SA Defence Force Contact Bureau (Consisting of the panel of the four former Chiefs of the SA Defence Force, Generals Malan, Viljoen, Geldenhuys and Liebenberg, and the convenors, Maj Gen Marais and WO1 Holliday),

Enquiries : Maj Gen D.R. Marais
Postal Address:
Private Bag x 414
Telephone : 355-5412
fax : 355 6255

 February 1998

The Chairman
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
106 Adderley Street
Cape Town


1.        We are retired from the SADF. With regard to our involvement in, and our co-operation with the TRC, we get very meager assistance, from the government and its agencies. In practical terms it means that we have no staff and administrative officials, and have to do everything mostly ourselves.

2.        As former chiefs of the SA Defence Force the ultimate responsibility for the effective running of affairs in the Defence Force rested with us for the specific periods of our appointments. We have stated this repeatedly in many ways and on various occasions in the past.
3.        The positive results achieved during our terms of command can be attributed to our leadership, either directly or indirectly . Likewise the responsibility for any negative results will, of necessity, also be ours, either directly or indirectly.
4.        It is therefore understandable that we had and still have a keen interest in all activities of the TRC relating to the former SADF.
5.        The management and conduct of the TRC concerning matters of a military nature in the first two years of its existence are causing us concern. Consequently we, the former chiefs of the SADF in the period under scrutiny, decided to assess the workings of the TRC in respect of the former SADF.
6.        The aim of the assessment is not only to highlight points of criticism but, to a greater extent, to enable us to make constructive suggestions with the aim of promoting national reconciliation.


7.        The assessment will, of necessity, have to compare the statutory object of the Commission, ie the promotion of national unity, with the results it achieved and the way in which the SADF had been handled and affected.
8.        Secondly, as the Commission has not yet reached the end of its mandate, an assessment will be made of the probability that the Commission's approach up to this point in time, can possibly result in balanced wellfounded conclusions in its final report.
9.        As the outcome of the analysis confirms our doubt as to whether the Commission will eventually promote reconciliation and unity, its conclusions serve as a basis for formulating suggestions for consideration by the TRC and for inclusion in its report, as well as for research purposes.


10        The SA Defence Force (SADF), as such, no longer exists. We have no official authority over people who served in it.
11.        We are not approaching you on behalf of all the members of the SADF, but we know that the great majority of them agree with our sentiments and thoughts; in fact, most of the suggestions come from people who discussed it with us. Please bear in mind that a great number of former members of the SADF have communicated with us over the past few years. A number of gatherings of former and serving servicemen also took place, where views were expressed and exchanged. At the last of these gatherings, a symposium held on 30 August 1997 attended by a significant number of the leadership elements of the SADF, the following motion was unanimously adopted:
  1. "The Symposium expresses its unequivocal support for the process of reconciliation now taking place in South Africa and which must continue to take place. As in the past, we - as former SADF members - shall continue to lend our full co-operation to the creation of a peaceful state for all its inhabitants. However, the Symposium would like to express its concern and dismay over the unfair and apparently one-sided process adopted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We do not accept that we were ever defeated militarily and we demand that the political processes do justice to both sides represented in this issue. In this way, both the honour and the good reputation of the SADF - which still forms the basis of the SANDF - must be restored".
12.        In pursuance of the above, and in recognition of views and demands of former subordinate servicemen, the analysis will, amongst other relevant aspects, contain a reflection of views pertaining before and during the symposium.


 13.        Proud of the traditional loyalty of the SADF to the country and the government of the day, we the former chiefs of the SADF approach this assessment accordingly. The point of departure will therefore also be to assist the present government to actually promote and effect reconciliation and unity.
14.        Such an approach will also have to be in alignment with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Together with the people of South Africa, we, the former chiefs of the SADF, declare, in furtherance of "the promotion of national unity and the restructuring and continued governance of South Africa", (Reference to the Preamble of the Constitution of South Africa) that;

  1. the Constitution provides a historic bridge between the past and present of a deeply divided society;
  2. the pursuit of national unity, the well-being of all South African citizens and peace require reconciliation between the people of South Africa and the reconstruction of society
  3. the adoption of the Constitution lays the secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past;
  4. these can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding;
  5. in order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflict of the past;
  6. with the Constitution and these commitments we, together with the people of South Africa, wish to help writing a new chapter in the history of our country, which had its origins when:
  7. i. our then minister of defence, Mr P.W. Botha opened the Defence Force to people who were previously excluded from it, and also to women;

     ii. After he became prime minister and later on president, he launched the tricameral parliament. At that time it was politically risky, but he went ahead with the courage of his convictions;

     iii he paved the way for the release of our present president;

     iv.General Malan was Chief of the Defence Force, and succeeded Mr Botha as Minister of Defence. During his term he was the man who repeatedly said on record: even should the Defence Force achieve the success which was expected of it, (and which it did) it would still not bring about a complete solution to the country's problems. A political solution had to emerge, he said;

     v. Gen Viljoen, during the last meeting of the State Security Council which he attended in 1985, said in his farewell address: "The tricameral parliament was a step in the right direction but it still fell short of a real solution."


     15.        While the TRC operates in the present, any implications of the commission's rulings should be considered against the wider context of society itself. The TRC creates perceptions in the present about the past, and people form and eventually act, on their own opinions of the TRC's perceptions. In that sense, the TRC is not only the judge about the past, it is an active participant in the formation of the future - whether in a positive or negative role, only time will tell!

    16.        The TRC is now playing a vitally important role, but once the hearings have ended, a wider process will come into play. Then the perceptions in society will start to generate its own impact on society - and the TRC will have no control over that. A critical assessment of the wider context in which the TRC operates, is therefore of the utmost importance.


    17.        According to Act No 34, 1995, it provides

    1. for the investigation and the establishment of as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights ….
    2. it is deemed necessary to establish the truth in relation to past events as well as the motives for and circumstances in which gross violations of human rights have occurred…
    3. "... the pursuit of national unity" (Government Gazette, 26 July, 1955).


     18.        The TRC has a big task; part of it is of an unpleasant nature; concentrating on violations of human rights; bringing shameful actions by perpetrators to the fore; creating a negative image of South Africa's past - regrettably. Its mandate does not include establishing what was good and commendable as well.
    19.        The TRC is not popular. It has to dig out the truth, and it hurts. It sends shudders through the population. Most citizens wish it was not true. But there is no option. The past cannot be altered.
    20.        Unlike many other TRCs worldwide, this TRC has allowed the media constantly (with few exceptions) to sit in on the process, thereby enabling South Africans be remain better informed than in the past.
    21.        It can be said that the effect of previous systems and policies, and that violations, many of which we, like millions of South Africans, had no previous knowledge, would not have come to light without the TRC. The TRC is therefor helping to create a human rights culture for our future.

    22.        In the evening news bulletin of the SABC TV on 3 October 1997 it was reported that the media was given the opportunity to discuss their perceptions of the TRC. The comments by reporters on this occasion revealed that it was agreed that the TRC played a major role in developing human rights journalism in South Africa.
    23.        Although we stand sympathetic towards the objectives of the TRC, as confirmed by the motion quoted above, we have serious reservations as to whether the TRC can make an optimum contribution towards reconciliation and national unity.
    24.        Our reservations are shared, amongst others, by the historian Hermann Giliomee in the Leader Page article in the Cape Times of 9 October 1997. "Writing as a historian, I have always felt that the greatest problem with the commission was not so much what it has set out to do, but its hopelessly skewed composition. Unlike Chile, where half the commissioners appointed to a similar body was roughly associated with the old regime and the other half with the new, the score in our case is roughly nine to one in favour of the anti - regime side".


