De Klerk awaits Coetzee report: South African President confirms British told him of agents' plot to assassinate defector in London

PRESIDENT F W de Klerk, reacting yesterday to a report in the Independent, acknowledged he had been fully informed of allegations that two South African military intelligence agents plotted three months ago with Ulster loyalists to kill Dirk Coetzee, a South African police defector based in London.

In contrast to the response from the South African Defence Force (SADF), Mr de Klerk did not seek to play down the significance of the allegations, making it clear that he took them very seriously.

'I was fully informed of the situation at the time this incident occurred and gave instructions that every assistance and co-operation be given to the British authorities,' Mr de Klerk said. 'Departmental investigations are continuing and I hope to be informed of the final results in the near future.' The SADF response yesterday was to repeat as fact the cover story provided to the British police by the two agents - Captain Pamela du Randt and Leon Flores - after they were arrested in London on 15 April. In a statement, the SADF said that two members of the Defence Force had been sent to London to confirm a possible link between Umkhonto weSizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military wing of the African National Congress, and the IRA. Any possible wrongdoing was an 'individual' matter.

British officials involved in monitoring the April operation dismissed the claims of Captain Du Randt and Mr Flores that they were pursuing a possible IRA- ANC connection.

During the visit, the statement said, one member, acting without the sanction or knowledge of the Defence Force or any other government authority, allegedly decided to arrange for the monitoring of Mr Coetzee. The statement added that the SADF had no interest whatsoever in the former security police captain.

However, SADF military intelligence was carrying out a thorough investigation with the close co-operation of the British authorities. 'The possibility of collusion between the individual in question and an individual or individuals who are not members of the SADF is also being investigated,' the Defence Force said.

Asked yesterday as to the whereabouts of Captain Du Randt and Mr Flores, SADF spokesman Colonel John Rolt said that, in the case of Captain Du Randt, he could not divulge this information for reasons of privacy and security. He did confirm, however, that she was not under arrest. As to Mr Flores, Colonel Rolt said he had 'found out nothing about him'.

Yesterday's Independent report said the matter had also been referred to the South African police for investigation. A spokesman for the Minister of Law and Order in Pretoria, Captain Craig Kotze, confirmed that 'reports allegedly concerning us' were being investigated by the police. But, unaware of the details of the investigation, he referred further inquiries to Colonel Reg Crewe of the police PR department.

Colonel Crewe, it turned out, was even more in the dark than Captain Kotze. He said he was aware of the Independent report - but that was all. He knew nothing of any police investigation.

The ANC's response yesterday was predictably more forthright. ANC spokesman Carl Niehaus said that 'the report from London confirmed the ANC's view that security officers are involved in planning acts of violence'.

An ANC statement last night said: 'Reports in the international media indicate that despite De Klerk's assurances of the past, the South African state still employs murder as a crucial instrument of policy. More significantly, the name of General Van der Westhuizen, head of the SADF Military Intelligence, once again is implicated in this murder plot. De Klerk still has not explained why such a person retains his position in the SADF enabling him to use the powers of his office for such nefarious purposes.'

Yesterday's Independent report coincided with an announcement by President De Klerk of a number of new measures designed to halt township violence. He promised to disband three controversial security force units, upgrade single-sex hostels, and ban the carrying of dangerous weapons. The ANC dismissed it as 'cheap party political propaganda'.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence