1. Chairperson and Commissioners,
by way of introduction, it is important to state that the role
of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in today's
submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is, and
has been purely that of a facilitator. We are in the unique position
that the SANDF as a Government Department and newly integrated
force, obviously cannot give any testimony on what took place
during the previous era. The former South African Defence Force
(SADF) no longer exists and therefore no person can officially
speak on its behalf.
2. In order to assist the TRC
to meet its responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution,
as well as with the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation
Act of 1995, the SANDF decided to establish a Nodal Point to facilitate
access to information needed for this purpose.
3. The submission I am about to
make was compiled from available documents from the previous era,
as well as from inputs from ex-members of the former SADF, through
facilitation by the Nodal Point. No attempt has been made to
analyse or evaluate the information with the benefit of hindsight.
It may therefore not be a complete version of SADF actions,
or a correct reflection of all SADF members' point of view, but
will attempt to place in perspective the activities between 1960
and 1993. It may also make it easier for individual members of
the SADF to approach the TRC via the Nodal Point with evidence
which will contribute to the objectives of your committee.
The SANDF wishes to assure the TRC of its continued support in
this regard. The Nodal Point will be at the disposal of the TRC
to facilitate any questions that may arise from this submission
or any other issue. In this regard I would also like to draw
your attention to the existing agreement with the TRC.
4. Strategic Planning in the SADF was
based on two main considerations. Firstly the National Security
Strategy and secondly the threat perception against the country.
For this reason it was decided to present the submission as follows:
a. Summary of the RSA National Security Strategy.
b. The Revolutionary War in South Africa from
the Perspective of the SADF.
c. The Organisation, Aim and Functions of
d. The Defence Strategy, Planning and Authorisation.
e. Defence Force Operations.
1. The RSA strategy as formulated in
Boek 1/Beleid . Die RSA se Belange en die RSA-Regering se
doel, doelstellings, en beleid vir ordelike Regering, asook Riglyne
vir die uiteindelike Staatkundige bestel van Suider Afrika (1980),
was to improve the quality of life for all South Africans. This
strategy, which was approved by Cabinet on 4 March 1980, further
elaborated the national goals.
a. Political Goal. To ensure
self-determination for all population groups in South Africa.
b. Economic Goal. To strive
for the optimal combination of economic and social development
c. Social Goal. To further
living standards based on religious and cultural principles and
equal opportunities for all population groups.
d. Security Goal. To ensure the security of South Africa against any threats. In this regard the RSA's Strategy emphasised that the RSA had no aggressive intentions towards its neighbours, but that the RSA's posture was of an offensive nature and would, through pro-active actions, ensure its national security.
2 The development of the RSA's National
Security Strategy was directly influenced by the ANC's strategy
of revolutionary warfare and it was expected of the RSA security
forces to maintain law and order and create a stable environment
in which the RSA Government could bring about evolutionary political
change in the country.
THE RSA's NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
3. Mr P.W. Botha became Minister of
Defence on 5 April 1966. Whereas his predecessors had been primarily
concerned about threats directed against South Africa, Mr Botha's
speeches were characterised by a broader vision of security, encompassing
the East-West global ideological conflict and South Africa's role
in it. Three themes predominated in his speeches: firstly that
the West was threatened by Soviet expansionism, secondly that
South Africa was part of the West and lastly, that South Africa
played a central part in the Soviet strategy of cutting Europe
off from South Africa's essential raw materials. In this regard
he argued that the Cape Sea Route was of vital importance to the
West. Not all Western countries shared his view on Soviet strategy
and in December 1967 the British government declined to sell
maritime military equipment to South Africa. This led to the
establishment of ARMSCOR in 1968 with the aim "to make the
country self-sufficient in the field of defence."
4. The Minister of Defence defended
his idea of an indirect war. In 1968, he argued that "¼
in the world we live in, the dividing line between war and peace
is generally no longer a clear one, and the South African Defence
Force ..must take that situation into account". In 1970
Mr Botha reiterated that "¼there
(was) a global struggle between the forces of communism on the
one hand and the forces of stability, security and progress on
the other." He emphasized that the military and economic
fronts were but two of the ways in which that onslaught was waged.
The struggle for South Africa had to be seen in the same context.
The Prime Minister, Mr Vorster, added that the ultimate aim of
the communist and leftist powers was not Rhodesia and Mozambique,
but what can be taken from South African soil.
5. To counter "the Soviet expansionism"
the SA government concluded defensive arrangements with Portugal
and Rhodesia. Units of the SA Police were dispatched to Rhodesia
in September 1967 : "¼to
fight against men who originally came from South Africa and were
on their way back to commit terrorism in South Africa."
Of more practical importance was the fact that these states
(Angola, Mozambique and Rhodesia) formed an effective buffer against
direct foreign intervention by force. The strategy was to keep
the "defence line" as far as possible away from South
6. The unexpected coup in Portugal on
25 April 1974 brought the RSA's defence line to its borders and
this changed the government's perceptions of security in a very
dramatic way. Prime Minister Vorster, with his policy of détente,
extended a hand of friendship to the newly independent states,
but in 1974/5, with the approval of the USA , the SADF joined
the civil war in Angola to render assistance to UNITA. Mr Botha
explained the excursion into Angola as the willingness of South
Africa to shoulder its responsibility as an ally of the free world.
7. On 28 September 1978 Mr P.W. Botha
was elected as the RSA's eighth Prime Minister and elaborated
the concept of the total onslaught with greater clarity. The
1979 White Paper on Defence recorded "¼increased
political, economic and military pressure on South Africa¼"
and expressed concern that "¼.the
military threat against the RSA is intensifying at an alarming
rate". The idea of a total onslaught against South Africa,
stepping stone to world conquest", became the departure
point for security-related government policy:
a. The Steyn Commission Report (1982) stressed that the Soviet Union's aim was world domination. Its methods included subversion, disinformation, psychological war, espionage, diplomatic negotiations, military and economic aid programmes, terrorism and guerrilla warfare. The surrogate forces the Soviets were employing included the ANC, SWAPO, the SACP and other related organisations.
b. Mr Botha said in parliament that
"the total onslaught exists in that there is, under Marxist
guidance, an onslaught on our institutions which, if they were
to be destroyed, would cause chaos in this country. It is in
view of this that I advocated a total national strategy...".
8. The threat perception of any country
reflects perceived threats in the light of perceived vulnerabilities.
In order to safeguard their security, states may either try to
reduce their vulnerabilities or reduce or eliminate the perceived
threats. South Africa's perception of the threat was characterised
by its multidimensional character. The threat was part of a
global Soviet strategy for world domination, in which South Africa
was one of the targets and in which the aim was the revolutionary
overthrow of the South African political, economic and social
order, thus isolating the Republic. Although neighbouring countries
were not considered to pose a direct military threat to the Republic,
the possibility that they could do so in future, was not ruled
out, because of an unprecedented build-up of sophisticated conventional
armament in those countries. The situation was aggravated by
the presence of Soviet, other East Bloc and Cuban forces in the
region, particularly in Angola. In addition to the latent conventional
threat posed by neighbouring countries, they were also perceived
to pose an indirect threat by granting the liberation movements,
such as the ANC, training bases or transit facilities in their
territories. The ANC was singled out as the main internal revolutionary
threat, aided by various countries and organisations. Although
the Soviet Union and East Bloc countries were described as the
most important supporters of the ANC, certain Western countries
were undermining South Africa by lending moral and material support
to the anti-RSA revolutionary movements and by applying sanctions
against and advocating disinvestment in South Africa. Mr Botha
put it as follows : "¼there
is an attempt, under Marxist leadership, to bring about revolution
in Southern Africa, more specifically in the Republic of South
Africa. This can no longer be denied. The revolutionary elements
are there, and nothing ... can satisfy the hunger of those powers.
They want nothing but the overthrow of the present order. They
want nothing but the overthrow of the civilisation in this country".
TOTAL NATIONAL STRATEGY
9. The RSA Government believed that
it was confronted by a "total onslaught" and in order
to counter it, they had to develop their own total strategy.
The need for such a total strategy was identified in the White
Paper for Defence: "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 interdepartmental
and coordinated actions in all fields - military, psychological,
economic, political, sociological, technological, diplomatic,
ideological, and cultural, etc.
10. In parliament it was stressed that
the only counter-strategy against a total onslaught with any hope
of success is also a total strategy - total resistance must be
offered, fragmentary and ad hoc efforts in any sphere
would be futile and pointless. The onslaught must be resisted
on a national basis in all spheres, by all national groups and
inhabitants of the South African subcontinent.
11. This strategy based on principles
of self-determination and protection of minorities, Christian
values, civilised norms and general welfare provided by a capitalist
economy and underwritten by strong security forces were at the
foundation of the whole plan. This plan , which had the approval
of the highest authority, was based on the fundamental analysis
of the enemy's strategy and tried to draw all believers across
the colour lines into a united anti-Marxist alliance.
THE NATIONAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
12. In order to formulate a total strategy
to counter the total war being waged against the RSA, the State
established an organisation for managing the machinery of government.
A high degree of orchestration and coordination is required within
the body politic in order to ensure integrated joint planning
by all the Government Departments involved, which resulted in
the formulation of a Total Strategy. This requirement for joint
planning led to the rationalisation of the organisation for managing
the machinery of government into two main systems, i.e.
a. The Welfare System; and
b. The Security Management System..
STATE SECURITY COUNCIL
13. The SSC was established in terms
of the Security Intelligence and State Security Council Act, Act
64 of 1972, as a statutory Cabinet Committee with the function
of advising the Government on:
a. The formulation of national policy
and strategy in respect of the security of the RSA, as well as
the implementation of such policy and strategy.
b. Policy regarding the combatting
of any specific threat against the RSA.
c. Intelligence priorities.
14. In terms of the Act the SSC would
consist of :
a. The Prime Minister (later President)
b. The senior Cabinet minister and the
i. Foreign Affairs;
iv. Law and Order, and
c. The Chief of the SADF, the Commissioner
of Police and the directors-general of National Intelligence,
Foreign Affairs and Justice.
15. Other ministers and officials,
who were not statutory members of the Council, were co-opted to
attend specific meetings of the Council. The Minister of Constitutional
Development and Planning, the Minister of National Education and
the Minister of Finance were among those co-opted in this way.
The SSC was assisted by a Working Committee, which comprised the
Secretary of the SSC and the heads of departments represented
on the SSC.
16. A permanent secretary to the SSC
was first appointed in August 1979. The secretariat was later
expanded to include three main sub-divisions, one for strategic
planning, one for the co-ordination and evaluation of intelligence
and a third for strategic communications. The secretariat of the
SSC was responsible to the office of the Prime Minister/President
a. The provision of co-ordinated intelligence
to the security management system.
b. The co-ordination of strategic planning
for national security purposes.
c. Co-ordination of the implementation
of national security strategies.
d. Co-ordination of strategic communications.
17. In March 1980, the Cabinet approved
the first extensive national strategy, titled, Boek 1/Beleid:
Die RSA se Belange en die RSA-Regering se Doel, Doelstellings
en Beleid vir Ordelike Regering. This document sets out the
philosophy of Total War and Total Strategy. Arising from the threat
analysis, the national aims, objectives and policy, as well as
the political, economic, social/psychological and security policies
for the RSA, the independent homelands and Southern Africa, were
18. It is however important to note
that the State Security Council Act only provided the SSC with
an advisory function. All recommendations and advice by the SSC
were referred to the Cabinet for further action. The SSC had
no decision-making powers in its own right. This meant that whereas
the SSC was charged with the responsibility for advising the Government
on national security matters, the ultimate responsibility was
vested in the Cabinet. Any recommendations made by the SSC were
subject to final approval by the Cabinet, while the execution
of policy was the responsibility of the various government departments
as part of their normal line functions.
NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
19. The National Security policy defined
the following aims and objectives:
a. The establishment of a National Security
Management System (NSMS), decentralised to the regional level,
based on the doctrine of Total Strategy - the need for co-ordinated
action between all departments - to address the multidimensional
b. Maintenance of a policy of non-aggression
against any other state or group of states, but with a pro-active
posture which could include pre-emptive action against real or
potential aggressors to ensure the security of the RSA.
c. Provision of co-ordinated, reliable
and evaluated intelligence.
d. Protection of the RSA against any
form of external aggression or internal revolution.
f. Involvement of all population groups
in the maintenance of law and order and the protection of the
RSA. This included a system of national (military) service.
g. Maintenance of a conventional military
capability to ensure national security through pro-active steps
and self sufficiency in the development and manufacture of armaments,
where practically possible.
h. Ensuring orderly government by maintaining
the rule of law and protecting the country's borders.
20. This strategy, as well as others
that followed later, included the concept of pro-active or forward
defence. For this purpose, Africa, south of the equator, was sub-divided
into three areas, namely, the vital area (the RSA), the tactical
area (the neighbouring states) and the strategic area (countries
to the north of the neighbouring states.)
21. The National Security policy made
explicit provision for pro-active actions beyond the borders of
the RSA, if necessary, for self-defence or pre-emptive purposes.
INTERDEPARTMENTAL AND DEPARTMENTAL
22. In 1980, the SSC laid down the procedure
for the planning and approval of national, interdepartmental and
a. As the first step, the guidelines
for the National Strategy (Total Strategy) were formulated and
approved by the SSC. These guidelines formed the nucleus of the
b. Thereafter, the details of the Total
Strategy were developed by inter-departmental committees and working
groups with the assistance of the secretariat of the SSC and the
Working Committee. The final draft Total Strategy had to be submitted
to the SSC for approval, after which it provided the framework
for departmental and inter-departmental planning and implementation.
23. The various departments submitted
regular progress reports on the implementation of specific strategies.
These reports were consolidated by the secretariat and submitted
to the SSC, thus enabling the Council to monitor the progress
and scope of implementation.
MANIFESTATION OF THE RSA NATIONAL
SECURITY STRATEGY: GUIDELINES AND DIRECTIVES
24. The influence of the ANC strategy
of revolutionary warfare on the development of the RSA National
Security Strategy can clearly be seen in the development/manifestation
of this strategy. There is a clear interface/correlation between
the development of the ANC strategy and the counter-revolutionary
strategy of the RSA Government.
25. The strategy against the ANC, included
the following tasks for the SADF:
b. The prevention and suppression of
terrorism against the RSA, including military actions against
bases and training facilities in neighbouring states.
c. The disruption and immobilisation
of ANC operational command structures and centres.
d. Neutralising the propaganda and espionage
threat of the ANC to military personnel and installations.
e. The protection of the RSA borders
and coastal areas against terrorist infiltration.
f. The protection of national key points
g. Supporting the SA Police in stabilising
the internal situation.
26. In the later counter-revolutionary
strategy (1986-88), the following three objectives formed the
basis of the strategy:
a. That revolutionary organisation and
mobilisation had to be halted so as to create a situation of stability
and lawfulness in South Africa.
b. Continued revolutionary 'contamination' of the population was to be
prevented through effective government and local administration,
particularly in the major unrest areas.
c. The population had to be influenced to accept and support the national aim of peaceful and evolutionary political change and to combat revolutionary organisations that sought change through violence.
27. Several types of guidelines, directives
and strategies were formulated by the SSC and submitted to the
Cabinet for approval from 1980 to 1990, and sent to departments
a. Boek 1/Beleid: Die RSA se Belange
en die RSA-Regering se Doel, Doelstellings en Beleid. (March
b. SSC Directive no 9, on the
implementation of radio propaganda and the neutralisation of hostile
radio broadcasts aimed at the RSA.
c. A total strategy for Southern
Africa (October 1980).
d. SSC guidelines for the protection
of educational institutions (March 1981).
e. A total strategy against the
ANC (August 1981).
f. A plan for the construction of
(international) border fences (August 1981).
g. A total strategy for Soweto and
other black urban areas (September 1981).
h. Total strategies for Lesotho,
Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland
i. A total strategy in respect of
the role of trade unions in labour unrest (April 1982).
j. SSC guidelines for economic warfare
k. Guidelines for a total strategy
against the UDF (October 1983).
l. Revised authorisation procedure
for cross-border military operations (October 1985).
m. Revised strategy for Southern
Africa (May 1986).
n. National strategy for the Revolutionary Onslaught against the RSA
o. Revision of the functions of the SSC and the addition of a Cabinet
Committee for Security Affairs
p. Guidelines for future secret and
covert actions and special operations (June 1990).
q. Guidelines for a (revised) national
security strategy (November 1990).
28. These documents provided the framework for the implementation of security actions. Each department represented in the SSC was responsible for the implementation of the strategies applicable to its particular area of responsibility.
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE FORCE
1. The revolutionary war in South Africa
lasted for more than forty years but it escalated during the period
1980 - 1990. The main role players were on the one hand the
ANC (MK), and to a lesser degree the PAC (APLA), assisted by several
mass democratic organisations and on the other the South African
Government with its security apparatus, namely the South African
Police (SAP) and the South African Defence Force, (SADF).
2. The principal participants on the
side of the revolutionaries were
a. the Charterist Alliance comprising
the ANC/SACP/COSATU, with Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) as The military
wing, and internal front organizations such as the United Democratic
Front (UDF) and later the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) and SA
National Civic Organization (SANCO);
b. the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC)
and its military wing, the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA);
c. the Black Consciousness Movement
of Azania (BCMA) and its military wing, the Azanian National Liberation
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
THE BEGINNING : 1912 - 1958
3. The ANC was established in Bloemfontein
in 1912 to fight for the political rights of the black population
of South Africa. From 1921 to 1950 the ANC aligned itself with
the South African Communist Party (SACP - which was formed in
1921) in several labour disputes and strikes against employers
and the SA government. However, it was unsuccessful in making
real progress in securing political rights for blacks in South
4. In 1948 the National Party won the
general election and as promised in its election manifesto and
after nationwide strikes, the SA Government banned the SACP in
1950. The result was that the party went underground, creating
front organisations through which it continued its operations.
The most important front organisation was the Congress Alliance,
which drafted the Freedom Charter in 1955. In 1958 the
ANC incorporated the Freedom Charter into its constitution.
BANNING OF THE ANC AND PAC
5. After the adoption of the Freedom
Charter the ANC alliance continued with violent activities.
Violent demonstrations and strikes became common as the SACP,
the PAC and the ANC cadres were doing their utmost to turn every
possible incident into physical confrontation and conflict. In
early 1960 both the ANC and the PAC decided to organise an anti-pass
law campaign. The response of the security forces to this campaign
resulted in the Sharpeville shootings on 21 March 60.
6. The Sharpeville incident reverberated
throughout South Africa and around the world. Riots and protest
erupted in black townships. On 30 Mar 60 the RSA government declared
a state of emergency and enacted the Unlawful Organisations Act
, Act No 34 of 1960 which on 8 Apr 60 formalised the banning of
both the ANC and PAC.
M-PLAN AND RIVONIA TRAIL
7. After the banning of the ANC and
PAC, the command of the ANC developed a strategy which later became
known as the M-Plan (named after Mr Nelson Mandela). It was a
revolutionary strategy, which made provision for the division
of the Black townships into zones, each having a local revolutionary
committee appointed by the regional command of the ANC. The M-Plan
also made provision for an operation, called " Operation
Mayibuye". The aim of this plan was to seize power in the
RSA, through acts of violence and sabotage. The second part of
the plan defined certain rural areas of the RSA where guerrillas
were to trigger a revolution.
8. At a secret meeting in June 1961
the ANC decided to establish an armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe
(MK) - Spear of the Nation. They purchased a small farm, called
Lilliesleaf, from which to conduct "operations", while
Mr Mandela visited several countries to gain support for their
campaign against the RSA. The first batches of MK recruits left
the RSA in July 1962.
9. Before the ANC/SACP could implement
the M-Plan, the SAP raided the Lilliesleaf farm on 11 Jul 63 and
arrested most of the ANC (MK) leadership. The Rivonia Trial followed,
where Messrs Mandela, Sisulu, Goldberg, Mbeki, Mhlaba, Motsoaledi
and Mlangeni were found guilty on charges of high treason and
sentenced to life imprisonment.
THE MOROGORO CONFERENCE
10. After the Rivonia Trial the ANC,
SACP and PAC made attempts to infiltrate3 the RSA via Southern
Fhodesia (see Part 1, page 3, para 5). In 1969 the ANC decided
that a new strategy was necessary and a conference was held in
Morogoro, Tanzania, where the document "Strategy and Tactics
of the ANC" was drawn up . It was a document full of
optimism for extending the guerrilla war to the classic mobile
phase which would lead to the collapse of the SA government.
The document spelled out three stages, namely
a. the initial guerrilla phase which
would involve acts of armed propaganda, sabotage, landmines and
b. the equilibrium phase in which strong
MK units would engage the government's forces in mobile warfare,
c. the third phase, which would culminate
in a general offensive which would coincide with the collapse
of the the RSA economy, demoralization of the government's security
forces and the isolation of the government.
11. The sixties will be remembered because
of worldwide student unrest. The neutralisation of the ANC and
PAC inside the country created a vacuum which was filled by a
group of Black students who formed a student organisation, called
the South African Students' Organisation (SASO). Steve Biko
was elected as its first president. This was followed by the
establishment of the Black People's Convention in July 1972.
Together they formed the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) to
carry on with Steve Biko's Black Consciousness Ideology (The Black
man's struggle for empowerment.
12. 1976 was characterised by ongoing
student unrest in Soweto. The unrest and the death of Steve Biko
in detention in 1977 caused a mass of students to join the ANC.
INDEPENDENCE FOR THE PORTUGUESE COLONIES
13. One of the biggest problems facing
the ANC was the lack of bases close to the border of the RSA.
In 1974 the Portuguese government was overthrown in a coup which
led to FRELIMO's accession to power in Mozambique and in Angola
of the MPLA, after the collapse of the Alvor Accord and the expulsion
of the FNLA and UNITA from Luanda. This development gave the
ANC the much-needed bases close to the RSA border.
14. In 1978 the ANC leadership began
to investigate a new strategy and undertook study tours to many
Third World countries. This was followed by a visit of a high-profile
delegation (including Messrs Tambo, Mbeki, Hani, Slovo and Modise)
to Vietnam to study that country's struggle against the USA.
In their report presented to the ANC executive in Luanda, key
aspects of the Vietnamese struggle were highlighted, for example
"the combination of a political and military struggle, the
mobilisation of the whole of the people to fight the enemy; the
unity of the internal situation and international solidarity;
and the party's leadership role over the armed forces."
This was a classic recipe for a "total" revolutionary
15. After this visit to Vietnam the
ANC formulated a new strategy for a "people's war".
Officially it was termed "The Four Pillars of the Revolution
- a Strategy for People's War." These pillars were
a. the all-round activity of the underground
structures of the ANC;
b. the united mass action of the people
c. the armed offensive, and
d. the international drive to isolate
16. The document of the Political-military
Committee, Planning for People's War, was drafted in 1983.
The National Executive Committee of the ANC approved the document
but stated that "we have to be a little more clear about
what we mean in practice". Therefore the ANC leadership
gave more details about what was meant by this strategy in official
a. In Sechaba it was emphasized
i. the role of the workers and trade
unions will be to bring South Africa's economy to a halt ;
ii. white "anti-apartheid"
movements must be created to oppose compulsory military service
and the war in Angola ;
iii. the "people's
army" must be strengthened so that the ANC "could march
in the vanguard of semi-spontaneous mass upsurges", and
iv. the masses must be armed and trained
as part-time guerrillas.
b. In The African Communist
it was stated that : "by people's war we mean a war in which
a liberation army becomes rooted amongst the people who progressively
participate actively in the armed struggle both politically and
militarily, including the possibility of engaging in partial or
general insurrections. The present disparity in strength between
the enemy forces and ours determines the protracted nature of
the struggle ... such a struggle will lead inevitably to a revolutionary
situation in which our plan and aim must be the seizure of power
through ... whatever ways might present themselves."
c. In Sechaba it was explained
that the goal of transforming the "armed offensive into a
people's war remains one that we must pursue with the greatest
vigour. Our mass military offensive must aim to increase the
number of casualties among the enemy's armed forces, to disperse
and reduce these forces, make it increasingly impossible for them
to defend themselves and undermine the material-economic base
d. In another article the concept of
arming the people was discussed "In other words ... it must
become part of a policy to involve more and more armed people
as organised contingents in support of our struggle and acting
under our leadership."
