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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Karl Edwards [NIS]: The Internal Reconstruction and Development Department (sic)



According to a coded tape obtained by the Security Police during 1973, Laloo Chiba of Robben Island said that a specific core group of ANC and SACP members, including S.R. "Mac" Maharaj and Nelson Mandela, existed in Robben Island prison. The purpose of this group was to set up, (after their release) a co-ordinated management body which would serve to re-organize violence and sabotage in the RSA.



The IRDD is essentially the Intelligence Service and Covert operations branch of the ANC/CP.

They are a specific action group, running networks into the RSA, and controlling recruitment and target selection for specific tasks. (e.g. the recent attacks on police stations and on Silverton.)

These tasks include (in the long term) assassination, sabotage, logistics, recruitment, transportation, storage of arms, reception of recruits. Their interest in trade unions is specific – to place people in the factories for sabotage purposes.

As far as the militants of IRDD are concerned, the role of SACTU is to promote the armed struggle. They are not too concerned about overthrowing the RSA by a workers revolution. They are only interested in SACTU as an organizing mechanism of workers for the armed struggle. In addition, SACTU internal operations seem to be directed by the IRDD, especially through Ray Alexander.

One of the main tasks of IRDD is the collection of information in accordance with the intelligence function. For this reason this department runs networks into the RSA specifically for the collection of information on political activities, target information (e.g. on Sasol, oil storage dumps, police stations) support of the families of political prisoners, and anything else that is valuable and necessary for the proper functioning of internal activities of the ANC.


Maharaj is the single most important individual in the IRDD, and possibly in the entire ANC/CP. He is the only person in the ANC/CP who can make unrestricted travel arrangements, and who does not need to inform ANC regional or national offices of his presence in their territory. Furthermore he is close to Oliver Tambo and travels with him quite often.

To comment, Maharaj appears to have been given a free hand within the ANC/CP in order to ensure the security of IRDD operations. His closeness to Tambo is anomalous, but one presumes that this is a C.P. attempt to keep Tambo under strict control.

A fuller analysis of Maharaj is included under a separate section, but to give insight into his personality and ruthlessness, the following quote concerning him (after the London meeting in January 1979) is relevant:

"Maharaj is the most dedicated, intelligent and well trained leftist I have ever met. He is totally dangerous and if his re-organization of internal networks is accomplished, there is going to be really big trouble inside South Africa. I fee that for the first time an accomplished and well trained person is pulling together the strings of an ANC network inside South Africa."


It must be assumed (from his present position) that Mac Maharaj was a key member of the group mentioned in paragraph one. Maharaj was released from Robben Island on 17/12/1976 after serving a twelve year sentence for sabotage and participation in Unkhonto we Sizwe.

Maharaj remained in Durban under a banning order with his brother, K.R. Maharaj, in Merebank. Maharaj broke his banning order in July 1977 when he fled to Maputo in Mozambique.

It is strongly suspected, from discussions with Maharaj, that he used his seven months in Durban to organize the first networks of IRDD by recruiting various individuals to set up their own cell structures, (see Omar Badsha and Poomany Moodley).

It must be assumed from the fact that Maharaj had intelligence training in the Soviet Union that the concept of IRDD was well worked out on Robben Island, and that preparations for the Durban networks were achieved whilst Maharaj was still in the RSA. These networks are probably identical in function to those outlined by Maharaj in Operation Daisy, in that they are separate from one another and have their own system of communication. According to Capt. Williamson of the S.A.P., Maharaj during interrogation did not give away the people that were presumably involved with him and who have probably survived and are still operating. Capt. Williamson remarks that Maharaj is very highly regarded within the ANC. For this reason Maharaj has to an extent become a legendary or cult figure within the ANC.


5.1. On 7/7/1977 Maharaj was in Maputo where he made contact with Lusaka, in order to give Oliver Tambo a message from Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. It is suggested that Maharaj wished to personally relay the message concerning the structure and function of IRDD to Tambo.

5.2. From August 1977 onwards Maharaj appeared in London where he appeared in the press and on radio. He went on a short lecture tour to Europe and the U.S.A.

It is suggested that during late 1977 the Chiba-Maharaj-Mandela plan of the IRDD was being discussed in the Revolutionary Council, and that Maharaj obtained formal approval to run the project as its co-ordinator in late 1977, whereupon he returned to Africa for this purpose.


6.1. Lusaka Headquarters : Mac Maharaj co-ordinates the IRDD from this centre. The function of the centre is to receive, analyze and act upon information coming to Lusaka from its regional offices in Africa, and from overseas. The action taken is in the form of some operational project e.g. the collection of information, recruitment and logistical planning for an attack on a police station.

The personnel at Lusaka headquarters include :

S.R. "Mac" Maharaj - Co-ordinator (SACP)

Mohammed "Moosa" Moosajee - (Deputy ANC Treasurer) (SACP) IRDD Finance Officer

Ray Simons (Alexander) - SACTU representative (SACP)

John Montshabi (@ Pula) - (SACP listed communist) Function unknown

There are other members of the IRDD who are believed to be represented in a decision making capacity. They include:

Oliver Tambo - President of the ANC

Tom Nkobi - N.E.C.

