This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Second Submission Of The National Party To The Truth And Reconciliation Commission
The purpose of this submission is to comment on the Truth and Reconciliation process thus far; to respond to the submission of the ANC; and to reply to the questions that the Commission submitted to the National Party on 12 December 1996.
We would like, at the outset, to wish the Chairman a complete and speedy recovery after his recent illness.
We would also like to congratulate him and the Commission on the role that they played in securing the extension of the cut-off date for amnesty to 27 April 1994.
Apart from this we are deeply concerned about the manner in which the truth and reconciliation process is developing.
Most seriously, it has become evident that the Commission is losing its credibility among some of our communities and parties, including a large majority of members of the National Party. The reasons for this loss of credibility include the following:
Despite the often praiseworthy efforts of the Chairman, the Commission is not perceived to be impartial. Its composition is seen to be overwhelmingly representative of only one side in the former conflict. An analysis of the statements and speeches of some leading members of the Commission indicates that they tend to view the conflict of the past from the broad perspective of the ANC and its allies. There is deep concern that their report might simply give an official endorsement of this one-sided view of our history. So far the Commission's activities have contributed to these concerns: its investigations have been targeted almost exclusively against those associated with the former Government, and its behaviour at times appears to be increasingly aggressive and prosecutorial. At the same time, comparatively little is said, written or reported about the abuses perpetrated by those who were opposed to the Government.
The Commission's actions and hearings are beginning to create a skewed perception of the conflict, based as they are on the highly emotive testimony of victims who represent predominantly only one side of the conflict. These perceptions are being fanned and magnified by the SABC, which uses every opportunity to cast a pall of collective guilt over anyone associated with the former Government or with our party. Whole classes of decent people and communities are being associated in the public's perceptions with the criminal actions of a few individuals, of which they were not aware and which they would not have condoned had they known of them. The overwhelming majority of the members of our Party have been horrified by the revelations of abuses that have come to light as a result of the activities of the Commission and other investigations that preceded it.
Many of those in the targeted communities and parties regard the Commission's approach as being contrary to the spirit of the historic agreement that gave birth to the New South Africa. The essence of our peaceful transition was that parties that had previously been caught in an escalating spiral of conflict decided freely to pursue a peaceful resolution of the problems that had for so long divided them. Central to this process was the acceptance that no-one would be victimised for actions taken during the preceding conflict and that there would be a genuine and even-handed effort to promote reconciliation. This is not happening. Millions of supporters of the National Party who enthusiastically welcomed the New South Africa, who voted for reform policies in 1987, 1989 and in the referendum of 1992, are now beginning to feel alienated and victimised. It is just as important to recognise the role played by the National Party and a wide variety of South Africans in creating the New South Africa as it is to identify those who were responsible for the abuses of human rights that were perpetrated by all sides in the conflict.
The Commission is becoming increasingly involved in the party political process. Some of the Commission's actions and statements, such as its press conference on 16 January 1997, have created the impression that it has adopted a partisan stance against our Party and its leaders. (Please refer in this regard to the attached press statement issued by the National Party). Concerns are being expressed that the Commission may be misused by the ANC to the detriment of other political parties in the run-up to the 1999 elections.
We have recently seen an example of this: a leading member of the ANC, himself an applicant for amnesty, has on the basis of testimony brought before the TRC, accused me as Leader of our Party of having known about political assassinations, apparently committed by the security forces during my presidency. This led a leading newspaper to publish a headline proclaiming "De Klerk's death farms" - as though this were a matter of proven fact. All this occurred despite the lack of any supporting evidence whatsoever and categorical denials from me that I had ever been aware of such developments. Such accusations, arising from the Commission's public activities are not only grossly unfair - they are undermining the ability of a legitimate political party to participate on an equal basis in the democratic process.
Much of this has its roots, not only in the conduct of some of the Commissioners, but also in the basically flawed nature of the Commission's composition and methods. The absence of any significant representation from the side of the former government on the Commission will inevitably raise questions regarding the TRC's impartiality. The fact that most of the Commission's hearings are in public and that testimony before it is not subject to proper examination, opens the possibility for abuse, for the stirring up of divisive emotions and for trial by media. It is, in retrospect, a great pity that South Africa did not follow the Chilean Truth and Reconciliation model which made provision for equal representation, in camera proceedings and a much speedier process.
The commission is also beginning to intrude increasingly in areas which fall outside its responsibility of establishing the circumstances related to gross violations of human rights - including investigations into the role of the medical profession and the media.
In raising these points, the National Party wishes to emphasise that it has no problem with bona fide efforts to establish the truth regarding the conflict of the past. It will also enthusiastically support any genuine effort to promote national reconciliation. It believes, however, that the Commission's present approach is seriously flawed and that unless it can take rapid and effective steps to convince all parties of its impartiality it will not succeed with its historic task. One-sided "truth" is no truth at all. Facts taken out of perspective can be as misleading as lies.
We would accordingly suggest that the Commission should urgently address these perceptions. It should, in particular, apart from issuing statements to that effect, take specific steps to reassure all South Africans of its even-handedness and its intention of establishing the truth about all gross abuses of human rights committed by all parties during the conflict.
It will be essential in this regard to bring some overall perspective to the events that occurred during our conflict. Despite the attention that it is focusing on abuses committed by agents of former governments, the probability is that the great majority of people who died were victims of the conflict between various revolutionary and non-revolutionary organisations which were all opposed to apartheid. Also, some of the most horrendous abuses - such as the necklacing of more than 500 people - were committed by elements opposed to the former government. We suggest that the TRC should accordingly prepare an analysis that will a) indicate the scale of the conflict that occurred in South Africa compared with the conflict that has been experienced by other transitional societies; and b) provide an assessment of the total number of South Africans
who died during the political conflict;
who died or who were seriously injured as a result of security force action;
who died, or who were tortured or seriously injured as a result of illegal operations of the security forces;
who died as a result of the actions of the armed wings of the ANC, the PAC and other guerrilla organisations;
who were killed by the ANC, the UDF, the Mass Democratic Movement, the Civics and other organisations because they were associated with, or supportive of, the former Government;
who were seriously injured - or whose homes and properties were destroyed - in the course of the intimidation campaigns carried out by the ANC, the UDF, the Mass Democratic Movement, the Civics and other organisations; and
who died, or who were seriously injured, or who had their homes destroyed in the conflict in Kwa-Zulu/Natal, including an indication of the number of ANC, IFP and non-aligned victims.
It is the essence of the Commission's task to determine in an even-handed fashion who was responsible for all these deaths and gross violations of human rights.
Concerns remain regarding other aspects of the TRC's activities - particularly in respect of the criteria that it will follow in assessing responsibility and the broad approach that it intends to take with regard to the granting of amnesty. We suggest that the TRC should
respond to the proposals contained in my submission regarding the criteria that should be used in determining responsibility for abuses committed by all sides in the conflicts of the past; and
establish a clear policy regarding the granting of amnesty that will be consistent with the Commission's overall task of promoting reconciliation. In this regard, deep resentment and hostility will be aroused if the Commission applies a harsher standard in respect of members of the Security forces than that demanded by the ANC in respect of the granting of amnesty to its operatives in terms of the Further Indemnity Act of 1992 - or if the Commission appears to be following a policy of retribution.
The submission of the ANC
Far from promoting unity and reconciliation, the TRC process has too often been used to accentuate differences and to revert to the rhetoric of confrontation. This was particularly the case with the submission made by the ANC.
Whereas I avoided playing politics in my criticism of the ANC in my submission and tried to understand the historic framework within which the ANC had operated, no such effort was made by the ANC in its submission. Instead, the ANC has clung to its own rigid and doctrinaire interpretation of the conflict. It has made no effort to seek the common ground that is so essential for reconciliation and has reverted to the hackneyed polemics and diatribes of the past.
It does not respond at all to the National Party's constructive analysis of the framework within which the conflict took place. It gives no recognition of the legitimate considerations that motivated those who fought on the Government side:
that many of those involved were fighting for the preservation of their historic right to national self-determination;
that many were carrying out their duty to maintain law and order and to defend a duly constituted and internationally recognised State from armed insurrection; and
that many others felt it their duty to defend their country and their region from the threat of international communist expansion.
Instead, the ANC dismisses quite wrongfully all those who fought on the Government side as racists intent on the perpetual suppression of black South Africans.
It gives no recognition to the enormous changes, including constitutional changes and the amendment or repeal of many racist and discriminatory laws, and developments that took place within the country - particularly from 1978 onwards - which were instrumental in bringing about the peaceful transformation of our society.
Neither does the ANC acknowledge that a very large part of the conflict took place between the different sections of the nation who had opposing views on how apartheid should be combated. In particular, it ignores its own struggle against the Inkatha Freedom Party and the campaign of mass intimidation that it and its surrogates carried out against anyone who was not part of the struggle or who worked for transformation from within the system.
Gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the ANC and its allies
The ANC's submission deals only in the most superficial manner with its own involvement in the gross violations of human rights.
The ANC and its allies cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for necklacing which caused the deaths of more than 500 people in the most horrible circumstances imaginable. Neither can they shift the blame for these atrocities onto the security forces as they are trying to do. The following facts contradict its claims that it never supported or condoned such methods:
In an interview with Sechaba in December 1986, the late Chris Hani condoned the use of necklace murders:
"So the necklace was a weapon devised by the oppressed themselves to remove this cancer from our society, the cancer of collaboration of the puppets. We have our own revolutionary methods of dealing with collaborators, the methods of the ANC. But I refuse to condemn our people when they meet out their own traditional forms of justice to those who collaborate. As far as I am concerned the question of the necklace and how it should be used belongs to all of us, to the ANC, to the democratic movement. "
On 7 October 1985 the ANC's Radio Freedom broadcast the following comment:
"The policy of burning sell-outs of the system seems to have paid out well in the ultimate end."
