House of Assembly: Vol7 - FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY 1986
Mr Speaker, this year—1986—will probably become the most important year in the political history of South Africa. Now it is also true that this debate has displayed a number of conspicuous and very interesting features. If we had had an expert in the field of facial expressions who could have attended this debate, he could have told us that the facial expressions on the other side of the House, among hon members of the coalition governing party, were just as expressive as those things that were said here in this House. [Interjections.]
The face of the hon the Minister of National Education bears the expression of a loser, and his bowed shoulders also reflect the fact that he has run out of steam. To tell the truth, he seems to have fallen between the two stools he was trying to sit on. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning is obviously extremely uneasy—in spite of his great empire. He is literally gasping for breath.
Christianus Primus, Rex Imperator! [Interjections.]
Yes, it seems to me that he is cherishing the hope that the State President still has a little steam left for him. [Interjections.] The man who arrived here this year, jubilant, exultant and triumphant—the man who was in fact comfortably ahead in the race to succeed the State President—is of course the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. [Interjections.] Whereas he was pale and introverted last year, he is now cheerfulness personified—jubilant and radiant! [Interjections.] One sees his hand in many matters—in the State President’s opening address, in the State President’s advertisement which appeared in the newspapers, and also in many other areas. Yes, Rubicon II was indeed completely different from Rubicon I. The hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs even came to the rescue of his weaker colleagues, for example the hon the Minister of Defence, and took them protectively under his wing. [Interjections.]
The corporal is now protecting the general! [Interjections.]
He is a person who is known to speak frankly without shrinking from the facts and their consequences; nor from a consequence such as the fact that what the State President proposed would lead to the possibility that a Black man could become the State President of South Africa. He does not shrink from that, Sir.
I want to put it to the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs that he now has the opportunity to finally shake off his opponents and to demonstrate to South Africa that he is unrivalled in bringing his statements to their logical conclusions, and to tell South Africa whether that Black State President, who, as he says, after group interests have been assured, will be able to become State President of South Africa, and under whom he has declared himself prepared to serve, could even be Nelson Mandela. [Interjections.]
Come on now, Pik, tell us!
Could that Black State President also be Nelson Mandela? [Interjections.] Mr Speaker, the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs—it appears to me—looks rather ill today. [Interjections.] He looks really ill today, Sir. His facial expression shows that he is now no longer winning the race. Look at him now! He looks the way he did last year! [Interjections.] The hon the Minister must not show himself to be a man wearing Band-Aids now. The hon the Minister knows politics, and surely each student of politics knows that the logical consequence of what the hon the Minister has said, is that Nelson Mandela could also become President of South Africa. I am asking the Minister to tell us whether this is the case or not. He is shaking his head. [Interjections.] Is he saying no or is he saying nothing?
That is not the logical consequence.
That is not the logical consequence? The hon the Minister is therefore saying it cannot happen. [Interjections.] He is saying no, it cannot happen?
I am saying it is not the logical consequence.
I am asking whether it could happen, but I know the hon the Minister is not going to reply. He is going to remain silent because he does not reply well in the House. He first has to go and work out a dramatic speech. I shall, however, give him every opportunity to do so. He can answer whenever he wants to because he comes across better at press conferences. He must simply choose the occasion himself and then tell South Africa whether that President could also be Nelson Mandela. The hon the Minister knows that the answer to that is “yes” and, should he remain silent, South Africa can come to only one conclusion and that is that the answer is “yes” and that Nelson Mandela could indeed become President of South Africa.
I also want to ask the hon the Minister of National Education whether he, too, agrees with the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with reference to the dispensation in which he is participating, that Nelson Mandela could become President of South Africa. I want to put this question to the State President as well. He is the man who made the announcements. He is the man who has indicated the road South Africa is to take and he now has to make an announcement to South Africa as far as this simple question is concerned. Is the statement by the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs correct, yes or no?
Another feature that revealed itself is the glaring dissension in the ranks of the Government party. The hon the Minister of National Education says an own community life, schools and residential areas is a must. I want to tell the hon the Minister that if he wants a private community life, then it is essential that it can be maintained by law because the State President’s guarantee is the law and the court.
Now “our Albert” of Innesdal comes along and “our Albert” is ashamed of the hon the Minister.
Order! The hon member is now referring to an hon member of this House. No hon member is to be mentioned by name.
The hon member for Innesdal is ashamed of the hon the Minister who is still ardently embracing the corpse of apartheid to which they were married for 70 years.
He did not say that.
Yes, the hon member said that the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act should disappear from the Statute Book. [Interjections.] He wants to drag out the corpse that that hon Minister is still embracing, and I believe that the hon the Minister of Law and Order, too, is still embracing it, although to a lesser degree.
What does the dissension in that party look like? The State President makes a speech and Ministers explain what he said. The hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs tells the world and the radicals that a Black man could become President of South Africa. Then the Minister of National Education has to explain to the right wing of the NP that group areas etcetera are a must and will be preserved.
This debate revealed another feature, the technique that that party is employing. That technique is one of surrender and, at the same time, deception as well as concealment. The surrender has to be concealed. Each act of surrender on the part of the Government is concealed by an ostensible, seemingly potent blow to the left, but one which is meaningless.
We saw this last year when the State President went to address the President’s Council, setting it in motion to change its composition and function so as to bring in Black people as well. On that day he fired Minister Abramjee and then the right wing felt happy because a potent action had been carried out. Yes, he did this the day he surrendered.
Then there is the State President’s opening address in which he finally announced political power-sharing with the Black people. He thus announced surrender, but shortly before this the border with Lesotho was closed to appease the conservatives.
People have surely known all these years that the ANC was there. They also knew about all the mischief that is brewing there, but they waited until shortly before this announcement in order to conceal things.
The following point is the PFP’s lack of patriotism and their excessive love of the ANC. This is being exploited by the Government in order to conceal their surrender.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Would you please give a ruling on the hon member’s reference to the PFP’s lack of patriotism?
Order! Did the hon member for Lichtenburg refer specifically to hon members of the PFP?
Sir, I referred to the PFP’s lack of patriotism, the party’s lack of patriotism.
The hon member may proceed.
We know that that party knows the value of the ANC in White politics. They have exploited the ANC time and again. At the time of the referendum they linked us, those who intended voting “no”, to the ANC in order to promote a victory for the “yes” vote. Mrs Di Bishop and other members of the PFP are regularly exploited. Before last year’s by-elections, they withdrew the passport’s of eight students. This was done with a view to the by-election, because they know the value of that kind of thing.
While they hammer the PFP because of its love of and talks with the ANC, they themselves are in the process of negotiating with the ANC. [Interjections.] The State President’s announcement that Nelson Mandela could be released and that he had thrown this into the lap of other governments, is proof that the Government is dealing indirectly with the ANC through other governments. After all, those governments cannot act on Nelson Mandela’s release without talking to the ANC. Moreover, the hon the Minister of Defence said the other day that it was because the PFP had talked to the ANC that Britain was now talking to the ANC. Britain then had to negotiate on Nelson Mandela’s release and therefore the Government was the cause of Britain now having to talk to the ANC. The Government is negotiating indirectly.
I say that while the Government is castigating the PFP concerning the ANC, they are negotiating indirectly with the ANC because they still want to negotiate openly with the ANC. The hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs was reported as follows from Munich:
They may then return. I say that if they may return and may come and negotiate around the conference table, they will also be able to become the government of South Africa. While the Government is castigating the PFP, it is stripping them bare of their policy and principles. [Interjections.] My hon colleague pointed this out in the House yesterday.
The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition arrived here the other day in his tattered vest, politically speaking. Why? Because all the other things have been stolen from him. The 14 principles of the PFP to which my hon colleague referred yesterday have all been accepted by the NP without alteration.
I say that the course the Government has adopted, the steps it has taken, can have only one result and this is inevitable. It must lead to Black majority rule in South Africa and ultimately to radical Black majority rule in South Africa. There is no other course.
The State President’s own statements in the past are the best proof of this. At the time of the Free State NP Congress in 1978, he said the following about Dr Zac de Beer:
I now want to ask the State President why he does not apply the words he addressed to Dr de Beer to himself. Why does he not tell us that we should take the shortcut and be honest about it because Black majority rule in South Africa is approaching?
In this statement of his, which is causing him to have a rather long face now, the hon the Minister said:
Surely this is what the Government is going to do. All the majorities in all the communities are going to participate in the Government and that, he says, is the fairest concept of majority government. Consequently those hon members have already conceded this; those of them who realise it. However, the hon the Minister of National Education is still trying to appease the right wing and to butter up the electorate.
