Project Coast: Apartheid's Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme

By Chandré Gould; Peter Folb et al. | Go to book overview

THE BOTHA REGIME AND TOTAL STRATEGY

The appointment of P.W. Botha as Minister of Defence in South Africa in 1968 signalled a change in the understanding of the security situation both in South Africa and in the southern African region. Instead of focusing on threats directed at South Africa, Botha espoused a broader vision of security, encompassing the East-West global ideological conflict and South Africa's role in it. Three themes predominated in his speeches: that the West was threatened by Soviet expansionism, that South Africa was part of the West, and that Soviet strategy was to cut Europe off from South Africa's essential raw materials.8

South Africa's neighbouring States were important in Botha's security thinking. They were portrayed as South Africa's first line of defence against Soviet expansionism. The South African government concluded security agreements with Portugal and Rhodesia, so that in practice Angola, Mozambique and Rhodesia became South Africa's front line.

Botha's understanding of the conflict between his government and the South African liberation movements was influenced by the findings of the Potgieter Commission of Inquiry in 1970, which concluded that: “it is no secret that the enemies of the Republic are trying to attack in all fields”.9 The Commission viewed South Africa as being faced by a “total onslaught” from beyond its borders, and recommended the adoption of a “total national strategy”.10 According to the 1975 Defence White Paper, the “total strategy” included “economic, ideological, technological, and even social matters”.11

The theory of “total strategy” was originally put forward by French military general, Andre Beaufre, based on his experiences of World War II and the Indo-China war. Beaufre saw a role for politicians in the development of military strategy. He argued that a war can be won through the effective co-ordination of all elements of the State with a single purpose—to engage the enemy on all fronts: military, economic,

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Project Coast: Apartheid's Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Foreword v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Acronyms xiii
  • Introduction* 1
  • Summary of Findings 7
  • The Botha Regime and Total Strategy 11
  • The Regional Context 21
  • Chemical Weapons in South Africa Prior to Project Coast 31
  • Project Coast's Links with the Police and Operational Units of the Military 47
  • Getting Down to Business 57
  • Roodeplaat Research Laboratories 69
  • The Private Companies 103
  • The de Klerk Years (1989-1993) and the Use of Cbw Agents 115
  • The Phases of Project Coast's Development 143
  • Allegations of Fraud: The Sale of Delta G Scientific and Rrl 145
  • The Intention of the Programme 153
  • Incidents of Poisoning 159
  • Structure and Management of Project Coast 169
  • International Links 191
  • Closing Down 209
  • Basson's Arrest and the Trc Hearing 223
  • The Criminal Trial of Dr Wouter Basson 231
  • Notes 241
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