Threats of Communist expansion in Apartheid South Africa: NP claims versus CIA intelligence perspectives in the years 1960 to 1990.
Senekal, Burgert A
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There is a popular perception that the threat of Soviet expansionism during the time of South Africa’s Border War (1966-1989) was a fabrication by the National Party government to motivate young men to fight to maintain Apartheid as the main political ideology. This perception is voiced by numerous authors of “grensliteratuur”, as well as some historians, e.g. Baines and Drewett. The claim of the National Party was that the Soviet Union attempted to expand its political influence in South Africa in order to obtain control over South Africa’s mineral resources and the country’s strategically located shipping routes and harbours. This article uses declassified CIA intelligence reports to engage with both claims, and asks: Was Soviet/ Communist expansion in South Africa true or a fabrication? The finding is that the CIA shared Botha and Malan’s views, and since CIA reports – unlike ministerial speeches – were not intended for wide circulation, they cannot be accused of serving propaganda purposes. The conclusion is therefore that the declassified documents indicate that the NP Goverments of Malan and his successors agreed with the CIA, and therefore the claim of a Soviet threat in Namibia and Angola cannot be labelled an NP fabrication.