The history of the world has shown that these steps, this kind of policy that the Government is now following, has only one outcome, namely majority government. In Financial Week last year, two informative articles appeared, written by a professor from Wits, in which he illustrated very clearly that the history of the world had shown that reform did not combat revolution but in fact stimulated it. He showed also that power-sharing led to radicalism and that foreign pressure was not combated by reform, but was in fact stimulated by it. He said:
He was therefore taking into account the whole world’s history of revolutions and showing that there was only one case in which reform worked. It was in Britain that it occurred in a homogeneous community.
Who wrote that?
It was Prof Arnheim of the University of the Witwatersrand. He went on to say:
I say that this man’s facts are indisputable. As far as reform is concerned, he had the following to say:
This is where South Africa stands; with a weak Government that is trying to change its ways.
I want to tell hon members that all over the world there are people and experts who say that partition is the only solution for South Africa. Since my time is getting short I shall quote just one example to hon members. This comes from none other than the UDF, from a document of theirs entitled: UDF Transvaal Education Forum Discussion Paper. In it they say the following:
The UDF say they are coming up against separate development—against apartheid—apartheid which has always brought prosperity to South Africa, which has brought peace to South Africa, which has uplifted the peoples of South Africa. It was when we had apartheid that there was progress in the form of the Sasols and the Iscors and educational institutions such as the universities. Those things are being burned down since the Government killed apartheid.
If one looks at our country today one can see there is a spirit of revolution, of murder and mayhem, plunder and destruction in South Africa. A spirit of dedication, of building and of service to the country, and of what brings the finest and most beautiful in people to the fore, is absent in South Africa. Why has it gone? [Interjections.] It has gone because the factor that brought out the finest in a person and in a people, namely love of one’s fatherland, has been taken away from all the peoples. If one throws together 13 peoples in one country, whose fatherland is it then?
That ethos, the fine and noble forces that allow a people to achieve things beyond its capabilities, will return to South Africa when the CP takes over the Government. [Interjections.] It will return when we restore freedom to all the peoples of South Africa, including the Black people and when each people will have its own fatherland which they themselves will govern, of which they will be proud, and which will awaken what is finest in them. Then we shall again see development in South Africa.
When last did we see a large project being tackled in South Africa? South Africa is no longer able to pay its foreign debt. It can no longer even maintain its national roads. Since the day this Government decided to leave the path of self-determination, things began to go awry. If one looks at the country, one can see that peace still reigns where the UDF is blocked, where separate development is being implemented. There is no peace where separate development and partition have not yet been implemented. Therefore peace will return to the country the day the CP comes into power. [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Lichtenburg will excuse me if I do not follow him in his line of reasoning because he and I do not have quite the same political viewpoint.
However, there is one point that I should like to make and that is in respect of the ANC because some people may have a misconception of the views of the people in this party relative to the African National Congress. I want to make it clear that so far as we are concerned we would be prepared to talk to anybody if it were for peace and if we could achieve a successful future for South Africa. However, there is one proviso. Under no circumstances would we talk to anybody who persisted in terrorism. They would at the very least have to declare an armistice before we would be prepared to talk to them.
Nobody wants to talk to you.
That is as may be, but there are people who would like to talk to reasonable people in South Africa.
I shall talk to you; don’t worry.
Thank you, that is very kind of you.
Before I get to the main gravamen of my address, I should like to touch upon one point that was handled by the hon member for Umlazi and the hon member for Berea. Regrettably, neither of these gentlemen is at the moment in the House. However, these gentlemen talked about the Natal option. I should like to make it very clear at the outset—the hon member for Umlazi said he rejected the Natal option or plan—that there is no such thing as a Natal option at this stage. What I can say is that there have been negotiations between the NRP executive of Natal and the kwaZulu Government in respect of administrative matters. Those matters have been agreed upon and, in fact, are operative today.
In so far as the points raised by the hon member for Berea are concerned, however, there is very little difference of opinion between himself and ourselves in respect of the fact that we would prefer to have autonomy or greater autonomy in Natal; that we in fact believe Natal can only be properly administered as an integrated unit and, to do that effectively, one will have to have some sort of political organisation that will accommodate that situation. However, there is no such thing as a Natal option. So how the Natal option can be unacceptable to the least prominent of the Bothas in this House I really do not know. I would have thought such a statement, if it were to come in respect of Natal, would have come from their Natal leader. It could still have been kept within the Botha family. However, I am afraid that this is something unacceptable which does not exist and I really feel that the hon member should do his homework a little more effectively. That does not imply that we do not have our intentions, we do not have our wishes, we do not have ideas as to what we want. The ideas expounded by the hon member for Berea are ideas which have been worked out and negotiated and discussed between kwaZulu and the NRP Exco of Natal. If he wishes to plagiarise our ideas, fine, that is a compliment and will be accepted as such.
I would like to come to the question of the no-confidence debate as such. As members of Parliament in this House we have various options when we address Parliament. We can be good old party hacks and yack away at the party line, or we can be, as certain other members frequently are, self-seeking publicity hounds who just want to get an article in the Press, or perhaps we can play the fool a little sometimes and be sarcastic and humorous at the expense of our colleagues. In the past maybe this was acceptable, but frankly I believe at the moment, at this stage of our history in South Africa, we cannot afford these little luxuries. Our work is important, sure, but there is no question about it that at this stage our country is suffering; we have riots and economic distress; there is substantial unemployment and we are in the process of massive constitutional change. This is the situation today. I do not believe, therefore, we can afford the luxuries that have been so liberally used in this debate so far during the course of this week—in other words, of just waffling away and hammering the hell out of one another to no particular purpose.
We believe that sterile recrimination, cheap debating points and unconstructive criticism are not only a complete waste of time but tantamount to fiddling while South Africa bums. If we continue with this we will deserve the same sort of contempt as was heaped upon Nero who was alleged to have fiddled while Rome burned. We in this party are prepared to accept the good intent expressed by the State President in his Opening Address. Furthermore, we pledge our support for the removal of discriminatory laws and the re-creation of one great South Africa and a constitution that will ensure a place in the political sun for all South Africans, regardless of race. We believe that the vast majority of our South African peoples in the Black groups would also like to accept the State President’s good intentions but, unfortunately they, like any creature, human or otherwise, are suspicious of the good intentions expressed by those who over a long period have wielded the whip, because they have suffered the consequences at their hands. Nonetheless we believe that responsible Black opinion will try to co-operate. In fact, one of our more prominent leaders in Natal, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has indicated very clearly that he thinks enough of the prospect to put it to his legislative assembly and the other movement to which he belongs.
One of the greater problems that we must face in trying to get hold of genuine Black leaders with a demonstrable constituency is that they have been upstaged by the revolutionary elements. Too much credibility has been given to the proponents of violence by certain people—ecclesiastics, certain businessmen and many radicalists. I am afraid that too little credibility has been given to those who are prepared to work peacefully for a democratic, non-racial South Africa.
Another problem is that some of the more obvious leaders have been excised from the body politic of South Africa by the creation of homelands and other independent or self-governing states. Furthermore, little or nothing has been done until very, very recently indeed to build up the status of non-home-land Blacks. Even then, it was done primarily in the local government field. Furthermore, Black leaders, wherever they may be, are given no particular credit—or have been given no particular credit—when any aspects of racism have been removed. They are not even given an opportunity of sharing in the announcement. This, I think is most unfortunate. After all is said and done it is very important to let them be seen to be part of it. I know it has been said many a time before that one can have the finest proposal in the world but, if one has to comply with it, one is going to try to find something wrong with it unless one has had some say in the creation of it.
You are making a good speech.
Thank you, but I think the hon the Minister must wait until I have finished. He may not like it then. [Interjections.] When a Black leader speaks well of a project, or a projected change, delays in the implementation of that change or reform are so long-winded that the impact is lost, together with that leader’s credibility. Perhaps the hon the Minister may not like this, but an example of what I am saying here concerns the opening of the central business districts. This was first mooted in the Strydom Report of August 1983. It went through the Venter Committee and was accepted in principle long ago. Yet, in spite of all that, there is, to the best of my knowledge, not one which is open at this stage. There is not one open central business district. It is absolutely ridiculous that it has taken so long to do something which has been approved. They have retained the bureaucratic system. Each local authority has to write to the department; somebody is sent to look at the situation and get maps and all the rest of it and only then is it approved. My goodness me, surely it is not necessary to go through that nonsensical rigmarole!
