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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Karl Edwards: [NIS] "Personality, Appearance and Political Outlook"


From personal discussions with MAC MAHARAJ it was evident that he is a supreme egotist, but at the same time an extremely dangerous and ruthless opponent. Some quotes show the man's attitude:

In discussion with his nephew VEERAN MAHARAJ on Robben Island on 1/1/1974 he stated:

"I know what happens or what is going to happen to me when I get out. I know that I may come back to jail from time to time and I am not going to change that."

In an interview with British Radio on 8/8/1977 he stated:

"I have come to recognize the necessity of overthrowing the S.A. system as a whole. I believe it is impossible to make it acceptable and humanize it. I believe it has to be overthrown in its totality. I have come to realize tht it can only be overthrown by force."

From old photographs of MAHARAJ it is evident that he has changed his appearance entirely. His hair style is short and pushed arrogantly to the side, and he wears a "pirate's eyepatch" over his blind eye. His dress is casual and his whole appearance is designed to give one the impression of a dashing revolutionary. This appearance, linked with an arrogant and egotistical personality completes the picture. There is no doubt that his new look is effective. He is a tireless worker and obviously has a large following who idolize him wherever he puts in an appearance. He conjures up amongst his following the true image of the indestructible and all-powerful revolutionary. (Should the ANC/CP ever lose MAHARAJ, it would be an extremely harsh practical and psychological blow to them.)



They are from Newcastle. The parents of Mac appear to be separated and Mac may have stepbrothers and stepsisters (clarity is required on this).

From the correspondence Mac makes mention of his sisters.

Other relations which appear in the correspondence are:


From the files, it is apparent that this family consists of:

OMPRAGASH "TIM" NAIDOO : Former (1980) wife of Mac Maharaj. Now living in London and re-married. (Not know to whom.) Left the RSA on a one way exit permit on 6.5.1975. In this corfrespondence there is reference to "M.J.", a child and her two sons George and Joey. Clarification is needed on whether Mac and Tim had children and what their names are and where they are now.

From correspondence by Merle Barsel (January 1980) it is evident that Tim is still active in political circles in Britain. We should attempt to establish which circles, as this would give some insight into the role these people are playing in relation to recruiting people (mainly relations) from the RSA into the ANC. In the case of Merle Barsel it is known that she resisted recruitment to the ANC, was ostracized, and suffered a nervous breakdown. Therefore, all visitors to Tim and company are of interest, as they are potential ANC recruits, informants or couriers.

M.D. NAIDOO : Formerly married to Phyllis Naidoo (nee David) and had three children: Sha, Sadhan and Sukthi.

M.J. NAIDOO : Prominent in the N.I.C. Has a wife Sakunthala. Despite being such a prominent figure, nothing is known of his family life – are there children, and if so, who and where are they.

M.P. "GEORGE" NAIDOO : He is involved, but there are no details of personal family life etc.

OTHER FAMILY : In a letter from Tim to Mac there is reference to Tim's sisters, Janey, Jacky and Joey. In a letter to the Mavjee's from Mac, there is reference to seeing "Tim's" eldest sister in London.

COMMENT : For such a highly political family, very little if available from the files which tells us anything about them. The full complement of the family is not known, and for the purposes of analyzing ANC/CP activities it is imperative to establish the family ties, because these are essential to an understanding and an analysis of the political potential and activities of the ANC.

References in the letters demonstrate that there may be children of the various brothers.


Amah, Prima, Murthie, Shanti, Ramnie and others are mentioned in the Maharaj letters, and special attention has been given to these people in the Prima Naidoo memorandum. It is significant that Prima's brother Indress is Mac Maharaj's right hand man in the IRDD (since 1977).

Secondly, there is constant referral to Ramani Dinat @ Rammie, Rumnie, Ramnie. This woman is still politically involved during 1980, and her activities in London could well be linked with ANC recruitment as outlined in the section on ANC/CP recruitment. Being the sister of Prima and Indress, she probably hosts their overseas visitors. Anybody visiting her must be regarded as a suspect, and a careful analysis of letters to her address at 50 Walmington Fold, Woodside Park, London, should be undertaken.

