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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Matshakiza, Sizwe

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Conducted by Howard Barrell,

Johannesburg, December 17 1990

Sorry, something has gone wrong. Can we start from the beginning again? Can we start with your surname? Can you give me the spelling of your surname again?

My name is Sizwe M-A-T-S-H-I-K-I-Z-A. I was born in Orlando East. My first contacts with the African National Congress was around 1974, but one is not very clear that it was directly with the ANC at that time. The one comrade who I was called together with, he was involved in SASM. We started, I remember, around that year, 1974, we distributed leaflets from court: Charge or Release Detainees. We met not very frequently. But, in 1975, I think we started sort of belonging to what we could call a cell, you know. We used to listen to Radio Freedom. We used to get some literature to try and read and analyse, though this was not well-organised or functioning smoothly. And I think it was around about the same year that we were given a task through this contact of ours to try to reconnoitre a military truck that used to transport explosives. I think it used to pass near Baragwanath Hospital at about 12 o'clock, 12,30 thereabouts...

During the day or...?

Ja, every day, I believe. I can't remember the details. But I think every day. It used to transport explosives, we understood, from one of the explosives firms near Eraton [spelling???]. Now, what we were supposed to do was to check how many people are on the passenger seat and how many are outside, whether the windows are opened or windows are closed; whether the fellow outside is actually armed or not armed. That was about 1975. And I think the same year - no, in 1976 now - we were also supposed to sort of reconnoitre police stations, send out information as to where one police station is, the general security around the police station, although one cannot actually clearly explain what is it that we wanted to find out at that time. Oh, I remember, there was another military base, again, near Baragwanath. We once went there, I remember clearly...

Would that be Lens?

I don't know whether it's Lens. But I think it's Lens. I can give the direction. After passing the St Johns Hospital - you go past St Johns, Baragwanath and Santa, just after going past Santa, I think it's on the right hand side there as you go up towards town. We were supposed to go there to pretend that we are seeking temporary jobs at that time. That one didn't really work out; it fizzled out. We were not clearly working thoroughly or producing quite good results. One was not even sure whether all this information really does go through to the ANC. But that was the kind of work that we were doing.

Can I interrupt you here?

Ja.

Do you feel able to name the comrade in SASM that you were in touch with?

Ja, he is outside the country now. I do not know how safe would it be. But I think in as far as the enemy is concerned, when I was detained, it was known that I was in touch with him.

So, could you please tell me who he is?

His name is Zweli Sizane.

Zweli S-I-Z-A-N-E.

Ja, Zweli Sizane.

OK. You had been reconnoitring those places.

I was saying we were not sure whether this information was actually going through to the ANC or not. Now, in 1976, a lot of things started happening. Even this comrade was actually very, very busy at that time. He was in the leadership of SASM at that time and, I think, when the uprisings started, he was also in the leadership of the SSRC, though he never actually held any known position. But he was generally in the leadership of SSRC then. I think in 1976, he got detained. We lost contact. One was trying to go on with some other group but it was - we were just discussing creating political circles. He re-emerged, that is after detention, late in 1976, and I think it's the same year - no, he left, I think, in 1977 - I am not sure of the dates. Before he left the country, one other thing that we did - it's known, even to the police - at that stage, we were also recruiting comrades to go out for a short course, for a crash course. There are two comrades who left - one actually recruited them, so to say. The first one left whilst Zweli Sizane was inside. He left, I think, and did go through Mozambique - Swaziland and into Mozambique. He received a crash course, I think, of about four weeks or three weeks...

A crash course in what?

I don't have details exactly on what they handled, but definitely they did handle arms - Aks and - he left and he came back. When he came back, Zweli had already left. But then I ....

Left what?

The country. But by then I had direct contacts not with Swaziland, though at that stage one was - over some time, when one had recruited a comrade, one was going to send, post a letter to University, it would be received - it was just coded. One did recruit another comrade shortly after Zweli had left, now the second comrade. The second comrade was actually arrested, I think, late 1976. But, after he had gone out, came back. I don't know whether they had done anything operationally, that is. And the first one left the country I think in early 1978 - no 1977, late 1977 to early 1978. And I do not know what led the police to his tracks but he was forced to leave the country together with other comrades that he was working with. We were a bit careless at that stage. He was not supposed to actually maintain this link with me. But we did maintain that link. One came to know that he was working with a few comrades. Obviously at that time he recruited among the big circle that we moved around - generally students, but I was not a student by then. But generally among students, comrades would belong to SASM, comrades who wanted to be active. Now, I came to know some of the comrades he was working with. Late 1977 and early 1978, that unit also was forced to leave the country.

Can I recap some things now? So that unit is leaving the country. We will come back to that point in a moment. Zweli: do you know who his contact was - you say that, through Zweli, you believed that you had this contact to the ANC - do you know who his contact was?

I think - I don't know the exact name of that comrade. But I think it was Gibson. The first time when I personally went through to Swaziland, I knew the contact to be Gibson.

Can you tell me Gibson who? Is Gibson well known? Do you feel able to tell me who Gibson is?

No, I am not sure who Gibson was. I do know one comrade who I suspect was Gibson, but at that time he was calling himself Thabo. So probably it could be the same Gibson. But, the first time I left, I went through to Swaziland and I stayed at Comrade Stanley Mabizela's house - he was in Swaziland, the principal of Salesian High School at that time. That's who I made contact with. When I arrived, I wanted Gibson, but I was introduced to Thabo...

To Thabo Mbeki?

No, not Thabo Mbeki. But another Thabo who was based in Swaziland at that stage.

I want to come back to that other Thabo. You mentioned that you were using coding writing to this address at the university of Swaziland. What kind of coding was it?

Well, there was a letter. It was a standard letter. It was written. All I had to do was change the dates on that letter. And I was to change dates and time, I think. I can't remember. But all I had to do was to actually indicate the date on which the person would be arriving. And I think - no, there was a standard time, a fixed time and a fixed place where the person would try to make contact.

Is this for recruits coming out, or anybody?

For the comrades who were actually going out for this crash course.

Right.