Bureaucracy is going to be one of the problems as far as change is concerned, and not only genuine bureaucracy; that in itself is bad enough; but it must be remembered that many of our bureaucrats are children of the apartheid age. There may well be a certain amount of bureaucratic sabotage to stop this from being put into being. I think they will make a mockery of the attempt …
Can you prove what you are saying?
I said “maybe”.
Can you prove it?
No, I cannot prove something that may occur. [Interjections.]
The point is that that may be the case. I did not say it was the case. [Interjections.] The State President stated, I quote:
This cannot be truly so until Black political parties are legalised and in a position to elect members to Parliament. They are not fully integrated South Africans until they can achieve that status.
Of course, it may well be that the proposed National Statutory council may be the body to bring this situation into being. If so, I believe that this functional option—and I call it no more than a functional option—should be clearly stated. We in this party are very anxious that there should be only one supreme body in South Africa. The dangers of creating major governing bodies outside of Parliament must be avoided. Sharing power is one thing, but splitting that power and the government is an entirely different matter.
Our aim must be to have one central government which will accommodate the needs of all our races and cultures. This must include, of course, the protection to ensure security and a fair deal for all groups.
In order to achieve this, we believe that ethnicity cannot be ignored. At the same time, Whites, we believe, will only be part of any future government rather than the government. In that future government there will have to be coalition with parties of other groups. In order to attain this, we should start now with what is possible by creating a coalition of moderates.
This issue was raised by the hon members for Durban Point and Bryanston. We believe that we would be so powerful as to be able quickly to disarm either reactionary or radical forces. This substantially broadened White coalition I believe to be absolutely essential. It could then sit down with the elected leaders of the Coloured and Indian people and the genuine Black leaders—no matter where or whom they may be—of recognisable constituency so that consensus solutions may be found to our problems.
When I say that we must sit down with genuine Black leaders, I do not necessarily mean only those leaders who have been working within the establishment.
As I mentioned earlier, we believe that if it is for the good of South Africa, then one must be prepared to talk beyond those realms. One must ensure, however, that the people with whom one is talking are prepared—at least for the duration of those talks—to eschew violence. There must at least be an armistice. Whoever heard of sitting down peacefully to discuss peaceful change whilst a war is in progress? This does not even happen in major conflagrations.
Such broadening of the White content of a negotiating group would remove some of the suspicion that the NP was still trying to dominate proceedings. It would also reduce the possibility of Black leaders having their credibility questioned by working with the establishment.
This I think as we all know is one of the great problems: They have to guard their credibility or they will be denied.
We believe that the question of credibility is of vital importance, particularly to the younger faction which still looks upon the NP as the party which humiliated it—in the same way, perhaps, that many Afrikaners could once not be seen co-operating with English-speakers and perhaps for the same reason.
South Africa is in a position where a little humility and understanding is required on the part of the Whites. In the same way, compromise and discernment of reality is required on the part of the Blacks if we are to resolve our problems. They will not be solved by recrimination over past misdeeds. Attacks upon one another in this House or attempting to deprive others of their just rights serve no purpose. These problems can, however, be resolved if we all follow that very good Christian precept of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
If we wish to make this country a place where all can live in relative peace and harmony, in which our children and grandchildren are to have a worthwhile future, we must abandon our prejudices on matters of race and accept that all are demeaned by unjust laws which entrench privilege of one group at the expense of any or all other groups.
We in these benches anticipate the day when all discriminatory race legislation can be abandoned but we also accept that certain aspects of the legislation cannot be changed overnight without creating problems which could be just as or possibly even more unpleasant than the residual aspects of apartheid. In other words, attitudes as well as laws have to be changed and that may take a little time.
Mr Speaker, bearing the aforegoing in mind, I move the following amendment:
- (1) declaration that apartheid is an outmoded concept and its statement of proposed norms for the future;
- (2) intention to establish a national statutory council; and
- (3) commitment to the use of our security forces for the maintenance of law and order and the defence of our borders against armed incursion,
nevertheless has no confidence in the Cabinet because it has failed, inter alia—
- (a) to manage the country’s financial affairs adequately;
- (b) to uphold South Africa’s reputation in the international community; and
- (c) to implement its previously stated reform policies timeously and effectively.”.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Umbilo will probably not take it amiss of me if I do not refer to his speech, since my time is limited and I want to deal with a few other matters.
†I could agree with many of the points raised by the hon member; concerning others I do not see eye to eye with him, but we can test that at a later stage.
*The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition made the accusation that the Government was disparaging the role of Parliament, and that as a result of that Parliament had become irrelevant. In the first place I want to point out that the accusation is completely unfounded, because he made the accusation in connection with a certain matter which he broached. He reproached me for having waited until after the parliamentary session to proclaim a state of emergency, but surely that it is only part of the truth.
During the session I called a joint sitting of all three Houses of this Parliament on the security situation in the country. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition will recall this. On that occasion I made an appeal to all South Africans and all communities to respect legal norms, life and property in South Africa. Subsequently, when it became apparent that unrest conditions were continuing and increasing in scope and intensity, I proclaimed the state of emergency in a few magisterial districts, in accordance with powers placed at the disposal of the State President by this Parliament. This Parliament bestowed powers upon the State President, and I acted in terms of those powers.
I am quite prepared to accept that we examine that Act with a view to improvement, so that it might not be necessary to proclaim a state of emergency under all circumstances. I can imagine that we can make it easier for a government, through a minor amendment to that Act, to deal with unrest situations without necessarily proclaiming a state of emergency. We can look into that.
The point I want to make is that it is not true that I disregarded Parliament. Now I hear “It is playing with words”. [Interjections.] I want to point out to hon members opposite that I am now talking to the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition. They must give me a chance until one of them is sitting there one day, and then I may perhaps talk to him as the Leader of the Official Opposition.
It is the responsibility which Parliament has conferred upon me in terms of the Constitution to act in the interests of the security of the country at all times, whether Parliament is in session or not. That is stated in the Constitution. Consequently the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition displayed a completely erroneous point of departure when he accused me of disregarding Parliament.
The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition knows that it is the intention of certain radical elements in South Africa to create a situation of lawlessness and disorder in South Africa. The radical elements are controlled from outside South Africa, and the South African Communist Party, with its headquarters, in London exerts a great influence over them from outside South Africa. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition knows this just as well as I do and he cannot deny it. They want to achieve their objective through disorder, acts of destruction and barbarism and the committing of acts of terror against innocent civilians—men, women and children of all race groups.
I was made aware of this again during my extensive talks with the leaders of various population groups in South Africa, both in the rural areas, in underdeveloped areas and in self-governing states, as well as in urban areas where leaders came to see me in my office. They made me aware of the fear in which innocent people are living owing to the actions of these forces of terror. I am prepared to give the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition the names of the people to whom I spoke. Some of them appeared on television; others asked that their names should not be disclosed.
I am prepared to tell him that the Government was compelled to proclaim a state of emergency in terms of the Act in certain magisterial districts in South Africa in order to deal with this situation. As I said here in my opening address, it was originally in fewer than 13% of our magisterial districts. Since then this number has been subject to considerable change. The state of emergency has been proclaimed in new districts, and lifted in other districts.
This action on the part of the Government had the desired effect and violence has abated in various parts of South Africa. At present the situation is returning to normal in many of these areas. The Government has now decided to lift the state of emergency in a further seven magisterial districts in which the situation has become reasonably normalised, and where this is possible.
A proclamation terminating the state of emergency with effect from today in the seven districts concerned will still appear today. The districts are Graaff-Reinet, Kirkwood, Kuils River, Paarl, Simonstown, Somerset East and Worcester. It is the intention of the Government to lift the emergency measures in the remaining districts in which a state of emergency has been declared. We shall do so as the situation in this districts returns to a reasonable degree of normality. However, the Government remains determined to preserve law and order in South Africa.
I hope that South Africans of all population groups will co-operate unanimously in this regard so that our country can proceed with development. That is why I want to appeal once again to all responsible people in this country, whether they are seated here in this Parliament now or whether they are outside, to heed this appeal of mine. The Government cannot give in to terror, unrest and violence. [Interjections.]
