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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Report on visit by SA businessmen to Zimbabwe

Report 12-11-1987

On the 4th November 1987, 5 South African businessmen came to Zimbabwe and met government officials.  I got the briefing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   The names of the group are:

1.. Prof John Barrat – Director of the South African Institute of International Affairs, an independent private sector finance institution affiliated to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

2.. Mr W. van Wyk – Managing Director of Iscor, the largest steel producer in Africa.

3.. Mr L.G. Abrahamse – Chairman of Syfrets Trust and Chairman of the South African Founcation.

4.. Mr U.S. Cullinan – Chairman of Cullinan Holdings (Ltd).

5.. Dr. S.S. Brand – Chairman and Executive Officer of the Development Bank of South Africa.

In their discussions, the following points were discussed:

1.. The businessmen knew of the release of Comrade Govan Mbeki, before he was released.  They appeared to be very much informed about his release, but they did not comment.

2.. That Comrade Nelson Mandela will be released but the Government wants to create a situation in which his release should not embarrass the government. That they as businessmen want a guarantee from the African National Congress that the South African economy must not be nationalized.  They do not want communism in South Africa.

3.. That business must remain in the hands of the owners.  They do not care whether Comrade Tambo or Mandela becomes Head of State.

4.. That the ANC must make a public statement that nationalization will not take place.

5.. That the White community have no illusions that the ANC will take over the government.  That UDF and COSATU are part of ANC.

6.. That they are very much concerned about the Region, specially money invested in the Region, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique.

In Mozambique

That they bought MNR from Rhodesian government, from Mr Cornflower who created CIO under Smith regime and also created MNR.  That the main aim of MNR was to destabilize Mozambique but not to overthrow Frelimo government.  They even mentioned that at one time they realized that MNR is becoming dangerous and the eliminated some of the influential commanders.  That, before the government signed the Inkomati with Mozambique, they gave MNR supply for two years, and the leader of MNR agreed with President Banda to support MNR.  South Africa was to stop supplying MNR, that it was a mistake for Pretoria to continue supporting it.

Today they are giving Mozambique financial assistance to build the harbour so that they do not take their export to Durban or Cape Town because it is too far.

On the 30/10/87, I met Mr Arie De Zwan a South African businessman who is the General Manager of Southern Life Association Limited in Johannesburg.  I had a brief discussion with him.  Some of the points he told me are that the business community are thinking of forging close relationships with the Trade Unions.  The reason is that they want to avid the situation which now exists.  That workers see business people as enemy number one.  They are not enemies, the enemy is the apartheid regime.  Together with the workers they should form a powerful opposition against the regime.

To ask the Trade Unions to elect representatives who will be members of the board of directors, a policy-making body of the companies.

To give workers some shares in the companies.

They are also planning to refuse paying taxes to the government.

He told me that Mr Chapman will be coming to Zimbabwe soon.  He did not give me the date but he will call me after his arrival in Harare.

Yours in the "Year of Advance To People's Power"

Reddy Mazimba
Chief Representative.

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