That was one part of it. Again, in 1976, I was employed at Frank and Hirsch. I left work at Frank and Hirsch after June 1976; started working at the Orlando East Post Office as a telephonist around 1977. One can't recall exactly when did one come to be involved in recruiting. I can't remember the exact details. But I can sit down and remember the details. But, after 1977, when Zweli had already left, there was this other task of recruiting comrades to go out for crash courses. And there was this task, now, of recruiting comrades to go out. There was a flood of comrades coming from mostly Port Elizabeth, the Cape area, wanting to make their way to the ANC. I remember, at that stage, one already had contact with Comrade Stanley Mabizela. Now, it became one of our tasks to actually ferry comrades out. Comrades were coming out of the country because of the uprisings. Comrades were wanting to go for military training and for other purposes. That became one of our tasks. And in 1978, when I left the country, I believe, I strongly believe that the leak came through this recruiting. It was not safe to recruit. We were not even professional, and I don't know how long we can survive being professional. At that time, lots and lots of people were going out of the country. And I know in our area, for instance, one would approach a comrade, indicate that if he wants to go out he can actually make his way out, we can arrange that; we would plead that he should not tell anyone about it; but obviously people would tell, you know. So it was a difficult thing. One could not last, or hope to last for very long. Now, in 1978, around March, I can't remember the exact date, but it was in March, I was told to go on leave. And things started not working OK. I received a message from Swaziland. First, let me say that at that time one was having an appointment to go to Swaziland; I had taken my leave to actually go to Swaziland for discussions and, I guess, some kind of brief crash-course training. But then that plan was disrupted by the fact that I received a message that I should immediately come out: things were no longer OK.

You mean, they had indications that you were about to be picked up?

Ja, exactly. When I left the country, I think two or three days thereafter, one picked up from the news that one of the comrades I was working with, Comrade Eric Ngeleza was actually picked up - in fact, I think 10 years on Robben Island.

For what?

I can't remember the exact details of his arrest, but even for recruiting, I'm sure even for recruiting. And I think, you know, he was much older than us and he think he was much more sober than we were. I think he had other circles, or some sort of cell to ferry people from some areas. I don't know their exact names, but I do know that. Comrades who were not working [...] we would get comrades contacts from almost all over the country, people would come wanting to leave and, at that time, we sort of, one was sort of the central point from which people left. Comrades would get money from me, I would know when are they leaving, I would be in a position to even phone - I was working at the Post Office - phone Comrade Stanley, those kind of things.

I'd like to clear up some points. What sort of routes were you using? Were you sending people all through Swaziland, your network?

Ja, all through Swaziland.

And how many people, over this period, from when you first started through until March 1978, when you leave...

Ja, when I left...

How many people would you estimate passed through your hands, directly, the hands of your network?

Ja, you know what I would say is that we used to have two trips a week. We were using a train that left Johannesburg at about 7,30, 7 o'clock to, was it?, Komatipoort - I can't remember - but comrades would get off near Amsterdam. That was a route that we used - I know the route - near Amsterdam. I think the station was called Camden Station. Now, we used to take people out on Tuesdays and on Thursdays - there were these two trips. Obviously I was employed at that time. I was not in a position to be always moving through that route. So there were these comrades, including Comrade Eric Ngeleza and one Comrade, I believe he's the late Oupa, and another one from Port Elizabeth - was it Themba, I think was his name, I can't remember exactly. But they were actually the people who were running this route. And we would say that if we have taken out four people, then it was a bad week at that time. But it used to be in the region, I would say an average of about 10 at that stage.

Ten a week?

Ja. Obviously there were weeks when we wouldn't take people out, but it was quite hectic; it was quite busy at that time. I don't think I am exaggerating by saying an average of about 10 a week, or should we say, if we could say an average of 15 a month - I think one would be safe to say that.

So we are looking at several hundred people?

Ja, I do believe it was quite a large number of comrades who used the routes that we were using, or the routes that we were operating from. Now, I was saying then, in March, I had this appointment to go to Swaziland, but it was disrupted by the fact that apparently police were after me, definitely they were after me. When I left, about two days after I had reached Swaziland, one received, I think through the Press, information that Comrade Eric Ngeleza was arrested. So it became clear that I was actually under serious pressure or enemy attention at that time. I stayed in Swaziland for a couple of weeks. One then left to Swaziland, to Mozambique rather, stayed in Mozambique for about three weeks or so, en route to Angola, stopped over one night in Zambia, then the next day we left for Angola. I stayed, I think, for two days in the city of Luanda itself; then I was transferred to a camp called Funda, Funda camp. I remained in Funda for three months, receiving my training there. After three months there, I then left for GDR. I stayed in GDR another three months, again receiving my training. Coming back from GDR, I did not go to camps. I stayed for a while in a flat used by comrades who were operating Radio Freedom. I think we stayed there for about two weeks or so.

This is in Angola?

In Angola, after training. And it's in Angola, after going to GDR, where Comrade Mac Maharaj told me of my deployment; that I will be deployed in the Internal Reconstruction department. I then went to Lusaka and wrote to Mozambique - in Lusaka and Mozambique, I stayed for close to six weeks. It appeared in my mind that at that time things were not really moving smoothly. One was employed in a particular machinery, but one was not doing anything. The same in Mozambique. One was hassling the comrades that, by the way, I am supposed to be fighting, I'm trained, I do want to go home. After a while, I went to Swaziland. Again, in Swaziland, I stayed for some time in Swaziland. Again, it was worrying because again, it appeared, one is not properly deployed or his training is not actually being utilised at that time. One was trying to come up with work to do. I remember we read in the Press, I read in the Press that time, that there was this community, I think settled in Swaziland, I think they come from somewhere - I'll remember the name of that particular clan. But they were forced to actually flee into Swaziland...

From the north of Zululand...

Ja.

Makatini flats?

Ja.Ja. Now I read in the Press - I can't remember what was happening that time around them - whether there was a question of lack of security. But their story was actually mentioned. Now developed ideas that one can actually start sort of trying to find routes into the country. This is one area where one can reconnoitre, finds routes into the country; one was trying to develop some tasks. As I explained, it actually indicates that one was not properly deployed in the Internal Reconstruction, because that would appear to be actually the work of maybe the military machineries. But then later, one came to work with the comrades - Comrade Nkadimeng and Comrade General, who were based in Swaziland.

Can I interrupt now?

Mmm.

I want to go back to several things. If we can do that, it will make things much easier. I want to your recruiting days. You mentioned that you had money. Where was this money from? Were you getting supplies of money from...?

Ja, from Swaziland.

From Swaziland?

Ja, it would either come through the comrades who were actually going out with the recruits and coming back. Alternatively, we would use a courier - we had a courier who would actually go to Swaziland.

And get money and bring it back?

Ja, and fresh instructions.

Now I would like to go to your training once you had left the country. You go to Angola. You have, what three months basic, really?

Ja, ja.

And then you go on to the GDR and you get another three months?

Ja.

Now, at the time you go to Angola, are you told you are going to be given a particular different kind of training from other people for a specific purpose?

No, no.

You just go in there and do your basic?