KABWE CONFERENCE 1985
17. With the influx of new recruits
in the late seventies and the new bases in the Frontline States,
the ANC decided to hold a conference at Kabwe, Zambia to examine
its new strategy. In a report, Commission on Cadre Policy and
Ideological Work, the conference recommended that the ANC
a. should establish cores in existing
b. must be in charge of the process;
c. should educate youth and religious groups and other cultural organisations to translate their beliefs into the rejection of apartheid and to become more involved in the struggle. This was the birth of the concept of people's education - revolution before education.
PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
PEOPLE'S WAR AND THE FOUR -PILLAR STRATEGY
PILLAR 1 : ALL-ROUND ACTIVITY OF
THE UNDERGROUND STRUCTURES AND UNITED MASS ACTION OF THE PEOPLE
18. One of the biggest problems facing
the ANC was the lack of bases inside the country. Mr R. Kasrils
explained this problem in Sechaba : "¼the
problem facing us is that the bulk of our army is recruited and
trained outside the country, and remains there". It was
therefore necessary for the ANC to develop, organise, arm and
train MK cadres inside the country to lead the revolution.
19. In the same article Mr. Kasrils
outlined the organisation of MK inside the country:
a. Guerrilla units (operating in the
rural areas of the RSA).
b. Underground fighting groups (sabotage
and assassinations in urban parts of SA).
c. Self-defence Units (SDU-security
elements for the ANC cadres and fronts).
20. Other publications outlined the
role of the underground as follows :
links the armed struggle to the masses, popularises the skills
of warfare, and prevents professional combatants being isolated."
b. "The underground acquires and
transports weapons, spreads the politics of the movement, recruits
cadres, observes targets and gathers information."
underground) must plan its actions and ensure that these reinforce
and merge with people's mass action."
PILLAR 2 : MASS MOBILISATION
21. The second pillar of the revolutionary
strategy, that of mass mobilisation, depended upon the successful
implementation of the first pillar. The implementation of the
first pillar - that of underground structures - created an environment
where the masses cooperated and adhered to the demands of the
revolutionary structures. One of these organisations was the United
Democratic Front (UDF), which was established on 20 Aug 83 as
"a broad front of popular resistance". The UDF claimed
that over 700 different groups in South Africa were members of
this loose-knit coalition. Although the UDF repeatedly denied
that it had any links with the ANC, its political agenda was almost
parallel to that of the ANC. The ANC saw the UDF as a political
arm of revolution, under one command, focusing on the central
question of all revolutions - the question of state power. Because
of its involvement in violence, the RSA government declared the
UDF an illegal organisation in 1986. In 1989 the Mass Democratic
Movement (MDM) was formed, which was in fact the old UDF under
a new guise. The MDM saw its aim as to deepen the isolation
of the regime, maximize unity against it and weaken its ability
to resist the struggle for a democratic and non-racial South Africa.
The SA National Civics Organisation (SANCO) assumed a large part
of the role of the UDF and MDM.
22. During the period 1984 to 1989 members
of the ANC's underground saw themselves as the guardians of
the revolutionary forces inside the country. According to the
M-Plan and the strategy of people's war they created the following:
a. Liberated Zones. These were
no-go areas for the police and other administrative functionaries.
The aim of this step was to make the country ungovernable and
to establish political and para-military control over communities
through SDUs and Combat Units and for these areas to serve as
safe areas for MK.
b. Alternative structures.
After an area had been "liberated", alternative revolutionary
structures were instituted. The most prominent alternative structure
was civic organisations that were locally based and aimed at
mobilizing the people within a specific area around bread and
butter issues. Their mass base however, offered a tremendous
potential for militant action.
23. The underground structures determined
their own disciplinary code where they enforced their will by
intimidation and fear - those found buying goods from white-owned
shops were forced by the comrades to eat their soap powder or
drink their cooking oil. One of the most feared methods of intimidation
was the so-called people's courts and the gruesome necklaces where
anyone accused of collaborating with the RSA government was sentenced
to death by the necklace method. An example of the execution
of a so-called collaborator was the necklace murder of councillor
Benjamin Kinikini and his sons on 21 March 1985, while a Dutch
television crew filmed the incident. Necklacing was a very contentious
subject and several comments/statements were recorded, for example
a. In Sechaba Mr Chris Hani
wrote that "the necklace was a weapon ... to remove this
cancer (of collaborators) from our society ... to cleanse the
townships from the very disruptive and even lethal activities
of the puppets and collaborators. I refuse to condemn our people
when they mete out their own traditional forms of justice to those
b. "Here (in townships/liberated
zones) collaborators and informers live in fear of petrol, either
as petrol bombs being hurled at their homes and reducing them
to rack and ruin, or as petrol dousing their treacherous bodies
which we set alight, and burn them to a charred despicable mess".
c. "We want to make the death of
a collaborator so grotesque that people will never think of it."
24. Between 1984 and 1989, 399 people
died as a result of necklacing. An additional 372 were burnt
to death in their homes or after petrol had been poured over them
and they were torched to death. The result of this intimidation
was that although a very small part of the country was affected
the government decided to stabilise the situation by declaring
a partial state of emergency in South Africa in 1985. In 1986
it was extended to a national state of emergency.
25. Armed violence was merely one of
many strategies adopted by resistance groups in the RSA between
1976 and 1994. Further actions were also aimed at political, economic,
social, educational and psychological bases of society. Over
time, however, violent acts were increasingly integrated with
26. Armed action by the ANC (MK) and
PAC (APLA) against the RSA Government was initially conducted
from the RSA's neighbouring states. From the mid-eighties onwards,
it also took on a strong internal character.
THIRD PILLAR : ARMED STRUGGLE - THE
VIOLENT COMPONENT OF THE REVOLUTION
27. This pillar of MK's armed struggle
was under the command of the ANC headquarters in Lusaka. In
an interview with Der Spiegel, the president of the ANC,
Mr O. Tambo, explained how command and control within the ANC
were executed :. "We convey messages and tell people what
has to be done...Our followers often decide for themselves what
targets they want to attack. However, they are organized. (The
command structure) was built by our people. The people follow
BASE AREAS AND ACCESS ROUTES
28. The ANC (MK) and the PAC (APLA)
were supported in their liberation struggle by the African states.
This commitment to the struggle was reflected in the following
a. Lusaka Manifesto (1969);
b. Mogadishu Declaration (1971);
c. Dar es Salaam Declaration (1975);
d. the Arusha Declaration (1984) which
refers to the collective protection of the ANC and PAC against
South African retaliation.
29. From 1963 onward the operating structures
underwent several changes, eg
a. From 1963 the main base areas, headquarters
and training facilities of the liberation movements were situated
in Dar es Salaam, but from the late seventies and beginning of
1980, these were moved to Lusaka.
b. In 1976 Angola became the main military
training facility of the ANC (MK).
c. Between October 1976 and August 1977
Lusaka was the main operational centre, while Botswana, Lesotho
and especially Swaziland were the main transit routes for the
infiltration of terrorists, arms and equipment destined for the
RSA. (Eighty per cent of the MK members arrested in the RSA between
January 1977 and April 1978 had infiltrated through Swaziland.)
d. After April 1978 Mozambique was the
pivot of the ANC's armed action against the RSA, but MK was prohibited
from operating directly from Mozambican territory.
e. By 1980, regional headquarters had
been established in Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho,
for the planning, control and monitoring of MK operations. Swaziland,
especially, was an unwilling host and continuously took political
and security action against armed MK members.
f. After ZANU (PF) came to power in
Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980, Zimbabwe's territory became accessible
to both MK and APLA as an assembly and transit area. In June and
July 1983 the first direct infiltrations by MK members from Zimbabwe
to the RSA occurred. By 1985, two operational headquarters and
two sub-headquarters had been established in Zimbabwe.
g. After the conclusion of the Nkomati
Accord with Mozambique on 16 March 1984, use of Botswana, Lesotho
and Zimbabwe for actions against the RSA increased in importance
for the ANC and MK. A clandestine MK presence (and headquarters)
were however maintained in Mozambique and in the last part of
1985, Mozambique, especially Maputo, was again the main centre
for the ANC's armed campaign against the RSA, although actions
were launched mainly through Swaziland. The Swazi government
tried to prevent this, but did not have the capacity to deny the
ANC and MK the use of its territory.
COMMAND AND CONTROL
30. Up to 1985 MK operations in the
RSA were controlled by a Revolutionary Council with regional headquarters
in Lusaka, Maputo and Maseru. After 1985 the command and control
function was vested in the Politico-Military Council (PMC), which
oversaw two divisions - the Political Headquarters and the Military
Headquarters or High Command. The High Command was commanded by
a Special Operations Group and Regional Political-Military Committees
(RPMCs). Each RPMC had its so-called 'machineries' or task groups
responsible for specific geographic areas in the RSA. In time
RPMC's were brought into existence in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique,
Swaziland and Lesotho.
a. RPMC Maputo. From April 1978
the RPMC in Maputo was responsible for operations in the Transvaal
(Witwatersrand, Vereeniging, Eastern Transvaal and Northern Transvaal)
as well as Natal. Swaziland was the main transit area.
b. RPMC Swaziland. By 1983/84,
Swaziland had its own RPMC and operations into the Transvaal and
Natal were conducted from Swaziland, with support from the RPMC
in Maputo. The RPMC in Swaziland was disbanded in 1988 and all
subsequent operations were controlled from Maputo.
c. RPMC Botswana. MK actions
from Botswana were controlled from an operational headquarters
in Lusaka up to 1983. In 1983/84 a RPMC was established in Gaberone,
which was mainly responsible for operations in Western and Northern
Transvaal and the Northern Cape. The Botswana RPMC functioned
up to 1988, after which it was withdrawn to Lusaka.
d. RPMC Lesotho. An operational
headquarters was established in Maseru, Lesotho in 1978. The
headquarters was replaced with a RPMC in 1983/84, which was responsible
for operations in Eastern Cape, Border/Transkei and the Orange
Free State. The RPMC was active until August 1988.
e. RPMC Zimbabwe. Up to April
1984, MK actions in and from Zimbabwe were controlled by an operational
headquarters in Lusaka. In June 1985 a RPMC was established in
Harare and two sub-headquarters were established in Bulawayo and
Masvingo. The RPMC was responsible for actions in Venda and Northern
and North-Western Transvaal.
MANIFESTATION OF THE REVOLUTION
INSIDE SOUTH AFRICA
31. The situation inside the country
escalated from 1983 and the following is a catalogue of the violent
and non-violent components of the revolutionary strategy of the
ANC and its allies, as well as the PAC and BCMA for the period
1976 - 1994. The violent onslaught can be divided into four
a. 14 October 1976 to 31 August 1983.
i. A total of 362 acts of violence
were perpetrated in the RSA in this period. Of these, 170 (47
per cent) were incidents of sabotage mainly aimed at railway property,
police stations, government buildings and the electricity supply
infrastructure. Forty eight were offensive and comprised 24 attacks,
mainly against police stations and 24 contacts with the SA Police.
Approximately 40 MK members were killed and 155 were arrested.
Eleven security force members were killed and 24 were injured.
ii. By 31 August 1981 a sharp increase
in the use of limpet mines had been noted and the use of conventional
explosives and detonators appeared to have been discontinued.
iii. Eighty eight per cent of the
362 incidents occurred in urban areas and 12 per cent in rural
iv. Some of the most important incidents
were the following :
(1) 24 November 1977. Bomb explosion at the Carlton
Centre in Johannesburg. 17 civilians
(2) 8 December 1977. Bomb explosion at parking area
in Benoni. 12 vehicles damaged.
(3) 24 February 1978. Bomb explosion at Daveyton,
Springs. A building was badly damaged.
(4) 1/2 June 1980. Sabotage at SASOL 1 and NATREF at
Sasolburg, and SASOL II at Secunda.
