About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

12 Jul 1990: De Beer, Zach

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POM     I'm talking with Zach de Beer on the 12th of July. Mr. de Beer, just how far have things come in the last year in terms of where you thought they would be and where they actually are?

ZD     Things are enormously further than I dreamt that they would be. I knew, of course, that Mr. de Klerk was committed to what was described as a policy of reform. But I had no inkling that he would go so far, for example, as to unban the ANC, let alone the Communist Party, by this stage of the process. In terms of his rhetoric, let's be firmer than that, his undertakings, he is now committed to a universal franchise with one-vote, one-value, he's committed to a common roll, although there is a curious reservation about there being other roles as well and we're not quite sure what that means yet. If you're talking a common roll franchise for everybody with one-vote, one-value, then you're talking a democracy in the western sense.

POM     So you see him as having moved even from his position late last year where he was still saying that there would be universal franchise but that no one group could dominate another group. He was still talking in terms of that.

ZD     In the election, the policy of universal franchise was not clear. There was some mention of it. But I mean, the crispest test of what you're putting to me is that in the election campaign last year I was put on the television with Gerrit Viljoen, who is now the Minister of Constitutional Development, and his brief was to attack me because I had undertaken to unban the ANC and the Communist Party. And that's all he did right through the interview, was attack me for what he himself was going to do three months later.

POM     Did he question your support for universal franchise, one-value as distinct from what they were still trying to do?

ZD     I can't recall that was actually done on that television interview but I'm very clear about the unbanning issue.

POM     You don't remember?

ZD     Being cross-questioned on the universal franchise on that interview, but certainly I'm clear about the unbanning issue. That was riveting.

POM     What do you think has motivated de Klerk to move so quickly?

ZD     I think that for any objective observer, the evidence was there already a couple of years ago that the South African economy was declining steadily into what could only be an ultimate disaster. The level of unrest and violence in the country was chronic, unemployment resulting from the poor economic performance was feeding back into the unrest. And in short, you had an untenable position in this country. And Botha had sensed this, PW Botha, and that's why he raised the cry "Adapt or die" and that's why he made very important changes which he did make in relation to urbanisation, the pass laws, the trade unions. But Botha did not have the political will really to go to the root of the matter which was inequality. And I think that de Klerk, having thought this through, I would have expected him to think it through intelligently and objectively, but what I didn't think he would produce was the remarkable courage to really deal with the matter in a radical way, which nobody has ever done in South Africa before.

POM     In a sense, does what the Government is doing not pre-empt the position of the Democratic Party?

ZD     Certainly. The Democratic Party, I always quote Charles Dickens' novel Tale of Two Cities, it begins by saying, "They were the best of times, they were the worst of times", and for the DP this is true today. It is the best of times for us, particularly for the old people like myself because we fought for these things hopelessly for nearly 40 years and suddenly they are all happening. But it is the worst of times because the strategic decisions the Democratic Party has to make are nearly impossible.

POM     What role do you see for the Democratic Party?

ZD     I have three roles in mind. The first is that while de Klerk has announced very far-reaching changes in apartheid and carried some of them through, there is still far too much apartheid in this country. There is too much of the bad old South Africa as we go towards the new one. And we are the gadflies who prod and urge him to get rid of the rest of apartheid, with, I think, good effect. Then the next thing is, as Colin Eglin puts it, negotiation is the only game in town. The negotiation has got to take place and it has got to succeed. In that sphere, we talked to the ANC 30 years before the Nats did, and we talked to the Nats 30 years before the ANC did, so we are well-placed to talk to both sides, and because we adopted a policy of non-racial democracy 30 years ago, we have studied the constitutional issues and we know them pretty well backwards and these put us in a good position to contribute to the negotiating process. Once that is complete or nearly complete, once the shape of the new constitution becomes visible, then, I think, we in common with every other player on the political scene, have to re-evaluate our political options. I mean, plainly, you don't want to go into the new South Africa in that small overwhelmingly white party. You want to go with a large non-racial party.

POM     Wynand Malan had made that point to us that he didn't see a way in which the Democratic Party could become a South African Party given its overwhelming white base.

ZD     Yes. Well, I think there is a lot in what he says. I think we could, once the franchise is extended, there are substantial numbers of people of colour who would choose our policy. Probably more people of colour than whites. That still is a slow and a bumpy way to build up your party by slow recruitment. One always prefers to do it by dealing, if one can, and my first prize, I think, would be, in a couple of years time when we'd know what the new constitution is going to be, to do a deal with some large group of black people and become part of the non-racial entity.

