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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

30 Jul 1991: De Klerk, FW - Press Conference

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Negotiations on the termination of sanctions are at a very delicate stage at present. The controversy about the treatment of secret funds and the continuing speculation about the alleged involvement of security forces in violence dare not be permitted to undermine or retard this process; there is too much at stake for all South Africans. I cannot prevent malicious people from trying to make political capital out of the debate. That will continue. However, there is a silent majority within SA and numerous friends including heads of government outside SA which expect the broad leadership of our country to deal with this matter responsibly. That is what I wish to do this evening.

First of all an historical perspective is necessary. It is only now that SA is busy extricating itself from a long history of confrontation. This is a process that has not yet fully run its course. Without arguing the merits, I wish to remind you of the following facts as they were less than two years ago. According to the ANC's own view we were in a state of war. Among other things their policy was the violent overthrow of the state. Only in August 1990 did they suspend the armed struggle. Bombs exploded and innocent women and children were among the target. Operation Vula with its violent aims continued beyond the Groote Schuur conference in spite of the ANC having committed itself to peaceful solutions.

From the point of view of the state the ANC, the PAC and other organisations were still unlawful. The security forces had a duty to bring them to book and were entrusted with a quasi-political role. These organisations then were the enemy which had to be fought.

Internationally SA was facing isolation. Our country was excluded from membership of practically every international organisation. Sanctions began to strangle us, unemployment increased and the crisis was developing. In that period widespread use was made on all sides of extraordinary strategies. Violent confrontation and political warfare were the order of the day. The government could not realistically have been expected to sit back and wait fatalistically for doomsday to arrive. Its duty was to plan and act decisively. It was of the greatest importance that we had to remain resolute against terrorism, a possible conventional conflict and threatening insurrection. At the same time we had to limit the damage of our isolation as far as this was possible.

Of necessity this situation brought with it a need to conduct sensitive and delicate actions over a broad front, actions which due to their nature could not be financed from open budgetary allocations of government expenditure. As a general norm, however, these actions were subject to normal legal provisions which had to be met at all times. However, secrecy was not at any time a licence for irregularities or the transgression of law. In fact the government and parliament were involved continuously in upgrading and tightening measures of control. Complete details in this connection have been made available already. To the extent that inadequacies are identified the government will continue to improve the relevant legislation and I will come back to that.

Apart from the Department of Foreign Affairs which undertook certain covert actions to circumvent and combat sanctions, certain other sensitive actions which would not normally have been their responsibility were allocated in the middle eighties to the SA Defence Force, the SA Police and to a very limited extent to the National Intelligence Service. This was done because of the intertwined nature of the foreign and domestic threats which had come to prevail in many areas of life in SA, in the labour field, in education, local government and in the trade and industry.

Towards the end of 1989 there was a remarkable coincidence of events internally in South and Southern Africa and in the world at large. This had set in motion a new course in history. Events in the Soviet Union and in Central Europe brought about the effective demise of communism and Marxism. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of East/West confrontation which had dominated world politics for decades. These events gave new impetus to demands for fundamental human rights, freedom of expression and the press and democratic systems of government. At the same time the government had obtained a fresh mandate as a result of the NP's initiatives, a mandate to negotiate the new constitution, to eliminate discrimination and to extend democracy to all South Africans.

I assumed the presidency of this country at that time. In my inaugural speech on the 20th September 1989 I stated my objective as follows: Our goal is a new SA, a totally changed SA, a SA which had rid itself of the antagonisms of the past, a SA free of domination for oppression in whatever form. I meant what I said and the rest of the government supported me wholeheartedly. We were and remain serious about it. Our track record proves it.

On 2nd February 1990 I announced that Mr Nelson Mandela and several other ANC leaders would soon be released and that the prohibition on all organisations had been lifted. These far-reaching steps did not suddenly bring about peace and stability. The ANC continued to propagate the armed struggle, violence was still condoned as an option. However, significant events ensued. Steadily we began to move towards negotiation and this led to agreements of fundamental importance, agreements such as those contained in the Groote Schuur Minute of 4th May 1990 and the Pretoria Minute of 6th August 1990. Only then did SA begin to escape from the spiral of conflict and confrontation. We then took the first important steps towards reconciliation. This process is still continuing.

The government did not hesitate in adapting to the rapidly changing circumstances. Steps were taken immediately to redefine the role of the security forces. On 10th January 1990 I, of my own accord, addressed about 800 senior police officers from all over the country. I spelled out on that occasion in no uncertain terms that it was their duty to be absolutely impartial, to refrain from any political involvement, to restrict themselves to combating crime and protecting the lives and property of all South Africans. On 7th March 1990 I repeated the same exercise with the defence force in respect of the necessity of a new approach in view of the new circumstances. Further proof of the government's seriousness about dealing with security matters impartially was the comprehensive amendments to security legislation during the past session of parliament.

As we moved into a new era attention was given by the Cabinet in the same spirit to covert state activities. The decision was taken to review these activities with a view to limiting them. Steps were also taken to ensure better control and management of these covert activities in addition to the ordered control measures which were already in place. In this context I remind you of my speech in parliament on 1st March 1990 when I disclosed information about an investigation of secret projects which I had instituted in November 1989. As a result of it numerous secret projects were cancelled. UWUSA is an example.

Critics may say, and perhaps not entirely without reason, that we should have moved faster under the pressures of rapid change, the overriding problem of violence and demanding forward planning delays do sometimes occur. Nonetheless the anti-sanctions activities of the Department of Foreign Affairs have been reduced dramatically in keeping with international events. It's expenditure on combating sanctions reveals an interesting trend from 1986 to the present. In 1989-90 and 1990-91 expenditure dropped to 40% of what it had been in 1988-89. In 1991-92 it will drop to only 25% of that figure. Once all sanctions have been lifted the need for it will fall away altogether.

The same pattern was demanded of other departments which were involved in secret projects such as the SA Defence Force, the SA Police and the National Intelligence Service, especially since the second half of 1990 when the investigation to which I have referred was completed there was a standing instruction for a comprehensive re-evaluation of projects with a view to scaling them down and adapting them to the new circumstances in the country.

In view of the latest controversy every secret project is being looked at again and important decisions to which I will refer later have been taken. Therefore I have honoured my undertaking in parliament in March 1990, namely that covert activities would be kept to the minimum although I myself would have liked to have seen us progress further than we have. This statement may be questioned in the light of the wide publicity given to the amount of R380 million allocated to secret services in the main budget of 1991/92. Particular emphasis has been placed on the size of the amount and its growth of 16% above the amount allocated in the previous year. According to some commentators this was an indication that the government was still engaged in further expansion of its extensive activities in respect of secret projects. That is an erroneous deduction. The true facts are that the amount of R380 million included the entire budget of the NIS from stationery to typists' salaries, office rentals and even the erection and maintenance of some buildings. And as is the case in most democratic countries in the world the entire budget of the NIS is dealt with secretly. Of the total amount of R380 million only R15.7 million has been allocated for special secret projects. To it must be added a further estimated amount of R26.9 million from the Special Defence Account which is also allocated to such special secret projects.

In 1991/92 therefore the expected expenditure of special secret projects will be a total of only R42.6 million and not R380 million. The Minister of Finance has already distributed, and if it has not been done it will be done immediately after this press conference, a background briefing on these calculations. In it a distinction is made between the concept of special secret projects and line functions within the context of secret funds. It has been substantiated by a certificate from the Auditor General.

Against this background I now wish to state certain aspects of policy, place several facts on record and announce some important decisions. Firstly, the government is serious in its endeavour to bring about an equal political playing field in our country. Favouring only some political parties or movements with money from the Treasury is unacceptable. Certain projects which have been financed from secret funds are being questioned for this reason in particular. These cases are dealt with in a separate document which has been distributed to the media already. The assurance is given that all special secret projects which could have been considered to constitute support for political parties or organisations have now been cancelled subject to the speedy conclusion of some contractual obligations.

Secondly, it remains the government's aim to restrict special secret projects to the minimum. Once again the scalpel has cut deeply. The government accepts the necessity that there has to be political confidence in respect of the sensitive issue of secret funding. It is a fact that this confidence has been shaken and that it is necessary therefore to restore it. Consequently the government has decided to review all legislation pertaining to secret funds. The point of departure of the envisaged legislative amendments will be the following: secret actions may be undertaken only if they comply with specific norms and principles which are generally acceptable. In this respect thorough investigations will be conducted into the prevailing practices by other democratic governments. Political parties or organisations which are involved in politics may not be financed from secret funds. There have to be proper mechanisms of control which on the one hand will be able to prevent malpractices and which on the other will be able to ensure essential secrecy. Another very important consequence of the envisaged legislation will be the complete termination of the role of all security services in special secret projects falling outside the normal area of their line functions.

