Extract from A Spook’s Progress: Maritz Spaarwater Recalls Meeting with ANC in Switzerland
Random House Struik has released an extract from Maritz Spaarwater’s autobiography, A Spook’s Progress, which reveals the story of his life as an intelligence agent for the South African government.
The following excerpt details the behind-the-scenes meetings that he and other members of the government had with Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma in Switzerland in 1989:
We arrived in Lucerne on 10 September 1989, a day ahead of our appointment with Thabo Mbeki – we did not know who was to accompany him, but assumed it would probably be Jacob Zuma, who at the time was the head of the ANC’s Department of Intelligence and Security and already in the loop. On the eve of our meeting we got a call from our man in Harare, from where our visitors were to have departed, informing us that they would be a day late as their scheduled flight had encountered mechanical problems soon after take-off and had to return to the airport. He also confirmed that Zuma would be with Mbeki.
The next day Mbeki phoned with the same account of events. A day later, on 12 September, our man in Geneva confirmed their arrival at the airport there, advised that they were travelling by car to Lucerne and gave us an estimated time of arrival. He also informed us of their driver, an ANC exile living in Europe who later was appointed to a senior position in the post-apartheid civil service. We thought the visitors would be uncertain of what awaited them. Would the racist devils be waiting with AK-47s to blow them away and blame it on a hostile faction in the ANC? This was not far-fetched, as security forces back home were still wreaking havoc in the ANC ranks and tensions were at fever pitch. Considering their mindset at the time, I thought it quite brave of Mbeki and Zuma to attend, but it later appeared that they had also done some hedging of their own bets. We left the front door of the suite open as, hopefully, a form of reassurance.
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