OPEN LETTER 14 January 1999
[Blast from the Past: OPEN LETTER 14 January 1999, to a president, about a president & a prime-minister]
The President of the USA (Bill Clinton)
The White House
In South African newspapers you are reported to have said in a speech at the White House that the present South African President, Nelson Mandela, had taught you not to hate your political enemies. Mandela is said to have told you that he harboured no grudge against his enemies who "cast him into jail". And you, in the speech concerned, said that your (present) crisis could be compared to Mandela's suffering in jail.
You seem to be under some misapprehension about the circumstances of Mandela's incarceration and the crimes for which he was sentenced to imprisonment, otherwise you may not be desirous to identify with him. And you evidently have been given a distorted idea of how the African National Congress (ANC) under direction of its leader, Nelson Mandela, is vengeantly ( infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person) acting against their political enemies and opponents.
Your remark about Mandela's having been "cast into jail" creates a wrong impression. Mr President, he was not "cast into jail": he was charged for acts of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Judge President of the then Transvaal Division of the South African Supreme Court after a protacted hearing in which he had had representation and every opportunity to defend himself. He, however, refused to take the oath and testify, and could consequently not be taken under cross-examination. Finding him guilty, the Judge said that he had been wrongly charged for acts of sabotage instead of for treason, in which case the sentence would not have been imprisonment but the death penalty. The trial was attended by journalists, jurists and others from all over the world. None could find fault with the proceedings and the findings of the Court.
Even The Rand Daily Mail, the most outspoken liberal newspaper at the time in South Africa, and in many ways a supporter of Mandela and the ANC, wrote about the sentences passed by the judge, “The sentences pronounced by Judge De Wet at the close of the Rivonia trial are both wise and just. The law is best served when there is firmness tinged with mercy, and this was the case yesterday. The sentences could not have been less severe than those imposed. The men found guilty had planned sabotage on a wide scale and had conspired for armed revolution. As the judge pointed out yesterday, the crime of which they were found guilty was really high treason. The death penalty would have been justified.”
These are the facts of history. Sentencing Mandela to imprisonment instead of letting him be hanged was an act of mercy on the part of his political enemies. Mandela has, therefore, every reason to be grateful and not the least reason to harbour a grudge against them. He owes his life to them. You will agree that this puts a completely different complexion on your statement that "he was cast into jail".
This is by no means all of which Mandela should be grateful for. In the time of PW Botha's prime ministership in the 'eighties Mandela was moved from the Robben Island prison to the Pollsmoor prison near Cape Town, where he received VIP treatment. PW Botha was in this way making the first instalments in Mandela's release on the pretext that he would not wish "an old man to die in prison".
From Pollsmoor prison Mandela was moved to the residence of a senior officer on the staff of the Prisons Department in the town of Paarl in the Western Cape. There he had every convenience at his disposal to play a political rôle, including the use of a fax machine. And he was attended to day and night by a white policeman.
After a carefully orchestrated campaign inside and outside South Africa he was released by the FW de Klerk government to a stage-managed reception in Cape Town, receiving prime coverage from the South African Broadcasting Corporation and providing him with a launching pad for political initiatives. Thereafter the De Klerk government in a treasonable series of acts started peace negotiations with the ANC and moved on to draw up a new constitution on the basis of one man, one vote in an undivided South Africa, which in essence meant surrendering to the ANC and enabling Mandela to become the president of South Africa.
The essence of this political move was spelt out by Paul Johnson, well-known British intellectual, in The Spectator in April 1994. "South Africa under F W de Klerk", he said, "Made a suicidal leap to universal suffrage". He predicted that within ten years the country could be the theatre of Africa's endless civil wars. "In any case it would become an industrial rubble heap, beastly, bloody and bankrupt (...) There is not the slightest hope that it (South Africa) will continue to exist on a system of universal suffrage - it is one of the most divided societies on earth: racially, ethnically, linguistically, as well as economically".
This is De Klerk's achievement. You may recall that you at one stage telephoned him and told him that you "marvelled" at what he was achieving in pushing South Africa along this disastrous course.
Some ten months later (February 1995) The Spectator published another article on South Africa in which its readers were told, "A country ravaged by crime and corruption, with plummeting standards and a people condemned to a sordid and brutal life". The article describes the ANC government as "corrupt and incompetent". This is Nelson Mandela's government.
What is revealing is that while De Klerk was treacherously steering the country towards this national misery, newspapers reported: "Britain fights fervently for FW in UN debate". And later: "Brits full of praise for FW as architect of peaceful change". And eventually: "Brits bear De Klerk, their hero, on their hands". Only an Afrikaner who is a traitor to his own people would be regarded by Brits as their hero. And De Klerk became the hero of Brits by letting loose the man who, according to Judge De Wet, should have been hanged for high treason.
You may sense the degree of loathing on the part of Afrikaners like myself, who had a father who fought, was wounded and kept a prisoner-of-war on St Helena Island by the British for more than two years while they devastated the country and caused the death of over 22 000 children under the age of 16 years and who, a few generations thereafter sees De Klerk being treated as a hero by Brits for having "irreversibly" destroyed White South Africa (as in foolish vanity he said his aim was).
