gate and for the first time you feel you are the King. That's how the world is run. The world is like that.
POM How about the RDP again?
PN No, no, the RDP, just to really get into it, so I can speak with authority on this matter, I've got documents, I've got all these white papers, I study and I check. The RDP is at the moment divided into two major categories. It has got the holistic intention to be able to bring about change within what is called the disadvantaged community and this will come in terms of housing, in terms of building proper facilities in these areas and then they have earmarked certain areas. Now these are the hot spots, so to speak, like now they are busy with Katlehong, Vosloorus, those are the hot spots. So they have earmarked certain spots throughout the country, there are very few, very, very few, and they are starting there. At the same time they have got what is called the Presidential Project, special projects like the one that you had about the President giving soup schemes for young children at schools and the one of medical care from zero age up until the age of six, I think. So that is the package and there are about four or five projects which are a package. I think one is for AIDS, the other one is for the street children and some of those. Those ones they will be able to do because what they did is they got money which was saved, certain old departments had saved some money within so they have pulled that amount of money from government coffers and therefore they had no problem where the money comes from, but that has been shifted into the President's Project and those ones I think will go, save to say well they are going at a very low pace because the ones I was talking about, in some instances the President announced that by a certain date it will be ticket free. There was still no medicine at Baragwanath and people were queuing. But Mandela is not the one who must see to it that medicine goes to Baragwanath, it is the civil service again. And it was delayed for whatever reason but that had a negative impact on what Mandela says will happen and it doesn't happen. So, when you come to the real matter of the RDP changing the country it won't be OK.
POM It won't?
PN It won't. It won't be OK. One of the things that really befuddles me is that they talk about housing, probably you will meet some of them, when they talk about housing they talk about removing the so-called squatters, to get rid of that kind of people and build some affordable houses. They are not thinking about housing for the country. There are people who stay in mud houses, you must have seen them. Now that's not a house, but these guys don't talk about that. They talk about Katlehong township. Now you haven't resolved the housing problem of the country if you still plan in terms of where your support may be tomorrow because what they are doing is they are trying to win the support of these guys who can occupy flats by force.
As a strategy of the RDP at the moment they don't have the resources to carry out these holistic intentions they have. Now the money they can get is the way to tax us more, but if they were to tax us more they will only end with a very few people, people who own business and maybe a few affluent black people. Now that sector of people were too small that we can be able actually to sustain a bigger problem. But they can't do so because they want the economy to grow because they are also saying if the economy does not grow then we will not be able to be a better country. That's why they went to reduce company tax. Where they were supposed to get the bulk of the money in terms of tax they had to reduce it because they want to balance it with growth, because companies will say, "You are taxing us too much and therefore we cannot reinvest and the economy won't grow."
So again I am proving that they are locked up with a situation they can't get out of. They either have the economy growing and hoping that the people who own the economy will dish out what people call the trickle effect. And it is has been found that trickle effect that it never trickles. That's the problem. So they are hoping that they will get the trickle effect, I like the word trickle also because it does emphasise the fact that it does trickle, it doesn't really go. Now if they hope for the trickle effect, again they are in trouble because they are not in charge. And if it doesn't come out of that effect then what about the RDP? We are sitting here with a document which is waiting for the economy to grow and then maybe there will be some money from - and that money is not going to be money taxed. We are hoping that these guys will be happier with the fact that we didn't tax them heavy and that they will be willing on their own. But people who have studied economies they know that whether you are an internal investor or an outside investor the determining factor for investment is profitability. It's the bottom line. However much I love my people that's a different matter. I can love them as much as I love, but when I invest I don't judge my investment in terms of the love, just on how I will profit out of the situation. Then I can start saying I love. So in the final analysis even if these guys make some money and the economy grows it will still depend on how they will reinvest that money into the RDP and whether they will be willing at that given moment in time one does not know because there are no instruments to force them to reciprocate.