(5) 21 July 1981: Sabotage
of an electrical transformer in Pretoria;
(6) 12 August 1981: Rocket
attack on Voortrekkerhoogte, Pretoria.
(7) 19 August 1982 : Sabotage at Koeberg Nuclear Power
(8) 20 May 1983 : Motorcar
bomb in Church Street, Pretoria. 19 people were killed and 200
v. The most important development
during the period 1 September 1980 to 31 August 1982 was the decision
of the PMC to establish a so-called "People's Army".
The MK members played an important role in the "People's
Army" in intensifying the revolutionary onslaught against
the state. Political and military training of MK members inside
the RSA and in neighbouring countries commenced at this time.
b. 1 September 1983 to 31 August
i. This period was marked by an increase
of violence and re-direction of focus from so-called "hard
targets" (security forces and infrastructure) to "soft
targets" (civilian institutions and personnel).
ii. There was also an upswing in violent
incidents. Between September 1983 and August 1984, there were
92 incidents and in the following year, 101 incidents.
iii. MK began to establish military
structures and political cells in some of the township areas,
which were developed into "base" or so-called "no-go"
areas. Military and political training in the RSA and in neighbouring
iv . The end of the period was marked
by a blurring of the distinction between "armed incidents
v. The most important incidents were
the following :
(1) 11 October 1983. Sabotage
of a fuel storage tank in Warmbaths.
(2) 10 November 1983. Contact
between SA Police and MK at Alldays while the MK unit was infiltrating
from Zimbabwe. Four MK members were killed.
(3) 7 December 1983. Sabotage
of buildings of the Administrative Council of Johannesburg.
(4) 6 April 1984. Sabotage of buildings of the Administrative Council of Bloemfontein.
(6) 17 March 1985. A limpet
mine exploded under a SA Police vehicle in Mamelodi.
(7) 30 April 1985. A limpet
mine exploded at an Anglo American building in Johannesburg, causing
c. 1 September 1985 to 31 August
i. The period was marked by the maintenance
of the level of MK activity. The number of incidents were :
(1) 1 September 1985 to 31 August
1986 - 245.
(2) 1 September 1986 to 31 August
1987 - 208.
(3) 1 September 1987 to 31 August
1988 - 245.
ii. There was a sharp shift in emphasis
from "hard" to "soft" targets.
iii. This shift in emphasis saw the
degeneration of the "liberation struggle" into a planned
campaign of armed struggle where the lives and property of ordinary
South Africans were destroyed in the hope of gaining political
iv. Limpet mines, hand grenades and
small arms were increasingly used, and landmine incidents occurred
in Northern and Eastern Transvaal and Northern Natal until the
end of 1987. The highest number of incidents occurred in September
and October 1988, just before the municipal elections.
v. The concept of a "People's Army" was further developed in the establishment of self-defence units (SDUs) and combat groups, with locally-based MK members acting as the core. The structures were manned by members trained internally and in neighbouring states.
vi. From 1986/87 the smuggling of arms
for the manning and arming of internal MK units increased.
vii. From 1988 the constitutionally
independent Transkei was increasingly used by MK and APLA as a
base area for the training of recruits and for armed actions in
Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Natal.
viii. The most important incidents
were the following :
(2) 27 November 1985. Three
MK members of the Special Operations Group infiltrating from Maputo,
tried to launch an attack with 122mm rockets on SASOL II at Secunda.
All three were killed in the follow-up operation.
(3) 23 December 1985. A limpet
mine exploded in the Sanlam Centre, a shopping complex, in Amanzimtoti.
Five civilians were killed and 61 injured.
(4) 4 January 1986. A civilian
vehicle detonated a landmine in the Ellisras district near the
Botswana border. Two civilians were killed and two were injured.
(5) 7 May 1986. A limpet mine
exploded in the Benmore shopping centre in Sandton. Extensive
damage was caused.
(6) 14 June 1986. A car bomb
exploded in front of the Garfunkel Restaurant in Durban. Three
civilians were killed and 69 were injured.
(7) 24 June 1986. A limpet
mine exploded at the Wimpy Bar at the President Holiday Inn in
Johannesburg. 20 civilians were injured.
(8) 6 October 1986. A SADF
vehicle detonated a land mine near Mbunzi in Eastern Transvaal.
Six SADF members were injured.
(9) 28 March 1987. A civilian
vehicle detonated a double landmine in Northern Transvaal. Four
occupants were killed and one injured.
d. 1 September 1989 to 31 August
i. The start of the period was marked
by the legalization of previously banned organizations on 2 February
1990 and by talks between the government and the ANC with a view
to find a negotiated political solution for the RSA. The PAC did
not initially join these talks.
ii. The freedom to operate inside
the RSA was used by the ANC, SACP and PAC as well as other organizations
to expand their power bases and to erode those of their opponents.
iii. The PAC/APLA also became active
in the RSA.
iv. One hundred and eighty one armed
incidents occurred between 1 January 1990 and 31 August 1990.
Five MK members were killed and 192 MK members and sympathizers
v. The SDUs were re-designated "self-protection
units" (SPUs) to avoid accusations that agreements between
the government and the ANC were being violated.
vi. By 1991 armed actions had increased
and it became increasingly difficult to distinguish between armed
incidents and violence deriving from general internal unrest.
vii. By 30 September 1992, there were
203 SDU/SPU structures in the townships, and there was strong
suspicion that a further 143 existed. Most of those identified
were in the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu/Natal.
viii. The aim was to create so-called
liberated areas on the East Rand, Vaal Triangle, Western Cape
and Natal Midlands.
ix. By September 1993 the Transkei
was consolidated as a base area for MK actions in Ciskei, Eastern
Cape and Natal.
THE STRATEGY OF THE PAN-AFRICANIST
32. After the banning of the PAC in 1960 militant PAC members founded a paramilitary movement called POQO ( ie "pure", "we stand alone" or "black alone"). POQO's aim was to create a climate of chaos and panic through carefully planned and well-executed armed action. During the period 1962 to 1963 POQO was responsible for isolated incidents but in 1963 the SAP arrested the most prominent POQO leaders and thus effectively neutralised the organisation. In 1968 the military wing of the PAC became known as the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA).
33. The aim of the Pan-Africanist Congress
(PAC) was to overthrow the SA government by revolutionary means
to establish an "Africanist socialist democracy". The
primary aim of APLA was the seizure of state political power by
means of an armed revolution.
34. The PAC/APLA's strategy for the
take-over of government was based on the classic revolutionary
a. a national "liberation struggle" or "people's war", and
b. a social revolution with the aim
of establishing a new socialist order.
35. The Azanian People's Liberation
Army (APLA) was not a substantial factor in the armed struggle
or revolutionary war but they played a leading role in the development
of the Soweto unrest in Jun 76. APLA's military capabilities
increased from an estimated 300 trained members in 1982/83 to
approximately 2700 trained members in 1991/92. By 1992, approximately
300 members were deployed internally, mainly in the Transkei.
The PAC had not joined the political dialogue between the government
and the ANC and was not party to any agreements.
36. From 22 February 1991 to 6 February
1994, APLA was responsible for 77 acts of violence in the RSA.
The actions were scattered throughout the Eastern Cape, Transkei,
Western Cape, Witwatersrand, Northern Transvaal, Natal and the
37. Major APLA actions in this period
a. 17 February 1992. Kathlehong
: Three SAP members were killed and three wounded when their vehicle
was attacked with AK-47 rifles and 9 mm pistols.
b. 28 November 1992. King Williamstown
: Four persons were killed and 17 were wounded during an attack
on a golf club, in which R-4 and R-5 rifles, petrol bombs and
hand grenades were used.
c. 5 December 1992. Queenstown
: A limpet mine exploded in a restaurant. One person was killed
and 19 were injured.
d. 1 May 1993. East London
: Four persons were killed in an attack on Highgate Hotel; an
AK-47 rifle and a F-1 hand grenades were used.
e. 25 July 1993. Cape Town
: Eleven people were killed in an attack on St James' Church.
AK-47 and R-5 rifles and hand grenades were used. Carl Zimbiri
and another person admitted responsibility.
f. 4 September 1993. Ladybrand
: R1 million in damage was caused in an attack on a hotel. Automatic
weapons, petrol bombs and hand grenades were used. Carl Zimbiri
and Ropa Honda admitted responsibility.
g. 30 December 1993. Observatory,
Cape Town : Four persons were killed and five were injured in
an attack with R-4 rifles and a rifle grenade on Heidelberg Tavern.
Carl Joma accepted responsibility.
ESCALATION OF THE PEOPLE'S WAR
: INTERNAL UNREST
38. In 1981, promotion of unrest in
schools and the labour force as well as targeted actions by MK
were the main components of the "People's War". In 1985/86
activities in these fields were intensified and expanded to efforts
to disrupt health services and administration of justice, to undermine
the SADF, to organise mass action and create so-called "liberated
areas" in the townships.
39. By September 1985, the ANC alliance
had established a support infrastructure in the neighbouring states,
especially Mozambique and Swaziland, for the smuggling of arms,
ammunition and explosives into the RSA.
40. MK members integrated inside South
Africa with the so-called "mass combat units", to give
substance to the "People's War." By August 1992, an
estimated 1500 MK members had been identified in these actions,
and by August 1993, an estimated 6500 MK members were involved
in integrated actions of this kind.
41. By August 1986 the ANC alliance
was mobilizing resistance amongst the youth, students, women,
labour and religious groups. National structures such as the National
Education Crisis Committee (NECC), COSATU, and a number of youth
and women's organizations, were created to ensure co-ordinated
42. In September 1984 the UDF called
for a change of emphasis from passive resistance to more militant
and violent action. By 1984, the UDF had established regional
organizations in the Western and Eastern Cape, Border, Transvaal,
Natal and Northern Transvaal. UDF planning in September 1985 aimed
at the creation of a situation of ungovernability, and at the
establishment of "people's power".
43. Three periods can be identified
in the development of internal unrest :
a. June 1976 to 31 August 1984
i. In 1980/81, the country was ravaged
by unrest at schools, with the Eastern and Western Cape as the
focal points. On 6 October 1980, for instance, 19 000 pupils
in Port Elizabeth were evicted from their classes by radical students.
ii. The economy suffered extensive
strikes in Western and Eastern Cape, Durban and the PWV area in
1980/81. In 1980 there were 207 strikes in the RSA and 282 between
1 January and 31 August 1981.
iii. The increase in rent and service
fees in Soweto in August 1980 led to extensive violence in October
and November 1980.
b. 1 September 1984 to 31 August
i. Approximately 48 000 incidents
of unrest and rioting occurred in the RSA in this period. There
were high levels of unrest between 3 September 1984 and 31 August
1986, after which the situation levelled off and a relative low
was experienced in 1988/89. From September 1989 to 31 August
1994, however, incidents of unrest increased sharply.
ii. Violent conflicts between supporters
of the UDF, Black Power and Pan-Africanist organizations occurred
in Eastern Cape and between the UDF and Inkatha in the Durban
area. The conflict between Inkatha and the ANC/UDF later spread
to Pietermaritzburg, the Natal Midlands and Northern Natal. By
August 1989, more than 60 per cent of all politically motivated
violence in the RSA occurred in Natal.
iii. Between 1 September 1984 and
31 August 1989 the following property was destroyed or extensively
damaged during rioting:
(1) 7187 private homes, mainly
in townships, and including 1084 homes of members of the SA Police
(up to June 1980).
(2) 1779 schools.
(3) 1265 shops and factories.
(4) 81 offices, mainly of third tier
authorities (up to June 1990).
