Mail & Guardian



Former president PW Botha “went through the roof” when he heard the radical proposals of a hand-picked team of senior civil servants whom he had mandated to find solutions to break the deadlock with the ANC in 1987.

In their final proposal, the civil servants who participat­ed in “Operation Skrik vir Niks” criticised the way government was handling reform and political resistance, snubbed the securocrat­s and the military, and predicted revolution­ary conflict if steps were not urgently taken by government to change its attitude to the liberation forces and political change.

In their project document the team said the security forces did not have the resources to hold the liberation movements at bay for much longer and said the economy was suffering as a result of unrest and a lack of political vision.

They rejected the notion that political reform could take place from within the apartheid framework, and pointed out the government lacked credibilit­y and legitimacy among blacks and some groups of white people.

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