POM     Do you think the issue of majority rule has already been conceded by the government?

ZD     Yes. You know, like all these political phrases have become so loaded, but we debated it quite a lot towards the end of the session. The President likes to say he is against simplistic majority rule. He accepts some majoritarian principles to the extent that when the majority wants X and the minority wants Y, X has got to win. But he is very keen that the minority be protected from any sort of oppression. Now, in principle, of course, I agree with him. That's why I want a Bill of Rights in an entrenched constitution, so that minorities and individuals have their rights protected. But majority rule in the sense that the majority must prevail over the minority is essential, and nothing else is democratic.

POM     But would, in terms of simplistic majority rule, would he be ruling out, say, a Westminster-type of parliament?

ZD     Yeah, I think so. I don't think any of us want a Westminster-type of constitution for South Africa.

POM     Do you also see his acceptance of something other than majority rule, but other than simplistic majority rule, as being a movement from where the National Party was in the election last September?

ZD     Yes, indeed. In the election last September I would have interpreted what the National Party would say as being that there should be rights for everybody but each person should exercise his rights through his own race group, and I deliberately used the word race. De Klerk and his advisors are now one hundred percent clear that nothing may be based on race, that there may be groups formed by voluntary association, and the rights of those groups may be protected. And the National Party is not yet one hundred percent clear about how this is going to be done. They have not put their constitutional model on the table but they have broken away from the thought of race groups.

PK     Could I ask you a question about your former answer regarding the Westminster system when you said you don't think "any of us want a Westminster system", do you include in that "us" the ANC?

ZD     I was not thinking particularly of the ANC but I would say that what they want would be fairly closely comparable to Westminster. Although, no, the ANC, nowadays are firmly in favour of the Bill of Rights. And there is no real Bill of Rights in England. There is a set of conventions which serves the purpose. But the ANC, to the best of my knowledge, now accept the proposal of an entrenched constitution with a Bill of Rights. And that is not Westminster, that is an American type of constitution. So I think that it holds.

POM     How do you see the process unfolding? Let me give you two scenarios. The first scenario is one in which a negotiation between the government and the ANC proceed and other parties are brought into the process and you end up with a negotiated settlement between these parties who then go about formulating the constitution. The second would be an election for a Constituent Assembly that then would be charged with the task of drawing up a constitution. How do you think this matter is going to resolve itself?

ZD     I'm clear as to what my own view is, quite clear. I think that the whole general election now, on a universal franchise basis, would produce an electoral process which had little or no relationship to the writing of a constitution. People would vote according to their economic grievances or their race prejudices or whatever and it would be a contest for power between political groups. And I don't think that serves the purpose.

POM     Would it also be a concession of simple majority rule?

ZD     Well, almost, in that you would then have this Constituent Assembly before there's a constitution, before there is anything entrenched to protect rights. You would have this Constituent Assembly sitting there. Even if it was not recognized as being the government, it would be very hard for the government to ignore it. But that, I think, I might be able to be overcome in my mind. I feel that there has got to be prolonged discussion of constitutional matters before you form a Constituent Assembly, if you ever do. My first prize, I think, would be for the process of negotiation exactly as you described it, to run its course to the point where there was consensus ideally. And at that point I would draft a constitution and put the draft not to a Constituent Assembly but to a referendum, where the people then are voting precisely on the constitutional issue. And then once they had voted on the constitution, then in terms of that constitution I would elect the parliament. That is what I would like and it is my impression that that is also what Mr. de Klerk would like, except that he has gummed himself up by undertaking to put the matter to the white electorate specifically which I don't think is necessary or desirable but he has committed himself.

PK     Has he committed himself to doing that exclusively, though?

ZD     Well, it depends on the meaning of the word "exclusive". He has committed himself to put the matter to the white electorate, as such. He has not refused the idea of putting it to other electorates also, whatever that may mean. He has said that if there is a request from groups other than white for a referendum, this will be favourably considered.

POM     But this could lead to a position of where the white community could reject it and the black community could accept it?

ZD     That is precisely why I say I think it's undesirable. But he said this during the election of '89. I noted it at the time, but I hoped he would just shut up and let it go down the river. But he hasn't. He reiterated that undertaking.

