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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Stuart Commission Report
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF ANGOLA
March 14, 1984
Per its letter of the 13th February 1984, the Working Committee of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress established a Special Commission to fully investigate the developments that have taken place within its ranks in the People's Republic of Angola.
Members of the Special Commission were:
The Terms of Reference of the Special Commission were to investigate and report on:
The Special Commission was mandated to interview and co-opt any member of the African National Congress and was fully independent. It was authorised to examine all documents, reports and records of either the ANC Mission in the RPA, the Regional Command or the Security Services.
The Special Commission left for Luanda on the With February 1984, and started its work on the following day. During the next three weeks in Angola, the Special Commission visited and interviewed practically all the occupants of Viana Transit Camp, Phango, Quibaxe, Caxito and Caculama Military Training Camps. It interviewed all 33 cadres presently detained in the Luanda Maximum Security Prison as well as members of the Military High Command, the Regional Command and our Chief Representative in Angola.
The Special Commission taped the interviews of key witnesses and collected written statements. Comrades Ramafatse and Movers typed all statements as well as this report.
On the whole, all the comrades interviewed welcomed the Special Commission and were eager to present their views In order to assist comrades, theCommission had prepared a brief questionnaire which served as broad guidelines. These were distributed to occupants of camps after the Commission had been introduced formally. The Commission answered all questions concerning its work directly to those comrades who needed clarification.
This report however, is not exhaustive. Due to pressures of time, it was unable to carry out its investigations as fully as it desired. Nevertheless, we do feel that the report is a true reflection of the situation in Angola.
The Special Commission expresses its profound appreciation to the Military High Command, the Regional Command, Camp Administration; as well as the Chief Representative of our organisation in Angola for their co-operation and assistance and, finally, urges all members of the National Executive Committee to carefully study the full report, especially Parts VI and V.
The organisation is facing one of its most serious challenges since its inception. The disturbances that took place in our ranks in the People's Republic of Angola recently brought this into sharp focus.
The Commission's investigations show that to understand that situation, we must place the events in the context of the accumulation of problems in Angola in the last few years. It is clear that since 1979 there has been a gradual development of an explosive situation which hnallv erupted in December 1983. Why did this happen?
When our camps were first established in Angola, we experienced many problems but because of the presence of the leadership on the spot, the availability of tried and tested comrades, the attempts to solve the problems politically and timeously and the relationship between all level of the leadership and the rank-and-file, we were able to handle the situation. The Novo Katenga camp symbolised a vision of the People's Army. Logistics was well organised and initiatives were taken to ensure varied food supplies. When there were shortages, everybody suffered. The administration explained the cause and this was understood. Living conditions were good.
Recreation and cultural life was organised and dynamic. Military instructions (by Cuban comrades assisted by MK stalwarts) was of a high quality. The level of political training and development was impressive and given priority. Discipline was maintained by constructive punishment and involvement of the cadres themselves. The relationship between the administration and rank-and-file was firm, proper and comradely.
All this resulted in revolutionary atmosphere, discipline, high morale and combat readiness. This enabled problems and difficulties to be tackled without reaching crisis proportions and limited opportunities for agents to exploit.
However, after the destruction of Nova Katenga ( 1979) matters deteriorated sharply. Our interviews reflect that the situation described below manifested themselves in one degree or another in all our camps.
Relations between administration and rank-and-file described as being of "master and servant" Elitism has developed. The administration's housing, cooking, eating and other facilities are practically cut off from others and this has increased their separation.
FoodAdministration have special logistics. They regularly slaughter live stock (pigs, ducks and chickens) for their consumption only while the rank-and-file rarely eat meat.
CigarettesWhile cigarettes are not available to camps for long periods, administration always have adequate supplies.
LiquorAdministration drink regularly and if women comrades are around, they are invited to parties in administration section. However, drinking by cadres is severely punished.
WomanisingWidespread complaint that people in administration use their positions to seduce women comrades. This even affected married women and lovers. The boy-friends are harassed and if need be, transferred to other camps.
Recently a trainee tried to commit suicide because his girl-friend had been taken from him. Women lovers of administration are given special treatment and they tend to reject the authority of their immediate commanders. There is a widespread belief that women are sex objects and that they do not develop politically and militarily.
Labour for administrationThere is a strong resentment against doing daily chores for administration, e.g fetching water for their daily wash, cleaning their rooms, washing and ironing their clothes, etc. There is a general abuse of authority on the part of most members of the administration in the camps.
h Mock attacksHas resulted in many casualties. Appears that it is not properly planned to prevent casualties. We must also consider the cost of using live ammunition and look at the possibilities of using dummy ammunition.
i Improper deployment of personnelThere are many complaints that either through inefficiency or for other reasons, people are deployed wrongly, e.g Boy Tshepe (Company Commissar) good engineering instructor yet for no understandable reasons, was sent to the outpost. This was at a time when there was an acute shortage of political and engineering instructors.
k BureaucracyHas reached alarming levels. In many cases autocratic centralism has replaced democratic centralism;Today cadres believe that it has become impossible to see the leadership because of bureaucratic maneuverings.
l NepotismThis leads to opportunism and corruption;
From 1979 practically all disciplinary problems "resolved" by severe punishment and beatings. Destructive punishment as distinct from the earlier revolutionary constructive punishment became the order of the day. The tragic fact is that it was at its worst in the training camps. This has undoubtedly left a very bad impression on everybody. In fact some of those punished have been maimed and scarred for life, and there has even been deaths. The bitterness and hostility in the men is great. They talk of "forgetting but not forgiveness".