Ja, I think maybe, I don't know whether one would call it childish to sort of - one was operating for the ANC and, maybe because of childishness or immaturity, one had this confidence in the ANC. And one was, when I went to Angola, went to one particular camp, Funda, which is not a very large camp - it was sort of a transit camp...

How many people would you say there were there?

About 70 at that time. It's a very, very small camp. One was almost accepting all this without actually even asking questions. When I was taken to GDR, I think this was how we operated. I believe we operated that way: one would be approached, taken aside under this strict conspiracy, or secret kind of word that you would be leaving for GDR in about a week's time; you do not tell other comrades - that's how we used to live. When you leave the camp for other areas, you actually get surprised by a person who actually prepares - you don't even see a comrade preparing. One would know if you were very close to a comrade that he's about to be deployed. But you try to maintain that secrecy.

Now, what was the form of training that you got in the GDR?

We were trained in small arms. That is AK, pistols, explosives, handgrenades - not heavy artillery - MCW.

MCW, you were [trained]?

Especially MCW. The kind of training that you received - there's a joke: one comrade was saying some time that "you can't tell me you are trained when you are trained in flats". I think it's just some jokes that we comrades say. I don't think it's serious. It's as though when you are trained in flats it's - you are not training. Ja, what used to happen is we used to stay in a house in GDR and only go out to the shooting range or to a camp for fixed periods. And you would find in the camps when you go there - I think it's small camps, specially prepared for such kind of training - it would be vacated; we would be the only people there with their instructors. And then, let's say, we were going to do orientation or topography, we would go with the instructors, do the marching at night, using our compasses and so on, come back, perhaps do some shooting, then go back to the flat after that. That was the kind of training that we received. Writing of leaflets, using of roneo machines, leaflet launchers as well.

You mean...?

Ja, leaflet launchers.

Leaflet bombs?

Ja, leaflet bombs.

What, using the broomstick method with a pipe and an explosive charge underneath and a platform...?

Ja, ja. We received training in that. Booby-trained. Obviously, under MCW, survival, how to create legends, how to create DLBs, cover stories.

Now, had you at this instance already taken you MK oath? Did you take an MK oath at some point?

Ja, I did.

Right at the beginning?

No. Long after the training, when I was in Swaziland.

So, before your deployment in fact?

Before my deployment into the country, that is.

Now, at the time that you are undergoing this training, as far as you were concerned, were you being trained as MK?

Definitely, ja.

So, at this stage you had no inclination, inkling whatsoever that you might be deployed in IRD?

No, not at that time.

You see yourself now as being developed into a military cadre?

Ja. I don't know whether I should say this. One was recruiting, a number of comrades to go out for military training and one would never dream of going outside and going for academic education. It was completely out of my mind. Maybe that's yet another point that actually made me take things as they were coming. I was an MK cadre and there is this military rule or law, you know, you operate under military instructions; you have got a military commander and you don't question a lot about your deployment and so on.

OK, if we can go to Swaziland now. You're in Swaziland and you'd spent these weeks, these frustrating weeks waiting in Lusaka, Maputo then Swaziland. You said you were feeling frustrated; you felt that you were not being deployed at all and questions started arising, and you started to make work for yourself. the question I want to ask you is this: Did you get any feeling at this stage that one of the reasons, perhaps, for your not being properly deployed were disputes that were taking place either within IRD between various senior personalities or between the IRD and some of military cadres. Did you get any indication of that?

No, but one would think that, for one reason or another, comrades in Swaziland were not very efficient in terms of deployment. It was as though one was sent into Swaziland without the comrades in Swaziland actually having prepared, knowing exactly where am I going to be deployed, what is it I am supposed to be doing in Swaziland. Now that is the only reason that could come to my mind as to why one was actually sort of vegetating there, staying in safe places or safe house, practically not doing anything.

Now, you told me that, right at the beginning that you were dealing with Mabizela and this Thabo, who is not Mbeki, and then you come across Nkadimeng. Now, who else did you meet as an operational person? Whether you were political or military at that point, you would come under the RC structures in Maputo which were operating under RC structures. What was you impression of the RC? Who were the RC people in Swaziland?

Definitely, comrade John Nkadimeng. I'm not very sure of General - we called him General.

Who is General? I don't know him.

He was popularly known as General. His name is, his surname is Nxumalo. I think his surname is Nxumalo. But the underground life dictates one doesn't want to know a lot about a comrade. But he was General, and I think for a long time he was deployed not in the Internal Reconstruction, but I think he was in the military machineries. But, when I actually came into the country, he was my commander at that stage and, between Comrade Nkadimeng and Comrade General, we actually worked out my coming into the country, preparation of money, preparation of documents, the pass then. And, when I penetrated the country, General actually took me over into South Africa and we developed communications through phones. I would phone him at a particular number. But that one didn't work very, very well.

Can we just go back. I want to explore this. But, when are you sent back? Can we get to the point where you are sent back and what your tasks are?

Oh, ja. When I was sent back, my initial task was to come and create a unit for, a propaganda unit that would do propaganda work, including distribution of leaflets. And comrades who belong to other organised would be in a position to somehow influence the direction of those comrades in those particular organisations. But largely, it was meant by propaganda work.

What was meant by propaganda, apart from leaflets? OK, it was influencing people in the mass organisations, it was leaflets. Was there any other aspect to the kind of propaganda work you were to do?

Well largely - let me say the propaganda work that we did, and which was not far from the briefing that one got, we wrote leaflets. At times, wrote even leaflets on particular issues like the rents, we would come out with a leaflet, on December 16th we would come with a leaflet. I remember one time there was this woman Nokonono Kave from the Cape, who came back into the country already, 1979 or 1980 at that time, and came with stories that she was raped by Russians and so on - we issued a leaflet actually condemning that. Nokonono Kave testified in some US Commission...

The Denton Commission?

The Denton Commission, with Hlapane, I think, among others. We actually brought out a leaflet condemning that and putting our position clear on that. When Solomon Mahlangu was hanged - I think he was hanged in 1980 -

I think it was 1980, 1981 - I can't remember...

We wrote a leaflet on that as well. We also - but at a later stage - came to issue or set up straight broadcasting systems. Which was part of the training that one got.

What do you mean by broadcasting systems?

Straight broadcasting systems: we would get recorded tapes from Swaziland with, well you would by cassette players inside the country, and speakers and there was another gadget. But generally what happens is that you find a very powerful sort of speaker, create a nice box, put all this into a nice, small package, take it with batteries and all, take it to the target place, you put it on to start playing and it gives this period to retreat. After some while, it starts singing Nkosi Sikilel' iAfrica or Amandla! Amandla! and a message is given over. I remember two of such cassettes. One was a statement from Comrade Mabhida. The other was by OR [Tambo]. I can't remember the exact messages.

