1.2 Although I appear before this Commission voluntarily, I tender my evidence on the specific understanding that the provisions of section 31 of Act 34 of 1995, including the protection afforded by it, are applicable to me.
1.3 If you have expected me during my address to you today, to merely vilify MK and the ANC and to justify the actions of the South African Defence Force, you will be disappointed. I requested this opportunity because on the one hand, I am deeply distressed about the relentless campaign which is being waged at all costs, to discredit the South African Defence Force and its former members regardless of the true facts. On the other hand, I am profoundly concerned about the state of reconciliation in our country.
1.4 Unless the different population groups of South Africa become truly reconciled, our country does not have a realistic hope of overcoming the ever increasing problems facing all South Africans, irrespective of race or creed. Crime and unemployment come to mind. Should we permit ourselves to become obsessed with the past, insisting on opening up old wounds and becoming evermore divided, we will all loose what we have in this wonderful country of ours.
1.5 Those who served in the South African Defence Force were honourable and decent men and women. I respect them and shall stand by them. I do not expect you to necessarily agree with all that was done by the South African Defence Force. Neither do I expect the family and friends of people who died in South African Defence Force operations to forget. My appeal to you and to them is only to accept the bona fides of the members of the South African Defence Force involved. I hold no brief to speak on behalf of Umkhonto we Sizwe ("MK"), but am prepared to accept that, as an organization, it also acted bona fide in the furtherance of its ideals, irrespective of what I think about the merits of their methods.
I appeal to my fellow countrymen to also accept the bona fides of the members of MK, although the family and friends of those innocent civilians who perished in land mine and bomb explosions may find it very difficult, if not impossible, to forgive certain acts committed by those MK members. We have to accept that, irrespective of the methods used, both sides performed their duties bona fide, in what they perceived to be service to their respective political masters. Whether we regard the opposing side's cause as morally just, is in my view neither pertinent to reconciliation, nor relevant in the assessment of the appropriateness of the actions of a military force in any given situation.
1.6 I do not suggest that people on both sides did not overstep the bounds of their authority. To keep harping on so-called "Apartheid crimes", conveniently ignoring the fact that atrocities were also committed by the opponents of Apartheid, is not conducive to reconciliation and amounts to an attempt to manipulate history. In retrospect both the ANC and the South African Defence Force succeeded in its objectives: the ANC achieved its political goal, while the South African Defence Force managed to maintain an acceptable climate in which negotiations could take place.
1.8 During 1980 I was invited by the former Prime Minister, Mr P.W. Botha, to serve in the Cabinet as Minister of Defence. I accepted the invitation and served in this capacity from 1980 to 1991. In July 1991 I was transferred by the former State President, Mr F.W. de Klerk, from the Defence Portfolio and appointed as Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, in which capacity I served until my resignation from Cabinet and Parliament on 28 February 1993.
1.9 I am a professed Christian and believe in the preservation of family life. I believe that the forgiveness of sins is the exclusive right of God Almighty. Among us as sinners, and I include all of us, irrespective of status and prominence, forgiveness is but an ideal that often remains unrealised. The human ability to reconcile and to come to terms with others' actions, is often limited to an acceptance of the fact that others, like yourself, acted in good faith in the light of facts available to them at that time.
1.10 I believe in a democratic political system where justice prevails at all levels.
2.2 The revelation of what happened in our country a number of years ago, does not exclusively result in the potential disadvantaging of the previous functionaries of the State - it also undermines trust in the present State, especially if the past actions of its present functionaries are made public in the process. Internationally it is still not commendable if a functionary of a state authorised the planting of a bomb in a public place. The repercussions for people like Mr Robert McBride illustrate this point clearly. Similar actions of persons in more senior positions will compromise the national interest. The fact that this Commission did not want to disclose (not even to the victims) the identities of the direct handlers of McBride, demonstrates the dilemma we are faced with. Who authorised the direct handlers to conduct this type of operation? What are the true and full facts of other bomb massacres in which innocent citizens were also injured and killed? What is the position regarding the Church Street bomb? Who planted the bomb, who was the handler(s) and who were involved in authorising the planting of this bomb? Who conceived the "necklace" method and ordered the application thereof? Who chose and authorised the targets? Should it appear that any of the current Cabinet members or any other senior government functionaries were involved, it will cause our country indeterminable harm.
2.3 Initially the goal was set that forgiveness could take place only if there was a full disclosure of all the facts. Is it truly possible? Is it truly essential? Is it truly necessary to go beyond the acceptance by the conflicting parties on both sides, and particularly also by the broader public, that both sides acted bona fide in promoting their cause, painful as it may be? Acceptance by the public is naturally the responsibility of the political leaders of all political persuasions and all population groups. What can judgements on the moral justification of each others actions contribute, if at all, to the ideal of reconciliation?
2.3.1 Of course, bombs were planted in public places and innocent citizens were killed, injured and maimed.
2.3.2 Of course, innocent citizens were also victims of bona fide operations by the South African Defence Force.
2.3.3 Of course, the ANC was, after its banning, tremendously limited in the options that it could exercise in the struggle against, what it perceived to be an unjust system, and of course it was practically extremely difficult and dangerous for them to act against military targets (so-called hard targets).
2.3.4 Of course, the ANC's agents frustrated the South African Defence Force in its conventional operations by hiding in neighbouring states amongst the local population.
2.3.5 Of course, the ANC would have lost credibility if it could not have referred to successful operations, even if they had to include civilian casualties.
2.4 The revelations of such actions in the present peacetime situation can result in extensive damage to the State: the trust of the population in leading figures of the State and the image of the State abroad. This can not be conducive to reconciliation. In this sense I have been and still am sceptical about this Commission's ability to achieve the goal of reconciliation. In my view reconciliation will be better served by letting the divisions of the past be and rather encourage all our people to join forces to tackle the immense problems facing our country. Reconciliation can only be achieved in the hearts and minds of all South Africans. This will take time. It is, however, the responsibility of all political leaders to actively promote this ideal.
3.2 The members of previous governments, with a few exceptions, such as Mr P.W. Botha, avoid taking a clear, comprehensive, collective, political and moral responsibility for the actions of the South African Defence Force and its members. I, as former Chief of the South African Army, Chief of the South African Defence Force and Minister of Defence, wish to state clearly before this Commission, that I take moral responsibility for the actions of members of the Army and the South African Defence Force, during the respective periods when I was involved, and for the execution of the tasks of the South African Defence Force to uphold the then Constitution and to preserve the sovereignty of the Republic of South Africa.
3.3 Where members of the South African Defence Force acted unlawfully during the period of conflict, I wish to offer my unqualified apologies. The background against which such acts were committed must, however, not be forgotten. The sound judgement of members of the South African Defence Force sometimes suffered in the heat of battle, owing to the abhorrence generated by the deeds of terror committed by the liberation movements. If, however, moral blame is to be attached to the lawful actions of the South African Defence Force, such blame must be levelled at the former governments and not at individual members of the South African Defence Force. I make this statement with the full realisation that I was a part of those governments.
3.4 I hope, with all my heart, that the other members of the previous governments will also be prepared, as I am, to accept this collective moral responsibility for the actions of all members of the South African Defence Force during the armed struggle. I can, however, not speak on behalf of my previous colleagues.
3.5 This is one of the main reasons why I decided to appear voluntarily before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I shall not and cannot abandon the honourable and brave men and women who loyally served South Africa under very difficult circumstances in the past.
3.6 On the other hand the ANC on its part released a very important statement a while ago, namely
"All members of the ANC involved in planning, commanding and carrying out the actual operations fall within the ambit of this submission. The leadership has taken collective political responsibility for the conduct of the combatants in the course of the armed struggle. The political responsibility is accepted for all the cadres even though we know that during the course of the liberation struggle anomalies may have arisen."In my view the acceptance of this responsibility by the ANC is correct. If there is moral blame to be assigned, in respect of MK's and the ANC's actions, it would likewise be that of the politicians.
4.2 When judging the actions of the South African Defence Force during the conflict, one must keep in mind that it was a service organisation of the State and that it had to act in support of the State and the Constitution of the day, just as the South African National Defence Force is obliged to do today.
In this context the Truth and Reconciliation Commission must note that the previous government of South Africa
4.2.1 was a lawful government, and
4.2.2 was subject to a written constitution.
That Government, as well as the revolutionary struggle that reigned in the country, were internationally recognised. In other words, these circumstances and the then reigning situation of violent war were internationally recognised and accepted.
4.3 Against this background members of the South African Defence Force gave, interpreted and carried out their orders.
4.4 From the point of view of experience, it is a real pity that none of the Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were actively involved in the military struggle. Actual experience of soldiering in conflict is, in my opinion, essential for true insight. The emotions generated by contact with enemy fire, the loss of comrades and the shock of land-mine detonations negatively influence the judgement of the most reasonable and rational individual. War, in whatever form, has a degrading effect on the most civilised of men. On the other hand, one experiences the apparently strange anomaly that, although opposing forces in war zealously strive to destroy each other, they, shortly after the cessation of hostilities, exhibit an incomprehensible propensity to accept and forgive. This is precisely what has happened here in South Africa. Members of the South African Defence Force and of MK are already working shoulder to shoulder, as comrades-in-arms, towards the success of the South African National Defence Force - the past forgotten! This, I maintain, originates solely from battle experience and a mutual understanding of the circumstances during the conflict. You, who were not soldiers, can gain such insight only by listening closely and objectively and by trying to understand what the South African Defence Force and MK explain to you. Should you not do so, you will fail both to arrive at the truth and to achieve reconciliation.
4.5 When making this submission I am consequently obliged to consider and deal with this factor. I hope with all my heart that, in this important aspect, I shall succeed in assisting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the execution of its assigned task.
5.2 The advantage in using these dated documents and speeches, is that it intrinsically reflects something of the background of the circumstances under which it was drawn up or delivered. This very fact ought to assist this Commission to judge in perspective. This also negates any suggestion that I have fabricated these speeches, background and circumstances.
5.3 I shall make use mainly of official White Papers on Defence that were tabled in Parliament and were made available to members of Parliament and members of the public. Members of this Commission who served in Parliament in those days ought to have knowledge of this. I shall further refer to speeches that I delivered in Parliament and in public during my term of office. Many of both my statements and the content of the White Papers were repeated during my term of office, while others were adapted to the changes in the security situation which prevailed during this fluid period and were published for the public and for the South African Defence Force.
5.4 My plea is, however, that you and the people of South Africa should accept that the official actions of the South African Defence Force were at all times bona fide in the execution of its orders and of its statutory duty, as interpreted by it.
6.2 The South African Defence Force as an organization had a decentralized command structure. This meant that authority and the responsibility in the execution and functioning of the South African Defence Force was delegated. This is an universal accepted philosophy of management and applied worldwide by military forces. This has been explained in detail to you in the submission of the South African Defence Force.
6.3 The South African Defence Force played an important role in the combating of the revolutionary onslaught on the Republic of South Africa. The utilisation of the South African Defence Force in support of the South African Police is a procedure that is not limited to the Republic of South Africa. It is an internationally recognised procedure and principle to utilise a defence force in support of the police in combating unrest.
6.4 As in any other state, the government was responsible for ensuring security, to maintain law and order, to prevent crime, to bring criminals to book and to defend its territory and people against attacks and onslaughts. Both the South African Police and the South African Defence Force were given that responsibility.
6.5 The South African Defence Force was, in terms of the Defence Act, Act 44 of 1957, as amended, inter alia responsible for the following:
6.6 The situation in the Republic of South Africa during the 1980's, during which unrest occurred on a greater scale than in the past, rendered inevitable the utilisation of the South African Defence Force in support of the South African Police for the prevention and combating of unrest. It was necessary that peaceful circumstances should be created and maintained, in which the government's own initiatives could develop fully. Therefore in 1985 the government was forced to internally employ the South African Defence Force in service in addition to the South African Police; in other words, the territory of the Republic of South Africa was declared an operational area for the South African Defence Force.
7.2 This action of the South African Defence Force, namely the removal of discrimination or, as it was referred to by some in those days, "integration", was also one of the main reasons for the breakaway of the Conservative Party in 1982 and for its forming a new political party. They regarded this timeous, necessary and very well managed Defence Force action as politically unacceptable.
7.3 The military community thus already realised the necessity for normalising internal relationships and took the lead in creating such a situation within its area of responsibility. Today this requirement, namely that human rights apply to all South Africans, is stipulated in our present Constitution.
