69 The above operations all targeted either SWAPO or Angolan Army facilities. In another SADF raid, the South African Air Force (SAAF) attacked an African National Congress (ANC) camp at Nova Catengue on 14 March 1979. Essentially a transit facility, the camp housed large numbers of recent exiles (the 1976 Soweto outflow). While the facility was severely damaged in the raid, casualties amounted to three dead (including one Cuban) and fourteen wounded. Casualties were comparatively low because advance intelligence had been received and the camp had been evacuated.
The economic and human costs of the Angolan War
70 In addition to destroying Angolan towns in the south of the country, the SADF targeted economic installations in Angola, especially its petroleum facilities. These included attacks on the Luanda oil refinery on 30 November 1981, the storage tanks in the port of Namibia in June 1988 and those at Huambo in 1987. On 21 May 1985, a Recce 4 commando unit was intercepted attempting to sabotage the Cabinda Gulf Oil complex and the commander, Captain Wynand du Toit, was captured. Road bridges and the Benguela railway were also frequently sabotaged.
71 The effects of the war on Angolan civilians were devastating. UNICEF has estimated that, between 1980 and 1985, at least 100 000 Angolans died, mainly as a result of war-related famine. The cumulative effect of the battering of the economy and social infrastructure in the 1980–85 period produced an even greater escalation in the death rate after 1985. Between 1981 and 1988, again according to UNICEF, 333 000 Angolan children died of unnatural causes. The Angolan government estimated the economic cost of war damage to be US$12 billion in 1987 alone.
72 The environmental effects of the war on the south (and in the Caprivi) were devastating. Both forest lands and wildlife were destroyed. This rape of the environment was sanctioned by the SADF. In the early 1980s, covert front companies were established to facilitate trading in rare woods like teak and kiaat, and in ivory, skins and diamonds. A safari company was also set up through which the hunting of big game was regulated. Ostensibly, these activities were undertaken to raise secret funds for UNITA, but they led quickly to widespread and high-level corruption.
VOLUME 2 CHAPTER 2 The State outside South Africa between 1960 and 1990 PAGE 60