(5) 66 post offices (up to 30 June 1990).
churches (up to 30 June 1990).
clinics (up to 30 June 1990).
private delivery vehicles.
vehicles of the SA Police.
trains (up to 30 June 1990).
iv. From 1 September 1985 to 31 August
1986, damage of approximately R90,54 million was caused in riots.
v. From 1 September 1984 to 31 August
1989, 399 persons were "necklaced" and 372 died when
their homes or their persons were doused with fuel and set alight.
vi. On average 271 schools were subject
to boycotts each day in September 1985, 351 in April 1986 and
219 in August 1986.
vii. The involvement of MK internally
established in the townships was confirmed. In March 1986, seven
MK members were killed in anti-riot actions in Guguletu near Cape
Town. They were all also registered members of the Cape Youth
Congress, which was among the organisations responsible for organising
c. 1 September 1989 to 31 August
i. The development of internal unrest
during this period must be seen against the background of the
prevailing political/ military negotiations, the transitional
period and the run-up to the general elections on 27 April 1994.
ii. Incidents of unrest increased from
1989 to 1994 on the following lines; 8337 in 1989, 15772 in 1990,
13592 in 1991, 12780 in 1992, 16066 in 1993 and 8154 up to 30
April 1994. By April 1994, KwaZulu/Natal and the East Rand were
experiencing the highest incidence of violence, while relatively
low levels were reported in Western and Eastern Cape.
BLACK ON BLACK VIOLENCE
44. Three dimensions can be distinguished:
a. The violent conflict between the
Charterists and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu/Natal
and on the East Rand.
b. The rivalry which existed between
factions of the ANC and PAC in general.
c. Violent actions undertaken to neutralize/destroy
local authorities in the townships, by intimidating these authorities
through murders, necklacing, the setting alight of homes, petrol
bombing and armed attacks. Alternative political ("Civics"),
para-military (SDUs/SPUs) and legal ("People's Courts")
structures were put in place. The townships were regarded as
"no-go" or "liberated" areas. Murders, including
necklacing and fire bombing of houses with their inhabitants inside
and the destruction of private property characterised the strategy
employed in establishing and consolidating control in the so-called
45. Between 1 January 1990 and 31 December
1990, 2109 petrol bombings, 1009 incidents of arson, 1369 murders,
182 hand grenade attacks and 71 explosions, related to this campaign,
were recorded in the RSA. During the same period, 666 members
of the security forces were killed and 635 were injured, 202 rioters
were killed by the security forces and 2377 civilians were killed
while 2396 were injured by rioters.
46. Between 31 August 1985 and 30 September
1993 the position of third tier (local) authorities worsened dramatically
47. By September 1993 the SDUs/SPUs
had become the main elements involved in actions to destabilise
the townships in the RSA, Ciskei, Boputhatswana and the self-governing
states. The use of grenades, other small arms, necklaces and
arson characterised the "struggle" in the townships.
Growing numbers of SDU/SPU members were trained in the handling
of hand grenades and arms by MK, in both urban and rural areas.
48. During the period 1 September 1990
to 31 August 1994, 12921 persons were killed.
ACTIONS AGAINST SECURITY FORCES
49. Members of the security forces were
also particular targets especially in the townships. Between 1
September 1984 and 31 August 1990, 13540 attacks against members
of the security forces were recorded and between 1990 and 1994,
another 7078. Between 1 September 1990 and 31 August 1994, 756
members of the security forces were killed.
FAR RIGHT WING INVOLVEMENT IN
50. From 1990, far right wing organizations
were also involved in various incidents in the RSA. These actions
were aimed at all parties involved in the process of transformation.
51. The more important incidents were
a. May 1990. A bomb explosion
at COSATU offices in Rustenburg.
b. June 1990. A bomb explosion
at the National Party offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg
d. July 1990. An ambush of a
bus near KwaMashu, Durban. 7 people killed and 27 injured.
e. July 1991. A bomb explosion
at Hillview High School in Pretoria.
f. April 1992. Explosion at the
Rand Show, Johannesburg. 9 people injured.
g. September 1993. A bomb explosion
at a shopping centre in Bronkhorstspruit.
SMUGGLING OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION
52. Violent actions by the ANC, APLA,
the IFP, right wing organizations and organized crime resulted
in a sharp rise in the demand for arms and ammunition, which were
chiefly smuggled to the RSA from Mozambique, either directly,
or via Swaziland; and via Namibia from Angola. Members of all
the above organizations were arrested and charged with smuggling
arms and illegal possession of arms and ammunition.
53. The numbers of incidents concerning
the smuggling of weapons between 1990 and 1994 were as follows
(SA Police figures):
a. 1990 : 7315
b. 1991 : 9702
c. 1992 : 10566
d. 1993 : 9543
e. 1994 : 8808
ORGANISATION AND FUNCTIONS OF THE
SA DEFENCE FORCE
Appendix A : Organisation of the SADF
B : Organisation of the SA Army
C : Organisation of Wit Command
D : Organisation of the SAAF
E : Organisation of the SAN
F : Organisation of the SAMS
G : Organisation of Special Forces
H : Organisation of MID
ORGANISATION IN BROAD OUTLINE
1. Introduction. The SA Defence Force
was a monolithic (one commander) organisation under the military
command of the Chief of the Defence Force (CSADF) who was accountable
to the Minister of Defence for implementing the South African
government's Defence policy. The Minister, therefore, was responsible
for the political control of the force while the CSADF was responsible
for its employment. (See Appendix A for the Organisation of the
2. Command. The supreme command of
the SADF was vested in the State President in terms of the Constitution
but all normal command functions were carried out by CSADF. Command
is the function of giving orders along the command line to subordinate
commanders, who in turn interpret them and give orders to their
subordinate commanders until the lowest level of command is reached.
The line of command is shown in red on the transparencies.
3. Supporting Services. The CSADF was
assisted by certain supporting services under his command that
provided him with specialist support iro their particular disciplines.
They are indicated in blue on the transparencies.
4. Staff Organisations. The CSADF was
assisted in his command function by staff divisions each in respect
of its own particular specialist function. They are indicated
in green on the transparencies. On SADF headquarters level the
Staff organisations performed certain limited executive functions
on behalf of the CSADF:
a. The Personnel Division was responsible for
controlling the personnel matters in the SADF.
b. The Intelligence Division was responsible
for intelligence related services in the SADF. It will be dealt
with in more detail in paragraph 9.
c. The Operations Division was responsible
for overall control and co-ordination of operational planning
in the SADF.
d. The Logistics Division was responsible for
the overall control and co-ordination of logistic planning and
logistic support in the SADF.
e. The Finance Division was responsible for
the overall control of financial matters and the co-ordination
of the budgeting process in the SADF. It had no command function
but exercised control over the Computer Information Service in
f. The Planning Division was responsible for
strategic and long-term planning in the SADF which covered aspects
such as force development and economic utilisation of resources
within the context of the external environment.
5. The Main Functions of the SADF
i. The employment of the SADForganisation
or parts thereof
(1) on service in defence of the Republic;
(2) on service in the prevention or suppression of terrorism;
(3) on service in the prevention or suppression of internal disorder in the Republic;
(4) on service in the conservation of lives,
health or property or in the maintenance of essential services.
ii. Service in pursuance of those police duties
mentioned in Sec 5 of the Police Act, 1959 (Act No 7 of 1959)
as may be prescribed.
b. The execution of the services mentioned
in the preceding sub-paragraph was delegated to the Arms of the
Service mentioned in paragraphs 6 to 8.
7. The Role, Functions and Organisation
of the SA Army
a. The SA Army, commanded by the Chief of the
Army (C Army), was responsible for the national safety of the
RSA and SWA within the Army context with the following functions
i. Observing and evaluating the nature and
extent of the threat as far as the involvement of the SA Army
is concerned. (The Army's own intelligence function).
ii. Developing a credible deterrent capability
to discourage landward conventional onslaughts and insurgency.
(Force development and training functions).
iii. Providing the landward defence of the RSA.
iv. Engaging in the land battle in co-operation
with other combat services.
v. Preventing and suppressing internal unrest
in support of the SA Police and assisting them in maintaining
law and order.
vii Providing emergency relief during disasters
or emergencies and maintaining essential services under such conditions
b. The Army was organised along the same lines
as the SADF at headquarters level iro the staff divisions. (See
Appendix B). The CArmy commanded a vast force, consisting of
full-time and part-time soldiers organised into a conventional
force for the landward defence of the country, a territorially
organised counterinsurgency force to support the SA Police, a
SWA Command with a SWA Territory Force for employment in SWA and
Southern Angola, as well as certain functional support commands
and training establishments.
c. The SA Army's policy on training required
that all conventional forces be double trained, i.e. in their
conventional role as the primary function consideration and in
counterinsurgency as a secondary function. This policy ensured
that when there was a shortage of forces for counterinsurgency
tasks in support of the SAP, these primarily conventionally trained
troops could be and were employed, e.g. maintaining law and order
or on the prevention and suppression of internal unrest. The
shortages of troops resulted from the vast number of troops that
were required for operations in SWA and Angola especially in the
years from 1985 to 1989.
d. In respect of the organisation of the SA
Army, the line of command ran through each of the 10 territorial
command headquarters, to a number of group headquarters in each
territorial command and then to the units. See Appendix C for
the organisation of Witwatersrand Command as an example of a typical
6. The SA Air Force (SAAF)
a. The SAAF, organised as shown at Appendix
D, had as its aim to provide an air capability for attaining the
security objectives of the RSA with the following functions:
i. To secure a favourable air situation.
ii. To participate in the land battle.
iii. To patrol the RSA coastline in co-operation
with the SA Navy.
iv. To provide air support to the SA Police
v. To provide air support to other organisations
during disasters and emergencies.
vi. To participate in search and rescue operations
b. The SAAF was commanded by the Chief of the
Air Force (CAF) assisted by a headquarters with similar staff
divisions to the SADF. The SAAF was organised into:
ii. Southern Air Command (Cape Town).
It controlled operations in support of the Navy in coastal waters
and operations in the Eastern Province, Southern and Western Cape.
iii. Western Air Command. It controlled
all air operations in the old SWA and Southern Angola in support
of the SA Army, SWA Territory Force and SAP.
iv. Air Logistic Command and Training Command.
It controlled Air Logistic support and Air Force Training.
v. Airspace Control Command. It controlled
Air Defence and Air Traffic Control in the main threat area.
vi. Tactical Support Command was responsible
for ground support and providing air base facilities when the
Air Force was to operate from airfields other than SAAF bases
and where facilities did not exist.
8. The SA Navy (SAN)
a. The SAN, organised as shown at Appendix
E, had as its aim to defend the RSA against maritime threats and
attacks, to support landward operations and to assist in safeguarding
the maritime assets. The main functions of the SAN were:
i. Naval operations, either independently or
in conjunction with the other combat services.
ii. Counterinsurgency operations in the Naval areas in the Cape, Natal and Walvis Bay.
iii. Relief during situations of distress as
well as to assist in search and rescue operations, when required.
b. The SAN was commanded by the Chief of the
Navy (C Navy) assisted by a headquarters with similar staff divisions
to the SADF and was organised as follows:
i. A Western Naval Command with its Headquarters
in Simon's Town and with under command bases, units and ships
mainly in the Cape, but also further afield in Walvis Bay and
ii. An Eastern Naval Command with its Headquarters
in Durban with under command bases and units in Natal, the Eastern
Cape and Transvaal.
iii. Support units directly under command of
Naval Headquarters situated in the Cape and Durban.
9. The SA Medical Service (SAMS)
a. The SAMS, organised as shown at Appendix
F, had as its aim the provision of medical and related support
to the SADF and other organisations with the following functions:
i. To execute medical and related supporting
ii. To render a military psychological service
to the SADF.
iii. To undertake specified medical selection
for the SADF.
iv. To provide medical supplies to the SADF
and other prescribed organisations.
b. The SAMS was commanded by the Surgeon General
assisted by a similar staff organisation in his headquarters to
those of the other Arms of the Service with the addition of a
Chief of Medical Staff Professional Services. The SAMS was organised
i. Divided into seven regional medical commands
within the RSA responsible for providing medical support to all
other SADF units and personnel in those regions.
ii. A SWA Medical Command to support the SADF
and SWA TF units and personnel in SWA and Southern Angola.
iii. A Medical Training Command.
iv. No 1 Military Hospital and 7 Medical Battalion
Group directly under SAMS HQ.
v. Nos 2 and 3 Military Hospitals and various
other medical units and establishments under command of the various
10. Special Forces
a. It is an internationally accepted practice
to have an organisation or organisations in military forces which
are capable of carrying out special military tasks. These require
such skills and are usually carried out under such risky circumstances
that normally trained soldiers, airmen and sailors are not able
to perform them. Such organisations, e.g. the British Special
Air Service and Special Boat Squad, Royal Marine Commandos or
United States Special Forces are generally known by the name of
Special Forces. The SADF also had such an organisation, known
as such, and commanded by the General Officer Commanding Special
Forces (GOC Spec Forces). See Appendix G for the organisation
of Special Forces.
b. The GOC Spec Forces was assisted in his
command function by a headquarters similar to those already described.