I hope that I will receive the co-operation of the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition in this matter; and I hope he will express a clear opinion in this regard this afternoon. I hope he will also go further and say that he rejects the efforts of the Communist Party to encourage terror in South Africa. I even hope that he will go so far as to say that he rejects the fact that a large number of Communist Party members are serving on the national executive of the ANC. I also hope that he will this afternoon openly oppose any form of attempt to establish Marxism in South Africa. I expect it of him, and I shall watch him carefully when he rises to speak in a moment. [Interjections.] I would appreciate it if he did so, for then it would carry some weight. It would not carry much weight if the hon member sitting behind him said that. [Interjections.] It would, however, carry weight if the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition said it.
The statement which I made last Friday at the opening of Parliament evoked a wide reaction. The overwhelmingly positive reaction which I received from political, church and business circles, as well as from leaders of other population groups, is proof that there is a heartfelt desire that the Republic of South Africa should make peace with itself; otherwise our country will disintegrate.
I want to express my appreciation to the large numbers of individuals and organisations who pledged me their support by way of telegrams, letters and personal calls. [Interjections.]
It is my honest conviction that the resolution of the situation, which we as a country must survive, can take place only on a number of conditions:
Firstly, if we can reach mutual agreement that freedom of religion will continue to be guaranteed by this State. This is a cornerstone for future security. I am saying this particularly in view of discussions which I have held during the past few months with church organisations of various denominations, and also in view of letters which I have received in this connection.
Secondly, that the multi-cultural composition of our population will be reciprocally recognised, appreciated, and protected by law. In the first place this includes State schools, and in the second place the right to allow own communities to maintain their own way of life.
Thirdly, the improvement, as far as is humanly possible, of the standard of living of all communities within the economic means of our country.
Fourthly, that we should positively seek for a state system which will not destroy the say of the Whites over their spiritual and material interests, while justice for others is being sought. That is why a Marxist dictatorship is unacceptable; on that we are not prepared to negotiate.
With a Black President.
In addition I have in the past expressed my strongest disapproval of a unitary state system of one man, one vote. I continue to adhere to this fundamental standpoint too.
The White population of this country has human faults, as does any other population group, but it is time the task of development, which has for decades taken place in South Africa under White leadership, ceased to be disregarded and disparaged. [Interjections.] Testifying to this is the standard of life attained by the Indian population of South Africa, the growing middle class among the Coloured population as well as the standard of life which our Black communities have, if one compares it with the lives of Black communities in neighbouring states. Testifying to this, too, is the influx of millions of people from neighbouring states who come to seek a livelihood in South Africa because they cannot do so in their own countries. In the picture which is painted of South Africa, I hope that these truths will also be brought home to those who are only too ready to condemn us.
I want to see Black and Coloured communities make progress; that is my personal standpoint. I want to further their human dignity, and I went out of my way to try to establish it in this country. I did so with great sacrifice, but I can never become disloyal to the community to which I belong. If I am compelled to do so, there is no place for me in the public life of South Africa. Of course I am not referring to the weak part of the population. [Interjections.]
Which part is that?
Every people on earth has an appendage, which it has to drag along with it, whether it wants to or not. [Interjections.]
Show a little “guts” now and say who they are.
I want to deal with a third point. In this House as well as in the media, mention was made of so-called sensational standpoints allegedly adopted by senior Ministers during the past few days. [Interjections.] If hon members would give me an opportunity, I shall deal with this matter, but they cannot all speak at the same time now. They must behave themselves, otherwise they are part of that poor image. [Interjections.]
Are you back at the Rubicon?
Mr Speaker, may I ask for your protection against this constant spate of interjections? I am at least the head of this State.
Of course there is the old game of trying to play Ministers off against one another, and even against me.
They do it well themselves.
Order! The State President is busy with an extremely important address to this House. I do not want to hear any further remarks from any hon member.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I have said, this is probably part of the political conflict which has to be accepted, and we have become accustomed to it over the years. A government of men with strong convictions cannot always think precisely the same way about everything. This is the experience of every political leader.
Both the Minister of National Education and the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs are being cited in this connection. Both hon Ministers were fully informed about the contents of the speech I made on Friday, 31 January. They endorsed every word in it and still do so. I have no reason to doubt their integrity.
In his speech in the House of Assembly the hon the Minister of National Education placed emphasis on those parts of my statement which clearly spelt out the rights of minorities. I have no fault to find with that. The speech I made on Friday should be read and interpreted in its entirety, but I shall subsequently quote these passages again.
The hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave his personal opinion on what could happen if, in future negotiations, an agreement was reached on structures and a State President to a foreign journalist and subsequently in an interview with Die Burger. I have informed the hon the Minister that in my view he expressed an opinion on matters in regard to which the Government and the NP did not hold such standpoints.
My hon colleague assures me—I have confirmed this—that he was not trying to express an opinion on the policy of the NP. This, however, does not detract from the fact that the reply to the question concerned created serious problems of interpretation concerning what the NP’s policy is.
It is my duty and responsibility to assume a position in this regard. I want to state unequivocally that any speculation or discussion of the future state presidency is purely hypothetical and confusing, and does not represent the policy of my party.
No Minister of the Government Party in this House has the right to compromise his party in such a way in advance without consultation. The hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs agrees with this. I appreciate his attitude which he affirmed in a letter to me this morning. It therefore enables him to continue his work for this country; work which I hold in high esteem. [Interjections.]
Under my leadership a process of negotiation for possible solutions to the participation, of Black communities as well, in the political systems has been launched. However, I stated expressly what the conditions for the acceptability of such systems were. I now wish to repeat them.
*I am not in favour of any system which does not comply with these conditions. This also applies in regard to the State President and to everything that his position entails. In any event I have given the undertaking—and I adhere firmly to it—that no drastic decisions on future constitutional arrangements will be finalised unless the White electorate has been consulted in this regard by way of a referendum. If other population groups also wish to adopt the same course in order to assess the feelings among their own population groups, this could be made possible. Consequently there is no reason to get carried away and to accuse one another of treason, of defection and of disloyalty. We can discuss matters with one another in an orderly manner; try, in the months and years which lie ahead, to seek solutions, and if it should become necessary, we shall go to the country, where finality will be reached on our standpoints.
As far as I am concerned, Sir, I have in the past made myself subservient to the final decision by the electorate; I am quite prepared to do so again.
Then, too, Mr Speaker, I was called upon here to discharge the hon the Minister of Law and Order and the hon the Minister of Defence from their offices. Since I have appreciation for the work they are doing, and since I have faith in the aforesaid two hon Ministers, I am not prepared to comply with those requests. [Interjections.] In any event, Mr Speaker, the appointment and the dismissal of hon Ministers are my exclusive responsibility, and I cannot allow outsiders to dictate to me in this connection. Besides, I do not intend to allow outsiders to do so; in any event not in the unpleasant way in which it was done here. [Interjections.]
The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition raised one other point to which I must reply because I think he acted unfairly towards me. As a matter of fact, I am not accustomed to him behaving in that way. At the outset the two of us were somewhat at loggerheads, but I thought we had subsequently developed a reasonably good understanding. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition made a derogatory remark here, to which I cannot fail to react. It was when he said that I had no concept of the correlation, of the relationship between politics and the economy. I have never pretended to be a great economist, but I do know something about politics. In fact I think I can justifiably contend that I know a little more about politics than the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition. [Interjections.] I think it would pay him to come and sit at my feet a little more frequently; I shall be able to tell him quite a lot from my own experience. [Interjections.] I want to put a question to him. If what he alleged is true, I want him to reply to this question. As a matter of fact, I am astonished that he made that derogatory remark. I have great respect for his academic qualifications and for his scientific approach to matters. I want to know from him how he explains the fact that shortly after I became Prime Minister in 1978—almost immediately afterwards—I made contact with the most important leaders in the economic life of South Africa. I am referring now to the Carlton Conference. How does he explain the fact that I followed this up with the Good Hope Conference, here in Cape Town? How does he explain the fact that I open my doors every year to experts from organised commerce and industry, mining and agriculture, to come and state their case to me? How does he explain the fact that I have gone out of my way, since I became Prime Minister, to advocate and to try to implement a balanced economy in South Africa? Then surely the criticism which he expressed here was groundless. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition must not take it amiss of me when I tell him that I think he wanted to make cheap propaganda out of South Africa’s present embarrassment in the economic sphere. That time will pass, however. The situation is already improving. The words of the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition will also pass, but his hurtful remark will remain. I just want to tell him that I hope this will be avoided in future if the two of us are to get along. He knows that my door is open to him and he also knows that I have always gone out of my way to open that door to him as speedily as possible. Let us now keep our relationship on that level. I am not prepared to descend to a level at which we rail at one another across the floor of this House as though there were no problems in South Africa that have to be solved.
