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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

17 Sep 1998: Barnard, Neil

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POM. Dr Barnard, let me start with, in fact I had most of my questions prepared and then from the time we talked the last time, this book Mission Improbable by Richard Rosenthal appeared on the market and it tells a story of an initiative that he as an individual, initiated going to PW Botha, writing to him, being referred by the President to Stoffel van der Merwe and there being an agreement that he act as an individual in trying to mediate a process that would lead to the meeting between the government and the ANC about talks about talks. Eventually he came in contact with the NIS and he got the impression from an agent he calls Mike Kuhn that it did not appear to him that you were even aware of what he had been doing or not doing. After a number of meetings you informed him that the initiative was over as far as you were concerned and he was on his own and yet the initiative still continued with Stoffel van der Merwe, and Thabo Mbeki in the forward to the book gives the man some credit for acting as one of the agents that brought the ANC and the government together.

. He also mentions the role of Willie Esterhuyse, which is mentioned in both Alistair Sparks' book and Patti Waldmeir's book, but he puts it in a slightly different context, that he had been working again as a kind of a personal initiative with, it would appear, the approval of PW before he had been approached by the NIS and that he was reporting himself directly to the President. Can you put all of this in context and, again, the overall context is what you said in your conversation the last time that versions of the story that have been published have been one-sided, have not told the truth and have left out the very critical role that PW Botha played?

NB. I have not been able to work through the transcript in any way. I have to point out again that you must understand that I am working specifically now under severe time constraints so I haven't been working through that, but I think you immediately touched on one of the very fundamental issues which I am more than interested in to give you quite some background on. Let me kick off by giving an indication, and maybe I would here and there -

POM. You go as you want.

NB. Let me try to - because I am certainly not prepared in any way on your questions and I might here and there just be a little bit too long, but let's at least give you the background. If you look at the situation in our country since the middle of the seventies and the eighties it was quite clear to thinking people - I think I must use the word 'thinking' people, 'intellectual' type of people, if you give an ideological slant on that you might even take the words 'liberally inclined' people - it was clear that in the end South Africa will have to find a political solution to the problem. There is no military solution to any conflict in the world, there are only political solutions. If you look at the history of our country you have a very deeply divided society with the powers that be in power governing this country for at least 4½ decades and, let me point out, not doing such a bad job at governing the country and developing the country. I can dwell on that at quite some length.

. So at the time PW Botha in my view, and maybe later on I would like to give my views, did play a critically important role. In person he was a man of very strong convictions. It's not very easy to convince PW about a new development. Now what do you do if you start in the eighties talking to a civilisation? In my own case I have told you already I am the second son of the ninth generation of a German soldier of fortune, I have told you the story the last time. We're talking about people who have been living in a part of the world for three centuries and now they must, out of their own, negotiate themselves out of political power. It's bloody tough, it's a bloody tough goal to achieve. How do you convince people to do that?

. At that time inside SA a lot of people from the religious fraternity, a lot of people at universities, a lot of people from the business sector became involved in ways and means to convince the government: listen you cannot fight it out, you will create a wasteland, we must find a way out, we must start a process of political negotiation. And so happened the Dakar conference and I can go on endlessly again, but I am not going to dwell on Dakar. The point I am also making, you as an old hand in public life will understand that each and every President, each and every minister has his own circle of cronies and personal friends and sometimes these personal friends bring a hell of a lot of problems to civil servants and to many other issues. It would be a very interesting study if you finalise this and even if you look at the United States history or European history, look back, how many people in top places, specifically in terms of money, specifically in terms of tenders, specifically in terms of many other issues, have been influenced by personal friends and in the end they fall in the trap? So what happened is that somehow somebody meets somebody somewhere with a kind of influence somewhere and in some way they then eventually become introduced to the President or to the Prime Minister and then they try obviously to be the big soldier on the white horse who finally brought peace to this sorry land of ours, so they saw it. There was a constant stream of people inside this country who obviously just, with a lot of respect to you as you have been interested in this very interesting part of the history of the 20th century, you can imagine that people interested in history they would all like to become known as, 'I am the individual who finally brought the Boers and the ANC together so I am the man who eventually ', it's typically human. We certainly did have a lot of these people around. Well since the late seventies and also in the early eighties but it didn't stop there.

. Obviously governments from overseas were equally interested in finding the final solution to apartheid and to South Africa's problems and the British government played a very important role and the French government did try to influence us and the so-called Eminent Persons Group of the Commonwealth did play an important role and Washington tried their best and so did Bonn and Paris and I can mention others.

POM. This was according to Rosenthal?

NB. Well I think it's to a large extent - I will come to Rosenthal. I remember, not vividly, but I remember the Rosenthal issue that it has been mentioned by Mr PW Botha and obviously my line, the way I remember it would have been, "President, there is no way in which somebody who really doesn't know how this country works and what the hell is going on, and the Swiss know that even less, can become involved in solving South Africa's internal problems." That's the one basic fundamental issue which I think you would do history an onreg, an injustice, you would do history an injustice if you don't clearly indicate that from the very first process in which the NIS was involved we took a very strong line, that the future through negotiations will be negotiated by South Africans alone and between South Africans alone. We were not interested in brokers and facilitators and United Nations and the Commonwealth and Europe and anybody else. We were certainly not interested in that. It was a very, very strong and a very fundamental line. So strong was that line -

POM. That was in the NIS?

NB. Oh yes, within the NIS, but we, I think, didn't necessarily need to convince him but we quickly, I think, not necessarily convince him but we were able to ask Mr PW Botha at the time that that is the only way to go, if we go into negotiations it will be direct negotiations, there will be no third parties involved.

POM. Did he agree?

NB. Oh absolutely, absolutely. I still to this very day absolutely agree with that. I have a deep distrust of any third party. You must understand that. I don't trust facilitators, I don't trust anybody from outside because in the end facilitators never know, not in 1000 years, the deep emotions and problems you're struggling through. You have to bring the sides together from eyeball to eyeball and I don't for that matter even - I know you've been instrumental in many other issues, I can touch on that later on.

. I think one of the success stories which has not been told is that fairly early on in my discussions with Mr Mandela in prison I tackled this issue and I told him the British are interested, the Americans want to do it, the UN want to do it, old Martti Ahtisaari, even you would perhaps know that I was also rather intimately involved with Neil van Heerden and Jan Geldenhuys on the 435 Cuban troop withdrawal/independence of South West Africa, etc., etc. Whilst I was on the one hand negotiating in confidence with Mr Mandela I was deeply involved in the whole negotiations which brought South West African/Namibian independence, Cuban troop withdrawal and so forth and so on. I think it's important to know that.