As a further step to restore confidence an interim measure was also decided upon in anticipation of the new legislation. It is my intention to appoint a small advisory committee from the private sector to advise me on existing secret special projects. The committee will be asked to advise me on the one hand whether projects which are being continued meet the requirement that they do not benefit political parties or organisations involved in politics. On the other hand the committee will have to furnish me with advice on the question whether the continuation of the remaining projects is in the national interest and whether they are able to play a positive part in the promotion of peace and the combating of violence, intimidation, sanctions and isolation. This advisory committee will be asked as well to advise me on the adequacy of existing control mechanisms as well as on the conclusion of contractual obligations in respect of terminated projects where applicable.

I wish to emphasise that it has always been the norm that secret projects should be conducted within the law. The fact that secret funds are used is not licence for crime. Any transgression of the laws of the land will not be tolerated.

In conclusion I wish to refer to two related matters, namely the impartiality of the security forces and the renewed insistence in some quarters on an interim government. The storm surrounding the assistance to Inkatha rallies late in 1989 and early in 1990 is now being seized upon in certain quarters as proof for unsubstantiated allegations that the security forces are involved in violence on the part of Inkatha. I wish to repeat that neither the police nor the defence force are involved in the instigation, promotion or commission of violence. Any evidence that may emerge and indicate the contrary will be investigated thoroughly. Relentless action will be taken against any members of the security services who may make themselves guilty in this respect or who may incite or assist members of Inkatha or any other movement to perpetrate violent actions.

The Commission of Enquiry regarding the prevention of public violence and intimidation has been instituted by law, among other things for the purpose of investigating allegations of this kind. Once it has been appointed there will be a standing commission to which all such allegations can be referred. The composition of the commission has been subjected from the outset to a process of consultation with other parties. I can say here tonight that considerable progress has been made in this regard and it is hoped that the commission will be appointed soon. As soon as the commission is functioning I will be prepared to use my powers in terms of the Act to have concrete allegations of security force involvement in violence investigated. However, the investigation of mere rumours is to no avail.

Therefore, I wish to issue a personal invitation to everyone who may dispose of such concrete evidence to please come forward. On receipt of a sworn statement to that effect, and which is not based merely on hearsay, and if the witness pledges to appear before the commission, I undertake to refer such a case to the commission. The government has nothing to hide in this matter. We do not have a double agenda and it is untrue that we have a strategy to disrupt our opponents. I take very strong exception to the alleged statement attributed to Mr Mandela to the effect that I am seeking to promote my cause over the corpses of his supporters. If he did say that I reject it with indignation. The government has no desire to be player and referee at the same time.

This brings me to the second issue, namely that of an interim government. The position of the government is indeed very difficult. As the government it wishes and has to be impartial. As leaders of the NP, the same people who form the government are also important political actors. Precisely for that reason I have said on more than one occasion that there is a need for transitional measures to overcome this problem. In my opening address to parliament I said and I quote, The idea that the present legally constituted government should relinquish its powers and simply hand over its responsibilities to some or other temporary regime cannot be considered in a sovereign independent state. Effective government and administration in terms of existing constitutional legislation has to continue until a new constitution has been negotiated, has been implemented after the acquisition of a mandate. I continued and said, However, consideration may be given to certain transitional arrangements on the various legislative and executive levels to give the leaders of the negotiating parties a voice in the formulation of important policy decisions. During the discussion of my budget vote in parliament I repeated this and added, and I once again quote, I do not have a negative attitude towards the idea of a Cabinet which would include a relatively broad spectrum of competent South Africans. If consensus proves to be attainable at a multi-party conference this would merit serious consideration provided that the principles of Cabinet government under the present constitution are not negatively affected.

Tonight I wish to commit myself once again to transitional arrangements which will ensure in a constitutionally acceptable manner that the government is unable to misuse its position of power to the detriment of its discussion partners in the negotiating process. I have an open mind on alternative methods. However, any steps in this connection have to result from negotiation. As far as I am concerned the subject of transitional arrangements may be the first item on the agenda of a multi-party conference.

I therefore conclude with an appeal to every leader to help us get the multi-party conference started expeditiously. I appeal to them, stop the perpetual positioning and abandon the politics of confrontation and ultimatums. Let us begin with real negotiations. That is what SA asks of us. The government is ready and able and willing to start tomorrow.

I thank you.

QUESTIONS:

Q     State President, in the light of what you've just read out and what was told to us previously by your Minister of Finance, I wish to understand a little bit about the government reshuffles which you announced yesterday. From what I understand if Minister Vlok did not transgress any legal spending of money was he punished or was he removed for political reasons? Did he make a political mistake? If that is so why wasn't Minister Pik Botha affected by such a removal, and thirdly, despite what you just said in this document about operations by members of the security forces in political violence, why was Minister Malan removed or why was Minister Malan put where he is?

FDK     Thank you. It is not customary for State Presidents and Prime Ministers in the Westminster system, from which our present system emanates, to discuss in detail reasons for Cabinet reshuffles but I want to say one thing, I would not have appointed Minister Malan and Minister Vlok in the newly composed Cabinet if I didn't have confidence in them. You must realise that what is of the greatest importance to the peace process in SA is that we must assure that the security forces, the defence force and the police force, must not be controversial. And they have become controversial. I hope that this step will make a contribution towards alleviating this situation of constant attacks on the integrity of those two forces. I have confidence in those two ministers, that is why they still serve in my Cabinet.

Q     Mr President, I would like to ask you, are you satisfied that no other money has gone to Inkatha except for the payments to the two rallies and to UWUSA?

FDK     In the additional document provided to you it is stated categorically.

Q     Are you satisfied with that Mr President? No other money has been paid out in secret funds to this organisation?

FDK     Not that I know of and nothing that I could ascertain and that additional document clearly states that position.

FDK     It was more or less a repetition of my reply to the first question and therefore I don't think I need to translate in this instance.

Q     (David Ottoway): Mr President, you were repeatedly against any kind of arbiter serving a role in the negotiating process. In light of these disclosures and the grave doubts that the ANC and others harbour about your impartiality are you ready now to consider the possibility of an arbiter coming in at some time during the negotiating process to oversee it?

FDK     I am in principle against the concept of an arbiter because that negates the sovereignty of the Republic of SA which is recognised world-wide and which has been recognised world-wide for many, many decades. But I must add to that, that in the multi-party conference our attitude is that that conference must decide upon its own procedures, will be in a position to appoint its own chairman and that agreement must be reached on that. Therefore, the government does not want to dominate the negotiation process. The negotiation process must be constituted in such a way that at that negotiation table the NP will be sitting down and will be participating as a party together with other parties. My rejection of an arbiter, therefore, does not mean that I have a hidden agenda to steer and manage the negotiation process and to control and dominate.

Q     (Mr Alan Dunn): Mr President, could you give us your assessment please of how you feel this has affected and damaged Inkatha's credibility? How do you feel about Inkatha's chances now in the negotiation process ahead following the money that you gave them secretly, R250 000-00 for those rallies?

FDK     I do not want to speak on Inkatha's behalf in any way whatsoever. I think that Inkatha has also suffered a setback with regards to its image as a result of this but I don't think that that necessarily reflects the position at grassroots level. Inkatha is a reality. It might lose some support, it might even gain some support because of the high level of publicity given to it. The public react differently to many things, they are commentators, so it would be a speculative answer but whether it has been damaged or not it remains reality, it remains an important role player as the NP will remain an important role player, as the ANC is an important role player. Our attitude is that with regard to negotiation all the role players, also the smaller ones must be represented and must participate and therefore Inkatha will also be part of the solution of SA's problems.

Q     (Israel Mogale, BOP TV): Mr President, acknowledging what you have said about the involvement of the police and the SADF in the violence and acknowledging also that you have reshuffled Cabinet and given Minister Vlok and Minister Malan lower positions, there is still an ill feeling that senior officers in those departments who have allegedly perpetrated violence are still occupying senior positions. Your comment?

FDK     I cannot act against any individual on the basis of rumours. I have just issued an invitation to anyone with concrete evidence to come forward, to let me have an affidavit and to make him or herself available to testify before this standing commission which will be appointed soon. That Act provides that such a witness can testify freely and that his or her evidence will not and may not be used against him or her in any other court of law. Therefore there is a forum, there is an assurance and if evidence is produced and after evaluation by the commission is found to be true, that any individual member of any force in SA has not complied with the policy of impartiality and has contributed by instigation or otherwise towards violence, very, very firm action will be taken.

Q     (Howard Witt from The Chicago Tribune): Mr President, just to follow up on the previous question, given that Chief Buthelezi's credibility in many South Africans eyes has now been seriously damaged, are you concerned that there is now a major new element of instability in the negotiation process since you had hoped to involve Chief Buthelezi and Inkatha as an equal partner in the negotiations now many people will not believe that they represent an independent stance but perhaps a government aligned stance?

FDK     I at no time said that I would like to involve Chief Buthelezi as a partner. He's a leader in his own right as I am and as Mr Mandela is. He leads a fairly strong party and therefore he is in his own right an important role player. I do not think that what has happened will prevent negotiations from taking off the ground. There is no other alternative for SA than the road of negotiation. The only other alternative is escalating conflict and that is in nobody's interest. I have confidence in the leadership of all the role players that they realise this. I accept their commitment to negotiations and I am sure that this phase will pass and I hope that it will pass soon and that it won't cause any unnecessary delay with regard to the negotiation process.

Q     (Enoch Sithole): Mr State President, during the various instances of violence there were allegations of attackers who did not speak local languages and now with the allegations of the involvement of members of the special forces, the SADF, it seems to give substance to these claims. Until when does the SA pledge to keep foreign soldiers, some of whom were abducted and kept against their will, in the SA Defence Force?

FDK     Well that's a whole bunch of allegations, none of which I have ever received any evidence of. Firstly, and I'm saying this in all seriousness, if you can substantiate any one of those allegations you will greatly assist me and I will take steps if any such allegation is basically substantiated. The SA government through its forces is not involved in violence. If any individual has been involved as such it is a serious transgression and we will take steps and inasmuch as criminal transgressions took place criminal steps will be taken in the criminal courts of SA. We are not holding anyone by force. Each and every employee of the SADF gets a salary at the end of every month. We have not abducted anyone as far as I have ever been informed. All these allegations have been denied time and time again and I have tonight indicated the clear course, a forum where objectively by a judicial commission, the members of whom will be appointed only after a process of consultation, will objectively evaluate any such allegations. There is, therefore, a solution for those who feel that they are entitled to relief or feel that they have facts which must be evaluated and I repeat my invitation.

Q     (John Battersby): Mr President, if I may follow up on that question with the special forces of the Defence Force particularly in mind. You have stated categorically and I am sure that covers the special defence forces that neither the police or the defence force are involved in the instigation or promotion or commission of violence. You have also committed yourself to the complete termination of the role of all security services in special secret projects falling outside the normal area of their line functions. Now despite your assurances to the contrary there has been considerable prima facie evidence of the special forces of the SADF being involved in some of the instances that you mention and Mr Mandela has particularly, in his statement from Mexico I believe, particularly among his five points called upon you to publicly disband the special services of the security forces. And I understand that the Namibian government has personally given you the assurance that they will take back the Namibian citizens and that they will be in no danger when they are taken back to Namibia. Is this not something that you are prepared to consider?

FDK     Let me firstly say the proof of the pudding surely lies in the eating. We're not holding anybody here against his will and if any Namibian in SA wants to return to Namibia he's absolutely free to do so. I suppose that his reaction would be determined by what he believes. I can't speak for them. We won't hold anyone in SA against his own wishes.

FDK     I don't know exactly to which special forces you are referring. In each and every defence force across this world you have a diversification of forces and you have some trained specially for specific duties with specific talents. Inter alia in SA we, because of the vastness of our country and because of many other facts, we quite often need good trackers, people who can follow a track. One of the special forces I think you might be referring to have had tremendous success in returning stolen cattle because they have this vast experience of tracking and they've been put to use to fight crime. Many other countries have special forces for crowd control. As a matter of fact while we are being asked sometimes to disband special forces I have been requested from other sources to establish, for instance, such a special force.

FDK     I really think that if anybody feels that we can organise the defence force better than it is organised at the moment they must come and talk to us. I am open to good advice. But the demand for disbanding arises from what you refer to as prima facie evidence but prima facie evidence must at least be substantiated by an affidavit and by the availability of the witness to be interviewed, to give full particulars so that more information can be gained. I am afraid that much of what you refer to as prima facie evidence has been used very skilfully in a propaganda campaign but when it comes to the crunch the evidence isn't available in such a way that the government can act on it in a responsible manner. We believe in a constitutional state, in the rule of law and anybody accused is innocent until he is found guilty. Also those accused of all these atrocities are entitled to be properly handled in terms of the law and nobody in SA is taken steps against merely on the basis of rumours and other unsubstantiated accusations.

