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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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: An Operational Analysis of ANC/CP


This report has grown out of Operation Daisy, which came to an end in February 1980 when Capt. Craig Williamson, of the Security Police and Karl Edwards of the National Intelligence Service were withdrawn from the field together with two or three other operatives.

In January 1979 a full-scale three day clandestine meeting took place with Mac Maharaj and Aziz Pahad of the ANC/CP in London together with three of the operatives mentioned above. The three individual reports (appended) gave rise to a full evaluation of the ANC on behalf of the NIS which was distributed to all stations during 1979. This report described the general direction of the ANC, and the new thrust it was developing for the 1980's.

Three main thrusts of the ANC became evident during the course of the meeting, namely:

(i). The ANC/CP was attempting to gain dominance over all its opposition, both internally and externally.

(ii). That the ANC/CP was making an all out effort to build up networks inside the RSA (with an external infrastructure to support these networks).

(iii). As a direct result of the above, the centre of gravity of the ANC/CP was shifting from London to Africa, with Lusaka as headquarters.

During the three year period of 1977 until 1980 that Operation Daisy was in progress, contact with the ANC/CP was regular. AS a result, a large amount of important and incidental information was acquired which has helped to give an insight into the operational methods of the ANC, and more specifically has allowed us to get a feel of its most important operational organ, namely the Internal Reconstruction and Development Department. (The Intelligence Service of the ANC/CP) this report (or handbook) has been compiled as a result of field experience with Operation Daisy and the study of some Head Office files and serves three purposes:

(i). To give the evaluator a glimpse into the operational mechanisms of the ANC/CP, and control of his organisation.

(ii). To give the fieldworker some direction with regard to where he or she can follow up the activities of individuals mentioned in this report, and so gain additional information on the ANC/CP.

(iii). To provide the training section with an insight into the mechanisms of the can assist into the mechanisms of the ANC/CP, which can assist in the training of members of the NIS for tasks related to ANC/CP activities.

It is only through understanding the mechanism of the ANC/CP, the character and the modus operandi of its leadership that one can then make positive and bold statements about the ANC/CP as an organisation. Once we in the NIS can understand the ANC/CP and its methods, only then can we recommend the necessary practical action to be taken against it. This short report is an attempt to establish a baseline for an understanding of the Internal Reconstruction and Development Department (IRDD) in particular, and the ANC/CP in general. It also gives a number of recommendations and suggestions, which if taken up, could enhance our knowledge and control of the ANC/CP.



At this point in time it can generally be accepted that the ANC/CP have waged an extremely successful propaganda campaign, and are in firm control of numerous groups, oprganisations and media outlets that boost their support. They have the upper hand in the propaganda war.

Proof of this can be seen in their successful consolidation programme, and their subsequent acceptance by foreign governments who presently finance all the "soft" ANC/CP projects, such as Administration and Educational facilities.

COUNTER ACTION: In order for the RSA to gain the upper hand in the propaganda war, a better campaign has to be waged, and one has to reconstruct from the damage that has already been done. This raises the questions of how one deals with the numerous ANC/CP support groups; how one obtains benevolent media coverage without being inundated by the left; how one defuses the atmosphere at various institutions internally and externally to suit the purposes of the RSA; etc.

The problems of the propaganda war are immense and would take a special group to determine priorities and plans of action. In this respect two areas of attack should be considered:

(a). the harassment and destruction of the external ANC/CP leadership and their facilities which will weaken the co-ordination of support groups (NIS Function)

(b). the improved use of the vast media mechanisms already available to the state, including the Department of Information and Foreign Affairs structures and the positive projection of the role of the Wiehahn Commission, the Police and the Army. (Function of other state departments.)


It is clear from the ANC/CP shift of headquarters to Africa, the initiation of its Intelligence Service (the IRDD) and the co-ordination of urban terrorist attacks, in conjunction with this intelligence, that the ANC/CP has built up operational external-internal networks.

Thirdly, these people are then fed ideas on possible projects they can start and how they can raise money in support of the ANC/CP (applying the same methods used by the ANC/CP in its original consolidation process).

Fourthly, the group develops an indigenous persona and mobility of its own, and in this way attracts other people to it. Although the group may not attract public support, it pulls in enough individuals with energy and drive to make a significant contribution in the media, at protests, during "days of solidarity", for ANC/CP fundraising etc.

The above process cannot be seen in isolation. It is linked closely with the decisions of the ANC/CP hierarchy, and in conjunction is used in a two-pronged strategy e.g. in a situation where both public protests and high level ANC/CP political lobbying can be used to obtain a political concession.


The centre of gravity of ANC/CP operational activity has shifted back to Africa, and more specifically in the words of Mac Maharaj "to the forward front areas" which comprise all those states from Zambia southwards.

