Project Coast: Apartheid's Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme

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

STRUCTURE AND MANAGEMENT OF PROJECT COAST

Wouter Basson was given an extraordinary amount of freedom to conduct the business of Project Coast. His real reporting was not to the formal structures of the project but rather to informal structures that explicitly avoided the formal chain of command. Be that as it may, the formal structures were responsible for the operation of the project. It is important to understand what structures were established for this purpose.

Political decision-making was the responsibility of the Minister of Defence, who for most of the duration of Project Coast was Gen. Magnus Malan (from October 1980-August 1991). The Chief of the Defence Force reported to the Minister and the heads of the branches of the military reported to the Chief of the Defence Force.632 The nature of top-secret projects such as the nuclear programme, the CBW programme, and the covert units of Special Forces, was such that a minimum number of people were made aware of their existence. For this reason the structure responsible for bridging the gap between the Minister of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force, the Defence Command Council, did not as a whole discuss top-secret projects. A Reduced Defence Command Council consisting only of those people who had a “need to know” met after the Defence Command Council meetings. These meetings were chaired by the Chief of the Defence Force and usually excluded the Chiefs of the Air Force and Navy.633

Project Coast was managed by a committee appointed by the Minister of Defence. This committee, the Co-ordinating Management Committee was under the chairmanship of the Chief of the Defence Force. Although the committee was responsible for the project, it was never fully informed of the details. Nevertheless it was the committee's responsibility to ensure that the project was run efficiently, accountably and according to plan.

The Co-ordinating Management Committee included the SurgeonGeneral, the Chief of Staff Finance, the Chief of Staff Intelligence and other

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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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