Special Forces was organised as follows:
i. 1 Reconnaissance Regiment was an airborne
(paratroop) special forces regiment specialising in external landward
actions mainly in the conventional warfare role.
ii. 2 Reconnaissance Regiment, a Citizen Force
(part-time) organisation, did not operate as an independent unit.
Members of this unit were utilized individually as specialists
to supplement other units.
iii. 4 Reconnaissance Regiment was a seaborne
special forces regiment specialising in seaborne operations.
iv. 5 Reconnaissance Regiment was a landward
(also airborne) special forces regiment. It specialised in counter-revolutionary
v. During 1985/86 the ANC changed its tactics
by intensifying its underground and unconventional methods both
externally and internally, as discussed in Part 2. This led the
SADF to counter the changing threat and establish a new subdivision
of Special Forces called the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) in
May 1986. Civilian and demilitarised personnel from various sources
were appointed under contract to form the CCB. The CCB was investigated
by the Harms Commission. No documentation other than that contained
in the records of the Harms Commission is believed to exist. At
the time of the drafting of this submission the Harms Commission
records were not available to the Nodal Point. It is believed
that they are available to the TRC. The TRC's attention is drawn
to the evidence pertaining to the mandate, composition and functions
of the CCB. CCB activities were terminated in April 1990 and
the organisation was finally closed in February 1994.
11. Intelligence Staff Division: Military
Intelligence Division (MID)
a. MID was the intelligence staff component
of the SADF and had as its aim the provision of customised military
intelligence services to enhance effective decision making in
support of the Department of Defence (DOD). According to the
White Papers of 1984 and 1990 the mission of MID was to determine
the nature, extent and time scale of the military threat against
b. The functions of the MID were to:
i. provide strategic military intelligence
to the DOD and the National Interpretation Branch of the SSC;
ii. provide counterintelligence to the DOD;
iii. coordinate, and in certain instances conduct,
intelligence operations for the SADF;
iv. collect intelligence covertly for the DOD,
v. Military diplomacy.
c. The organisation of MID is shown in Appendix
H. It is important to note that:
i. Chief Directorate Intelligence Operations
was responsible for special intelligence projects. For more
detail see Part 5. Remark. This chief directorate was
terminated in 1992.
ii. Directorate Covert Collection (DCC) was
responsible for the collection of military related information
in a covert manner. Remark. DCC collected information
as requested by its clients and had no executive power.
12. Participation in the National Joint
Management System. The SADF played an important part in the
National Joint Management System on all levels.
a. National Level. The Minister of
Defence and CSADF served on the State Security Council (SSC) and
the CSADF on the Working Committee of the SSC. Several SADF officers
served on the Secretariat of the SSC while there was a SADF representative
on almost every functional inter-departmental committee or working
b. Regional Level. In each of the regions
in which a SA Army Command Headquarters was situated, a Joint
Management Centre was established and the Army Commander served
on the body, often as chairman. On the subcommittees the SADF
was represented by Staff Officers of the Command Headquarters.
c. Local Level. Group commanders or
senior unit commanders served on Local Management Committees or
Liaison Committees responsible for joint planning iro local areas.
13. Joint Planning iro Independent States.
Four Joint Management Boards (JMB) iro the Independent States
were established for coordinating Security Management. They were
established in :
a. Far North Command iro Venda.
b. North Western Command.
c. EP Command iro Transkei and Ciskei.
14. It must be stressed that assistance to
the SA Police in the Internal role was a secondary role of the
SADF. During the same period, which is being covered, the SADF
was involved in operations in SWA and Southern Angola, which was
part of its primary role. It consumed a large portion of the
SADF's effort and much of the time of senior commanders.
1. As explained in Part 1, the RSA Government's
National Security Strategy was based on the concepts of cooperative
co-existence, non-alignment, self-determination and self-sufficiency,
deterrence, cross-border operations, support to anti-Marxist resistance
movements in neighbouring states, counter-revolutionary movements
and the maintenance of law and order. The RSA Government made
it clear that the RSA was not pursuing a policy of aggression
against any state or group of states, or contemplating any territorial
expansion, but that the RSA would defend its people against any
threat. In this regard the security forces should have the means
to preserve the highest democratic body, i.e. Parliament and
afford it an opportunity to bring about changes to the RSA's
political dispensation in an evolutionary way, so as to meet the
constitutional and cultural needs of its peoples. The SADF was
pre-eminently a peacekeeping task force, but owing to the perceived
threat and the increasing instability in Southern Africa, the
SADF strategy was directed at ensuring the security of the people
of the RSA by taking offensive pro-active steps.
2. SADF Strategy was based on the Defence
Act, 1957 (Act 44 of 1957) and strategic guidelines from the SSC.
This strategy stated clearly that :
a. no component of the SADF strategy
existed independently from the national strategy or any other
guidelines or commands of the State Security Council. Components
of the SADF strategy were established as a result of a national
b. if the SADF identified a need for
a national strategy or guidelines, the Chief of the SADF (CSADF)
should take the matter up with the WG (Working Group) and/or
the SSC, or through the SADF representative on the IDCs (Interdepartmental
Committees), or CSADF should take the matter up with the SSSC
(Secretary of the SSC).
3. The RSA Government's policy guideline
to the SADF was that the RSA's national security interests should
be furthered through a pro-active posture. This strategy emphasized
that the promotion, development and maintenance of the national
security interests of the RSA should be achieved through military
actions, primarily outside the borders of the RSA.
4. The SADF Strategy made provision
that the SADF must have the ability to exercise the following
a. In the SADF's Area of Responsibility
the SADF must be in a position to
i. conduct conventional military operations;
iii. conduct intelligence;
iv. conduct strategic communication operations; and
v. support the SAP in maintaining law
b. In the SADF Area of Influence the
SADF must be in a position to conduct
i. restricted conventional operations
in support of counterinsurgency operations;
ii. special and retaliation operations;
iii. conventional pre-emptive operations;
iv. full-scale conventional operations, if necessary;
v. intelligence; and
vi. strategic communication operations.
i. exercise special and retaliatory
ii. exercise air and maritime reconnaissance;
iii. deploy ground forces (restricted),
iv. render air and maritime support
to friendly governments
5. The SADF Strategy also made provision
for the conflict in Namibia/Angola, but this will not be discussed
in this submission.
THE STATE OF EMERGENCY
6. In July 1985 the RSA government felt
compelled to declare a State of Emergency in 36 magisterial
districts in terms of the Public Safety Act of 1953 and
the security forces were given increased powers to deal with
the situation. Mr Botha said in his statement that it was the
duty of the state to ensure that a normal community life be re-established
and that the situation be normalised in such a way that the climate
for continued dialogue be ensured.
7. To cope with the unrest and the
state of emergency, the powers of the SADF in support of the SAP
were extended in December 1985. The Government Gazette stipulated
that members of the SADF who were to be used in connection with
any police function would have the same duties as conferred or
imposed upon a member of the SAP.
8. In July 1986 a national state of
emergency was declared, and which was extended annually until
FORECAST OF OPERATIONS
9. One of the first SADF strategic documents
was the Forecast of Operations, approved by the Chief of the SADF
in August 1980. This document was updated annually. The Forecast
of Operations included the objectives and tasks set out in the
National Strategy and the Strategy for Southern Africa. It served
as the point of departure for force design and development and
the operational planning of the SADF. It also detailed the operational
responsibilities of the Arms of the Service.
10. After 1980, the forecast document
was followed by more specific strategies and guidelines on the
basis of the national directives. The defence strategies were
once again based on the total strategies cited above. These
documents were compiled by the staff of the Chief of the SADF
for approval by C SADF and were disseminated in the form of Military
Strategic Documents (MSDs). Each Arm of the Service within the
SADF was responsible for strategic planning and, after approval,
for implementation in accordance with that Service's role and
SADF PLANNING PROCESS
11. The process through which a military
plan is reached entails the following steps:
a. Initiation of Planning for an Operation. The planning can be initiated by the executor, or be given to him as an order. A study is done to determine the necessity to carry out the operation.
b. The Formulation of a Feasibility
Study/Broad Plan. The chief executor makes an appreciation
in which all relevant factors and restrictions are evaluated in
order to determine whether the envisaged operation is feasible
c. Approval in Principle of Envisaged
Operation. The plan in broad outline is presented to the
relevant commander, who approves further planning.
d. Operational Guidelines. This
serves as a framework within which further planning is done.
e. Coordinating Conferences.
These conferences are held from time to time in order to formulate
f. Approval of Final Plan. The
final plan, including the support plans, are presented to the
relevant commander for approval.
g. Issue of Operational Orders/Instructions.
Written Operational Orders/Instructions are issued to all parties
involved in the execution of the operation.
h. Progress of Operations. Higher
Headquarters are at all times to be kept informed of the progress
of all operations.
i. Debriefing. A debriefing
is held after the conclusion of the operation.
AUTHORISATION FOR SECURITY ACTIONS
12. The role and functions of the SADF,
are set out in section 3 of the Defence Act, 1957, as amended,
provided for the Defence Force to be placed in service in defence
of the RSA in the prevention or suppression of terrorism; in the
prevention or suppression of internal disorder in the RSA and
in the preservation of life, health or property; or the maintenance
of essential services. (For more detail see Part 3).
13. Specific authorisation for the conduct
of security operations derived from policies, strategies, directives,
guidelines and instructions issued at national and departmental
level. Each Arm of the Service of the SADF had specific responsibilities
and authority, e.g.
a. the SA Army was responsible for the
conduct of the land battle and internal security operations in
support of the SAP;
b. the SA Air Force was responsible
for the air battle and internal security operations in support
of the Army and the SAP; and
c. the Navy was responsible for seaward
14. Specific actions and operations
were authorised in departmental policies, strategies and directives.
15. The division of responsibility between
the SADF and the SA Police (SAP) for the conduct of internal operation,
was set out in a policy directive approved by the Prime Minister
in December 1979 and amended from time to time. Inside South Africa,
the SAP had primary responsibility for urban operations, while
the SADF was responsible for rural operations and border protection.
16. On the regional level, the responsibility
and authority for the conduct of operations was granted in specific
command directives and guidelines applicable to the territorial
commands of the Army and military units. This meant that regional
commanders had authority and responsibility for the conduct of
military operations within their regions, in accordance with approved
defence policy, strategies and directives.
17. The co-ordination of interdepartmental
actions and operations at the regional and local levels was effected
through the National Security Management System. This provided
for numerous Joint Management Centres (JMCs), made up of the senior
representatives of the relevant departments at those levels.
18. In the context of regional security,
the JMCs were responsible for ensuring stability and security
in their areas and for normalising the local situation. Authority
and accountability were based on the line functions of each department.
(For more detail see Part 3).
OPERATIONS OUTSIDE THE BORDERS
OF THE RSA
19. Authority for the conduct of operations
outside the borders of the RSA was contained in a directive approved
by the SSC in 1979. These guidelines were initially compiled to
provide for operations in southern Angola and were later amended
to include other areas.
20. In essence, the directive limited
the authority of the Chief of the SADF to immediate hot pursuit
(cross-border) operations, while the Minister of Defence could
approve reconnaissance into neighbouring areas. The planning
for all other military actions beyond the borders of the RSA and
SWA/Namibia had to be referred to the Chairman of the SSC for
his decision, in consultation with those members of the SSC he
decided to involve.
DEFENCE FORCE OPERATIONS
1. As explained in the previous parts,
and in accordance with the National Security Strategy and the
SA Defence Force Strategy the SADF undertook several operations.
