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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

16 Sep 2004: Maharaj, Mac

MM     So when he asks the question what am I doing and I said I am on my way and he waved with the hand to indicate, "Are you saying you're going home?" So I said, "Yes." He said, "Very good, proceed." Now that was just before he was moved to Stockholm because you will realise that thereafter while I'm in Moscow is when, I think, JS and them and OR and Walter and them are on their way to Stockholm to see OR. That is when the news comes through a few days later Madiba is released.

POM     That's right, or a few days earlier – you were there when De Klerk unbanned the organisations.

MM     Yes. That's for sure.

POM     OK, that all makes sense now. You know it's interesting because I came across a memo in other stuff I pulled together, an NEC memo, and it was all about Adelaide's behaviour in London, that she had taken over OR, wouldn't allow people to see him and then she was raising money. She was hitting up people!

MM     Paragraph one is fine. Paragraph two, line three which ends 'a student flat with a kitchenette and a bathroom', now the rest I've deleted up to where it says, 'so you can't move, etc., etc.'I've deleted right to the end where you say, 'What does the short visit refer to?' Right?

POM     OK.

MM     What I've inserted thereafter is simply to say eventually Zarina found a larger flat outside campus and closer to the children's school. We moved our belongings from Lusaka to Brighton before I returned to SA.

POM     Now that's the house in Gordon Street?

MM     That's right, because the central problem that was arising there –

POM     Where would you send the stuff?

MM     What was happening, and our dating became a problem because I couldn't recall when exactly I meet and what did I do. So you were asking could you make this clearer, I don't get the point and what does this mean? So I just cut all that and in any case it did not add anything to the flavour. So that's how I changed that.

     Then the next one, the next paragraph, I have just inserted at the beginning, "During my visits to Lusaka I meet Ivan and JS, hear how they were evaluating developments", the rest goes on as is. Then in the same paragraph the third last line, the sentence that begins mid-line, 'In the end Ronnie didn't arrive in SA until April.' I say check that date because I'm not so sure when did he arrive. Did he arrive in March or did he arrive in April?

POM     It was either very late March or early April.

MM     Yes I think it's late March but I just put a note to check dates. Then the rest, you ask on the paragraph 'my mind is in South Africa', you ask, "While you were there had Zarina instigated her fight with the County Council or did it happen after you left?" I say there, 'The battle started while I was there and she only won it after I had left.' So that's that one.

     Then the next paragraph you ask, "What does it mean? Any jolt to the memory?" Where I say I have left Gebhuza with the mechanism. Now the jolt to my memory is that I think that the records that we've been pursuing and we have found do show that even while I was out of the country there was some communication with Walter and company after their release.

POM     That's right. They have messages come through that he's got to deliver.

MM     Yes, sure. That is clear. And that is post the meeting with Walter in Lusaka.

POM     I've also found in that batch there's a communication from Mandela, that Mandela sent out that I'm having typed up and inserted some place where he gives instructions about – he kind of is laying down the law as to what should be done. OK?

MM     Yes. That would have been easy but there was nothing – you see Gebhuza could not communicate with Madiba unless something came from outside and the communication was between Madiba and OR. Now unless JS had something to send there would be nothing for them, for Gebhuza to send. On the other hand Madiba does not know I've exited from the country and he would be continuing to communicate and when he sends it through

     Then we come to the heading, 'Getting Ready to go Home'. Second paragraph which talks about the brief that I got. I started it off this way. I say, "Now I get word from Slovo to prepare to go home." My brief, question mark. The underground continues side by side with the overt ANC. My brief is to get in touch with Walter when he arranges for the core to get together and draw a list of names they will recommend for the NEC for inclusion in an expanded leadership. The next sentence I delete, 'This group will then begin the arduous task of rebuilding the ANC. I will work the covert side, Walter will work overt of course.' I delete that.

POM     You delete down as far as?

MM     It says, 'in an expanded leadership', then in the next sentence begins, 'Walter in overall charge'.

POM     'This group will then begin the arduous' … delete it?

