OPERATIONAL UNITS OF THE MILITARY
Project Coast was, at least in part, established to address the P.W. Botha government's need to suppress internal political opposition. It was essential for the Project Officer, or more generally, project management to have a channel of communication with the police who were responsible for suppressing civilian resistance. Basson's personal relationship with the South African Police (SAP) forensic chief Gen. Lothar Neethling was one such channel.
One of the scientists who was later to head the biological warfare facility, Daan Goosen, claimed to have introduced the two men. Goosen was, at that stage, married to Neethling's niece. Basson and Neethling immediately got on well136 and became personal friends. Their relationship went well beyond their professional contact. Testifying in the Basson trial, Niel Kirstein, the property developer in some of Basson's enterprises, said that Basson and Neethling owned adjacent properties in Pretoria and that they intended purchasing the adjoining properties with the view to development.13 Kirstein also told the court about a Sunday flight to Walvis Bay with Basson and Neethling, who had “an appointment” in the enclave. According to Basson's defence attorney, Adv. Jaap Cilliers, Basson and Neethling were on official duty all day, meeting representatives of UNITA, Germany and Portugal. No explanation was given as to what this meeting was about or who the foreign representatives were. Basson testified that he and Neethling had been responsible for jointly developing the “recipe” for the CR fill for “projectiles”, of which he said thousands were made.
During Basson's trial and the earlier TRC hearings, it emerged that during the early years of Project Coast Neethling visited Roodeplaat Research Laboratories139 as well as the laboratories at the Special Forces headquarters140 which were used by Basson. Gen. Knobel expressed surprise at the extent of the contact between the two men when he was questioned during the trial. He claimed to have been unaware of their