BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 13:58 GMT
Transcript - No More Mandelas



Reporter: Fergal Keane

DATE: 11:02:08

JEREMY VINE: Hello, I'm Jeremy Vine and this is Panorama. It was Africa's dream, a renaissance triggered by the end of white rule on the continent. But what happened to Mandela's legacy?

FERGAL KEANE: Is this what Mandela spent 27 years in jail for, so you could go around killing people?

DESMOND TUTU: I'm surprised that they don't say to hell with Mandela, to hell with Tutu and go on the rampage.

VINE: And how did political leadership pass from Mandela to this man?

FERGAL KEANE: A lot of people think you're a crook.

JACOB ZUMA: Is that so? (laugh) Ah huh. I want to see those people in government tell me why they think I'm a crook.

VINE: It's police chief has been charged with accepting a bribe and the man said to take over the Presidency next year is himself due in court on corruption charges in the summer. Has Nelson Mandela's promise of a new South Africa been squandered or was he always going to be too hard an act to follow - the idea of a rainbow nation just a dream. Fergal Keane witnessed the end of apartheid, now he returns to his former home for Panorama.

FERGAL KEANE: Lucky Dube was South Africa's most popular singer, the country's equivalent of Bob Marley...

October 2007

[Film footage of aftermath]

... but it didn't save him from the hijackers who shot him in front of his children. Hearing the news I could hardly believe such an iconic figure had become a victim. Even to those used to South Africa's high crime rate, his death last October seemed to mark a turning point. This man was Lucky Dube's closest friend.

Isn't it a huge irony though, that Lucky Dube who's someone... I remember his music during the days of the struggle and he was very, very worried about a generation being made incredibly violent by what was happening.

RICHARD SILUMA He was actually standing for our nation in South Africa there to try and help us. That's why I find it very hard that a person can just come and kill him. You don't kill somebody who have name among the community, you know. So I'm still asking myself how did that happen?

KEANE: South Africa has on average 50 murders a day, seven times the rate of the United States. The violence is rooted in bloody history when the young rebelled against a racist state.

January 1994 [Film footage]

They fought police who preserved white rule through violence. In townships reduced to anarchy I saw friends killed. They'd all helped to create gangs who would kill without pity.

Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu is the moral conscience of the nation and frightened by the crime explosion.

Archbishop DESMOND TUTU We somehow have lost this wonderful sense of the value of human life. You see in the kind of crime that are happening, people just shooting as if it was a firing range instead of I mean that the targets are sentient beings like themselves.

KEANE: The latest figures show a 6% drop in the murder rate, but it remains a frighteningly violent country. This though the government has substantially increased budgets and numbers for the police with nearly 2000 more promised by 2010. But public confidence isn't helped when the national police chief is charged with taking bribes from a gangster or when the ANC votes to get rid of the county's top anti corruption unit. It is the poor in the townships who suffer most from the criminal gangs, many of whom are young, out of work and out of control. I met some of them on a Sunday morning. They were already high on amphetamines and beer.

So if you want to do stealing, you need a weapon, huh? How easy is it to get a gun?

YOUTH: It's easy, easy to, in split second.

KEANE: But you see here's what I can't understand, and I've known this country for a long time. It's just the ease with which people kill nowadays.

YOUTH: Yeah.

KEANE: How did that happen?

YOUTH: When I get up, I can go to town or I can took your car.

KEANE: Would it bother you to kill me to get the car?

YOUTH: If you don't want to give me your keys I'll kill you. It's nothing to kill you because of what.. I need the money to survive. You see I need more money. You see it feels like using a gun there's no feeling. There's no feeling. It's just yourself, you're the big boss. You got a gun, no one will tell you shit or f*** you. No one can tell you f*** you. If you said f*** me, I took out my firearm and I shoot you in your ears, then what will you say? You're dead! I will took all the things. If you don't get money, if you don't get a car you're nothing.

KEANE: Do you think that the life that you're living and the way that you're carrying on is what Mandela...

YOUTH: But...

KEANE: No, but hang on a second, is this what Mandela spent 27 years in jail for so you could go around killing people?


KEANE: So why do you still do it?

YOUTH: Because we want money. Listen, listen to me, because it's money. I have to rob this thing now.

KEANE: You want to rob the camera?

YOUTH: Yeah.

KEANE: You could do that, if you wanted, I know you could do that, but it wouldn't achieve any purpose. You might have money for a day and it's just brought trouble on you.

When they suggested stealing the camera we decided to leave. Crime is being fuelled by another legacy of apartheid, poverty. There is democracy, free speech and economic growth. But real wealth is in the hands of the few. Even though millions more now access electricity and water, two million new homes have been built and there are grants for the poorest of the poor, the growing economy hasn't delivered jobs. Official figures say 25% are out of work, though many economists estimate it could be as high as 40%. Millions of South Africans still live in squatter camps.