I think that I have said enough now and I want to conclude by once again making a serious appeal today to all South Africans who reject revolution, to all South Africans who reject violence, to help the State to preserve order. I am making an appeal to the leaders of all population groups to come forward so that, with mutual respect and the recognition of one another’s rights, we can try to plot a course for the future. If this does not happen this country will disintegrate, but if it does happen, we can move towards a better horizon.
Order! Before calling upon the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition to speak, I wish to point out to hon members—and I am really in earnest in this regard—that the no-confidence debate is, after all, the debate in which parties have the opportunity to present their policies and to express their criticism of other parties.
I think that thus far we have had a very good debate and I wish to say here and now that I shall accord the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition precisely the same protection as I have just accorded the State President. I request hon members to abide by my ruling.
Mr Speaker, in the course of my reply I shall try to react as comprehensively as possible to the questions and the points raised here by the State President.
To begin with I just want to say that I regard the entry of the State President into the debate as also, among other things, a rescue attempt—a rescue attempt aimed at giving the world a uniform interpretation of the State President’s speech, with reference to the two divergent standpoints we have had here. I also believe that the standpoint adopted by the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs arises from the problems that the hon the Minister, with his portfolio, encounters in selling South Africa abroad, and that he felt that if the interpretation placed on that speech by the hon the Minister of National Education were to be circulated abroad, it would give rise to the idea that nothing, in fact, had changed. Therefore there was a degree of competition between the hon Ministers, and it is quite obvious to me from the State President’s reaction which speech represents, for the moment, the correct interpretation. I refer to the speech of the hon the Minister of National Education and to that of the hon the Minister of Education and Development Aid. I shall come back to the other points later.
In the course of the week I have tried to gauge my predominant feeling about the debate as it has developed. It was an overwhelming feeling of absurdity. Last year, in 1985, our country was tom apart. Things happened among our people, between White and Black, Black and Black, White and White, which may never again be mended. Even here in the quiet Western Cape, hate, retribution and suspicion poisoned the atmosphere on the streets.
Parliament’s reaction to 1985 in its first week of the 1986 session was, as far as I am concerned, a grotesque ritual in irrelevance. We carried on as if nothing had happened. In the year 1986 the essence of politics in South Africa revolves around point-scoring and petty debating points concerning old and overworked prejudices that we cherish against one another, a kind of macabre ballad of mediocrities who are too afraid to peep over the top of their trenches and see the reality outside.
Whatever the deficiencies of my introductory speech, one underlying theme in that speech was an intense and sincere appeal: Will the Government make Parliament relevant to the crisis of the country? It did not happen in 1985. What about 1986? This was the one consistent theme.
Does the Government want to take the people of South Africa into its confidence and involve them in a search for solutions? In 1985 it was increasingly a military executive power-group that did so; what about 1986?
Is the Government genuinely interested in alternative proposals? In 1985 all of them were turned down. Here are mine for the debate of 1986. We may consider them and others to see whether we can find any common ground. Even now—I say this with all due respect—after the State President had resumed his seat, that too was in vain.
Let me refer to some of the speakers. The hon the Minister of Environment Affairs and Tourism is a hard-as-nails professional political pitchforker. [Interjections.] He is the P K van der Bijl of NP politics—venom, cynicism and a determined denial of the facts are his pitchfork weapons. His aim is satire and it can be amusing. His result, however, is a kind of sentimental sarcasm, the staple diet of the petty-minded.
Unfortunately his contribution very much set the tone for the course of the debate and here I refer to the hon the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the hon member for Amanzimtoti. If the hon the Minister of Environment Affairs and Tourism is the Don Quixote, they are the Sancho Panza’s. There is none more Nationalist than one who came in on an anti-Nationalist vote and then joined the NP. “Join the NP to keep Natal free.”
I now turn to the speeches of the hon the Minister of National Education and the hon the Minister of Education and Development Aid. These speeches are outstanding illustrations of the dilemma into which the Government has manipulated itself. This is the dilemma: One cannot use words which the whole world understands to mean one thing, whereas one attaches to them one’s own private meaning. That simply will not work.
The State President never said that apartheid was dead—just go and read the speech—however much the whole world wants to believe that. He said that we had outgrown the outdated concept of apartheid. Those were the exact words of the State President in that speech.
This could mean inter alia one of two things: That we are now looking for a new, more adaptable concept of apartheid, or that any form of apartheid has been outgrown, whether or not it has been outdated. Which of the two is it? This was the dilemma of the reaction of the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of those other hon Ministers to the State President’s speech. The CP is 100% correct. There cannot be a first-class and a second-class apartheid. Whether one tells a man in a brutal or in a nice way that he is a second-class citizen, the fact remains that he is still a second-class citizen. There is a simple test question to determine whether the Government has outgrown apartheid. It is this: Is residential separation outdated? Yes or no? Today the State President said that it was not outdated. If it is not outdated, then both the concept and practice of apartheid are alive and well for the majority of people in our country.
It is not Whites and foreign bankers that the Government must convince that all forms of apartheid are outdated. It is of far more importance that those who suffer under the practices of apartheid should be convinced. This is not done by way of newspaper advertisements and ambiguous speeches. It is done by removing laws that affect the daily lives of people and that remind them every day in a tangible way that they are living under apartheid.
I now wish to deal with the speech by the hon the Minister of Defence. My problem with the hon the Minister of Defence is a simple one: I am unable to believe him. Why? His speech was a repetition of previous efforts of mine to get to the truth. I put a few pertinent questions that require a simple “yes” or “no” in reply, and his reaction is to launch a personal attack on me and cast aspersions on my loyalty to my country and its people. Allow me to mention an example. In 1983, when for the first time I enquired about our destabilising role in Mozambique and our involvement with Renamo, he did not reply yea or nay. He simply said that I was singing in Moscow’s chorus, purely because I had asked that question.
Last year the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs admitted that we had indeed assisted in 1983 and that if it were to be necessary, we should do so again. Therefore we shall destabilise again. In this debate the hon the Minister of Defence himself admits that we destabilised, and these were his exact words. I read his speech. He said: “We shall destabilise again if they do that.”
Once again I asked him for a simple “yes” or “no” in reply, and once again he reacted by casting aspersions on my loyalty. I “speak” to the enemies of South Africa”; I “dropped the Defence Force”; I “am looking for a medal from the ANC”. He may think that; he is fully entitled to do so. However it is pointless trying to bluff me into thinking that he has thereby answered my questions. After all, they were simple questions.
Last year the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs requested me to come to his office to discuss a different matter in confidence. On that occasion he said to me that we should see what we could do inter alia to help preserve Nkomati. I told him that I had a problem in that regard because I did not know what the standpoint was with regard to Nkomati. Was it the standpoint of the Department of Defence or that of the Department of Foreign Affairs? I said that I felt that I was not being informed by the Department of Defence. That hon Minister thereupon said that he could promise me that it was absolutely out of the question—and I still accept his word—that we were helping Renamo. We might in fact have helped them earlier, but we were no longer helping them. At that moment that other hon Minister came in and conducted a discussion with the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs on how we could help Machel against Renamo.
According to these diaries it is now clear to me that while that hon Minister was speaking there, he was already aware of this. Or was he unaware of it? The question I put to him, was the following: “Were you aware before the Nkomati Accord was signed that the Defence Force would help Renamo after the accord had been signed?” That was the question. That question has yet to be answered. All it required was a simple “yes” or “no”.
How must I, as the Leader of the Official Opposition in this House, react to people abroad when they put that question to me, because I myself do not know what the answer is. Now I must tell them that I do not know; that the diaries do exist, but that the Government says that they are not genuine; that they have been doctored. Surely it is the easiest thing in the world to arrange for experts to establish whether or not something has been doctored.
Permit me to put another question to the hon the Minister of Defence. If those diaries had not been discovered, would this House ever have known what was going on there? Now he denies it; he says that I am attacking them and that we say that the department never informs us. I did not say that; the hon the Minister can go and read my speech. I did not say that I was not informed, but that I did not know how much of what they told me to believe. The one says this and the other says that, but then one goes and reads newspapers overseas and finds that precisely the opposite is said. What, then, am I to say? Am I to say that there are newspapers that consistently lie about events in South Africa?