At a meeting at California State University on 10 October 1985 ANC spokesman Alosi Moloi said that:
"Among us we have people who have openly collaborated with the enemy. You have to eliminate one to save hundreds of others."
At the same meeting Tim Ngubane of the ANC said that
"We want to make the death of a collaborator so grotesque that people will never think of it."
On 13 April 1986 Winnie Manela said:
"…with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country."
It is also significant that some of the 525 prisoners whose release the ANC demanded on 26 September 1992 as its price for returning to the negotiating table had been convicted of necklace murders and other heinous offences. Nevertheless, the ANC claimed them for its own. One of these people, George Skosana, said on his release from prison that "he would do it again if he had to." He said that he remembered the dying screams of the "police informer" he helped to burn alive in Saulsville:
"We were angry and he was our enemy, so we necklaced him. I felt happy watching him burn."
Another of those released at the insistence of the ANC was Lucky Malaza who described how he had helped to kill a man called Fanayana:
"….We put the tyre around him, poured petrol on him and lit a match. He screamed and screamed and tried to pull the tyre off, but could not. I looked at his face. It was like meat. He took a long time to die."
Abuses committed by the Mass Democratic Movement, the United Democratic Front and Civic Organisations
The ANC seeks to avoid responsibility for the abuses committed during the conflict by elements within the Mass Democratic Movement, the United Democratic Front and the Civics, by claiming that it was not responsible for the actions of these organisations. In fact, these organisations were often deeply influenced or controlled by the ANC. In any event, the leadership of these organisations, many of whom now occupy senior positions within the ANC Alliance, have a duty to explain their involvement in human rights abuses, and specifically in necklace murders.
It is within this context that the ANC and the former leadership of the MDM, UDF and civics must also explain the campaign of intimidation and violence against their opponents in the black community - and particularly those who worked within the system.
In the December 1986 issue of Sechaba, Chris Hani said the following:
"As the result of the armed element of the struggle, including MK and other armed units, military units of our people which are born out of the struggle, our people have utilised the skills we have imparted to them to deal with the police, community councillors and collaborationist elements. By so doing we have rendered most townships ungovernable."
The May 1986 issue of Sechaba, Ronnie Kasrils said:
"We have also seen people counter-attacking in the white suburbs and city centres, creating confusion and fear in the enemy's ranks. We have seen them attacking the community councillors and the informers and here they have had to resort to rough justice, for the State relies on its loathsome army of sell-outs and informers, and unless a people arisen can purge its community of the enemy within, it is not possible to advance ".
We need to know who was responsible for this mass campaign of terror and intimidation against thousands of black South Africans whose only crime was their rejection of the ANC's armed struggle and their desire to serve their communities within existing structures. We must remember that many of the community councillors enjoyed genuine and proven support. In the 1988 municipal elections there was a 26% voter turn-out - despite massive intimidation by the ANC and its allies. In a large number of communities more than 50% of registered voters cast their ballots.
The Conflict between the ANC and the IFP
The ANC must, in particular, explain its role in the on-going violence in Kwa-Zulu Natal which has been responsible for the greatest number of deaths by far. Until now attention of the Commission, the courts and special investigation units has been focused overwhelmingly on the role of the IFP and the agents of the former Government in the struggle between the ANC and the IFP. Yet more than 400 hundred office-bearers of the IFP were systematically murdered and many more thousands of its followers were killed or attacked by followers of the ANC and its allies. Who were the persons responsible for these gross abuses of human rights?
In its Second Interim Report, the Commission of Enquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation (The "Goldstone Commission") made the following finding - among others - concerning the causes of the violence in Kwa-Zullu/Natal:
"As far as political violence is concerned, the Commission has no doubt at all that both African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party members and supporters have been guilty of many incidents that have resulted in the deaths of and injuries to large numbers of people. Both organisations have been over-hasty in accusing the other of being the cause of such conduct. Each has been tardy, especially at the level of top leadership, in taking adequate and effective steps to stop the violence by imposing discipline and accountability among its membership. The investigations of the Commission thus far do not enable it to apportion blame, even if that dubious exercise were relevant."
In its third interim report of 22 December 1992 the Commission found that whatever the role of the security forces might have been
" … it remains clear that a primary trigger of current violence and intimidation remains the rivalry between, and the fight for territory and the control thereof by, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress."
On 4 May 1992 at Pietermaritzburg an ANC leader, Mr R Radebe, addressed a crowd stating inter alia:
"The S A Police and Inkatha are the perpetrators of the violence, they are our enemies.
We will kill the S A Police
We will kill the SADF.
We will kill the KwaZulu Police.
We will kill all our enemies".
The ANC and others are now attempting to dismiss all the violence that occurred in the conflict between various black groupings, including its struggle against the IFP, as the result of "Third Force" activities. This is patently absurd.
We demand that all these gross abuses of human rights should be investigated with the same zeal and thoroughness that the Commission is devoting to its investigations of the former government and security forces.
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE COMMISSION IN ITS LETTER OF 12 DECEMBER 1996
I have now had the opportunity of studying the questions that you submitted to me under your letter of 12 December 1996. Before I deal with them - in as far as I can - I should like to make the following observations:
I strongly disagree with the contention in the first paragraph of your letter that it is "impossible and inadvisable to distinguish between the role of the NP per se and the NP as government." There are, in fact, significant differences between Party and State. Although the latter is guided by the general policy of the former, formulation and implementation of operational policy is often in the hands of operatives of the latter - who may or may not be the Party's members or supporters. Indeed, we strongly object to the practice of the our political opponents and elements of the media of automatically charging the National Party with responsibility for all the abuses committed by individuals employed by the former Government. In contrast with the blatant politicisation of the public service and the security forces that is now taking place, the National Party adhered to the principle of the neutrality of these institutions. Many of the perpetrators of abuses who are now involved in hearings have never been members or supporters of our Party. Some of them were strongly opposed to the National Party and especially to the reforms that led to the 1994 elections.
We wish to make the following perfectly clear: the National Party is prepared to accept responsibility for the policies that it adopted and for the actions taken by its office bearers in the implementation of those policies. It is, however, not prepared to accept responsibility for the criminal actions of a handful of operatives of the security forces of which the Party was not aware and which it would never have condoned. Neither is it prepared to accept responsibility for the actions of any office bearer who might have acted outside the mandate given him or her by the Party.
Just as I have already stated in this, as well as my previous submission, that in no cabinet meeting decisions were taken to authorise gross violations of human rights, likewise no decisions were ever taken by the National Party in any of its party political structures to support gross violations of human rights. This is in stark contrast to the ANC and its allies which adopted specific policies in its meetings, knowing full well that these would definitely lead to gross violations of the human rights of the civilian population.
The distinctions that I made in my submission between the various historic stages through which the National Party developed are also of importance. It would not only be wrong and unfair to associate the National Party of today with the actions and attitudes of the National Party of 1948 - it would also be an unwarranted intrusion by the Commission in the current democratic process. The Commission must take note of the fact that the National Party of today is now supported by millions of South Africans from every community, black, coloured, white and Indian. This includes, since the early 'eighties many white South Africans who totally rejected and had absolutely nothing to do with apartheid. It is important that the Commission should be aware of these distinctions and that it should avoid any pronouncements that might draw itself into the party political arena.
I am disturbed by the tone of some of the questions. They seem to indicate that the Commission has already made up its mind about the nature of the conflict of the past and feeds the perception that it has chosen sides. Some of the questions betray a simplistic approach to the enormously complex historical, political and moral questions involved in the conflict. In our submission we tried to identify some of these complexities.
Many of the questions have already been answered to the best of our ability in our initial submission - particularly those that deal with the matters referred to in Question 1.
A number of other questions presuppose that we still have access to all the relevant documentation and records. This is not the case and such questions should accordingly be referred to the relevant line-function departments or the parties that submitted statements. This is particularly the case with the following questions:
Questions of a general kind and those arising from the National Party submission - Question 1.
Questions arising from the submissions of other parties - Question 5.
Questions on the SADF and other security services - Questions 6 and 7.
Involvement of the SADF in domestic politics and security - Questions 3 - 6
The CCB - Questions 1 and 4.
Cross border raids - Question 2.
Support to Guerrilla movements in neighbouring countries - Questions 1 - 4.
QUESTIONS ON MOTIVES, CONTEXT AND PERSPECTIVE
Most of our first submission was devoted to providing answers to the queries that you have raised in this question. The development of our "underlying ideology" is dealt with from pages 3 - 10 of our submission.
In brief, the central theme of the history of the Afrikaans people, almost since its arrival at the Cape has been its wish to rule itself; to defend its right to religious freedom and to maintain and develop its own cultural heritage and identity. It was this desire that led to its first clashes with the Dutch East India Company and, after the arrival of the British, motivated a large part of its people to migrate from the Cape Colony into the interior. It was this desire that led the Afrikaners to establish their own independent republics in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State and twice to defend their independence - at enormous cost - against the mightiest imperial power of the time. After its defeat at the beginning of this century, it was this desire that led Afrikaners to rebuild their people, to nurture their young language and culture; and to regain their right to full national self-determination, embodied in the ideal of the re-establishment of a Republic.
The National Party was founded in the second decade of this century to act as the political vehicle for the realisation of these goals. Its election victory in 1948 enabled it to implement its programme, which culminated in the establishment of a Republic in 1961.
As far as relations with the other peoples of South Africa were concerned, the National Party believed initially that its interests could be best served by following a policy of "separateness" - or apartheid. It felt that, only in this manner, would the whites in general - and Afrikaners in particular - avoid being overwhelmed by the numerical superiority of the black peoples of our country. Only in this manner would they be able to maintain their own identity and their right to rule themselves. It persuaded itself that such a policy was morally defensible and in the interest of the other peoples of South Africa, because any other course would inevitably lead to inter-racial conflict.