This migration has been made possible through one major event, namely, the consolidation of the ANC/CP in the European countries, America and Asia. The ANC/CP mechanisms in these countries allow for the financial support of the offices of the forward front areas, and also play an invaluable function in providing the necessary propaganda smokescreen for all ANC/CP real and imaginary activities within the RSA (including the misreporting on the Silverton attack which was converted straight into pro ANC/CP propaganda). Without the extra-Africa mechanisms, the ANC/CP could not rationalize its operations in the forward front areas to a civilized or reasonable world.

Furthermore, one more general observation concerns the relationship between military action and intelligence collection by the ANC/CP. From the data available it is apparent that the IRDD under the leadership of Mac Maharaj. is pioneering an intelligence collecting operation which is combined with sabotage and military action. This therefore presupposes that Maharaj has access to military recruits for this purpose, and it has yet to be determined whether these people are specially trained for the urban guerrilla task. Nonetheless, if the figures for trained ANC/CP terrorists are true (between five and ten thousand) then Maharaj and Joe Slovo between them have at the very least the potential of sending in one small unit of three saboteurs per week for the next thirty two years!

Given this startling fact, it is evident that the Security Services must increase their endeavours to collect information on the ANC/CP and simultaneously take executive action in relation to this threat.


Throughout this document emphasis has been placed on the ANC/CP rather than divide the organisation into the ANC and the SACP. The reason for this is that the SACP is part and parcel of the ANC and cannot be differentiated from the ANC because of its power and control. Similarly, the SACP cannot be separated from the ANC because the two are intertwined to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to discern ANC members from SACP members. However, there are a number of distinctive features in the ANC/CP which demonstrate the control and function of the SACP quite clearly.

By way of opening remarks it must be stated that we have very little information on the SACP, and we know even less about its membership, its methods of operating and its cells within the RSA – especially those cells which are presumably separated from the ANC/CP structure and which are run under the control of the central committee itself.

From knowledge of trade union and military networks, the ANC/CP has not yet built up a big enough internal infrastructure for a countrywide mobilisation, although events are progressing fairly rapidly in this direction with their new tactics in the forward front areas.

In the light of the ANC/CP United Front Strategy, a divisive tactic could be workable. For example, the following operational projects could be valuable.

(i). The setting up of a non-existent Zulu group who circulate pamphlets designed to put a rift between the Indian and Zulu political communities in Natal. At present there is an extremely fragile alliance between Buthelezi of Inkatha and MJ Naidoo of the NIC, and the circulation of one set of pamphlets could set off enough friction to make an Inkatha-NIC alliance impossible.

(ii). By alienating the Indian community from the Black community at a community level there is a good chance that the Indian community will rapidly come to its senses and support the SAIC elections which have to be a success if the Prime Minister wishes to gain credibility for his total strategy. The NIC will in turn lose support should their whole venture of a boycott be taken from them by aggressive Nationalist demands from the Black community.

(iii). Similar projects could be aimed at other sensitive areas where simple propaganda projects could achieve maximum success, and create severe problems for the ANC/CP.

(iv). Simultaneously the communication and networks of the ANC/CP must be disrupted, in order to slow down and disorganise their objectives.

The ANC/CP has reached the stage in the development of its strategy whereby it is in an admirable functional condition, and this is for two reasons.

(i). The fact that the ANC/CP has gained so much support that it can raise funds directly from the Scandinavian and other governments and the United Nations. (This is a function of straight ANC propaganda and manoeuvring.)

(ii). The fact that on a military and intelligence level it obtains the necessary logistical support (weapons and training from the Soviet Union). This is a function of the ANC/CP alliance with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

As a result of the above process the ANC/CP has established itself as a known and acceptable organisation in the so-called civilized countries, from which it draws its financial and political strength. Under these conditions, where it can work unhindered amongst leftist and public groups, it can draw on manpower for both its external and internal operations. (See section on ANC/CP Recruitment and Talent Spotting.)

To conclude, the ANC/CP can only go from strength to strength under the present conditions of growth, and correspondingly its support groups and manpower must also gather strength in their onslaught against the RSA.


Through the growth and expansion of the external section of the ANC/CP, and the logical support of a huge variety of leftist groups, the ANC/CP has moved into an excellent strategic position.

With its geographical spread, its willing followers, its humanitarian donors and its ability to infiltrate and control, the ANC/CP has long been on the offensive in all political and economic areas of influence relating to South Africa. This offensive has been launched and piloted by the ANC/CP hierarchy in London (up until 1979) who have simply led their support groups by the nose, to fulfill whatever dirty tasks the ANC/CP have in mind.

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