At war with the West

The ANC has adopted as its official position an intelligence report that claims Western imperialist powers are working through opposition parties, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and campaigns such as #ZumaMustFall to bring about “regime change” in countries including South Africa.

The report, marked “confidential”, flows from a workshop of secretaries-general of six former liberation movements of the region, hosted by Zanu-PF and attended by the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe, at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe in May last year.

Also present were representatives of Mozambique’s Frelimo, Angola’s MPLA, Namibia’s Swapo, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Tanzania’s governing CCM.

In a telephone interview this week, Mantashe confirmed that the report represents the ANC’s official position. Indeed, it appears to underpin an interaction between a Mantashe-led ANC delegation and Botswana’s President Ian Khama in Gaborone last month.

According to Botswana’s Patriot newspaper, Billy Masetlha – a member of the ANC’s sub-committee on international relations who accompanied Mantashe – told Khama that imperialist forces might already have infiltrated intelligence networks to bring down the governing BDP. The report also appears to have shaped South African government policy.

In his budget speech in Parliament this week, State Security Minister David Mahlobo said foreign governments were using underhanded tactics in pursuit of “their narrow national interests and national security”, and, in the process, destabilising a number of countries, including South Africa.

“During the past year, they [foreign governments] continued their efforts in close collaboration with negative domestic forces to undermine our democratic and constitutional advances,” Mahlobo claimed.

Soft power

The report draws parallels between the Mozambican rebel group Renamo and South Africa’s DA and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), stating: “The workshop drew further analogies of regime change manifestation in the intermittent resurgence of Renamo banditry in Mozambique [and] the emergence of the … DA and the EFF in South Africa, ostensibly spurred by the Marikana incident.”

Again referring to the Marikana massacre, in which police gunned down 34 mine workers in 2012, it says the South African protest movement has a new tendency of “directly challenging state power or provoking the security forces of a target state, its police or army into violent confrontation like what happened at Marikana”.

The report lists “#tag campaigns on social media, such as #ZumaMustFall and #FeesMustFall”, as being among the “soft power” tactics used to advance the cause of regime change in the region.

“Soft power involves the creation and provision of support to generally anti-communist, antisocialist, procapitalist and pro-imperialist movements in target countries,” it states.

“It … involves concerted moves aimed at subverting democratic processes and negatively exploiting the constitutional order in the target country.”

Also included in the “battery of tactical adjuncts available to soft power” listed in the report, are:

– Strangulation of target economies through declared and undeclared sanctions;

– Destabilisation and neutralisation of security forces;

– Stigmatisation and demonisation of targeted political parties and their leaders;

– Negative media onslaughts that are now referred to as “perception management operations”;

– Youth exchange programmes under so-called democracy and good governance programmes;

– Incessant premeditated contestations of electoral outcomes by losing opposition formations and their civil society adjuncts; and

– Subversion and infiltration of ruling parties and their governments.


The report claims that Western interests in southern Africa are seeking “to establish military domination, including military bases within the region, as an option for rapid escalation to hard power where soft power fails in pursuit of regime change.

“The architects of regime change also create a plethora of foreign-directed and funded NGOs which act as Trojan horses, storm troopers and force multipliers for their subversive agenda in targeted countries,” the report adds.

It points a finger at the US Agency for International Development as “the principal agency that promotes the strategic and economic interests of the US across the globe, as part of a new counterinsurgency doctrine”.

It alleges that Western “quasi-private pseudo foundations” such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the Albert Einstein Institute in the US, the UK’s Westminster Foundation and Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation “launder funding and strategic aid to political parties, NGOs [and] student organisations aimed at promoting the West’s agenda, under the guise of strengthening democratic institutions”.

The report portrays Zimbabwe as the prime target of the West’s regime change conspiracy.

It describes the country as “having endured a virulent, sustained and unrelenting regime change assault since 1999 – [and] has been more or less the laboratory, and Zanu-PF the guinea pig, in which the West has developed and tested all aspects of regime change variants, which it is now visiting upon virtually all the liberation movements of southern Africa”.

“This onslaught’s objective is to remove Zanu-PF from power and replace it with a puppet regime that will be pliant in reversing the gains of the liberation struggle, not least the government’s land reform, indigenisation and economic empowerment programme.”

The report also claims the British government, through the Westminster Foundation, created the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as “the prime internal adjunct and Trojan horse for its regime change strategy in Zimbabwe”.

Mantashe and his ANC delegation met Khama and other senior BDP officials, including vice-president Mokgweetsi Masisi and party BDP secretary-general Botsalo Ntuane, last month.

In its account of the meeting, The Patriot cites the intelligence report, stating that it was based on information compiled by SA Intelligence with a specific focus on “the political turmoil currently engulfing South Africa and threatening the presidency of Jacob Zuma”.

The newspaper also reported that the SA Intelligence has operations in Botswana and possesses information showing that the US, through its agencies, “is splashing money on the DA and the Umbrella for Democratic Change [UDC] in Botswana, to help them to bring regime change”.

“The [intelligence] report has indicated that the US government and some Western countries have already committed to fund the UDC ahead of the 2019 general elections, to bring regime change in Botswana,” it reported.

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