And you actually mounted those broadcasts?

We actually did.

How many broadcasts?

On three occasions.

Three occasions.

[Break in tape]

[End of Side A]

[Side B of first tape blank: No Side B]

OK, we were talking about the propaganda activities that your unit was involved in. I was keen to know different forms there were and you were telling me about these broadcasts. Now I need to just check on a few things before we continue. The first thing is: when you came back into the country, were you armed?

No, no. Actually, the commander then - I think a few weeks, not more than two weeks - I was told where I could pick up my pistol. so I was armed not more, not later than two weeks. I had a pistol and, I think, I had two grenades, and two magazines, two full magazines for the pistol.

And what was it? A Tokarev? Makarov?

It was a Podnik.

A Podnik? I don't know a Putnik.

It's not usual. It's - is it Czechoslovakian.

Sputnik or Podnik?

No, Podnik.

How do you spell that?

P-O-D-N-I-K - something like that.

A further thing: Were there any receiving structures for you?

Ja, that's one other area that was sort of a very, very dangerous area. I did not have any reception committee or place where I would go on landing into the country. But I already, in my mind, I knew who I would first go to. It was a comrade - we used to be together: she was a teacher. I think the train that one uses from Camden Station arrives around Johannesburg I think at 6am. I got off at Jeppe Station, if I am not mistaken. But shortly before hitting Johannesburg. It was difficult. One did not want to find himself around Johannesburg at that time, so I used a taxi from Jeppe to Dube. The person I thought I wanted to contact stayed in Dube. But, unfortunately, when I got to the place, the person I wanted to make contact with had already left. He was staying in another place in Dube. I think I was forced --. Oh, no, this person actually gave me the alternative address where this person lives now, or stayed then. I went there; it was early in the morning. It was at about 10am, 9am, 10am; and it was bad thing to actually walk around Johannesburg - I did not have proper camouflage at that stage. When I had left, I think I had taken two sets of trousers: I actually wore two sets of trousers and two shirts, and I think a jacket as well. Now, after having crossed over, when it was light enough, I had to actually take these off. And the route we were using - we were using a train that leaves Camden Station, and I'll remember near what place, but it's Camden Station - the train leaves that place at about 4pm. Now, I was there since early in the morning, and I actually got lost en route to the station. I found one fellow; I stayed in that fellow's place from I think around 4 to about 8o'clock. Now, I had to quickly create a cover story. I had to bribe him to...

Now this is close to the Swazi border, isn't it?

Ja, close to the Swazi border. Well, I lost my way - I cannot blame any other person - but it was dark and I lost my way. I had to bribe this fellow. I wanted to give him R5, but I only had R10 with me. I remember, the fellow, as we were walking down, there were two big parks. Next to those parks there are these trees that are, I think, prepared for paper, for cutting and so on. The street gets to be - it appeared so wide at that time and the fellow was not aware of my position. And we were walking right in the middle of the road. I felt so sensitive at that time. We got to very near the station, the houses - they sell this home-made brew [Laughter], so I had to actually even drink that home-made brew. I didn't even drink liquor at that time. But I had to actually drink that. At about 10am or so, the fellow was forced to leave me there. I gave him his R10. I had nowhere to go. I had to stick - and this place is generally isolated. It's not like urban areas, it's quite in the rural areas, these small dorpies, and I felt bad, I mean, having to stay there, waiting for the train, getting into the train, finding that people in the train are carrying luggages, and I am the only one who bought a paper bag. I felt - I don't know, maybe it's because one was trained and one was very, very sensitive - people nearby didn't notice anything. I moved, I got out at Jeppe, I think it was Jeppe Station, went to Soweto, went to this place; the person who I'd thought I would contact was no longer there; I was given an alternative address; I went to see the lady; obviously, she was shocked, but she was prepared to help. I remember, I sent her to buy me reading glasses, which were terrible at that time, and some hat. That was my first camouflage. Actually, I then left in the afternoon, went to a relative, and also went to contact the first person I had wanted to contact, to recruit for the cell that I was going to create. He was very fortunately agreeable. And he is the first person who belonged to that cell. We were arrested long long [after] - I mean we operated all these years together.

Now, can I stop here and go back. So the people in Swaziland were not able to give you any receiving structures inside the country?

No, no reception.

What did they say about it?

I was anxious to get into the country as well. And I actually told them the way that I would approach things. But, General was quite a good commander. I think, about two, three days after I had left the country, I remember I think I phoned from around Springs. He had his own contacts: he was quite wonderful when it came to that. I phoned from Springs, told him that I am in a terrible situation - I do not have accommodation. I had slept at a relative's place, and I could see that they are sort of sensitive. There's this definite fear of enemy harassment, you know. I phoned from Springs. He told me that there's a fellow I'm going to make contact with in the same Dube in actual fact. He had some fixed time. I don't know if he had pre-arranged with that fellow. But I just couldn't make it within that short space of time from Springs. He wanted me to hire a special car, coming down. And clearly, the kind of money that I had wasn't going to allow that I should sort of spend it that quickly. I missed that one but this comrade was quite helpful. He was still, he was a student at that time...

This is the comrade you eventually link up with?

Ja. He was at the training college.

Sorry, if I have misunderstood you. Are you saying that the comrade in Swaziland gave you an address in South Africa?

No, what I am saying is that there was no reception; I had my own ideas at that time; I went to this comrade's place, she was a teacher I knew from long ago who accommodated me for that day; and, in the evening, I then left to make contact with this comrades who actually joined from the onset, we worked together prior to that.

OK, now did the structures in Swaziland give any reasons for why they didn't have any receiving structures for you?

No, but I don't think we were well organised. In my mind, I think I came to - I don't know whether maybe in my stay in Robben Island one came to know there are actually comrades who had, I mean who went to places, reception, structures sort of. But I don't think we were well organised to have those structures at that time, or at least the comrades in my particular machinery, they did not provide those structures.

Now, what sort of papers did you come into the country with?

With a pass.

It was false...?

Doctored, definitely.

And did it look genuine? Did it seem like a professional job to you? Did you have confidence in it?

Ja, it looked OK. It looked OK. Ja, I think it looked OK. It had - what was a problem then if you had a stamp indicating that you were employed at a particular place, it looked genuine. But one had to actually try and create a story to suit that particular person. In my later stay in the country, I think I got a document that had a driving licence. It was not professional that one. If one had to be very frank. It was completely unprofessional. But that was something that happened years after I'd...

OK, so this time you are coming in with a pass in which you have reasonable confidence?

Ja.

And had you worked through with the comrade in Swaziland a legend to fit this pass?

No. I knew the address of the fellow. He stayed, I think, around Soweto. But it was not a very comprehensive legend, as such. No, it wasn't a very comprehensive legend.

Did you, had you been trained at all...?

To assimilate?

Ja.

Ja, no, that's part of the training that one received in GDR. That's definitely one kind of training one received in GDR. And that one particular pass. As one was surviving, it never came to a point where I had to use that particular pass.

Now, you mentioned when you came in you had R10, or something like that. What did you come in with?

Maybe it was R500. I can't remember the exact figure. But it was [in] R10 [notes]. I did not have small change, or smaller money than R10.

R10 notes?

Notes, ja. Now, that's why I was saying that, in fact, even later when one was operating, came to realise that, in places like - if you go to not Komatipoort - I once found myself near Komatipoort, the station before Komatipoort, Hectorspruit - I once found myself near Hectorspruit, I was making my way out, someone was supposed to pick me up from Hectorspruit Railway Station and take me across. But it failed. The person didn't turn up. And I had money. Fortunately, I did not leave all the money that I had behind. I had a reasonable amount of money to make my way back. And what I realised when this person failed to pick me up. There were woman, I think working the farms there, who had gathered in that station - I think there were three or four, I think four women, I remember they were playing a portable radio, a small portable radio, they were playing that radio, and it was a difficult situation. I then, initially I thought, these are the contacts who are supposed to pick me up. I worked myself, my way towards them, started conversation, but I realised they are not actually my contacts. I tried to keep them with me. What I did, I had money, I organised, I bought cold drink, fish, stinking fish from these fish and chips owned by these racist Boers, you know, and some stale bread. But what I'm coming to is that there are areas of the country, you know, where when you spend R20 easily, it's something. Whereas I could spend R20 in Johannesburg for any person and it wouldn't raise anyone's eyebrows, you know. That is why I was saying I only had R10. And I think during the training and during our conversation, I think we realised that - or we got stories of comrades who were arrested for, for instance, overspending or spending very luxuriously, you know, something that sets them apart from local community. That's why I was raising this question of the R10. It appeared too much. If I had given this fellow - it was not even a very long distance. And normally I don't think you would need to bribe a person to take you to a railway station. Now, I just wanted to ensure that he takes me to the station, you know. I didn't want to find myself moving up and down and those small places and actually end up getting arrested. Now, that's why I was saying I only had R10 notes, not anything less than those R10 notes.

Now, you said to me that, when you got back, you also contacted a relative of yours.

Ja.

What were your instructions about contacting relatives?

Ja, I think, well comrades later--. Let me start by saying that we, most of us, were trained, I think the kind of training that we received told us that the enemy, especially if we left the country, the enemy knew your activities - or when the enemy knows that probably you are around the country - they definitely, I think it's true, they round up the relatives that they do know, girlfriends as well. Now, this has always been a problems in our minds. But, under those circumstances - well, let me say that the first person after this comrade was my wife. And I think - let me just digress a bit - in my later, when I went to report, I think I went to report after more than 12 months in the country, comrades were very interested even in this part, that I actually used my relatives. And one of the relatives that I used owned a house in the rural areas and both the wife and the husband were working. And they were not in a position to keep going to this place of theirs in the rural areas. They actually need a person who was going to be a sort of caretaker in that place. Which is yet another angle that, I think, comrades were interested in when I went to report out, you know. What it meant was that most of us in the urban areas do have some contact with the rural areas and those rural areas can actually be effectively used. I remember that, in the rural area that I stayed in - it was in Rustenburg, you know - there was the chief, these traditional or tribal structures, do still exist. I was introduced to the head of that particular family. Now, this is an extended family, not the head in the sense of the owner of the home, but the head of the family in the particular area. I was introduced to that person and he in turn went to indicate, to announce my presence to the chief. But, by then, we had prepared our legend, our cover story and it actually stuck. I did not have any problems with that legend there.

So, if I understand you correctly, your training had been not to contact relatives? That was the general rule?

Well the general rule in underground life. You avoid, for instance, you avoid people who are known in the political circle, big shots in the political circles. Like I wouldn't imagine going to Murphy Morobe. I mean the chances of him being picked up are so great. And in him being picked up I could maybe get uncovered or I could panic and think it is going to be related to me. Now, going to friends, going to relatives, especially going to relatives, and contacting well-known figures was quite a serious issue at that stage. That was what the training programmes were designed [to make you] think. I don't think it was very very wrong.

Now, is your wife different from the woman whom you initially attempted to contact in Dube?

Ja, those are separate.

Those are separate people?

J.

OK, now did you - you said you established contact with your wife?

Ja.

Did you also establish contact with your father, mother, brothers, sisters?

Ja. Which was against the rules again. But when I met my wife - the situation has been that she was active as well. She had been to Swaziland as well. Before coming into the country, I actually met her. I phoned and arranged that she should come over to Swaziland to meet me. And the family was somehow relieved to know that I am still OK. When I left, she was eight months pregnant. When I cam back, my kid was about one year. We celebrated his first birthday when I was already inside the country. And I had confidence in my wife, especially since she knew my position. And she actually insisted, after having seen her, that she cannot accept that I should not see my family. I went out of her place late at night, very late at night, I think after 12 o'clock, jumped the fence, saw my family for about a few minutes, then dashed for it again. This is what one had been doing all along, that is before my arrest, that was the usual kind of thing to do. Fortunately with my wife, she was staying with her mother and my kid and I would be in a position to actually spend the whole day indoors which actually meant that I would get into the house after 12pm. I would try to, when walking in that no-one should actually see me walking in. And I would be forced to actually spend the whole day and only come out after 8 o'clock.

So that the neighbours wouldn't know?

So that the neighbours wouldn't know.

So it was a very closed, controlled...?

Secret...

Secret, this contact that you had with your parents.