Now, to sum up, AZAPO does not see the RDP changing drastically the lives of the poor people of our country simply because there is no money, there is no backup system and we are hoping that the people in America, people in Europe, will give us some space by investing in our country. And others have said so clearly that it depends on how our country looks like it's going to be stable and only then they will be able to put their money in our country. Even investment also it comes with the fact that we have to repay, it's not like they are giving us a grant. So we are locked up in a very difficult situation.
POM On the stability question, I have been here for about eight months, I went back to Boston for three and then came back again, and I subscribe to two news services and talk to people over the phone and generally keep pace with what's going on, and coming back and going round for the first couple of weeks I saw parts of the MK in rebellion, SDUs still roaming in the townships like gangs, the police unable to control the level of crime, the level of crime is horrendous with a serious crime every 17 seconds, random strikes, big pay demands, simmering conflict in Natal/KwaZulu. One could easily come to the conclusion that the social fabric was slowly disintegrating and the country was slipping towards anarchy. Would that be too harsh a judgement?
PN It will be too harsh for now but there is no doubt that the country hasn't changed for the better and that in fact in some instances things have gone bad. Now the other thing that is very fundamental is that the old orders anywhere in the world when they are defeated, those who have been in the law enforcement section who fear that the new order may actually no longer favour them, they then indulge into perpetuating criminality and other forms of gaining money in the hope that by the time AZAPO says, "You are a policeman of the old order, we don't want you", they are also secure. So they tend to secure themselves through the very instrument they were using to protect society and in fact at the moment many policemen are involved in drug trafficking and they are involved in so many things. They are in uniform, but that is precisely what I was saying that when you take over a country you need to bring in guys who would maintain the new order direction and also to get against these elements who feel like very soon they will no longer be part of this new order and then they revert back to doing things that enhance their own financial status. It's rife. Even the SDUs are working with the police. That is why Mandela at some stage had to be very harsh against the police.
POM He made a statement.
PN Yes, made a statement, but it is precisely because of that, because they go ...
POM He said the police had declared war on the ANC.
PN Yes, because they go all out even to arrest people in the manner that will not show that Mandela is now President. That is the dilemma of the instruments of power not being under your control because you wouldn't have been saying the police are against the ANC when the ANC is governing and if they are loyal to the ANC for all intents and purposes, loyal to the governing party, although it is said that they are loyal to the country. But in reality they don't see a contradiction between themselves and the party. If they do see a contradiction sometimes in Africa they lead to coups.
POM They do which?
PN In Africa they take over if they have got a contradiction with your party. Now in this instance Mandela is reaping exactly what I am saying, so in reality you are correct that the country is sliding but it is not yet at the level where one can say there is no order, things are going to be terribly - and also it's because white people would not favour a situation where the country goes that route because the consequences that they are a minority and like all minorities they must fear the situation because if there is no order here black people can be very dangerous to all of us. The country will actually be in a terrible situation because everybody will do what he likes and people who are in minorities are going to suffer more than those that are from the majority. So for one reason or the other one cannot describe the country as going to anarchy because whether you come from the old order or the new order nobody would allow a situation where all of us end up where we want to eat each other. It will not be possible.
POM On the local elections, will the country be ready?
PN They have no way of reversing that situation because it's an agreement and therefore it won't be ready but they will have to go through those processes. Also they haven't defined new powers also for local government so they are going to be locked up again with a situation of the provincial government. Local government is coming and it will not have power to relate properly to provincial government in the first place, which provincial government does not have the power to relate to them. So as time goes on we are just going to have guys who are in parliament but there will be no effective machinery to govern in a new fashion and we will continue to do the same things. People will continue not to pay rent, whilst actually the elections for local government are supposed to bring order in the local situation.
POM Again, the papers this morning are talking about the government cracking down on boycotts and people who are not paying the rent and will take tough action.