    25.        Dr Alex Boraine provided the key to the TRC's understanding of South Africa's past in his presentation Justice, in Cataclysm, at the Brussels meeting, 20-21 July 1996.

    1. South Africa, oppressed and oppressors together, were imprisoned by the chains with which one group sought to bind the other for many generations.
    2. One of the ways in which to start the healing process in South Africa is an honest assessment and diagnosis of the sickness within our society in an attempt to give people, both perpetrators and victims, an opportunity to face the past… (Boraine. Op. Cit)
    26.        Dr Boraine's approach to the past comprises the analysis and understanding of the whole of society in only two categories: the oppressors and oppressed. Anything outside that, was beyond the point and unimportant. This kind of thinking was especially popular in Marxist, socialist and some progressive church groups.
    27.        In 1970 the SA Communist Party repeated similar previously formulated ideas:
    1. Our struggle for freedom is not an isolated one. It is part of a world-wide conflict that is going on. On the one side are the forces of socialism, of national liberation and of peace. On the other are the forces of imperialism, of exploitation and of war.
    2. We need to understand this conflict because above all we need to understand who are our friends and who are our enemies.
    3. When we just look at our own country, it seems that there is nothing but a bitter and endless struggle between us and the oppressors; and they have the backing of the big powers like the United States, Britain, France and Germany.
    4. We, the oppressed peoples of South Africa, have our friends and allies as well. They are hundreds and millions of working people, who want… socialism. (Freedom can be Won. Central Committee of the SACP, 1970. Op Cit p. 368, 369 Document from the History of the SACP 1950 - 1980. Inkululeko Publications. London.
    28.        The application of this method to divide society into only two categories, received popular support from some of the Christian churches. The Kairos Covenant; Standing with South African Christians, published in 1988, provided an excellent example of the method's impact if applied to religious affairs.
    1. We can therefore use the social categories that the Bible makes use of, namely the oppressor and the oppressed. (The Kairos Covenant. Standing with South African Christians. Ed. W. H. Logan. Friendship Press. New York. 1988. p. 29. Italics in original).
    2. But there are other conflicts in which one side is right and the other wrong. There are conflicts where one side is a fully armed and violent oppressor while the other side is defenceless and oppressed.
    3. There are conflicts that can only be described as the struggle between justice and injustice, good and evil, God and the devil. (Op cit.p. 17.)
    4. The struggle became the new measure for determining the nature of violence, for right and wrong. In the name of the struggle, throwing stones, burning cars and killing people were somehow less horrible, more humane, perhaps even more in line with human rights.
    30.        Against this strong biblical evidence, according to the protagonists of the liberation theology, the Rev Frank Chikane was able to provide salvation to the townships:
    1. What I'm dealing with in the township is the secondary sin. The primary sin is actually elsewhere. The thieves I have to preach to are actually products of the primary thieves on the factory floor where they are robbed, where they are under paid. And when they begin to steal, then I have to preach to them and say don't steal. But the real thief is the one who owns suits, who sits in hotels,…
    2. Sin has eluded the church… And as the result, we have seen the victims at the end, and the church focuses on the victims rather than the primary sinners. (Op. cit. p. 47).
    31.        The TRC employs a method of social analysis that has proved to be outdated, ill-conceived and an over- simplification of society. A theory that originally constituted the building blocks of socialist society, socialism is today a discredited theory in terms of social development. That is why socialist countries collapsed one after the other, and not as a result of war.
    32.        The question arises as to whether Dr Boraine and the TRC can really expect to build a future South African society with this kind of intellectual gymnastics?


    33.        In the case of South Africa, strange as it may sound, there is more than one past. If the position of the TRC's past is accepted, an analysis such as this becomes irrelevant. If society is perceived as an interaction between oppressor and oppressed, as a clear-cut distinction between evil and good, the TRC's investigation is not really necessary - even before the start of the hearings, the outcome would have been predetermined.

    34.        However, there is also a forgotten past, a reality that formed and influenced the perceptions of people. The realities of this forgotten past, cannot be explained by the TRC's interpretation of the past.
    35.        Perception One: Some people were genuinely concerned about a planned attempt to introduce Communism in the sixties and seventies. (This perception is presently mocked, as an anxious reaction from people who "looked for a communist behind every bush").
    36.        Reality One:

    1. In its programme, the South African Communist Party states its fundamental principles… It puts forward its answers to the problems facing the people of our country today.
    2. The destruction of colonialism and the winning of national freedom is the essential condition and the key for future advance to the supreme aim of the Communist Party: the establishment of a socialist South Africa, laying the foundations of a classless, communist society.
    3. The historic task of the Communist Party is the abolition of the capitalist system, and through socialist transformation of the economy of the country, to attain a classless Communist society. (The road to South African Freedom. Programme of the SA Communist Party adopted at the fifth national conference. 1962. In: South African Communists Speak. Document 115. p. 286 and 311.)
    37.        Perception Two: There was also a fear that South Africa could end up as an ally of the Soviet Union.
    38.        Reality Two:
    1. A new era in human history opened up with the great October Socialist Revolution of 1917…
    2. The South African Communist Party is a part of the world Communist movement. It participates in meetings of fraternal Communist and Workers' Parties and abides loyal by their common decisions…the Party works for the unity of the workers of the whole world, and especially of the Marxist-Leninist Parties. (Op. cit. p.289 and 311.)
    3. Perception Three: There was an orchestrated attempt by the Soviet Union to subjugate Southern Africa. That was denied in socialist circles. The Soviet Union's presence was portrayed as an attempt to establish democracy and fight apartheid.
    40.        Reality Three
    1. Message from the Central Committee of the SACP to the first congress of the MPLA in Luanda, Angola, December 1977.
    2. Together with your firm allies, notably the Soviet Union and Socialist Cuba, you reaffirmed the meaning of proletarian internationalism.
    3. You gave comradely shelter to liberation fighters. You did all in your power, morally and materially, to strengthen their resolve and capacity to intensify their struggles. And you did this with the full knowledge that you are risking further imperialist subversion and further aggressive blows against your young republic. (South African Communists Speak. Op. cit. Document 134. p. 435 and 436.)
    4. The British journalist, Fred Bridgland, wrote in this regard:
    5. By the time the Portuguese flag was lowered in Angola, at midnight on 10 November 1975, Brezhnev's 'forward policy' abroad for the realisation of Marxist-Leninist 'scientific socialism' was on a confident forward roll.
    6. By the mid-eighties the Angolan war was being fought on an enormous scale… By the end of 1985 the Cuban troop presence in Angola had reached 31 000 compared with the highest figure of 11000 in 1975-76. The Cubans were supported by some 3 250 East German and Soviet personnel, mainly in operational planning, military training, radar, anti-aircraft, advanced engineering and intelligence roles.
    7. In December 1985 Soviet General Konstantin Shaganovitch arrived in Angola to take overall control of all forces operating in the country on behalf of the MPLA, including the Luanda government's own troops…Shaganovitch was the highest-ranking Soviet officer to have been posted on active service outside Europe or Afghanistan.
    8. Intelligence agencies estimated that Shaganovitch had about 950 fellow Soviets in command and training posts in Angola. These included General Mikhail Petrov, first deputy on the Soviet Politburo in charge of counter-insurgency policy.
    9. 2 000 East German military men were deployed…
    10. The scale of the Soviet re-supply operation for the planned offensive was formidable. Moscow even committed planes that were part of its strategic assets for any major conflict in Europe. These included several Ilyusin-76 transports and five of its total of 50 giant Antonov-22 long-range, heavy-lift turbo-prop transports. From the ports of Luanda, Lobito and Namibe they airlifted T-55 battle tanks, PT-76 amphibious tanks, and BTR-60 and BRDM-2 armoured personnel carriers to inland centres such as Menongue, Cuito Cuanavale and Luena. New MI-24 helicopters and Mig-23 fighter-bombers were delivered in quantities which more than replaced those lost in the 1985 offensive. (Bridgland, F. The War for Africa. Ashanti Pub. Gibraltar. 1990. p. 4, 14, 17 ).
    41.        A substantial section of the South African population, white and black, experienced in those years a side of the ANC which was not always in line with its polished international image.
    1. This ANC conference which took the form of a council of war decided that the distinction between "hard" and "soft" targets should disappear. (ANC National Conference, Kabwe, Zambia. Sechaba. August 1985).
    42.        Between 15 and 21 June 1985 four bomb attacks were carried out in East London and Durban. The targets were a hotel, a tea room, a garage and a city hall respectively.
    43.        The removal of the distinction between hard and soft targets, took the struggle into the streets, hotels, tea rooms; the places where ordinary people live and work. The struggle had, however, two very important qualities: it shifted from the military level to the civilian, and it became racist!
    44.        As part of the "peoples war" all the elements of the government were to be attacked:
    1. Thus for example, in 1985 the ANC urged the people to identify collaborators and enemy agents and deal with them… informants, policemen, special branch police… living and working among our people must be eliminated… police who are roaming the streets… must be turned in targets… police must be killed even when they are at their homes irrespective of whether they are in uniform or not. (Spotlight. No. 1. March 1990. SAIRR).
    45.        The country was to enter the phase of necklacing, of mob killings, because it was "the right thing to do".
    1. Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country… We have no guns - we have only stones, boxes of matches and petrol ( Winnie Mandela. Agence France Presse, Sunday 13 April 1986).
    46.        ANC Secretary General Alfred Nzo, and now minister of Foreign Affairs, in an interview with London Times, 14 September 1986:
    1. Whatever the people decide to use to eliminate those enemy elements is their decision. If they decide to use necklacing, we support it. (Nzo nodded emphatically).
    47.        In 1987 Mr Thabo Mbeki as member of the National Executive Committee, and now vice-president, gave the struggle a new angle:
    1. We can't fight a bush war in South Africa. Look at the map. It is all developed. There are roads, radios and landing strips everywhere. This is no Angola or Mozambique. We do not have forests. The (military) machine would smash us if we tried to send in an army from outlying areas. Also 87% of the Whites are in towns and cities. Our masses have to serve as our bush. The Black community is our bush.
    48.        Mbeki turned the struggle into a black and white issue, a racist affair. It was a blatant attempt to mobilise the black community against the white community at large.

    49.        With this as a background, violence and murder went to the streets and living areas of ordinary people. It was to a large extent tolerated and accepted, for violence became legitimised, it was labeled as politically correct, it had the moral high ground and was sanctioned and blessed by many churches within liberation theology.
    50.        But all of that did not make it less brutal and dehumanising. That was the great contradiction and tragedy at that point in time.


    51.        As the TRC hearings continued, the credibility of the TRC has become questionable.
    52.        John Kane-Berman, Chief Executive Official of the SA Institute for Race Relations wrote in Rapport: "The one side is pardoned of all blame, the other side is demonised" ( 11 March 1997).
    53.        Business Day commented: "Archbishop Desmond Tutu has stepped in quickly to prevent the Truth and Reconciliation Commission degenerating into a public inquisition. Both truth and reconciliation are at risk when witnesses are mocked, vilified and humiliated as happened recently". ( 27 November 1996).
    54.        Sometimes the TRC acted as platform for the distortion of perceptions:

    1. Thabo Mbeki was singing. Some of the ANC top brass were laughing. What a grand time they were having.
    2. The joke? The killing of farmers.
    3. Mbeki was trying to show the Truth Commission that Peter Mokaba's "Kill the Boer" chant did not mean what it said.
    4. Wynand Malan, Truth Commissioner, chimed in by reciting from Siembamba and Rock-a-bye Baby. He would have loved to have sung them but, he said later, his voice was not as good as the deputy president's.
    5. Ho, ho, what fun.
    6. But one TRC member had the presence of mind to point out that four amnesty applications had been received from murderers citing Mr Mokaba's slogan as their political motivation for killing Boers. (Citizen. 17/5/97)
    7. The TRC's approach is a reflection of the Minister of Justice's known attitude that those who committed crimes in the fight against apartheid are "morally superior" to those who did so in support of it, or that "Crimes perpetrated in defence of apartheid cannot be equated with crimes committed in the offensive against it". By implication it appears that distortion of the realities of the conflict is occurring. The defenders of the State are now branded as defenders of apartheid; the object of revenge. It appears more and more that the purpose of hearings of the security forces is to clothe vengeance in the form of legal procedures, similar to that of the Nuremberg trials, as characterised by United States Senator Robert Taft.
    56.        It is a feature of settlement processes following the cessation of hostilities that the previous government and the top structure of a defence force are targeted by the persecutors. We are also called "The Generals". We have received overwhelming sympathy and support from the man in the street. We have also heard that a few individuals have been reported to have said: The generals carried the responsibility, they must now take the punch. We have no problems with that. We will.


    57.        Truth Fabrication. On Wednesday 14 August 1997 Dr Alex Boraine said on the English radio service that the TRC was doing everything humanly possible to find the truth regarding the situation in South Africa during the so-called "apartheid era". This is simply not true. We believe, as many other South Africans do, that the TRC is only looking for evidence to justify and substantiate what they believe they already know to be the truth. And when the TRC appears to selectively determine some of the truths, the absence of firm cross-questioning makes the truth illusive in many cases.
    58.        Countering What? If the TRC was really serious about finding the truth, and bringing it to the attention of all South Africans, surely they would have established the background against which the conflict was waged in this country. An example: during recent hearings in Durban the TRC focused upon the counter-revolutionary strategy of the previous government and how this was implemented in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Now, a counter strategy pre-supposes that it is aimed against a strategy, in this case a revolutionary strategy. This confirms that the focus was on the counter-revolutionary strategy, and that no attempt has been made to establish the reasons for formulating and executing the strategy. To put it quite plainly: What was the other party up to? What is the TRC doing to find the truth?