Many identify our methods with that of the "Boers" and in some cases, feel that we are worse. The aim of the punishment seems to be to destroy, demoralise and humiliate comrades and not correct and build.
Violence and physical punishment have become the norm Some section commanders are accused of being "soft" because they don't use force.
These punishments are usually meted out for dagga smoking, drinking of local brew, selling of Movement property.
Over the years, several people have died through this kind of punishment amongst those who died are:
Over the last few years the situation has deteriorated markedly. This affects almost all aspects of life in the camps and cause much resentment and anger. It also seriously affects morale and performance of every facet of living and training.
There is a belief that much of the logistical problems are man-created. It is clear that better organisation of administration and personnel can help minimise the acute problems. Planning, creativeness and initiative are sadly lacking.
FoodPresently diet consist of tinned food (red meat) and rice. In some cases they only ate soup for months. Fresh vegetables, fruit and meat are rarely eaten despite the fact that some camps are in good agricultural zones. Resentment grows because administration eats better.
Many comrades have developed skin diseases and other ailments due to the lack of protein and vegetables.
Because of lack of ingredients such as spices and vegetables, the food is prepared in the same unappetising form for years.
Water Supplies In some camps the water supply is at a distance whilst in others either not available or nest clean. Careful sitting of camps and simple equipment like water pumps would help alleviate this problem.
Health Conditions This is.one of the greatest source of concern and anger. Presently in the whole of Angola, we have only one fully trained medical doctor. To date he has not been to any camps outside Luanda. He arrived in 1983, December and is the first doctor in Angola since the death of Comrade Dr. Nomava Shangase.
The camps are being serviced by medical orderlies (many of whom have been trained on the job).
The last time there was a general medical check-up was in 1977. The rate of illness is very high, thus affecting routine and work in camps.
The most common ailments are:
rampant. (Some patients have died and others have become mentally disturbed). Hardly any protection, such as nets, coils, insecticides available. When we were in Caculama, for example, medicaments for malaria and other sicknesses were out of stock.
Generally complaints are that the medical staff are not suitably qualified and insensitive. Their first response to complaints is that "the comrade is malingering". There are several cases where because of delays the patients have become chronically ill. Others have not received treatment even after years of complaints.
i Cigarettes - these have not been available for the last 3 months, comrades have resorted to selling things to obtain them;
ii Soap - not available for long periods;
iii Clothing - many comrades come with no or very little clothing but are not issued with any because they are told it "is for the home front";
iv Uniforms and Boots - there is a serious shortage of these. Many are training without uniforms and in shoes or plimsoles; It is reported that boots are available in the Luanda stores.
v Tents - there is an acute shortage of tents resulting in some comrades living in atrocious conditions (especially when it rains);
vi Track suits - these are essential for physical exercises and when relaxing, however great shortage of these,
This has deteriorated sharply. In most camps the only facilities available are for Volley-ball and Soccer. There are practically no indoor games. There are no projectors or films or any other visual entertainment. No radios are available for comrades. Frankly speaking, we found no recreational facilities worth speaking of.
Every camp has a great shortage of literature, (political and general). We were surprised to learn that even our own material was in short supply. Many of the Movement's basic works are not available and have not been read by comrades.
While some attempts are being made to organise these, it is undoubtedly at a low level. There are problems of poor organisation, low morale and lack of instruments.
Most camps are without transport. This is a very serious problem because the camps are in remote areas, far from our stores and from hospitals, etc. Without transport, comrades can not even attempt to solve their logistical problems by trying to obtain local supplies.
The meeting of the regional commissariat (December 1983) confirmed that the political life of our comrades in the camps, especially in the Caculama training camp has deteriorated.
There are many objective reasons, for example, good cadres have been deployed elsewhere and there is a shortage of experienced political instructors. Political instructors are short of current material and are not in dynamic touch with developments at home, and within the organisation.
However, many comrades feel that from the time we adopted the ZAPU methods (toyi toy), the role of politics was consciously downgraded. The Commission strongly believes that the low level of political consciousness has contributed significantly to current problems. This was very evident in our meeting with trainees in Caculama.
General agreement that the standard of military training in our camps has deteriorated sharply.
There is a general demand for Cuban or Soviet instructors to help us improve the level of training.
LONG STAY IN CAMPS
"Our lengthy stay and conditions in exile (i.e camps) has made some of us to lose all sense of human feeling, lose complete touch with humanity, we do not have the same resistance".
These words of a cadre gives some insight into the mood of depression and hopelessness that is widespread amongst those who have been in our camps for several years.
For various reasons, many cadres have moved from one camp to another. They have not had the opportunity to go to the Front, abroad or even to Luanda.
These constitute the most bitter section of our army. They remain in camps while others come and go. Resentment builds up and anarchy sets in.
They rationalise indiscipline, dagga smoking, drinking and rape by the fact of their being for so long in camps under abnormal conditions.
The Commission believes that the conditions in the camps, the total isolation from the outside world, the desperation and frustration of not being deployed make it practically impossible for cadres to survive (politically, morally and psychologically) in the camps for several years.
We must also look at the specific problems of comrades in the outpost and those manning the I.C.U Some have been doing this for years. They are even cut off from contact with others in the same camp. They also receive the worst supplies. There is a growing belief that they are given these tasks as a form of punishment. This is reinforced by some members o the administration threatening to assign comrades to these tasks as a disciplinary measure.
The Commission is of opinion that if cadres are not able to be deployed immediately, the organisation should work out a cadre development policy This should ensure that there is a constant development of the cadres in every field:
GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE SECURITY DEPARTMENT
The Security Department have become increasingly involved in deciding on and implementing disciplinary measures. Consequently, their major task of being the "eyes and the ears" of the Movement and helping to expose agents and protect our Movement has been seriously hampered. Some people remain suspects for years.
Force has become the rule rather than the exception. It is indiscriminately used not only as a punishment but even when carrying out interviews and debriefings. There are cases where after severe beatings, individuals have admitted to being agents, only to retract this later.
The majority of interviewees recognised the vital necessity of a security department. However, they questioned their methods of work which have resulted in almost universal fear and condemnation of them.
The Security Department is a very important component of our organisation. It has played an important role in protecting or Movement. However, to enable it to continue to do so, necessary changes must be introduced in its mode of operations. It must have clearly defined tasks. Its functionaries must be accountable to higher authority, in an organised and systematic way. Finally, those who have reputations of being the most notorious in Angola must be redeployed.
We must also take urgent steps to ensure that the entire Movement sees their task as that of protecting the Movement, therefore giving all assistance to the Security Department
CONTACT WITII THE LEADERSHIP
Over the years visits to the camps by the leadership has decreased significantly. This has affected not only the national leadership but surprisingly also the regional leadership. The latter tend increasingly to spend more time in Luanda than in the camps.
The cadres are beginning to feel that there is a growing gap between them and the leadership. Consequently they believe that their views and grievances are not known to the leadership
Many comrades are unaware of the composition of the NEC let alone other levels of leadership and steps must be taken to remedy this.
Visits by leaders are important because they:
The Commssion found that:
1. Amongst the cadres there is general criticism of Comrade Masondo. They believe that he has failed as a National Commissar because;
of the growing discontent of the comrades due to the deteriorating conditions in the camps and the excess of punishments, etc. but he failed to adopt corrective measures;
2. Comrades expressed concern that it has been some time since the Army Commander went to the camps and to date they have not yet seen the Army Chief of Staff.
3. Heads of Departments must bear responsibilities for successes as well as failures of their departments and also for the actions of their subordinates.
DEPLOYMENT OF CADRES
This aspect requires urgent and serious attention by the movement. It is a constant source of discussion in the camps.
The Commission found that cadres are deployed at the specific request of the machineries concerned, that is, in most cases the machineries submitted names of specific individuals for deployment. The Regional Command or other relevant departments in the rear are not consultedThis has given rise to a widespread belief that unless you have connections with the machineries there is no hope for one to be deployed in the home front The cadres experience have been that certain comrades who are deployed for the home front have a bad track record in the camps and yet deployed because of their contacts. In cases where comrades are resumed such arguments are strengthened.
There are also cases where comrades have come for short courses but are "forgotten" and end up spending years in camps doing nothing until the relevant machinery or department "remembers" them. Some of the people affected were passport holders who could have returned to the country legally.
The situation where machineries call for specific individuals has the serious limitation that the person only knows his friends, relative or lover and could be overlooking other more suitable candidates.
It is therefore imperative for the movement to ensure that we are constantly able to assess our manpower resources and have a procedure of reviewing this periodically. This will help us to ensure correct deployment.
We must also ensure that front commanders visit camps and in consultation with the Regional Command, select cadres for deployment. This will not only ensure correct deployment but will also prevent serious mistakes. Recently, the Swaziland machinery demanded that Buthelezi be sent to Swaziland. His record clearly points to the fact that he is an agent or a criminal of the worst kind. If he had not got involved in the recent events, he would have been in Swaziland.
Presently the security department is responsible for the selection of candidates for the various courses.
The Commission believes that this should be the task of the Army Cornmissar, in consultation with the Regional Command and the Camp Administration.
The task of the Security Department (excepting for training in its own field) should be to assist by giving security assessment of individuals selected.
Over the years comrades have been deployed into other areas, including the home front. Some of these comrades have been sent back to Angola for various reasons:
In many cases no accompanying reports has been sent on them. The Regional Command is therefore in the dark and unable to deploy these comrades most effectively. These comrades feel "dumped" and usually there is no further contact with their previous machineries. Most believe that they will never leave the camps again and a sense of frustration, desperation and anarchy sets in.
These comrades have contributed undermining confidence in the organisation. They relate stories about their experiences in the front; the shortcomings of front commanders; the lavish style of living; the fact that comrades have to stay in underground houses for years before being utilised; that people are sent back for the slightest mistakes; that people are sent back because commanders dislike them personally rather than for political or military reasons; that people are sent back to hide commanders' mistakes; that people are sent back on basis of false reports (e.g. returnees from Botswana who were based in Musafa claimed that they were withdrawn on the basis of information by police agents).
In a situation where there was a general belief that there was a "lull" in the military struggle such stories, whether true or false, found fertile ground. It strengthened the convictions that there were some people who were trying to limit the armed struggle or that the front commanders are not suitable or infiltrated. Arrests and defections helped to reinforce such arguments.
The return of Mapula group had a big effect - (a Commission led by Chris Hani met the group in Mapula and its report will give details of their criticism). Their arrival in Angola and accounts of the situation undoubtedly influenced many about "serious shortcomings" in our abilities to launch the armed struggle.
The Commission believes that we must not treat Angola as a dumping ground. Problems must be solved in the area of operations because the return of cadres to the rear has a serious demoralising effect.
We must look at the reasons for resuming so many cadres. Some questions to be resolved:
PACE OF THE ARMED STRUGGLE
There have been several discussion amongst the cadres about the pace of the armed struggle There is a general acceptance that there is a ''lull'' in the armed struggle. The arguments basically were that since 1981 (a year of intensive action) nothing has been happening. They point to major political developments such as UDF, etc. Lamontville, Ciskei and Inkatha murders etc. and conclude that the masses are ready for the armed struggle and question why MIC is not intensifying the armed struggle and not there to protect the masses. They argue that the front commanders are not up to the mark and that there might be sabotaging of the armed struggle. The President's call in 1982 to the MK cadres to analyse the situation and give their opinions on the state of the armed struggle and suggestions for its advancement was received enthusiastically. This was the first time that such a call had been made and every same submitted their views. The fact that soon after that some camps were reprimanded by the National Commissar for the views expressed, strengthened the conviction that the views of the comrades, it was frank and critical, did not reach the leadership. They still believe that their papers contain important observations and recommendations. (The Commission can't comment on this as we have not seen the documents referred to).
Comrades from the Cape raised the issue that presently there is very little military activities in the Cape, but there are several cadres from the region in the camps and wondered why they were not being used.
Many other comrades from different areas said the same thing about their specific areas. A common theme in the camps is that "Fighting in the home front should not be a privilege but a right".
The Commission believes that the concern about the military struggle at home is genuine and that some of the misconceptions about the development of the armed struggle, the activities being carried out at home, the ways of advancing the armed struggle be attributed to the lack of briefings on current situation they rely mainly on RSA and by the level of political consciousness. (It was interesting to note that even the new trainees raised similar issues).
It is therefore essential that we create the channels and opportunities for discussions of these issues so that a correct perspective and understanding can be established within the whole Movement, particularly in Angola
Events referred to in the terms of reference reflect the frightening situation into which our organisation, the ANC and ARC has sunk in the People's Republic of Angola - one of the most serious crises we have ever had to face. The nearly total collapse of the political military and moral authority of our Organisation in Angola, the resultant confusion and fear and lawlessness, when aversion of authority became paramount, are symptoms of a crisis which, in the opinion of the Commission has deep-rooted causes and demand swift and decisive political action
We wish to stress political action - as opposed to punitive security operations to restore within the ranks of our organisation the necessary confidence, trust and political atmosphere without which we shall not move very far forward before the recurrence of the "Cangendala disturbances!'.
The Cengandala disturbances started during December 1983, whilst our comrades were engaged in the fighting in the Eastern Front against UNITA bandits. We therefore propose to begin with our participation in "LCB" - Luta Contra Banditos.
Our decision to participate in the LCB was in response to an appeal from FAPLA in the East - in Malange. The appeal was necessitated by the deteriorating security situation with the bandits of UNITA stepping up their activities.
Even our training camp in the East was threatened as UNITA bandits were active within 40 to 60 kilometers from the camp. There was also an appeal to us from Soviet technicians and other technicians from Socialist countries securing them.
Comrades involved were taken mainly from the North, that is Quibaxe, Pango as well as from Caxito and Luanda. They included comrades from the Frontline areas, those who had finished their training, those from Caxito preparing themselves for deployments inside the country, confessed enemy agents, suspects and malcontents - everybody. Most camps were practically emptied, some comrades who had just returned from GDR were taken straight from the airport to the Eastern Front.
The comrades were briefed about the mission by Comrade President and the Army Commissar.
The response was enthusiastic, they greeted the call very warmly. There was spontaneous response of enthusiasm. Of course the deployment was explained as a security measure and that the main theater of our work is inside the country, that is, that nobody would be detained in the East if the forward machineries wanted him to go forward and be deployed inside the country.
At this early stage there were apparently no signs of unhappiness or unwillingness on the part of comrades. There were no serious disciplinary problems.
The early enthusiasm was due to a number of factors:
Comrades participated in a number of operations - in mine-defusing operations, laying of ambushes, raids, in the villages, going out on patrols, etc. so the situation began to improve in this area of operation
Then came suggestions that we cross the river Kwanza and attack UNITA bases. Comrade Chris opposed this because it was to be undertaken without proper reconnaissance data.
We were fighting an enemy we did not know. They did not know his weapons, they did not know the way he was organised; they did not even know from where the enemy expected its reinforcements. The terrain was not theirs and they did not know it; they were learning from it. Sometimes there were no proper maps or they were too old. We were going to war relying on the enthusiasm of the men and at that time UNITA was running away from us dropping weapons and there were no serious clashes with UNITA.
The operations across the river Kwanza (a strong UNITA area) would be very different and adequate preparations were necessary. When Comrade Chris left the area, Comrade Lennox took over and was instructed to cross the Kwanza river.
From there our comrades were being deployed to answer the security needs of FAPLA and the Angolan government. Our men were scattered all over in FAPLA units and could no longer fight as a coercive force. And could not defend themselves as one force in the event of any deterioration of the security situation. Furthermore, the best and core of our comrades were unable to immediately tackle problems of discipline or insubordination, since the men were no longer together but in small pockets of FAPLA all over the area. This was the beginning of the problems.
FAPLA troops used in this campaign were poorly trained (on average, they had received only two weeks' training). Captain Sabastiao, the Brigade Commander is speedily singled out for his inefficiency in planning operations. There were also criticisms against some members of our administration. During one operation, our comrades, together with FAPLA comrades, spent three days marching on the other side of the River Kwanza in enemy territory without sufficient food. Most of the time no reconnaissance was carried out. No direct contact with the enemy forces was made. Every time they came to a base it was found to be deserted. On the other hand, they fell into ambushes. Comrades began to believe that FAPLA was heavily infiltrated and that the Brigade Commander Captain Sabastiao was quite incompetent and a "sell out".
On the 26th December, our people fell into an ambush in which five (5) of our comrades were killed. They were taken into the operation on the basis of some scanty information that there was a bandit base in the operational area. The nature of the base, its strength, armaments and so on was not properly defined.
Seventeen or so of our comrades were in the operation. The rest were FAPLA or LCB - ill-trained, ill-disciplined. And when they fell into the ambush, FAPLA or LCB just ran away. Our comrades were moved down. Rightly or wrongly, our comrades believe that they had been betrayed or led into an ambush.
Some time later, a decision was taken that the dead bodies of our fallen comrades should be retrieved, and for the first time, our comrades saw death - with the dead bodies mutilated and some in an advanced stage of decomposition.
Comrades were now refusing to go for operations and others demanded to be separated from FAPLA. At this time too arguments against fighting in Angola and the need to go home and fight became stronger.
In early December, 1983, the Angolan comrades requested one reinforced company of comrades to take defence position of FAPLA in Cangandala village, 28 km from the Provincial Capital of Malange province. While FAPLA was to go on an offensive. A total of 150 men were requested but because of problems which had started by then only 104 could be regrouped and sent to Cangandala from Cacuso operational area.
Even those who were assembled in Cangandala were not ready to prepare their position, especially the artillery unit. Reasons why they refused to prepare positions:
NB: that was before FAPLA moves out;
FAPLA then moved out and the comrades occupied the position. Among other duties they were expected to conduct patrols within a radius of 10 km to avoid any surprise attack. These patrols were only made once or thrice. People began to do as they pleased:
The administration was gradually losing control of the situation. Cde. Lennox went to Cangandala for about a week during which a three-day meeting was held with the comrades where the comrades voiced out their opinions and grievances.
Some even thought that the Eastern Front was a diversion. They demanded the leadership to explain the situation inside the country. Why are there no operations inside the country.
From Cangandala Cde Lennox went to Musafa where two MK platoons were stationed to defend a base. The commander at Musafa reported some random shooting under false pretexts. The complaints and Musafawere similar to those in Cangandala
Shooting started in December 16th, 1983. There was the traditional ceremony and then having some kind of a gun salute - when a ceasefire was ordered some sporadic shooting continued. By then ANITA was intensifying on Mine warfare and ambushes.
One comrade was blown by a mine near the defence position on the route to toilet. And when the news reached Cangandala that on 26th December five of our comrades were killed in an ambush - and that there is a trainee who died after being "punished" in Caculama training camp, the situation now became extremely tense and there was general demand to see the leadership - then shooting in the air intensified around 12 or 13 January, 1984. Comrades were shooting in the camps as well as in the streets of villages, destroying the good relation that had developed between our comrades and the locals. At this stage the villagers fled their homes in fear of our comrades, who raised the demand: "We want to go home and fight there". At the height of the "shooting in the air", practically everybody in the camp, including some commanders and commissars were involved. The camp administration was then practically powerless to do anything to stop this lawlessness. It was supported by an insigr.rificantly few comrades. When asked why they were "shooting in the air". comrades generally replied that they wanted the draw the attention of the leadership to them. This is what comrades told the villagers. The Commission was also informed that some comrades had told one of the Chiefs in Cangandala that they (the chiefs) should demand that our comrades be removed from Cangandala. The Commission was unable to corroborate this statement.
This behaviour finally led to the forced withdrawal of our men from Cangandala and Cacuso where they continued with their "shooting in the air".
In Cacuso there were comrades who were not trained but taken there for interrogation like Grace Motaung, who it's said was a shebeen queen, and there was sodomy in the caravan in which she stayed. She was actually in command, calling herself "Ma-Sechaba"
The comrades from Musafa joined the others in Cacuso and together in two groups they travelled to Viana in Luanda.
About 40 trained comrades from Caculama Military Training Camp also defiantly left the camp and travelled by train to Luanda to join those already in Viana. Before their arrival in Viana, the occupants of this Transit Camp were moved to "The Plot", a few kilometers away.
On arrival in Viana, the first group of about 60 men were finally convinced to surrender their personal weapons. It was a general rule that comrades arriving in Viana surrender their weapons to the admin. for the duration of their stay in Luanda. Fifteen men refused to surrender their arms on the grounds that they needed these arms "for their self-prorection from the security department men". When the second, larger group arrived Viana, they refused to hand in their weapons.
At about this stage, Solly Sibeko was detained in a container m the camp (Viana). He was reported to have been mentally unstable and suffered trom fits. After several days in the container, Solly Sibeko died.
The death of Comrade Solly Sibeko in an already dangerously tense and confusing situation, in which rumors were spreading like wild-fire and in which the newly-appointed Interim Administration appeared to have been ineffective, further added fuel to the situation.
Dagga smoking and drinking was rife. Livestock was being slaughtered and consumed. Awns were being brandished openly. The situation was very spark could have triggered off major confrontation It was a climate that could be easily exploited by enemy agents and lawless elements.
The rumour that Solly's dead body was "riddled with bullets by the security men", further intensified the men's fear and hatred of this department.
On Sunday, the 5th February 1984, Cde Julius Mokoena (Regional Commander), Edwin Mabitse (Regional Commissar) and Comrade Captain, Regional Chief of Security visited the Viana camp and told the comrades there to prepare an agenda for a meeting with the Regional leadership.
On Monday the 6th February, 1984 Kgotso Morena, Mompati and others called a meeting in the Plot under the pretext of ironing out irregularities in the Plot. The meeting was chaired by Kgotso Morena, instead the question of the comrades from Cangandala was raised and the decision reached was that they should all go to Viana to listen to the complaints of the comrades from Cangandala on the understanding that if they should agree with them they would join them but if they disagree with them they would criticise them. They went to Viana - Moss Thema and other comrades were delighted to notify comrades in town, including the Regional Command about the meeting in Viana.
At Viana a "Committee of Ten" to work out the agenda and to "discuss with the Regional Command" was appointed. All camps as well as Amandla Cultural Ensemble, Women's Section and Propaganda unit were represented in the Committee of Ten. It was composed of:
The following agenda was adopted for the meeting with the Regional Command:
buried by comrades
The atmosphere at the meeting was emotional and electric. The participants were armed with a variety of weapons and some individuals made provocative and inflammatory statements. However, it appears that these were controlled by the meeting.
The first meeting with the Regional Command was scheduled for Tuesday, 7th February, 1984 at 10h30 and a meeting to report back to the detachment for 14h00.
Both these meetings did not materialise as FAPLA moved in on Tuesday 7/2/84 at 4h00 to disarm all comrades in the Viana camp.
At the moment when FAPLA appeared in the camp to disarm the Viana camp, some cadres had already formed a "circular defence" at the back of the camp. It was a very critical moment. Many claim that it was only the intervention of some of the members of the Committee of Ten that enabled the disarming to take place without serious fighting.
One comrade was killed in the cross fire during a brief exchange of fire at the beginning. One FAPLA APC was immobilised by a RPG shell. There were no casualties on the side of FAPLA units from the Presidential Regiment. Some of those in the "circular defence" positions surrendered their arms, others stored their weapons in the nearby bushes.
During the same morning some members of the security department went to the radio unit's flat in the centre of town to disarm the propaganda unit. Apparently because of the uncertainty of the situation and not knowing who was still "loyal" a decision had been taken to disarm everybody in Luanda.
When comrades from Security Department entered the flat, Diliza Dumagude armed with an offensive hand-grenade. ran into the bathroom then occupied by Comrade Soyisile Mathe (another DIP functionary). He shouted that the "police had come to arrest" them because of the disturbances. He was desperate and pulled out the pin of the grenade and shouted: "We'll all die". Comrade Mathe then grabbed his hand with the grenade and tried to talk to Diliza. Mathe had a severely cut hand sustained when he tried to break a window in an attempt to escape. Despite the injury, he managed to open the door still holding on to Diliza's hand with the hand-grenade. A member of the security department instructed him to go to another room. While there he realised that a struggle was going on.
Diliza apparently then released the grenade which severely injured but did not kill him. The security comrades report that he was shot whilst crawling for another grenade lying on the floor.
Salier Janemzi also threw two grenades against the security comrades in the room. He was shot, though he did not die instantly. He later tried to use a second grenade. He was then shot a second time and killed.
The Commission arrived in Luanda on Monday, 13th February 1984 and was introduced to Viana camp inmates on Wednesday 15th February, 1984. On Thursday, 16th February 1984, most comrades were removed from Viana. 31 imprisoned (including the members of the Committee of Ten) and others sent to Quibaxe and Pango camps.
At the Plot, Vuyisile Maseko who was being taken to prison with Khotso Morena ( a member of the Committee of Ten) pulled out a hand grenade. It exploded in the vehicle but Vuyisile and the comrade from security department managed to jump to safety. Khotso Morena started running when the grenade exploded and was shot and seriously injured.
Some members of the leadership (Comrades Commander, Army Commissar and Lennox) were at the scene at that time.
ASSESSMENT AND CONCLUSION
In this part of our report, the first question we must address ourselves to is: Was there a plot, conspiracy by enemy agents within the ranks of our Movement to subvert the organisation, to seize power within MK and dictate to the leadership? If so, why was the movement not made aware of this conspiracy which involved the majority of our comrades in every camp? What was the role of the "Committee of Ten"
This question remained uppermost in the minds of members of the Commission throughout the period of its work in Angola, especially after the Commission became fully aware of who, which type of person is to be found in Angola
Despite the fact that Angola is generally regarded as reliable rear-base of our struggle, it has been used as a dumping ground for enemy agents, suspects. malcontents and undisciplined elements. Whatever the reasons, the rationalisations for this development might be, Angola cannot be both. Why are enemy agents collected from all over the region, and even inside the country, to be dumped, collected in Angola? The Commission feels that unless this practice is stopped immediately, Angola shall become enemy concentration points.
Enemy agents and suspects should be kept out of Angola. Enemy agents must be processed, interrogated where they are caught, taken back across the borders to receive the just award for their "roles" in our struggle, or simply sent back to their masters if this is not possible.
Furthermore, the belief that the enemy agents caught within our ranks can be converted to our cause should be re-examined. The Commission has found confessed agents deployed in such sensitive positions in our camps as cooks, medical officers, even commissars. What is the policy of the organisation with regard to these enemy agents?
The camps in Angola are riddled with those who are labelled as "suspects". Some have been in this category for as long as 8 years. For those amongst them who are innocent, life must be real hell, and it's sad commentary on the efficiency of the security department (and the internal structures of our movement) that this should be so. For those amongst them who are enemy agents, the opposite is the case.
Angola has also become the dumping ground for disciplinary offenders, even criminals, and the Commission strongly feels that Angola should be cleansed if it is to be a reliable rear-base.
The Commission has no doubt that enemy agents and other elements did exploit genuine grievances and fanned the disturbances at a certain stage. We have not uncovered any evidence that enemy agents organised the disturbances from the beginning.
Furthermore, the Commission was unable to find that the Committee of ten was an organised conspiracy to take over the leadership or was instrumental in organising the disturbances in the East.
However, some of the leading members of the Committee as well as those closely connected with them have a long record of dissension and anti-movement activities. For years they have exploited every opportunity to ferment regionalism and undermine the organisation's leadership and policies. Some also have illusions of power and leadership. Whilst it is true that these would have exploited every opportunity to achieve their reactionary and counter-revolutionary goals, the Committee of Ten could not be deemed to have been an organised act of conspiracy on the part of the enemy. In his statement, one comrade said that he sees a strong link between the enemy agents within our midst and those who created and prepared the ground for them. He was referring to the conditions and general life of comrades in camps. The Commission found conditions in some camps shocking, to say the least. Extremely poor quality of food. no fresh meat, vegetables of fruits for months; hardly any recreation facilities, low level of cultural activities; poor tents, uniforms, boots, sports shoes if any; no medicaments, corruption and fear is omnipresent. This is what we found. Fear of the brutal punishment devised in the camps.
The Commission feels that these conditions in the camps coupled with the insensitivity and the open abuse of authority on the part of some officers, have prepared the grounds for these disturbances.
However, the Commission, while accepting that the cadres had many genuine grievances, strongly criticise the tactics adopted to solve these. Under no circumstances can we condone:
The damage done to our reputation and relationship with the Angolan goverr~rnent, Army and people and with our allies in the socialist countries, and supporters internationally. The very dangerous opportunities created for our enemies to weaken and indeed destroy our organisation and the effect of these events on the unfolding revolution are very serious indeed. The cadres must be made fully understand the consequences of their actions.
Two Armies:The idea that there are two armies, one progressive and the other imperialist, came from one or two cadres only (see statements) and was not widespread at all. It was a reference to the fact that the security department has become totally isolated and alienated from the general cadreship. Their power and privileges, their life-styles, their image and methods of work (notoriety) had placed this department apart from, and in appearance, hostile to those living in camps. Comrades Mzwai Piliso and Andrew Masondo, who are closely associated with this department, therefore are potrayed as leaders of this army (pro-imperialist) whilst comrade Chris Hani, who had been involved with comrades for several months in the Eastern Front as well as comrade Joe Slovo, are regarded as leaders of the revolutionary army. However, the Commission could not find more than two or three cadres who knew anything about this idea.
Qualitv of Cadres:The Commission feels that, generally, the level of political consciousness of comrades is very low: they are easily influenced and manipulated. An example of this was their reaction to a Radio RSA broadcast that our organisation is divided; the Youth are urging escalation of the armed struggle whilst the older leadership is emphasising political struggle. This broadcast had a profound impact on cadres generally - it was discussed in several camps and most tended to believe Radio
RSA despite the fact that they are all fully aware of its role as a propaganda organ of the racist regime. Comrades are also very disturbed about the series of talks in Southern Africa.