By way of comment, a check should be made to see if Issy Dinat (and even Ramni) is entering the RSA on a British passport (on ANC missions?). We know from ANC sources that politically unknown or little known figures from overseas do enter the RSA on clandestine ANC missions.


There is a six page memorandum from the Police on Issy Dinat, which states amongst others that:



Issy Dinat is a committed SACP man who was set up in business at 50 Walmington Fold by the SACP with the help of Rica Hodgson in 1973. Since this time he has also become a ships owner, possibly also on behalf of the SACP.

The attempt to visit the RSA must be seen as an SACP operation, because of the unusual circumstances surrounding this event (see file).

OPne must conclude that Issy and his wife Ramani Dinat are still active, and are at the very centre of SACP activities being operated out of London. One may well conclude that the SACP has developed some considerable financial assets if Dinat's business activities are anything to go by.


Maharaj has had close contact with the Pahad's prior to his imprisonment. This relationship persists through to the present day. Background on the Pahad's is essential to an understanding of the ANC/CP.

The father of Aziz, Nassiem, Zunaid, Essop and Ismail is Gulam Hoosen Pahad. He was married to Amine, but has recently taken a new wife, Zubraida whom he was planning to bring to the RSA from India during April 1980.

Gulam Pahad settled in Britain in the 60's, and from 1965 was known to be an intimate of Yusuf Dadoo of the SACP, who visited the Pahad household on Saturdays and Sundays to meet people sharing their C.P. views and activities. The sons are involved as follows:

Aziz Pahad : SACP. Employed by the ANC in London, and plays a major role in ANC/CP recruitment for internal and external operations.

Essop Pahad : SACP. He is a Doctor of politics, and edits the World Marxist Review, which is the academic mouthpiece of the Communist Party. Active in briefing and recruiting South Africans along ANC/CP lines, for internal operations.

Zunaid Pahad : Politically active in the Indian communities around Johannesburg. Has contact with his brothers in Britain.

Nassiem Pahad : As above – in addition he assisted in the formation of the Solidarity Front, and meets with Joyce Harris of the Black Sash.

Ismail Pahad : Activities and residence unknown. Has a wife and two children.

During the interrogation of Mohammed Timol and others in 1971 it was alleged that G.H. Pahad, (who was then the on central committee of the SACP), and Essop, Aziz and Ismail Pahad all had a hand in the Timol network. Timol was communicating his progress to the Pahad's by means of secret writing. It is significant that the Pahad's have been involved for at least the last 10 years in running ANC/CP networks out of London.


Laloo Chiba was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment on Robben Island for sabotage, and was a member of the S.A. Indian Congress.

He has a wife Luxmi Chiba, born 03/05/1935 in India. They have three daughters, Kaylash, Gita and Yasvanti. Luxmi Chiba corresponded with Maharaj during his stay on Robben Island. On 28/09/76 she was issued with a travel document, and after this date her file is empty. (Presumably husband and wife have broken up.)

Laloo Chiba has a number of relations, who are apparently known to Mac Maharaj. These include:

COMMENT : A large amount of undigested material from the Prison's Department is available on Chiba's file.




Theresa Nannan is a card carrying member of the British Communist Party (C.P.G.B.). She is on the staff of the Communist Newspaper the "Morning Star". (1978)

(She gives her home telephone number in the RSA as 852-3086 Johannesburg.) This is the address of her brother S. Singh and her sister of 4103 Poppy Street, Extension 3, Lenasia. S. Singh employed at Stewart and Lloyds, 36 Simmonds Street South, Park Central, Johannesburg (May 1978).

During 1972 Billy was on the Sechaba committee, and on the ANC Youth Committee. In late 1974 Billy and Theresa went to Moscow for some kind of training.

During February 1978 Billy Nannan was a representative of ICSA (International Committee Against Apartheid, Racism and Colonialism in Southern Africa). In early 1980 he was replaced by M.D. Naidoo and is now (January 1980) in Lusaka.



Paul Joseph is listed communist 642. This exiled couple were in contact with Mac Maharaj, Billy Nair, Laloo Chiba, Raymond Mhlaba, Nelson Mandela and Mike Mkwayi on Robben Island, sending letters from Britain.

