By Tony Wwaver

An extraodinary spy versus spy battle has erupted in the Western Cape.

Long-simmering tensions between apartheid era policemen and former African National Congress underground operatives have burst into the open, with the ANC men "declaring war".

The battle lines are drawn between four ex-managers of the ANC's Western Cape Department of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and some of the top names in the former South African Police.

The Cape Times understands the situation is not peculiar to the Western Cape, with rising tensions around the country, although "down here there is a gut hatred towards us", said the ANC group's spokesperson, former DIS co-manager and currently SAPS senior superintendent, Jeremy Veary.

"We didn't want this fight, but they have continually attacked us through a series of actions designed to destroy our integrity as professionals, and to render our actions and persons suspect," said Veary.

"The police force has to be cleaned up. We cannot have people driving old agendas in a new environment, we are only concerned about the safety and security of the community."

Veary said between 50 and 60 former DIS Western Cape operatives had, after the post-apartheid integration of forces, been deployed to various police and intelligence units.

Veary said investigations by these former ANC operatives were constantly sabotaged by old-order policemen.

This was particularly true of investigations into police corruption, human rights abuses by police, probes into gangs and into organised crime.

Included was the deliberate sabotaging of deep cover investigations into alleged underworld figures like Vito Palazzolo, and others who had worked as apartheid sanction busters, helping procure guns and oil.

"These guys openly say that they hate us and will never work with us. We are spending 80 percent of our time just trying to operate efficiently, when we should be out there fighting crime."

The four managers of the DIS at the time of its disbandment were Andre Lincoln, Veary, Dumisani Luphengela, and unit head, Mthuthuzeli Jacob Madikiza.

Veary was mandated by the four to speak to the Cape Times.

Veary said the hatred of the former ANC operatives emanated from all branches of the former South African Police, but the main drivers were former members of the security branch's ultra-secret D Section.

Veary named several who are now deployed in senior positions in crime intelligence, the detective services and even in the office of the provincial and national commissioners.

One reason the levels of hatred ran so deep, Veary said, was because the ANC's intelligence and counter-intelligence operations in the Western Cape were highly effective, particularly in the immediate pre- and post-1994 periods.

"In 1993, D Section held a conference to brief their covert operatives, and a report was tabled that the ANC's Western Cape intelligence was the most successful in the country in terms of infiltration - the report said we infiltrated 15 people into the Security Branch's structures."

Asked what steps would be taken in the "war", he said: "We will not act outside the law, we will act in the way in which we are trained, but within the constitution, we are not going to break any laws.

"But we will defend the integrity of the (ANC) intelligence wing at all costs. If it involves exposing the (security branch) informers within the liberation movement, we will do so.

"If it means exposing covert operations of the former statutory agencies for which they did not apply for amnesty, we will do so.

"We have access to D Section documents that were not shredded in time.

"This is a Cold War from an intelligence perspective, and right now we are wasting our time fighting ridiculous battles when we should be fighting organised crime."

Spokespersons for both provincial police commissioner, Lennit Max, and for provincial Community Safety MEC Leonard Ramatlakane, could not be reached for comment.