As Mr Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Britain, said in January 1998 that the British "never forget the past even when addressing the future", so we naturally also do not forget the past - also the recent past when the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) had their headquarters in London from where with British moral and other support they conducted their terrorism against South Africa.
In the period September 1984 to August 1989 no fewer than 1770 schools were destroyed or extensively damaged, as were 7187 private homes of Blacks, 10318 buses, 152 trains, 12188 private vehicles, 1265 shops and factories, 60 post offices, 47 churches and 30 health clinics. And, what is even worse, there were 300 cold-blooded murders by the barbarous necklace method and 372 deaths of people trapped in homes set alight by terrorist gangs.
These were the means employed in "the struggle" to bring to power, under Mandela, a Communist-controlled organisation, which Peter Younghusband, in the London Daily Mail in November 1994, described as follows, "The ANC never was worth much as a liberation movement - and apart from a few random urban terrorist acts, its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was equally worth little as a fighting force (...) the ANC very conveniently sat in exile waiting for the world to bring the White regime to its knees". And, he said, Mandela is unable to run the country, and he and the ANC is steadily reducing South Africa to yet another Third World plodder.
It is one thing to say that Mandela bears his political enemies no grudge, but it is another thing to judge him by what he does, by what he allows, and by what he neglects to do. To consider this one must see it in its historical perspective. When Mandela and his Communist cohorts at their Rivonia hide-out (Lilliesleaf Farm) were planning bloody revolution in the early 'sixties, the Afrikaner Nationalist Government (ANG) was under the leadership of Dr HF Verwoerd. And it was under the direction of Dr Verwoerd that this Communist conspiracy to violently overthrow the South African government was stamped out, Mandela and his collaborators landing in jail and the organisation of the Communist Party of South Africa being destroyed shortly thereafter through the efficient action of the security police in infiltrating the Communist cells.
Verwoerd frustrated and humiliatingly defeated Mandela's plans. And for Mandela there is consequently one political enemy not to be forgiven for saving South Africa from a bloody Communist revolution. That is Hendrik Verwoerd. He and his ghost are haunting those who are destroying the results of his unequalled successful statecraft.
Verwoerd was not only the man under whose direction a Communist-led revolution was prevented. He also became the towering South African statesman of this century, and he was equal, if not superior, to any of his contemporaries in the Western World, a statement that may be evaluated on the ground of his achievements in the face of international enmity from the Anglo-American block, the Communist block and the Afro-Asian block.
He not only secured South Africa's survival against this many-sided onslaught: he, more-over lifted the country to a level of stability, well-being and prosperity seldom, if ever equalled in history anywhere under similar circumstances.
To support this remark let me call opponents and enemies of Verwoerd to testify in this regard. Jan Botha, an outspoken liberal, in his book, Verwoerd is dead, refers to "the threats from the United Nations and the arms boycott by the United States and Britain". Then he writes:
"By the time he died, Dr Verwoerd had built his own monument which was there for all to see: the Republic of South Africa. The White people had been forged together in unity, the country was militarily strong and resilient, the police and security forces were effectively dealing with all attempts at subversion and infiltration, the country's economy was dynamic, expanding and had become largely self-sufficient.
"... in the history of South Africa his name will live for ever as the leader who, when his country was threatened with internal disorders and with economic sanctions, boycotts and open aggression from overseas, stood as a symbol of defiance, and the will and determination to survive".
He not only frustrated the objectives of the great power blocks, but he also defeated the ANC's plans to create internal disorder.
That Jan Botha's was not a lone voice, can be shown by quotations from other sources. Paul Barrow in The Statist shortly before Verwoerd was assassinated on 6 September 1966 by the Communist Tsafendas wrote, "At the rate at which South Africa is now expanding, the term 'miracle' is likely to be appropriate to its development in the next few years".
And on 31 July 1966 the unofficial mouthpiece of the South African liberal establishment The Rand Daily Mail, wrote:
"At the age of nearly 65 Dr Verwoerd has reached the peak of a remarkable career. No other South African prime minister has ever been in such a powerful position in the country. He is at the head of a massive majority after a resounding victory at the polls. The nation is suffering from a surfeit of prosperity and he can command almost unlimited funds for all that he needs at present in the way of military defence. He can claim that South Africa is a shining example of peace in a troubled continent, if only because overwhelming domestic power can always command peace. Finally, as if that were not enough, he can face the session with the knowledge that, short of an unthinkable show of force by people whom South Africans are rapidly being taught to regard as their enemies, he can snap his fingers at the United Nations. Thanks to the recent judgment of the Hague Court he can afford to condescend to the world body, graciously remaining a member as long as it suits him".These are the achievements of the man against whose memory a vendetta is being conducted under the direction of Mandela and his comrades. His name was ordered to be removed from the Verwoerd Building, the Verwoerd Dam, the Verwoerd Hospital, and under Mandela's leadership his statue at the Free State provincial headquarters was pulled down in an act bristling with hatred and vengeance.
