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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 38

Paragraph Numbers 155 to 165

Volume 2

Chapter 1

Subsection 13

155 The need to ‘eliminate’ the ANC as a threat led to the adoption of an internal strategy of counter-revolutionary warfare. A number of developments reflect this change.

156 First, there was a marked shift in the terminology used in SSC and related documentation. Words such as ‘neutraliseer’, (neutralise), ‘vernietig’ (destroy), ‘elimineer’ (eliminate), ‘uit te wis’ (wipe out) and so forth became common parlance.

157 Second, this shift was accompanied by an increasing dominance of the military in formulating and driving security perspectives. Former military intelligence officer HC Nel told a section 29 hearing:

Out in the commandos, in the commands, in the territorial areas of the country the army was in charge whenever there was a crisis. The Defence Force would take charge because of our arrogant stance of “we know how to plan…” The police jump in a van and go and try and solve a problem and they normally end up in an ambush and run away. While the military have a much more structured role, and we have the force levels to our capability and we have the resources. And we assume that superior part and role. And in most areas where former Western Front guys were in charge of commands, that was obvious that the army was always controlling the situation.

158 This shift is further evidenced by the adoption of significant sections of the influential text on counter-revolutionary warfare written by the SADF’s Brigadier CA Fraser. Thus an extra-ordinary meeting of the SSC on 18 July 1985 adopted eleven principles for the ‘countering of the revolutionary onslaught,’ closely based on Fraser’s text. Indeed, much of Fraser’s book was later reproduced, with a foreword by PW Botha and circulated among state functionaries.

159 Third, and in keeping with the language used in SSC documents as well as the main tenets of counter-revolutionary warfare, there was an increasing use of the same methods ‘of the enemy against the enemy’. This led to an approach in which violence was met with greater violence and the security forces themselves became covertly involved in extra-judicial killings, acts of arson and sabotage and other reprisals.

160 Fourth, there was an increasing emphasis on covert support for conservative groupings within black communities. This took a variety of forms. It included Operation Marion, in which a paramilitary and offensive capacity was given to Inkatha; Operation Katzen, which aimed to overthrow the existing homeland governments in the Ciskei and Transkei and establish a regional resistance movement (Iliso Lomzi) to counter the UDF/ANC influence in that region; and the provision of financial and other support for a range of conservative individuals and vigilante groupings. Central to the latter aspect was the attempt to exploit divisions within organisations and communities, thus weakening the support base of the liberation and mass democratic movements.

161 Fifth, there was an increasing emphasis on co-ordination of security action, and significant resources were poured into the NSMS. The inter-departmental committee on security was upgraded and by 1987 was co-ordinating the activities of regional Joint Management Committees (JMCs), under the full-time direction of the Deputy Minister of Law and Order. JMCs were fully activated and thirty-seven ‘hotspots’ were designated as ‘oilspots’ where security would be normalised before urban renewal projects put in place. Indeed, the new strategic direction was characterised by the idea that reforms did not go hand in hand with law and order but could only be implemented once political stability had been achieved.

162 At the same time, however, emphasis was placed on co-ordination, several covert structures began to be put in place, including what became known as the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) . In terms of a plan devised by Major General Joep Joubert, Special Forces operatives were deployed to work with selected Security Branch divisions. It was in part the development of this plan and the covert deployment of Special Forces internally that led to the development of the CCB.

163 Finally, the above took place in the context of a nation-wide state of emergency that effectively remained in place from June 1986 until mid-1990.

164 In the year after the imposition of the national state of emergency, the full force of a strategy of counter-revolutionary warfare unfolded domestically. By the end of 1987, the government succeeded in reasserting control and effectively defused whatever potential existed for an insurrectionary situation. Meanwhile, the international balance of forces changed as the Cold War ground to a halt with policies of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union.

165 The ANC, realising the improbability of seizing state power through an armed insurrection, began genuinely exploring the possibility of a negotiated settlement. The government too began to move secretly towards negotiation. A series of secret meetings between emissaries of the South African government and leading ANC figures were held in the second half of the 1980s. At the same time, the ANC implemented Operation Vula with the intention of returning senior ANC leaders into the country. Vula was seen by some ANC leaders as an ‘insurance policy’ in case the negotiation process failed. Others within the ANC possibly still held to a revolutionary dogma that could not contemplate attaining political power through peaceful means, and which still anticipated the arrival of an ‘insurrectionary moment’ after the suspension of armed struggle.

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