FDK     I want to re-establish trust to that extent in which it has been shaken. It is not in anybody's interests that we play political games around this issue. I hope that by doing this we will at least partly succeed amongst thinking South Africans to lift this issue above petty party political politics.

Q     (Joe Contreras): Mr President you referred in your statement to the Commission of Enquiry regarding prevention of public violence and intimidation and you said the composition of this commission has been subjected from the outset to a process of consultation with other parties. Is there any thought given to including on this commission representatives of the ANC and other extra-parliamentary parties to rebuild confidence with those organisations and also in the spirit of the transitional arrangements that you first posed in your opening of parliament speech last February?

FDK     I would not say representatives of any particular party or interest group. Then it's no longer a judicial commission, then it becomes a committee on which certain parties are represented. That is not what a judicial commission means. But, yes, I want to assure that those appointed, because of their legal knowledge, because of their objectivity, because they are not beholden to anyone, must not be objected to when they are appointed in the sense that we must assure that they carry the confidence as objective judges above politics, totally objective of not only the ANC but of a number of important participants in the political process. I don't want a furore when the commission is appointed. That is the reason for the consultation. But the essence of the commission must be its impartiality and the fact that it owes no party anything.

Q     (Rodney Pinder, Reuters): Mr President, in the light of the Cabinet reshuffle yesterday it seems implicit recognition that a great many things have been wrong over this affair. How do you square this with your Foreign Minister's assertion last week that nothing at all was wrong and given the chance would do precisely the same thing again? And secondly, what will you say to Mr Mandela when he returns and attempt to reassure him that the actions now taken mean a genuine commitment to impartiality?

FDK     I'm not doing what I'm doing to please Mr Mandela or anybody else. I'm doing what I'm doing because I think it's in the best interest of SA that we place this incident behind us. I reshuffled my Cabinet because there were three resignations and I've already motivated that part which I'm prepared to motivate in previous replies. I'm not admitting that we have in an unacceptable way dealt with it. What I am admitting is that this has become a divisive matter, a matter which is becoming a stumbling block in what we must now concentrate on in SA and that is to start negotiating. It is a stumbling block in the way of building trust, we must start building trust and all my actions and the announcements which I made tonight are aimed at removing this as far as it is possible and I am sure it will succeed in doing so between all thinking South Africans to remove this as a stumbling block so that we can get on with the business of what we should be doing, namely building and working for a new SA, working for reconciliation.

FDK     I am trying to prove by what I have announced tonight that the government has no fear that our hands are clean and that we are prepared to stand the test of public scrutiny in the one case through highly respected members from the public, in the other case before a judicial commission.

Q     (Miss Crowe): Mr President, we've heard many times in the past that allegations against the security forces would be investigated and they have not. Obviously many people are afraid to come forward, they're looking for indemnity. What assurances do they have, and the public at large, that you will give them protection when they come forward?

FDK     In the first instance I have referred to the fact that the Act which establishes the commission that I referred to gives them the assurance that if they played a role in it that their evidence may not be used against them in any other court of law. That is a tremendous form of security. Furthermore, there are well known procedures to be followed through legal representatives. They can contact the Attorney General, they can discuss it there and make an arrangement. We have a well established pattern to deal with that side of the problem. As far as indemnity in the sense of the word, in terms of the Indemnity Act of 1990 is concerned, there are also procedures which can be followed and if they qualify, if the crime of which they are afraid that they might be prosecuted constitutes a political crime and if it falls within the guidelines, they will get indemnity.

FDK     Lastly, if they are afraid for their lives we've also amended certain legislation and quite soon we will be in a position with the powers which we have taken. I think the law has been passed, I'm not sure whether it might be before a committee of parliament, I'm not sure about that, but we have taken steps to take more powers which will enable us to protect the life of any witness in any case, not just politically related cases, where the witness has reason to believe that his or her life might be in danger. So we will be helpful.

FDK     Is there one further urgent question? Let's take two.