In Britain he was acquainted with many of Maharaj's friends:

Daso Joseph (his brother)

Ramnie Naidoo (now Dinat)

Billy Nannan

Jean Nannan

Steve Naidoo



Mr D. Joseph was a member of the AAM no. 8317 (Oct. 1972) RESIDING AT 82 Challice Way, Upper Tulse Hill, London S.W.2 3 R D

On 20.05.1971 he attended an ANC bazaar in Rathbone Street, London, and on 4.11.1971 an ANC meeting at St Pancras Library, London.

This person appears to be the brother of Paul Joseph. From the correspondence he has a wife Sally and two teenage children (1980) Vanitha (female) and Vijan (male). He is a teacher.

There is no additional information on this man in our files once again he and his family should be checked in terms of entering the RSA.


Herby is mentioned in terms of the London correspondence. He was involved with public meetings of the ANC in London during 1971 (Youth and Student Section).

At the same time he was named by Mohammed Timol and others in 1971 as part of the external network assisting the growth of internal ANC/CP cells within the RSA. In this capacity he was linked with the Pahads in London and several others controlling this network (Thabo Mbeki, Albie Sachs, Anne Nicholson, Solly Jacqueson etc).

In 1973 Pillay was in Geneva, where he was allowed to address the World Peace Council by Roman Chandra.

From 1973 – 1980 he has been the ANC representative at A.A.M. meetings in London.

In 1976, had contact with Chris Childs of the A.A.M. and British C.P.

In 1980 Herby Pillay is an ANC representative of the External Mission of the ANC. (Presumably he is also a member of the SACP.)


From the correspondence Maharaj was intimately acquainted with the entire Fischer family, and was of course in a communist cell with Bram Fischer. Maharaj therefore knows Ilse Wilson and Ruth Eastwood, the daughters of Bram Fischer who are still resident in the RSA. During this time he also sent regards to Anna Fischer, wife of Bram both of whom are now deceased.


He was on Robben Island at the same time as Mac Maharaj, and wrote to Maharaj's wife Ompragash (alias Tim).

Vandeyar was sentenced along with Indres Naidoo and Shirish Nanabhai from 12/5/1963 until 12/5/1973 for the sabotage of a railway toolshed on the Reef. After release he was placed under a five year banning order. (Both Naidoo and Nanabhai are presently involved with IRDD.)

During 1974 he was receiving money from overseas for support – from Defence and Aid, an organization controlled by the SACP.

On 12/7/1978 he was banned according to the Internal Security Act. After this date his file is empty.

In personal discussion with Capt. Williamson (Feb. 1980) he reports that there is a "Reggie" working in the ANC London offices.


Charlie is identical to Adbulhay Jassat, a trained terrorist in exile in London.

Abdulhay Jassat escaped from Marshalltown Police Cells on the 11th August 1963 together with Moosa Moola (in 1980 the ANC representative in Cairo) and the two Rivonia accused Goldreich and Wolpe.

His sister is Isa Jassat Pahad, who is married to Nasiem Pahad in Johannesburg.

Both Charlie and Harlene have been active in the ANC in London, and are well connected with theANC/CP.


This man is an intimate of Paul Joseph, and visited Joseph at the address of 30 Vineyard Avenue, Mill Hill East in London in March 1971. From this visit it was found that he ran a shop in the name of Savery Ragan Naidoo, 25 Wimbledon Arcade, London S.W.19. From here, his home address appears as 3/9 Church Street, London S.W.19.

On 05/07/1977 the link between Paul Joseph, Mac Maharaj and Phyllis Naidoo becomes evident, because she writes to Steve "Nandha" Naidoo at the Paul Joseph address (above) and states: "Mac (Maharaj) let me have your children's photos (Praven and Maya)".



Such families as Paul ad Daso Joseph, Billy and Theresa Nanna, Ramnie Dinat (nee Naidoo), Shanti Naidoo,Indress and Saeeda Naidoo, Essop and Aziz Pahad and numerous others form an informal network through which visiting South Africans are housed, screened and selected for recruitment for various ANC/CP activities (especially the youngsters). Mac Maharaj himself was selected and sent for sabotage training in East Germany as early as 1958, due to his contact with the SACP in London.

RECOMMENDATION : Intercepted letters to these overseas families should be carefully processed (even for secret writing).