PN But I think the government is out of order because some of the houses are not government houses. They are not. There are houses that were bought from First National bonds and if I'm not paying rent to my bond and I'm not paying them, except the rates for the rates and taxes they go to the government. Now what power does the government have to come and force me except that my bond will be terminated? Now if the government wants to go that route it will get a lot of opposition. And also if the government wants to enforce payment of rent on those houses that were there for fifty years which people have been paying rent on, which were government houses, these little matchboxes here which actually the government is supposed to transfer because money has been paid, it is going to meet opposition, it is courting for trouble. It is getting into an arena which is of a local nature. When you are a government you don't deal in local issues, you allow civics and your Mayors to deal with those matters. It is the Mayor who must be elected, who says I want people to pay rent, and leave the Mayor to quarrel. As a government you don't want to quarrel with the small man in the street because the small man in the street also wants some advantage, but if you want to go and quarrel with the small man that's where the danger starts. I hope that they will withdraw from that. And they are also not democratising the government. Democracy means exactly that. They will create local government in order to allow people to interact with the power but at a local level without that power interfering. Now these things they talk about, they are going to die if they want to come from parliament and bring power to local people.
In a way in AZAPO we are very comfortable with a situation where if they bring local government people we start to negotiate for what they think is an unjust system over them. But for the government just to announce that without even talking to the people that we are going to do one, two, three, that's to be dictatorial. Then I can assure you it's a recipe for them to be in real, real, real trouble. But I'm not surprised. They are being forced by forces outside them which are forcing them to undemocratise a situation at local level. But AZAPO will be talking about that as the local government elections come. We are going to point at that democratisation. We like it but we don't agree with the frame. But people must have democratic structures at local level. That is what sustains democracy actually in reality. Democracy is not in parliament. Democracy is where people can be able to do and negotiate at local level and be able to know how to protect their rights. If Mandela wants to cut against that let him do it but I think he is opening up a war.
POM A couple of last things. The Truth Commission, where would AZAPO stand on that?
PN At the moment we haven't taken a definite view. There are two things though which we are toying around with. We are going to reconvene our congress to finish up some business we didn't finish at our last congress in October. But as the central committee of AZAPO we are putting up alternatives and there are only two we are going to let being debated. One, that the Truth Commission, despite the fact that it revolves around a situation where the same kind of guys and the same system is being brought down and that this Truth Commission is supposed to level the ground and it's not supposed to punish anybody, we don't agree with that. We think that, just like all war crimes, and the world has established a norm on war crimes and the world has established a norm on oppression, when it dealt with the question of the Jews the world established a norm or reparation, when it deals with what is happening now in Eastern Europe the United Nations established a norm that where possible there must be some culprits who are tried. The world also doesn't say, "We are just going to say you are guilty." It's also established an International Court where you can come and say, "I didn't commit those crimes."
But the Truth Commission, why we don't agree, that again it's washing away a world order norm which we as AZAPO would like to maintain and would like to argue with the whole world that let's maintain what we have done in the past to war criminals. Let's not say because it is an AZAPO cadre who went around shooting people unnecessarily because he said it was the struggle, and then we enter a situation where we leave criminals to roam the street and then we go into a process of just talking, talking, talking and we discover that something has gone wrong and we close the book. So we don't agree.
On the basis of that we are saying this is our view and that view needs to be investigated whether we should maintain that view with the hope that one day we can be in government and we can be able to get to the United Nations and institute the normal procedures that are instituted for any country and any people who have wronged other people. If we pass a resolution, that resolution will be communicated to all governments in the international community, the United Nations, calling upon them to come in and be of value and uphold the charter. That's how we are thinking. Then if that is passed it means therefore we would not take part in that process. We will the be campaigning for the United Nations and other countries to bring order.
One of our judges now, Judge Goldstone, has been appointed by the United Nations to sit on those kinds of - now it's a contradiction in terms. Now we feel that we will be backed by the world if we could go that route but although the situation is quite different they may say, "No, no, no, let's leave it." So if that happens we will not take part. We will call on the international community to do the same thing they are doing to the people in Eastern Europe. Then, if not, we will adopt a second strategy which would say that we will continue to campaign for this first preference.