POM     Has he reiterated that even as he has shifted on the position of majority rule?

ZD     Even within the last month or so.

POM     Let's talk a moment about the Conservative Party and the white backlash. Do you think this poses a real danger?

ZD     The Conservative Party is a very formidable political organisation. But in my judgement it is just that. It is a political organisation. While it may command as much as 40%, or even a little more, of the white vote today, I don't believe it has the majority, and in any case this is not going to be put to the test. The one thing the President is not going to do is have a white election. And in any foreseeable circumstances, he has the majority at his disposal to prevent that.

POM     But wouldn't this be another reason why the decision to put a constitution before a white electorate would be tantamount to have a general election?

ZD     Well it isn't quite tantamount because, as I keep saying, if you can put the crisp issue of a new constitution that's going to have a much better chance of adoption than you are going to have of winning an election in which all issues get dragged in and in which particularly race fears can be exploited. And so, while I would rather that de Klerk didn't put the thing to the whites separately at all, put it to everybody, if you have to do the one or the other it is much preferable to put the constitution to the referendum then to hold a general election. But your question to me was, how did I see their role? I have emphasized that I regard the Conservative Party as a party that operates by constitutional methods, however much I may dislike its policies. In what we call the far right, the small extremist bodies on the other side of the Conservatives, there, I think, are some very nasty and some very dangerous people. But I do not think they are sufficiently numerous to derail the process of negotiations and a new constitution.

POM     Your party took some flack over the by-election in Umlazi and you are now faced with another decision of whether to run a candidate for Malan's seat in Randburg. Could you discuss the way in which that might be discussed by your party?

ZD     Well, I can't discuss Randburg very much. What happened in Umlazi was quite clear. It was that about two to three thousand people who voted National Party in last September voted Conservative in June this year. And about two thousand people who had voted DP last year voted for the Nats. And when the arithmetic worked out, the Nats won narrowly from the Conservatives. Now, there is a danger that something of the same sort could happen in any seat in the country. Because of the make-up of the electorate from one place to another, the socio-economic level, the degree of self confidence the voters have, the educational levels, that impact is not equal everywhere. But quite plainly, the voters who believe in our values now say, 'Well, de Klerk stands for pretty much the same values as the Democratic Party and we don't see why we should take the slightest risk of voting the Conservatives in.' And therefore, there will be a tendency wherever you go for Democrats to vote for a Nat candidate in a three-cornered situation. In a straight fight between us and the Nats, we had one the other day in Randburg and we won. We took a seat from them, the municipal board. So, I don't think the voters have deserted the principles we stand for but very naturally, when the President supports the same principles, some of them vote for him.

POM     But doesn't this posit a particularly difficult question since as a political party your function is to contest elections?

ZD     Yes.

POM     And to start opting out of the electoral process is almost the opposite of what you want to achieve, that you want to be inclusive, not exclusive.

ZD     I understand that very well. What I said in the House was that wherever we judged that there was a risk of putting a Conservative in we would weigh that risk against the advantages of fighting elections. And we would, if necessary, hold back in order to prevent Conservatives from winning. That was not an undertaking that we would never fight an election. And we will judge Randburg in the light of that.

POM     So you don't foresee a time at any period in the next, say, between now and 1994, where the Conservative Party might command a majority of the white vote?

ZD     I do not think that will happen. And I would favour doing everything possible, including staying out of elections, in order to prevent that.

POM     Do you think that the Conservative Party would command a majority of the Afrikaner vote?

ZD     Yes, probably. I think they had 50% of the Afrikaner vote last September.

POM     They talk about partition. Is this highly unrealistic?

ZD     Yes, it's nonsense. It's even hypocritical. There is a non-hypocritical proponent of partition in the shape of Professor Carel Boshoff, if you know his name. And he has put forward a scheme where he would set aside a rather arid, remote part of the country for those Afrikaners to live in who could not bear the idea of living in a non-racial state. He says the rest of South Africa has to become an open society. That, to my mind, is a perfectly decent way of putting forward a rather, in my mind, an undesirable idea. But Dr. Treurnicht and the Conservative Party consistently plead for partition, refuse to publish any sort of map, and when pressed, say the white man's part of the country is the part which historically belonged to the white man, which means virtually everything.