When I approach the department and show them some of the things that are said—and secrets are not at issue here—they tell me that if I were to ask such questions across the floor of the House I should be playing into the hands of the enemies of South Africa. According to them I should be singing in Moscow’s chorus. Sir, that makes no impression on me. I am just as concerned as is the hon the Minister of Defence that our young men should not lose their lives. I am just as concerned as he that we should not permit violence to build up in South Africa, and that there should be co-operation with our neighbours. However, I must also be true to my own rationality and intelligence when I negotiate with the hon the Minister. After all, he cannot treat me like a child. I, too, can read; I, too, can understand what is going on.
My other problem with the hon the Minister is his deliberate and calculated misrepresentation of the ANC. How will that help us? I should like the State President to react to this too. According to the hon the Minister of Defence and the State President, the ANC is a group of alien terrorists under the control of communists who are financed and supported by Moscow—and that is all. However, this is a misrepresentation in stark conflict with reality.
Yes, it is true that there are communists and communistic influences in the ANC. I myself said as much to the State President, and to the chief of the National Intelligent Service. That is true. After all, they say so themselves. It is also true that their strategy is that of an armed struggle, which entails acts of terror and murder. I recognised this in my introductory speech. It is true that innocent people are being murdered and killed. I have already said all this in my introductory speech, and condemned and rejected these things—and I do so again. I said to members of the ANC themselves that they would never succeed in solving South Africa’s problems through violence. I emphasised that they would simply have to change their minds in this regard. Violence will destroy the society—its natural and human resources. Some of my colleagues can confirm to hon members that I argued about this matter for between one and a half and two hours.
The question, however, is what we here in South Africa are going to do about it. According to the hon the Minister of Defence we must shoot, carry out hot pursuit operations and eliminate, because that is the problem on our borders. It is a problem on our borders. It is the neighbouring states that do not wish to help and assist, and the attitude, as the saying goes, is one of “Let us give them a thrashing!”
I wish to convey a simple and crystal-clear truth to the hon the Minister. It is not the external ANC that is radicalising the internal situation—with all due respect to the State President. It is the internal ANC that is radicalising the external ANC. That is our dilemma. What happened in South Africa in 1984 did more to exert pressure on the external ANC than anything that they themselves could have thought up. They were not involved in interactions with Casspirs. They did not begin fighting in the townships! They sit out there and are radicalised by what goes on here, in the interior. That is where our problem lies. Supporters and members of the ANC here in South Africa work in our kitchens, our gardens, our factories. We dare not mislead ourselves on that score.
The other day a senior member of the National Intelligence Service was kind enough to pay a call on me. What happened—I might as well tell this House—was that after my return from a visit abroad I approached the chief of the National Intelligence Service and told him that I should like him to make a tape recording of what I was going to tell him. I requested him to have it transcribed and to send a copy to the State President and to whomever else he wanted to send it. Those who are interested can go and read it. Compare that with the latter part of my introductory speech in this House. The hon the Minister of Law and Order knows about it—I said all those things at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee, and when we spoke, too. We spoke about who the ANC were, what the problems were and how we should combat them.
While we were sitting there together talking, this gentleman asked me whether I had ever read this interesting book, which he gave me for my consideration. The name of the book is The War of the Flea by Paul Taber. The hon the Minister is acquainted with it, but he makes the very mistakes which this man says one should not make. In the book he maintains:
The hon the Minister of Defence knows that this is more or less the standard bible of most of these liberation movements. They say thereby that the true problem lies here, within South Africa. That is what I am trying to say. It is in this very respect that the hon the Minister of Law and Order and the hon the Minister of Defence are misleading the country. Of what use will it be, I ask the hon the Minister of Law and Order, if all the Whites are consolidated behind the NP and the problem continues? That is exactly where Smith found himself. All the Whites voted for him, and the moment everyone voted for him and he had all the seats, he was at his weakest. That is what my plea was about. If they say that we must make war against the ANC, then that is something else. I say to the State President that we must get rid of violence. We must eliminate it, of course! If people commit acts of terror, we must act against that. If they say that we must make war against the ANC, then they say that we must make war against people within South Africa, and not only outside our borders. The simple question I have asked, is: Is that the only solution? To use the winged words of the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs when he spoke in this House yesterday in regard to South Africa’s negotiations with Renamo in Mozambique: “If you want to stop the war, you must talk”. That sounds like good advice for Renamo, but if I say anything of the kind with regard to the ANC, then I am looking for a medal.
It is good advice for the Government to have helped Renamo, and to have destabilised Mozambique until before Nkomati, according to them. They committed acts of terror, placed landmines, blew up residential areas. Yes, then we can support them; carry on with the good work! However, when I say “we have to stop the war, let us talk”, then I am looking for a medal. Whether we agree or not, as far as the ANC and their supporters are concerned—this is what The War of the Flea says—their struggle is a rebellion against a tyrannical government. They say that that is so, they trumpet out the message on Freedom Radio. We can say they are crazy. Who listens to it? The Black people of South Africa listen to it.
For us as Afrikaners, rebellion against a tyrant is not an alien experience. Our forefathers twice took up arms against British Imperialism. Some of our forefathers rebelled against the government of the day in 1914, and some in this House were in favour of those who wanted to do so in 1939. Let me reiterate: Violence is wrong; I cannot support it and I want nothing to do with it; and rebellion will sow destruction in our country. I have said so time and again. However, we must really not be so obstinate as not to be able to understand under any circumstances why certain Black people want to rebel. I repeat the words of the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs: “If you want to stop the war you have to talk”. That is what I have advocated—it is not only I.
I want to put it this way: The State President began the discussion with the ANC; not I. The day the State President made an offer in this House, for whatever reason, and with whatever qualification, to Mr Nelson Mandela, the discussion with the ANC began in South Africa. That is a fact, and therefore it is pointless saying that I began speaking to them. The day the State President of South Africa says: “That is my discussion with the ANC”, he gives the ANC a hundred times more credibility than I, as Leader of the Official Opposition, could ever have hoped to give them. He recognises that these are people who have to be seriously considered. Now they say that I am giving credibility to the ANC and that I am beating a path to Lusaka and that am asking for a tourist class ticket. After all, that is ridiculous! That is why I say that it is not only the State President who began this; others wanted to do it too. I have before me a book entitled Praat met die ANC. What people are referred to here? Let me mention them—there is not a single English surname here, but they are not left-wing radicals—they are Dominee Karel Anthonissen, the minister of students at Stellenbosch, Hennie Bester, a fourth-year law student and chairman of the Stellenbosch Debating Society, Eric le Grange, a law student and chief editor of Die Matte, Piet Muller, assistant editor of Beeld, and Harold Pakendorff, editor of Die Vaderland. I could continue in this vein. [Interjections.] They say that we must go and speak. Now hon members in this House make out that I have taken leave of my senses when I say that we must take this thing seriously.
I have a son who is 15 years old. Mr Speaker, when I speak to you like this, whether you accept my good faith or not, you must know that I am motivated by one predominating question, not whether I am going to get a medal or not, but whether I have done everything in my power to prevent its being necessary for my son to take up arms against one of his fellow countrymen.
I should like to discuss the speeches of the hon the Minister of Law and Order, the hon the Minister of Education and Development Aid and the hon member for Mossel Bay. All of them put one question to me in particular, and it is a question that I take seriously. “What constructive contribution did you make?”, they ask. By implication—they said as much in their speeches—the answer was that I had made no such contribution; that my party and I were making such a fuss because we were becoming irrelevant. However, I just want to say to the hon the Minister of Law and Order that surveys show that since the referendum—whether he likes it or not—the only two parties that have actually grown have been the CP and the PFP; the NP has declined. We now have more support than we had before the referendum, and it is utter nonsense to say that our base is dwindling.
However, I want to come back to the question whether I was constructive or not. Last year, when the State President delivered his address, I reacted constructively and praised him. I said that it contained initiatives and encouraged other people to take them seriously. I did not disparage it negatively. The State President invited me to serve on the Cabinet committee. The hon the Minister knows—we had a public squabble about it—that I waited three months for the first invitation. [Interjections.] I waited three months. Everyone thought that I was having a nice time sitting there negotiating in the Cabinet committee, but nothing was going on. I went and we sat for half an hour. I also submitted evidence before a Cabinet committee for from one and a half to two hours. These hon Ministers were present and we spoke to one another openly and frankly. I submitted evidence to the Geldenhuys Commission on defence force affairs and stated how I saw the situation. I encouraged Black people, Inkatha people, to take seriously the forum announced last year by the State President. Hon members can go and ask them—they can go and ask Oscar Dhlomo and Mangosuthu Buthelezi. I said to them that they should take it seriously, that it was an initiative. What was not constructive? I made various requests for interviews with the State President, with the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, with the hon the Minister of Defence, with the chief of the National Intelligence Service and with the hon the Minister of Justice. I went to speak to them. I held discussions with Inkatha, the UDF and the ANC to advocate an alternative to violence. I also paid visits abroad and spoke against disinvestment. Let me tell my good friends in the CP that it is all very well to stand here talking and kicking against the pricks, but it is something else to stand overseas and speak against disinvestment.