Ja. The same with this other comrade. I was saying that this first comrade one contacted. I remember I contacted another person but he actually ended up disappointing me - we couldn't work together. Another person that one contacted, even now I am not clear what happened to him. I made contact with him - he's a fellow that I knew as well. There's this study circle I once belonged to when Zweli was in jail. I think they were linked to what, they were calling themselves, to some Marxist group, to some Trotskyite group in actual fact. I think they had contact to some lawyer called Mlunzi, I think was their leader, who I think was based in Botswana. Now later when I went into the country, I went to this comrade, contacted him for the ANC now. I met him twice, thrice. On one occasion, I gave him handgrenades - I had already received my pistol and handgrenades then - for safekeeping. He took these handgrenades, I think, to a contact's place, and two days thereafter, he was harassed. He went to my place, went to my wife's place, wanting to see me urgently. Obviously, they pretended not to know my whereabouts. But he did not last a week thereafter. He left, he was forced to leave the country through, I think he was based in Botswana. My wife came to meet him in Botswana some time later. She had gone to Botswana on social visits then. And this fellow was indicating he would love to see me. He met with the comrades, tried to tell the comrades what happened, and I think the comrades didn't want to believe him. And I am going to admit that, at that stage, one was under pressure. One was supposed to create this unit and retreat: that was the initial task. And things were not moving smoothly, as one thought. The only person who stuck was the first comrade that I had contacted. These would come and actually promise to assist but you would find them sort of fizzling out. I went to this one who actually left through Botswana and, in my mind, I just did not want to report that failure. I couldn't bring myself to report that failure. I thought that, well, one would be called out. Comrades would see a dangerous situation and I would retreat, and retreat not having accomplished my task. That was another thing that I think some of us felt at that stage, which sort of inspired us.

Can I come to that later, but I would like to pick up some things. First of all, when is this first trip into the country? What is the date of it? The first time you actually come in?

It's May, May or June.

Of 1979?

1979, ja.

Now, when you received your Podnik firearm, is it a DLB?

I picked it up from a house.

OK, so you had been given the address of a house to which to go?

Ja.

OK, and this was a house where there were people or whatever. How did it work? Did you give some password, or did you...?

Ja, I gave some password. Later, I came to have some closer relationship with that particular family. I came to have some closer relationship. They left the country. It was the Mthmebus.

Mthembus?

Ja. I knew where they stayed. I remember at one stage one would get...

Was it in Soweto?

In Soweto, yes. One got seriously stranded not having funds. And definitely I think it was a family of activists. And the wife was very, very, very cooperative. I think on more than two occasions, one would get some financial assistance from that family.

And this is a well-known political family, so there is no danger in your mentioning them now?

Well, they left the country. They were forced to leave the country. I think the father belonged to the church circle if I am not certain.

Do you know what his first name was?

Sorry I can't remember.

But Mthembu was his surname?

No, not Mthembu, I am sorry. It was Mbatha.

Mbatha. Right. I was wondering. Mbatha is the chap who used to work for Anglo American. He was a senior chap in Anglo American.

Ja, a bit stoutish. Ja it was Mbatha, ja.

OK, now, you come in in you said May 1979, hey?

May, June, the beginning of winter.

Now what was your task? You have mentioned to create a unit and retreat. Can you just outline it? What is the task? Can you just formulate it for me?

You see, the briefing was that they would actually belong to this unit that would specialise among others in the distribution of our leaflets, not infiltrating, but belonging to other organisations, and trying to put our point of view across. And further details, I would create this circle, this unit, then retreat to Swaziland with the contact and everything arrange. We would then operate - I would actually be operating from Swaziland - they would be inside. And one was seeing a situation whereby he would again penetrate perhaps to create another unit in another area. But, as things developed, I was saying that I made contact with this one comrade who stuck throughout, who did not actually have serious - people had fears suddenly having to work with the ANC. And I think enemy propaganda, them arresting us and shootouts in one, two, three places did present itself as a serious, not as a serious but some kind of problem, some kind of deterrent. I think so.

OK, so you are in the country, you make contact with this woman, you make contact with this man...

With my wife...

Now, the other comrade went to jail with you.

Muizi Nkosi...

How do I spell Muizi?

M-U-I-Z-I. Ja. Surname N-K-O-S-I.

OK. Now you establish this contact - it's May, June 1979 - how did matters proceed from there?

I spent all this period trying to make contact with other comrades. There's one comrade, Thami Gqweta, who belonged to the same circle. I mean we used to move around before I even left the country. He was generally known at that time [...] and I knew this was the practically situation on the ground. He promised - what I wanted from him was him to introduce me to some comrades he can rely on, so that we can create this first sort of embryo, or first cell. His side of the story actually fizzles out as well. I think, I don't know, but the impression that I got from him was that he was sort of distrustful. It hurt me at that time. He got into SASM through me. I knew Zweli - Zweli I said was in SASM. And I introduced him generally to SASM and to, if one were to be very silly, into politics. But I shouldn't say into politics - but into structures. But, when I emerged into the country, one felt that the way he was handling things, the way he apparently did not want to help me out, you know, he was, I believed, very, very suspicious. I don't know whether we had a number of renegades or deserters, people who had deserted at that stage, but he was not very helpful. I remember what he did: he once played a cassette by Amandla Group. I just did not know that cassette - I had never heard it. But I think in his mind it meant that I am not genuine. And the same incident happened with the first person that I contacted, the teacher, the lady teacher. I saw stickers in her house, you know. I think it was the "wheel of progress" at that time - there was this sticker of the "wheel of progress" and I think some calendars and posters on the "wheel of progress", I think. Now it was the first time I came across those stickers. But she was not surprised. She did not know my deployment, which maybe could be significant in the sense that I am seeing some of our own propaganda material for the first time inside the country. But I mean it didn't mean much to her. She simply said: Ja, I do know this; some of these things happen. And I believe, strongly believe that she also had her own contacts, I mean with the outside world, with ANC. Ja, I strongly believe that she had her own contacts with the ANC at that stage. I was talking about this Thami. He was one of those comrades then who sort of fizzled out. Now, it got to be very difficult to try and create properly this unit. I got the next person who stuck, who belonged to the unit for a long time and actually worked for the unit after this Muizi Nkosi had introduced me to his relatives in White City, Jabavu, under the cover story: I was supposed to be a student from Fort Hare who was harassed by the police and I cannot stay at my place. So the lady owner was very, very wonderful, actually accepted me. I stayed there for years. In actual fact, the places that I used up until my arrest: I used her place, I used the relatives place in the rural areas in Rustenburg. I used my wife's place. But, what actually happened is that I would only go there late at night and, if one could spend part of the day and not going out, actually which was not a serious problem because during the day one wouldn't actually be moving and doing anything - one would be forced to keep indoors. And I later came to use where we were arrested, a place belonging to the daughter of this house I stayed in White City. It was also a family, a relative to Muizi. Now, right up until we got arrested, those were the mainstay in our safe houses.

And how long was this first period inside the country?

Actually inside the country for the first time, I think slightly above 12 months.

Slightly above 12 months?

Ja, I think slightly above 12 months.

Now, the size of the unit you had been instructed to form, what was it?

It was a unit of three.

Three, right. And was the unit to get its own printing machine?

Ja, the idea at that stage was that we would then, after creating this unit, I would go outside, arrange all those things - buying of roneoing machine, typewriters and I mean even further, deeper instructions, comrades would actually link up with Swaziland and get...

