WHEN General Roy During (59) disclosed the existence of a hit-squad within his own force, it reflected the deep chasm that had opened between himself and his colleagues during his reign as KZP commissioner.
An “outsider” in the force, During was more comfortable with the policemen of the new South Africa than with those trapped in the “total onslaught” era.
When South Africa’s most celebrated prisoner, Nelson Mandela, walked to freedom in 1990, During — then a newly-appointed general — was in charge of his security along with that of South African Communist Party leader Joe Slovo and other high profile returning exiles.
During said the assignment had been one of the “high-points” of the 40-year police career he was “pushed into” by his police father. Soon thereafter During went into a short-lived retirement.
His relaxation in the Cape came to an end when he was asked by Pretoria to lead the KZP through the difficult transitional period. But after less than two years, he found he could not follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, General Jac Buchner, the former security policeman who was part of organising cross-border raids into neighbouring countries against ANC “terrorists”, and who built an close relationship with Mathe and Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
One critic of During this week described the general as “spineless” during his short reign in Ulundi. He failed to call in outside investigators to conduct a thorough investigation into the force — and enormous pressure had to be put on him before he acted on a few occasions.
In his submission to the TEC, During behaved as though he was trapped in the “total onslaught” era rather than the new South Africa, referring to Slovo as a “colonel”, allegedly the rank given to the SACP leader by the KGB.
Now saying that he “had an eyeful” of two years of “intrigue and double-agendas”, During added that he will co-operate with any investigation launched into the force.
During plans to go on a holiday to Spain, Portugal and England. And later, if there is “something in the offing in the Cape, I’d certainly consider getting involved. I’m far too young and alive to just sit on the verandah and read newspapers — that would just kill me”.