. At that time I think we found a common understanding with Mr Mandela. Mr Mandela we will not allow Martti Ahtisaari and the UN or for that matter the European Union or the French or the British or the Germans or whoever combined or Washington to do what they have done with the so-called Rhodesian / Zimbabwean situation where you invite people, which is extremely arrogant I would think, to invite people to come to London and sit while Big Brother is watching from the door or from the walls, like how are the small guys making peace, do I like it or don't I like it. It's absolutely unacceptable. How can you ever expect a self-respecting country to make peace under the eyes of the Big Brothers of the world, so-called, the British who were not even able to make peace in their trouble province of Northern Ireland but they want to tell us how to make peace in this country. You will always find a very strong, shall I call it patriotic line, in my thinking about this. I think, to put it very lightly, it's extremely arrogant, I think it's even extremely arrogant of anyone from outside to come in and tell the South Africans this is the way we think it should be, because they don't have the slightest bloody idea about the depth and the emotions of this country's problems.

. Against this background I was flatly, I in person and the NIS, against any outside involvement. But let me put one last point in perspective, I don't think that we in this country, by any stretch of the imagination, don't need outside help. That's not the point I'm making. The point I'm making is when you're negotiating about your own very future you do it yourself, you take the risks, you take the responsibility. Somebody else can never do it for you.

. Against that background, if my memory is in broad context correct which I think it is, that at a certain time Mr PW Botha informed me there is this guy Rosenthal, he tells me that he can bring in the Swiss government and they will be able to assist us in this whole negotiation.

POM. Was this before Rosenthal actually began whatever he calls it, the initiative, or half way through, or - ?

NB. My problem is somehow people believe that the NIS was almost knowledgeable about each and everything. We were not. If you really talk about the spectrum of intelligence which we handled at the time it's mind boggling, so let me be quite clear to you. At the moment when the President talked to me about this Rosenthal guy I was never informed about that so I can presume that my argument would have been, "But President, you would know we will not involve outside people but let's not just be cold with the guy, let's talk to him and hear what the hell does he have to say." So if he mentioned the name Mike Kuhn, yes, he would have been involved on the operational side, so quite obviously what I would have done is to go back and tell Mike Kuhn, "Make contact with this guy, find out what the hell he's trying to do", because if he becomes involved too much then he could create a hell of a problem for us so we just don't consider that. And I can imagine that he then tried perhaps to convince people - I cannot even remember whether I met him in person or not.

POM. You didn't?

NB. As far as I know I never met him in person and then they would have given me feedback and I would have possibly, very possibly told Mike Kuhn in the end, "Well tell him thank you but no thank you." We couldn't at that time tell him, listen we're a long road, we've covered quite some miles and kilometres already in the whole process of negotiation, we just cannot inform you about that. So we were in this difficult situation whilst international governments, the business community, the religious leadership, many other people in the country were pushing all the time, why don't you start negotiations? In fact it had started a long time ago and we were not capable of informing them about that so we had to play a kind of a double game.

. When you talk about Stoffel van der Merwe even in this interview I would be very hesitant to make negative remarks except to point out that perhaps Stoffel van der Merwe, like many other people, like to see themselves as playing a fundamental role. He didn't play a fundamental role in my mind in any stretch of imagination whatsoever. What I am knowledgeable of he was the Minister, at that time, of Information as far as I know and remember. What I did know is that the morning after PW told some members of Cabinet in the Northern Transvaal at a hunting party that, "I have met Mr Mandela yesterday", because that is what happened, after the famous meeting between Mr Mandela and Mr Botha in Tuynhuys, which you know we organised, orchestrated, whatever, Mr Botha departed on a hunting trip to the Northern Transvaal and if I remember correctly on that Friday evening at the camp fire he possibly for the first time informed his colleagues, "I have been discussing with Mandela yesterday." Stoffel was present at that meeting and like a typical politician I was phoned incessantly by him, being Minister of Information, because all of a sudden he wanted to make this big story now, world news, Mandela has met PW Botha and so forth and so on.

. If I sound a little bit cynical do understand, as I told you previously, I have been in public service for many years and I don't take it lightly when politicians would like to climb on the bandwagon for what I believe is purely personal ambition, when extremely top level interests and critical issues for the country are at stake. So if I can sum it up about Rosenthal, whatever he writes, with a lot of respect, he might have been involved, he might have seen Stoffel van der Merwe, he might have seen the President, and he might have even talked to the Swiss government. In any event we would have argued very strongly, why the hell should the Swiss government all of a sudden be interested in what the hell? They don't have a colonial history, they were not really at any time involved in issues in SA. Is it because they're a so-called neutral country? For what bloody reason should they become involved? So the main point is that I think the Rosenthal issue is not an important one and I think history will very clearly testify that it's been a minor side issue, the Rosenthal issue, as far as I know about it.

POM. I want to establish one thing clearly, that is that PW Botha accepted the framework that you had suggested that no external powers can be involved in the resolution.

NB. Absolutely, not only PW but Mandela as well, very, very strong. Oh yes, it's a very fundamental point. It's a very fundamental point. I think during the discussions which I had with Mr Mandela it was repeatedly pointed out, and it's very interesting, I think I remember my words quite well now. I've told you before that English is not my mother tongue by any stretch of the imagination but if I must put it in English I argued like this with Mr Mandela, I remember it quite well: we as South Africans are too proud to let anybody else come and tell us how to solve our problems, we will do it ourselves. Why the hell should we ask the British or who the hell to come and help us solve our problems? Still to this day I believe it's one of the fundamental cornerstones. If you would ask me what would have been the four or five points why were the preliminary negotiations successful, and I really sit down and think about it a lot, that will certainly be one of the most fundamental points. If you're talking about your future you cannot ask somebody else to do that on your behalf. And that was the reason also why I was the person that I still am today, I am against business communities, religious leaders and whoever more becoming intimately involved even at preliminary discussions. The reason is, what would they talk about? What do they know about the problems of the country? They would possibly think that they know something about it but they really didn't.

. So, yes, I think the important point about the Rosenthal issue is let me don't be so rude on the individual, possibly he tried his best. But the historical fact is that in my memory it certainly didn't play significant role by any stretch of imagination but I use the Rosenthal question to bring to you a very fundamental core of the whole process and that is of Africans, we will sort it out ourselves. We don't want outside interference from anyone.

POM. So the Rosenthal issue in your view was a side bar. Two, Stoffel van der Merwe played a minor and perhaps over-elaborated role in his own mind with regard to trying to work with Rosenthal.

NB. Well I find myself in the very difficult situation that I have now to judge on people who still live and where in their own minds certainly for that they did play that role. My answer is immediately yes, absolutely, and either I give it to you very straightforward as I see it or it will serve no purpose. Certainly Stoffel didn't play any significant role during any stage of the negotiations.

POM. My third part of that is that when you found out about, or the Rosenthal issue was brought to your mind, was another consideration that listen, we can't have people, we're working on the one hand trying to establish contact with the ANC abroad or whatever and somebody else on their own trying to do the same thing, we're working at cross purposes for Christ's sake, we're sending confusing signals to everybody?

NB. I think it's a very critical and very fundamental point and that's the reason why I think if you, and that's perhaps important that you get that speech of PW, the one when he talked about the people who left the shores for Dakar for the meeting with the ANC, which we flatly opposed as the NIS. At the time he gave a speech in parliament where he spelled out quite clearly why he was opposed to the visit of people to Dakar and in that speech he clearly indicated that this is government business, talking about the future, the political future of the country is government business. It's not business people's business, it's not religious business, it's not whoever's business, it's government business. So we very clearly took that line and followed that line from the very beginning until the very end. And I must say when the facts about the process of negotiations became public knowledge, immediately the pressure decreased and we didn't find any more problems in that regard. We still had the British Ambassador, Renwick, hanging around and trying to influence people and so forth and so on, obviously. The British always tried to influence events in SA, let's be quite open about it. They always tried because they have a lot of interests here.

POM. They're the biggest foreign investor.

NB. They've always had a lot of interests here and I understand that, it's not that I'm against that. I understand that. But would you imagine for one bloody, single moment that Thatcher or whoever would allow the SA government to tell them how to solve the Irish problem?

POM. OK. Let me move to some questions that come as a result of follow-up from our last discussion. One, you talked about that you spent six months at the Georgetown Centre for Strategic & International Studies in 1979. When you were in the US, and I'm not taking the US as a model of democracy in any way, particularly with what's going on there now, but travelled abroad and saw how democracy worked in other countries, did that influence your own views as to what an incomplete form of democracy existed here?

NB. I told you before that - perhaps I'm a little bit shy about my own person. Let me point out that my study at Georgetown was very, very clearly focused on one issue alone and that was on nuclear strategy which I still to this day find a very tempting and interesting subject. Be that as it may I think it's more fair to tell you that my conviction that political negotiation is the only future for this country grew out of two fundamental issues which I think are important. If you work in an intelligence service which is worthwhile, like the NIS was certainly at the time, you are confronted daily with an accurate assessment about the real problems of the country. It flows before your eyes every 24 hours. You see the problems internally, you see the problems with labour unions, you see the problems with education, you see the problems with socio-economic development, you see the speeches made by other people. Bear in mind that the ANC was a banned organisation so the average South African was not allowed to read what Tambo or whoever had been saying about the future of the country. So I would dare to say that in my own development on this whole matter I think I tried to form an honest assessment based on good and accurate intelligence as to the true problems of this country.

. Secondly, I think it's fair to point out that we had in the NIS what we called the Chief Director of Evaluation, and you would find that in any intelligence service in the world, that they have an operational side and they have a so-called evaluation side. The Chief, not at that time but he became the Chief during my tenure at the NIS, was a man by the name of Mike Louw, whom you might have possibly met. Mike Louw played a more fundamental role than has until recently been explored. Mike Louw was a man who very strongly all the time took the line that there is only one solution for this country and that is to find a political settlement, there is just no other way out. That also influenced my thinking to a large extent.

. So to sum up your question, I was not necessarily for that matter being very much influenced by what I saw in the US and I pointed out previously that my real interest in political science has never been constitutions and so forth and so on. My real interest was in international relations and strategic matters and revolutionary warfare, etc., etc. That was, from an academic perspective, always my kind of interest, so that's the best I can answer that one.

POM. When whites say, a kind of a sidebar follow-up, that SA will become a one-party state, didn't they live under a one-party state from 1948 to 1994?

NB. You would find me absolutely disagreeing with that line of argument, I don't believe it. First of all a one-party state would indicate that you don't have any kind of elections for that matter.

POM. A one-party dominated state.

NB. Well, yes, one-party dominated state to a certain extent, the answer is yes. But make no mistake, make no mistake that in the end the so-called philosophy of apartheid was based on the assumption that we have various cultural, if you would like to call it, ethnic groups, within this country and we have to find political autonomy in a divided society. That I think was the wrong kind of attitude. I think it's historically not correct to point out that we were a kind of a one-party system. We were a one-party dominated country for a period of forty-odd years, yes. But let me hasten to make the following observation, there was never during the seventies and the eighties a misunderstanding in, for that matter, the State Security Council and with Mr PW Botha and with the Cabinet that you have to uplift the socio-economic living conditions of all South Africans and if they would allow you, which I would prefer you to do, if you work for that matter through the minutes of the dreaded so-called State Security Council meetings, if you were allowed to work through what we called the Yearly National Intelligence Assessments -

POM. I was going to ask you about those. Are there ways to get access to them?

NB. Well the only - they will certainly if I ask them now, the way the country has gone, now they will certainly deny it. I think the better way would perhaps be to ask, because it still is under the Department of Internal Affairs as far as I know, to approach some people in Internal Affairs and ascertain whether it would be possible for you to work through some of those documents. I'm specifically indicating the Yearly Intelligence Assessments and in those assessments, which are nothing strange to SA, it happens on a world-wide scale, the CIA and the MI6 and the B & D and who the hell more, would on a yearly basis present the French or the German or the British Cabinet, this is what we think is going on in terms of security, that is what we expect the next year or three or four or five to come, so we have to do this and that and the other and so forth and so on. Those assessments very clearly indicate there are not even tens but hundreds if not thousands of pages written on the NIS's evaluation that we have to work on the improvement of the socio-economic living conditions of all South Africans, more houses, more water, more taps, more tarred roads, more X, Y, Z. That was nothing strange. We did that from the very beginning. But the point I'm coming to, make no mistake that this was not acceptable to the UDF and to the MDM. They quite clearly, since more or less 1986, tried everything to disrupt any kind of programme from the then government to improve socio-economic conditions because they were not interested in that for obvious reasons, they were interested in taking political power.

