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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 702

Paragraph Numbers 533 to 541

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 41

Namibian elections

533 For many, the acceptance of UN Resolution 435 and the ensuing elections provided a dry run for the elections in South Africa. All efforts were thrown into reducing the SWAPO vote – with considerable success given the time frame. To this purpose, some R180 million was made available for operations Victor and Agree. These operations included providing extensive infrastructure for the DTA, the South African government’s alternative to SWAPO, conducting an extensive disinformation campaign, and embarking on campaigns to intimidate voters, disrupt meetings and so forth. It seems that some of this money also went towards the funding of a right-wing group, Aksie Kontra 435, involving people such as Mr Horst Klenz, Mr Leonard Veenendal and Mr Darryl Stopforth, who undertook sabotage actions. According to CCB intelligence officer Chris Nel, the entire resource base of the CCB was used in Namibia. CCB operatives from all regions were deployed in Namibia and were offered production bonuses. Aside from the Lubowski assassination, the Commission is aware of at least two other assassination plans – that of Mr Daniel Tjongarero and Ms Gwen Lister.

534 With the elections over, most of these operatives returned to South Africa together with the rest of the South African military machine. The SADF representative to the Co-ordinating Intelligence Committee (KIK) raised the need for the KIK to develop a similar plan for South Africa’s transition. Moreover, throughout the period of the war and following South Africa’s final withdrawal from Namibia, at no stage did the security forces engage in any processes of demobilisation and re-integration of its members into a non-war situation. To all intents and purposes, then, operatives and soldiers moved from one theatre of war to another.

535 The Namibian strategy had its roots in an earlier high-level discussion of security force generals, intelligence personnel and SSC functionaries in October 1985 regarding the question of a settlement with the ANC. While there were dissenting views, the general thrust was that some form of settlement was unavoidable in the long term, but that every effort should be made to weaken the ANC and destroy its revolutionary potential. In the words of General Groenewald, “Jy kan dus slegs uit ‘n posisie van krag onderhandel. Onderhandel ons met die ANC met die doel om hom te elimineer, is dit aanvaarbaar. Onderhandel ons met die doel om hom te akkommodeer, is dit onaanvaarbaar.” (You can thus only negotiate from a position of power. If we negotiate with the ANC with the purpose of eliminating it, that is acceptable. If we negotiate with the purpose of accommodating it, that is unacceptable.) There is nothing to indicate that this view ever changed. The handling of the Namibian elections would tend to indicate that this remained the dominant perspective.

537 By the 1990s, then, a clear pattern of security force conduct had emerged that crossed the boundaries of legality and was condoned and in some instances encouraged as part of state policy. A network of security force operatives, bound by blood and secrecy, had emerged, with informal channels of communication and in possession of, or with access to, material resources and weaponry. While the new De Klerk government significantly dismantled many of the formal securocrat structures, little obvious attempt was made to dismantle these networks or to change the mindset of operatives intent on continuing an all-out war on the ANC and its allies. Indeed, where efforts were directed at uncovering such networks – as with the establishment of the Harms Commission – security force personnel were instructed by their seniors to lie, sending a clear signal that these were simply public relations initiatives and that they were not intended to change the status quo. The fact that Vlakplaas personnel continued with unlawful activities at the very time that the Harms Commission was sitting is clear testimony to this. Given this background, it is unsurprising that evidence should emerge of security force involvement in the violence and destabilisation of the 1990s.

537 Clear evidence of security force involvement in the following issues has been confirmed:

  • The provision of weapons and training to the IFP by members of the security forces, and thus by implication, involvement in the violence in the PWV and KwaZulu/Natal regions. It is notable that this continued after the exposure of government financial support to the IFP.
  • The cover-up after the arrest of Mr Themba Khoza with weapons on the scene of the Sebokeng massacre and thus, by implication, involvement in the massacre itself.
  • The involvement by MI operatives and structures in the destabilisation of the homelands, including the development of a plan to invade Transkei.
  • A official plan by MI to abduct and/or assassinate Mr Chris Hani and Mr Bantu Holomisa in Transkei.
  • The existence of SAP hit squads that continued to be engaged in killings.
  • Continued efforts to conduct disinformation campaigns against the liberation movements generally and against particular individuals. Examples include Project Echoes, a South African army intelligence (GS2) project which sought to generate disinformation about MK, and a strategic communications project which targeted Ms Winnie Mandela.
  • The running of high-level sources such as Mr Sifiso Nkabinde and Mr David Ntombela, who were deeply implicated in violence in the Richmond area.

538 In addition, some evidence exists regarding:

  • The involvement of security force operatives in train violence.
  • Involvement of security forces in right-wing agendas and structures, possibly including the establishment of some right-wing groupings. While the security forces indicate that this was for the purposes of intelligence-gathering, the case of Mr Leonard Veenendal shows a continued and disturbing blurring of intelligence and operational lines.
  • The involvement of Mr Prince Gobinca as a key player in several sites of violence in the western and eastern Cape. This includes his involvement in the Western Cape United Squatters Association (WECUSA) and his involvement in deploying an ANC SDU in violence locally as well as for the ADMin Ciskei. The Commission found Mr Gobinca to have links with both MI and the Security Branch, and found extensive involvement of MI in the ADM.
  • The existence of alliances between certain security force operatives, the right wing and sectors of the IFP who clearly believed they were arming and training people for a full-scale war.

539 It should perhaps be noted that, in the Port Elizabeth area, the security forces seem broadly to have accepted the move towards a negotiated transition and, as is borne out by official police documentation, appear to have developed a working relationship with local ANC leaders. It is noteworthy that, in the one area where such a working relationship developed, ‘third force’ violence did not manifest itself. The fact that the Port Elizabeth area had previously always been at the cutting edge of conflict between security forces and resistance movements merely underlines this point.

540 Beyond the specific violations and arenas of violence, a major issue the Commission was unable to determine was the degree to which the involvement of security force operations was part of government strategy at the time. As indicated at the beginning of this chapter, the position of the ANC and a number of other structures was that the NP was pursuing a twin-track strategy of publicly negotiating while continuing to wage war against the ANC.

541 The position of the NP, on the other hand, was that President de Klerk and his government did everything in their power to put an end to such violence and that, at every point that allegations were made, an attempt was made to investigate them. In this regard, the Harms Commission (1990), the Kahn Commission, the Goldstone Commission (1990) and the Steyn investigation (1992) are seen to represent a willingness to investigate such allegations.

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