    59.        TRC's Oversights. Our challenge to the TRC is to start doing something about this glaring "oversight" on their part. And to assist them may we suggest that they commence with establishing the intentions of the Soviet Union with regard to southern, and more particularly, South Africa at the time they decided to actively assist, train, fund and arm the SA Communist
    Party/ANC in their attempt to overthrow the then SA Government by violent revolution. What did the Soviet Union wish to achieve? What was the "pound of flesh" demanded from the SACP/.ANC in exchange for such massive assistance?
    60.        Surely the TRC is aware of Mr Krushchev's policy report to the Moscow conference of communist parties in January 1961 in which he explained, at great length, that the communists fully supported what he called wars of national liberation and would march in the front rank with the peoples waging such struggles. The military arm of that doctrine was clearly guerrilla warfare which the communists were intent upon exploiting to their full advantage. What were their real intentions?
    61.        It is also necessary for the TRC to be aware of the existence of the tri-continental organisation established in Havana, Cuba, in January 1966 with the aim of co-ordinating the efforts of revolutionaries on the three continents of the "Third World", and that the TRC knows that Castro, influenced by Ernesto "Che" Guevara and the French Communist Regis Debray, favoured violence and terrorism over politics in his approach to revolution and that the Cubans have been the principal instigators of armed conflict in Africa since 1960.
    62.        Where to Find the Answer. A further guideline to the TRC. Do not look to the intelligence services of South Africa to provide the answers. Do not request submissions from the NP or the ANC. The complications regarding the credibility of such inputs should be self-evident. Approach, rather, the intelligence and security services of the United States, the United Kingdom, France or Germany in order to provide the proper perspective.
    63.        Political Lynch-mob. The TRC must actively pursue a policy of establishing all the facts. If this is not done a large segment of our population will remember the TRC as a political lynch-mob, intent upon doing a hatchet job on the opponents of the present regime, doing far more harm to the country than good.

    64.        "Apartheid Troops". Persons in and around the TRC call us "apartheid troops". Even in the formulation of questions to us by the TRC this type of language has been used… They specifically pretend that it was our sole intention to sustain apartheid. ( Gen Jannie Geldenhuys. SADF Symposium. 30 August 1997). Referring to the former SADF in such terms involves an important sector of the population:

    1. In the 10 years since 1975, the SADF trained close to one million men. Those soldiers were in general well trained, while large numbers received some of the most advanced and specialised training available.
    2. Those soldiers were all part of families, and by now have families of their own. One could argue that the "apartheid troops" and their closest families count something like 5 million people.
    3. These people are today from their early 30s to 60s. Well educated and well trained, they constitute the core of the government's tax base. When the TRC deals with us as apartheid troops, they indirectly also antagonise a very large and significant part of the population.
    65.        Patterns and models are sometimes used to study the transition from war to peace. One of these, in its crudest form, is: The victor disarms the defeated, he dictates the conditions for peace, he smells out war criminals and writes the history.
    66.        Security Forces Undefeated. If this model is used in the case of the South Africa of the early 1990's it would almost seem as if it is being applied the wrong way round. Ironically it was the ANC themselves who publicly told their militants that their claims should not be exorbitant, as the security forces had not been defeated in the field. On the contrary, as President Mandela is quoted by Ken Owen in Leadership, volume 16/97' no 3, p.52 of frequently having pointed out "the military and paramilitary forces of apartheid remained undefeated when power passed to the ANC, and the generals who were in charge of the military machine then, are in charge now".

    67.        Peace or New Political Dispensation? But the wrong model is being used. We are not so much in a transitionary stage from war to peace, as we are in transition from an old political era to a new political dispensation. For the study of such a situation, other models should be used, even if it is common practice to blame war for everything and to find fault with those who were held responsible for waging it. The real problem to be solved is not so much to make peace between military enemies, as to make peace between quarreling political opponents. More than a tit for tat comparison between good/bad deeds by opposing armed forces, the situation calls for a politically negotiated social contract.
    68.        Propagandistic Tricks. This is an improper but commonly used trick. Let us analyse it: They say for what we fought, (ie according to their propagandistic, oversimplified and highly debatable interpretation), but they intentionally neglect to state against whom we fought. They want to load the bad only on the one side of the scale.
    69.        Opposing Sides. Let us apply this very same technique to WW II: Using the same type of argument, they would have said that our veterans of that era were "colonialist troops" who specifically fought with the aim to sustain the European countries' "colonial empires". And they would have remained silent about against whom those allied soldiers fought. They would not have mentioned the armed expansionism of Nazi Germany.
    70.        Our Opponents. So let us now place something on the other side of the scale and state against whom we fought and under which circumstances. Our colleague Gen Jannie Geldenhuys said during an address which he delivered on 15 March 1997:

    1. "During the past decades, the South African Defence Force served the state and its lawful government of the day. The government commissioned the SADF with the responsibility of protecting the sovereignty of the state and its constitution. Its tasks were inter alia to combat the revolutionary onslaught against the RSA to prevent a violent take-over of the state authority and to maintain the necessary stability in order to allow peaceful constitutional development to take its course. The revolutionary onslaught and 'armed struggle' were mainly conducted by the ANC/SA Communist Party with its Intelligence Department, MK and its 'underground' and special operations in the vanguard.
    2. "This happened during the Cold War and these organisations were indeed supported by the Soviet Union and its allies, namely East Germany, Cuba and the like. In this process one-party Marxist dictatorships, as they were often referred to in the international media, came into existence in our neighbouring countries such as Angola and Mozambique - a constitutional dispensation which was not acceptable to the government of the day". (and even less so in the international community of states today)".
    71.        We fought against the Soviet Union and its allies' communist imperialism in Africa. The days when people could have negated the communist threat as a joke are something of the past.
    72.        The facts today are known. It was a threat in those days. During battles with them close to our borders Soviet Russian military personnel and Cuban soldiers were killed and captured, and the communist influence in South Africa now again becomes more apparent.
    73.        The RSA as Communist Stronghold. At present South Africa is internationally suspected as being one of the countries of the world, together with Cuba, where the communist influence in the authority of the state is still the strongest.
    74.        One-sided Approach. The TRC displays a mindset which enables it to investigate the truth selectively. Impartial findings and reporting will therefore be impossible. An example illustrating this is the superficial investigation into the activities of the ANC, PAC and revolutionary forces, and an overenthusiastic effort to reveal the violations of human rights by the security forces. The Durban hearings on operation Marion after concluded court proceedings over one year regarding the same subject is another example.
    75.        This mindset is further illustrated in The Pattern of Politics on the leader page of the Cape Times of 23 October 1997. Hermann Giliomee expressed his doubts therein as to whether the TRC would attempt to produce a report that would attain a high academic standing; the question to be answered is whether the commission has been comprehensive in its gathering of evidence, which is unlikely as "the commission has concentrated at a ratio 22-2, on acts committed by officials of the old regime"
    76.        Gloves for Comrades. Very little, if any, determination or desire in the TRC was observed with regard to atrocities by the ANC against their own comrades, despite the following investigations, reports and books :
    1. The Stuart Commission's Report. Despite the report of the Stuart Commission by Hermanus Loots (alias James Stuart) after being appointed by the ANC's NEC to inquire into the Pongo mutiny among ANC combatants : "Some of those punished have been maimed for the life and there have been deaths..... The aim of the punishment seems to be to destroy, demoralise and humiliate comrades and not correct and build." He listed gruesome punishments and the "shocking corruption of fear" in the camps, listed the names of people who died as a result of these punishments and noted that others had committed suicide or had deserted. It added that the ANC/SACP security department had done things that would "shock our people against the movement". Although presented to Oliver Tambo, Alfred Nzo and others, the Stuart Commission Report sank without trace. This was apparently not the stuff the politicians behind fighters wanted the world to know about.
    2. The Douglas Commission's Report. Based on the evidence from some 100 witnesses and depositions from some 60, including some 40 survivors of ANC camps in Angola, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, it found that the cruelties amounted to a
    3. "litany of unbridled and sustained horror". This Durban based State's council mentioned various prominent SACP/ANC leaders as being directly or indirectly responsible for serious human rights abuses.
    4. The Motsuenyane Commission This Commission, the ANC's own, recommended that those responsible for the atrocities should be identified and banned from holding high positions of authority.
    5. Amnesty International. This London based human rights organisation followed the Motsuenyane investigation up with one of its own. It found that the ANC executed, tortured and ill-treated prisoners in its camps over a period of at least twelve years. "Any MK fighter who dared question ANC policy or criticised living conditions in exile risked incarceration, torture, even death". It recommended that individual torturers should be identified to ensure that they hold no future position in the ANC or government security apparatus".
    6. The Skweyiya Report. This report confirms the allegations regarding violations of human rights regarding violations of human rights in ANC punitive camps. It also implies prominent SACP/ANC leaders in gross violations of human rights. Yet these leaders were granted amnesty during the Winnie Mandela hearings under circumstances which are suspect and queried by various political parties and in the media in general, and even by the TRC itself in that it is presently seeking judgement in this respect.
    7. The Book Called Mbokodo. This book, Inside MK by Mwezi Twala, A Soldiers Story, confirms almost forgotten previous reports by the intelligence community at the time. This book and earlier intelligence reports implied participation by some of the present ANC leadership in such activities, with specific reference to alleged atrocities in the Quatro camp.
    8. The Book Called Marching to Slavery : SA's Descent into Communism. This book by Dr Sipo. E. Mzimela, a former high ranking ANC official, describes the silence concerning the ANC punishment camps as "deafening". He alleges that "These barbaric acts were committed by people who claim to be liberators"
    9. The Denton Hearings. This report by Jeremiah Denton, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, states in the Letter of Transmittal : "I feel that a review and analysis of the material which has been compiled will be of substantial assistance to those who desire to have a fuller understanding of the part that the Soviet Union and its proxy states play in international terrorism and national liberation movements such as SWAPO and the ANC".
    77.        Turning the Blind Eye. During the struggle it was frequently reported that factions existed within the SACP/ANC/Cosatu alliance. Mention was also made of the cultural and spiritual leaders and intelligentia behind the ANC. The Cabal was also mentioned in this respect. Yet no hearings were held by the TRC on the role of the SACP and the Cabal. This neglect is sure to contribute towards an incomplete and therefore unbalanced report by the TRC; and should be avoided.

    78.        ANC Hit List. During the course of the struggle, it was also reported that the ANC compiled a hit list of political and security force leaders and that the ANC actually had a specific organisation with the necessary equipment and the capability to assassinate. Neither did the TRC investigate this probability.
    79.        Theft Condoned. APLA officially reported to the TRC at a hearing on 7 October 1997 that it was their policy to regard theft and robbery as warranted repossession. The question arises as to why these occurrences were not listed and investigated, and the incidents of murder, maiming or injury not recorded. This could have lead to the solving of many crimes being investigated by the SAPS, and the closing of dossiers.
    80.        Black/White Conflict. The admission on the same day by the APLA witness that all whites were their enemies, was also not further examined or questioned. The question whether this approach to the conflict does not prevail until the present time, and still remains the reason behind the killing of farmers, also persists: How can this neglect contribute towards reconciliation and unity?
    81.        Necklacing Justifiable? A further biased differentiation by the TRC between the security forces and the revolutionary movements is their tenacity to prove specific members of the security forces guilty of crimes and omissions, but on the other hand have done little to investigate the 541 murders by necklacing and the hundreds of persons who died when their persons or homes were doused with fuel and set alight, and the more than 7000 private homes of those black people who were opposed to the revolutionary movements, that were destroyed or severely damaged, as well as more than 1700 schools.
    82.        Involuntary Support. The effect of these atrocities on the involuntary support for the liberation movements was also not investigated. The violations of the human rights of such people are apparently not important to the TRC.
    83.        One-sided Investigation of the Media. The TRC pressurised the media, the business sector and the churches to make admissions to the effect that they did not do enough to counter apartheid. But the good these organs have done in maintaining the standards of civilization by keeping the population, black and white informed and to counter derogatory enemy propaganda has conveniently been forgotten. The accusation can also be extended to the State Security Council's stratcom projects. These were
    constructive in comparison to that of the revolutionary organisations which were intent on enforcing involuntary support by propagating destructive attitudes and actions. But there was a "deafening silence" on the role Radio Freedom played in instigating violence, hatred, elimination of security force personnel, murder of state employees, propagation to make the country ungovernable, commending "battles to come", polarising the "struggle" to become black/white, changing SA into a battlefield, announcing that the time has come to "for whites to be regular visitors to graveyards", politicising the courts of justice (the justice system), intimidating "adversaries", and promotion of racial hatred. To assist researchers some activities and effects of Radio Freedom are summarised in Appendix A to this document.
    84.        SADF - No Comrades. Although such discrimination is not understandable, it can be attributed to the fact that witnesses of MK and APLA have been referred to as comrades by a commissioner of the Commission. This also explains why members of the former SADF are subjected to extensive cross examination on the meaning of words, whereas members of the ANC, MK and APLA are accommodated in a relaxed and spontaneous sympathetic manner, even when the slogan "one settler, one bullet" was examined.


    85.        What has been described here about the perception game in the past, is best summarised by the reporter Peter Godwin:

    1. For a foreign correspondent, South Africa under apartheid was one of the last great stories. It had everything: violence, intransigence, …Most of all, it had what we all yearn for in our confused world - moral certainty. Its color-coded cast was neatly sorted into villains and heroes, making the story easy to follow for a remote audience. (Peter Godwin. Lessons from South Africa. Newsweek, September 29, 1997).
    2. But beneath the reader-friendly version, there lurked another South Africa, one complex and shaded grey, one best ignored, since it took too long to explain. (Ibid.)
    3. Godwin continued to describe how they …"elevated her (Winnie Mandela) to something she had never been…"
    4. "…we baptized (her) in the font of our publicity, christening her Mother of the Nation, Joan of Arc, The Black Evita."
    5. We who reported from South Africa at the time must take some share of the blame for the excesses of Winnie Mandela…
    6. When I did reluctantly report that Stompie was last seen in the company of Winnie's bodyguards, implicitly linking her to his fate, it was as if I had breached some unspoken law. There were dark mutterings from some members of the foreign press that I had
    7. provided ammunition to the forces of evil. In fact, muted by the constraints of political correctness, we had all been reporting less than we knew about Winnie, her bodyguards and their reign of terror in Soweto.
    86.        Godwin brought the dilemma about the past into true context, and that is exactly the challenge to the TRC. To cut through political correctness and provide a balanced version of facts. Will the TRC report only what they want to know about the past, or will it provide all the facts? The answer to this question could produce two totally different documents and could affect reconciliation and the future unity of the country.


     87.        It seems that the TRC will have to come to terms with the fact that its biggest problem is not the stated objective to get a picture off the past in order to promote reconciliation and unity, but its method of dealing with the problem - as so eloquently formulated by Dr Boraine.
    88.        Its method of social analysis, of dividing the complexity of society into mere categories of oppressors and oppressed, is a stunning display of one-sidedness and intellectual inability to understand the implications of the method's application.
    89.        Perpetual Disunity. If the Commission continues to ignore constructive criticism the government should not be surprised if the TRC's final report leads to more disunity in society, with groups accusing each other of past sins, and considering taking up violence again to rectify the past.

    90.        No Confidence in Reconciliation Progress. The TRC deals selectively with the past. This will affect people and groups in society and could result in a major loss of confidence in the whole process of reconciliation, resulting in continued disunity and the TRC failing in its mission.
    91.        The question arises as to whether the TRC will qualify its findings in such a way that the positive qualities of value in the past will be retained for our future, or whether it will prefer to distantiate the past from the future. If the TRC does not wish to condemn the past in its entirety, it will have to recognise and reveal the context within which violations of human rights occurred in the past, seen from the broader perspective, accommodating all past participants. Example : The intense frustrations of the clash between the opposing strong security system on the one side and the freedom movement, with tremendous international support, on the other, both completely devoted to their objectives, led to irrational deviations from accepted standards which the security forces would have preferred to maintain, in stark contrast to the perceived attitude of their adversaries.
    92.        Alienation of Whites. By not going about its task in a balanced and unbiased manner the TRC is alienating a very large segment of the population, and the Afrikaner with its ethnic variety in particular. These are the solid middle ground citizens, the tax payers who also keep the wheels of the TRC turning. The brush of history, so readily applied, spreading the guilt backward over apartheid and the colonial period to the arrival of the first whites, smells of political opportunism and blatant racism disguised as human rights.
    93.        Missing the Why and the How. Mr Charles Villa-Vicencio in an article, When the Free shall set the Truth, in the Cape Times of 16 October 1997, states : "If we do not understand why and how the past happened, we are likely to repeat it". It is therefore unfortunate that the TRC has embarked on a course where the why and how are investigated in a biased and partial manner. It contains the germ of what Mr Villa-Vincencio wanted to warn against: the capacity of humanity to do it again. The TRC has the capacity to do it again; to continue to make the mistakes that will lead to a superficial and incomplete establishment of the why and the how of the past.


     94.        This submission was decided on when the TRC was still expected to file its report in March 1998. It was intended to assist the TRC to reconsider its position in time to rectify the negative but justified perceptions it created thus far, before the end of its previously mandated period, and before it would commence writing its final report. The extension of its mandate by four months gives reason for hope. But if those four months are going to be filled with a continuation of TRC's approach up to now, the inability to uncover facts in the true perspective and on a less dividing and alienating basis
    will remain; and the anticipated skew results could be reflected in its report. Far more undesirable, however, would be the effect thereof that will influence our society and national unity detrimentally for decades to come; for centuries; forever.


     95.        As observed in paragraph 15, the TRC may be involved with the past, but operates from the present. George Orwell has warned that "who controls history, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls history". Presently the basis for a new modern history of this country is formed by the TRC within the framework of its activities. Whether it is so intended by the TRC or not is unclear. But after conclusion of its activities and in view of its perceived approach, this country is likely to carry an exaggerated tragic image of its past into the future, with little prospect of reconciliation and national unity. All formal institutions of the past will, to a greater or lesser extent, be tinted in the symbolic of human rights violations, especially, as far as we are concerned, the SA Defence Force and the other security mechanisms.
    96.        It is clear that the Commission has to identify and reveal inhumane, racist and murderous elements of our recent history, and that it has to condemn it in such a way that there will not remain a rationale for any future leadership to act similarly. It is, however, essential in the execution of this primary task, that the past must not be so simplified or stereotyped that excellence of the past is also discarded. The traditions of excellence and extraordinary strategic and organisational achievements of the former SADF should not be allowed to disappear from the records. It must be remembered that these characteristics and norms need to continue within the present SA National Defence Force as the foundation of its service to South Africa.

    97.        The TRC has a historic opportunity to deepen its analysis of its investigation results to the extent that our country and its leadership will obtain wisdom from the past which could serve them in future.
    98.        To enable the Commission to achieve exactly this it will have to become impartial by getting rid of its biased officials, and will have to reinforce its capabilities by co-opting experts who will give depth to the ability to understand the past with special reference to the security and the revolutionary forces.


     99.        If you throw a large number of people together, you arm them and issue them with ammunition, you don't have an army. You have an disorganised, unruly, dangerous mob.
    100.        To establish a disciplined, effective military organisation you require managerial knowledge and skills in order to:

    1. Set up a structure.
    2. Set up an organisation, defining systems, responsibility, functions and procedures to properly administer the people and equipment.
    3. Train them.
    101.        However sophisticated the systems and procedures a modern army may have, and whatever the level of "state of the art" - technology the equipment may embrace - the single most important characteristic of an army remains that it is people-intensive.
    102.        The more people-intensive an army is, the more important are the intangible qualities with which the army must be imbued. They are;
    1. Intellectual and emotional identification with the strategic goals to be achieved.
    2. Motivation.
    3. Loyalty, upwards and downwards.
    4. The honour to serve.
    5. Esprit de Corps, comradeship through all levels, especially within the "military family unit", ie the regiment.
    6. Team work.
    103.        From the time a recruit sets foot in the army the main element that is inculcated into him during his induction is teamwork. He is an important part of the squad, the section, the crew, the platoon. As he continues his sense of teamwork, comradeship and loyalty are lifted to higher levels of the organisation. He develops loyalty, pride in the honour to serve in his company, his battalion, the regiment, the squadron, the flotilla.
    104.        After a number of years his sense of teamwork, his acceptance of personal and organisational interdependence, and all the qualities that go with it, become second nature. So strong become these sentiments that they become emotional power to resort to in the face of adversity, or expressed from a different angle: values for which it is worth to fight. These are the inherent and intangible qualities, values and pride which are not necessarily demonstrated outside ceremonial parades. But they exist - and they die hard, if ever. The Army is in some ways:, "a state within a state" embracing all terrains of human endeavour in the sense that it has its own lay legal system, they provide their own municipal and provincial services (especially in the field) eg power, water, transport, hygiene and health etc.
    105.        That is why an army has its own common and peculiar culture, while a department of Forestry and department of Water Affairs, a department of Economic Affairs and Finance may share a common "civil service" - culture. A civil servant may be an architect playing soccer for Chiefs, or an administrative assistant playing rugby for Harlequins. An army where one's life may depend on the excellence of the battalion, or the air force, or the military medical service, is a different kettle of fish. Its members play for its own club.
    106.        These are the men and women we led in circumstances of peace and war. They have proved themselves in good times and in times of adversity. In the "defence family", ie including Armscor, they range from scientists and technologists and all the disciplines of professional services to the foot soldier; from generals to drivers, from pilots and naval officers to farmers and others who served in the commando's in every district in the country, grouped together in territorial commands in every province - much like the Swiss Army.

    107.        We had national service for decades drafting young men from society in their turbulent late teens. All this happened during equally turbulent political and social times. But through our apolitical policies we managed to retain the togetherness of the force. We never had anything near to internal dissension that armies in other countries experienced. Regrettably national service was restricted to white people. But we are proud to restate for the record that in the years preceding a formal and official policy of transformation, the defence force were leaders in the field. The government and, more particularly, the Defence Force came in for severe public political criticism for our "integration" processes. In the very early eighties the SA Army consisted of more people who had hitherto mainly been excluded from the military service than of the others.
    108.        We were also leaders in the field of employing women in positions other than those traditionally regarded as women's work. These are the people we led for decades - hundreds of thousands, if not millions of them.
    109.        Now, since the institution of the TRC the SADF and individuals who served in it, have been targeted for special attention. The blatant arrogant and vilifying way in which they were demonised caused great bitterness.
    110.        However, they have no "government of the day", no ruling or any other single political party defending them. They can only turn to their former military leaders and they do just that. The pressure upwards is certainly felt and we will not abandon them. Moral obligations and honour are at stake.
    111.        A natural element of an army's culture is that it easily accepts authority (it is an authoritarian organisation). That is why it serves consecutive "governments of the day remarkably well". This element coupled with an army's general apolitical behaviour make it an organisation that is quite adaptable. An army works on orders from the top. You can change the top men but the army culture remains much the same.
    112.        In managing change, and consciously mindful of all this, it means in practice that if you capatalise on these deep-rooted characteristics you have in the army a catalysing ally keeping change towards national unity on track.
    113.        If one is ignorant of this vast potential of support you may well loose out on opportunities that might have served you well.

    114.        However, if one chooses to turn a blind eye to the group and mass dynamics of an army, preferring to denigrate, vilify and persecute the army, you may well cause an uncalled for reverse thrust away from nation building. And this, in our honest and informed opinion, is exactly the effect that the workings of the TRC had.
    115.        To say the hunt is on against the top people, those who gave the orders, not against the foot-soldiers will not drive a wedge between the upper echelons and the lower ranks. It may well cause frictions between the odd individuals in the upper structure vis - a - vis the odd individuals in the lower echelons, but the bond between groups of the military masses, the mutual respect, loyalty, and even idolising will not disappear.


     116.        It is impossible to record the history of the SADF in a number of paragraphs of this document. It is however, appropriate to highlight a few important acknowledgments in the recent past.
    117.        In the Defence Review dated 26 May 1997, approved by Parliament on 20 August 1997, it is stated in paragraphs 9 and 10 of Chapter 10 that:

    1. The current Part Time Force (PTF) is the proud heir of an ancient South African tradition, that of the committed and resolute citizen-soldier usually serving as a volunteer and occasionally as a conscript. With only a few exceptions, South Africa's wars at home and abroad have been fought by citizen-soldiers from all communities. The struggle for democracy over the past few decades is a prime example of this.
    2. Sometimes these soldiers fought alongside each other and sometimes they fought against one another. Yet they shared one thing through the centuries: when the war was over they did not return to military barracks but, being volunteers, they went home to their tasks in the field, the factory and the office".
    118.        In paragraph 31 of the same chapter is stated that:
    1. The future PTF will be a loyal, non-partisan, disciplined and professionally completed body of volunteers, both men and women, maintaining and upholding South Africa's many military traditions, representative of the population, and forming an integral part of the SANDF".
    119.        In paragraphs 71 and 72 it is stated:
    1. The regimental tradition followed by many PTF regiments, especially the traditional regiments, should be seen as a valuable aid in this regard. Studies have shown that soldiers' loyalty lies with their comrades, their regiments and the state, in that order.
    2. Regiments have proved time and again their unquestionable loyalty to the state, irrespective of the government in power."
    120.        In paragraphs 156 of Chapter 10 it is stated that:
    1. Bodies within the PTF have forged links with several overseas organisations. For example, the Reserve Officers Association of South Africa has linked up with the International Confederation of Reserve Officers. Such contacts are extremely important and useful for the SANDF."
    121.        And in paragraphs 164, 166 and 168 it is stated that:
    1. In an era when many nations are turning to the part-time citizen soldier as a means of maintaining defence capabilities in a cost-effective way, South Africa is fortunate in having a PTF and an immense treasure of experience in maintaining and using such a force".
    2. Achieving the ideal of a 'Rainbow PTF' as an integral and productive part of the SANDF will require the co-operation and participation of a broad range of stakeholders. These extend from the Ministry of Defence, the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, the SANDF, the PTFC (Part Time Force Council) and the ROASA (Reserve Officers Association of South Africa), on the one hand, to the members of the community on the other.
    3. In the final analysis, the success of the PTF will depend on its ability to recruit and retain volunteers to fill the required number of posts within the PTF as an essential component of the SANDF".
    4. On 10 May 1994, President Mandela, at his inauguration as President of the Democratic Republic of South Africa at the Union Buildings, paid tribute to the SADF as part of the security forces: "We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy,..."
    123.        In his address at the opening of the second session of the Ninth Parliament of the RSA on 2 February 1990 in Cape Town, the then State President, mr De Klerk, referred to the security forces as follows: "I wish to thank the members of our security forces and related services for the dedicated service they have rendered the Republic of South Africa. Their dedication makes reform in a stable climate possible."
    124        In President Mandela's address as Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force at the Union Buildings on 25 June 1997, he said :
    1. It is always a pleasure to meet men and women who have identified their own personal interest with those of the nation; men and women, in peace time and in war, prepared to sacrifice for the benefit of South Africa."
    2. In the process of such transformation, we also need to address the question of how best to utilise the skills that reside within the force. I am informed, for instance, that 10 generals are to leave the SANDF this year alone. Of cause each case would need to be examined on its own merits. But I should emphasise that we would not like to see experienced people, with invaluable skills and qualifications, taking severance packages in droves....".




    125.        Our suggestions can be divided into two categories :

    1. Suggestions with respect to the TRC itself.
    2. Suggestions aimed at promoting reconciliation and unity.


    126.        Withdrawal of Adverse Remarks.

    1. It is suggested that the TRC accepts the perceptions created by its remarks and activities in relation to the military as real, as undesirable, and as unprofessional.
    2. It is suggested that the TRC admits that its attitude towards the military up to now was biased, as incidented in this document.
    3. It is further suggested that certain injuring and unwarranted references to the SADF, such as "Apartheid Troops" and "Apartheid Military Machine", be withdrawn in a media release.

    127.        Examining its Ability to Handle Submissions of a Military Nature.

    The Chairman of the TRC should by now be acutely aware of the unbalanced composition of the Commission, which prevents it from understanding the justification, or absence thereof, of activities by the security forces on one hand and the revolutionary forces on the other. It is therefore suggested that :

    1. the Commission acknowledges this discrepancy in its composition as real and undesirable.
    2. the Commission takes steps to alleviate this shortcoming by :
      1. contracting additional knowledgeable people, with a military background, from the former security forces and the former revolutionary forces and other experts into an advisory panel.
      2. instructing such a panel to determine what type of action by the security as well as the revolutionary forces fell within the ambit of war and were therefore justifiable actions in the conflict.
      3. Instructing the panel to define what type of actions, during the conflict, substituted gross violations of human rights and should therefore be investigated by the TRC or other independant and unbiased institutions.
    3. considering these and any other recommendations by such a panel as the basis from which to operate, and on which to base its report.

