Presented by

Maj Gen B. Mortimer





















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 the SADF.

d. The Defence Strategy, Planning and Authorisation.

e. Defence Force Operations.

f. "Conclusion".



(1960 TO 1989)


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.


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 Africa itself.

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, as "¼Moscow's 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".


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.


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..


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) as chairman.

b. The senior Cabinet minister and the ministers of;

i. Foreign Affairs;

ii. Defence;

iii. Justice;

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 for:

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 clearly defined.

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.


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 (total) threat.

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.


22. In 1980, the SSC laid down the procedure for the planning and approval of national, interdepartmental and departmental strategies.

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 Total Strategy.

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.


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:

  1. The development of the required military infrastructure for effective counter-insurgency operations.

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 against sabotage.

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 for implementation.

a. Boek 1/Beleid: Die RSA se Belange en die RSA-Regering se Doel, Doelstellings en Beleid. (March 1980).

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 (November 1981).

i. A total strategy in respect of the role of trade unions in labour unrest (April 1982).

j. SSC guidelines for economic warfare (April 1982).

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

(December 1986).

o. Revision of the functions of the SSC and the addition of a Cabinet

Committee for Security Affairs (November 1989).

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.





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); and

c. the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA) and its military wing, the Azanian National Liberation Army (AZANLA).


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 Africa.

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.


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.


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.


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 car bombs;

b. the equilibrium phase in which strong MK units would engage the government's forces in mobile warfare, and

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.


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 war.

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 (mass mobilisation);

c. the armed offensive, and

d. the international drive to isolate the RSA.

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 ANC publications:

a. In Sechaba it was emphasized that

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."


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 youth organisations;

b. must be in charge of the process; and

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.



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 :

a. "¼(it) 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."

c. "¼(the underground) must plan its actions and ensure that these reinforce and merge with people's mass action."


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 who collaborate."

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 other strategies.

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.


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 our advice."


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 agreements:

a. Lusaka Manifesto (1969);

b. Mogadishu Declaration (1971);

c. Dar es Salaam Declaration (1975); and

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.


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.


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 periods :

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 areas.

iv. Some of the most important incidents were the following :

(1) 24 November 1977. Bomb explosion at the Carlton

Centre in Johannesburg. 17 civilians were injured.

(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 injured.

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 1985:

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 states continued.

iv . The end of the period was marked by a blurring of the distinction between "armed incidents and unrest".

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.

  1. 13 May 1984. Sabotage of a fuel storage depot in


(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 extensive damage

c. 1 September 1985 to 31 August 1989

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.

  1. 1 September 1988 to 31 August 1989 - 315.

ii. There was a sharp shift in emphasis from "hard" to "soft" targets.


% Hard Targets

% 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 benefits.

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 :

  1. 26 November 1985. A private vehicle detonated two landmines on a farm in the Weipe area.

(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 1994

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 were arrested.

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.



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 model, ie

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 Free State.

37. Major APLA actions in this period included:

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.


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 actions countrywide.

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 1989

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).

(6) 49 churches (up to 30 June 1990).

(7) 29 clinics (up to 30 June 1990).

(8) 12188 private delivery vehicles.

(9) 10318 buses.

(10) 4450 vehicles of the SA Police.

(11) 152 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 the rioting.

c. 1 September 1989 to 31 August 1994

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.


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 "liberated" areas.

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 :

Serial No




Not functioning







31 Aug 85

31 Aug 86

30 Nov 90

31 Aug 91

16 Sep 92

30 Sep 93



















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.


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.


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 and Roodepoort.

  1. July 1990. A bomb explosion occurred in the Breë Street taxi-rank, Johannesburg. 27 people injured.

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.


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



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


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 SANDF).

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 the SADF.

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

  1. The mandate for the execution of the main functions of the SADF was derived from Sec 3(2) of the Defence Act, Act 44 of 1957, as amended. These functions entailed:

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 in mind.

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 where necessary.

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 command.

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 when required.

v. To provide air support to other organisations during disasters and emergencies.

vi. To participate in search and rescue operations when required.

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:

  1. The Command Post at SAAF Headquarters. It controlled air operations in the main threat area, i.e. the RSA except the areas controlled by the two regional commands.

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 Saldanha.

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 operations.

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 as follows:

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 regional headquarters.

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 warfare.

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 the RSA.

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, and

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 group.

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 strategy; and

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 actions :

a. In the SADF's Area of Responsibility the SADF must be in a position to

i. conduct conventional military operations;

  1. conduct counterinsurgency operations;

iii. conduct intelligence;

iv. conduct strategic communication operations; and

v. support the SAP in maintaining law and order.

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.

  1. In the SADF Area of Interest the SADF must be in a position to conduct intelligence; and if necessary also to

i. exercise special and retaliatory operations;

ii. exercise air and maritime reconnaissance;

iii. deploy ground forces (restricted), and

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.


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 1989.



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 functions.


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 or not.

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 the plan.

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.


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 defence.

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).


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.




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 complete.


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 the RSA;

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 respectively;

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.


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:





Jun 1980

1755 Men for roadblocks


Jul 1980

30 Men for cordon and search


Aug 1980

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

Countrywide roadblocks


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)


Aug 1985

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


Nov 1985

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


Jun/Jul 1986

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


Jul 1987

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 in Harare.

f. Botswana : 28 March 1988. An attack on an ANC transit facility in

Phiring, Gaberone.

g. Transkei : 17 October 1993. An attack on a PAC transit facility in Umtata.


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 level.


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 and Thokoza.

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 search operations.

i. Reconnaissance flights in conjunction with SA Police and ESKOM to combat the theft of copper wire from telephone lines.

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.


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 Zimbabwe.

11. Conventional Special Operations. Conventional special operations are covered under the SA Army operations.



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).

13. Angola

a. The 1986/87 Strategy for Angola gave, inter alia, the following guidelines: The SADF

i. could proceed with clandestine reconnaissance in Angola,

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 UN.

14. Mozambique

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 the project.

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.


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 forces;

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 propaganda.

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 line functions.

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.

e. Arts.

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; and

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 State hospitals.


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.