POM     Let me turn to the ANC for a moment. Do you see a shift in the ANC's position on the economy in the last year?

ZD     Yes, the ANC is much less doctrinaire. When I first discussed this matter with them which was in 1985 in Zambia with their Executive Committee, they were harsh, hard, virtually Stalinist socialists, and they weren't interested in any alternative arguments. That was also the time when they said there will be no negotiation, there's nothing to negotiate about, you just give us the country when you are ready to do so. Their present position is chalk from cheese. Not only are they negotiating but they are saying on every occasion, Look, we don't absolutely have to nationalise. Nationalisation seems to us to be the way to get the money to do the things we want to do. If you can show us another way of getting that money we are quite prepared to discuss it. I appeared just two days ago at a ASACC conference here on a platform with Fuad Cassim, who is one of their leading economic advisors, and I thought he spoke with admirable moderation. And he said, 'We do not wish to have commissars in factories, we do not wish to interfere with the economy in that sense, we wish, of course, to control the overall government policy about the economy so as to push the socio-political processes in the direction we want to go.' Now, I'm not in favour of that either but I think the ANC's position today is one that you could far more easily debate than it was a few years ago.

POM     Do you think this puts them on a collision course with, say, COSATU? And is there any significance to the fact that the ANC negotiating team does not contain a senior labour representative?

ZD     You know, I didn't notice that the negotiating team didn't contain a senior labour representative. I would find it difficult to believe that the ANC would allow itself to get on a collision course with COSATU. In other words, all I'm saying is that COSATU might also turn out in the end not to be as doctrinaire as all that.

POM     But at this point in time COSATU is still more hard-line or doctrinaire?

ZD     I'm sure if you look at the statements that have come out of COSATU you would find that. But then, again, a man like Alec Erwin, who is probably the leading strategic thinker in COSATU, has made statements which leave room for considerable flexibility.

POM     He's in Durban, right, is he?

ZD     I don't know where he lives. I've met him up here.

POM     But obviously, there is a problem here, a problem of the ANC wanting in some way to redistribute wealth or to lessen the degree of inequality, the fact that the white community as a tax base is probably already pretty severely taxed. What can be done? Which direction do they move in?

ZD     Well, we all want to lessen the degree of inequality. I think it is fair to say that we all want to do it in the most efficient way, but we differ from each other about what is the most efficient way. For me, the volume of money required in order to redress the wrongs in this society is huge. That money does not exist at the moment. There is no way you can go get it. It has got to come from rapid growth in future. And rapid growth in future means promoting investment, cutting back the size of government, allowing the free market processes to operate and allowing the economy to grow. [Can we interrupt this tape?]

POM     But if you contrast that with the statements of COSATU and the ANC over the last  few years, this would demand of them dramatic change. And much of the change has been a dramatic change in their positions. Can they do that and carry their constituencies with them?

ZD     I don't know. I mean, I'm not saying that I will cut my throat rather than amend my stance in the slightest. I mean, I'm quite prepared to look for compromises if they can be found. It seems to me, in terms of all my experience and knowledge such as it is - I mean I'm not the greatest expert in the world - it seems to me axiomatic that that is the only way you really are going to get the money. But if one has to compromise in one's position to some extent, as long as one gets some money to spend on the longsuffering poor, so much the better. You see, they talk of nationalisation. They don't make it clear whether they are going to pay compensation or not. I think their intention would be to pay compensation and I don't know where the devil they are going to get the money from. We were nationalised, I used to work for Anglo American, we were nationalized in Zambia so I've been through the process, I know what's involved. What happened there was that the President borrowed money at, we think, 10%-12% in order to pay off bonds which he had issued at 6%. It was disastrous for him. It wasn't so bad for us at all. We had a whole lot of money in Bermuda. I think the ANC doesn't understand the issues involved in nationalisation. But if nationalisation is not the only portion of this, I think they do believe that it's feasible to put the political authority in a position to control, in a broad sense anyway, what companies do. They may not have commissars in the factories but they want to exert political influence. Again, my direct experience of that is that the problem is not that the people are malicious or ill-meaning, it's that they don't understand the businesses they're seeking to control. And they seek to use businesses to achieve political objectives which the businesses are incapable of achieving. And the usual one is, you've got to create more jobs, you've got to employ more people, and when you do that you go bust and then there isn't any money and there isn't any business.