Sunday afternoon in Soweto:

How many of you live in this shed?

WOMAN: Four.

KEANE: What do you feel about the life you have here?

WOMAN: (translated) Life here isn't good. We've no electricity and so we have to use paraffin which makes the children sick.

KEANE: Do you ever think your life is going to get better, Joseph?

JOSEPH: Maybe my life would change if the Nationalist party came back, not the ANC.

KEANE: I don't believe you, come on, it was a white government that put you down, that treated you terribly. You can't really believe that.

JOSEPH: But in terms of work they didn't oppress us. We didn't struggle for work then.

KEANE: Now do I really think that he is serious about wanting a white government back? I don't think so. Not back to the days of forced removals and passbooks and all of that. But I'll tell you what it does do, when you listen to somebody expressing that kind of anger and frustration, you really get a sense of how the ANC, the people at the top, the elite, have drifted away from their core constituency, the people of the squatter camps, South Africa's dispossessed.

Apartheid made this one of the world's most unequal societies, and the ANC faced a real dilemma, radical redistribution of wealth would have led to economic crisis. But a widely heard criticism is that a chosen few business men close to the party have thrived while too little has changed for the poor.

Archbishop DESMOND TUTU We still live in shacks, and yet there are many of those who used to be of our community who are now living in clover. I mean they have wonderful homes, they have beautiful cars I'm surprised that they don't say to hell with Mandela and to hell with Tutu in their call for reconciliation and go on the rampage. I'm still amazed.

KEANE: This man was an old comrade of Archbishop Tutu's in the struggle. Reverend Frank Chikane knows the world of the squatter camps well.

FRANK CHIKANE: (addressing rebellious crowd) In your anger, don't do things that will create more corpses.

KEANE: Now he runs the office of South Africa's President and responds to the claim that the government has failed the poor.

Rev FRANK CHIKANE Director-General President's Office I don't think you could say government failed people. I think you can say government has done its best to deal with poverty in this country, but there are still people who are poor and there is still more to be done. You couldn't have done all of it overnight. If we tried that, we would have had to take the resources from the rich people and transfer them to poor people you would have had instability in this country. You know that.

KEANE: Nelson Mandela's charisma and the euphoria of liberation helped to keep discontent at bay, but that would change under his successor Thabo Mbeki. Thabo Mbeki was widely respected in the West. Exiled in Britain under apartheid he was a skilled diplomat who helped negotiate the end of white rule. But in power he would react angrily to what he saw as white or western views based on colonial attitudes. The brutality of apartheid had left him with bitter resentments that would erupt when he was criticised.

Do you, and does the President feel that westerners lecture you too much?

FRANK CHIKANE: That's not surprising though, isn't it. I mean if you have had a colonial system, remember that westerners were part of that colonial system, even when they are independent you still think that they should do things the way in which you think.

KEANE: But Mbeki's hostility to criticism helped change the way the world saw South Africa. It erupted on an issue which would bring scorn on the President.

This is rural Trans-Sky where Mbeki grew up. There are new government built houses here but alongside the evidence of progress there is a story of failure. Here the household headed by AIDS orphans is a stark symbol of the new South Africa. Back when the struggle against apartheid was coming to an end, none of us was talking about HIV AIDS, not the politicians and not the journalists. But at the end of the 1990s when Thabo Mbeki was about to succeed Nelson Mandela as ANC President then it was blindingly obvious to anyone who cared that this country was facing a human catastrophe from HIV AIDS. Yet at the height of the pandemic Mbeki said he didn't know anybody who had AIDS. He publicly supported dissident scientists who doubted the link between HIV and AIDS and dismissed his critics as racists who viewed blacks as sexually depraved. But at home, those who worked with the victims of HIV AIDS were outraged.

LULU: He has just arrived here. He couldn't even talk when he came here, but now he's really starting to talk a little.

KEANE: Lulu runs an AIDS hospice in Trans-Sky.

Lulu I'm just wondering, when you heard President Mbeki being quoted as saying that he didn't know anybody who had died of HIV AIDS, what was your reaction to it?

LULU BOXOZA Director, Temba Community Services Well that one is... it is just so unfortunate. You know if somebody can mention... everybody in South Africa knows somebody who is either HIV positive or AIDS, or somebody who has died Everybody. It's terrible the way it was handled from the beginning. If you remember the debate about HIV causing AIDS, we had to go back and tell.. and tell people to use condoms because people were saying no, the President is saying that we... it's poverty so give us food.