POM. They would say that you were trying to buy the blacks off.

NB. That's right.

POM. Would that have been a valid observation on their part if you were in their place? If you switched places, say, with a leader in the UDF and he sees you're trying to mobilise the people to fight the system and the system turns round and starts behaving with handing out large amounts of largesse to the population in an attempt to win them over to their side, would you not say that's not really helping the people, that's buying them off?

NB. But that's a point which one must argue on. If you start burning down schools and if you start killing people by one of the most barbaric methods the world, in its 26 century history which we know of, has ever seen, namely the so-called necklace method, why have people not done a lot of research on the infamous necklace method? It's been extremely brutal, it's barbaric to the extreme. To intimidate people, we all know what it is all about. So, yes, it was an argument. I cannot deny that.

POM. But did your yearly assessments take into account levels of intimidation in the township or try to evaluate what levels of intimidation?

NB. Oh yes, certainly, certainly. The point is that if you look at the public remarks of the police and Minister le Grangé and after him Adriaan Vlok at the time, it was not a true assessment of what really happened because there were certain parts in the so-called township areas of this country at the time which were in effect no-go areas. It was not possible to enter those areas if you were not escorted by police vehicles or even armoured vehicles or semi-armoured vehicles for that matter. So, yes, there could be no doubt that in typical revolutionary slang if I can use those kind of words, there were some pockets of areas which had been 'liberated', in the typical Ché Guevara or whatever kind of language. Yes, it was true. The mobilisation of the majority of the population around these matters had been quite successful here and there and certainly played a role in putting pressure on the government. There's no doubt about that. It was a very clever kind of strategy. You would obviously have seen the four pillars of the so-called ANC strategy at the time and that is to make the country ungovernable by international isolation, by mobilising the masses, by confronting them with a kind of military struggle and so forth and so on, yes.

POM. One thing that runs through all the accounts I've read of before negotiations proper began and even when negotiations proper did begin and with people that I've interviewed, and you could say they're from one side and they are, and are countered by people from the other side, and you must provide me with the names of people that I haven't interviewed. You went through my list and if you said you must talk to these people, I will go and I will talk to them. I told you that and I will follow that up as soon as I possibly can. But one thing runs through it and that is that (a) the pervasive belief that the NIS had infiltrated the ANC at all levels, (b) that the strategy of the NIS, even in its negotiations with Mandela, was to split the ANC and this remained PW's strategy to the end, to split the ANC into the moderates and the nationalists and the communists and find a way of dividing them and dealing then with the moderates and negotiating with the moderates and the nationalists. The common thing is you all thought that you would be able to split the ANC, that this was the strategic purpose of the talks to find people -

NB. Let me start off by saying that the basic thrust of the question is blatantly untrue, is blatantly untrue. First of all I am not going to go into any detail as to the number of top level sources in all the top structure, in the total hierarchy of the ANC except to say the answer is yes, yes, still to this day.

POM. The answer is yes with regard to what?

NB. There is no doubt that the NIS had, at top level, paid sources within all levels of the ANC at the time, working for us, providing us with intelligence. That's the point I'm making. That's what intelligence services are there for. It's not like the people in Bulgaria or even some people in the socialist typical countries. A good intelligence service is not there to serve the interests of the President or the Prime Minister. It's there to have absolute intimate detailed knowledge about the security threat against the country. At that time we assumed the ANC, correctly so I think, was the main security threat against the autonomy of this country, so we knew. We had sources in the total structure of the ANC. Obviously I am not going to go into that because even till this day it's an extremely sensitive issue. If you read my testimony at the first so-called Truth & Reconciliation Commission I challenged them because they asked me to mention a few names of people within the NIS which I refused to do and when they tackled me I challenged them and told them, "Do you want me to make public the names of top level people still serving in Cabinet and in government who received cheques from the NIS during the eighties? Do you really want that? Do you think that will be a consolation for this country's problems? Do you want me to inform you about all the Presidents of Africa who have since visited SA who I in person have had many, many hours of discussions with during those years? Do you think it's really appropriate to make that public now?" I really think it still serves no purpose at all.

. The second part of your question is an important one. I don't deny that the influence of the SA Communist Party on the ANC worried us at the time and if you want it I would still say it this morning, it still worries me on the 17th September 1998 in this country right now. We were worried about that. I constantly argued with Mr Botha, there's just no way prior to the first election that we will in any way be able to split the ANC between the so-called nationalist/SA Communist Party/COSATU/labour/internal/external wings. They are a liberation movement, there will not be differences coming to the fore before the first election.

. So the point that we were involved secretly trying to divide and rule and not to be very realistic in our endeavour to find a negotiated settlement is absolutely wrong. We went into that with a clear conscience of mind, we have to play at least in the preliminary stage an important role to make it possible so that the elected officials and politicians can come together, elected, the representatives to hammer out the negotiated settlement. It would be totally wrong to think that we went into this whole process with a kind of view that, yes, it was a very clever manipulating effort in which we will cling to power or whatsoever. I, and many of the people in the NIS, realised from the very first step which we took that it will in the end result in the African National Congress winning the first election and taking political power. It's as easy as that. I don't think one must deny that.

POM. Just again, I'm saying it myself because sometimes I'm a little bit deaf and I can't hear, those who assert, and many assert quite vociferously, that the NIS was playing this kind of duplicitous role of on the one hand talking to Mandela and on the other hand trying to either find ways to split him from the exiles and to deal with him and 'moderates' and isolate the radicals is just simply gobbledegook.

NB. It's totally untrue. Let me elaborate on what I don't think I've mentioned to you. Prior to the meeting between the NIS, and what I'm certain Willie Esterhuyse would have told you and what people like Deputy President Mbeki and others might have informed you about, prior to the NIS meeting the team of the ANC in Europe, in Switzerland, we had - can you imagine yourself, here we were talking in SA with Mr Mandela but there was still at that time a very important external wing sitting in Europe, everywhere in the world, and there was just no way in finding a settlement without the involvement of the so-called external wing which is a clear indication that the notion that we were cleverly manipulating this is bullshit almost, if I can use that expression. It's just not true. So I in person at a certain time asked Mr Mandela, he must now also start preparing the external wing because we were at that stage already talking about how do we take the process from here? Obviously you will to be released from prison and obviously we will have to start negotiations and there will have to be a meeting which eventually turned out to be Groote Schuur and the Pretoria Minute, etc., etc., but, Mr Mandela, it cannot be done if the people from external are not involved. So what happened then? The important point is that he said, "No, Dr Barnard, you ask me, I am not going to allow you to see Mr Mbeki internationally." So I left it at that.

POM. Did he give reasons for that?

NB. Well, let me just try to remember. He said, "Well, Barnard, listen to me, I am not going to allow you to talk to me in Cape Town and to Thabo Mbeki overseas because I will have no guarantee that you're not going to try and play us off against each other." He took that line. So I said, "Well, Mr President, I think you're totally wrong but I can understand your problem, but in any event we must prepare the external wing as well so we will have to talk to them." And then I remember quite well he made a very interesting remark. He said, "People tell me that the NIS is quite a capable organisation. Is that true?" So I said, "What do people say?"

POM. Is quite a what? People say that the NIS is?

NB. Is quite a capable, quite a good intelligence service. So he said, "Why don't you fly in, why don't you pick up Thabo in Lusaka and fly him into Cape Town and bring him to me and then you can talk to us, but then I want to be present so that I can listen to what the hell you're telling him."  After that meeting I, or we, decided well, whether the old man likes it or not we're going to proceed in any event and we did and the meetings took place in Europe. At the first meeting, incidentally, I was not present because at that time there was some or other problem which I still to this day cannot even remember quite well, but there was a reason why I was not present at the first meeting in Europe. From our side at that meeting was Maritz Spaarwater and Mike Louw and possibly a junior operational man to give the necessary support logistically and so forth. And from their side it was Thabo, as far as I remember, and Jacob Zuma and Aziz Pahad and possibly also Joe Nhlanhla. The next meeting I was present, the teams were more or less exactly the same.

POM. But did Thabo ask you whether you had talked to Mandela about this visit? And you said yes we did and he said - ?

NB. We just did it and I came back and I said, "Well we've met Thabo now and this is going ahead."

POM. But did Thabo ask you?  When you met Thabo did he say to you, "Have you cleared this with Mandela?"

NB. No. What I did at the meeting is that I gave them, at the meeting where I was present, basically feedback telling them that is basically what is going on in the country, that's the reason why we're talking to you, you will have to be involved in some way or another, you will have to come in. Bear in mind at that time all of these people were banned from SA so we had to take certain measures to bring them in etc., etc. It's an interesting point which I think is raised in Sparks' book if I remember correctly. Thabo then asked me at the time, "You would know that we will have to bring in Slovo as well." So I said, "Well I have no problems whether you bring in Slovo and whether we include whoever, we will never again make the mistake of choosing if you play cricket against us or what the hell, you choose your team, we cannot choose your team, elect your team." I phoned Mr de Klerk from Switzerland telling him that. In the first discussion he was absolutely against bringing in Slovo. I phoned him a second time and told him, "Well with a lot of respect, Mr President, I don't think you have any option. How can you decide or elect the negotiating team or the first team to come in for the ANC? It's just not on, you just cannot do that." I think that's basically the background. Do you want to quote from the old man's book?

POM. You had talked about what the agendas, the frame of reference was when you went to see Mandela and you mentioned three or four points: Mr Mandela's view about the role of violence; how did he see the struggle and the future of the struggle; is he prepared to accept a kind of cease-fire agreement before one can move into a period of discussion or negotiation broadly speaking, that was the first point. Secondly, what kind of political future does Mr Mandela see for the country, is it a democratic one? What kind of a political future does he see, broadly speaking? The third point was the model, the constitutional model and what role does the so-called communist ideology play in his mind? Did you get satisfactory answers to those questions? What you read of Mandela is that on the armed struggle it would continue, there would be no suspension of the armed struggle, he would not renounce violence. The SACP was an ally but they were separate organisations and in the short run it was an alliance of convenience, in the long run they were going in different directions. Then he said, finally:-

. "The discussion went on for months. Like most Afrikaners they thought that because many of the communists in the ANC were white or Indian they were controlling the blacks in the ANC. I cited many occasions when the ANC and the CP had a different policy and the ANC had prevailed but this did not seem to impress them. Finally in exasperation I said to them, you gentlemen consider yourselves intelligent, do you not? You consider yourselves forceful and persuasive, do you not? Well there are four of you and only one of me and you can't control me or get me to change my mind. What makes you think the communists can succeed where you have failed?"

NB. I think Mr Mandela is taking quite a strong line, as I said. I cannot personally recall that he told us that. Maybe that's true. The old man, let me rather, I think, give you the perspective which I think you need. Obviously the old man was not interested in the long run to try to convince a rather young public servant at the time because the public servant was not controlling the political power. He wanted to talk to PW and as the time went on, remember it was two years then at the time already, he became irritated about the fact that he was not allowed to talk to PW. In his mind, obviously, he thought that we were going to involve him in long years of discussions and in the meantime strengthening our military capacity, perhaps that was his thought, so that we can really tackle them hard on in terms of the so-called security issue. That might have been his way of seeing it and maybe one should understand that. I think to this day, and even after Groote Schuur, the ANC were at pains to inform their own so-called MK, uMkhonto, structures that it was us who put all the pressure on the SA government in the end to cave in to start negotiations, which is bullshit. It's bullshit, it was never -

POM. When you say 'us' you mean?

NB. Well the point is, how do you convince - you must bear in mind which I think people tend to forget, on the government side you had the top military machine on the continent. You had, with all their problems, a quite efficient police service which has never been under real threat in terms of physical security from the ANC. How do you convince them to stop this bloody fight if we start political negotiations now? Equally it applies to MK on the other side. People were so-called trained wherever, they were in camps in Quatro and whatever more, what nobody nowadays wants to talk about but it still is a fact, you guys must stop the fighting now, don't infiltrate the country any more, don't try to bomb Wimpy Bars or whatever, we are now going to talk. How do you convince these people the era of negotiations has started now? You must give them some kind of reason why it is, the reason which you use is to say, well guys listen, we have been very successful, we've put such tremendous pressure on Pretoria that eventually they have to start the whole negotiation process.

. As to the SACP I have my own versions about that which certainly very strongly differ from Mr Mandela, and he knows that. I am to this day strongly convinced, and I think it's a rather unfortunate way of choosing his words but I see it reappeared again recently, it's not the issue of black or white or Indian or whatever, the facts are that at the time Slovo and many other members of the SACP played a critical role in shaping the thoughts within the ANC. Why should we argue about it? It's a fact. Is there any example in this whole wide world for the past 60 odd years where there is a shining example of billions in the socialist system which we should follow as an example? So we differed on that until the very end and I differed with the old man quite strongly on many, many issues.

POM. Like? What did you differ on?

NB. Well we differed on the political future, we differed on the model in terms of the, because we started discussing that, on the kind of constitutional dispensation, on the structure of a three-tier government, on the power and capacity in the second tier of government. We differed fundamentally on the role to be played by public servants. For instance, I told him fairly early on, "Mr President, in effect a government is being managed on a day-to-day basis by public servants and not by politicians. You must understand that. And we will have to maintain as many capable people of the old order whether you like them or not, or whatever you think about them that's the big problem of Africa", which he, of course, denied and said, "Well that's not the problem of Africa, it's colonialism and what the hell ever." I think today if you look at our continent we can perhaps at length discuss that, that's one of our critical problems which we have. So we had our differences with Mr Mandela but then obviously he was the political leader of a critically important organisation.

POM. Since he occupied no official position within the organisation at the time, Oliver Tambo was the President, Walter Sisulu was Vice-President and the organisation was located in Lusaka?

NB. People many times ask me, why did you start talking to Mandela? It's a very interesting question. I haven't thought it through. Nobody at the time, knowing the intelligence picture, didn't understand that the real strong man, not the real strong man, the real man of charisma, the real leader in this whole process is Mr Mandela. Interestingly, you would still find to this day many top level people within the ANC who would inform you that they regard the leadership quality of Oliver Tambo as more impressive than that of Nelson Mandela. You can ask them yourself. They would take the line that Tambo was more the kind of backroom personality, he was not interested in public accolades and whatever, he was the typical backroom strategist and still to this day you would find even members serving in Mr Mandela's Cabinet who would in a moment of sincerity, when they are sure nobody is listening to them or eavesdropping, they would strongly take the line that Tambo has been a superb leader and he has been the man who has been constantly motivating them to take the process forward. So the question again arises now why do you start talking to Mandela? Well obviously he was a very charismatic leader and he still today is a very charismatic leader. He is a very charismatic individual. There's no doubt about that.

POM. Was that decision made by, a conclusion come to by the NIS or by yourself?

NB. No, I would rather think that that is certainly a conclusion of the NIS, that the main focus point will be Mr Mandela. Can you imagine for one single moment, sometimes we must get some credit, can you imagine for one moment that we started discussions with Mbeki before we started discussions with Mandela within SA? I think that could have been disastrous because the old man wouldn't have trusted us. Then he would argue: so that's the Intelligence Service playing a dirty little funny game with us, they try to manipulate the external wing and then they would try to do this, that and the other. So the whole process starting off with Mr Mandela, then moving to the external wing, etc., etc., was not something which happened in an ad hoc way, it was, I think, in the strategic team within the NIS planned quite well.

POM. Since Mandela - I'm using the quote in a sense to say there were these issues. So you had to go back to PW Botha and say, listen, this is after 48 meetings, and he was adamant on the first meeting, "I will not renounce the armed struggle, I will not this, I will not that. They are my positions and you know me, I don't change my mind and that's that." What was there to negotiate around? There were two other issues that came up in a more conceptual kind of a way. He said: -

. "Central issues facing the government and the ANC were (i) majority rule (on which he insisted on majorities, a majority is a majority to this day on the Westminster style), and (ii) how to reconcile the black demand for majority rule with white fears of black domination."

. Now if they were the two conceptually central issues do you think that even today those two issues have been adequately addressed?

NB. No, no.

POM. And they have to be then at some point.

NB. Well obviously if we continue, let me put it this way, if we continue to manage our country in the way in which we're doing it right now I see conflict quite clearly on the horizon again, looming inside SA. But certainly there can be no doubt, there can be no doubt, that we have not been able to learn from what has happened in the rest of the continent and we're making very, very fundamental mistakes right now. We're really making fundamental mistakes in the present situation.

POM. Enumerate.

NB. Well look at the economy, look at the security, look at the public service. There is no public service in this country.

POM. You were saying there is no public service.

NB. There are many other issues as well. I don't want to sound too negative. There is no delivery. Let me quote you one very simple example. I think it's quite hard-hitting I must say but it's very simple. The total number of public servants in the Western Cape now totals just under 72,000, the statistics are important, just on 72,000. In education alone, education alone in the Eastern Cape, Dr Thom, my colleague, the DG of the Eastern Cape informs me they are 86,000, 14,000 more public servants in education alone in the Eastern Cape than the total public servants statistics within this province and still there are no school books in the Eastern Cape and the Eastern Cape people are streaming into this province and we have to accommodate them in all the bloody schools in the Western Cape.

POM. But they would say, or black ANC would say, this is part of the legacy of apartheid, of having the homelands.

NB. It's been rather a stupid argument to make right now. I think we have passed that situation right now. It's stupid. We have made mistakes, I have never denied that, but what we must now begin to face in this country is that we must understand that the country is not taken forward if its public servants don't work according to certain specific norms and standards in life. It's as easy as that.

POM. I want to go back to two things. One was that you also said that the role of Kobie Coetsee, the role he played in the process had been greatly over-exaggerated. Could you put that into some context for me?

NB. I will. First of all if you read what I have been able to see here and there, he tried to take the line that he was basically the man who had been orchestrating this whole exercise. I think the answer is no. Secondly, if you would have listened to what Mr Botha has been saying, he certainly didn't command the kind of influence with Mr Botha which he said he did. With a lot of respect, I had to convince Mr Botha, finally, to see Mr Mandela, in person, alone, myself, not Kobie Coetsee, because at the time it was becoming extremely critical and I told Mr Botha in my view if you look at the history of this country you cannot lose if you see Mr Mandela. If it's a successful meeting and you can lay the foundation for the future political negotiation of this country you would always be able to say that historic meeting between me and Mr Mandela paved the way, laid the foundation for the present political dispensation in this country, I opened the doors finally, I saw him, I started the discussion. If it is not successful quite obviously you would be able to take the line, I saw Mr Mandela, it became clear to me that it was not possible to find a solution, I am telling this to the public, I tried, it doesn't seem to me to be possible so I cannot help you. So there is only a so-called win-win situation. See the man now so that we can take the process forward.

POM. But according to Alistair Sparks he asked you to tape that meeting?

