Plotting general breaks cover to organise the right: Pretoria's former military intelligence chief launches a public crusade to confront both the government and the ANC

GENERAL Tienie Groenewald, a former air attache at the South African embassy in London, has been kept under close scrutiny for some time by those sectors of the intelligence services loyal to President F W de Klerk. The task has been made less difficult in the past week by his decision to come into the open about his plans to help forge a far-right front against the government and the African National Congress, allies in seeking a negotiated democratic settlement.

Gen Groenewald was head of Military Intelligence (MI) in the mid- 1980s under President P W Botha, and was one of the half-dozen most powerful people in South Africa. His tasks included orchestrating covert schemes to assist the Unita and Renamo insurgents in Angola and Mozambique. During this time, too, MI identified Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha movement as a useful instrument in promoting division and violent instability among blacks. The aim was to stop the African National Congress from taking power, to derail what was described as a Moscow-orchestrated Communist 'total onslaught'.

The world has changed but Gen Groenewald's views have not. He retains close contacts with serving and retired members of the security forces and has engaged in discussions with politicians who share his belief in the need to create an independent Afrikaner 'fatherland' free of the ANC's Communist contagion.

As the South African press has now revealed, Gen Groenewald has broadened his scope and emerged as the key figure in a 'Committee of Generals' - retired army and police officers - who see it as their task to galvanise the fragmented right wing into forging a united plan of action.

In an interview with the Johannesburg Star yesterday, Gen Groenewald denied he was hatching plans for a new 'armed struggle' but defended people's right to 'self-protection'. Such a need might come about should the Afrikaners he represents opt, 'as a last resort', for secession.

First, however, he defined the committee's objective as unifying the right wing, at present divided into more than 50 small, squabbling sub-groups. Second, pressure - in the form of mass protest if necessary - would be applied for the creation of an Afrikaner state. Specifically, this meant bolstering the positions of a loose right-wing alliance taking part in multi-party talks, the Concerned South Africans Grouping (Cosag).

Cosag was founded late last year at the initiative of Chief Buthelezi and includes the Inkatha Freedom Party, the right-wing Conservative Party, a marginally more moderate body called the Afrikaner Volksunie, and the governments of the so-called 'homelands' of Ciskei and Bophuthatswana. Each in their separate ways strives to preserve the power and privilege obtained under the apartheid system.

Elections are anathema to Cosag and Gen Groenewald. These may only take place, they insist, once a system of nation-states entrenching modified versions of the old apartheid power blocs has been put into a constitution.

Suggested Topics
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes