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
We would like, at the outset, to
wish the Chairman a complete and speedy recovery after his recent
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
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
"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
"The policy of burning sell-outs
of the system seems to have paid out well in the ultimate end."
"Among us we have people who
have openly collaborated with the enemy. You have to eliminate
one to save hundreds of others."
"We want to make the death
of a collaborator so grotesque that people will never think of
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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
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
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:
"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
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
"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.
"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":
After I became State President
in 1989 I took the following steps to normalise the political
situation in South Africa further:
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
As I also pointed out in my first
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
"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:
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
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:
"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."
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
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
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"
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:
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
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 "
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
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
"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
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
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
" 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
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:
"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
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
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
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
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
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
I do not possess the information
that you require and suggest that you approach the relevant line
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
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
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
Further steps which now will follow, include the
* 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
*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
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
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
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
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
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
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
TEL: 083 775 3517