7.4 This essential direction of the South African Defence Force was not in all cases limited to only its own terrain. The South African Defence Force applied it wherever it could act independently. Here reference can be made to hundreds of community projects over the length and breadth of Southern Africa, where thousands and thousands of members of disadvantaged communities were assisted and/or trained to assist themselves. There was Project Molteno, whereby the manual skills of unschooled or poorly schooled people, mainly rural, disadvantaged people were developed, so that they could make a substantial contribution to their families and communities. In the same way South African Defence Force resources were utilised for medical, veterinary, educational, management of local authorities and other assistance.
7.5 The above mentioned large number of Defence Force activities were a great success and also provided an opportunity for members of the South African Defence Force and National Servicemen, who preferred to assist in upliftment tasks and to make humanistic contributions in the interests of the country and of this I am proud.
7.6 The South African Defence Force also had many civilian members. Taking these civilians into account, black and brown members of the Defence Force made up more than 50% of its total strength. Much effort and money was devoted to this important civilian component in order to ease their living conditions outside Defence Force context.
7.7 When judging the South African Defence Force, this Commission cannot solely take into consideration the sharp end of the organisation: in order to judge objectively, it must examine the organisation as a whole and, in this sense, the above is very relevant.
One must guard against the selective morality of the winner. The British force's establishment of the first concentration camps in the world during the Anglo-Boer war in which innocent women and children were incarcerated and died by the tens of thousands is not considered as the precursor to the Nazi concentration camps and is not commemorated annually as a crime against humanity. The Allied bombings on Germany did indeed contribute to Hitler's downfall, but how many innocent women and children who died in the process will never be known. The United State of America's attempt to end the conflict in the Far East against Japan reached its climax with the launching of the first two nuclear bombs. This event is commemorated to this day, but the fact that approximately 25 000 innocent children died in the explosion is seldom emphasised. Why? The selective morality of the winner.
We may not shirk reality: On the one hand the successes of the South African Defence Force in both its cross-border operations and its internal actions and on the other hand the ANCís car bombs in Pretoria and Johannesburg, the bombs in shopping and recreation centres, were both, in their own way, aimed at establishing a better South Africa.
8.2 In times of war and conflict people's perceptions change and they act differently. To judge viewpoints and actions in times of conflict from a narrow peacetime perspective is dangerous and negates the reality as experienced in times of conflict.
8.3 I seriously appeal to this Commission that throughout your judgement of the testimony dealing with events that occurred in the past, you should constantly consider the perception of the government and members of the South African Defence Force in terms of the threat against the South African community, consider what conditions prevailed when those decisions were taken and when orders were given and carried out. The ANC was trained by experienced masters of the revolution and they geared their struggle based on a combination of the doctrines of textbook revolutionaries. This in effect meant that no visible military order of battle was drawn up against the State, but that the sight was set on every aspect of life that really matters, in order to terrorise the community in all possible ways. The mobilisation of the population against the existing system was of great significance and sporadic, continuous terror was but an aspect thereof. I am often scathingly referred to as the architect of an imaginary "total onslaught". Finally, however, the reality of the ANC's combined onslaught on political, cultural, economic, military, sports and other fields was exposed. Since approximately 1985 terrorism was taken visibly and intensively to the cities, and particularly the townships, with the ultimate aim of making the country totally ungovernable. This is not my personal reconstruction of the facts fabricated for my own use. Simply read the ANC's own writings or ask them if it is true. Once again I do not attempt to debate the justification thereof. I say, however, that the reality of the context of that time is crucial and decisive in gaining insight into the defence action of that time. Objective judgement is impossible without it.
8.4 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission must judge the actions of all those concerned, but for the purposes of this submission the focus is on the actions of the South African Defence Force. It would also be helpful to try and determine the attitudes and perceptions that prevailed at a given time in the past. Some of the statements and events of the past sound bitterly unreal, but that was the reality then and, in the light of that reality, the bona fides of the South African Defence Force must be judged. I wish to repeat that the actions and bona fides of MK must similarly be judged against their perceptions and fears of that time.
8.5 What then was the background against which the actions of the South African Defence Force and its members should be judged as far as bona fides is concerned? In this regard the following are pertinent:
8.5.1 The threat of global Marxist expansion;
8.5.2 The incidents of terrorism and attempts to make the country ungovernable;
8.5.3 Public statements by ANC and its leaders about the stated aim of their organization;
8.5.4 Public statements by myself and other government leaders; and
8.5.5 The public documents tabled in Parliament.
8.6 All documents, data, testimonies and actions of both sides must be considered and judged according to the circumstances and the fluid situation that prevailed when documents were drawn up and orders issued, interpreted and executed. This necessarily means that, in the course of this submission, I shall often refer to the circumstances that prevailed at the time, which, by today's standards, will probably not always be deemed to have been correct.
(a) "The threat was the expansion of marxism by fomenting revolution in Southern Africa
(b) Its aim was perceived to be
(i) the overthrow of the white regimes in Southern Africa so that the militant Africa bloc can realise its aspirations with regard to the destruction of so-called colonialism and racialism and the establishment of Pan-Africanism. In its desire to destroy alleged racism, the Arab bloc can, with certain exceptions, be regarded as the partner of the Africa bloc in its hostile actions as far as this serves its own purposes; and
(ii) the striving after an indirect strategy in order to unleash revolutionary warfare in Southern Africa and, by means of isolation, to force the RSA to change its domestic policy in favour of Pan-Africanism."
9.2 These are not my ex post facto interpretation or perceptions. These sentiments were repeatedly stated over the years. Everything can be found in the Defence White Papers tabled in Parliament, by me and my predecessor as Minister of Defence, at the time. In particular I refer to the Defence White Papers tabled in 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1989.
