Revealed: Vlok’s ‘terror plot’ document

The mystery document which Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok used this week to back his claims of a secret terror campaign against the September polls has been released to the Weekly Mail. The document is a draft of a resolution put before the recent annual congress of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It bears some similarity to Vlok’s description – but makes no mention of terror or violence. And while the document was drafted for presentation at the congress, it was never discussed.

Cosatu officials say that the document has been distorted by Vlok to create the impression that Cosatu has plotted revolutionary violence. ”We challenge the minister to prove ‘ his allegations in open court,” said Cosatu assistant general secretary Sydney Mufamadi. ”We are also consulting our legal advisers to determine whether we have the basis for an action against him.”  

The controversial document, submitted as a draft resolution to Cosatu’s congress, but never formally adopted, urged union members to take part in campaigns on the following dates: 

  • July 20: Mass action to challenge the segregation of health services.  
  • July 30: Defiance of all forms race discrimination in education, housing, job opportunities, education and recreation.  
  • August 20: Nation-wide mass rallies, street demonstrations, processions and openly displaying the insignia of all banned organisations.  
  • Early September: A week of ”militant mass action” against the tricameral parliament and elections. 
  • October: A conference of anti-apartheid organisations that will plan action ”to finally smash apartheid”.

Says the draft resolution: ”We must mobilise a national defiance campaign to all unjust and discriminatory laws. We commit ourselves to mobilising every Cosatu member to take part in this ongoing defiance campaign, that will culminate in a week of militant mass action during the first week of September.” Press reports of Vlok’s speech in Fochville on Tuesday night indicate the minister incorrectly claimed the document called for action against hospital segregation on August 2. 

The minister also referred to a number of campaigns – a planned march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria, use of petrol bombs against election candidates and a petition to demand the release of political prisoners – which are nowhere to be found in the document. ”A number of claimed actions and dates which the minister alleges the document contains are not even mentioned in the draft,” said Mufamadi. ”Secondly, some of the proposals, for example, to go to hospitals and demand that ‘health facilities are de¬segregrated and opened to all people’ is distorted by Minister Vlok to read ‘people must turn up at hospitals … to disrupt medical services’. 

More serious was Vlok’s claim that intimidation and a petrol-bomb campaign was planned around the elections, said Mufamadi. ”This is a blatant lie. There is nothing in the document which remotely suggests acts of violence.” Mufamadi acknowledged much of the document ”accurately reflects the mood of the congress and the people as a whole” but said time constraints bad prevented it from being discussed at the congress. The war of words between the minister and the one-million-strong labour federation could spill over into a major confrontation. Resistance groups have indicated a grim determination to proceed with the peaceful protests despite Vlok’s threats, raising prospects that a cycle of escalatIng resistance and repression is imminent. 

A number of rallies against the Labour Relations Act, jointly organised by Cosatu and the National Council of Trade Unions, were broken up and banned by security police at the weekend and the unions have vowed to take protest action if polite action – continues. At a press conference earlier in the – week -called by resistance groups to announce ”direct and peaceful action” against segregated services – number of speakers said Vlok has skewed the document to justify crackdown on leaders of Cosatu and other organisations. ”This is characteristic Natspeak in which truth and distortion have beer twisted by Vlok,” said prominent anti-apartheid activist Mohammed Valli. ”It is designed to prepare whites for another clamp on the opposition movement … Insofar as an actions have been planned, we would like to make it clear that these are to be organised and non-violent.” 

The conference, attended by a large contingent of Western diplomats, announced the start of a campaign 01 August 2 in which sick township residents will begin presenting themselves at whites-only hospitals for treatment. The protests, and the government response to them, will be a crucial test of the enlightened image that many Western statesmen have of FW de Klerk’ s leadership. Observers note it would be incongruous for Pretoria to say it is willing to negotiate settlement to South Africa’s problem and reform apartheid, while it cracks down on peaceful protests against racial segregation.

Sensing the dilemma the government finds itself in, church leader Allan Boesak this week issued a state¬ment saying: ”The Minister of Law and Order should not so easily resort to threats and intimidation. Rather he should understand that this presents him with an opportunity to rid himself of a system which he himself says has become an albatross around his neck.” Hospitals targeted in the campaign include the Johannesburg Hospital, the Paardekraal Hospital on the West Rand, the Vereeninging Hospital, the HF Verwoed Hospital in Pretoria, the Addington Hospital in Durban, Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg and hospitals in Dundee and Port Shepstone. An alliance of more than 30 organisations announced peaceful defiance of segregation in education, recreation, transport and housing would follow the hospitals campaign. These would include protests against the tricameral parliament during election week.

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail


M&G Newspaper

An actual Black Friday deal

Subscribe for R2/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Eddie Koch
Guest Author

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Magashule wants court to throw out state’s case against him

Former Free State premier asks the court to declare that the state's case against him contains no evidence that would lead to a successful conviction

Brakes put on foreign truck drivers

New legislation aims to protect local jobs in the transport sector amid questions as to whether SA has enough willing and skilled drivers

Western Cape schools benefit from zero waste project

The initiative provides schools with a toolkit to reduce the waste they send to landfills by recycling more effectively

The Mozambican criminal who escaped from South African prisons, twice

A rhino-poaching suspect, who recently escaped from police custody, has been identified as a criminal who was serving multiple life sentences when he broke out of prison last year

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…