Warfare by Other Means: South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s by Peter Stiff 


This explosive book explores the methods of highly unconventional warfare conducted by South Africa’s secret intelligence and covert warfare units, always highly deniable and one step away from the official war machine during the final years of apartheid. It is mostly compiled from first hand of operators who took part.
How on 2 February 1990 President FW de Klerk dropped a political bombshell by announcing bans on the ANC, the PAC and others had been lifted and that Nelson Mandela would be released from prison. Unknown to the general public, the shocked higher command echelons of the SADF, who were not in the loop, began discussing plans for a military coup. President F W de Klerk realising the dangers, suddenly shunted Defence Minister Malan and Law and Order Minister Vlok sideways to minor ministries. Some academics confidently speculated that it was a sop to the ANC. No one tumbled that De Klerk and Ministers Pik Botha, Malan and Vlok were the only political figures, together with security force securocrats, who composed the all-powerful State Security Council — a cabal formed by PW Botha which held the power to make war without reference to Parliament. De Klerk made his move to thwart a military coup. He promptly denied this when the author queried this at a public meeting, but despite his denials he emasculated and closed down the SSC shortly afterwards.

"I believe Peter Stiff’s trilogy is one of the best accounts of the border war"
Ockie Geyser, Professor Emeritus
Professor of History at the University of Free State

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