We have been there!
Yes. I did so on various occasions. The hon members for Houghton and Sea Point also addressed those people and spoke out against disinvestment. Was that not constructive? [Interjections.] To be constructive does not mean to agree or be quiet. It means to help search for solutions and other alternatives.
To the best of my ability I tried to offer my services where I could, but they were ignored or rejected. I must accept that as a reality. They either listen to me with a little bit of contempt or polite indifference. With reference to the speech by the State President, it is clear to me that there is a fundamental difference with regard to constitutional affairs. The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning and I differ. It is pointless shouting at each other about it, or becoming angry about it. The difference is that the State President and the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning believe in unilaterally determined compulsory group membership as the basis for constitutional development. I cannot change that; it is the truth. It is the basis for neo-apartheid, if one wants to put it that way. That is so. Those Black communities do not have the choice as to where they may stay, except as determined by the State President. Now they are becoming communities, with their own own affairs. Surely that is ridiculous. If they had had freedom of choice their own affairs would have been totally different. They would have looked like our affairs. They do not have the choice.
Either one says “I am going to keep you there” and have done with it, as the CP does, or else one says “I am going to open up and we shall see what we can negotiate”. One cannot have one’s cake and eat it. One cannot bluff the outside world in that regard.
†So much for my political response to this debate.
I wish to conclude on a more personal note and without acrimony and bitterness. This is my 12th year in Parliament, five of which spent as an ordinary member of Parliament and I am entering my seventh as Leader of the Official Opposition. Particularly in my latter capacity I have often asked myself what the role of an opposition must be in a complex and conflict-ridden society such as ours. Even now, with clarity of conviction I can answer that an opposition must question the actions of Government—which we have done. It must expose the contradictions and shortcomings of Government which we have done. It must protest against injustice and the erosion of civil liberties—which we have done. It must define alternatives to the policy dead-ends in which Government leads us—that also we have done.
In all these respects I wish to pay sincere tribute to my colleagues for their efforts and to encourage them to continue to do so in the future. It is vital and it is important that this Government continue to be opposed in all these respects which I have just mentioned.
There is, however, another aspect of opposition which has a momentum and life of its own and which is independent of these very important political functions I have just mentioned. That aspect is political leadership in opposition. This too has to be judged, but on different grounds, and the most important judge is the person himself.
He has to decide when the tension between analysis and practice is no longer bearable for himself; in other words he has to decide when the moment has arrived to go. The magic moment for any political leader is to find the right time to go. I believe it is perhaps slightly less painful to go when people want one to stay than to stay when people want one to go.
I have decided the time has come for me to go. Perhaps the issue finally clarified itself for me when I listened to the State President’s Opening Speech and the commentaries which followed it, even today. My gut feeling was: “Here is the 1983 referendum all over again”—everybody getting excited about something which I simply could not see no matter how hard I tried. One of the most painful periods in my political life was the 1983 referendum when out of deep conviction I had to be critical and negative whilst together with everybody else I would have liked to believe we were getting out of the mess. This time I thought that I must weigh my words and wait for the State President to respond to some of the issues that puzzled me.
He has done so, but some of his Ministers did so as well. All that I can say to him and his Government in all sincerity, is that what I have heard and seen from all of them, including the State President, is simply not good enough. It is a false start. I do not say this easily or without a certain degree of anguish. I have made it my business to get to know this Government and to try to understand its thinking. Given my position I think I have explored every nook and cranny for possible leverage to promote the politics of negotiation, and therefore I do not make conclusions without experience or from a remote distance. I have some idea of what lies behind a speech or an advertisement. The circumstances in our country are simply too serious for us to bluff ourselves in the clubby atmosphere of Parliament, no matter how desperately a way out is needed, and we need a way out.
Another reason why it is time for me to go is that a political leader is blessed when he can realise that he is being taken for granted, either by others or by himself. It is bad enough when one’s opponents start taking one for granted—either as a political punch bag, or a nice guy to have around but not to be taken seriously—but it is worse when one feels one is starting to take oneself for granted; in other words, when one feels that this is where one is going to be for the rest of one’s life. That is like one of those mantelpiece musical boxes that people dust off from time to time and listen to with a certain quaint nostalgia. Political leadership is a proactive career; not a safe route to a retirement gratuity and pension. I have done my share and I believe it is time for someone else to have a go at it.
As this is my last speech in this House, I hope hon members will forgive me when I end with a few general comments about the state of politics in the country.
Let me start by stating the obvious, for the benefit of the hon Minister of Defence. I am not a radical, a revolutionary, or even a violent protester. If our intelligence services are worth anything—and I think they are—they know that is so. If they want to check me in the future, they can bug my house and even my motor-car—they will find nothing. This is what I am—what hon members see is what there is. I believe passionately in the politics of negotiation. In 1976, ten years ago, I wrote an article in the PFP magazine Deurbraak, entitled “Laerpolitiek Versus Bedingingspolitiek”.
*I ask hon members to exercise patience, because this is still my credo as to how we are to get out of this mess. In that article I said that there were two forms of siege politics:
I said that ten years ago. The article goes on:
So much for reactionary violence as a form of siege politics.
The second form of siege politics is a modernising oligarchy—the modernising enlightened clique:
They perceive the necessity for this:
I went on to say that the risks of siege politics included the following facts: Increasing race polarisation and international isolation, and the fact that this would undoubtedly expand the ideological generalisation of race politics in the Southern African context. Control over the utilisation of “White violence” would also be the most important problem of the government of the day. What does one do with one’s White vigilantes? That is the problem of siege politics.
In this article I proposed the politics of negotiation as an alternative. I said that there was only one way out—we had to negotiate for participation. Two forms of negotiation are possible. Smith’s negotiation was a negotiation for capitulation—I do not want that for South Africa. I believe that we must negotiate for participation, but then we must find out who the people are with whom we must negotiate.
†I am afraid that this Government—I do not say this in any acrimonious sense—does not understand the principles of negotiation, or if they do, they do not abide by them. The dismantling of apartheid has nothing to do with negotiation. It is simply the first step towards negotiation. Apartheid is not up for negotiation. It has to go completely. What is up for negotiation is its alternative. That is where negotiation lies. One is not going to negotiate a position for Blacks, Coloureds and Asians within group areas. The Government must forget about it! They are not going to do it.
The second point is that reform or constitutional change will never be successful as long as this Government insists that it takes place on the basis of compulsory group membership. It cannot happen. I am not saying this because I am trying to be funny. The evidence points this out to us. One cannot build a new constitution on compulsory group membership.
Thirdly—this is an honest conviction of mine and I have said it to the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs many times—the tricameral Parliament is a hopelessly flawed and failed constitutional experiment. It does not begin to solve the problem of political domination; in fact it compounds it. It has nothing to do with effective power-sharing. Those who have come into it, however good their intentions may be—I believe their intentions are good—have slightly eased the harshness of their own domination by administering it themselves. If the Government extends the principle of co-optive domination to Blacks as it has done to Coloureds and Indians, violence and conflict are inevitable. The search for consensus does not lie in finding co-optive clients. It lies in genuine negotiation with those who can deliver the goods. That is why the regional services' councils are going to be in difficulty from the outset. This is not because I say so, but the people in the communities will demonstrate it.
Fourthly, I remain an incurable democrat. This motives my involvement in politics and inspires my vision of the future. I do believe we can become a non-racial, united South Africa where all its people can participate voluntarily in the governmental institutions of this land. For 12 years I have tried to pursue this goal inside Parliament. I will continue to do so outside, although at this moment I have no plans, no intentions to join any organisation or movement, or to start one, whatever hon members may think. In fact, as of the moment my resignation becomes effective, I will be looking for a job. I go out as I came in, an ordinary, concerned citizen of my country. I will continue to explore the politics of negotiation as best I can.
