I have been following the charging of former law and order minister Adriaan Vlok, ex-police chief Johan van der Merwe and three other former high-ranking policemen with interest.
They are accused of attempting to murder the anti-apartheid activist Rev Frank Chikane, now director-general of the presidency, by poison in 1989.
In all probability they will enter into a plea-bargain with the State. If so, they would only appear in the Pretoria High Court for a few minutes.
Amongst the groups expected to protest outside the court building will be the AfriForum, who will hold a demonstration and a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of “victims of ANC terror attacks” and “other victims of gross human rights violations”
“AfriForum will protest in order to demand that ANC leaders will also be prosecuted for atrocities and gross violations of human rights committed by the ANC during the 1980s.”
Now the reason that I believe that these “tit-for-tat” prosecutions will continue to take place, is that the “liberation” of South Africa did not take place by a convincing military victory. In fact the ANC “terrorists” (as we called them then) would not in a million years have made even a dent in the SADF defences. No, our miracle liberation was obtained by the cumulative effect of International Sanctions forcing the apartheid government to the negotiating table, and then relinquishing the richest country in Africa to the will of the people, with hardly a whimper.
“Closure” (what a new word) will never happen while all of these bottled up tensions and feelings remain. Only a crushing military victory, sweeping the victorious new rulers to power, would have had this cleansing effect, and laid all of these unanswered questions to rest.
Thank goodness that sanity did prevail and bloodshed was averted. But the price? The price, dear friends is the reverse apartheid, the settling of old scores and the daily reminder, that even if we fought apartheid and everything it stood for, our white skins will relegate us to the ranks of second-class citizens in this country for many years to come.
So let’s go through the motions, and remember, even foot-washing doesn’t always mean that all is forgiven.