by Bantu Holomisa – UDM President
Mr. John Stuart’s (ANC member) suggestion in Business Day of 13 October 1998 that the leadership of the United Democratic Movement was involved and had prior knowledge of the cold blooded murder of four youths in Umtata by the South African security forces is false and disgusting. We reject it with the contempt it deserves. Such an outrageous accusation can only be made by someone who deliberately chooses to be ignorant of the true facts about various developments in our painful transition from apartheid to democracy.
The allegations for the involvement of the then Transkei Government or its security forces are without proof. The suggestion that we were involved is an insult to the intelligence and integrity of the Transkei people and the then security forces because it was a well known fact that at the time of the Northcrest raid and murders, our government and the people of the Transkei were constantly harassed and prosecuted by the De Klerk regime.
Our immediate response to these killings was to challenge De Klerk to explain and alternatively to institute an inquiry. It was because of our open condemnation of this act that De Klerk acknowledged the responsibility of South African forces. We went so far as to expel the South African Ambassador in Transkei, Mr. van Rensburg.
Indeed it was in this context that when De Klerk received joint nomination with Mr. Mandela for the Nobel Peace Price we condemned the nomination but Mr. Nelson Mandela supported Mr. De Klerk’s nomination.
In my public continuous condemnation of the SA action as head of Transkei Government I categorically stated that Mr. De Klerk should be charged for the North Crest killings but Mandela apologised publicly for De Klerk. These are actions that someone implicated in a crime would hardly decide to take. It is therefore difficult to accept that these allegations are made by a sober, rational, intelligent and a responsible mind. When you cannot comprehend a matter of public record how can you claim any measure of intelligence and political understanding enough to tutor and advise millions of South Africans about their freedom of choice in political organisations.
Why is it not ignorance of the first degree to accuse former Lesotho Premier Leabua Jonathan for South African military raids into Lesotho when Lesotho was offering refugee and support to the South African freedom fighters?
In fabricating these false and wild accusations against the UDM leadership, Mr. Stuart forget to mention that the ANC and PAC leadership was not only safe in the Transkei but was offered material support and protection by the government and people of Transkei against the South African apartheid state.
The current ANC and PAC leadership are aware of this and that is precisely why they accepted our support and training of their forces at a time when Mr. John Stuart was living in the comfort of his secluded society. We demand a full apology from him about these unfounded allegations.
The North Crest massacre must be seen in the context of an oversight by the ANC leadership who started the negotiations in secret with the National Intelligence abroad and in jail. What precautionary measures did Zuma, Mbeki and others put in place during the so-called negotiations to make sure that exiles and many in this country would not be victimised as it happened in July 1990. Mr. Stuart will agree with me that many people were killed / massacred by F W de Klerk’s forces between 1990 and 1993, as compared to the entire period of the struggle. It was during this period that the likes of Hani and others died prematurely.
It should be noted by you, Mr. Stuart, and your ANC organisation that these are the same forces which Thabo / Zuma are boastfully telling us that they were negotiating with. One becomes suspicious whether their recommendations to their Leadership after they had met the apartheid regime were not leading South Africans into a Trojan Horse or a Dingaan’s Kraal style. ANC leadership has to take blame by putting too much trust in F W de Klerk’s war machinery to guarantee the safety of all South Africans in the period referred to above.
President of the United Democratic Movement