NB. You're talking about the meeting between Mr Mandela and Mr Botha? Yes. He didn't ask me and I've become a little bit, quite a bit irritated with Sparks' views about it and that's the reason why I was negative when we started off. I never told him about this so-called infamous shoelaces issue which he has related.

POM. The shoelace issue?

NB. The shoelaces which I tied before Mr Mandela went in to see Mr Botha, and I take real offence for that. The critical point is, I was taking responsibility to smuggle, no what's the correct word, to covertly take him into Tuynhuys and there were not five cars or how many bloody cars Sparks is writing about, he's talking bullshit, it was only one car. I was in the car and Willie Willemse and the driver and Mr Mandela, so he's talking bullshit. I could do that because I took many black Presidents sometimes, heads of Intelligence Agencies, military Generals, whatever, into Tuynhuys from time to time. It was nothing strange. The Security Police did know Barnard is coming in with a black man, it must be this and that and the other and they knew don't ask stupid questions, it's been arranged. I grew up, I think it's important to know that, in the world where I grew up in SWA older people, black or white or pink or whatever colour, are respected, you respect an older person. In Afrikaans we still have, my children even know that, in Afrikaans we still have today a word which is an indication of the respect which we used when I was a small child for black people meaning the word Outa and for black women meaning the word Aia. It's a typical Afrikaans word indicting I respect you, you're an older man and just like you would call Uncle and Aunt and whatever. So here we were waiting for PW, obviously it was a critical opportunity. The old man, Mr Mandela, and that I also take offence with, if you knew him at the time he was not capable of just sitting down and tying his shoelaces, so I saw that his shoelaces were not tied so I said, "Sir, let me just quickly tie your shoelaces." I see nothing for me to tie anybody's shoelaces before he goes in. So Sparks wants to portray it as we were all shivering because we were in this big - it's absolute bloody bullshit.

POM. The nervous tension.

NB. Well with that he creates the impression we were shivering which is absolute bloody bullshit. I did it as a nothing, a typical deed of courtesy and of understanding. Here was an older man, he's been in prison for so many years, he's going to see Mr Botha whom I happen to know very well. He's a quick-tempered and a very difficult man so it was important that the meeting went right. That brings me to the question about the tape. I was not informed before the meeting that it will be taped, not. Afterwards the tape was handed to me and I said to Mr Botha, "This has been wrong. Why don't you put the tape on the table when you talk to Mr Mandela and tell him, listen Mr Mandela this is an important issue, we must tape it." At the time when Mr Botha, long after that, was attacked from a party political perspective he did think at the time, and this is now rather a sensitive issue and perhaps, you're the first person from writing some document which I will give this information, at certain moments during the conversation, which was nothing fundamental, you must remember he had just suffered two strokes at the time and he was not his usual self at the time, and Mr Mandela, make no mistake, is quite a cunning old man so he tried to push again for the release at the time of Walter Sisulu. That I can also go into detail on. And he knew before, I told him don't push the issue of Walter Sisulu, the answer will be no. If the answer is no we will not be able to convince him. Leave the Walter Sisulu issue to me, it will take me a week or two but I will get him released. Don't you tackle the issue with PW, he will just say no, I know him. But the old man tried to push on and he did that. And so PW took a very strong line but then in the end he said, "Well discuss it with Barnard he will possibly advise the Security Council within a week or whatever about this matter." I then, because PW thought that it was a meeting in which he really called the shots and told Mandela this and that, which is not true, and whether you like it or not it's as easy as that, I destroyed the tape, myself, in person and I have written a very good minute of the meeting and that I have presented to each and everybody. So, yes, I did it. I was not party to the decision to have it taped. After that the tape was handed to me as being head of the Intelligence Service and I decided to do just that. That's the story about the tape.

POM. My question would be twofold, the meeting afterwards was again referred to as how friendly, Mandela says how friendly and cordial Mr Botha was. Do you think, the Heisenberg Principle, the act of observation changes the nature of the subject being observed, do you think that because Mr Botha knew that there was a tape running that that altered the way he would behave because there would be a record behind as to the way he behaved at that meeting and that similarly Mr Mandela - ?

NB. I would be very hesitant, and I think you would do history an injustice if you follow that line.

POM. Oh no, it's just speculation.

NB. No, I think it's wrong and let me try to point out that the meeting between Mr Mandela and Mr Botha was never intended to have any substance at all.

POM. More of a courtesy call.

NB. To talk about the Anglo-Boer war and what the hell more and about the Xhosas and the Eastern Cape and then broadly tackling the issues, open up and then we can take the process forward. I still to this day believe that the mechanics between Mr Mandela and Mr PW Botha were much better than it's ever been between Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk because at the beginning I was present at most of the meetings between Mr de Klerk and Mr Mandela, myself also. And from the very start I think the mechanics just didn't work between those two. They just didn't find each other and it's an interesting speculation. The point is what would have  happened if PW would have been in power? I think two things. First of all I think we would have had, in my view, a much stronger federal kind of constitution, stronger powers on the second tier for one thing, and secondly, he would have been much, much more tough and difficult to handle on certain security issues like the Boipatong and so forth and so on. And bear in mind that the so-called negotiation team would have then possibly consisted of Heunis and of Pik Botha and FW, perhaps Gerrit Viljoen. Gerrit Viljoen, an interesting individual, an extremely brilliant intellectual but not by any stretch of the imagination capable of grasping the tough day-to-day gutter fights which are typical to politics. He's a typical academic, he doesn't understand that unfortunately.

POM. This is one thing that has struck me, and I know this is jumping but since we're on it, that initially the team that FW sent in was a fairly conservative team, Viljoen, Tertius Delport and I don't know who was the third big person in it, it just escapes me, and then he switched over to what one would call almost a liberal team, Roelf Meyer, Leon Wessels, those two being the two chiefs. I suppose my question is this, is that one reads and you talk to Roelf and he will say that he was an early convert to majority rule.

NB. The question is when are you going to publicise? Let me go as far as this to first of all say I think it's certainly the wrong assumption you're making. Bear in mind that Gerrit Viljoen certainly is not that conservative. He was the Chairman of the Broederbond but he was not that very conservative. Roelf did play an important role from fairly early on as the Deputy Minister serving - at that time he was already Minister for Defence if I remember correctly. It was a major blow when Barend du Plessis abandoned politics, in my view. I'm not talking from the government side. In my view Mr de Klerk never, never really understood the strategic issue of the whole negotiation process. It's tough words but I believe that. De Klerk was very good intellectually and tactically understanding small, minor tactical moves like playing cards or whatever. He was not really, in my view, a chess player knowing when to move the big pieces at what stages.

POM. What was, in your view, the strategic issue?

NB. Well the point is that unfortunately for all our best efforts, and I think I tried many times, there wasn't much strategic thinking done at the time. Imagine yourself, we started negotiations, at least Mandela and the ANC, what is the end result? Mr de Klerk still for some very strange reason believed that the NP would either win the election or be so strong that they will be a very strong potent force, which is stupid I think. I remember about six weeks prior to the election in 1994 I gave them a kind of strategic overview, which I did from time to time, to Cabinet telling them, well we believe the ANC will more or less carry between 60% and 64%. It's very interesting and so forth and so on, we have to plan according to this. And he became very furious with me, telling me, "Who the hell gives you the right to assume that the ANC will win the election?" I remember quite well telling him, "Mr President, if you want to work with fairy tales please do that, we have to work on the factual situation and that is what is going to happen. I don't have the slightest doubt." I think it's harsh words but I think it's true.

. The second point I would like to make, you see I'm again finding myself in this very difficult situation of people perhaps like Tertius Delport and Leon Wessels for instance, him and Dawie de Villiers and others, telling you about the roles which they played. They didn't play big roles. Also not Leon Wessels. There was a core group on the government side which we called 'the channel' which you obviously must have heard about, consisting of on the ANC side Ramaphosa, Mac Maharaj and Slovo and on the government side consisting of Meyer, myself and Fanie van der Merwe. After Boipatong we paved the way for again coming together. After that each and every crisis was handled on this channel level. The problem on the government's side was that two government officials were involved in that, not elected politicians. So Leon Wessels was not involved in that. He was involved in certain matters of local government. Tertius Delport was involved in certain constitutional matters and so forth.

. I want to give you an assessment, which is always difficult when one is personally involved. The point is, let me even make a more difficult statement, I know Roelf Meyer quite well, I was with him at university, I know him quite well. I think FW was afraid that Pik, who was a contender and I happen to know Pik Botha also through all the liaison and co-operation of Foreign Affairs through many years from Komati till the Cubans, Pik is quite a formidable negotiator, make no bloody mistake about that, but typical as politicians heads were, it would have been difficult for FW to have the strong charismatic Minister of Foreign Affairs heading the negotiating team so he rather chose somebody whom he thought he could -

POM. Manipulate?

NB. Yes. Well manipulate is perhaps a strong word.

POM. Have more influence over?

NB. I differed with Roelf on many occasions, many occasions. You asked me, I think it's wrong, it would be the wrong line that there was a conservative team and then to be replaced by a more liberal team.

POM. Let me rephrase it and the way I will rephrase it is that according to accounts and to my own kind of conversations with Roelf which have extended over ten years, he was a fairly early believer in majority rule. That to him was going to happen inevitably and now rather than later. And according to Patti Waldmeir, and I think FW qualified this when I talked to him, he didn't accept majority rule, as she says and others say, up until the very end, in fact never accepted majority rule, simple majority rule. Now my question is, if you have the person leading your negotiating team who actually in the depth of his heart believes that your opponent's position is the right outcome, it's like playing chess.

NB. That's perhaps one of the questions which I would respectfully refrain from answering.

POM. But just psychologically?

NB. Basically because I happen to know Roelf Meyer from the year 1970, it must be almost 30 years now. Whatever he tells you then he must be an extremely bloody good actor and I don't want to go into that because I think his and my ways have parted very strongly in the past two years. Our ways have parted. We don't talk to each other. I told you I know him for 30 years. I have not been talking to him, as far as I can remember for two years now. I think we differ fundamentally on certain issues and I think it would be unfair of me now to give an assessment about his views on certain matters. Let's leave Roelf Meyer aside but let's argue one point, the fact that the government at the time didn't have a real universally acceptable, formidable, prepared, strategic management team to drive their path I think is true. Yes I think it's true because I think that's the line you're trying to take. On the other hand, like Topol said, on the other hand history is history and I am one of those people who believe that individuals cannot alter the flow of history. What they are capable perhaps of doing is to change it a few degrees to the left or to the right from time to time. There is nothing like history. I would argue that even with the best negotiating team or the best strategic people, the outcome of the final so-called interim constitution wouldn't have differed that fundamentally. And I think my own people, I'm talking about Afrikaner people, who argue that we made a lot of mistakes, etc., the basic line is that the outcome with whatever kind of team wouldn't have been very different.

POM. Made much difference.

NB. What I think would have been true would have been a stronger, but I told you already, a stronger federal kind of constitution which obviously Roelf was not supporting for whatever bloody reason I still to this day don't understand because this country will in the end -

POM. It's moving in that direction, piecemeal.

NB. This country will end with a strong - well it will go, either we do it peacefully -

POM. I mean piecemeal.

NB. - or there will be a conflict but this country will end in 50 or 100 years from now I think with a model of strong federal government. So either we do it, and that's what I foresee for the coming years, but I think those are the important points which you raised on certain personalities. Never forget that FW was always deeply suspicious about the role of security forces. I have mentioned that after the meeting with Mr Mandela, let me just mention, after the meeting with Mr Mandela and Mr Botha, Tersch Ehlers took a photo at the time and the first publication, I think it's in this one, there's Willie Willemse, Kobie Coetsee, that's the meeting in Tuynhuys, Mr Mandela and myself. So this photo has been taken in the office of Mr Botha.

POM. Taken by?

NB. By Ehlers which has been, Tersch Ehlers the Private Secretary to Mr Botha, he came in and he said, "Well let's at least take a photo, it's an historic occasion", so he took that photo. The following Monday there was a State Security Council and PW then informed the SSC, "Listen I've met Mandela", and so forth and so on. The old man was quite proud about this achievement so he sent around the table that photo and that was absolutely incredible. I think FW and many others were furious. Who the hell is this Barnard being involved in discussions for two years under our very noses with Mandela which we never knew about, which was the actual situation? I told you I have been serving, in my view, this country for almost 20 years now at the level of D-G and the typical ambition of politicians doesn't really interest me very much for that matter. The point is, FW was always deeply suspicious about so-called securocrats, security people influencing PW, then him sidelining Cabinet. PW, yes because of his background, did pay attention to what security people said. That is true. That's the way life is all about.

POM. I want to go back to something that you raised. Again it's one of these questions that interests me perhaps me in my attempt to get into your mind, which is part of what I want to get at.

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