Bantu Holomisa: The Game Changer - An Authorised Biography - Exclusive Books
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa (left) and Nelson Mandela. said over the years he and Mandela had developed a father-and-son relationship. Mandela, Bantu and the politics Because of the nature of their relationship, Holomisa, who is omnipresent 'Where is Bantu?' he would say. Major General (Retired) Bantubonke (Bantu) Harrington Holomisa was born Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Cyril Ramaphosa, Winnie Mandela, the United States of America (USA); the Council on Foreign Relations, USA;.
However, during an interview at a restaurant in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Holomisa conceded that convincing all opposition parties to work together in would be a difficult task given the tensions caused by the ructions in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. When he was asked how a coalition would work, Holomisa struggled to hide his anger with the DA, which removed UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani as deputy mayor. If you won elections through a coalition, decisions must be taken through consensus.
There is no other way. No wonder the ANC has repeatedly tried to convince him to return "home". InNelson Mandela made a similar plea. I now have a small party called the UDM,'" Holomisa recalled, staring at the Mandela statue in front of us. Thabo Mbeki needs strong leaders like you. Going back to the ANC will be tantamount to selling them out. What if I mess up again and you expel me? Let's talk about co-operation. First he sent Makhenkesi Stofile, then Mosiuoa Lekota.
Both came back empty-handed. I never asked to join the ANC. The ANC sent a delegation to me. I said to them they must go to the soldiers. In the early s, Holomisa was one of the most popular leaders in the country and revered for collaborating with the liberation movements despite being a bantustan leader. He formed bonds with ANC leaders, especially Chris Hani, and made the Transkei a haven for MK combatants and activists while he presided over a homeland where he'd seized power in a coup.
Moreover, Chris would be running for president and I don't think that he would easily be defeated. The problem is that his successor, Charles Nqakula is a nice man but weak. As a matter of fact, Winnie Mandela could still be a strong contender for the presidency.
She is highly respected and if her name is put before the ANC congress in December I would guess that she can get elected either as a presidential or deputy presidential nominee if she wants to.
The women's league is far more significant than the youth league which supports Thabo. Who is sent to Northern Province to try to tell people there that they must not choose the leaders they want? Who was sent to the Free State to get rid of Patrick Lekota? Who was used to get rid of me? Who went around canvassing against Winnie and saying that people must support Mrs Zuma for the women's league?
People are upset with the likes of Tshwete, Kader Asmal and so on. I would not be surprised if there were trouble over this at the ANC Congress. Is there an Africanist point here too? To be frank, the minorities within the ANC are too powerful. Look at Kader Asmal on the one hand and Alec Erwin on the other. They were the key people that wanted me out. Asmal gave the key legal opinion against me and he also made a key recommendation against me on the national executive committee, while Alec Erwin recommended to the disciplinary committee that I be expelled from the ANC.
Alec also recommended at one stage that Harry Cwala should be expelled -he seems to like having people expelled from the ANC.
What you have to ask yourself is what is the constituency of such people and what is their record? Far too many of them were like Asmal -just activists in exile who played no real part in the struggle. Personally, I agree with those ANC guys who say that the minorities within the movement are too powerful. I wish them luck but t think that they have got a real struggle on their hands.
How Holomisa turned down Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma
It will not be settled quickly. You seem to have found it easy to get together with Roelf Meyer. Yes - and people like him. One thing you must realise is that it is those of us who were not in exile but who fought the struggle here who are more used to working with whites and we don't have bad relations with them. It is the exiles who are far more racially bitter against whites and who also don't know the issues on the ground.
If you want to see a truly successful politician, look at Patrick Lekota and how successful he was. He knew the issues on the ground and he knew what was necessary in the Free State was to win over the farmers and other conservative elements.
An exile would never have done that. So why have the exiles won the power struggle within the ANC? Well, because people saw them as the vanguard, and looked at them from afar as heroes. But it was the UDF people who were jailed and tear-gassed and maltreated, not the exiles.
As a matter of fact, it isn't really the exiles in general who have won, it's a particular set of exiles, those who were in Britain and Europe.
The exiles who were in Lusaka and the rest of Africa actually lost out.
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But now people are looking at some of these exiles and, when they see how they live, realising what a mistake they made. The viva days are over and some of these people are being exposed. A situation in which so much power is held by racial minorities and by those with such a poor grasp of the real problems cannot possibly last. But is not your own support ethnic and regional in character? In our survey we found that it was to a large degree Xhosa speaking and based in the Eastern and Western Cape.
Well, every politician needs to have a base and so far as it's an ethnic or regional role, well that can happen. But when ANC delegates met in Bloemfontein in to elect members of the national executive, I was voted in as number one with 1, votes out of 2, delegates. These were not just Xhosa votes. It was ANC rank and file people who invited me, although they often described themselves as "concerned citizens". The people who are most vocal in favour of a new party are in the Northern Province, the Northwest and Gauteng.
But, of course, ethnicity is always likely to be a problem - both the PAC and ANC are troubled by ethnicity and we must learn from their difficulties. Do you feel close to any other party? I was happy enough with the ANC, though upset about its failure to implement and deliver, with the way people were being chosen for jobs, and the way things were being done.
I am not married to any ideology and I am not on the far left so I don't belong with the PAC whose policies I find somewhat outdated. I don't believe there is any future in this country for the far left or the far right. We have two worlds here, a first world and a third world, and there has to be centrist buffer zone between them to accommodate people. What i do not like is hypocrisy. One can see many blacks who talk in an extreme left way and then take over businesses and become rich.
When you see people talking radical politics you should always look at their houses and cars and ask, are they really socialists? As soon as we got to power inyou saw what happened.
Big salaries, big cars, and all the rest of it. The promises we made were quickly forgotten. If you pose a real threat to the ANC do you think that the rules of electoral fair play will be respected? The indications are that they won't allow fair play. Of course, if they stop us trying to have rallies we can always go house-to-house.
They are already trying to discredit me even though I have launched no party yet. But they won't stop the people. What is possible is dirty tricks. Or they could kill me. If I am still alive and we sell a good product once we develop our policies, we could give the ANC food for thought in But the ANC really needn't worry very much about us in We just want to get into parliament and have a voice.
Our real aim ought to be to become a strong opposition in five to ten years from now. The ANC should concentrate on delivery and running the country, not on harassing us. But the problem is they might use bullets and shoot us. Whether the ANC is a tolerant organisation I really have my doubts.
Will they allow free campaigning and free political activity? But is not your political intervention rooted in a Xhosa context and a rivalry between the Matanzima and Sigcau families and their opponents? The Holomisa name is more popular than that of Stella Sigcau even in her own native Pondoland.
I went to see the king of Pondos and his chiefs and headman recently and the king said this is your home, the sooner you form a new party the better. We know you, we have worked with you and there is strong support for you here. I repeated my allegations against Stella Sigcau in front of the king and the chiefs.
All I can say is that if Mandela thought he could play Xhosa politics by choosing Stella Sigcau, he miscalculated. The Transkei was more united under the rule of the military council I headed than it is now. The council was not ideological and was above party politics. Your nephew, Patekile Holomisa, heads the congress of traditional leaders.
Do you expect Contralesa to support you? They are welcome to get involved with us. I worked hard to get the chiefs to support the ANC in and they did. That's why Thabo can't get people to come and listen to him now. The chiefs and people like me are not there getting the people out for him. But it's already clear that politics will be different by The ANC's capacity to intimidate is less than it was.
MK and ex-MK people are the most disillusioned.
People want a new party.