POM     Isn't a considerable part of the South African economy already under one form or another of government control? Isn't there a large number of what in Britain would be called semi-state bodies or state bodies?

ZD     This government has always suffered from the illusion that it is a free market, free enterprise government, which it's never been. Well, of course, every economy in the world is mixed to some extent. But there has been substantial direct government ownership in industry here, which has been ameliorated to some extent by the privatisation, notably of ISCOR and of certain other smaller activities. Furthermore, we have had price control over a huge range of products. That's been reduced substantially now, but there still are instances of it. We've needed government permits for 101 things, over-regulation. In all these matters the government has turned around during the last five years roughly and has announced a change of direction and has come out for what a free enterprise supporter would wish to see. But they haven't been able to implement all of it. [I'm sorry, is there something going on?]

POM     I want to go back to the negotiating table for a moment. Who ultimately would you see sitting around that table? Or would it not be a matter of sitting around a table but of sitting on opposite sides of the table?

ZD     Well, I hope the table would be round. We all use this sort of metaphorical language. I think that a realist must concede that, at present in South Africa anyway, the Nats and the ANC are the big players but that the Black Consciousness Movement, the PAC, must be represented is, I think, quite clear. I think Inkatha, although it has fallen to some extent on evil days, they are still big and strong and have to have a place there. I think we must be there. And the Conservatives ought to be there. They are saying they won't go but we believe there is an undercurrent within the Conservative Party of more realistic people who say, 'Look, if we are going to be alive in the new South Africa, we might as well do what we can about shaping it.' I don't know. I don't intend that list to be exclusive but these are the people with substantial proven support. You've got things like Solidarity and the Labour Party.

POM     Would you see the table being confined to members of political parties or political organisations, or would it be broader than that?

ZD     I think so, you know. I mean, this is not a matter of principle with me. But I think once you start broadening it, everybody in the country has got some claim to be there. I think that there are bodies and organisations which should be invited to give evidence, to make representations. And I would certainly include the bigger business parties and probably the trade union federations in that. And I don't know, churches, perhaps. I'd be prepared to be flexible about that. But I think the negotiating, the putting together of the constitution, should be done by people who have a political base. The President's phrase is, 'Any leader with a proven constituency, large or small', that's what he likes to use, and I think that's probably sensible. I mean, just how small? You get into difficulties again. But you've got to cut it off somewhere.

POM     When you look at the time span in which negotiations must take place, one, how do you see that process unfolding? And two, is it necessary that the government have this out of the way by the 1994 elections, or would they be in real trouble if the situation is still unresolved or bogged down by 1994?

ZD     In the strict constitutional sense, they would not be in trouble, because all you require for a change in the constitution is that each of the three Houses of Parliament should approve of the change. So you can change the constitution so as to lengthen the life of parliament if you've got a simple majority in each of the three houses. I have not the slightest doubt in my mind the President could get that majority if he wanted it. However, I think there are other constraints that make it very undesirable to spin the thing out beyond 1994, the most important of which is that our economy continues to go down the drain while all this is going on because of political uncertainty and unwillingness to invest.

POM     It seems to me there is an assumption that if this problem was settled there would be an inflow of capital investment that would allow the economy to grow at more than 5% a year, which it must grow at just to keep pace with the population growth. And given the competition for capital all around the world, especially in the last couple of years, this may be just that, an assumption that

ZD     Yes, this could fail. And if the economy doesn't grow at 5% then we store up more trouble for the future. There isn't any doubt about that. But you know, what do you do? You can turn your business bankrupt if you want to, you can't do it with your country. You've got to go on living and you've got to do what you can. In the past, we were certainly capable of growing at more than 5% and there are many good economists who think that the economy is capable of 7% or 8%.

POM     What reason is there to believe that there would be inward investment of this magnitude to spur the economy to such a rate of growth?

ZD     Well, it's not so enormous to begin with. Analyses that I have studied show that provided we can finance 5% to 10% of gross domestic fixed investments from foreign sources we can grow rapidly. So that isn't so huge. Secondly, the natural resources of this country are strong, as we've always said they are. There is a good infrastructure. There is a tradition of efficient management. We have a good deal going for us. In the situation in which we foresee ourselves being placed, where we have now a non-racial government which is democratic and we are respectable in the world, we will also be one of the most under-borrowed countries anywhere because we never were over-borrowed in international terms. We've always had fairly prudent financial management. And, of course, we've been forced to repay loans now for several years, with the result that we can with perfect respectability borrow quite a lot of money internationally which I think would serve as seed money for an upswing in the economy.