As I pointed out in my submission, the National Party's views and policies were not static and developed markedly over the years as circumstances in South Africa and the world changed. The history of the National Party since 1948 can be divided into a number of periods:
the first period of rigid apartheid, between 1948 and 1960, which was marked by the adoption of comprehensive segregation and security legislation and by the campaign for the establishment of a republic. This period was characterised by a determination to implement the Party's cultural, social and political/ agenda; by strict anti-Communism; and by a paternalistic approach to the other peoples of South Africa which was a reflection of the racial attitudes that prevailed at that time throughout much of the European dominated world and in the southern states of the United States. By the early 'fifties, the strict racial segregation that the National Party had inherited from the past, had been firmly institutionalised. Those in the Black community - such as the ANC and the Congress Movement - who were demanding full democratic rights - were regarded as agitators and communist revolutionaries.
the second period of apartheid - or separate development - between 1960 and 1978, during which the Government attempted to achieve a constitutional settlement through the establishment and development of black national states and also during which South Africa experienced growing international isolation. As I mentioned in my submission this approach was not without idealism:
"We thought that we could solve the complex problems that confronted us by giving each of the ten distinguishable black South African nations self-government and independence within the core areas that they had traditionally occupied. In this way we would create a commonwealth of South African states - each independent, but all co-operating on a confederal basis with one another within an economic common market.
The underlying principle of territorial partition to assure self-determination for different peoples living in a common area is widely accepted. It was inter alia the basis for the creation of the nation states that emerged from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the First World War, and for modern Pakistan and India after the Second World War. Today, complex ethnic maps are the basis for the peace proposals in Israel/Palestine and Bosnia.
Although we were primarily concerned with maintaining our own right to self-determination, it would be a mistake to think that there was not a strong element of idealism in this vision. Ten capital cities were built in the ten states that had been identified, each with its own parliament, quite impressive government buildings and bureaucracy. Several well endowed universities were founded - which were formerly dismissed as "bush colleges" - but which are now accepted as fully fledged universities. By 1975 some 77 new towns had been established and 130 204 new houses had been built. Between 1952 and 1972 the number of hospital beds in the homelands increased from some 5 000 to 34 689. Decentralised industries were developed and hundreds of millions of rands were pumped into the traditional areas in a futile attempt to stem the flood of people to the supposedly "white" cities.
the period of reform between 1978 and 1990, during which most of the revolutionary conflict took place, much of the apartheid system was dismantled, the electoral base was broadened, and negotiations were initiated. After the manifest failure of separate development, the main focus in the National Party shifted toward the search for alternative constitutional models that would enable those who held power to accommodate the social, economic and political realities that confronted them without sacrificing the right of white South Africans and other minorities to continue to manage and decide on what was referred to as "own affairs". In security affairs the main concern was to protect the state from a concerted national and international revolutionary onslaught. In my first submission I commented as follows on this period:
"From as early as 1978 the National Party began with its own tentative process of reform - starting with the important labour reforms that emerged from the recommendations of the Wiehahn Commission.
By the late seventies it was accepted that adequate constitutional provision would also have to be made for the coloured and Indian communities which did not have any identifiable homelands. The President's Council was established to look into this and other constitutional questions. Their recommendations ultimately led to the adoption of the tricameral constitution in 1983 in terms of which white, coloured and Indian South Africans were given the opportunity of electing their own houses of Parliament and of administering their 'own affairs', while power was shared with regard to matters of common interest."
By the end of 1986 the National Party Government had repealed some 100 discriminatory laws, including many laws such as the Pass Laws that had constituted cornerstones of the policy of apartheid.
By 1987 it had established fully representative black local authorities. In 1988 nation-wide elections were held for black local authorities.
I added in my submission that
"This new direction was given further definition at the 1986 congress of the National Party which officially accepted 'one citizenship for all South Africans' and the implication that 'any discrimination on the ground of colour, race and cultural affiliation or religion' would have to be eliminated. However, the Party still believed that political rights should be exercised on a group basis. One of the points of departure for its 1987 programme of action was the continued protection of group rights: ' This must be done on the basis of the maximum degree of self-determination for each group, and joint responsibility on matters of common interest, in such a way that the domination of one group over others be eliminated.' During the national elections of 1987 the National Party sought, and was granted, a mandate by the electorate to pursue and implement such a constitutional programme.
the transformation period since 2 February 1990, during which the National Party took the decision to initiate inclusive constitutional negotiations; the political situation in South Africa was normalised; and the remaining apartheid legislation was repealed. During this period the National Party reconstituted itself, opened its membership to South Africans of all races and took its place as one of the New South Africa's fully multi-racial and democratic parties. As I pointed out in my first submission:
"By the end of the1980's it had become evident that the only possible solution to the constitutional impasse lay in negotiations between all South Africa's major parties, aimed at the establishment of a fully-inclusive non-racial democracy. This was a difficult and far-reaching decision for those in power - and especially for Afrikaner nationalists":
It meant that they would have to give up the right to alone govern those parts of the country where they had exercised power and that they considered to be theirs, for which they, as a small people, had struggled for hundreds of years. No other nation in the world has ever voluntarily made such a decision. Nonetheless the majority of white South Africans did so.
"It meant that instead of putting their faith in their own institutions and in their own ability to defend themselves, they now had to put their trust in negotiated constitutional agreements. They did so in a continent that was not renowned for the success of its constitutional experiments.
It meant that they would have to reach agreement with parties that they had little reason to trust. The SACP had, for example, made it clear that it viewed negotiations simply as the first strategic step in a two-phase revolution which would culminate in the establishment of a communist state.
After I became State President in 1989 I took the following steps to normalise the political situation in South Africa further:
On 2 February 1990 I made announcements that opened the road to inclusive constitutional negotiations. These announcements included the unbanning of the ANC, the SACP and other organisations and the release of prisoners, including Mr Nelson Mandela.
During the following months and years the Government repealed all the remaining 'apartheid era' laws, including the Group Areas Act, the Population Registration Act, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, the Development of Black Communities Act and the Land Acts.
The National Party subsequently played a leading and indispensable role in the negotiations and the transformation process that led to the establishment of the new South Africa. It was the only major party that did not at some time or other walk out of the talks.
I also took steps to normalise and regularise the activities of the security forces (further details of my actions in this regard are set out below)."
The factors that motivated those who fought on the Government's side are dealt with quite explicitly in pages 10 - 13 of the submission.
Firstly, one of the main motivating factors was the determination of many whites - and especially Afrikaners - to defend what they saw as their historic right to national self-determination:
"Many of those who took part in the struggle from the side of the Government, especially most of the Afrikaners, believed, to start with, that they were defending the right of their people to national self-determination in their own state within a territorially partitioned South Africa. They believed that their actions were in line, not only with the traditions of their forefathers, but also with the universally accepted principle that nations were entitled to defend their right to self-determination. As the impracticality of this vision became more and more evident during the eighties its importance as a motivating factor diminished for most Afrikaans members of the National Party. It nevertheless remains, to this day, the ideal of a significant proportion of Afrikaners who support the Freedom Front, the Conservative Party and various right-wing organisations."
Secondly, many of those who fought on the side of the Government did so because of their perception that they were defending their country against the global onslaught of totalitarian and atheistic Communism:
"Those who fought on the side of the Government believed that they were defending their country against what they perceived to be the aggressive expansion of Soviet communism. They had ample reason to believe this. The Sixth Congress of the Communist International had resolved, as early as 1928, that
'The CPSA (Communist Party of South Africa) should pay particular attention to the ANC. Our aim should be to transform the ANC into a fighting nationalist revolutionary organisation.'"
From the sixties onwards, the ANC received substantial aid from the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. It was closely allied to - some would say dominated by - the South African Communist Party. The SACP was, in turn, one of the most Stalinist and supinely pro-Soviet parties in the world. Among other actions, it had enthusiastically supported the Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. The Soviet threat was not simply McCarthyite paranoia on the part of the South African Government. The reality was that SACP members held dominant positions within the ANC's National Executive Committee and that Soviet surrogate forces had established strong positions in a number of Southern African countries, particularly in Angola. In September 1987 Soviet and Cuban-led MPLA forces clashed with UNITA and SADF forces at the Lomba River in southern Angola in what was probably the largest set-piece battle in the continent since the Battle of El Alamein.
The SACP's agenda was to use its vanguard position in the ANC led alliance to promote a two-phase revolution. According to a policy document produced by the SACP politburo in May 1986
"… the immediate attainment of the socialist revolution is not on the agenda. This does not mean that we are putting it off but, to quote Lenin's words, we 'are taking the first steps towards it in the only possible way, along the only correct path, namely the path of a democratic republic.'''
The perception of those on the side of the Government was accordingly that the installation of an ANC Government would lead to communist domination. They believed that in conducting their struggle against the ANC, they were playing an important role in the West's global resistance to the expansion of Soviet Communism."
Thirdly, many of those who fought on the side of the Government were motivated by their perceived duty to defend the State and to maintain law and order:
"Many of those who fought on the side of the security forces, particularly national servicemen and reservists, often did so without any specific ideological or party political motive. They believed that it was their duty to carry out the lawful instructions of a legally constituted and internationally recognised government. They also believed that they had an underlying and non-party political responsibility to uphold the law and to protect the lives and property of citizens.
Millions of South Africans who opposed apartheid also condemned the use of violence to achieve political objectives. Newspapers in South Africa which were strenuous opponents of apartheid often supported cross-border actions by the security forces in cases where perpetrators sought refuge in neighbouring states after murdering civilians in South Africa.
The great majority of those who served in the security forces during the conflict were honourable, professional and dedicated men and women. They were convinced that their cause was just, necessary and legitimate."