10.2 In the book, Terrorism: How the West can Win under the editorship of Benjamin Netanyaho, the concept of terrorism is defined as follows:
"It chooses innocent victims precisely because they are innocent. What distinguishes terrorism is the wilful, calculated choice of innocents as targets. When terrorists machine-gun a passenger waiting area or set off bombs in a crowded shopping centre, their victims are not accidents of war but the very objects of the terrorist' assaults"and later also, as:
"Terrorism is the delicate and the systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends."In this work the difference between terrorists and guerrillas is given as follows:
"Terrorists habitually describe themselves as guerillas. Guerillas are not terrorists. They are irregular soldiers who wage war on regular military forces - not on civilians. Actually, guerillas are the very opposite of terrorists. While they put themselves against far superior combatants, terrorists choose to attack weak and defenceless civilians - old men, woman, children - anyone in fact, except soldiers if they can avoid it. Civilians then, are the key to the terrorists' strategy. They kill civilians and more often than not they hide behind them, hoping that the prospect of more innocent deaths will help them escape retribution."The ANC chose to operate as terrorists. I say these things not as a veiled criticism against MK - if you see it in this light, you do not understand the essence of what I am trying to convey to you. On the one hand the difference between terrorists and guerrillas, as given above, was also adopted by the South African Defence Force and was presented as such to its members. Consequently, it was against this background that individual members of the South African Defence Force evaluated the moral justification of their actions against MK. On the other hand it resulted in the maximum development of the counter-insurgency and counter-revolutionary capability of the South African Defence Force. The traditionally defensive posture was, as a result, replaced by with an offensive, proactive posture. This formed the military basis for all cross-border operations that ensued.
10.3 In the eighties South Africa found itself in a unique conflict situation. A brutal revolutionary onslaught, utilising unconventional methods, was inflicted upon South Africa. The escalation of the conflict and the change in the targets of the attacks are reflected in the following statistics as given in the book by H.D. Stadler, The Other Side of the Story:
(a) ANC's choice of targets
In 1981 attacks against hard (military) targets comprised 88% of the total. By 1986, however, attacks against soft targets comprised 80,7% of all attacks.
(b) Statistical analysis of terrorist incidents:
July 1976 - April 1990
Target Number % of total ====== ====== ========== Police 485 31,3% Military 63 4,1% Juridical 36 2,3% State 242 15,6% Economic 339 21,9% Civilian 369 23,8% Other 15 1,0% ====== 1,549
(c) Unrest related statistics September 1984 - April 1992:
Unrest related incidents 80,507 Persons injured during unrest related incidents 18,061 Persons killed during unrest related incidents 9,280
(d) Death or injury through burning in unrest related incidents
September 1984 - December 1989:
Death by necklace method 406 Injured by necklace method 28 Death by other burning 395 Injured by other burning 150
People were burned alive in the streets, bombs exploded in shopping centres and restaurants, innocent women and children died. The sight of dead and mutilated people was not uncommon. This was reinforced by threats from the neighbouring states that the struggle should be extended to white neighbourhoods. Once again, the actions of the members of the South African Defence Force should be judged against this background.
10.4 The psychological effect of the onslaught became visible in the community: homes with walls had steel gates added to them, schools were fenced with razor wire, security measures in public places were intensified and security personnel exercised access control in buildings and shopping centres.
During this time the Government's policy was clear: stop the perpetrator of violence at all costs. The carrier of the car bomb, landmine, limpet mine from the neighbouring states had to be destroyed, outside our borders or inside the country before he could commit his atrocity. The destruction of the terrorist, his base and his capability was the mission of every soldier in the South African Defence Force and was also the policy of the government of the day. In this way the killings of innocent civilians could be prevented.
The trust of the community was paper thin: it was mainly maintained by the security forces' actions and battle-readiness - accompanied by tremendous risks and sacrifices.
10.5 The perception of the rules applicable during this period by members of the security forces was clear: should the ANC succeed in breaking through the security forces, the lives of innocent members of the public would be threatened; should they be stopped in time, the danger is warded off. The way this war was fought by both the security forces and MK was mutual annihilation: with land mines, limpet mines, firearms or by means of agents. Both sides focussed at the destruction of the opponent. This is the modern concept of warfare. Let us not delude ourselves today that it was the perception and approach of one side only.
10.6 These actions during a time of conflict are in no way strange or exceptional. They have been performed internationally throughout the centuries: for this reason organisations, such as the USA's CIA, Delta Force and SEALS; Britain's MI5, MI6 and SAS and Russia's KGB operate. The same applies to other countries, such as Germany, Spain, France, Israel and Australia. President Reagan ordered a direct attack on President Ghadaffi of Libya, President Bush invaded Panama. Mrs Thatcher ordered the IRA to be challenged in Gibraltar - and declared that she accepted full responsibility for this action because she saved the lives of innocent people.
However, it goes without saying that the State must responsibly ensure that such actions do not occur during peacetime situations, because then it is inappropriate and unjustifiable.
10.7 War is waged and people die without ever declaring war. This is a situation with its own rules, perceptions and morality. Governments speak as little as possible about it. This type of action cannot be condoned, but it has a place in certain circumstances. To evaluate it ex post facto from a peacetime perspective is very difficult and often dangerous, because there is always a tendency to swing to the opposite pole and to summarily condemn such actions retrospectively, and to reject them outright as mala fide.
10.8 It is against this background and these circumstances that the members of the South African Defence Force acted. Right or wrong, they saw themselves as the shield between innocent citizens and mutilation or even death.
11.2 In the same year Mr Thabo Mbeki, as a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, formulated the ANC's position as follows:
"We can't fight a bush war in South Africa. Look at the map. It is all developed. There are roads, radios and landing strips everywhere. This is not Angola or Mozambique. We do not have forests. The (military) machine would smash us if we tried to send in an army from outlying areas. Also, 87% of the Whites are in towns and cities. Our masses have to serve as our bush. The Black community is our bush."11.3 ANC president Mr Oliver Tambo left no doubt about the ANC's position in the mid-1980's regarding the continuation of the armed struggle in an interview with the Zimbabwe Herald on February 4, 1985:
"In any case if there were any talks and if we thought the time had come for talks with the Pretoria regime, we would not abandon the armed struggle, we would simply carry on."11.4
"Ambushes must be prepared for policemen and soldiers ... with the aim of capturing weapons from them. Our people must also manufacture home-made bombs and petrol bombs with material that can be locally obtained. In addition, our people must also buy weapons where possible.
"After arming themselves in this manner, our people must begin to identify collaborators and enemy agents and deal with them. The collaborators who are serving in the community councils must be dealt with. Informers, policemen, special branch police, and army personnel living and working among our people must be eliminated."
Radio Freedom, 6 May 1985.
11.5 According to the August, 1985 edition of Sechaba, the ANC adopted the following resolution during its second National Conference, which was held at Kabwe in Zambia from 16 to 23 June 1985:
"This ANC conference which took the form of a council of war decided that the distinction between "hard" and "soft" targets should disappear."Even whilst the Kabwe Conference was being held, indications that the new strategy was already being implemented became very clear when, between the 15th and 21st June 1985, four bomb attacks were carried out in East London and Durban. The targets were a hotel, a tearoom, a garage and a city hall respectively.
"Anybody who mobilises the Zulu speaking people is regarded as a rival to be wiped out from the scene."11.7
Radio Freedom, September 1985.
"There is going to be more bloodshed and the whole country will be involved. The Soviet Union will give us what the West does not want to give us - namely weapons."
Mr Oliver Tambo in an interview with the Washington Post, 9 September 1985.
"We want to make the death of a collaborator so grotesque that people will never think of it (i.e. collaboration)."
Mr Tim Ngubane, ANC representative in the USA, in an address to students of the California State University at Long Beach, on 10 October 1985.
"Our people must organise themselves into groups, manufacture traditional weapons which must be used against the enemy. After arming ourselves in this manner, our people must begin to identify collaborators and enemy agents and kill them. The puppets in the tricameral parliament and the Bantustans must be destroyed."
Radio Freedom broadcast by Mr Joe Modise on 1 December 1985.
"Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country ... We have no guns - we have only stones, boxes of matches and petrol."
Ms Winnie Mandela, as quoted by Agence France Presse, Sunday, 13 April 1986.
11.11 The ANC for the first time publicly condoned the practice of the execution by "necklace" of blacks who "collaborate" with the South African Government. "Collaborators with the enemy" had to be eliminated. Asked if this included necklacing, he nodded emphatically. He is quoted as adding:
"Whatever the people decide to use to eliminate those enemy elements is their decision. If they decide to use necklacing, we support it."11.12 Why do I refer to these public utterances by the ANC leadership? What is their relevance to the actions of the South African Defence Force? The Commission should keep in mind that neither the actions of MK, nor the actions of the South African Defence Force occurred in isolation. Members of the South African Defence Force were kept informed of the statements by the ANC. Their sense of morality was obviously shaped and influenced by the sentiments expressed by the ANC leadership. This should be taken into account when the bona fides of the actions of members of the South African Defence Force is considered.
ANC general secretary Mr Alfred Nzo in an interview as reported by the London Sunday Times, 14 September 1986.
12.2 On 24 September 1981 I said the following in Parliament:
"As point of departure we have to accept that the onslaught here in Southern Africa is communist-inspired, communist planned and communist-supported. .... Stalin said it for the first time in 1923 and Brezhnev subsequently reiterated quite a number of times what communism was striving for, was world domination.12.3 On 29 May 1985 I made the following remark during an address to parliament:
.... The onslaught is aimed at the prevailing State structure, i.e. the present South African democratic way of life as represented and symbolized by Parliament.
.... However, they are communist-supported. The onslaught by those organizations is aimed at bringing about violent changes here by over-throwing the political structure, instead of pursuing their goals by means of evolutionary, legal, constitutional and peaceful methods.
.... (T)he security of the Republic of South Africa must be maintained by every possible means at our disposal. Therefore the Defence Force must be prepared to guarantee orderly government by maintaining law and order and securing the country's borders.
.... (O)wing to the communist threat and the instability which is increasing in Southern Africa, the Defence Force must also be prepared at all times to ensure the security of the territory of the Republic of South Africa by taking offensive pro-active steps.
The body politic of the Republic of South Africa must be protected and safeguarded by every possible means at the disposal of the security forces against any form of foreign or internal revolution, whatever its nature or origin. .... In this connection the taking of pro-active steps may be required."
".... Let me place it clearly on record, once again, that the ANC and its fellow-travellers are constantly threatening our security in this country.12.4 On 4 February 1986 I once again stated the government's position with regard to cross border raids:
.... My colleague, the Minister of Law and Order, spelt this out recently, and I want to make it clear again - and I make no apology for doing so - that we shall do everything possible to sniff out and locate the ANC and take action against them, wherever they may be...
.... (F)or we are concerned here with a continuous onslaught which has been made on the Republic of South Africa for the past 19 years. The timing and such factors cannot make any difference if it is a continuous onslaught. Just think of the bomb incident in Pretoria on 20 May 1983, while we were dealing with a Defence Vote here. Think of the massacre of innocent White and Black civilians of this country of ours. They demand it of us. I want to make it very clear that the legislation in question authorizes us to take these actions; and this House agreed to that legislation.
.... (Our neighbours) who still continue to accommodate the ANC and the PAC are requested once again to adopt the way of peace and to remove those people from their countries. We can ensure our stability. It is terrorism against us which brings about destabilization for those neighbouring countries. They want to make us ungovernable - and when I say "they", I am referring in particular to the enemies of South Africa, and ANC and the PAC. They want to establish a dictatorial state for elite Black Marxists in the Republic of South Africa.
When the terrorist organizations, specifically the ANC and PAC, were requested to follow the road of peace, they replied: "With greater violence". It was violence which was not timed to suit us. We shall take action for the sake of South Africa and assure our country of a position of strength. Then the Government can go to the diplomatic conference table again to negotiate for peace and prosperity for all our people, Coloured, Black and White.
.... My colleague, the hon. the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and all my other colleagues, agree with this. In my presence the Honourable the Minister of Foreign Affairs repeatedly warned the Angolan Government against the accommodation of ANC members in that country."
"I wish to give this House the assurance that this Government will not permit these murderous gangs to complete their planning, training and preparation in the security and protection of neighbouring states and from there act against South Africa. The Security Forces will hammer them, wherever they find them. What I am saying is the policy of the Government. We cannot permit these terrorist organisations to decide at what place, at what time, and when they will commit these contemptible acts within or outside the Republic of South Africa. I therefore warn the states of this subcontinent that the Security Forces that are responsible for the safety, protection and security of the Republic of South Africa and all its inhabitants, will act against our enemies across the borders. We shall not sit here with hands folded waiting for them to cross the borders. We shall carry out ongoing surveillance. We shall determine the correct target and we shall settle the hash of those terrorists, there fellow-travellers and those who help them."12.5 On 15 September 1987 I somewhat prophetically stated in parliament that irrespective of which party is governing in South Africa, the six basic requirements for national security will remain the same, namely the eradication of intimidation, the establishment of democracy at local government level, the provision of sufficient housing, the creation of job opportunities, the provision of adequate education and training and peace in the work place.