POM     But expectations, particularly in the black community, must be running very high that when you have a change in, when they have their own government, so to speak, that the conditions of their lives are going to change dramatically and yet, would you agree that the conditions of the life of the average black person are not really going to change very much at all?

ZD     Well, they are going to change slowly. I believe they could change slowly and for the better.

POM     For the average person living in Soweto?

ZD     Yes. Particularly for the average person living in Soweto who tends - he's urbanised, he's in the city, he's where the jobs are, he's where the business life is, and the standards of living of those people are to a large extent rising right now. Admittedly unemployment is high. But certainly for the employed people, they've been getting wage increases ahead of the inflation rate for some years past. But yes, put your question to me in the form, 'May the aspirations of the black people not outrun the capacity of the economy to settle them?' I would say, That's entirely possible and indeed, maybe it's probable.

POM     But in terms of, say, residence, there are still going to be townships. I mean, you may not have de jure segregation, but to a considerable extent, you still have de facto segregation.

ZD     Absolutely. Absolutely.

POM     And yet, there is an idea, at least, that these things will change with the end of apartheid, that suddenly, dramatically you are going to have some large-scale integration.

ZD     Yes. I regret the fact that - I more than regret, condemn the fact - that the government has not yet repealed the Group Areas Act. But they say they will do that next year, and I accept that they will. And that will create the opportunity for blacks with sort of middle class income to move into what used to be white suburbs. But the mass of the black people will stay where they are because that's what they can afford.

POM     What are the main obstacles in the face of negotiations? First, if you look at the government, what are the threats to it, and then if you look at the ANC?

ZD     Well, I think the government are very determined, more than we would be in the same position, to come out with a constitution which enables them to ensure white people that their standard of living isn't going to collapse. Now, I mean, I would wish to do that, also. But I guess the government coming from where they come from are probably even more keen on that than I am, and I don't know to what extent this is going to cause clashes with the ANC or other black negotiators. I think it may, to a considerable extent. Then your next question presumably is, what about the problem from the black front? The problem from the ANC or other black negotiators' side is that they are going to have a constituency which demands, as you've said several times, a tangible, considerable improvement in living standards very quickly and there is no way that this perhaps can be delivered.

POM     Is there any way that de Klerk can move too quickly? Where there is not an evolution in the attitudes of the white community?

ZD     Yes, if he goes too fast, whatever that may mean, of course there can be more of a white backlash than there is already.

POM     At the same time, is there a way in which Mandela and the ANC can move too slowly?

ZD     Yes, I think so. You have the Black Consciousness/PAC movement who are basically hostile to the ANC and are competing with it for support in the townships. And if Mandela can be depicted as a sell-out to the whites, that will be done.

POM     So is there a kind of, what I call a symbiotic relationship between de Klerk and Mandela -

ZD     Yes.

POM     where they must appreciate each other's position and they understand that Mandela can't move too slowly and Mandela must understand that de Klerk can't move too quickly?

ZD     They need each other very badly.

POM     What is your prognosis at this point?

ZD     My prognosis all along has been that you are going to see remarkable shifts in attitude by both the Nats and the ANC as they move to find each other because they both need to. I think they will find each other on pretty much the ground that we have always stood on. That is not vital but it's a fact to mention in passing, that they will find each other on pretty much the ground where the Democratic Party stands today.

POM     People for years talked about the intractability of the situation here, how slow people will be to change, and how the Afrikaners would, with the laager mentality, would hold on to power at any cost. And yet what we appear to be witnessing is almost a miraculous process in which within a space of three or four years power may be transferred to black majority.

ZD     Yes. Well, the Afrikaans-speaking people in particular have moved more rapidly than was generally expected.

POM     So expert opinion has been pretty significantly off the mark.

ZD     Yes, there's no such thing as expert opinion in these matters. I mean, people gain that impression of intransigence and it has proved that at least a good proportion of the Afrikaners are much more realistic than used to be thought. There were always people, mark you, who said, that when the chips were down, the Afrikaners would prove more realistic and more willing to accept inevitabilities than a lot of the English.

POM     Have you anything, Patricia? Thank you very much. I appreciate it that this was arranged.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.