The manner in which you have phrased your question creates the impression that the Commission has already reached its own conclusions on these important matters.
Non-violent and constitutional change
You ask how one achieves power constitutionally if one is disenfranchised and denied many of one's basic constitutional rights? The answer is that, in the end, all of the people were empowered and enfranchised through negotiations and a peaceful constitutional process - and not as a result of violent conflict.
The armed and violent dimension of the ANC's strategy was not a major factor in the transformation of South Africa. It was unnecessary and counter-productive and served only to intensify the cycle of brutality and bitterness on all sides. Furthermore it delayed the process which led to the enfranchisement and empowerment of the people.
There was a vigorous debate within the ranks of the ANC at the beginning of the 1960's on this very question. Many of the organisation's most respected leaders - including Chief Albert Luthuli - were opposed to the use of violence. There is also no indication that the majority of black South Africans ever supported the ANC's decision to embark on its armed struggle.
The fact is that many disenfranchised peoples have successfully secured constitutional rights through non-violent and/or broadly constitutional means. This was the case, most notably in India and in much of Africa. It was also the method that brought about the extension of the suffrage in countries such as the United Kingdom. It is a great pity that the ANC and its allies opposed so resolutely the genuine reform measures adopted by the Government from the end of the 1970's. The ANC's approach that apartheid could not be reformed and that the "apartheid regime" had to be destroyed undoubtedly played a major role in promoting intransigence on both sides during the conflict.
Many black South Africans with impeccable qualifications believed that they could best advance the cause of their people through peaceful means. Others, equally sincere, felt that rights for black South Africans could best be secured by working within the structures provided by the Government. The homeland governments, local authorities and the tricameral Parliament all provided - or could have provided - a base for the initiation of far-reaching peaceful and evolutionary constitutional change. Even President Mandela acknowledges that it was sometimes acceptable to work within in the system - and gave tacit approval to some leaders who had done so by subsequently appointing them to senior positions in the ANC.
Despite ANC propaganda that they were "puppets", homeland governments enjoyed a very high degree of real autonomy and the Independent States were constitutionally independent. They controlled budgets that were larger than those of many independent African states. Some leaders, like Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, used these institutions to fight apartheid and to press for the ideal of a non-racial South Africa and, by so-doing played an important part in the transformation process. If the ANC and its allies had decided to encourage candidates sympathetic to its cause to contest the elections for the tricameral Parliament, they could have established another powerful platform for the constitutional promotion of their cause. Their decision, instead, to launch a campaign of mass defiance through their surrogates in the UDF and the Mass Democratic Movement, signalled the beginning of the most serious phase in our national conflict.
As far as I am aware, the Chairman of the Commission never supported violence as a means to achieving constitutional rights - yet no-one would question the very great contribution that he had made by following peaceful and constitutional methods.
The point that we wished to make in our first submission was that -although one might understand the motivation of those who embarked on a policy of armed insurrection - there is a very real question as to whether this was an effective or correct option. Undoubtedly, it contributed to the spiral of violence and to the intensity of the conflict.
On pages 20 -25 of my submission I listed the complex factors that ultimately contributed to the transformation of South Africa. These factors included the roles played by the international community, by peaceful opposition within South Africa, by the collapse of Soviet Communism, by changes within the National Party and by socio-economic changes. The most significant of these were the socio-economic changes:
"During the twenty-five years between 1970 and 1995 there were dramatic - but largely unpublicised - shifts in socio-economic relationships in South Africa which led to the de facto and ultimately to the de jure transformation of South Africa:
Influx control was abolished by the reality of millions of people migrating to the cities, long before the relevant legislation was repealed by Parliament.
The Group Areas Act was abolished de facto by the reality that thousands of black South Africans had peacefully moved into supposedly white areas.
The Separate Amenities legislation was doomed from the moment that young black and white people with the same qualifications began working side by side in banks, shops and factories.
There is nothing new in this. Much of history has been the story of how changing economic relationships have led to changed social relationships. Ultimately these changed relationships placed irresistible pressure on antiquated constitutional relationships and led to the emergence of democratic societies."
The legality of the South African Government and its international isolation
It is a matter of fact that South Africa was "legally constituted and internationally recognised" throughout this period - even though the "legitimacy" of this Government was increasingly questioned. Throughout this period South Africa remained a member of the United Nations and its ambassadors were accepted by the UN Secretary-General and regularly participated in the deliberations of the UN Security Council. The South African Government was also recognised as a sovereign government by the governments of most of the leading countries of the world.
The International Convention that purported to declare apartheid to be a "crime against humanity"
The International Convention that purported to declare apartheid to be a "crime against humanity" was little more than a mobilisation exercise by the ANC and its totalitarian and Third World supporters in the UN General Assembly. It was never adopted or approved by the Security Council, as you incorrectly state. It is significant that few genuine democracies ever supported the Convention. On the other hand, many states - including the Soviet Union, its satellites and the People's Republic of China - that themselves were guilty of the most horrendous crimes against humanity - were signatories. It is significant that throughout this period Freedom House - a widely respected human rights organisation in New York - consistently reported that black South Africans had greater civil and political rights (seriously restricted though these were) than the citizens of most of South Africa's East Bloc and African critics.
"Crimes against humanity" are generally associated with the wilful extermination of hundreds of thousands - and sometimes millions - of people, as occurred during the Holocaust; the rule of Josef Stalin; the "Great Leap Forward" in China; and the recent genocide in Rwanda. Without wishing to detract from the humiliation, hardship and disruption caused by apartheid policies, they are not in any way comparable with these situations. Victims of "crimes against humanity" do not generally achieve sustained population growth rates of more than 3% and their social and socio-economic statistics do not improve across the board. There is generally not a major shift of national income in their favour and they do not usually benefit from a marked increase in their share of the social budget at the expense of their so-called "oppressors". As I pointed out in my first submission:
"According to the propaganda of our opponents, the apartheid years were characterised by the unbridled exploitation of black South Africans by whites. However, in the period between 1975 and 1987 white South Africans share of social benefits declined from 56% to 35% of the total, while their contribution to total personal taxes declined by only 5% from 77% to 72%. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund in January 1992, white South Africans in 1987 paid an average of 32,03% of their incomes in tax, but received only 9% back in benefits."
As I also pointed out in my first submission;
Despite widespread criticism of the education policies of the former government, the proportion of the total black population attending school rose from 8,05% in 1950 to 19,8% in 1975. Since then expenditure on the education of all South Africans has risen dramatically: By 1993/94 it was R27,26 billion, representing 21,4% of the budget and 7,3% of GDP - one of the highest figures in the world. 74% of the school budget was allocated to coloured, Indian and black schools.
Between 1989 and 1993 black university enrolment increased by 47%. By 1993 black students represented 32% of all enrolments - compared with 54% for Whites. There were 41 342 black technicon students and 41 343 trainee teachers. Despite the disruption of black education and despite the low pass rates, more than 150 000 black scholars passed matric in 1992, compared with 64 000 whites.
During the period between 1970 and 1995 the black share of personal income increased from 19,8% to a projected 37,3%, while the white share fell during the same period from 71.1% to a projected 48,5%.
By the end of the eighties black South Africans had begun to move into a dominant position in many sectors of the consumer market. By 1989 they bought more stoves, fridges, televisions, hi-fi's, furniture suites, crockery, curtaining and linen than whites.
By the early nineties there were an estimated 625 000 small businesses in the black informal sector of the economy. According to some reports, the sector had created about 3,5 million jobs, of which almost 500 000 had the potential of being transferred to the formal sector.
During the last years of National Party Government rule we made genuine and serious efforts to remove racial differentials in all spheres. We equalised the salaries of all state officials. By 1993 old-age pensioners of all races were receiving equal pensions."
According to media reports, some elements within the ANC are now insisting that there can be no reconciliation unless those involved on the side of the former Government first acknowledge that "apartheid" was a "crime against humanity". This is accompanied by increasingly strident calls for the prosecution of people involved in the conflict of the past on the Government side. This approach is completely at odds with the requirements for reconciliation, even-handedness and amnesty set out in the transitional constitution. It is a sure recipe for the rekindling of inter-racial animosity.
It is true that South Africa was increasingly isolated in the international community. It is also true that the pressure for further isolation mounted as the South African Government began to introduce reforms. For example, the very significant labour reforms that were introduced at the end of the seventies after the publication of the Wiehahn Reports, were viciously condemned and rejected by the ANC's allies at the United Nations. The reason is that they were resolutely opposed to reform ("apartheid cannot be reformed") and were single-mindedly committed to the total revolutionary destruction of the State.
The sanctions and isolation campaigns caused enormous hardships for millions of South Africans and probably acted more to retard the process of change than they did to accelerate it. Reliable opinion surveys consistently indicated that a majority of black South Africans were opposed to sanctions. One of the main engines of change was, and remains, economic growth and the socio-economic development that it always brings.
Was apartheid morally defensible?
You ask, whether in retrospect, we agree that apartheid is morally indefensible. Once again, you do not appear to have read our submission. We have not argued that apartheid is morally defensible. However, it is surely morally defensible for a people to struggle to maintain their right to national self-determination, but not at the expense of the human rights of others - and this is what apartheid came to signify. Although - as I stated on page 7 of my submission, there was originally a strong element of idealism in separate development and although many positive developments occurred - the policy was a dismal failure. On pages 9 - 10, we state quite clearly that
"Instead of providing a just and workable solution, it led to hardship, suffering and humiliation - to institutionalised discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity. Instead of promoting peaceful inter-group relations, it precipitated a cycle of widespread resistance and repression in which unacceptable actions were committed by all sides. Instead of providing a solution, it had led to injustice, growing international isolation and to the escalation of the conflict that had been smouldering since the early sixties."
