The Coetzee Plot: Curb special units, UK insists

THE disclosure of the plot in London is likely to have an explosive effect on the course of today's crucial meeting in New York of the Security Council, which will be attended by South Africa's main political leaders and which will consider any future international action over South Africa.

Britain, the closest to Pretoria among the Permanent Five on the Security Council, has already insisted privately to President F W de Klerk that he must use the information to crack down on the uncontrolled elements within the intelligence and special forces, who are blocking the road to reform. One informed source says John Major has hammered home this point to the President in an exchange of 17 faxes between Downing Street and Pretoria since the disclosure of the plot.

Nelson Mandela, the ANC president, had planned to ask the Security Council today to send a special envoy, possibly Cyrus Vance, to report on the political violence, and for UN monitors to be sent in after that. Britain, however, has been desperate to prevent any intervention by the UN or other bodies which President de Klerk does not want.

The meeting will also be attended by Pik Botha, South Africa's Foreign Minister; Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Inkatha leader, and nine African foreign ministers. Britain has dissuaded the Africans from presenting a resolution condemning the South African government.

The British view is that Mr de Klerk has been effectively blackmailed into delaying reforms by elements in the special forces, who fear a 'Nuremberg' trial after a transition to black majority rule. The special forces form a self- armed, self-financing group after years of cover companies erected during the sanctions against South Africa. Mr de Klerk has been powerless to control them. It is now hoped the revelations may give him support in cracking down on the uncontrolled elements - who, apart from trying to eliminate former colleagues like Dirk Coetzee and others they regard as traitors, also instigate mayhem in the townships to put obstacles on the way to reform.

Mr Mandela said before flying to New York that the need for international intervention was an indictment of the government: 'It is regrettable that we as South African leaders should not be able to find a solution and should have to invite the international community to look into our problems.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

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
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions