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