Throughout the Maharaj correspondence there is amply evidence of broad family ties, even amongst the Indians in jail together. A large number of names have come to light, many of which are untraceable as yet. The Department's files do not provide enough data to trace the backgrounds and relations of most of these suspects.

In addition the addresses of relations inside the RSA and overseas must be established.


On the regional level attention should be paid to family links, as these are important in the modus operandi of the IRDD people.


A suggestion with regard to the Robben Island mail is that the Security personnel should actively undertake to identify all people mentioned in the letters received and sent by key politicals. This identification list should then be attached to each letter and sent on to the N.I.S. and S.P. in this decoded form. Researchers, evaluators and operational staff will then be able to understand much of the contents of the correspondence and gain valuable information from it.

Similarly, there should be interaction between the N.I.S. and S.P., and the security personnel of the Prisons Department in identifying and interpreting prisoners' correspondence.

In this manner a picture of the interaction between the prisoners and their external contacts can be built up. This information will give insight into the exact influence of Robben Island prisoners on the political events taking place within the RSA and should also act as an early warning system for possible escape attempts and new operations planned from the Island. In addition it will give indications of each prisoner's circle of family, friends and acquaintances (which must be limited in size) who constitute the raw material for renewed political activity once the prisoner is released.

The Maharaj study certainly demonstrates the value of this type of analysis, and proves that his contacts maintained on and from Robben Island constituted the basis for his present activities in the ANC/CP.

Furthermore, such an analysis of family and friends, of known politicals, gives the N.I.S. and S.P. an indication of where to look for the genuine low profile and underground operators of the ANC/CP (in particular). It gives a demographic insight into those contacts that could be linked with present day internal political activities, and our targets emerge more clearly.


From the correspondence it is evident that the prisoner and his potential visitor have a long period of waiting prior to each visit. This period can thus be used to prepare methods of communication. For this reason prisoner and visitor should be subjected to a thorough search just after this meeting.


From communication with Mac Maharaj of the IRDD with Dora Tamana (listed communist) who is a key figure in the reception and accommodation of the families of political prisoners visiting Robben Island. This fact raises an important question as to her actual role, and it is suggested that she is a key figure in a clandestine communication system between Robben Island and the outside world – possibly in the planning of escapes which Mac Maharaj would be bold enough to attempt.

It is therefore suggested that special attention be paid to those visitors who visit Robben Island from Dora Tamana's residence. These people should be closely searched on the Island. (Attention should also be paid to Tamana by the Security Police.)


In the interests of better co-operation and national security the National Intelligence Service should offer courses for the members of the security service within the Prisons Department. These people should be thoroughly briefed on the aims and objective of the major political organizations in South Africa, especially with regard to the ANC. They should be given an insight into the present activities, functions and plans of the ANC both internally and externally. This information and training can only help to improve co-operation between the N.I.S. and Prisons Department and also provide them with additional expertise for the carrying out of their important task.


The security services of the Prisons Department should do an analysis on the effectiveness of keeping political prisoners under one roof. It is quite clear from this investigation that prisoners leaving Robben Island are more politically motivated once they have left the Island as a direct result of their prison sentence, and the fact that they form a political community where various plans are discussed, and then later applied after the release from prison.


His recent political history is discussed under the Internal Reconstruction and Development Department.


1.     During the above period he has visited London for secret meetings (e.g. during Operation Daisy) as well as Geneva to see Dr. S Bhengu in the company of Thomas Nkobi. Capt. Williamson reports regular secret visits to London.

2.     Known dates of visits to Lusaka, Zambia.

2.1     Winston Knondo, saw him in Lusaka during August 1978.

2.2     On 30/05/1979 Neville Robin reported that a few weeks earlier he had been on the same plane as Mac Maharaj, Joe Slovo, Ruth First, Ray Simons and three black youths, from Lusaka to Maputo.

3.     Known dates of visit to Maputo/Mozambique.

3.1     November 1978 was observed on Mondlane campus, Maputo.

3.2     Entered Swaziland from Mozambique on 18/05/1979 through Lomahasha.

3.3     On 14/02/1980 he was observed with Stephanie Kemp in Maputo.

4.     Known dates of visit to Maseru:

4.1     November 1979 with Isiah Motapanyane in Maseru. They brought ANC literature for distribution into the RSA – they were in separate packages for delivery to individuals.

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.