January-June 1984

May 17, 1984

This section of my research diary begins with notes  taken during my 1984 visit to South Africa.  The first note is on the Winterveld and is dated May 17, 1984.  The Winterveld was and is a huge squatter area in what was then Bophuthatswana.  At the time I started my research it represented many of the dilemmas of squatters in South Africa who had accumulated behind homeland borders.  It was a job access area.  In 1984, there appeared no one responsible for it.  An intergovernmental commission had been established to investigate.

The Winterveld consists of miles and miles of tattered shacks and cardboard shelters.  At issue in 1984, was whether to focus on the whole Pretoria region or on the Winterveld alone.  In Winterveld, plot holders have freehold tenure and were leasing out to tenants. The area was opened to freehold ownership in 1939 and 1940.  It was only in December of 1983, that South African officials began to try to deal with the problem and moved away from the bulldozer approach to urban density.  South Africa agreed to fund some upgrading, and agree to investment based on the recommendations of the National Building Research Institute.

There is a very high percentage of sub-letting in the PWV area.  Sub-letting is much less in the Winterveld.  The goal of the government is to restructure the housing patterns and introduce squatter renewal.  The problem is that 90% of the squatters and 84% of the land owners are not Setswana speakers.  About 77% of the men are involved in the economy of the PWV.

In Mabopane, the new technical college brought in in Phase 1, R32m and in Phase 2, R100m. The goal is to have 5000 students enrolled.  Half are on campus each term.  It should be up to full capacity in 1988.

Bophuthatwana (Bop) is land shy but with some freehold a possibility.  Freehold plots are available in Soweto and in other areas for African elites.  Patterns of investment in land and business by black civil servants in the homelands and in townships is similar to other African states.  At the local level, bureaucrats can get involved in conflicts with local traditional leaders who have little or no economic influence.  There is a burgeoning black bureaucratic and organizational elite in the homelands.

Labor unions in the homeland have had much trouble.  It is the Bop. Department of Manpower which deals with border industry around Pretoria. There is resentment of whiter trade union agitators.  Bop’s goal is to supply skilled middle level labor.  They are far from this.

The homelands, to its apologists, are a way of trying social and economic arrangements free from the extreme right wing.  There is a new coalition developing in South Africa which includes internationally oriented Afrikaners and new industrialists.  They are trying to avoid right wing obstacles.

Homeland responsibility is being shifted out of the Department of Cooperation and Development.  Magistrates will fall under justice.  If homelands are independent they deal with the Ministry of foreign Affairs.   The Bop elites link up with the ideas of P.W. Botha as presented at the Carleton Center.  Below is a picture of the Winterveld taken in 2011.

May 22,  1984

I met with Ronald Kaplan, senior lecturer in public administration at the University of Bophuthatswana and an advisor on planning to the Office of the President of Bop.  He argues that proposals on local structures are as far as Bop. can go.  In practice, there is no real bureaucratic structure below the regional authority.  There are no administrative structures for tribal authorities, only for municipalities and towns.  There is a two track system developing in Bop between a) urban, modern and bureaucratic and b) rural, traditional and “self-help.”  This mirrors the SA system between urban Africans who have to be brought into the system and rural Africans who stay as surplus.

There is a possible quote for an opening of a chapter:  “Geography as the basis of politics” in Aubrey Richards, African Political Systems– Introduction.

A quote from a South African academic on meeting the author.  “It makes me feel kind of funny.  All these years, I’ve gone off to study them.  Now they are coming here to study us.”

The Natal Model of consociationalism was influenced by Theophilus Shepstone.  Shepstone’s idea of traditional administration was a departure from the direct rule of the Cape.  His idea was to use the chiefs as mechanisms of locla control.  In fact it more directly paralleled the British idea of dual rule. Sir Theophilus Shepstone (8 January 1817 – 23 June, 1893) is  pictured below.

The administrative apparatus of indirect rule set up was later passed on to the South African Republics (Transvaal and the Orange Free State).  Historians argue that the Natal system was the basis of the separate development idea (which in turn) comes out of segregationist ideas of the 1930s. It in turn influenced the ideas of consociational division of power in the Botha period.  The whole process of separate development, including “reform apartheid,” was thus part and parcel of the British Imperial pattern of colonial rule as well as the logical outcome of Afrikaner exclusiveness.

The homeland structure of local level political control thus lies at the pre-indirect rule stage.  In the homelands they operate through chiefs but without the bureaucratic support (treasury, secretary and clerks) envisioned in the East African brand of indirect rule.  To what extent does the East African model differ from the Nigerian model?  Even the early British Nigerian model envisaged a bureaucratic support system for traditional authorities?

June 18, 1984

Discussion with Prof. Jeremy Keenan then of the Antrhopology Department of the University of Witwatersrand, June 18, 1984.  The interview centered around political control in the Ga Rankuwa block. Here we see the use of Bop. government power and regulations to move out the non-Tswana.  The traditional court system has been a major mechanism of control here.  They use the illegal occupation argument both in the Winterveld and in other areas.  Thus traditional authorities in this area have a political control function of their areas.  Each chief and headman have five-six policemen to keep control.  There is a heavy handed use of fines and un-recorded side payments. This is a major mechanism to get things done.  These payments suggest high levels of corruption.


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