Of course, Verwoerd as leader of the Afrikaners being a symbol of his people, the attacks on him have been indirect attacks on the Afrikaners themselves, so that Mandela's followers - never rebuked - felt free to shout: "Kill a farmer, kill a Boer", instigating the killing of hundreds of Afrikaner farmers and their families, 431 in 1997 and 104 from 1 January to 31 August 1998 in 590 attacks.
In the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya in the 'sixties only 39 White farmers were killed and in the terrorist war against Rhodesia only 300 were killed in the course of 14 years. Among those who have had as their battle cry "Kill a farmer, Kill a Boer" is Peter Mokaba, promoted by Mandela to Deputy Minister. Other appointments of identified Communists as Ministers and Deputy Ministers tell the same story, highlighted by the appointment of the Communist Mboweni as President of the SA Reserve Bank in a move to further impoverish Afrikaners in the name of "affirmative action". These are ways in which Mandela has been allowing his grudge against the Afrikaners, as his political enemies, to be exploited, while he goes around pretending that he has no grievance against his enemies.
Even more unmistakable are his appointments to the so-called Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the way in which this commission has conducted its business. It was packed by him with enemies and opponents of the former government. The two Afrikaners, De Jager and Malan, who were included among the 15 other, were in different ways opponents of the previous government. However, De Jager resigned in disappointment, if not disgust, and Malan eventually showed his dissension from the majority by writing a minority report on the Commission's findings.
This commission appointed by Mandela has little to do with truth and nothing with reconciliation.
It is a hybridization between the Nuremberg trials of German war leaders and Stalin's Moscow Show Trials of the nineteen thirties. Its prime objective was to place Afrikaners on the bench of the accused to be prosecuted, tried and convicted by their enemies, and to treat the ANC terrorists on a completely different basis, which resulted in some amazing events.
In flagrant violation of the provisions of the relevant act it, for example, granted amnesty to a bunch of 37 top level ANC leaders for crimes associated with political motives, without specifying the various acts, which is in conflict with the requirements of the law. In this group there are among others, Thabo Mbeki,Leader of the ANC, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nzo, Minister of Justice Omar and Minister of Defence Modise. Although this decision has been nullified by a judicial verdict, nothing has been done to rectify the situation.
In such cases, the Commission's concern was not seeking and revealing the truth, but suppressing and stifling it - a procedure that would not have been countenanced when it concerned Afrikaners of the Security services who fought against the terrorists. They were paraded as criminals who individually under severe pressure had to confess in detail for whatever amnesty was asked for.
In these various ways Mandela created outlets for his grudges against the Afrikaners -- the very people whose representatives saved him from the gallows and later gave him all the help to become the President of South Africa.
Against this background it is dismaying to read that this man has every reason to hate his enemies, yet does not think of retribution! And while allowing a vendetta to be conducted against the Afrikaners, he is presiding over the decay of this country, which the Afrikaners wrestled from the wilderness, fought wars for against imperial powers and, under Dr Verwoerd, was developing into the industrial giant of Africa.
Where under Verwoerd, "the nation was suffering from a surfeit of prosperity", and South Africa "was a shining example of peace on a troubled continent", under Mandela the nation is suffering from a surfeit of poverty and the country has become the crime capital of the world - 137 reported rapes, 63 murders, 73 attempted murders, 176 robberies, 670 housebreakings and 35 highjackings on an average every day of the year. It is common cause that a government that cannot secure the lives and properties of its civilians is unfit to rule.
"South Africa", read a newspaper report on 29 November 1998, "occupies the first or second spot in all forms of crime on the world list for crime, and it is the young people and the homeless who pay the price". Of the thousands who passed the matric examinations in 1998 less than one in 10 will get a job in the formal sector. In the four years of ANC government the national debt more than doubled - from R194 billion ($34 billion) In 1994 to over R400 billion ($70 billion) presently, the interest on which accounts for 21 per cent of the budget.
In the same period the South African rand lost 80 per cent of its value. And in the first ten months of 1998 more than 2,8 million man-days were lost to a wave of industrial strikes.
This is a picture of the country which under Verwoerd had the second highest economic growth rate in the world (7,9% per year), an average inflation rate of 2 per cent, was accommodating new labour in the formal sector at 73,6 per cent per year, and enabled the living standards of Blacks in the industrial sector to rise at 5,3 per cent per year as against those of Whites at 3,9 per cent per year. The Financial Mail published a special survey entitled "The fabulous years: 1961-66". And as the previously mentioned Jan Botha wrote, Verwoerd "had launched the greatest programme of socio-economic upliftment for the non-Whites that South Africa had ever seen".
This, Verwoerd achieved in the face of fierce diplomatic and economic opposition from the United States, Britain, Soviet Russia and others. Mandela, on the other hand, has the blessing and support of these powers, yet under his hand the country is disintegrating and has sunk to a state of lawlessness, joblessness and futurelessness unprecedented in South African history.
Yet, Mandela is not struggling to emulate Verwoerd, but to denigrate him and his people.
Perhaps you will reconsider your emotional identification with Mandela in the light of historical truth.
J A MARAIS
LEADER OF THE HNP