A report that a tip from a CIA spy to authorities during apartheid led to former president Nelson Mandela’s arrest in 1962 is proof that western powers were trying to destabilise former liberation movements in Southern Africa, the ANC said on Sunday.
“That revelation confirms what we have always known, that they are working against [us], even today,” national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.
“It’s not thumb sucked, it’s not a conspiracy [theory]. It is now confirmed that it did not only start now, there is a pattern in history.”
According to AFP, the Sunday Times in the United Kingdom cited comments reportedly made by Donald Rickard, a former US vice-consul in Durban and CIA operative, to British film director John Irvin.
Irvin’s new film Mandela’s Gun, about the months before Mandela arrest was due to be screened at the Cannes film festival this week.
Rickard reportedly explained how Mandela was arrested as he travelled between Durban and Johannesburg but did not explain how he had learnt where he would be.
“I found out when he was coming down and how he was coming… that’s where I was involved and that’s where Mandela was caught,” Rickard was quoted as saying.
He added that Mandela was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union”.
Mandela had to be stopped
“He could have incited a war in South Africa, the United States would have to get involved, grudgingly, and things could have gone to hell.
“We were teetering on the brink here and it had to be stopped, which meant Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”
Earlier this week, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who attended a meeting of former liberation movements in Zimbabwe, said the movements had become powerful governments but had also become targets of regime change.
According to eNCA, Mantashe said western powers turned to the practice as a way of overthrowing political authorities considered inconvenient to western interests.
This is not the first time Mantashe has made such allegations.
In February, speaking at an anti-racism march in Pretoria, he accused the US Embassy of meeting daily to advance regime change in South Africa.
Mantashe accused the embassy of taking people to the United States for six weeks and then bringing them back to the South Africa and planting them on campuses.
He was referring to the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which was part of the Young African Leadership Initiative.