12.6 On 17 May 1988 I made the following statements regarding the nature of the revolutionary onslaught against South Africa during an address to Parliament:
"That brings me to the following matter, i.e. the task of the SA Defence Force. The Defence Force is an organisation serving South Africa. In the Defence Act the tasks of the SA Defence Force are also spelled out. Briefly the Defence Force are there for the defence of the Republic, for the prevention or suppression of terrorism, for the prevention or suppression of local unrest, for the preservation of life, health and property or for the maintenance of essential services.On the same day I continued as follows:
.... South Africa made a choice, and that was to move into a post-apartheid era in terms of a model reflecting the orderly broadening of the democratic base. In the process the diversity in South Africa must be acknowledged and respected.
.... It is not the task of the South African Defence Force or Armscor to impose a specific political model on the Country.
".... In winning the revolutionary war it is therefore not merely a question of using violence; in essence what is involved is the improvement of the quality of people's lives through the granting of housing, job opportunities, educational opportunities, etc. ....12.7 The purpose of these quotations is not to fuel the fire of criticism against the ANC, but to illustrate to this Commission the atmosphere which prevailed at the time when objectives were set, planning was done and orders were given, interpreted and executed. It is against this background that I submit that the bona fides of the actions of the South African Defence Force should be judged.
It is an onslaught in the face of which we may not relax our vigil. It is an onslaught by which we may not allow ourselves to be misled.
.... It is now appropriate to say something about the terror which is being planned and proceeded with against the Republic of South Africa by the SACP-ANC alliance, and about our actions in this regard.
The facts speak for themselves, except to those who do not wish to hear that terrorist techniques are being applied against South African society from inside some neighbouring countries. The question is what can we do about it. May we do anything about it?
In this regard I should like to share a few thoughts with this House emanating from Mr George Schultz, the USA Secretary of State:"From a practical standpoint a purely passive defence does not provide enough of a deterrent to terrorism and the states that sponsor it. It is time to think long, hard and seriously about more active means of defence - defence through appropriate preventive or pre-emptive actions against terrorist groups before they strike.
We will need to strengthen our capabilities in the areas of intelligence and quick reaction. Intelligence will be particularly important. Experience has taught us that one of the best deterrents to terrorism is the certainty that swift and sure measures will be taken against those who engage in it.
Clearly there are complicated moral issues here, but there should be no doubt of the democracies' moral right, indeed duty, to defend themselves."
What Mr Schultz is saying here, we realized a long time ago. Preventative actions against the ANC, and against Swapo are being taken, as well as hot pursuit operations, about which the public has always been accordingly informed. The principle is clear: South Africa reserves the right to defend itself and its people ....
The revolutionary onslaught on South Africa from terrorist ranks has another dimension. ANC terrorists reduce their exposure to preventative actions or counter actions in that they do not stay in permanent bases or residential dwellings in the neighbouring countries. They have reached the phase in which they blend in with the civilian population in residential areas in the neighbouring countries - ....
The ANC is hiding amongst civilians in neighbouring countries with the knowledge and approval of the governments concerned. Our intelligence service is good enough to ensure that we know this. In this way the ANC terrorists are using the population as a hiding place. ....
We have no conflict or swords to cross with the governments of the populations of our neighbouring countries. This is our fundamental point of departure, and I have frequently said so. But we cannot allow the ANC to proceed with its acts of terror against our own population from a safe hiding-place either.
Neighbouring countries must consequently realise that we have a right to act against the ANC, and the will to do so. Those governments are exposing their populations to violence because they offer terrorists accommodation in their residential areas.
This brings me to a level of action in regard to which I shall furnish only general guidelines. Below the level of official government action, when the Defence Force, for example, admits and announces that it is undertaking cross border operations, lies the level of international espionage, of undercover operations and agents.
To deal with conflict, one must be in the front line, particularly in regard to intelligence or information. The utilisation of methods - this includes agents - is a reality which has to be taken into account. ....
South Africa is expected to sit with folded hands, because if South Africa were to lift its hands, it would be guilty of so-called destabilisation, suppression and all kinds of other so-called devilishness.
South Africa cannot live with such a morality. If the ANC, with worldwide approval, reserves the right to plant bombs against innocent people in South Africa, and continues to export revolution and terrorism to South Africa, the Republic of South Africa reserves the right to act against the ANC in neighbouring countries. South Africa is not acting provocatively or tauntingly. We are not seeking confrontation, but when innocent people are murdered or crippled by terrorists beyond our borders, we cannot sit with our hands folded.
Let me again remind hon members of the words of Mr George Schultz: The civilised world will have to think long, hard and seriously about more active means of defence, namely defence through preventative actions against terrorists before they strike. Consequently to act against the ANC in neighbouring countries and destroy their facilities is a form of self-defence for the Republic of South Africa. It is based on a justified principle.
For this reason the ANC is being fought on all levels, although it is being done with a very important difference in premise. The SA Defence Force directs its actions purely against ANC houses, strongholds and training centres, and in the process warns the inhabitants not to become involved with the ANC. Time and again these warnings are directed to governments along specific channels. Last week Botswana was again warned by my colleague, the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, about the Broederstroom terrorists who came to South Africa through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
The actions of the SA Defence Force remain aimed purely at the ANC, as various operations in neighbouring states have consequently demonstrated in the past. The essence of the matter is that if the ANC, with world approval, reserves the right to plant bombs in South Africa, which are aimed at innocent people, South Africa reserves the right to take steps against the ANC in neighbouring countries."
12.8 In the light of this situation, the South African Defence Force, led by the previous government and the State Security Council considered it their lawful duty and responsibility during that period to protect the former dispensation, to maintain the security of the citizens of South Africa and to maintain law and order.
12.9 The government judged that it was not possible to withstand this onslaught only by normal and traditional military actions. In the process, therefore, use was made of unconventional methods. These methods included cross-border operations, strategic communication operations (STRATCOM), disinformation operations, other covert operations, such as the CCB, and support for anti-Marxist liberation movements.
