Project Coast: Apartheid's Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme

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

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

The front companies of Project Coast were designed to hide the military's involvement in chemical and biological warfare. It was argued that they would be able to procure equipment and substances more easily than official military structures, an appealing argument in the light of economic sanctions against South Africa. The use of front companies also allowed the scientists access to colleagues internationally180 and scientists could be attracted by the higher salaries offered at these institutions compared to the military.

Three front companies were authorised by the Minister of Defence. Delta G Scientific was to be the chemical warfare facility. Roodeplaat Research Laboratories (RRL) was to be the biological warfare facility and the evaluation and testing facility for the chemical agents produced at Delta G Scientific. Infladel was to be the administrative and finance company.181

Delta G Scientific and Roodeplaat Research Laboratories were the only two facilities where research and production of chemical and biological agents was carried out. It is extremely unlikely that any other facilities were used for this purpose under the auspices of Project Coast. The basis for this observation is that the audits of Project Coast show no significant amounts which could have been used for the purpose of large-scale production other than Delta G and RRL.

The scientific community in South Africa was small and the Afrikaans scientific community was a fraction of the broader scientific community. Word got around quickly and scientists soon knew what their colleagues were doing. Within this community it was an open secret that RRL was a biological warfare facility and Delta G a chemical warfare facility. Delta G was referred to jokingly as “the secretive organisation” (die geheimsinnige organisasie).182 Most of the scientists working within the front companies of the chemical and biological warfare programme retained their associations with their colleagues, mainly at the University of Pretoria, Rand Afrikaans

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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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