Q     (John Carlin): Mr President, I still remain a little bit confused as to your position regarding the allegations of the security force involvement in the violence. On the one hand you stated very categorically in your speech that you are quite sure that there was no involvement, no instigation, promotion or commission of violence by the police or the defence force. Then immediately you proceed to tell us at great length that you really want to hear from people who will come forward, you wish to have a Commission of Enquiry. You also tell us on the one hand that you will not take action against any officers based on unsubstantiated allegations but then you have removed from their positions General Malan and Mr Vlok on the basis of precisely these allegations. Are you sure there is no state, security force involvement or do you remain unsure?

FDK     If you read each and every pronouncement which I made on this issue in the past year and even the previous year in parliament you will see that I always conceded the possibility that individuals on their own without the knowledge of those in senior positions above them, it's quite possible that an individual member of the force might take initiative, might take such a bad initiative, might become involved against his orders and against the policy. Surely it's not the policy of all the major banks to rob their clients but some of their employees rob their clients from time to time. Therefore, I have never denied that possibility and my assurances of investigation and of prosecution and of firm steps refers to such individuals who might take such bad initiatives but as a policy and as a force there is no question that the government or the SADF or the SA Police have any such a strategy as all the allegations which are constantly bandied about. That is the background and I don't think there is any need for confusion. It's quite a simple equation.

Q     (Mr Stehlig): I just wanted to ask whether you could tell us whether you think the steps you have taken will have any effect on the morale of the security forces?

FDK     I don't expect that it will have an effect on their morale. I firmly believe that the morale of the security forces is high. We maintain regular contact with the senior officers. I, in my capacity as State President, am head of the SADF, it's Supreme Commander. I have a good relationship with the officers in charge there. I regularly discuss this with them. Obviously there are individuals in both forces strongly opposed in their personal capacities to government policy. They support other parties. But we have gone to such an extent, and that has not had a negative effect, to accept change, amended legislation which prohibits, for instance, a policeman from belonging, from becoming a member of any political party, and we have not had a backlash.

Q     (Alistair Sparks, London Observer): Mr President, did you know about the funding of Inkatha and UWUSA before the Weekly Mail report appeared on July 19th and, secondly, were you as State President or as Acting State President aware that your government was secretly funding anti-SWAPO parties during the Namibian election campaign in violation of the New York Agreement that the government had signed on July 20th 1988 which set out the principles for a peaceful settlement in Namibia that included a pledge of non-interference and to ensure that free and fair elections were held?

FDK     That was quite a speech. Mr Sparks, can I firstly say as the ministers involved have stated publicly and as I believe the Minister of Finance, I don't know whether you attended his pre-press conference short meeting, has stated publicly, I was not aware until it was disclosed and the procedures prevalent did not require me to know.

FDK     With regard to Namibia it was not part of my line function but, yes, I was aware as a senior member of Cabinet that moneys were expended there to assist parties to participate in the election as SWAPO has been assisted financially and royally from across this world. Apparently in international ethics there is nothing wrong with governments if they support the principles of a party and they think it's in the best interests of their own country to financially support parties outside their borders and we have a marvellous case in point in SA, namely the African National Congress. I have figures which are not secret which say that from one country alone in Europe since the sixties the ANC have received in the vicinity of R270 million. Ask them to disclose who paid for their conference in July? From whom did they receive donations and from which country? But I checked further, I checked on what the American government does when it comes to support of movements in other countries. Just read the history of Nicaragua and you'll find some interesting reading matter. I know of cases of countries which support countries closely allied to each other, support trade union movements in another country within Europe. So there's nothing new about this. And SA also has the right if it is in the best interests of SA to support movements adhering to democratic principles. We wanted a successful democratic election to take place and we assisted towards that and I don't think that there's anything wrong with that in principle.

Q     (Final question, Dr Roland Ebers from Switzerland): Mr President, I would like to know with reference to the previous Info scandal whether you made use of any Swiss bank?

FDK     When was the Info scandal again? The exact year?

RE     1979.

FDK     In 1979. I had just become a Minister then. I was never involved with the Info scandal. I don't have any detailed information about it so I can't give you any direct reply to that.

FDK     Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for your attendance and for your patience in listening to me. May I just remind you that if any one of you are interested a document will now be made available, it's a fairly intricate document I believe, I haven't studied it myself, by the Minister of Finance and he is available for any further briefing which you need on the technicalities of secret funding.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.