WITH the current national fixation on “state capture”, public fascination with the intrigues of the Zuma administration and calumny surrounding the Guptas, it is easy to forget the blueprint for graft was laid decades earlier. Apartheid, Guns & Money, a 600+ page doorstop of a book by Hennie van Vuuren, and published by Jacana Press, debunks several popular myths associated with the past regime — that corruption is a purely racial phenomenon, that apartheid South Africa was an “isolated state”, that democratic freedom signalled a break from the past, that the defeat of apartheid was inevitable and that we cannot undo this wrong.
Van Vuuren reveals in painstaking detail, utilising research garnered from recently declassified documents and interviews with key players, how a secret economy — “a global covert network of nearly 50 countries was constructed to counter sanctions” and “allies in corporations, banks, governments and intelligence agencies” helped move cash, illegally supplied weapons for the apartheid money for arms machine. ‘In the process whistleblowers were assassinated and ordinary people suffered.’
Revealing a ‘hidden past in a time of oppression”, the work is a masterful coup, providing details on the Special Defence Account (SDA), long the bane of the anti-apartheid movement. An investigation into the assassination of activist Dulcie September is both poignant and long overdue. Dulcie was “not just murdered she was erased.” Obtaining a copy of the TRC investigation unit’s report into the murder, kept under lock and key for 20 years by Dept of Justice officials ‘took an enormous effort by a team of lawyers and the South African history archive’.
The full extent of the apartheid enterprise under PW Botha and Magnus Malan et al, will come as a shock, as we finally discover the details of the secret projects, many of which were only alluded to in proceedings of the TRC, and its 3000+ page report prefaced by an awkward explanation that many documents pertinent to the proceedings had already been destroyed.
It is an extremely disturbing picture which emerges, the more so since it speaks, both to a current generation, for whom the machinations and covert nature of the regime will come as a surprise, as too survivors, many of whom may have been too young to appreciate the high level of manipulation occurring. That the TRC report has its failings can be seen in the statement by Van Vuuren, that not all documents were destroyed by Armscor in Project Masada. There also appear to be tonnes of documents sequestered in archives such as that of the National Party, and this begs the question on what is being done to preserve South Africa’s heritage of the past struggle for future generations.
Sections on “Naspers: the tap root of the National Party” vindicate my own investigation into the subject, as does the discovery of correspondence by one Ton Vosloo gifting the National Party with ample funding. The role of PW Botha, as a Naspers board-member, is also aptly described, as too the controversial incident involving his company’s opposition to the TRC, (the appearance of 127 apartheid collaborators who walked away from the commission, as conscientious journalists) and it is trite that many of the corporate entities upon which the late Anton Rupert sat, and related to the enterprise, like that of Christo Wiese, were also involved in the regime. But according to van Vuuren, nothing has emerged yet from the recently discovered archives, directly linking the Rupert family to the PW Botha administration and earlier Nat administrations, save for his generous donations to party successor FW de Klerk.
One cannot help thinking that any story about Federale Volksbellegings and sanctions-busting would be incomplete without relating the history of one of its founders. It thus appears the author has either not read Anton’s own biography about “the organisation that finally lured Rupert away from academia”– or has sought to downplay the Rupert factor for some political reason, as they say, ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. This failing, minor in comparison to the great work in uncovering details of the SDA speaks to the need for peer review and perhaps a more scientific approach to the puzzle. There are still quite a few surprises in store for readers, and especially related to covert information regarding previously unknown collaborators and I won’t give the game away by relating all the dirt here, suffice to add that Apartheid Guns & Money is certainly a great start for information activists and a must have in any private collection of apartheid arcana, and deserves to be made available to scholars via public and academic libraries.
Compare to Pre-Tiso Blackstar era chart here
HUFFINGTON POST need look no further than inside the offices of its local owners at the Naspers Building, where portraits of apartheid theologian DF Malan were openly displayed near the editors office, as late as 2006 when I attended an Eidos training course.
Two portraits that of Naspers founder JBM Hertzog and Perskor business partner H F Verwoerd are depicted in the piece published by Huffington.
By attempting an investigation of apartheid artwork, in a curious piece seemingly giving the appearance of editorial distance from the problem of their own association, the company is merely playing into the hands of those at Naspers who would revise history. The article fails to disclose Huffington’s business connection and involvement, and unfolds as if the portraits shown are merely that of some troublesome politicians.
Naspers itself has redacted its online corporate history to avoid uncomfortable questions surrounding director PW Botha.
No Mr Du Toit, you’re not investigating mere ‘apartheid art, you’re investigating your own history — the history of the self-same company instrumental in the creation of apartheid and the resulting tragedy which unfolded.
Recently Naspers directors have appeared at pains to create the impression they are the heroes not the antagonists of the struggle for freedom. The historical record is a little different and shows that Naspers were indicted on crimes against humanity and gross violations under apartheid by the TRC. The piece is consistent with the campaign of opposition to accountability.