On page 28 I reiterated my apology "for the pain cause by former policies of the National Party." Clearly, it is neither my wish nor intention to furnish a moral defence of apartheid. Indeed, my own presidency was dedicated primarily to continuing the abolition of apartheid and the democratic transformation of South Africa. What I sought to do in my submission was to explain the circumstances which gave rise to the policy.
The equation of the struggle against apartheid with the struggle to defend it
You ask whether one can legitimately equate the struggle against apartheid with the struggle to defend it? It could be argued that in putting this question you are betraying your prejudice and a simplistic approach to your mandate. The question, as formulated, actually suggests that all those who fought on the side of the Government, whatever their motivation and actions, should be placed in an inferior moral position to all those who fought against the Government, whatever their motivations or actions. The question also assumes, quite incorrectly, that all those who fought on the Government side were doing so in the defence of "apartheid". Very few of those involved were fighting to repress fellow South Africans or to maintain the segregated facilities associated with apartheid. As I have pointed out above, those who fought on the government side were motivated by a number of factors, including their determination to maintain their right to national self-determination; their commitment to resist the expansion of global communism; and their duty to defend individuals and the state and to uphold law and order. All these factors are, in my opinion, legitimate and had nothing to do with racism or apartheid per se.
The answer to your question accordingly depends entirely on the circumstances involved. A black policeman going about his duty, protecting the lives and property of his neighbours undoubtedly had a more moral cause than the activists who burned him - and many like him - to death by tying a tyre to his neck with barbed wire, filling it with petrol and setting him on fire. Civic organisations, demonstrating peacefully in support of their rights undoubtedly had a more moral cause than maverick elements in the security forces who committed brutal crimes to suppress them. Those advocating peaceful change and promoting democratic reform within the Government were in my opinion, morally superior to members of the South African Communist Party who were plotting to impose a socialist dictatorship through armed insurrection in South Africa.
It is the Commission's onerous task to delve into such circumstances and establish, in as far as it can, the truth. It is not part of its mandate - and it will certainly not promote reconciliation - if it attempts to brand all those on one side as morally inferior and all those on the other as morally superior.
Although it cannot be expected of me to account directly for the first two periods of the National Party Government I tried, in my first submission, to sketch some of the main factors involved during these periods. In this regard, please refer to my comments on the first and second periods of the National Party above.
The cultural organisations, the academics, the Afrikaans churches and the Broederbond all played greater or lesser roles in the formulation of the policy of apartheid and in subsequent reform initiatives. However, I have no mandate to act as a spokesman for these organisations. If you believe that they possess information that is relevant to your mandate I suggest that you invite them to speak for themselves.
QUESTIONS OF A GENERAL KIND AND THOSE ARISING FROM THE NATIONAL PARTY SUBMISSION
As I stated on page 2 of my submission, the information that I provided related primarily to my own presidency. I warned that I would not be able to speak with the same authority with regard to developments that fall outside of this framework. I am accordingly not in a position to provide detailed information and statistics on all the periods during which the NP was in office. Nor am I able to provide you with the statistics that you request concerning the prosecution of members of the security forces for serious violations of human rights from 1960 to 1994. I simply do not possess this information and suggest that you approach the government authorities in this regard.
The question as to whether the Government devoted the same resources to investigating human rights abuses by the security forces as it did to the National Security Management System and to the pursuit "f anti-Apartheid perpetrators" is disingenuous. Pages 26 and 27 of my submission provide the following information on the far-reaching steps that I took - including the abolition of the National Management System - to normalise the role of the security forces and to investigate allegations of human rights abuses:
"Soon after my inauguration I gave instructions for the investigation of all secret and covert operations of the security forces with a view to their possible termination. By March 1990 a number of such operations had been phased out.
On the 10th January 1990 I addressed some 800 senior police officers and told them that it was their duty to be absolutely impartial; that they should refrain from any political involvement; and that they should restrict themselves to combating crime and protecting the lives and property of all South Africans. On the 7th March 1990, I repeated the same exercise with senior officers of the South African Defence Force.
In February 1990 I appointed the Harms Commission to investigate certain alleged murders.
On 9 July 1990 the Government announced the final termination of the National Security Management System, and also drastically scaled down the role of the State Security Council.
The management of covert operations was further reviewed after receipt of the report of the Harms Commission.
I appointed a committee under chairmanship of Prof. E Khan to advise on the desirability of all secret projects and to recommend on the phasing out, where possible, of such projects. Part of its brief was to advise me of the adequacy of existing control measures.
I appointed a standing commission (The Goldstone Commission) to investigate incidents of public violence
In November 1992 I appointed General Pierre Steyn to investigate allegations made to the Goldstone Commission with regard to activities of the Directorate of Covert Collection of Military Intelligence.
These steps - and particularly the reports of the Goldstone Commission - were instrumental in uncovering many of the abuses that have now come before the Courts and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. However, the Goldstone Commission consistently found that abuses had been committed by all sides in the conflict."
As far as I was involved, information was obtained from more than one of our intelligence services. In the case of the Umtata raid it was based on extensive surveillance that had indicated that the target was, indeed, an APLA base. This was, according to the reports that I received, substantiated by two independent police sources.
Such errors as were made in the execution of cross-border raids may, no doubt, be ascribed to the exigencies of each specific case. I suggest that the Commission approach the security forces involved for further elucidation in this regard. My suggestions regarding the allocation of responsibility are clearly set out on page 26 of my submission as follows:
"Responsibility should be attributed
to Cabinet for all decisions which it took and the instructions that it issued, including all authorised actions and operations executed in terms of a reasonable interpretation of such instructions;
to the State Security Council on the same basis applicable to Cabinet, as set out above;
to individual ministers for all decisions taken by them personally in their ministerial capacity, including all authorised actions and operations executed in terms of a reasonable interpretation of instructions issued by them in the process;
to the commanding officers attached to the security forces on the same basis applicable to individual ministers, as set out above.
I furthermore submit that these guidelines could, mutatis mutandis, be applied to other parties, organisations or institutions."
In terms of the criteria that I identified on page 17 of my submission, it would be the responsibility of whatever body might be involved - either the courts or the TRC - to determine whether the person concerned acted legally or illegally. If the person acted illegally, a determination should then be made whether his or her actions constituted a bona fide interpretation of orders; or whether he or she acted mala fides. The question of ultimate responsibility is dealt with quite clearly on pages 25 and 26 of my submission, which I have quoted in my reply to question 2 above.
Full information can, no doubt, be obtained from the security forces; from court records and from the media. We assume that the Commission is already actively investigating many of these incidents.
The National Party will, in due course, be making a further submission to the TRC with regard to a number of incidents that we believe require special attention.
As I stated on page 16 of my submission " I have never been part of any decision taken by Cabinet, the State Security Council, or any committee authorising or instructing the commission of … gross violations of human rights." And yet there is now ample evidence that gross violations of human rights were committed by elements of the security forces.
As I have stated above, the overwhelming majority of the members of the National Party have been horrified by the revelations of human rights abuses committed by some elements within the security forces during the conflict. They also want to know how these abuses could have happened and why they were not detected long before their public exposure.
The fact that we were unaware of such incidents may be ascribed to the following factors:
As has already been stated in my submission, the perpetration of human rights abuses was never discussed or approved at any meeting of the Cabinet, or the State Security Council or any other government forum that I ever attended.
On the contrary, the Cabinet approved guidelines for the conducting of unavoidable secret operations which we thought would have eliminated the possibility of such abuses. These guidelines, which were adopted by the Cabinet on 29 June 1990, inter alia made provision for the following:
that the operations should be undertaken only when normal line-function activities of departments are not sufficient, or when they are considered to be a necessary supplement to such activities;
that the political head and the officials involved in special projects accept full accountability for such actions with which they were involved;
that approval for the principle, purpose and objectives, methods and funds must be given in writing by the responsible Minister. The Minister should himself determine to what extent he wishes to be informed of details;
that the principle of plausible denial should wherever possible be avoided;
that no indemnity from criminal prosecution could be granted to anyone;
that the auditing of expenditure from the relevant account for special operations or covert programmes should occur in terms of Auditor-General's Act, 1989 (No 52 of 1989)taking into account, in particular, articles 5(9) and 6(3); and
that the minimum number of people should be informed with regard to special operations and covert projects (the "need to know" principle).
During the State of Emergency that was declared on 12 June 1986, the Department of Justice used its Legal Centre to ensure that all actions taken by the Government in the course of the State of Emergency were in accordance with the law. Ministers were aware of the Legal Centre and were confident that it would guard against abuses.
Allegations surfaced from time to time in the media regarding the existence of a "third force". However no proof could be found of the existence of such a "third force" which was often dismissed as a construction of the ANC propaganda machine. Indeed, even with all the resources at his disposal, Judge Goldstone found it difficult to discern the existence of some or other coherent "third force". In its second interim report the Commission made the following comments concerning the existence of a "third force":
"The words 'third force' have been used by many people in South Africa in many contexts and with no consistent meaning. The phrase has been used frequently with reference to a sinister and secret organisation or group that commits acts of violence in furtherance of some nefarious political aim. Then, again, it was recently used by the President of the African National Congress to describe the alleged activities of 32 Battalion, the CCB, 'hit squads' and the police, i.e. identifiable groups or organisations.
The Commission has received no evidence which would suggest that there is a third force of the first type mentioned in 2.1, i.e. a sinister and secret organisation orchestrating political violence on a wide front."
Covert operations were carried out on a "need to know" basis. Evidently, those with knowledge of such actions sometimes consciously failed to inform their superiors of them, in terms of the doctrine of "plausible denial" (despite the rejection of this doctrine in terms of the above-mentioned Cabinet guidelines).