13.2 Those of you who served in parliament have knowledge of these documents. In this regard I again refer to the White Paper on Defence tabled in Parliament between 1975 and 1989.
14.2 During my trial in the High Court in Durban last year, the Attorney General of Natal made available to the accused a bundle of documents in which reference to a third force is contained. The contents of all these documents have to my knowledge never been made public, but I deem it in the best interest of all South Africans to do it now, so that this ghost can be laid to rest once and for all. I assume that your Investigating Unit is in possession of copies of these documents, but I attach copies of the documents to which I refer hereto.
14.3 During 1985, as a result of the increasing intensity of the onslaught against the State and the concern about the unrest situation, the question arose whether it would not be in the interest of both the South African Police and the South African Defence Force, having regard to their image and their primary functions, to establish a separate third force which task would exclusively be to deal with unrest and counter revolutionary matters. This debate was not restricted to government circles, but was openly debated in public. In this regard I refer you to an article by Otto Krause in the newspaper, Die Vaderland, of 22 October 1985, in which the establishment of a separate special unrest police force was debated. A copy of the said article is attached hereto as annexure "A".
14.4 No sinister covert or unlawful aim was intended. The issue was whether a separate force, openly established by statute, should take over the role played by the South African Police and the South African Defence Force in unrest situations.
14.5 Towards the end of 1985 this question was raised at a meeting of the State Security Council. From a letter by the Secretariat of the State Security Council, dated 4 December 1985, it appeared that the establishment of such a force was to be investigated.
14.6 During December 1985 military attaches at South African Embassies in countries where a third force existed parallel to a police and a defence force, for instance Germany and Italy, were requested to research the structure, jurisdiction and roll of such forces. I attach hereto a copy of such a request to the military attache in Bonn, Germany, as annexure "B".
14.7 From the minutes of the State Security Council no 18/85 of 4 November 1985 it appears that instructions were issued that the working committee of the State Security Council, in conjunction with the security services, should investigate the possible establishment of a third force, parallel to the South African Defence Force and the South African Police. In terms of a letter of appointment, dated 5 February 1986, it appears that the Deputy Minister of Defence and Law and Order, Mr Adriaan Vlok, was appointed as chairman of the investigating committee. In the same letter the aims and objectives of the committee were defined. Copies of the minutes of the said meeting and the said letter of appointment are attached as annexure "C" and "D".
14.8 On 3 February 1986 Operation Marion, which involved the training of a para-military unit for the protection of V.I.P.'s in Kwa-Zulu, was approved by the State Security Council. Any suggestion, therefore that the training of the Kwa-Zulu units had anything to do with the establishment of a third force, which was at that stage still under consideration, constitutes a blatant disregard for the facts.
14.9 During or about the period January to May 1986 several studies where done and inputs from a variety of people and organizations were obtained.
14.10 In a substantial and well reasoned submission the Senior Deputy Commissioner of the South African Police: Unrest Control, Maj Gen A J Wandrag expressed his opposition to the creation of a separate force to cope with unrest. A copy of this document is attached as annexure "E".
14.11 From all the relevant comments it appears that there was general opposition to the idea of a third force to deal with unrest, separate from the South African Defence Force and the South African Police. I was personally opposed to the idea of such a separate force and instructed the Chief of the South African Defence Force, Gen J.J. Geldenhuys, to co-operate with the investigation by the committee appointed by the State Security Council, but to clearly express my unequivocal opposition to such a force.
14.12 The investigating committee appointed a work group. In a report to the investigating committee dated 13 March 1986, the work group recommended the restructuring of the South African Police instead of the establishment of an independent force. A copy of this report is attached as annexure "F".
14.13 During its meeting on 24 March 1986 the investigating committee adopted a resolution recommending against the formation of a third force in favour of the further development and restructuring of the capabilities of the South African Police. This appears from page four, paragraph 10(e) of the minutes of the investigating committee. A copy of the minutes is attached as annexure "G".
14.14 A discussion document titled "Establishment of a Special Anti-Revolutionary Ability (including a Third Force)" dated 9 May 1986 was thereafter prepared for discussion by the State Security Council. Several options were identified, the fourth being a variation of the others and based on a restructuring of the South African Police which would leave the line function responsibilities of the various Ministers unchanged. This document was signed by Mr Adriaan Vlok. A copy of this discussion paper is attached as annexure "H".
14.15 At a meeting of the State Security Council on 12 May 1986 it resolved to accept the fourth option as set out in the discussion paper (which envisaged a restructuring of the police force), subject to "considerable amendments". A copy of the said minutes is attached as annexure "I".
14.16 It is general knowledge that the South African Police subsequently expanded its capabilities in counter insurgency. An independent third force, as originally envisaged, was, however, never established.
14.17 From an extract of the minutes of a cabinet meeting of 22 June 1988 it appears that State President P.W. Botha at this meeting again raised the possibility of the establishment of a third force. If a third force was in fact established in 1986, these utterances by Mr Botha would be nonsensical. A copy of the said extract is attached as annexure "J".
14.18 On 8 May 1989 Gen De Witt, the Commissioner of Police, informed a committee of the State Security Council that the creation of a third force was made inappropriate due to the surrounding financial and legal problems. He further stated that the establishment of Municipal Police and the extension of the Riot Control Unit negated the need for the establishment of such a force. It was specifically minuted that the committee accepted Gen De Witt's exposition. A copy of the said minute is attached as annexure "K".
14.19 A third force was consequently never established.
15.2 During my term of office as Head of the South African Defence Force and as Minister of Defence instructions to members of the South African Defence Force were clear: destroy the terrorists, their bases and their capabilities. This was also government policy.
As a professional soldier, I issued orders and later as Minister of Defence I authorised orders which led to the death of innocent civilians in cross-fire. I sincerely regret the civilian casualties, but unfortunately this is part of the ugly reality of war. However, I never issued an order or authorised an order for the assassination of anybody, nor was I ever approached for such authorization by any member of the South African Defence Force. The killing of political opponents of the government, such as the slaying of Dr Webster, never formed part of the brief of the South African Defence Force.