At the same time we have a duty to give evidence on atrocities which were perpetrated against us as an organisation and our cadres. We've got lots of cadres who were petrol bombed, others were actually sent parcel bombs and died and there is one instance of one of our comrades called Abram Tiro who was in Botswana, he was sent a parcel bomb and Scotland Yard which was called by the Botswana government to investigate found that there was a link between the parcel bomb and Pretoria. So we feel that we have got instances of Steve Biko, we've got instances of a lot of our cadres where it is blatant that we can be able to give evidence and be able to tell the world what happened to our country. So we think that we might adopt the first strategy and also resort to the second strategy of actually also giving evidence so that the world also can see what we are talking about and that people must be punished. So that's where we are now and one does not know what our congress will bring.
POM Last question, and thank you for the time. If you had to rate the performance of the government after seven months where one is very unsatisfactory and ten is very satisfactory, what would you rate it at?
PN I would say, you say one is very unsatisfactory and ten is satisfactory?
POM Very, very satisfactory. Ten is terrific.
PN No, I will give them from one to two.
POM My God!
PN Seriously, because I'm trying to think not as an AZAPO Deputy President now. I'm trying to think that if I was this ordinary person who had no job, who had no house, who had no proper water and all the things, no transport, I'm this person sitting there and I cast my vote on the basis that this will come which means that my yardstick is not what Murphy is explaining in the philosophical sense and finding reasons here and there because that's his domain. But my yardstick as that ordinary man is to check whether after I voted where am I in this direction towards acquiring those things. I may not have them all but I must satisfy myself that at this pace I am likely to get that and I can assure you that I don't find anything they have done in that field I am describing which can make that ordinary man to have hope that it will come, except shouting that it will come. Which is the same thing that they were saying during the election anyway. So of what value the enunciation has? I listened to them and that's why I voted for them, but they are still telling me it will come, and that's why I'm giving them that.
But after giving them that there are certain areas where one can single out and say, well that little iota, but these areas do not pertain to the poor. It pertains to AZAPO versus governing. For instance, they have been accepted fully in the international community but that acceptance has nothing to do with their job, that they worked hard to be accepted. It was a consequence of coming into new things. So the road for acceptance was just open automatically by virtue of the fact that there was a Mandela government. So I can't give them even a mark. They didn't (have to wait) to be accepted at the United Nations. The United Nations says, "No, these guys are new now, let them come." Are you with me?
Now to other people who don't stay here, they say it is a success, but judged by what I am saying it is not a success because in any event even if it was an AZAPO government it would still come because they say it's a new democracy.
Now the other area that people say they have done well is the area of racial harmony. Now that area you can only give it to Mandela. You are talking of the government now, but I want to make sure that we give a mark to Mandela. Mandela has managed, as Mandela, we are not talking about the government, as Mandela he has managed to throw in some kind of hope even to white people who may have feared a new government and that is why every little problem that is here Mandela is called, which I don't believe Mandela must allow himself now to be a shop steward. He's too big. He mustn't be - so he has to limit that. To that extent one can say, well Comrade Mandela as a man has brought some kind of perception that has no fear. People will still fear but you don't see it across government ministers. Government ministers speak differently. He's the only man when he gives speeches he centres around that central theme and that's the only thing I see.
POM So out of ten what rating would you give Mandela?
PN On that point?
POM On performance in general.
PN Well Mandela you can't really just say he performs but he's this kind of guy who for all intents and purposes he has cleaned himself, there is no mistake he has committed thus far which can be really said that he has blundered. Are you with me? But it's also not entirely that it is his work. It is because even before Mandela was released, the world had accepted Mandela as a man of integrity. He has a stature of his own even if he didn't become President, Mandela will still have that stature. Before he was released already the world had accorded him 90% and I think he is still there as a person. He is still at that 90%, he hasn't dropped to a lower level.
