Mark Wiley - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Welcome to the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project. Our aim is to locate, document, digitise, and provide access to all archival materials related to Nelson Mandela. This is a work in progress. Here is a selection of materials arranged in exhibits for your enjoyment.
The photo you have sent does have an interesting story attached to it. If my memory serves me correctly it was 1999 and at the height of the urban terror campaign during which the Western Cape was seriously affected. Bombs were going off frequently, assassinations were taking place and the police were not making much headway.
The Premier of the Western Cape, Gerald Morkel, had been trying to get a meeting with President Mandela for some time to voice his concern and raise the issue of the Western Cape being left to fend for itself against this onslaught. For many months there was no response and frustration between the national government and the only province governed by an opposition party was reaching a crisis of constitutional proportions.
Premier Morkel left for overseas on an official visit and left Peter Marais as acting Premier. A bomb went off in Cape Town, Marais phones the Presidency and within hours, a meeting with President Mandela is arranged at Tuynhuys. As MEC for Community Safety I go along. It should be remembered that this was also the period when the ANC was keen to put the NNP (New National Party) government under stress by creating divisions within the NNP.
Here was a golden opportunity and later this approach also led to the ‘breyani meeting’ with President Mandela.
Typical of Marais he keeps the President waiting for 15 minutes. Zelda la Grange is furious when we get there.
The meeting is attended by the Intelligence, Police and Justice Ministers, National Police Commissioner George Fivaz and several other senior police commissioners.
The reason I am so angry at the packed media conference afterwards is because the President had been lied to by the South African Police Service (SAPS) about the SAPS strength in the Western Cape to combat the terror threat, and also that the overall SAPS manpower strategy was insufficient to combat crime in general.
I had full go at the SAPS in the meeting and Mr Mandela reached across in a grandfatherly way, patted me on the arm, and said, “We will deal with this”. Shortly after that the policing manpower plan changed dramatically and the Western Cape also got better resources.
Quote: "Shortly after that the policing manpower plan changed dramatically and the Western Cape also got better resources."
Collection: Moments with a Legend