    128.        Creating Fair and Equal Conditions. It is clear from the contents of this submission that we and many other impartial instances, including the more neutral press media, believe on the grounds that the TRC has provided, that the rules for adjudicating the past conflict are not fair, especially in respect of the rules applied to the former SADF by the TRC. It is therefore suggested that the TRC, if it really means to contribute towards achieving reconciliation and unity, endeavours to clarify questions arising from our doubts regarding cross border
    operations, as previously conveyed, during an interview with some of its commissioners, as well as our assumptions that actions in execution of national policy and strategy, were lawful actions for which none of us could be expected to apply for personal amnesty, and for which the TRC persecutive attitude is unbecoming.

    129.        Spreading Investigation over a Wider Spectrum. It is perceived by us that your efforts to try and prove the SADF a gross violator of human rights are extraordinary. By accepting our suggestions you will be able to create a greater capacity to extend investigations to a broader spectrum. You appear to be reluctant to investigate the role played by revolutionary perpetrators and violators of human rights. We suggest therefore that you also extend your investigations to the following :

    1. The "Cabal". The following citing from a Weekly Mail article dated 15 October 1992 could put you on track : "It (the document) lists among the most prominent in the returnees ranks as Josiah Jele, Mzwai Piliso, James Stuart and Alfred Nzo and argues that these people will be sidelined when eventual disclosures on atrocities are made: "What they conveniently forget is that during their years in exile many wrongdoings were committed which place them in a precarious position", and later on : "Through such an investigation and the accompanying publicity most of them will be completely discredited and isolated".
    2. The Punitive Camps of the ANC. There are many indications that atrocities took place in these camps, where the human rights of the detainees were violated. Mr Hani was quoted in The Argus of 26 May 1992. The following extracts will help to refresh your
    3. memory : "There was a time when our security dealt with detainees in a way I never accepted," "He said he intervened in an
    4. attempt to stop the executions of ANC mutineers in 1984". "My view was a minority view, but when I presented it to the NEC, the leadership intervened and stopped the executions". Why were allegations of killings and torture by the Mbokodo not also properly investigated. Why can it not be done now?
    5. The Role of the SA Communist Party. We are convinced that impartial investigation into the role the SACP played in the so called struggle will reveal that the wrong course of action was followed by the revolutionary forces. The effect of this was unnecessary militant behaviour which resulted in large scale barbaric intimidation of black citizens and suffering by them. Such an investigation is likely to prove that the counter revolutionary strategy, on which the TRC is focusing so vigorously, was justified and generally applied with responsibility
    130.        Accommodating Justified Military Activities. Justified military or revolutionary activities which affected innocent people and relatives of victims should not be treated as violations of human rights. It is therefore suggested that the Commission considers accommodating soldiers and freedom fighters, not as perpetrators of apartheid or the opposite thereof, but as executors of their duties, subject to proving their activities as such. To effect this, the following is suggested.
    1. The recommendations of the panel referred to in a previous paragraph should be considered for application and publicly announced.
    2. Activities in execution of just principles should be considered for amnesty, even if no application was deemed necessary by the individuals.
    3. Acceptance of the probability that in an armed conflict, people get hurt or killed and that those killings and injuries are normally not intentional violation of human rights.




     131.        Political Considerations. We have stressed the fact that the SADF was apolitical and that we served the government of the day, just the same as the SANDF is doing now. Our apolitical stance was in compliance with our policy. It however, refers to party politics - not ideological international differences. Our role required the identification of the enemy of the state; which was Soviet expansionism as directed by the ideology of communism. It must therefore be understood that we were intensely aware of the threat, which was adequately proven, also in this submission, to be Soviet expansionism, and that we were anti- communist, and that we were fighting those forces that were (probably unknowingly on their grass roots level) furthering Soviet expansionism under the guise of struggling for social equality, which was a factor with which we had sympathy; not with the way in which it was sought.


    132.        Accepting Reconciliation as Seriously Desirable. It is assumed by us that reconciliation should actually be aimed at by the TRC. If this assumption is correct, it is suggested that the TRC also assumes a reconciliatory attitude. If this suggestion is acceptable, we suggest that the TRC formally considers and decides to be truly unbiased; and that in trying to be so, to accommodate the justifiable occurrences of the past as unavoidable contributions to a better future for South Africa; a conclusion that we, the former chiefs of the SADF, have already arrived at.

    133.        Implications of Non-acceptance of Reconciliation as Desirable. If reconciliation and unity are not the TRC's main objective, which appears to be the case, it is suggested that the TRC accepts the risk of being branded as a political instrument in affecting, what is generally assumed as a political trick, humiliation of the SADF as a legal instrument of the former political dispensation, in order to discredit that dispensation.

    134.        In Pursuance of a Lasting Solution. We respectfully suggest that the TRC takes some of the extended time off to purposefully consider the merits of the facts and opinions in this submission, as well as these suggestions, with the aim to affect what the institution of the TRC was intended for - the promotion of reconciliation and unity.
    135.        Implications of Discarding a Helpful Attitude by the Former SADF. Please accept this submission as a gesture emanating from our a co-operative inclination; also as an attempt to help achieve reconciliation and forgiveness and unity. Please also take into consideration the consequences if the current tendencies, as we interpret them from your attitude and handling up to now, are going to persist. If that is the case, we believe that the violation of the rights of former adversaries are going to be repeated in order to influence future election outcomes.

    136.        In Conclusion. We suggest, in spite of your attitude as perceived by us, and as framed in this document, that you try to operate in a way that will change our negative perceptions. We are hopeful that you, with the support the government of the day, which we request in a separate memorandum, will react positively to this submission.

    Compiled and submitted by the signatories :

    Gen M.A. de Malan (Retd)
    Gen C.L. Viljoen (Retd)
    Gen J.J. Geldenhuys (Retd) ............................................
    Gen A.J. Liebenberg (Retd)


    Fax (011) 331 7473


    A complaint against the TRC was lodged with the Public Protector on 5 Feb 98.
    The complaint was formulated by four former Chief of the SA Defence Force, generals Malan, Viljoen, Geldenhuys and Liebenberg.
    The complaint constitutes one of the measures envisaged by the Contact Bureau of the SA Defence Force in pursuance of a motion unanimously adopted by former SADF members at a symposium held on 30 August last year.
    The motion supports the reconciliation process and reads as follows:

    1. "The Symposium expresses its unequivocal support for the process of reconciliation now taking place in South Africa and which must continue to take place. As in the past, we - as former SADF members - shall continue to lend our full co-operation to the creation of a peaceful state for all its inhabitants. However, the Symposium would like to express its concern and dismay over the unfair and apparently one-sided process adopted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We do not accept that we were ever defeated militarily and we demand that the political processes do justice to both sides represented in this issue. In this way, both the honour and the good reputation of the SADF - which still forms the basis of the SANDF - must be restored".
    The Act on the Public Protector (section 7(2) of Act 23 of 1994) prohibits the revelation of the contents of the complaint in possession of the Public Protector.


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