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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 5 of Episode 74

TimeSummary
40:34During the 1980s South Africa had a very aggressive foreign policy; in fact it was a policy of bullying anybody in the region that was weaker. In 1981 a bunch of mercenaries tried to overthrow the Seychelles Government. The full story of South Africa’s involvement has never been told, until now. Full Transcript and References
40:56The Seychelles, a tourist heaven. For years holiday makers have flocked to these islands strung out like jewels in the Indian Ocean. But in 1977 trouble came to paradise. Seychellois President Sir James Mancham was ousted in a coup led by Albert René. Mancham had been a friend of apartheid South Africa. René, a socialist, was not. He was soon to discover how unfriendly his South African neighbours could be. Not only were the islands strategically important to the navies that patrolled the Indian Ocean they were also a refuelling stop for South African Airways on their long haul flights to Asia. Pretoria was upset when René imposed sanctions by cancelling SAA’s landing rights at the airport on Mahé island, capital of the Seychelles. Seychellois refugees from the Mancham regime fled to Durban and when they asked for assistance in getting back to power South Africa was willing to talk. Enter Martin Dolinschek, then a senior operative of the National Intelligence Service.Full Transcript
42:07So I was sent to one guy, he was a Minister of Tourism. I forget his name but in any case. He was in a flat in central Durban and I went to see him one morning on instruction of South African Government which gave instruction to the Bureau of State Security, and I interviewed him, a long interview. He said that there wouldn’t be much problem, because the army is small, the access is quite free; there’s not much control to access the island by sea, possibly air. And then Mike Hoare came on the scene. Mike Hoare was quite allegiance amongst South Africans and apparently in mercenary circles in Africa because he was leading an expedition into Belgian Congo at that stage and he told me he and the CIA put Mobutu in power so to speak.Full Transcript
43:40It was decided that South Africa would hire mercenaries recruited and led by Hoare to pull off a coup to oust René and put Mancham back in power. At this stage, according to Dolinschek, the operation fell under the control of the National Intelligence Service headed up by Dr Niel Barnard.Full Transcript
43:51In 1980 Niel Barnard visited the Durban office where we had a sort of a Christmas party; Jimmy Claasen was there, and during the party he comes to me. He says the State Security Council approved the plan. So he asked me to call up Mike Hoare for a meeting, for a breakfast meeting the next morning, which I did. And they met for the breakfast there where Martin had a certain instruction, I was not there so I wouldn’t know, but everybody was happy.Full Transcript
44:37Jimmy Claasen and Niel Barnard were sending Dolinschek instructions from headquarters in Pretoria. Then suddenly something changed. // Bureau of State Security headquarters sends the signal down to us, to me, to say that I must tell Mike Hoare to report in Pretoria urgently. He went to Military Intelligence in Pointon building in Pretoria where there was Brig Badenhorst and Brig Martin Maritz I think. When Mike Hoare came there he say he come there in connection with the Seychelles operation. So Military Intelligence, these two gentlemen, they were quite abrupt. They said, says who? So Claasen was there, Jimmy Claasen and he said it’s the Prime Minister’s instructions. The Prime Minister then was PW Botha. Then they say. Where’s the documents? So they didn’t have the documents, so Claasen left and got a letter from the Prime Minister saying that operation of Seychelles is being transferred from the Bureau of State Security to the Directorate of Military Intelligence.Full Transcript
46:02The military insisted on two conditions. First, that the mercenaries should not be South African nationals and second that the arms should travel to the islands separately from the soldiers of fortune. Mike Hoare ignored Military Intelligence on both counts.Full Transcript
46:19He says but I cannot get 200 foreigners here, I cannot go to Europe to recruit either. So he asked me. He says, do you think we can flow these preconditions? So I say well if they don’t know they don’t know. If the coup itself is a success in Seychelles it will be very unlikely they will come back to you.Full Transcript
46:50So, with Dolinschek as his NIS liaison Mike Hoare proceeded to recruit 50 mercenaries who were offered 20 000 dollars each, plus the promise of a bonus from Mancham if all went well.Full Transcript
47:03The arms come from South African Defence Force. I tested the arms with his brother in law and one other guy, I think it was another little son of Mike Hoare. The arms were dismantled, the butts were removed, the backs – cricket backs, or valise – were purchased from Game stores, the forced buttons were installed and they were stored there. National Intelligence Service asked me to remain with them to keep an eye and report so I stayed with and I rendered sort of a supportive service. Because what the military actually done was just to deliver the arms, approve the Mike Hoare plan. They didn’t delegate, as far as I could see, anybody there to say do this do that, don’t do this or don’t do that.Full Transcript
48:10In October Hoare sent his brother in law, Robert Sims to establish a safe house on the Seychelles. Dolinschek arrived in Mahé on November 14th, two weeks ahead of D day.Full Transcript
48:20In those two days I basically drove around the island past the military barracks and just observe is there any unusual activities, go through all the roads and see if there’s any roadblocks or something, but everything was nice and quiet.Full Transcript
48:40One week before D day four more of the mercenaries flew in, carrying weapons in false bottoms installed in their bags. Everything was proceeding smoothly. November 21st D day arrived. Dolinschek, Sims and the four others went to the airport to meet Mike Hoare and the 44 mercenaries who were travelling disguised as the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers, a group of charitable beer drinking tourists, but inside their bags were AK47s.Full Transcript
49:12Mike Hoare came out already, he come to the car he say hello, smiling nicely. So there were still other people coming through the door. All of a sudden there was lots of shouting and a shot or two were fired.Full Transcript
49:30A vigilant Seychellois customs officer had noticed the butt of an AK sticking out of the torn lining of one of the tourist’s bags. He searched the froth blowers’ luggage and all hell broke loose.Full Transcript
49:43But we couldn’t see; we were outside the airport, but quite near, about 50 feet across. But we didn’t see what happened, but you could imagine. So there was a commotion. So Mike was shouting you people go down.Full Transcript
50:00In the shootout that followed Dolinschek got cut off from Mike Hoare and his men who had taken over the airport. He then decided to wait it out at a nearby hotel. During the night an Air India jet landed and was seized by the mercenaries who forced the pilot to fly them back to Durban, leaving just four men behind to cover their exit. The four then melted into the mountains, but there was no escape from the island and in the days and nights that followed the abortive coup Dolinschek sat tight in his hotel.Full Transcript
50:33So I go to my room to change and I come down and I order myself a drink when there is a guy across the … it’s an outside bar, a horseshoe, a huge one … so I see the guy right across which looked very similar to Brig Badenhorst, from the Directorate of Military Intelligence. He was there with a camera on his neck with his two teenage sons there. But I was not very sure, across, it was dark… but that was my first impression. So then the waiter comes to me with a double whiskey and soda and he says that’s for you. I said I haven’t got enough money here; it’d have to be organised tomorrow. So he said, no it’s from that gentleman and he points at that same guy which I thought was Brig Badenhorst. So I said thank you, so I take and I do like this [cheers] and then he left. I don’t know where he went but he just left. Full Transcript
51:54But police were combing the island for mercenaries and within a week they had now had their focus down to a single fit looking South African national who was calling himself Anton Lubic. Dolinschek was pulled in.Full Transcript
52:08So I said to him, seeing that there is no South African diplomatic representative here I demand to see British High Commissioner. So, Commissioner looked at me and said, but you got a cheek, you got a cheek. So he calls somebody and says, take him down to the clinic. Then I knew more than ever that he knows the full story, but he’s gentleman. As a matter of fact he said to me, you’re lucky we’re not like your apartheid police who kills people. I could get the story easily out of you, but I’ll wait.Full Transcript
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