16.2 From time to time progress on the research done in and funds spent on Project Coast was reported to me. At no stage did I authorise the use of any chemical or biological capability developed by Project Coast. This project never had any sinister connotation. The capabilities developed through Project Coast since 1981, to the best of my knowledge, still exist. As recently as 5 March 1997 the present Surgeon General of the South African National Defence Force testified as follows in an application to court:
"Uit hoofde van die huidige pos wat ek bekleŽ, was ek betrokke by 'n projek van die destydse Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag sowel as die huidige Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag met betrekking tot die daarstelling en instandhouding van 'n defensiewe vermoŽ in chemiese en biologiese oorlogvoering. ... In die lig hiervan was ek bewus daarvan dat daar projekte binne bogenoemde projek gedurende die tydperk vanaf 1981 tot die huidige rondom die defensiewe aspekte van chemiese en biologiese oorlogvoering van stapel gestuur is en dat van die lede wat in die SAGD werksaam was, ook daarby betrokke was."16.3 I have in my posession a report compiled by the project officer, Dr.W.Basson, reporting to government on the status of the project and requesting authority for fiscal approval in terms of amended procedures introduced at the time. I enclose a copy thereof marked Annexure "M". It is interesting to note that this comprehensive Top Secret document fails to report to me any sinister motive or intention of killing people.
16.4 I have been informed that the members responsible for this project briefed President Mandela fully on the existence, scope and ambit of Project Coast and that he thereafter granted his approval for its continuation.
Cross border raids caused bloodshed. As a Christian I regret the loss of lifes. I, however, do not intend to seek amnesty for those operations. I consider those operations as legal acts of State which soldiers performed as servants of the State. I never regarded myself to be above the law. If with the wisdom of hindsight my authority, which I endeavered to exercise with responsibility should be regarded by some as culpable, I am prepared to face the consequences. I come here to tell you my story and to face your judgement. I shall be content if what I am saying may spur the slightest of understanding of former adversaries. I shall rejoice if my efforts can contribute in the minutist sense towards reconciliation and if all soldiers may obtain moral amnesty. In the final analysis that is all that really counts for me. I, and most of my generals are in the autumn of our lives anyway. It is understanding and forgiveness we realy seek, not legal pardons.
18.2 I wish to take this opportunity to set the record straight as far as my relationship with this Commission is concerned. In the past, I cautioned this Commission against becoming involved in a witch hunt. However, I never accused this body that it was in fact involved in a witch hunt. My words of caution are today as valid as they were when first delivered. Perceptions are as important in reconciliation as they are in many other facets of life. Keep in mind that in terms of the provisions of section 7(2)(a) of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, no 34 of 1995, you are by definition required to be impartial.
18.3 Mr Dumisa Nsebeza stated last Tuesday that he did not believe that I would come and confess to this Commission and accused me of wanting to use this Commission for my own reasons. I humbly submit that this created the perception of a prejudiced and intollerant attitude. Sir, you could have at least waited until I have delivered my submission, before expressing your opinions about me.
"We don't need Malan to teach us - we have been involved in the past. I was involved as a lawyer - defending freedom fighters in this country, who know at first hand what the SADF was doing in the townships, what they were doing in Namibia, in Mozambique and everywhere else",he was quoted as saying by the SABC. In a scarcely veiled attempt to intimidate me, he reportedly hinted that subsequent to my appearance before you here today, I would be summoned to appear before the Investigative Unit, which is headed by him.
Well sir, your unit is in terms of section 30 of the Act obliged to afford an opportunity to any person implicated in a manner which may be to his or her detriment during any investigation by your unit, to submit representations to you. Up to now I have not yet been invited to make any submission to your unit.
18.4 I never refused to cooperate with the Commission as the SABC allege. Due to malicious charges which were brought against me (and I am not referring to the role of the Attorney General of Natal) by false witnesses and an Investigation Task Unit, whose methods of investigations were severely criticised by the presiding judge, I was forced into a criminal trail, which prevented me from considering assistance to this Commission.
19.2 I am here because out of conviction I want to cooperate in building a South Africa where there is room for all of us and our grandchildren to live in peace and prosperity.
19.3 The pendulum in South Africa has swung. Ten years ago our country was involved in the conflict, violence and bloodshed of an armed struggle. Now we have a more democratic system. Our country is, however, not free of violence and crime. The past is history, we can not recreate or change it. My view was always that one can not build one's future by recreating the past. What we do now determines our tomorrows.
19.4 You at this Commission are intensively concerned with the past. In contrast I am worried about the future. You cannot recreate the past, but you can contribute to a brighter future for our grandchildren. Therefore a tremendous responsibility rests with you.
19.5 Where we stand today we can thankfully say that we have a basically democratic dispensation, to which all parties concerned have contributed. I say to you with a troubled heart that we do not yet have peace and stability. The country is divided. Have you seen how broken the country is? Kilometres of bars in front of buildings, houses, schools and churches? The never-ending reports in the media of frightening crime. Over the past six years during negotiations on the Constitution an entire debate has raged over the dignity of life, but today a person's life in South Africa is worth practically nothing. The country is virtually ungovernable. Anarchy and a total lack of respect for law and order is the order of the day. Innocent victims are losing their lives daily in an unprecedented crime wave. What about their human rights? I am deeply concerned with the future of all South Africans.
19.6 We shall pay a price for the instability in this country. Foreign investors see the chaos and invest less where it matters most. Unemployment and consequent poverty will result.
19.7 Whether you like it or not, the investigations by your Commission affect the country. All evidence led before you create impressions both inside South Africa and abroad. You have no control over this. By your incessant probing into the past you may create a reaction which will be difficult to control.
19.8 In many different ways I retain contact with people throughout the country. You must remember that the Defence Force during my term of office trained more than 500 000 soldiers. They are among the best trained troops in the world. Soldiers that bravely achieved military success against all that the Soviet Union could throw at them. They have not disappeared. They still live in this fatherland of ours. They still cherish expectations of a better South Africa.
19.9 Our military leaders were feared and admired for their expertise and strategic thinking. They were also people with integrity.
19.10 I plead for peace and tolerance; I am not a rebel or a revolutionary that plots in the dark of night. In my entire life I was open in what I did and strove for. I reject allegations against me to the effect that I was involved in unlawful actions.
19.11 I appeal here in public for a country in which our grandchildren will all have a place in the sun. Let not our past destroy our future! We must also create a future for those 500 000 soldiers to which I referred and for their grandchildren. In this your Commission's contribution is paramount.
I thank you for this opportunity.
M.A. de M. MALAN