*In conclusion I wish to speak as an Afrikaner. I hope that my hon friends in the CP will accept me as such. I have no fear for the future of my language in a democratic, united South Africa based on the voluntary association of its citizens. Indeed, that is the only way in which the Afrikaner can come into his own on a co-equal basis in the cultural diversity of South Africa. However I do fear for my language if the Afrikaner insists that he wants to be separate from his fellow Africans in the country of his birth and that domination and partition will be the way in which he wants to achieve this. To me this is one of the tragic aspects of us Afrikaners. I do not say this with any venom.
The whole philosophy of Dr Verwoerd, who was not a born Afrikaner but was a naturalised Afrikaner who came here as the child of a Dutch couple, and whose Afrikanerhood was therefore so much more important to him, was in fact an effort to separate the Afrikaner from others in the country of his birth. To a certain extent the Afrikaner had to be made an extension of Europe. It is those separate structures that bedevil our negotiation politics at this moment. If Afrikaners reject their fellow Africans because they want to be apart, then we shall be rejected in future in the country of our birth.
Many of the things I have said have absolutely nothing to do with the political divisions within this House. Hon members are aware of that. Indeed, the political divisions as they stand at the moment are absolutely artificial and incapable of coping with the tremendous demands of our time. The time will come before long when we shall divide again across language, colour and party lines so that those who truly believe the same thing, stand together and work together will not be trapped in obsolete political remnant from the past. We are an artificial political phenomenon in this House. There are members of the NP who differ very little with what I am saying here and with what I feel. I know who they are and I shall not “drop” them now, as the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs always says. We have spoken together a great deal. There are also hon members there who belong with the members of the CP. We know that that is so.
There are many of them.
However, here we stand, trapped in a ridiculous political debate, while out there our country is bleeding. I do not see how this can continue.
Finally, Mr Speaker, I just wish to convey my personal thanks to you for the courtesy and politeness with which you have always received me and for the goodwill you have displayed towards me. I appreciate that tremendously.
I also express my thanks to the parliamentary staff. They are in fact a remarkable phenomenon, Mr Speaker. They really try to keep the remains of democracy alive in South Africa. They do so against tremendous odds and they do it faithfully and sincerely. I thank them for their friendliness.
To the hon members of this House I say that I leave here without any feeling of bitterness towards any hon member of this House. We have fought a great deal across the floor of this House, but hon members are aware that I do not bear any ill feeling or suspicion towards any of them. I wish them well.
To my colleagues I wish to express my sincere appreciation for their support; my best wishes to them for the extremely difficult time that lies ahead. It is a time that is going to be very difficult for all of us.
Mr Speaker, on Monday I shall notify you that I am resigning as the member for Claremont. Accordingly I have now performed my last task as Leader of the Official Opposition in this House by moving my motion.
Order! I trust the hon the Leader will not take it amiss of me, but unfortunately I was given no prior indication of this event. May I just ask the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition whether he will resume his place in this House after today?
If you request me to do so, yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, this has been unexpected for all of us, and in my opinion this is not the way one takes one’s leave of a remarkable Leader of the Official Opposition. We were not warned. However, if the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition will be present here on Monday we could take our leave of him in a suitable fashion then.
The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition takes cognisance of that.
He is withdrawing his motion of no-confidence, Sir!
Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the Question,
Upon which the House divided:
Noes—122: Alant, T G; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botha, R F; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Coetsee, H J; Coetzer, H S; Coetzer, P W; Conradie, F D; Cunningham, J H; De Beer, S J; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; De Pontes, P; De Villiers, D J; Du Plessis, B J; Du Plessis, G C; Du Plessis, P T C; Durr, K D S; Farrell, P G; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heunis, J C; Heyns, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kotzé, G J; Kriel, H J; Landman, W J; Le Grange, L; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, I; Louw, M H; Malan, M A de M; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, R P; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Nel, D J L; Niemann, J J; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Rencken, C R E; Scheepers, J H L; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, R S; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, GPD; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Niekerk, W A; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Viljoen, GvN; Vilonel, J J; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E; Wilkens, B H; Wright, A P.
Tellers: J P I Blanché; W J Cuyler; A Geldenhuys; W T Kritzinger; C J Ligthelm; L Van der Watt.
Ayes—32: Andrew, K M; Barnard, M S; Boraine, A L; Burrows, R; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Goodall, B B; Hardingham, R W; Hulley, R R; Malcomess, D J N; McIntosh, G B D; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Page, B W B; Raw, W V; Rogers, P R C; Savage, A; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Slabbert, F v Z; Soal, P G; Suzman, H; Swart, R A F; Tarr, M A; Van der Merwe, S S; Van Rensburg, H E J; Watterson, D W.
Tellers: B R Bamford; A B Widman.
Question negatived and the words omitted.
Substitution of the words proposed by Mr D W Watterson put,
Upon which the House divided.
As fewer than fifteen members (viz Messrs R W Hardingham, B W B Page, W V Raw, P R C Rogers and D W Watterson) appeared on one side,
Substitution of the words declared negatived.
Substitution of the words proposed by Dr A P Treurnicht put,
Upon which the House divided:
Noes—122: Alant, T G; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botha, R F; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Coetsee, H J; Coetzer, H S; Coetzer, P W; Conradie, F D; Cunningham, J H; De Beer, S J; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; De Pontes, P; De Villiers, D J; Du Plessis, B J; Du Plessis, G C; Du Plessis, P T C; Durr, K D S; Farrell, P G; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heunis, J C; Heyns, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kotzé, G J; Kriel, H J; Landman, W J; Le Grange, L; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, I; Louw, M H; Malan, M A de M; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, R P; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Nel, D J L; Niemann, J J; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Rencken, C R E; Scheepers, J H L; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, R S; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, GPD; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Niekerk, W A; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Viljoen, G v N; Vilonel, J J; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E; Wilkens, B H; Wright, A P.
Tellers: J P I Blanché; W J Cuyler; A Geldenhuys; W T Kritzinger; C J Ligthelm; L Van der Watt.
Ayes—19: Barnard, S P; Hartzenberg, F; Langley, T; Le Roux, F J; Schoeman, J C B; Scholtz, E M; Snyman, W J; Stofberg, L F; Theunissen, L M; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van der Merwe, J H; Van der Merwe, W L; Van Heerden, R F; Van Staden, F A H; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H.
Tellers: J H Hoon; H D K van der Merwe.
Substitution of the words negatived.
Substitution of the words proposed by Mr W J Hefer put,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—122: Alant, T G; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botha, R F; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Coetsee, H J; Coetzer, H S; Coetzer, P W; Conradie, F D; Cunningham, J H; De Beer, S J; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; De Pontes, P; De Villiers, D J; Du Plessis, B J; Du Plessis, G C; Du Plessis, P T C; Durr, K D S; Farrell, P G; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heunis, J C; Heyns, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kotzé, G J; Kriel, H J; Landman, W J; Le Grange, L; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, I; Louw, M H; Malan, M A de M; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, R P; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Nel, D J L; Niemann, J J; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Rencken, C R E; Scheepers, JHL; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, R S; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, G P D; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Niekerk, W A; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Viljoen, GvN; Vilonel, J J; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E; Wilkens, B H; Wright, A P.
Tellers: J P I Blanché; W J Cuyler; A Geldenhuys; W T Kritzinger; C J Ligthelm; L van der Watt.
Noes—49: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Barnard, S P; Boraine, A L; Burrows, R; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Hardingham, R W; Hartzenberg, F; Hoon, J H; Hulley, R R; Langley, T; Le Roux, F J; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Page, B W B; Raw, W V; Rogers, P R C; Savage, A; Schoeman, J C B; Scholtz, E M; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Slabbert, F v Z; Snyman, W J; Stofberg, L F; Suzman, H; Swart, R A F; Tarr, M A; Theunissen, L M; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van der Merwe, H D K; Van der Merwe, J H; Van der Merwe, S S; Van der Merwe, W L; Van Heerden, R F; Van Rensburg, H E J; Van Staden, F A H; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H; Watterson, D W.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh; A B Widman.
Substitution of the words agreed to.
Main Question, as amended, accordingly agreed to, viz: That this House—
- (1) endorses the steps which have been taken and are still being applied by the Government to order and to stabilise the body politic;
- (2) in addition, endorses the steps taken by the Government to bring about orderly constitutional reform within the reality of the South African society and on the basis of negotiation;
- (3) affirms the action taken by the Government to maintain and develop international relations without prejudicing our country’s independence of decision-making;
- (4) supports the steps taken to restore economic growth and development; and
- (5) faces the future with realistic optimism.
Mr Speaker, I move:
The House adjourned at