Alfred Nzo - (SACP) N.E.C.

6.2. Gabarone Office

Within Botswana there are a few representatives who appear to have separate tasks. An important office from an information gathering point of view, directed primarily for the collection of information on the Witwatersrand.

Joe Gqabi: Head of the Botswana office, and therefore the co-ordinator. Definitely handles SACTU business, political work and sabotage.

Henry Makgoti (@ Squires): In charge of youth recruitment to the ANC. Involved in  arms and explosive smuggling. Shortly to be removed to Lusaka (Jan. 1980)

Marius Schoon: Handles a general network of white ANC members into the RSA for the purpose of information collecting, for sabotage and other purposes. (Analysis of Schoon network attached)

Jeanette Schoon: Handles SACTU networks into the RSA, but assists Marius through her contacts.

Izak Makopo: Reported to deal with the preparation of young terrorists prior to their return to the RSA on missions. (Therefore works in co-ordination with Schoon.)

6.3. Lesotho Office

This was definitely run by Phyllis Naidoo (alias Ruth Motsamai) during 1977/1978, but she may have been replaced temporarily due to her bomb injury during 1979/80.

Two known trained terrorists represent the ANC in Lesotho, namely Chris Hani and Matabata Sexwale. Mac Maharaj is known to have organized an IRDD network headed by Sexwale, with a number of young exiles under his control, however, the final control of this group is probably in the hands of Phyllis Naidoo who was responsible for the recruitment of the young exiles in the first place (for example Tito Fakude (an alias) and "Nippy".

This office handles networks to the Witwatersrand and Natal, but its most important function is the reconstruction of ANC networks in the Eastern Cape. Maharaj has stated that the Eastern Cape has the most potential for ANC activity, but is badly organized, and for this reason he made a special trip to Lesotho to motivate his operatives for running IRDD networks into this area.

6.4. Maputo Office

The functionaries at this office operate their networks through Swaziland and also directly into the RSA through Tongoland and possibly also through the Eastern Transvaal. This is a very important centre.

The co-ordinator of the IRDD in Maputo is thought to be Ruth First (SACP) who is a lecturer at the Edward Mondlane Institute.

Indres Naidoo (SACP) is the right hand man of Mac Maharaj and is part of the IRDD structure in Maputo. His function is unknown. Latest information is tht he is due to be transferred to an ANC post in Belgium.

Mohammed Timol (SACP) is in turn the right hand man of Indres Naidoo and was formerly trained as a terrorist by Jack Hodgson (listed communist). Timol's function in the IRDD is not known.

6.5. Swaziland Office

Possibly represented by Stanley Mabuzela. Maharaj confirmed he had representatives here, but did not disclose who. (See below.)

Security Police files show that Maharaj himself has been very active in Swaziland and known visits include:

(i). 16.3.1979 entered Swaziland through Lomahasha. On 20.3.1979 he and John Ntoleni Majola left the Kingdom for Maputo for 3 days.

(ii). 13.4.1979 entered the Kingdom on foot through Lomahasha border post with Thomas Titus Nkosi.

(iii). Visited Swaziland through Lomahasha between 14.5.1978 and 20.3.1979 and was 7 days in the Kingdom.

(iv). Observed in Mbabane 2.10.1979

6.6. European Connections

Where security is at stake, or where recruitment is easier, Mac Maharaj travels to London or Europe in order to transact IRDD secret business. He often arrives without other ANC or C.P. people being aware of his visit.

During Operation Daisy he recruited, trained, briefed and debriefed agents from the RSA concerning various tasks (reports of Operation Daisy appended), but these meetings were prepared in advance by Maharaj's representatives in Britain. These people include Solly Smith, Ronnie Kasrils and Aziz Pahad (who is the most important).

London in particular is the main thoroughfare for South African politicals, and it is for this reason that the ANC/CP regards it as the most important outpost to spot, recruit, brief, debrief and train recruits. In addition, it is also regarded as a fairly safe place for meeting and briefing IRDD agents who are already operative.

In addition to the above representatives, there are other departments of the ANC in Britain that handle, for example, political manipulation of the S.A. Indian community. (See Indian Section). During meetings with the people described in the Indian Section, it is quite likely that radical individuals are singled out for recruitment to the IRDD. In this particular role Yusuf Dadoo and Essop Pahad of the ANC/CP are in an ideal position to recommend recruits, mainly because they have a vested interest in the IRDD which is entirely SACP oriented on the operational level.

In addition to the above, there are various institutes where the ANC/CP can find recruits from the RSA. One of notable interest, which was often mentioned by Mac Maharaj is the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. This college accepts mainly Norwegians and Indians from Durban. The entrance exam can only be written in Ireland, London or Durban (where the exam can be written in Afrikaans). Also, an SACP man, Asmal Kader (law lecturer) is active as the head of the Irish AAM in Dublin, and it is suspected that he screens S.A. Indians for ANC/CP recruitment. (He is also attached to Defence and Aid.)

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