[End of Side C]

Did he have a command relationship with you?

No, no, no. I think they were working closely with General. But we were not linked in terms of operational work.

OK. So do you manage to - you have these problems with people who don't cooperate, do you manage to form this cell? How does it go?

I was saying Muizi, also very shortly after we had made the first contact - I think within one month - did manage to secure, I think, the first request that I made to try to organise as many safe houses as possible. Within weeks, he did manage to get this accommodation in White City, where I was sort of part of the family, ended up being part of the family in a way, you know. It's where I actually made contact with another person. His nickname was King. He was generally known as King. He was a friend to some of the kids of that house. He was quite old. I think he was two years my junior. He was very interested in politics but he did not, which I thought was good, he did not belong to any political organisations. But he would be interested in discussing stories in the Sowetan. I then deliberately or consciously worked my way into recruiting him, which did actually work. And he actually recruited that person of the main unit. What we did at that time...

So you and Muizi didn't work together...?

No, we were working together...

It was Muizi, King and...

And one fellow called Justice. But, at that stage, I remember, we decided that King should not know that I am working with Muizi in the underground. For a long time, I think, the story that I am a relative to that family got stuck - they believed that I am a relative to the family. But then King knew that I am close to Muizi, though we actually never discussed seriously about our involvement in the underground with Muizi. Whatever I did with Muizi, ah with King as - in fact I worked with King and Justice and myself. Muizi came to create another cell on the one side. As to how strong that particular cell was I am not very sure. I know I had reasons to suspect it was not very strong. I was sort of a commander - I was supposed to be linking up with these two groups. He would give reports periodically. But I am not very, very sure that it was a very, very strong unit. In fact, I always got an inkling that only one person was sort of, I mean, a sticker. and, even at that stage, when one wanted at that stage to get a kind of commitment from the comrades, that would indicate that they are members of the ANC, not just sympathisers who are going to do our work when it pleases them, sort of some hobby or part-time work. Which, I think, was quite a difficult thing. Muizi was legal at that stage. He was still a student, a teacher at that time. It was quite a serious problem. I mean I had - all my life at that stage was ANC work. I did not have a social life at all. The only person I could go to for social life was my wife. And even the rural areas, it was not really a close relationship. Now I think this made me demand a lot - I know there were a lot of tensions at times between him and me...

Between Muizi and you?

Ja. I mean he was still a student. He had exams to write. And exams didn't mean much to me. What meant much to me was the kind of work I was given. I remember at one stage I was saying I did not want to report the failures. For instance, after I had spoken to this one fellow - Santoro [spelling???] was his name who later I gave handgrenades to and apparently he was exposed by his contacts and left through Botswana - I think I had given his name, reported his name to outside. But when all this thing happened, I did not actually report that. And what they - I immediately had to get another person to fill in his position. And in as far as the comrades knew outside it was the same Santoro. I remember reports like I have already managed to get another comrade for the cell. I've managed to get another comrade for the cell. And, if this thing sort of fizzles out, I wouldn't report the failure. It was, subjectively I didn't want to do that. Now, when we operated with these three comrades, that is on my side, and Muizi being a link to the other side for all these years.

OK, now can you stay with your first tour of duty. And I'd like to wrap up, and I would very much like to interview you again in the New Year, OK. Do your unit start distributing leaflets in this first year?

Ja. Was it in the first year? But what happened is this, that we got - in fact I used to borrow that old, old typewriter which some of the letters sort of destroyed, it was not a good typewriter, and the kind of training one had received was that one shouldn't use this typewriter for a long time, or alternatively you would need to keep tampering with the letters themselves. We got this typewriter, we stole a roneoing machine from one school in Soweto. That was our basic equipment. And I took this roneoing machine right down to the rural areas where I stayed, the typewriter as well. Which created another problem, that one would be forced to do the writing and copying and bring all this stuff right up to Johannesburg, facing all the problems of roadblocks and so on.

So, in this first year, do you distribute pamphlets?

I don't know whether it was the first year or the second year. I think it was the second year. If I am not mistaken, the first leaflet that we came to distribute was on the hanging of Solomon Mahlangu, if it was 1980, 1981. But I think the first leaflets that we distributed were the following year. And when we stole - we used to say we liberated, we definitely liberated that roneoing machine - we went together with this comrade I made contact with whilst I was staying in White City, which actually meant he was a very, very active member and to a very large extent understood the demands.

When I say, did you distribute pamphlets in the first year, I mean not the calendar year, I mean the first period inside the country.

Oh, ja, ja.

So you did?

Ja, ja.

And how many copies did you distribute of the Mahlangu pamphlet?

I think more than two reams which should be more than 1,000.

And how did you distribute them?

The first way of distributing was not - we kept on improving on this. We would distribute them in railway stations, simply throw them around, even streets and so on. But, at that time, I used to wake up very, very early in the morning, especially if I slept at my wife's place. I would need to be out at about 4am in Summer and in Winter, at about 5, simply because in Summer it gets lighter much quicker. Now, going past these places you would find that at times these leaflets would stay there, still scattered, clearly not encouraging to pick up. Now, we improved on that as we went on. There are these young fellows in almost all railway stations in Soweto who sell peanuts, sweets and things; we would actually give them some cents, some few extra rands to actually distribute the leaflets. That's one method that we used for a long, long time apart from the leaflet launchers.

You used leaflet launchers? When did that come?

I can't remember the exact dates. But I used a leaflet launcher I think on two occasions - I'll remember the station - but in Mzimhlope, I'll start with Mzimhlope, Orlando East, ja, Orlando Railway Station, Pefeni, in Nanciefield, in, it's not Zondi, but it's near Umfolo, Ikwezi, Ikwezi Station.

When was this? In this first period of duty inside the country? Or...?

Well, I think later. It was definitely later because one had to receive safety devices, you know.

Now, in the first period you are inside the country, how many times do you go operational on leaflets? How many times do you distribute leaflets?

I think one could say we distributed more than six different kinds of leaflets. I cannot...

This is during your first period inside the country?

Let me say four. I can't remember the exact number. One never came to sit down and trying to remember. But, what we used to do for each and every leaflet that we made, we would actually enclose it in a report, a coded report, send it outside. We were using a courier for that. And later came to rely on that courier for funds.

And was the courier to Swaziland?

To Swaziland, ja.

Now, during this first year of duty inside the country, can you tell me who in Swaziland you were reporting to?

It was General, working under Nkadimeng. I don't know when did this change. But I believe in the first year when I then came to report to Thabo. But the person in overall command in Swaziland was Comrade Mashigo. I think when I went out, ja when I went out the very first time, I was not met by General, I was no longer reporting to General, I was reporting to Mashigo and Thabo.

Now this is Thabo who is not Mbeki?

Ja. I never had any contact with Thabo Mbeki.

Now this Mashigo, is he the same chap who eventually ends up as chief rep in Lusaka?

I think so.

He's an oldish man...

Oldish man, veteran of Wankie. Ja, I think he was in Tanzania at one stage. One report I got that he was ill at one stage. I think he was once a commander in Angola as well, regional commander. I don't know how was it demarcated.

Now, in this first period, how do you do your mass work? Have any of your comrades got links into organisations?

No, no. Definitely not. In fact, throughout, we never came to have direct links with the mass organisations.

So as far as this objective of seeking to influence the mass organisations is concerned it's an area in which you were not able to succeed?

Ja, ja. I think a lot of things changed because of, sort of the situation changed. My initial task was to create this unit, retreat. But, since one was operating, one came to sort of, perhaps because of the demands of underground life and maintaining this unit and this pressure of feeling that one has actually to report, one always felt that comrades - I mean you are separated by the borders and long distances - they are not aware of what I am doing. I am merely submitting these reports. Thus it was consistently a pressure even to actually build up on the unit itself.

Now, you mentioned that the second unit you were not entirely happy with. There were signs of lack of commitment...

Ja, ja.

These pamphlets that you printed, were they distributed by the second unit as well as the first unit?

All the two units, ja.

So, in fact, in this first year, the two units never themselves generate pamphlets - you are generating the pamphlets?

Ja, together with Muizi.

And each of the units is getting its batch of pamphlets...

Ja, ja.

And they are distributing?

Ja. Maybe that's another failure. Right up until we were arrested, the leaflets were sort of made in one central place, drafted in one central place on the basis of what we though we need to do, you know, or whatever we needed to write on.

Now, you yourself were drafting these leaflets?

Ja.

So you were not getting leaflets sent in from outside?

We did get a number of leaflets from outside. We did get a number of leaflets from outside.

Can you stay in the first period, in the first 12 months, are you generating the leaflets?

Ja, ja.

So you are sitting down and thinking, from your knowledge of ANC policy and sitting in the underground...

Ja, ja, exactly. I remember one time, I think the Press - I don't know what year was it - when was the Year of the Charter?

It was 1980, I think.

Was it 1980? Ja, I think during the Year of the Charter, through Radio Freedom. Again we had this problem of not knowing - I think it was a problem of not knowing what are the focal points of the ANC at that particular time in terms of propaganda. But I managed to quickly secure this portable radio and one would tune into Radio Freedom...

Which Radio Freedom station were you listening to?

To Luanda, to Antananarivo as well. It was Luanda and Antananarivo mostly. Lusaka as well, but the reception wasn't very good.

And Ethiopia, did you used to listen to Ethiopia?

Ethiopia? I can't remember. I can't recall Ethiopia. but I know Antananarivo and I think Ethiopia rather than Luanda.

What time of the day was it?

It was in the evening.

What time in the evening?

I think Antananarivo was from 8. We were given a three-hour period every day at one time. I think it was from 8. And the other one from 7.

The Luanda's 7. Ethiopia was 9,30.

Oh, yeah, even Ethiopia. But again, one had a problem here, because one had this portable radio, but it was in the rural areas where I stayed. My main sort of hiding place. Now, I was saying that we picked up from Radio Freedom that it was the Year of the Charter, and we actually drafted the Charter ourselves inside the country and tried to distribute it and we were complemented by the Press generally. I think even City Press did...

No, it was Sunday Post did the Charter...

Was it Sunday Post at that time, ja.

OK, just to round off for today, I would like to ask why do you leave at the end of that first tour of duty. Were you called out or what?

I think - I can't remember if I was called out, but I also wanted to go out. I also wanted to go out. And I think the comrades readily accepted that. It was not only perhaps just to stay a little bit freer, not under this pressure, to get fresh mandates, but also to indicate some of our problems. We had been having this pistol and handgrenades. And one was faced with this difficulty who, when you have recruited [them], like one comrade Justice we had recruited into this unit, and he did not understand. He thought we were playing - I mean distributing leaflets doesn't give you, I mean, immediate and visible results, you know. Now, we definitely needed to sort of expand our operations. And I think even in the outside, it was what was in their mind. We then, after that, managed to get other weapons to supplement the kind of weapons we had.

Now this is in the second...?

After the second.

Well, I don't want to deal with that. I'd like to deal with that in future. Just one last thing: you say that this young chap Justice felt that this was not sufficiently meaningful. Right, now, I am interested to know what you felt about this. did you feel the same? Did other people feel the same?

I definitely felt the same way.

What did you want to do?

One wanted to actually be involved in military operations.

Engage the enemy?

Definitely, ja, definitely.

Now, why?

I remember I discussed this with one comrade at one time, but he was sort of saying he understands my position, but I should not actually think we are not doing anything. He explained that in political work, you don't immediately see your results - unlike blowing up a pylon, a railway line.

When was this discussion that you had with this comrade?

I think after having left...

For the first time?

The country for the first time, ja. I think so.

This is an absolutely crucial issue, which I want to deal with next time.

Ja, I was indicating this problem of this issue. In fact, maybe comrades Ronnie, comrade Mac, could be in a position perhaps to give a generalised view - not view, a generalised report, perhaps taking into consideration other units.

I've already discussed this with them. This is why it is so important that I discuss it with you. This point.

Well, you know, what I am trying to say here. For instance, comrade Mac could see that one unit did this one particular task - if it comes from comrade Mac - I don't know whether he can be pressed to say which unit in particular did this operation, did that operation - that is now across, not across but on the military side.

That I understand. The issue I am really interested in is this strong impulse that you and the other comrades in your units have to engage the enemy militarily. I mean this is an absolutely key point in the kind of thinking, this urgency that comrades on the ground have. We'll cross this problem of whether we can talk about military activities next time. But the fact that you felt this impulse is very, very important.

I don't know whether it is important, but I think, even outside, even outside, there was not perhaps a serious division, it was not a serious division. But comrades from the Internal Reconstruction department were known to be commissars. And there was this slight problem. You would find - this one comrade once told me that in some of the meetings, I think joint meetings that we had, you would find comrades, you know when they report, would say: We are from MK. You know this silly division between MK and sort of undermining of the kind of work done by the other comrades. Some would say: Oh, you belong to Sue's [Rabkin] department, you are coming with Sue's discipline. That was the kind of joke.

Sue Rabkin you are talking about?

Ja, ja. [End of Interview]

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.