POM Is he the glue that holds everything together?
PN At the moment, yes.
POM And if he were to die?
PN One does not want to think that that might be a problem. But people are debating that. There is a big debate. De Klerk was actually asked the question in one of his interviews and De Klerk was saying let's not look at individuals. It's beginning to be a debate and I think it's because of Mandela's health. There are people who are saying that his health is a bit low and therefore he might, if he passes, people are saying, what next? Will we get the same kind of person who can maintain that stature? But now the problem that AZAPO has again is that they are making Mandela the government. Now if they were to be able to do what AZAPO does, to be able to see that Mandela the man is the man I was describing and that that is distinct from the government. The government is a government of national unity and therefore even if Mandela was good he can't go beyond the fact that the government is of national unity, and I think that is why he is concentrating on just keeping the unity and the fears so that maybe when he dies there might be a room of that togetherness which would assist even when his image is no longer there, assist to keep the people of this country together.
POM Do you think within the ANC there will be a power struggle?
PN Yes. The ANC has always had power struggles, there will be power struggles and they might want to sort it now. They are going to a congress I think so they will probably want to solve it now because there are things such as Ramaphosa's position. It wasn't out of his own choice that he ended up not being Cabinet minister. It was not out of his choice. He actually became fed up according to information one gathered with the fact that in his circles and those who support him, they said that by virtue of the fact that he was so central in bringing about the constitution that AZAPO does not favour, that he was automatically going to be Deputy President of the country because Thabo Mbeki was nowhere during the real nitty gritty of making a new solution. So people felt it was unfair and the information one gets is that even at the time when this position was debated there was then the question of Ramaphosa also coming into being and that finally the organisation then rejected Ramaphosa in favour of Mbeki and that when it came to Ramaphosa being offered any other position thereafter he was so fed up that he chose to remain not in Cabinet. How far that is true one cannot say with certainty. That can only be confirmed by people who are within the ANC. But when generally one looks around, one finds that contradiction that Ramaphosa could accept to be just another parliamentarian in charge of a committee which drafts the constitution when actually he has been a man of limelight. That's a big question mark. So one would check when the congress comes, we want to check as to whether he will still be General Secretary of the ANC and perhaps that will give us a better understanding as to what is the thinking behind it.
POM Last August Mandela went to Venda, the home town of Ramaphosa, and said that the ANC had absolutely no leadership, it was in tatters. That would sound to me, if I were Ramaphosa, like you go to my back yard and even though my region gave you the highest percentage in the country, 92%, and you say that there's no leadership in the organisation, it is in tatters, I am in Shell House every Monday morning dealing with organisational problems.
PN So maybe, in speculation, it may just be the fact that he was trying to say - Ramaphosa retained, he was supposed to be in charge of the ANC during this time, and if you are given the ANC to be in charge outside parliament, because that's what they said after all the bickering, and then your President goes to an area and says "No, the ANC is in tatters now that we have left it with so-and-so", it gives a bit of a contradiction although Ramaphosa actually does not have roots in that back yard. It is just that Ramaphosa is Venda speaking and he was born within that tribe, but he never grew up there. He was born in Soweto and he grew up in Soweto. The only time he went there was when he went for schooling. There are better people who have more roots in that particular area who even if Ramaphosa was to go and stand for election in AZAPO he would not get the area, it would be impossible for him to get, there are better legends who are remembered there, who are within are organisation, than him because he did not really grow up there, he was not born there. He's taken as one of the tribe people but it ends there. But the point you make is still very relevant that Mandela goes to where his tribal inclinations are and he starts saying, "No, my organisation doesn't have leadership", when he has left one of their men in charge. So these are things that one would put as speculation. I wouldn't want to put them in some political direction for the purposes that we are doing this interview. We will still watch the situation.
POM OK. Thank you ever so much. I always enjoy doing an interview with you. As I said before you just take a question and go with it.