(For the authorisation see Part 4). It should be stressed that
the list of operations, as set out in this Section, may not be
2. The SA Army became involved in combating
internal unrest in the RSA on a meaningful scale only during the
early 1980s. This involvement gradually escalated after serious
unrest broke out in the Vaal triangle during September 1984. The
most important areas of deployment were the Witwatersrand, Natal,
the Eastern Cape and the townships in the Cape Town area. Unrest
in the Witwatersrand and Natal were further complicated by the
conflict between Inkatha and ANC-aligned organisations.
3. The SA Army rarely operated independently of the SA Police in the RSA and then only in the self-governing national states - Lebowa, Gazankulu, Kwazulu, Kwangane, Qwa-Qwa and Kwa Ndebele. All other SA Army actions were undertaken in support of the SA Police. These consisted mainly of roadblocks and cordon-and-search operations or the provision of reserve forces. Most operations were ongoing and given the following code-names which were changed from time to time:
a. Border Control
i. Operations PEBBLE and PORCELAIN
- to protect all international borders;
ii. Operation INTEXO - to monitor the
electric border control fence on the RSA/Mozambique border; and
iii. Operation LONGLIFE - to assist
the SA Police against cattle rustling along the Mozambique border.
b. Internal Security
i. Operation XENON, REDEYE,TANTO and
PAAL - to support the SA Police in combating general unrest throughout
ii. Operations EARDRUM, PHOENIX and
PIKADEL - to support the SA Police in combating internal unrest
in specific areas of Natal, the Eastern Cape and in the Witwatersrand
iii. Operations BUTTARD, HOPSCOTCH,
SPIDER and ZIGZAG - to support the SA Police in recovering illegal
weapons and to combat gun-running especially in Natal; and
iv. Operations CONTROL and NAIL - to
deploy roadblocks by air in various parts of the country in support
of SA Police operations.
c. Self-governing States. Operations
QUEST and WINDMEUL - to combat unrest in support of the authorities
of the self-governing states mentioned in paragraph 3.
CHRONOLOGY OF OPERATIONS
4. The following chronology gives an
indication of the types of operations undertaken and of the number
of Army troops deployed internally from 1980 onwards:
1755 Men for roadblocks
30 Men for cordon and search
140 Men for roadblocks
Jun - Dec 1980
2050 Men per month for the protection of National Key Points (NKPs) throughout the country
20 Mar - 16 Apr 1981
Approximately one brigade for cordon and search in Soweto.
Mar - Jun 1981
480 Men per month for cordon and search.
620 Men per month for roadblocks countrywide.
1060 Men per month for the protection of NKPs.
25 Apr - 10 Mar 1981
6 Companies for cordon and search in Soweto.
15 May - 11 Jun 1981
Cordon and search in Krugersdorp, Magaliesburg and the East Rand
15/16 May 1981
Cordon and search at Meadowlands Hostel
17 May 1981
Cordon operation at Mondeor
27 May - Jun 1981
Operations in support of SAP in Western Province Command, Witwatersrand Command, Kimberley and Queenstown
27 Jul - 5 Jul 1981
Road movement by a squadron to NKP power stations in Eastern Transvaal
30 Nov - 10 Dec 1981
Road movement by a mechanized company to discourage ANC(MK) presence in the Eastern Transvaal
27 Jul 1984
Operations to protect duty buses and buildings occupied by the SADF.
3-5 Aug 1984
16-17 Aug 1984
Countrywide roadblocks to safeguard polling stations
4 Sep 1984
Approximately 700 troops made available to assist SAP in unrest control in the Vaal triangle.
13 Sep 1984
Northern Transvaal Command issues instructions that duty bus sentries be armed.
19 Oct 1984
SADF placed into service by Presidential order to combat unrest
22 Oct 1984
Operation PALMIET: Cordon and search by approximately 5000 troops in Sebokeng and Boipatong
3/4 Nov 1984
Countrywide roadblocks in view of stay away-action on 5 and 6 Nov 1984
13 Nov - 13 Des 1984
Simultaneous countrywide action in support of SAP in townships.
6-9 Jan 1985
Countrywide roadblocks to address deteriorating internal situation, especially in Eastern Cape
16/17 Feb 1985
Witwatersrand Command Reaction Force in support of SAP to recover arms in Suurbekom
22-28 Mar 1985
SADF become involved on a large scale in support of SAP in combating unrest, spreading to total areas. SADF formally ordered into service by the Minister of Defence to combat unrest, and given additional powers throughout RSA on 28 Mar
18 Apr 1985
Man shot and killed by Army patrol during unrest in Nyanga
3/4 May 1985
Cordon and search in Kwandabuhle, Eastern Province
5 Sep 1985
In terms of Operational Instruction 15/85, the SADF assumes responsibility for border protection in Eastern Transvaal. (Army does protection tasks and police policing)
Operation PEBBLE: SADF assumes border control ops from SAP in Eastern Transvaal. Remark. Operation PEBBLE was initiated in Eastern Transvaal and expanded during 1985 to Transvaal, Northern Natal and Eastern Free State along international borders.
13 Oct 1985
Army sergeant stabbed to death after giving chase to a rioter on the East Rand
Three MK cadres killed in follow -up after rocket attack on Secunda
4 Dec 1985
Driver of minibus wounded, captured and handed over to Police after he threw a grenade at SA Army Buffel vehicle in Wit Command area
31 Dec 1985
Hitchhiker who threw stones at vehicles is shot through arm in Witwatersrand area
20 Jan 1986
SA Army force levels increased after landmine incidents in Far Northern Command
31 Mar 1986
Operation PEBBLE. 16 Companies deployed. Result of operation: 2615 Illegal immigrants arrested. Estimated to be only 20% of total number of illegal entrants.
16-18 Apr 1986
Operation LUIS. Cordon and search in support of SA Police in Lamontville, Chesterville and Kwa Mashu, Durban
10/11 May 1986
Cordon and search by SADF in support of SAP in Alexandra
SA Army take over overall responsibility for border protection from SA Police
29 Jul 1986
High density operation in Tembisa and Alexandra in support of SA Police
Brigade deployed in Eastern Transvaal for almost three months in stabilization role
23 Mar 1989
Operation SKAAP. SA Army actions in support of SA Police in Eastern Transvaal against possible MK infiltrators from Swaziland
24 Jul 1989
SADF deployment in terms of National Joint Operation Centre's guidelines for the curtailment of the Defiance Campaign's effort to disrupt the election on 6 September . Operations include patrols, roadblocks and cordon and searches
31 Mar 1989
Operation PEBBLE. Deployment N-Tvl - 5 Companies, Natal - 2 Companies, E Tvl - 5 Companies, OFS - 1 Company, NW - 1 Platoon, N Cape - 1 Company.
Operation XENON Deployment. Between 25 and 52 Companies per month for the year Apr 88 - Mar 89.
Operation WINDMEUL Deployment. (Lebowa, Kangwane and Kwandebele) - 7/8 Companies per month
1-2 Feb 1990
In Operational Instructions 1/90 and 2/90 the SADF was ordered to withdraw from the townships in which it was deployed but be ready to support the SA Police on request, if unrest were to break out after the speech of the State President on 1 Feb and the release of Mr Mandela
12-14 Mar 1990
Show of force in Venda by 14 Ratel Infantry vehicles
30 Mar 1990
Army's border protection plan. First filter - the border fence. Second Filter - patrols and roadblocks. Third filter - arrests inside country
4 Apr 1990
Operation EARDRUM: Natal Command plan to stabilize situation in Natal - ongoing
17/18 May 1990
Cordon and search in Welkom
22/23 May 1990
Cordon and search in Welkom
21 May 1990
Operation PORCELAIN. Border control excluding Far Northern Command Borders. Deployed - 3155. On Standby - 2576.
Operation QUEST. Stabilization in Self Governing areas. 1492 Deployed.
Operation EARDRUM. Stabilization in KwaZulu/Natal. 3105 Deployed.
Operation REDEYE. To support SA Police in curtailing unrest and terror activities in urban areas.
Deployed - 1248. Standby - 4874.
TOTAL 10450 (Deployed - 9000. Standby 7450)
1 Aug 1990
Operation LONGHORN. Cordon and search in Sebokeng
7 Dec 1990
SA Army takes over search responsibility at certain border posts from SAP
11 Mar 1991
Patrols and cordon and search at the IFP hostel in Alexandra
12 Mar 1991
A suspect who escaped from SAP custody during a cordon in Witwatersrand command area was shot and killed
4/5 May 1991
High-density operation in Alexandra and Soweto
13-21 Jul 1991
High-density operation near Richmond, Natal
2 Jan 1992
One person killed and two escaped during an incident at the Army base at Zebedelia
13-19 Mar 92
Operation BUTTARD. Combined SAP/SADF operation to trace illegal weapons
4 Sep - 15 Dec 1992
Operation DIVER. Stabilization and support in Ciskei
2-24 Oct 1992
Operation HOPSCOTCH. Several high density operations in Natal to patrol intensively, trace weapons and maintain a high profile
1 Jul 1993
SA Army places a cordon around the World Trade Centre. All demonstrations to be contained
5-8 Aug 1993
Operation REGTER. Roadblocks and reaction force provided for SA Police during AWB ceremony in Schweizer Reineke
1 Sep 1993
Operation BAKKOP. North Western Command Task Force deployed in support of SAP at ceremony in Sannieshof
15 Dec 1993
Operation in support of SAP to search for weapon at Monatse pass
5. The following external operations
were carried out against ANC(MK) and PAC (APLA) bases and facilities
a. Mozambique : 30 January 1981.
An attack on the ANC Headquarters in the Matola area, Mozambique.
b. Lesotho : 9 December 1982 An attack on ANC facilities in Maseru,
c. Mozambique : 17 October 1983.
An attack on an ANC planning facility close to the official residence
of the President of Mozambique in Maputo.
d. Botswana : 14 June 1985.
An attack on eight houses and two offices of the ANC (Western
Front) in Gaberone.
e. Botswana and Zimbabwe : 19 May 1986. Attacks on an ANC transit
facility and an operational centre in Gaberone; as well as an office
and a house used for transit purposes
f. Botswana : 28 March 1988. An attack on an ANC transit facility in
g. Transkei : 17 October 1993.
An attack on a PAC transit facility in Umtata.
SA AIR FORCE (SAAF) OPERATIONS
6. Throughout the seventies and eighties,
SAAF operations were carried out on an ongoing basis. Operations
carried out in support of and in conjunction with, other arms
of service or the Police are defined as joint operations and those
in which only the SAAF took part, as autonomous operations.
7. The planning and execution of operations
were decentralized at SAAF Command level after authorization was
obtained from SAAF Headquarters. The threat situation within
each Command determined the amount of air support required and
used. External operations were planned jointly through the SADF's
Operations Division and submitted for approval at the appropriate
8. By the end of the 1980s, the
deterioration of the security situation called for a more structured,
formalized reaction by the security forces to counter threats.
Extensive air support was provided for the following operations
a. Operation ACCLAIM. To assist
the SA Police with crime prevention.
b. Operation ALWYN. To assist
the SA Police to control the RSA/Lesotho borders for crime prevention
and stock theft.
c Operation VENTIC. To assist
the SA Police in maintaining law and order during mass action.
d. Operation HANDEVAT. To assist
the SA Police in crime prevention.
e. Operation NOORDER. To assist
the Department of Foreign Affairs and the SA Navy in establishing
a maritime border between the RSA and Mozambique.
f. Operation ROOIKAT. To provide
air support for the Gazankulu and Lebowapolice.
g. Operation JAMBU (Later YENLEY).
Support for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) during
the run-up to the elections in 1994.