As alluded to on page 17 of my submission, the possibility must also be accepted that some elements of the security forces might have been following their own agenda and were actively working against the transformation process. For obvious reasons such elements would not have informed their superiors of their activities.
Whenever I became aware of credible allegations of human rights abuses I took active steps to have them investigated. I spelled out these steps on pages 26 and 27 of my submission. These steps, included, inter alia, the appointment of the Goldstone Commission.
I am in a better position to provide information on actions that were taken to investigate and prevent abuses of human rights during my own presidency, than I am with regard to the period before my presidency.
During the presidency of my predecessor, responsibility for security matters was concentrated in the hands of the President, his security ministers and the senior officers of the security forces. I accept that you have taken this into account in formulating your questions to former State President P W Botha and am sure that his replies will be helpful.
During this period the South African Police and the South African Defence Force began to play an increasingly prominent and autonomous role - as all security forces are, no doubt, inclined to do in situations of national emergency. They had the main responsibility to counteract the growing revolutionary threat. The Cabinet supported them in their difficult task and accepted that they would act firmly, but within the framework of the law, in carrying out their duties.
Ministers, like myself, who were not responsible for security and directly related portfolios, were given broadly based briefings on the security situation and participated in policy decisions of a general nature. (This was actually the manner in which the Cabinet and Ministers generally conducted their business. The detailed planning and implementation of policies accepted by the Cabinet was the responsibility of individual ministers.)
I can recall that human rights issues, such as deaths in detention, were discussed in the Cabinet and the SSC from time to time. Such discussions were always conducted in a spirit of acceptance of the principle that the State should avoid gross violations of human rights and that it should conduct itself within the framework of internationally accepted guidelines.
Once again, my views on the question of responsibility are clearly spelled out on pages 26 and 27 of my first submission and are quoted above. Minister Vlok will be in the best position to answer any allegations concerning the degree to which he was, or was not, informed about operational activities such as those involving Vlakplaas operations and the bombing of Khotso House. I have no reason to believe that he was party to anything more than that in respect of which he has applied for amnesty.
The Government never adopted a policy to promote "black-on-black" violence. To my knowledge, such a policy was never discussed in the Cabinet or the State Security Council or at any other meeting of any other body that I attended. It has since come to light that some elements within the security forces may have been involved in the fomentation of "black-on-black" violence. It would, however, be ludicrous to suggest that such actions were the prime cause - or even a major cause - of such violence. Support for various organisations, such as Inkatha etc, that were being threatened by the strategies and actions of those responsible for the armed insurrection, should not be confused with support for "black-on-black" violence.
See pages 25 and 26 of my submission.
The contention that you make is totally fallacious and does not constitute a fair assumption at all. President Mandela, in his book "Long Walk to Freedom" gives a good and honest description of the general improvement in prison conditions that occurred over the years. Since I joined the government I can recall steps were taken by the Government from time to time to ensure that detainees would be treated properly and to prevent the possibility of the abuses referred to in the question. In particular, arrangements were made for regular visits by Magistrates. Further information in this regard can no doubt be obtained from the relevant departments.
The Government declared a State of Emergency in response to the efforts of the ANC and its allies to make South Africa ungovernable as the prelude to violent revolution. Once again, you do not appear to have read my submission in which I clearly stated that the objectives that were identified at the time of the declaration of the State of Emergency were:
the restoration of law and order and security;
a return to normality in the unrest ravaged black residential area; and
the creation of a climate in which constitutional change could take place.
I believe that, had the State of Emergency not succeeded in achieving most of these goals, South Africa might have been plunged into a devastating civil war. The relative stability that it brought and the realisation by the ANC that there could be no revolutionary victory were essential preludes to the negotiations that followed.
I was not a member of the Cabinet in 1976 and am therefore not in a position to comment on Minister Kruger's proposal, the Cabinet's response, or the circumstances in which the discussion took place.
I have no recollection of any decision ever having been taken during my period in the Cabinet that would have favoured action that would have led to "increased deaths". My colleagues and I would certainly have rejected any such proposal.
My statement reflected my views at the time of the preparation of my submission as well as the views that were conveyed to me by as many of my Cabinet colleagues as I could consult at the time. Mr Vlok and any other members of former Cabinets should be allowed to speak for themselves.
This question is more a contentious statement than a question.
Yet again, the Commission does not appear to have studied my submission. I stated very clearly my views on the question of overall responsibility on page 25 where I stated that:
"Obviously there rests an overall responsibility on the leadership of the various parties, organisations and institutions which were part of the conflict. I accept such overall responsibility in respect of the period of my leadership. However, when it comes to specific incidents, occurrences, deeds and transgressions it will be necessary to apply specific guidelines."
I went on to suggest such guidelines, which I have quoted in full above.
I have also spelled out the National Party's views with regard to its own responsibility for gross violations of human rights. I shall repeat them:
"The National Party, is prepared to accept responsibility for the policies that it adopted and for the actions taken by its office bearers in the implementation of those policies. It is, however, not prepared to accept responsibility for the criminal actions of a handful of operatives of the security forces of which the Party was not aware and which it would never have condoned. Neither is it prepared to accept responsibility for the actions of any office bearer who might have acted outside the mandate given him by the Party."
Yet again I would also like to refer you to pages 26 and 27 of my submission which contain a list of the steps that I took to normalise the role of the security forces and to investigate allegations of gross violations of human rights. You will note that one of my main priorities after becoming State President was precisely to depoliticise the security forces. As I pointed out on page 26 of my submission:
"On the 10th January 1990 I addressed some 800 senior police officers and told them that it was their duty to be absolutely impartial; that they should refrain from any political involvement; and that they should restrict themselves to combating crime and protecting the lives and property of all South Africans. On the 7th March 1990, I repeated the same exercise with senior officers of the South African Defence Force."
QUESTIONS ARISING FROM THE SUBMISSIONS OF OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES
As I stated on page 17 of my submission
"…the type of unconventional actions which were approved in principle by the Cabinet and the State Security Council related to such issues as information gathering, disinformation and assistance to outside organisations opposed to the revolutionary forces." These were the type of Stratcom operations that the Cabinet and the State Security Council would have discussed and approved. I added that "…none of these projects was intended to lead to any gross violation of human rights." Some would also include the steps which were taken to neutralise international sanctions as being part of Stratcom operations. I regard such activities as having been an acceptable part of our overall strategy to counteract the revolutionary threat - although I would not necessarily endorse all such projects or the manner in which they were implemented.
I was acutely aware of IFP charges that a large number of their leaders had been killed by the ANC. I am not in possession of the IFP submission, and thus not in a position to comment on the allegation that the Government's security agencies co-operated with the ANC's Department of Intelligence and Security. However, I am certainly not aware of any such action that would have been intended to harm the interests of the IFP or of any other party.
I am not in possession of the IFP submission and therefore not in a position to respond to the IFP charge. I do, however, recall the memorandum. I think that it is highly unlikely that I would not have responded to it, in view of the high regard that I have always had for Dr Buthelezi and the regular discussions that we were conducting with him at that time. In all probability the issue was dealt with orally during such discussions.
Such operations were not part of any security policy aimed at the gross violation of human rights. Neither the Cabinet nor the State Security Council or any other organ of the State that I ever attended, adopted such policies.
I am not aware of any special relationship between the security forces and "right wing" para-military groups. Please refer in this regard to page 11 above.
QUESTIONS ON THE SADF AND OTHER SECURITY STRUCTURES
The main objective of the NSMS was to counteract the revolutionary threat. I have provided a brief outline of the NSMS and its origins on pages 14 and 15 of my submission:
"The prime purpose of the NMS was to ensure that all branches of government responded in a co-ordinated manner to the revolutionary threat. It was accepted that this threat could not be effectively - or even primarily - countered by military or security action. The main accent should instead fall on the provision of effective government and social services and in promoting inclusive constitutional solutions."
I do not know whether any decision of any structure of the NSMS gave rise to actions of an unlawful or unauthorised nature - apart from the fact that no such decisions were ever taken at any meeting that I attended. Further information with regard to the NSMS may be obtained from the relevant government departments.
The NSMS was, by its nature, an extraordinary body that was set up to deal with an extraordinary situation. I accordingly abolished it on 9 July 1990, after the revolutionary threat had waned and the negotiation process had gained sufficient momentum.
State Security Council
Not to my knowledge. All intelligence services maintain profiles of people they suspect of unlawful activities. However, access to such documents would be unwarranted unless there is prima facie evidence that it is relevant to the Commission in respect of gross violations of human rights.
It has subsequently been revealed that some organs within the state administration - such as the Vlakplaas Unit and the CCB - did act outside the law. Such actions were, however, never authorised by the Cabinet, the State Security Council or any other body which I ever attended. Indeed, I was not even aware of the existence of the CCB until its activities were exposed. I had heard of the Vlakplaas installation but was under the impression that it was a facility for the reorientation of captured ANC cadres who wished to work for the security forces.
I have been assured by General Van der Merwe, the former Commissioner of the South African Police, that he was also not aware of such activities and believe that his evidence to the Commission will bear this out. Likewise, enquiries to other senior police generals also testified to the fact that they were unaware of the atrocities planned and perpetrated from Vlakplaas.
After investigations that I had initiated brought such activities to light, I took appropriate steps to terminate the activities concerned.
Yes, in 1985 and 1986 the Government did consider the possibility of establishing a "Third Force" - but never in the sense that the ANC and the media have attached to the term. The proposal was that a third para-military force - separate from the SADF and the SAP - should be created to deal specifically with unrest and counter-insurgency operations.
The force would have been uniformed and overt and would have left the SAP and the SADF free to continue with their proper line function activities. Similar forces exist in a number of democratic countries - such as France. After lengthy consideration the proposal was rejected by the Government. As I recall, a decision was taken instead to establish an internal stability unit within the SAP.