KEANE: Activists went to court to try and force the government to provide antiretroviral drugs. This after Mbeki claimed Western pharmaceutical companies were trying to force toxic drugs on Africans to turn a quick profit. This is Eunice, she's 61 years old, suffers from AIDS and lives with her three orphaned grandchildren. Her son died from AIDS in 2001, before the state made ARVs available. Her daughter died 4 years later.

EUNICE MBANGATHA HIV Started with Siabonga who was born in 75. It took him. It came to Tandaka, laid her to waste, and then took her. I'm hurting because I see others surviving. Mine died because they were late in getting to hospital. Siabonga, on his return, asked for a bed, for three days he lay in bed. With Tandaka it took two weeks.

KEANE: What do you think is going to happen to you?

EUNICE: I hope that I will survive when I get the ARVs.

KEANE: One of the top scientists, as you know, in this country, has said that Thabo Mbeki's mixed messages could result in him being judged as a collaborator in one of the greatest crimes of our time.

REV CHIKANE: No but you see this is all business. Now you're... it's over, we have got a policy, it deals with HIV and AIDS. We've got the best policies...

KEANE: Yes, but it's not old business for the families of people who've died as a result of those mixed messages, is it? It's still a living pain for them.

Rev FRANK CJHIKANE Director-General President's Office No, no, no, it's old business because the President was misunderstood. There was a campaign here by pharmaceuticals for us to make decisions without applying our minds carefully, and when we applied our minds, they push you to say you should have made a decision yesterday. Now you don't learn like that, as a government.

KEANE: When the ANC came to power the hope was that it would offer moral leadership in Africa, and Thabo Mbeki did work hard to end crises in Burundi and Congo. But his resentment of western criticism would show itself again in a crisis that erupted on his northern border. In Zimbabwe the government of Robert Mugabi launched a brutal crackdown, terrorising the opposition. South Africa refused to condemn Mugabi, but seven years of Mbeki's quiet diplomacy failed to end the repression. Showing solidarity with Mugabi Mbeki accused his critics of using human rights as an excuse to overthrow the government. In that same year I met one of those fighting for human rights inside Zimbabwe. Job Sikhala was an opposition MP.

January 2003

JOB SIKHALA: [Speaking from hospital bed] There is no part of my body which was never bent by electricity. That's the kind of life the people of Zimbabwe are living under.

KEANE: Four years later and I'm on my way to meet Job Sikhala again. This is Zambia and the road south to the border with Zimbabwe.

We got word late last night that he made it across the border safely into Zambia. Hopefully he's going to be waiting for us there now.

Hi Job, how're you doing.

JOB SIKHALA: I'm fine.

KEANE: (clasping hands) It's been a while since we met. How are you doing?, oh you're very well. Yeah, nice to see you again. (to colleagues) Nice to see you. How are you.

How serious is the situation in Zimbabwe now?

JOB SIKHALA Movement for Democratic Change There are a lot arrested that are taking place against oppression figures. A number of opposition figures are being tortured, so basically at the present moment in Zimbabwe the situation is very critical. It is now the situation weighed by the international community must play it's moral vote.

KEANE: Do you feel when you look at this from the beginning that you've been let down by South Africa, that they should have spoken out against the injustice.

JOB: There is no doubt the vast majority of the people in Zimbabwe condemned President Thabo Mbeki for not really taking a very bold stance and bold decision to make a decision that enough is enough. South Africans been under apartheid for a long time. The people of Zimbabwe are well aware of how South Africa fought the oppressive system of apartheid. And so the same, like in Zimbabwe we are living under a black apartheid government.

KEANE: Mbeki feared that imposing sanctions and isolating Mugabi would collapse the Zimbabwean state, but the refugees fled anyway. These are some of the 4 million now in South Africa. Mbeki was by instinct a backroom negotiator, not one to confront. But there was a powerful sense his own resentments were helping to guide policy. He wouldn't be lectured, not by those he believed bore an historic responsibility for Africa's problems.

People looked at South Africa in 1994 and said this country is going to be a moral force, not just within its own borders, but for Africa as a whole. Now a lot of people looking at you today from abroad would say that you failed, you haven't done that.

Rev FRANK CHIKANE Director-General President's Office There's a difference between a person who sits from afar and condemns and goes to sleep and doesn't have to do anything about it, and a person who has to do something about the matter, and you will know that the solution it's not just condemnation but it is about how you help people to develop beyond where they are, how they deal with their challenges. And some of the challenges come from the economy apparent.

KEANE: When Nelson Mandela made his first speech as President, the ANC was united. Africa's oldest liberation movement offering hope to the entire continent.

10TH May 1994

NELSON MANDELA: [Addressing the nation] Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa. I thank you. [Cheers and applause]

KEANE: But 13 years on there's growing disillusionment. Mandela's successor is now an isolated figure waiting for his term to end. And the true core of South Africa's crisis, the huge inequality between rich and poor is as Mbeki himself once put it: "The stuff of nightmares." Enter the man who would rescue the nation. He's certainly got a different style. Zuma was Mbeki's former deputy but they fell out bitterly. Last December Zuma beat Mbeki in party leadership elections putting him in line for president when Mbeki retires next year. Zuma has promised action on Zimbabwe and AIDS but it's his pledge to tackle inequality that's made him popular with the poor.

But is Jacob Zuma the man to lead South Africa? In 2006 he was acquitted of raping a family friend, but admitted having unprotected sex with her, despite knowing she was HIV positive, and he said he'd tried to minimise his risk of infection by showering afterwards, this when he was leading the country's AIDS campaign.

8th May 2006

JUDGE: It is totally unacceptable that a man should have unprotected sex with a person other than his regular partner and definitely not with a person who to his knowledge is HIV positive. I do not even want to comment on the effect of a shower.

KEANE: Yet when I met Zuma in Johannesburg he'd just promised a new anti AIDS campaign.

Is it not extraordinary hypocrisy for Jacob Zuma to lecture anybody about HIV and AIDS when you're the man who stood up in a courtroom and acknowledged having unprotected sex with somebody you knew was HIV positive, and then you come out and say: "Well I took a shower and therefore thought I'd be okay."

ZUMA: The story of the shower makes big news.

KEANE: Did you really think that would get rid of HIV, having a shower?

JACOB ZUMA President of ANC No. Did I think so? No. It's your guys, the media who says so, who say I believed it will take out AIDS. How could I believe that?

KEANE: But do you not think that whole episode casts grave doubt on your fitness for any kind of office, let alone the presidency of South Africa?

ZUMA: No, it can't be.. it can't be. What happened, that case, was what happen to people. People make mistakes in their lives, and for that mistake I apologised to the people of South Africa.

KEANE: Ethically and morally are you fit to lead this country?

ZUMA: Absolutely fit. Absolutely fit. I have been fit to fight for the freedom of this country. I have been fit to be in the ANC leadership as that thing happened when I'm already in the ANC leadership and I'm still fit, and I've got a better lesson to tell people, don't commit the same mistake.

KEANE: But this is still a country where the powerful can be held to account. In 2005 Zuma's financial advisor went to jail for his role in a corrupt arms deal with a foreign company. Now Zuma has been charged with corruption.

A lot of people think you're a crook.

ZUMA: Is that so? (laugh) Ah huh, I want to see those people and government tell me why they think I'm a crook.

KEANE: Well there's a whole army of prosecutors clearly think it.

ZUMA: Ah huh, is that so? Oh! Serious.

KEANE: Are you a crook?

ZUMA: Me?! What? I don't know, unless I must go to the dictionary and learn what a crook is. I've never been a crook.

KEANE: Somebody who takes money from other people for corrupt purposes.

ZUMA: Have I ever done so?

KEANE: I'm asking you.

ZUMA: No. I think that's a mistake you guys make, and I've said I currently have two trials, a trial by the media and then trial by court. I'm saying I'm not a crook, I have never been a crook. I will never be a crook.

Archbishop DESMOND TUTU I have said.. I mean I have to say that at the present time I am feeling sad for our country and I have said please bear in mind that they are also electing someone who is potentially head of state for our country and they should please not choose someone of whom most of us would be ashamed. I mean our country deserves better.

KEANE: What is your vision?

ZUMA: I want people in the ANC who believe in democracy, will uphold democracy, will defend democracy, and I'm part of that army in the ANC, and that's my vision.

KEANE: To those in the international community who look at the situation now and the possibility of you're becoming President and say to themselves: "How on earth did we come from a situation of having Nelson Mandela to Jacob Zuma?" what would you say to them?

ZUMA: It's actually a wrong question because you can't have hundred Mandelas, impossible. It's not possible because you can't try to judge a country by each leader, unless you're saying South Africa must just give birth to Mandelas only, nobody else. It can't be.

KEANE: So no more Mandelas. The euphoria of liberation is long gone, and given the problem South Africa faced, that is inevitable. But my fear at the end of this South African journey is that Nelson Mandela's greatest legacy is being squandered. The gift of hope to a people who suffered so much.

JEREMY VINE: Fergal Keane reporting, and like Fergal I was the BBC's correspondent in Johannesburg for a while, just like him I'll be watching to see what happens when Jacob Zuma arrives in that courtroom.

Next week on Panorama we ask: "Bottled water, who needs it?"

PHIL WOOLAS, MP: It seems to me to be daft to take oil out of the desert in the Middle East, transport it across the globe, turn it into plastic, drink mineral water out of it and throw it in a landfill site.

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