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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Slovo response to Nyanda Vula report
25 October 1989
coming in 6 parts. This = 1st:
1. From Kay to Carl
1. Further to your thoughtful remarks on the C.D.F. & Natal Peace process, we inform you as follows:
Both issues will be considered at a plenary session of the NEC which has been called for next week to consider the new developments in the whole situation. Towards the end of next week, we are expecting a delegation from the M.D.M., when these issues will be further discussed. We will keep you informed of the outcome.
1.1 In passing, the PB wishes to say that we've the impression that Jay Naidoo (COSATU) has come a long way politically in the last year and that we cannot characterize him simply as an "opportunist". He's a complex (and extremely important) figure, who has to be brought closer. We're encouraged by his recent public remarks on the role of the SACP. We were also informed by Marsha and Theo that he (Jay) responded positively to their initiative.
2. We fully understand some of the frustrations and even bitterness you express about the project. We don't in any way want to inhibit your critical reflections which undoubtedly helps to keep us on our toes and to examine our style of work. But we wish to emphasize some of the objective complexities of the project and the problems which have dogged us, especially in the first phase. The manner in which we were ordered to proceed placed enormous limitations and more especially on our capacity to provide timeously the all-round human resources which the project certainly merits.
3. We should remind ourselves of some of the key realities which have a bearing on this issue.
3.1 For reasons of which you are aware, knowledge of the project was restricted to a handful of cadres. This brought with it the following (sometimes unavoidable) obstacles:
(a). The two people in charge at the top has enormous all-round national responsibilities. The allocation of personnel and resources could only be effected through the intervention of the President who, apart from other burdens, was often away.
Done one; new is two.
(b). The process of 'negotiating' for a cadre was a complex one. It involved a certain amount of resistance from their old structures and a period of phasing out. The whole process was made even more complex by the fact that the structures could not, for obvious reasons, be told the true reason why they were being deprived of key comrades. An "order" that they were required for the President's project would automatically destroy the legend.
(c). The actual day to day implementation has been in the hands of a small group under Pete. In addition to a multitude of other tasks, Pete's had to spend a considerable part of his time traveling to the forward areas. The search for foreign auxiliaries to assist us has also involved traveling. Moreover, we've not succeeded yet in finding suitable cadres to augment Pete. Ron, as you know, is restricted from directly handling internal work.
(d). For security reasons, the President decided to make no reports to the NEC on the progress of the project. It was only six weeks ago that it was judged timeous to make such a report in general terms. This unavoidable delay infected the responses of key individuals to our needs. At the NEC meeting, Kay made the point that the process of getting help was like drawing teeth. We're hopeful that this aspect will now improve. But, as you know, narrow competitiveness in the politics of exile structures, doesn't lose its tenacity overnight.
(e). Even when we've managed to obtain the transfers of the suitable cadres, the process of preparing them takes time because of need for thoroughness and security.
(f). In addition, simultaneously with the Vula mission, we've also been attempting to locate cadres in the W Cape. Two trained cadres are already based there. We have, however, decided that this mission will in future all fall under Vula.
4. Some of the above helps explain the slow pace of implementation. It would not be fair to attribute our failures to willful neglect as the overriding cause; if this were so you'd be justified in feeling bitter. Leaving aside generalities, let's look at our practical experiences.
Two thru; three to be.
Now 3 of 6
4.1 We planned initially to get Theo in within 6 months. In fact it took close to 2 years for reasons which can be described as "technical". You'll recall too the delayed process of your own preparation and infiltration. Let us not proceed to the present.
4.2 JABU: You're aware that at the time, you and Theo were proceeding to Lobby. Jabu was in Govan. After the attack on him, he was jailed. He only returned to HQ in January 1989. He was undergoing treatment at UTH. That was not satisfactory. Thereafter we sent him to Sydney for medical treatment. We then sent him to Lucy for disguises and a further medical check. This trip had to be delayed to suit the availability of Lucy and her team. He has recently returned to HQ. He prefers to enter via the Green border. For personal reasons, he can only leave HQ in mid-Nov. We think that would bring the crossing dates too close to the dangerous period. Therefore we see his infiltration as follows:
i.. Date of arrival in Govan + 8/1/90
ii.. The team arrives in Govan + 1/1/90
iii.. Team has face to face meeting with your person to ensure that everything works smoothly – approx 13/14 Jan 1990.
Reconnaisance undertaken in Sept indicates same pattern continues: soldiers leave the fence for +3 days at end of each month. However, crossing can take place even when soldiers are on patrol.
4.3 CHARLES: He was only cleared by Nat in +June 1989. Only last week did we succeed in getting a reluctant PMC to assign him to us. We propose the following: We skip the Lucy stage. We infiltrate Charles a week or so after Jabu using the same forward area.
4.4 JANE: We're awaiting a travel document for her. She's ready to leave at any moment.
4.5 LJ: has been allocated to the President's project. He's earmarked for the W Cape and will be there in Jan 1990. Theo has agreed that we proceed with the arrangement for the present.
4.6 The Flea: Your request for him has at last been OK'd. It was complicated by the fact that at the time of your request, he'd just been appointed to head the IPC underground. He's set to join you by Feb 1990.
Three free; 4 in store.
4.7 We've also reached the 1st stage of obtaining the other senior member you recommended. The President, before his illness, had agreed. What remains, is to concretize his release, legend, and preparation for entry. Theo has already begun decisions with both 4.6 and 4.7.
4.8 Theo should be with you in early Dec 1989.
4.9 You can also expect at least three persons (internationalists) to help in your support network. They'll be in place by early next year.
5. We've set out the above without intending to inhibit your criticisms. We're conscious that we have to meet your needs with the efficiency and urgency they demand. Your achievements are immense and we hope to measure up to them.