I cannot recall any decision by the SSC to authorise the security forces to use the same methods as the revolutionaries to counteract the revolutionary threat. I suggest that you peruse the records of the SSC in this regard. If this did happen, it would certainly not have included murder or assassination. It would also vindicate and not negate the statement that I made in my submission that revolutionary strategies adopted by the government's opponents were responsible for blurring "the traditional distinctions between combatants and non-combatants; between legitimate and illegitimate targets; and between acceptable and unacceptable methods." Evidently, the blurring occurred on both sides, but it was initiated by the revolutionaries.
The GVS (Gesamentlike Veiligheidstaf) was responsible for the co-ordination of counter-revolutionary actions. I am not in possession of its records and suggest that you approach the relevant authorities for the additional information that you require.
The words "uit te wis" mean "to wipe out". In the context in which you quote the phrase it would probably mean the operational neutralisation of terrorist units.
I suggest that you consult appropriate dictionaries and political lexicons for a definition of "terroriste". The term relates to those who use terror against civilians as a means of promoting their agenda. This often includes the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets and the brutal intimidation and murder of political opponents to promote partisan objectives.
In any state structure anywhere in the world secret operations are carried out on a "need to know" basis - otherwise they would obviously not remain secret. This does not imply that they are illegal. I do not possess the information on "need to know" projects that you require and suggest that you approach the relevant authorities in this regard.
Questions 6 & 7
Please refer to page 11 above. Please also refer to my comments in my first submission with regard to the activities of the Kahn Committee.
INVOLVEMENT OF THE SADF IN DOMESTIC POLITICS AND SECURITY
On pages 12 - 15 of my submission I spelled out the circumstances that led to the politicisation of the role of the Security Forces and to their involvement in civilian administration:
"The then Government believed that it was being confronted by a 'total onslaught'. Its response was to develop its own 'total strategy'. The need for such a total strategy was identified in a Government White Paper on Defence in 1977 in the following terms:
'The process of ensuring and maintaining the sovereignty of a state's authority in a conflict situation has, through the evolution of warfare, shifted from the purely military to an integrated national action….. the resolution of conflict in the times in which we now live demands interdependent and co-ordinated action in all fields - military, psychological, economic, political, sociological, technological, diplomatic, ideological, cultural etc'."
I also pointed out, on pages 26 and 27, and have repeated above, the steps that I took after I became President to normalise their role.
The SADF did become involved in operations that went beyond the narrow definition of security measures. They were inter alia involved in community development projects and in strategic communication. Of course, as part of the anti-revolutionary struggle, the SADF and the SAP were involved in actions and operations to discredit the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations - just as the ANC and its allies were involved in similar activities against the Government. These activities did not constitute gross violations of human rights" and, in my opinion, do not fall within the mandate of the Commission. If they do, in the opinion of the Commission, form part of its mandate, I trust that it will also examine the ANC's much more extensive disinformation and propaganda campaigns against the former government.
Questions 3- 6
I am not in possession of any information that might be of use to you with regard to these queries. I suggest that you consult the relevant authorities in this regard and that you peruse the records of the recent trial in which Operation Marion was so prominently featured.
Please refer once again to pages 26 and 27 of my submission with regard to the steps that I took to investigate allegations of human rights abuses and to normalise the role of the security forces. Please refer to my press statement of 30 July 1991 in which I dealt with the whole question of covert operations and the steps that I had, by that time, taken to investigate and normalise the situation. Please also refer to my press statement of 19 December 1992 and to the National Party's statement of 16 January 1997 with regard to the steps that I took in connection with Lt-Gen Steyn's investigation.
From all of these statements and subsequent revelations it is clear that the security forces were not sufficiently in control of some of their elements. On pages 12 to 18 of my submission I tried to explain - without condoning - the circumstances of unconventional warfare in which such abuses could have occurred:
The ANC and its allies accepted few rules in the manner in which they conducted their armed struggle.
They had, by their own admission, declared war on the State with the aim of seizing power.
They showed neither mercy nor quarter in the pursuit of their armed struggle - either against the security forces or against those in the black community who opposed them. Thus, in a an interview with Sechaba in December 1986 the late Chris Hani said:
"If we are to elaborate, briefly, our units have taken part in armed operations in the bantustan areas. I think the most significant part of this escalation was the attack in the very heartland of the Transkei bantustan, Umtata, where an MK unit literally overran a police station, killing more than ten puppet police."
In the May 1986 edition of Sechaba Ronnie Kasrils wrote:
"We have seen the stone being transformed into petrol bomb and hand grenade; we have seen the people using knives to kill police and soldiers; we have seen the people seizing the enemies' own weapons to use against them."
This unfortunately contributed to a climate in which abuses occurred on all sides. The situation was, no doubt exacerbated by the difficulty that the authorities often experienced in securing convictions in open court. Witnesses were seldom prepared to testify against those who had been involved in revolutionary crimes. On pages 26 and 27 of my submission I described the remedial steps that I took to counteract this climate.
Despite the abuses that occurred, it remains my conviction that the overwhelming majority of the members of the security forces were loyal, honourable and professional in the conduct of their duties. The SAP and the SADF were essential for the maintenance of stability during the transformation process and any action that seriously undermined their role could have been catastrophic.
I had no knowledge of the existence of the CCB, or of the nature its activities, until they were publicly exposed. No individuals or components within the SADF, to my knowledge, ever approached any organ of the government to gain authorisation for a CCB type structure after 1990. Had such an initiative ever come to my attention I would certainly have put a stop to it, since it would have been irreconcilable with everything that I was trying to achieve in the negotiation sphere. After its existence became known, immediate steps were taken to ensure that no more damage could be done. The administrative closure of the CCB took quite some time because of legal wranglings, which had to be dealt with by the Advocate-General.
I do not possess the detailed information on the CCB that you require and suggest that you approach the relevant authorities and consult the report of the Goldstone Commission in this regard.
CROSS BORDER RAIDS
The Government of the day was required to authorise cross border raids. It believed that these were legitimate and necessary military actions against organisations that were carrying out armed attacks against South African civilians from safe havens across our borders.
The South African Government supported opposition groups within states that provided refuge to our enemies as a means of exerting pressure on the governments concerned to stop providing facilities to anti-Government forces. The opposition groups often had substantial public support and had frequently been suppressed by the undemocratic regimes involved.
See page 11 above.
As mentioned above, and as I pointed out in my submission, "as State President I was involved in the legally required authorisation of cross border actions aimed at legitimate military targets. Such authorisation specifically excluded attacks on civilians and limited the use of violence to the minimum required under the prevailing circumstances." In such matters I would normally consult the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the relevant security ministers and the Heads of the forces involved. When I was President, questions of this nature were, wherever possible, raised in the State Security Council or in the Cabinet.
These raids were authorised by the Heads of Governments of the day. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Security Ministers, for obvious reasons, played important roles in advising on the implications of such raids. Targets were selected according to their strategic significance and the role that they played in providing bases for attacks against South Africa and Namibia. The Cabinet relied on cross-checked assessments of its intelligence organisations to ensure that target information was accurate and up-to-date.
I do not possess the information that you require with regard to casualties sustained in such attacks or the involvement of the SAP in cross-border raids and suggest that you approach the relevant authorities in this regard.
I was not a member of the Cabinet at the time, but I am sure that the deployment of South African forces in Angola in August 1975 was properly authorised by the Cabinet and the Prime Minister. However, it was not this action that precipitated the war in Angola, but the action of the MPLA in reneging on the Alvor agreement and in calling in the support of Cuban forces. South Africa's military action was supported at that time by the United States and a significant number of independent African states - as well as by leading Angolan political parties. The Government believed that the action was necessary to help protect Southern Africa from the encroachment of surrogate forces of the Soviet Union.
SUPPORT TO GUERRILLA MOVEMENTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Questions 1- 4
Considerable support was given to UNITA, in the first phase, in interaction with the US in respect of the war in Angola. In the second phase the support with regard to the peace process was also considerable. In respect of RENAMO I was assured that no support was given to them during my presidency. I suggest that you approach the relevant authorities for the detail you require.
I am not aware of any initiative "to support any other movements or organisations in other countries that sought to overthrow or influence the policies of those countries." I can imagine that South Africa during this period may have tried to use organisations to influence the policies of other governments in the course of its legitimate international diplomatic activities and its efforts to by-pass sanctions - but you would have to approach the Department of Foreign Affairs for further information in this regard.
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE
Questions 1 -3
I cannot recall any decisions at Cabinet or SSC level to authorise a Chemical Biological Warfare programme. It was only very shortly before the 1994 election that I was fully briefed on the issue which by then was history, except for the fact that the relevant scientific data was under lock and key and that there was anxiety in many quarters about the risks involved in what Wouter Basson might or might not do.
Because of the imminent election in 1994, I informed President Mandela as soon as possible of the background. After the inauguration on 10 May 1994 the President and Deputy President Mbeki were fully briefed in my presence. At least one follow-up briefing took place, at which Minister Dullah Omar was also present.
Because of the sensitivity of the subject, as indicated by the Court's limitation of the publication of certain related information in the current trial of Wouter Basson, I would advise that the TRC approach the Government for the information they seek in questions 1 and 3. I have not been briefed on the issue recently.
As far as the last part of question 1 is concerned, I state categorically that I am not aware of any authorisation to any structure to poison food or water anywhere, or in respect of any person or organisation. The same applies to question 2.
QUESTIONS ON THE DESTRUCTION OF DOCUMENTS
Question 1 - 6
I do not possess the information that you require and suggest that you approach Mr Johan Mostert, the Head of the Security Secretariat, and the relevant line function departments in this regard I can, however, recall that there was nothing improper in the instruction issued by Mr Johan Mostert to destroy surplus copies of classified documentation. The purpose of the exercise was to ensure that surplus copies of sensitive documents were not retained by those departments that were not primarily responsible for them. As far as I know, and if the Cabinet's instructions were implemented, the original documents were preserved and were dealt with in the manner prescribed by law.
