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Are the apartheid spying chickens coming home to roost?

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks. Photo: Parliament website

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks. Photo: Parliament website

Published May 23, 2022



The battle royal between Thabo Makwakwa and the State Security Agency (SSA) promises to rip wide open the hitherto well guarded and tightly sealed apartheid files.

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Makwakwa, a journalist from the Daily News, an Independent Media publication, is being dragged to court by the Minister of State Security for being in possession of a secret report from the Embassy of America in our country.

The document allegedly makes startling if not damning claims about certain leading figures in the ANC clandestinely collaborating with American intelligence officials to weaken and exterminate the ANC.

We are told that the document identifies these ANC leaders who supply the Americans with information about the organisation and, by extension, our country. Treasonous stuff!

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The news of a collaboration between ANC leaders and the enemy of our revolution is not new at all. Facts, rumours and murmurings about these treasonous acts abound and have always been either suppressed or ignored for reasons best known to the powers that be.

South Africans have not forgotten that President Nelson Mandela was reportedly handed a file of apartheid spies but decided, for inexplicable reasons, to go with that file to his grave.

Mandela’s withholding of that file that is reported to contain names of “big shots” in the ANC, among others, did not stop rumours persisting about not only the identities of those spies but also the direction that the ANC was taking or had taken.

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At every moment when temperatures soar within the ANC, or there is a policy misstep or inexplicable re-purposing, the ghost of the apartheid spies rears its ugly head.

The expose by the Daily News has been the closest step towards cracking the stubborn and tough apartheid spy nut. While not conclusive, it is a huge step in unmasking those who have been and are still working against the national democratic revolution.

The file also assists in better understanding the conduct of some leaders and members and what has become of the ANC currently.

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Espionage is as old as humankind. History is replete with examples of spies infiltrating one or both sides of warring parties. We are alive even to instances where colonialists recruited collaborators from the ranks of natives to assist their colonial efforts.

The unpalatable fact is that there is no war that is won without the involvement of spies for various reasons, including gathering credible intelligence that invariably determines the direction and fate of that conflict.

During the two world wars and the so-called Cold War between the Soviets in the East and the imperialists in the West, the involvement of spies is a matter of public record.

The Americans, through the CIA, have perfected the art of spying, infiltration and subversion to further their imperialist agenda. Their “regime change” stratagem has at its centre an espionage network that infiltrated organisations and governments, planting its surrogates within its targets to collect information about while subverting policies and programmes of the targeted organisation or government.

While disappointing and infuriating, it is hardly surprising that Americans are said to be having “friends” (spies) within the ranks, including in the highest echelons of the ANC.

This revelation can only point to not a new development, but a continuation of activities that have wreaked havoc within and across ANC ranks even during its exile years.

Cases of spies arrested in MK camps either proactively or after fermenting divisions and even mutinies that led to injuries and deaths abound. There are even those instances where spies poisoned food and water in training camps as part of the enemy’s plans to exterminate the ANC and destroy its military capabilities.

Many comrades, both inside the country and in exile, lost their lives and others got disabled due to spies having infiltrated the ANC. They also supplied the apartheid colonial enemy with information about ANC members or their locations like in Matola, Maseru, Gaborone, Paris and other far-flung places.

Apartheid spies, in loyal service to their apartheid colonial masters, have inflicted and continue to inflict heavy losses on individual comrades and the ANC and the rest of the liberation movement.

The enemy of true liberation that is driven by its insatiable colonial ambitions invested heavily in building and maintaining its spy network. It would, therefore, be naive, if not foolhardy, to think that that sophisticated and wide network simply vanished into thin air when the Codesa compromises were made.

It is trite that it continued to not only function but also flourished, albeit in different and more clandestine forms.

Unfortunately, the ANC and the rest of the liberation movement were carried away by the “freedom” euphoria. We got dazed and became complacent.

It should not be surprising that the ANC has changed, not only in character but also in policy directions. Alien cultures and tendencies, including rampant usage of money and internecine wars between and among comrades, including the spreading of falsehoods about others, have taken root.

The spirit of camaraderie that was a hallmark of the liberation movement has evaporated, and this has been substituted by destructive and, at times, fatal competition.

One might ask: is this coincidental, or is it due, in no small measure, to clandestine activities of the enemies of the national democratic revolution, the trappings of power and incumbency notwithstanding?

Indeed, not all ANC ills can be attributed to spying. However, infiltration and subversion cannot be ruled out given the posture, utterances and actions of some amongst us.

The expose and the desperate attempts to suppress the publication of this unsettling news that threatens our national security tells a devastating tale of a serious threat to national security.

It is unacceptable and treasonous that unpatriotic individuals are trading or profiteering on ANC strategic information without due regard to our national security and sovereignty.

Americans have anointed themselves the world’s police that determines who becomes a government of a country of interest to them(read regime change).

Don’t these individuals who have sold their souls for a piece of silver care about our people and country? What of putting our country in harm’s way by being tools of imperial America?

Instead of continuing the folly of suppressing the truth, the country should be allowed to engage with this unpalatable truth in order to be enlightened about the atrocities that happened during and after the formal ending of apartheid.

In this regard, the courts have to play their role in unearthing rather than burying the truth. We hope that this matter will not only be properly ventilated, but the conclusions of the court will have arrived at objectively without fear, favour or prejudice.

It is unfortunate that some of the rulings of the North Gauteng High Court, especially by, particularly judges Mlambo and Ledwaba, have not covered the judiciary in glory.

Contradictory but favourable rulings, especially when the incumbent president and some who are close to him are the litigants, have, unfortunately, contributed to further eroding what is left of the credibility and reputation of the judiciary.

Instead of the involvement of Deputy Judge President Ledwaba in the current SSA case against the Daily News engendering confidence, it is causing apprehension given his mishandling of cases affecting some political elites.

I hope that Judge Ledwaba will act soberly, impartially, and objectively as this will assist our country to deal with the reported lack of patriotism from some of the leaders of the governing party.

The North Gauteng High Court is notorious for serving the interests of the Ramaphosa faction in the ANC. This secret report from the Americans, who are renowned for destabilisation of other sovereign states, ultimately boils down to Ramaphosa as he received it when he became president of the country in 2008.

He has inexplicably sat on it since. Does this perceived dereliction of duty explain the shift by the current administration without the consent of their party, the ANC, from BRICS to the West?

We will be watching not only the conduct of the courts regarding this case of national interest but also the Presidency’s posture and attitude towards it.

It is about time the brightest of lights is shone on those who are unpatriotic, and there be serious consequences. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mistake of letting off the hook apartheid colonial murderers and other wrongdoers should not be repeated this time around.

Mervyn Dirks

Suspended Member of the National Assembly of South Africa

Daily News