In bringing the Huffington Post to South Africa, Naspers have gained an English language daily online title. They need to be reminded apartheid is still a crime, whatever the language, and whichever the colour of the ‘alternative facts’ procured by the Deputy-Editor.
Dear Friend, Colleague, Supporter and Associate.
As the publisher of Medialternatives, you will no doubt have been following my postings. You may also know me as an anti-apartheid activist and journalist — I happen to have worked for several banned publications during the freedom struggle, including South Press, Grassroots & New Nation.
South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) held special hearings into the role played by the media, 15 – 17 September 1997. Naspers Pty Ltd, a company instrumental in the creation of the apartheid state did not attend. Instead it sent the commission a copy of its corporate history “Oor Grense Heen”.
The company was found guilty.
Volume 4 of the TRC Final report (pg 180) observes: “The history concedes that Die Burger, for instance, promoted Verwoerd’s ideals of bantustans from an early stage and that, after Sharpville, the same newspaper advised that all positive aspects be speeded up. Occasionally, doubts about apartheid do surface but, in the main, the book reflects a total lack of concern for the company’s support of the racist system”
In 2006, Naspers attempted to gag me from speaking out about race segregation and race profiling at its community newspapers division. A lengthy labour case ensued with a decision handed down in 2010. The result was that the TRC Report was trashed, and I was found guilty of harbouring a vendetta against the company, and excoriated because of my exposé of the company’s failure to come clean at the commission. A number of spurious ecclesiastical charges, and other trumped up charges, were also brought against me in the counter-case lodged by the company attacking my Jewish identity and professional conduct.
To make matters worse, I was also thrown in jail for complaining to one of the company’s business partners, Kagiso who it turned out are part of a wider cartel active in the media alongside Naspers, and controlled by several Afrikaner businessmen. The labour judge turned out to also be in business with Kagiso, who are invested in his client Naspers.
After failing to raise sufficient funds to approach South Africa’s Constitutional Court, I lodged a case at the Equality Court of South Africa (EC19/2015), seeking to have the TRC Report upheld by a court of law, and also exposing the deception by Naspers director Ton Vosloo, who has sought to post fact amend the outcome of the report.
I am now appealing to the international community to please assist me in covering my legal expenses, including a cost order against me, in a collateral case at the Equality Court involving the appointment of Ashraf Mahomed, the President of the Cape Law Society, as representative for Naspers, whilst he is acting justice and also on the executive of a body controlling the legal profession of South Africa, — this while I myself do not possess an attorney in a matter affecting the life of the TRC Final Report.
Please assist me in gaining access to justice. Defend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report!
If you wish to donate, or contribute to the campaign for justice, please follow this link to the FundRazr funding appeal.
HOW the memory plays tricks. Not so long ago, Terry Bell, the self-styled labour correspondent who started out at the Independent Group, where he failed to cover any labour disputes involving his bosses, was praising the political dispensation.
Now that he has found a home at Naspers subsidiary Media24, where he once again fails to cover any cases involving his bosses, Bell has taken to writing obscure tracts on state capture and ‘Die Broederbond’.
Perhaps a sign that Bell still has some spine left and could be coming round to Medialternatives’ own exposé of the cartel that is key to understanding state capture of the media and vice versa? (See post here and here)
We certainly hope so.
In a piece published on Bell’s website and ironically also carried by News24, Bell writes about an inquiry during the Verwoerd period, to investigate secretive societies such as the “Afrikaner Broederbond (AB), the Freemasons and the Sons of England”.
In particular he writes about the “exposes (sic) by the brilliant investigative reporter, Charles Bloomberg that revealed that the secretive AB cabal was making the real decisions about the future of the country; that parliament was merely being used as a rubber stamp.”
The inquiry makes an interesting analogy: “Unlike the present allegations of attempts to capture existing state machinery, the first state capture, by the AB, came about through the steady infiltration of leading sections of the Afrikaner nationalist establishment. Over nearly 30 years, leading Afrikaner politicians, academics, religious leaders and educationalists, were recruited to the AB with the object of eventually seizing control of the state and all aspects of society.”
If this doesn’t get your goat, then Bell’s relating of the Teljoy saga (really a prequel to the later Naspers-Multichoice debacle under the regime of PW Botha) definitely gets our blessing, as a piece of apartheid controversy crucial to understanding media today.
“A number of powerful AB members had financial stakes in an embryonic television hire company, Teljoy. This company became South Africa’s leading television and VCR rental organisation with significant interests in cellular telephony. Political modernity had again found its justification in the marketplace.”
“The charade, which then followed, was a classic of its kind. John Vorster appointed an official commission of inquiry into whether and when South Africa should introduce television. The commission was chaired by Broeder 787, Piet Meyer, who was simultaneously head of the national broadcaster, the SABC and of the AB. Eight of the other 11 members of the commission were also AB members while a ninth was a National Party senator. But the 12 commission members merely constituted the public face of the process. As soon as the inquiry was announced, the Broederbond notified its cells and canvassed the opinions that would really matter.”