9. The following were joint operations
where the SAAF played a key role:
a. Photo Reconnaissance (PR) sorties
were continually flown (2-3 times per week) over "informal"
(squatter) settlement areas throughout the country after influx
control measures were scrapped.
b. A continuous programme of daylight
visual reconnaissance flights, using SA Police and Army observers
to combat serious crime and SDU/SPU activity in townships.
c. Specialist night reconnaissance sorties
carrying SA Police and Army observers to assist ground forces
navigation in townships.
d. Night lunar operations with helicopters
to combat SDU/SPU activity, violence and crime.
e. Assistance in monitoring the progress
and safety of the funeral corteges of Chris Hani and Oliver Tambo.
f. Integrated operations using helicopters
to transport ground forces rapidly into areas to combat serious
crime and unrest. This took place continuously throughout 1993
and 1994 in townships in the Witwatersrand, especially Katlehong
g. Support to the Rapid Deployment Force
deployed in the Witwatersrand area in transporting mobile roadblocks
to combat gun-running.
h. Use of C130s and Dakota transport
aircraft as well as Oryx helicopters to "show force"
in Soweto, sealing off areas to permit the SA Police to conduct
i. Reconnaissance flights in conjunction
with SA Police and ESKOM to combat the theft of copper wire from
j. Patrol flights along bus routes south
of Johannesburg after school children were shot at near Eikenhof.
k. Patrol flights along railway lines
during peak periods after violence and shooting increased on trains
in the East and West Rand.
l. "Skyshout" and pamphlet-dropping
flights were used to encourage people to disregard the ANC's
calls for boycotts and non-payment of services.
m. Helicopters were used to fly in and
protect medical teams visiting townships.
n. Reaction forces were flown in for
surprise raids on hostels.
o. A Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV)
was used to monitor election procedures in the Witwatersrand area.
p. Temporary air control posts were
deployed around the country to coordinate air requirements to
facilitate the elections. Voting equipment, ballot papers and
personnel were flown to crisis areas.
AUTONOMOUS AIR OPERATIONS
10. Autonomous air operations were carried
out to combat particular threats, using the distinct capabilities
of the SAAF. These operations were intelligence- gathering reconnaissance
sorties. The exception to this was Operation SKERWE - the reprisal
attack into Matola - after the explosion of the ANC bomb outside
SAAF HQ in Pretoria. The following were the main autonomous air
operations conducted externally:
a. Mozambique : May 1983. A RPV
was flown from Komatipoort over Maputo to collect and update intelligence
on ANC facilities there.
b. Mozambique : 23 May 1983.
Operation SKERWE took place, using 12 Impalas and two Mirage F1
AZs, to attack known ANC facilities in the Matola suburb of Maputo
in retaliation for the car bomb detonation outside Air Force Headquarters,
Pretoria, on 20 May. Two ANC houses and a headquarters were attacked.
c. Zambia and Botswana : 16-19 October
1984. A photo reconnaissance (PR) mission was flown to cover
areas in Zambia and Botswana where ANC presence was suspected
after the Mozambican government had ordered the ANC to cease activities
from Mozambique and withdraw to neighbouring countries.
d. Mozambique/Swaziland/RSA borders
: 8 May 1986. Photo reconnaissance of the Mozambique/Swaziland/RSA
borders was undertaken to develop intelligence to combat gun-running
and illegal border crossings between Mozambique and the RSA.
e. Zambia : 19 May 1986. Operation
LEO was launched by two Canberras and five Mirage F1s against
ANC targets at Makeni Plots, 15 km SW of Lusaka, Zambia in retaliation
for the sabotage on Sasol II and Secunda plants.
f. Botswana/RSA border areas : 18-20
July 1986. PR of certain Botswana/RSA border areas, including
the road from Nata to Kazangulu, in order to combat infiltration
by ANC cadres to the RSA.
g. Zimbabwe : 14 September 1986.
Six aircraft were used to photograph suspected ANC targets throughout
11. Conventional Special Operations.
Conventional special operations are covered under the SA Army
SUPPORT FOR ANTI-MARXIST LIBERATION MOVEMENTS
12. In Boek 1 (1980), chapter
5, the RSA Government accepted as government policy enhance
the image and posture of anti-Marxist liberation movements in
Southern Africa. This principle was reiterated in the Nasionale
Strewes en Beleidsgrondslae van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika,
1987, the amended Strategy for Southern Africa (1 December
1986), and the Recommendations by the SSC dated 19 March
1984. This principle was included in the SADF Strategy (1987).
a. The 1986/87 Strategy for Angola gave,
inter alia, the following guidelines: The SADF
i. could proceed with clandestine reconnaissance
ii. should continue with military operations
against SWAPO; and
iii. must support UNITA.
b. The support for UNITA was co-ordinated
under the code name Operation SILWER. With the signing of the
New York Agreement, the support for UNITA was restricted to humanitarian
aid, verified by the RSA department of Foreign Affairs and the
a. The support of RENAMO was part of
the RSA Security Strategy up to the Nkomati Accord in 1983.
After the signing of the accord, contact was maintained with
the RENAMO leadership in order to influence them to take part
in the peace process in Mozambique.
b. The Strategy for Mozambique made
provision that the SADF :
i. could undertake military operations
against ANC bases and facilities and
ii. must ensure that the Mozambique
Government honour the Nkomati Accord wrt support for the ANC (MK).
c. Up to 1983 the support for RENAMO
was coordinated under the code name Operation PIKI.
15. Lesotho. The support for
the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) was to neutralise the threat
or potential threat from Lesotho against the RSA. Eventually the
SADF played an active role in reconciling the conflict between
the political parties in Lesotho. To achieve this the SADF had
to separate the Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA-military wing of
the BCP) from the conflict in Lesotho. This project was known
as Operation CAPSIZE and was terminated in 1989.
16. Transkei/Ciskei. In 1984/85
the relationship between the Ciskei and the Transkei reached
an all time low. The RSA Government
and the SADF were very concerned about the situation and the spill-over
effect it could have on the Eastern Cape. In 1986 the SADF commander
of the Eastern Province Command made a suggestion to the Chief
of the SA Army as to how to stabilize and normalize the situation.
This appreciation became known as Operation KATZEN. The SADF
started with the implementation of this project, but in October
1987 the Minister of Defence instructed the CSADF to terminate
17. Inkatha. In 1985 Chief
Minister Buthulezi requested paramilitary support from the RSA
Government. The RSA government decided on 20 December 1985
to grant him this support and tasked the SADF to render the support.
The project was known was Operation MARION.
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION (STRATCOM)
18. Background. The mass mobilization
for "People's War" and widespread acts of violence was
supported by a sophisticated domestic and international propaganda
campaign. In Boek 1 (1980 -Chapter 5) the RSA government
acknowledged the need for a similar strategy and the following
guidelines, inter alia, were formulated:
a. to discredit the terrorist organization
in Southern Africa, as well as the Cuban and other communist surrogate
b. to neutralise the propaganda of the
mass media inciting the RSA population against the goals and aims
of the RSA government in Southern Africa; and
c. to enhance the posture and image
of anti-Marxist Liberation Movements in Southern Africa.
19. SSSC Guidelines. In a
policy document of the Secretariat of the State Security Council
(SSSC), approved on 21 August 1986, the following guidelines regarding
Strategic Communication were set out:
a. Definition. STRATCOM is
the planned, coordinated execution of an act and/or the presentation
of a message to :
i. create, maintain or change attitudes
behaviour and ideologies; and to
ii. neutralise opposing propaganda.
b. Aims of STRATCOM. To
i. influence the internal population
positively in respect of declared national goals;
ii. influence the international community
positively in respect of the policies of the RSA; and
iii. neutralise/undermine enemy/opposing
c. Overt STRATCOM. This comprises
the functions of informing, enhancing the image of, and monitoring
State policies openly executed by Departments. (Known in business
terminology as marketing.)
d. Covert STRATCOM. In order
to achieve the aims of STRATCOM, it is often necessary to exercise
a positive influence in such a way that the involvement of the
State is not apparent. It entails making use of individuals and/or
organisations which have no obvious ties with the State, but are
financially assisted by the State and act according to agreed-upon
programmes and guidelines emanating from approved strategies.
e. Execution of STRATCOM
i. Within the State Security System
the Branch Strategic Communication (BSC) of the SSSC is responsible
for the co-ordination of STRATCOM and for issuing overall policy
to Departments, the Bureau for Information and the Communication
Committees (COMCOMS) of the Joint Management System (JMS).
ii. The Bureau for Information is the
primary line functionary with respect to the marketing of national
goals and co-ordination will be done via an interdepartmental
STRATCOM-committee under Chairmanship of the BSC.
iii. Departments must execute strategies
and STRATCOM plans as co-ordinated by the BSC. Departments are
also responsible in their own right for the marketing of their
20. SADF Responsibilities iro STRATCOM
Projects. In the SSSC guideline document, certain departments
were responsible for covert STRATCOM projects in specific fields.
Those allocated to the SADF were:
a. Youth Clubs.
b. Community Organisations.
c. Women's organisations.
d. Traditional Authorities.
f. Rural Development.
Within the SADF, the Military Intelligence
Division (MID) and the SA Army were responsible for covert STRATCOM
projects. The Arms of the Service were responsible for the motivation
of own troops and SADF civic action.
21. SADF Covert STRATCOM Projects
a. MID was responsible for the
i. overall control, policy, monitoring
and co-ordination of projects;
ii. management of certain STRATCOM projects;
iii. international communication.
b. The SA Army was responsible for STRATCOM
iro Own Forces, the population and revolutionary forces fighting
against the RSA.
22. SADF Civic Action
a. Continuous infiltrations by ANC (MK)
and PAC (APLA) placed a strain on administration in the rural
areas and the SADF realized that, in order to contain the revolutionary
war, the support to the local population needed to be improved
and maintained. It was imperative that the administration had
to be seen to govern - a collapse of the administration would
be chaotic. Therefore the SADF embarked on a Civic Action programme
aimed at bolstering the administrative structures. Soldiers were
deployed in various disciplines to create a positive image amongst
the RSA population : eg
i. Education. National Servicemen
(NSM) with educational qualifications were deployed in support
of the Departments of Education at, for example, the the following
schools: Fort Hare (Ciskei), Kwena Moloto College of Education
and the Seshego High School (Northern Transvaal).
ii. Medical. Medical orderlies
formed part of patrols and provided basic medical care. Military
doctors were deployed at hospitals, eg Shongwe Hospital (Eastern
Transvaal), Helena Franz Hospital (Northern Transvaal), Jozini
and Umlazi (Natal) and Mdantsane (Ciskei).
iii. Veterinary Services. Veterinary
Surgeons were available at military bases and were also detached
to provincial governments.
iii. Agricultural. In the Northern
Transvaal, approximately 30 NSM were detached to the Department
of Agriculture to assist with agricultural training.
iv. Water Supply. NSM were detached
to the Department of Water Affairs to assist with projects iro
water provision. In the area of Natal Command, up to 58 emergency
water points were manned on a daily basis.
b. At the same time Own Forces were
trained in the need to win the "Hearts and Minds" of
the people. Patrols made contact with the rural population and
assisted them in numerous ways such as repairing windmills/water
holes, minor repairs to schools, low-key medical assistance, etc.
Added to this, civilian victims of the war, for instance those
injured by land mines, were evacuated, often by helicopter, to
23. In August 1991 the State President
appointed a committee, known as the Khan Advisory Committee on
Special Secret Projects. On the recommendation of the committee
certain secret projects were terminated in 1991. In 1993 the
rest of the secret projects were terminated when Sub Division
Intelligence Operations at MID was dismantled. As far as could
be ascertained, the relevant documentation, apart from the documents
submitted to the Khan Committee, was disposed of in accordance
with existing regulations. At the time of the drafting of this
submission there was therefore no documents on project detail
available to the Nodal Point. It is believed that the Khan Commission
documentation is at the disposal of the TRC.
1. In conclusion the Nodal Point wishes
to emphasise two aspects:
a. The first is an observation made
by members of the Nodal Point during the research of documentation
and interviews with ex-members of the SADF while compiling this
presentation. Although we cannot speak on behalf of the old SADF,
it became abundantly clear that there is a deep regret for the
death, pain and suffering that was caused on all sides by the
conflict of the past and also a firm resolve to contribute to
a better future for all. The saying that people who know war,
those who have experienced it, are the most earnest advocates
of peace was clearly demonstrated during these interviews.
b. The second aspect is that answers
to questions of what happened in the past are not readily available
in files and documentation at the press of a button. Information
is spread over the country at the different levels of command
(as I have tried to explain to you in the presentation), in archives
and in people's minds. The Nodal Point therefore wants to reiterate
its offer which I mentioned in the opening remarks of this presentation.
We are a facilitating body at the service of the TRC and will
do our utmost to ensure access to the information needed to carry
out your mandate.
I thank you.