MM     Delete that. The next sentence, 'I will work the covert side, Walter will the overt with … 'Say, 'Walter in overall charge and I would be in charge of the underground. That's it.

POM     OK.

MM     Now the next. Zarina and my family.When OR had asked me to go back to SA I said I'd have to talk over the matter with Zarina. Now the next sentence is deleted. 'She asked me what the likelihood was that I would come back alive.' That arose when I met her in London. When we discussed it the first time and she insisted that I give her an estimate I told her about the 5%, she thought about it, about the two children, Milou who was six and Joey was three. Delete all that. OK? What I'm saying is that the first time it continued she knew about the risk.

POM     She knew about the risk when?

MM     In general, when I was going in. She agreed. But with time and experience the issue that arose was relating the emotional problems with the rational … That was the problem and that is when she confronted me in London when she said, "What were the chances that you were going to come out alive?"

POM     This was in London when you - ?

MM     When we reunited, when she was now undergoing treatment.

POM     OK.

MM     There was a likelihood that I would come back alive. She insisted I give her an estimate. I told her about 5%. She thought about it, about our two children, Milou who was six and Joey who was three. Up to there delete.

POM     That goes when you discussed the matter when you got back to London.

MM     Paragraph two starting, 'Govan was seen as a point of reference.' Fine. Three, 'He had a reputation', fine. Or 'he say himself as head', fine. 'He set up his own line of communication', fine, except line three, the line that says, 'The moment and yesterday I believe I saw Zizi's courier', the name is not Canon but Reverend.

     Next paragraph, 'Xundu was controversial', fine. Next one, 'I sent a person, Dumisane', you know that that is now Diliza Mji?

POM     Yes, that's why I've changed his name to Dumisane.

MM     Next paragraph, 'Dumisane had discussed', fine. Next paragraph, 'On the basis of their discussions OR', fine.Next paragraph, have you got my changes? 'But even after this meeting with Govan and delivering to OR … messages, problems continue.'

POM     I put in there in red, 'OR gently tells Govan to confine his activities to PE and the Border area, that he, OR, would personally oversee'.

MM     Fine. Next paragraph. You've made additions. That's fine.

POM     Yes. All we need is to do the red because we've gone through the rest.

MM     Meeting with Govan, 'OR is not very keen', fine. 'All the way', fine.

POM     We're down to the streets now.

MM     The paragraph after the one that begins, 'But I will behave with Govan when I meet him as if I don't know he knew'. After that comes a paragraph which says, 'First I sent'. I add there, because now it fell into place when I contacted Maud. 'First I sent Maud and her partner Yusuf Mohammed.'

POM     Maud is who?

MM     Yusuf Mahommed is her partner.

POM     Oh yes.

MM     She's a pharmacist, she comes from PE, that's her home town.So I say, 'First I sent Maud and her partner Yusuf Mahommed and later either Claudia or Selina or Moe's wife Soraya.' That's the addition there, Maud and her partner Yusuf Mohammed later.Then the next paragraph, 'I started from the premise that Govan was surrounded – put there by enemy informers. My problem is how to communicate with him without such persons becoming aware.' That makes it very clear, right?'Maud and Yusuf found a one way street parallel to the main street.' Got it? Full stop. 'It is in this side street that we prepared to have Govan disembark from the car in which he was travelling, comma.'

POM     OK, I'm recording it Mac so I will be able to play it back.

MM     'Walk around the corner and board a car that we had ready at this point to pick him up. In order to break surveillance and ensure that anyone following Govan would lose track of him we prepared a car to enter the one way street ahead of Govan's car and another to slip in immediately behind the car transporting Govan. In this way we would prevent anybody follow through by possible state surveillance teams.' And I delete whatever you had in your section right to the bottom.

POM     Got it.

MM     So the next paragraph, 'So that was the primary point of the switch.' And then I insert, 'Here was a woman from Durban.' And you say, who's this? Mo Shaik's former wife, Soraya. She picked up Govan here and took him to a hotel parking lot and dropped him at the hotel and I insert there, "Maud and Yusuf recall that it was the Hotel Elizabeth which has since closed down.' So I answer your question. The hotel was a minimum six, seven storeys, I delete the statement, 'probably a Sun hotel in those days', and carry on to the end of that paragraph.

     Then the next paragraph I say, 'In the meantime', not I, I put 'we had a car observing here; is he being followed?' Observing whether he's being followed. Then, 'Once the car stopped here the person came up here and said, "Please Oom Gov, come with me." That was so that Govan's driver would not know which car he went into.

POM     He wouldn't know which car he went into? OK.

MM     Yes, he wouldn't even know the number. I was saying I can't dictate to Govan who must be his driver so I can't be sure whether the driver is not an informer. So the way to do it is jamming that side street, get him out of the car while his driver is still in the car, walk him around the corner, put him into another car, drive off and the others would only unblock that one way street having allowed us enough time to get away.

     Then the next paragraph, I introduce it by saying that the plan worked like a gem and Govan and I met for about five hours. You ask in that same paragraph about Idutywa. I say this is a little town in the Transkei where Piney was running a shop.

POM     Is that the right spelling?

MM     I-D-U-T-Y-W-A. Then in that paragraph after Idutywa, I say, 'Then we get down to business', and I say, 'Right, here am I. OR has sent me, we're trying to push the struggle.' Delete the 'I', say, 'We would like to see PE well organised', etc., etc. Everything else is fine, everything you ask is fine. Then we come to Govan. I think that those are additions that were made earlier so that doesn't worry me.

     Now we come to Mayibuye. I really didn't have time to work on it, I wanted to think carefully because I think Rusty Bernstein posed the real criticisms of Operation Mayibuye.

POM     He did, yes.

MM     So I would have preferred to find time to look at that and summarise from there but what I've done is to simply say, 'Mayibuye was drafted after Mandela was arrested.' No, I think we'll have to look at that paragraph, Padraig, via Bernstein because that was – it's an important thing that people must not hear a criticism that is easily dismissable.

POM     I agree, on something so fundamental.

MM     Relying on memory there could be dangerous.

POM     I'll mark it in the text that this will have to be – when I mark up the text I will say this has to be clarified. What I want them to get, Mac, now is to have everything in front of them so they have the whole picture of how comprehensive this is because at that point, and that is why whether you like it or not, how Zarina or somebody, you have to read the first part on what you said because I don't want to make the decisions on my own as to what parts of your voice should be cut. For example, ones I have in mind to cut already are, you haven't read them, but are – we can drastically cut down on Robben Island because everybody has written about Robben Island and everybody has said what the diet was and everybody has said all those things. That can be encapsulated so we would save a lot of room there and there are a couple of other chapters. The meeting with Craig Williamson, I wrote back to him, e-mailed him, but he never responded. But it's a nice story that whole thing but it doesn't go anywhere. Do you know what I mean? In other words it's a nice story, it's a lovely story, I love the story because it flows as a kind of a real this and then that, but in terms of the whole flow of the text it doesn't go anywhere. He disappears from the narrative after that. He pops in and then he's gone. It's like a character in a movie, you see it in a movie with the character and then the character disappears and you never hear of them again and you say afterwards, "I wonder what happened to that character?" These are just things that are going through my mind on when they will come back to me and say, OK, Jesus! This is massive, you've got to start cutting. Where are we going to start and where do we put our priorities? We have to start thinking that way even now so as soon as I get this to them and they will now send me back the first part but then they will read the entire thing and say, OK, let's have an indaba.

MM     That is the point at which after you've sent this all you need to send me everything that has gone to them.

POM     That's right.

MM     So that I can now begin to say right, now, even before they raise the question, what's the flow, what needs to be cut, is there something that we've left out? OK pal.

POM     You have the first part, I gave it to you. It's packed some place. Now the other two bits, OK, tonight, please, maybe.

MM     I'll try.

POM     OK Mac. Bye bye.

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.