QUESTIONS ON RECOMMENDATIONS
My recommendations with regard to measures that should be taken to prevent human rights abuses in the future, are set out on pages 29 and 30 of my submission.
QUESTIONS ON REPARATION AND REHABILITATION
Questions 1, 2 and 5
My views on reparation were briefly set out on page 29 of my submission. Once sufficient information is available, the National Party would like to hold talks with the Government to discuss possibilities for reparation and rehabilitation, also within the framework of the RDP.
My views on amnesty are set out on pages 28 and 29 of my submission. I also spoke at some length on this question when I gave my oral testimony before the Commission late last year. The National Party has recommended to its supporters and to members and former members of the security forces that all those who may have been involved in the perpetration of gross violations of human rights should apply to the Commission for amnesty.
I do not possess the information that you require and suggest that you approach the relevant line function departments.
STATEMENT BY THE STATE PRESIDENT MR F W DE KLERK
On 18 November 1992, in pursuance of Mr Justice Goldstone's statement of 16 November, I gave certain instructions to Lt-Gen Pierre Steyn to conduct a full investigation of all of the intelligence functions of the SA Defence Force.
He has just brought his first preliminary findings and important supporting information to my attention. This information, together with the results and feed-back from various special investigations, indicate that a limited number of members contract members and collaborators of the SA Defence Force have been involved, and in some eases are still involved, in illegal and/or unauthorised activities and malpractices.
Some of these special investigations were the result of previous Government instructions as well as initiatives of the present and previous Ministers of Defence.
The activities which have now come to my attention point to a process in which political office-bearers, Defence Force commanders and the Auditor-General were not fully informed or, very often, were misled.
I would like to emphasise that only a limited number of persons and a few units are involved . Nevertheless, the information at my disposal indicates a serious and unacceptable state of affairs.
This cannot, and will not, be tolerated.
The good name of the entire Defence Force, which has served South Africa with so much distinction, is being threatened by the unacceptable activities of a handful of individuals.
The SA Defence Force plays all valued an indispensable role in our society. Together with the SA Police, the SADF guarantees the security of all peace-loving South Africans. This role is an important assurance for all South Africans with regard to the protection of their basic interests in the period of constitutional transition which lies ahead.
As Commander-in-Chief of the SADF, I have a absolute duty and responsibility to protect this essential role. I also owe it to the overwhelming majority of loyal and dedicated members of the security forces to uphold the proud tradition and well-earned reputation of our security forces by cutting to the root of any malpractices.
Far-reaching steps have already been taken to prevent and eliminate just such abuses. These include , among others, the disbandment of the CCB, important changes to the security management system, the activities of the Khan Committee, intensified political control and greater powers for the Auditor-General.
As a result of the information which has now been conveyed to me the steps are being taken with immediate effect to bring an end all illegal or unauthorised activities and malpractices which have now come to light. With this objective in mind, and as a first step with regard to reorganisation, seven members of the SADF have been placed on compulsory leave, pending the conclusion of further investigations. Furthermore, 16 members, including two generals and four brigadiers have been placed on compulsory retirement, together with compulsory leave, with immediate effect.
The names of the uniformed members involved will be made known as soon as possible. In keeping with international practice the names of civilian collaborators will not be published, but where applicable, particulars concerning them will be made available to the Goldstone Commission, the SA Police and the Attorneys General.
Further steps which now will follow, include the following:
the active continuation of the investigation of Lt-Gen Steyn and those who are assisting him.
quick and firm disciplinary action, based on any further information which might come to light.
co-operation with the Goldstone Commission, where information may become available relevant to its investigation.
intensified administrative and financial control measures.
court-related actions where prima facie evidence is available indicating possible criminal prosecution. The SA Police and the Attorneys-General will naturally be involved in this process.
Further facts will be revealed to the public in the course of court proceedings, in reports of the Auditor-General and of the Commissions of Investigation..
These actions confirm the Government's determination to act against irregularities with a view to ensuring clean administration.
It is in everyone's interest that allegations and evidence concerning malpractices in the security forces should be dealt with the greatest responsibility. We dare not allow our security forces in general, and our intelligence services in particular, to be crippled in their capacity to work against the evil plans of those responsible for violence and unrest. I stand by our security forces and our intelligence services and am convinced that they will, in fact, be strengthened and encouraged by effective action against the malpractices concerned which have cast a shadow over everyone.
The Government demands that its political opponents should act with equal decisiveness against crime and malpractices in their ranks. The role of some of their supporters and often of prominent members in positions of authority, in crime, violence, intimidation and disruption historically and now can be doubted by no-one. Fine words and clever public relations are just not good enough.
All South Africans long for peace. Any individual or organisation which fans violence, promotes conflict and undermines the constitutional or peace negotiations, is standing in the path of the overwhelming majority of all South Africans.
We dare not allow that these elements, who are delaying a new dispensation and who continue to promote conflict, to succeed with their objectives.
For this reason the Government will not hesitate to act against such people, regardless of who they might be, or wherever they may be found.
At the same time we will continue to ensure that the South African public will be served by security forces who are irreproachably neutral and free from political manipulation.
ISSUED BY THE STATE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
19 DECEMBER 1992
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT BY MR FANUS SCHOEMAN, SPOKESPERSON OF MR F W DE KLERK, LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY
TRUTH COMMISSION ALLEGATIONS
Mr De Klerk has taken note of the statement issued this afternoon by Dr Alex Boraine, Vice-Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Mr De Klerk has thus far given the Commission his, and the National Partys, support and co-operation. He is astounded and disappointed that Dr Boraine should have though fit to launch a public attack on him without first providing him or the National Party with an opportunity to discuss the serious insinuations contained in the statement. This is despite the fact that the Commission has evidently been in possession of information regarding General Steyn's report for quite some time and has also been in communication with Mr De Klerk during this period on other matters.
The National Party must reluctantly conclude that this is a calculated attempt by the Commission to harm Mr De Klerk. In so doing the Commission has departed from its mandate of establishing an objective assessment of the conflict of the past and has taken on an adversarial role.
In the statement Dr Boraine creates the impression that Lt-Gen Steyn presented then President De Klerk with a written report on his investigation into the activities of the Directorate of Covert Collection (DCC).
This is a serious allegation, since Mr De Klerk has consistently denied that he was ever presented with such a report. He has stated on a number of occasions that General Steyn reported to him verbally. This point is accepted by the Commission. However, Dr Boraine goes on to claim that a staff report comprising notes and a diagram was made available to President De Klerk.
This is seriously misleading. During the oral briefing President De Klerk was handed certain papers and shown a diagram. However, he did not retain these documents or even have the opportunity of studying them in any depth. He also gained the impression that the document was Lt-General Steyns personal copy and that he was not intended to take possession of it. The document was in no way an official report to the State President. It was made available to him only insofar as he had it in his hands at some stage of the briefing. Mr De Klerk has never denied that General Steyn had such documents with him during the briefing.
Dr Boraines insinuation is accordingly rejected in the strongest terms.
Nevertheless, the allegations made by General Steyn were so serious that they required strong and immediate action. He immediately confronted the Minister of Defence, Mr Gene Louw, the Chief of the South African Defence Force, Gen Liebenberg, and other senior officers and insisted on drastic action to cut to the root of the situation described by Gen Steyn.
He did so, before the outcome of full investigation of the allegations, precisely because such investigations might have taken months to complete and in his opinion immediate action was required.
Although Lt Genl's Steyn's recommendations were made that action should be taken against officers at the highest level of the SADF, Mr De Klerk was satisfied that there was insufficient evidence to take so drastic a step at so delicate a stage in the transformation process. It was, in his opinion, essential on the one hand to maintain the integrity of the SADF and on the other to root out any possibility for the continuation of abuses.
The steps that President De Klerk took were spelled out clearly and openly the same day in a statement that he made on this matter. These steps comprised some actions aimed at those who had been implicated in investigations by Lt-Gen Steyn and Judge Richard Goldstone and others which had become necessary for administrative and rationalisation reasons. These actions included the placing of seven members of the SADF on compulsory leave pending further investigations; the compulsory retirement of16 other members of the SADF, including two generals and four brigadiers; the active continuation of the investigation of Lt-Gen Steyn and those who were assisting him; quick and firm disciplinary action, based on any further information that might have come to light; co-operation with the Goldstone Commission, regarding any information that might be relevant to its investigation; intensified administrative and control measures; court-related actions where prima facie evidence was available indicating possible criminal prosecution. The South African Police and the Attorneys-General were to be involved in this process.
These actions were, indeed, drastic. However, when the Commission provides further information on the allegations made by Lt-Gen Steyn in his verbal report, there will be little question of the necessity of such action - particularly in the climate that prevailed in South Africa at that time.
Dr Boraines staement also creates the impression that President De Klerk failed to provide Lt-Gen Steyn with sufficient support to ensure a successful conclusion to hi investigation. This is also false.
President De Klerk received reports from Gen Steyn from time to time on the progress that was being made with regard to the various investigations that he had ordered. These included Lt-Gen Steyns own investigation into the reorganisation of military intelligence activities. On 5 April 1993 Lt-Gen Steyn reported to President De Klerk that none of the investigations that he had ordered had brought forth information to corroborate the initial allegations.
The fact that neither General Steyn, nor the Attorneys-General, nor the
Goldstone Commission, nor the South African Police could find further evidence that would lead to prosecutions was highly unsatisfactory and frustrating, not only for Lt-Gen Steyn but also for President De Klerk.
DATE: 16 JANUARY 1997
ENQUIRIES: JAN BOSMAN
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