The Commission is of the opinion that this problem is partly due to the absence of official information - comrades are not briefed regularly about developments. We believe it has a lot to do with the fact that the majority of MK cadres are city-bred students - an army composed mainly of students cannot be strong. We believe that the question of utilising ANC machineries inside the country to recruit workers and peasants must urgently be solved. Most problems of the nature we have been investigating will be solved by improving the quality of our cadres.
Links between regions:The Commission was not able to find any conspirational links between Luanda and other regions.
However, it is true that Angola has much organisational and other contacts with all regions (especially Lusaka). Consequently, all areas are aware of each other's developments and problems, etc.
The demands for a national conference and the intensification of the armed struggle are common threads to be found in all regions.
The hitherto almost unrestricted contact between Angola and other regions and the gross violation and the "need to know rule" and the abundance of gossip rumors ("Radio Potato") constitutes a serious problem. Unfortunately many people in leadership positions are also responsible for this: urgent steps must be taken to remedy this. The creation in MK of Youth and Women Structures, directly responsible to their respective secretaries in Lusaka is fraught with many potential problems. This complete issue must be reviewed.
Finally, the Commission was struck by the fact that unlike the situation in most progressive countries, where priority attention in every respect is given towards moulding a strong reliable army, our People's Army is on the lowest or very nearly lowest wrung of priorities. For the price of one of the motor-vehicles, which are regularly smashed up in Lusaka without any apparent accountability, a number of problems could be solved in the camps. We wish to end our assessment by sounding a word of warning The situation in Angola may be "under control", the fires of discontent may have been dowsed; the fire has not been completely extinguished, and this can only be done by devoting more efforts, time, resources and political will towards the solution of the real problems in our camps in Angola.
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS:
That the organisation, at its highest levels, launches a determined and well organised political campaign in Angola to:
2. NATIONAL CONFERENCE
That the National Executive Committee appoints a National Preparatory Committee with a clear mandate to prepare for a National Conference. This has become especially urgent at this stage of the struggle.
3. NATIONAL COMMISSAR
The Commission recommends that in the light of the recent organisational restructuring, the position of National Commissar be abolished and that comrade Andrew Masondo be redeployed. The Department of Manpower Planning and Development is crucial for our struggle and comrade Masondo should devote all his time and energies to it.
That the National Executive Committee grants a general amnesty to all MK cadres presently detained in the Maximum Security Prison in Luanda with the exception of confessed enemy agents and those suspected before these disturbances occurred or those who committed serious criminal acts during the course of these events.
5. MILITARY HIGH COMMAND
6. REGIONAL COMMAND
That the NEC instructs the Regional Command, through the Arrny High Command to spend more time in the camps and become more involved in solving the day to day problems arising in camps.
7. SECURITY DEPARTMENT
confine its activities strictly to the department;
8. REVOLUTIONARY TRIBUNAL
The establishment of a Revolutionary Tribunal which, under appropriate formal guidelines, will try all Security cases, suspects, plotters, etc. Disciplinary problems should be handled by camp commanders and commissars.
9. CAMP ADMINISTRATION
Our discipline must be revolutionary conscious discipline. Therefore:
Immediate steps must be taken to help improve the diet of comrades. This will necessitate amongst other things:
a Obtain sufficient quantities of spares for our vehicles. This is a simple case of planning;
b In the meantime we must either deploy mechanics from other areas or request other countries to provide us with expertise,
c Ensure that more people are trained as drivers
a We must have centralised planning which can ensure that not only is the right type of vehicles obtained but that this is equitably distributed;
b We must ensure that every camp has at least two suitable vehicles.
This plays a very crucial part in maintaining the morale of the comrades and special attention must be devoted to it. The situation is so serious that we must consider utilising some of our own financial resources to meet the immediate needs.
The comrnissariat should supply comprehensive list of requirements which should be attended to without delay. The Treasury is urged to give this matter its most urgent attention.
GeneratorsThese must be obtained immediately for all camps. This will not only provide electricity but enable the camp administration to organise films and other forms of visual or audio entertainment;
Water pumas must be obtained for all camps:
15. CAXITO CAMP
This camp is notorious for malaria. Yet it is the camp of cadres being deployed on the home-front. The enemy has already alerted its medical services to report all cases of malaria. Furthermore, all programmes are affected because of the number of malaria patients at any one-time.
Under those circumstances we have no option but to recommend that this camp be closed down quickly as possible and a suitable alternative be found.
16. CADRE DEVELOPMENT
17. ENEMY AGENTS
18. CIVIL AND MILITARY CODE
The NEC must draft a Civil and Military code, based on the principles and policies of our movement and applicable to all members of MK and the ANC.
19. DEATHS AND SUICIDES
That the NEC appoints one of more person(s) to investigate repeated deaths due to unnatural causes and suicides in the camps
20. NEC MONITORING GROUP / COMMITTEE
The Commission recommends that the NEC appoints a monitoring group to ensure/monitor implementation of NEC decisions based on this report
21. REPORT BACK
The Commission recommends that the NEC appoint a delegation to report back to camps in Angola on the findings and decisions arising from the Commission
LIST OF DETAINEES