Rights of reply to Incorruptible

The research for “Incorruptible – The story of the murders of Dulcie September, Anton Lubowski and Chris Hani,” has invoked an avalanche of comments and denials over the years. My last rounds to invite these -during 2003, 2004 and 2005, when the English edition was planned for publication with Jacana publishers in Johannesburg, South Africa-  also led to threats of both a physical and a legal nature. All combined, the volume and intensity of the outrage (next to “you’ll hear from our lawyers,” “slander and libel,” and “we’ll klap you,” the terms ‘unsolicited crap,’ ‘insane,’ ‘evidence of a disturbed, criminal mind,’ were used) was such that Jacana then had to throw in the towel and abandon the book.

Now that I have finally self-published the English, updated, version of the book, I have naturally included therein the comments and denials of all those who are mentioned in a critical way.

However, I could only allocate so much space to the individuals concerned in the book itself. Often, replies ran into two to three pages; one letter amounted to over twenty. Others wrote up to five times demanding to see the entire manuscript and warning us not to publish until their lawyers would have vetted the content. In yet other cases the correspondence between Jacana and me on the one side, and the individual and his lawyers on the other, could have become a book on its own. This was still compounded by the fact that I had also sought comment from some of the same individuals at the time when an earlier version of the book was published in the Netherlands in 2001, and also for an article for ZAM in 2005.

In ‘Incorruptible’, therefore, even though I ended up dedicating an entire chapter to the comment-seeking exercise, I had to summarise the denials and often include the outraged individuals’ letters in footnotes.

Feeling that such summarising might not do justice to the individuals concerned, I have placed all received letters on this website in their entirety (and announced that I would do so in the book.) Where I still kept the initial requests for comment as written by myself (sadly, over the years some of these got lost, but the responses will generally be self-explanatory), I have added these too. Where no answers at all were received (and such silence, as all journalists know, often speaks louder than words,) I have indicated this.

The correspondence is listed per person; alphabetically; and where necessary with a very brief intro. Where some parts of letters are blanked out, this was done where names of third parties were mentioned, real names behind pseudonyms were revealed or issues raised that were in the end not included in the book.

See here for a short introduction to the content of Incorruptible.

R.F. ‘Pik’ Botha, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs, South Africa

Michael Buchanan, neighbour of Chris Hani 1990-1993, South Africa

W.P.J. ‘Ters’ Ehlers, arms trader, South Africa

Burgered ‘Burtie’ Eksteen, business partner of Ters Ehlers, South Africa

Gilbert Eruard/French Embassy

Andreas Guibeb, SWAPO member, formerly student, Geneva, Switzerland

Cecil Irvine, former agrochemicals director of UK chemicals multinational ICI’s South African subsidiary, co-director with Peter Jackson in the latter’s company Pyramid Plastics.

  • Letter to him (untraceable): the original letter, written to Mr Irvine in the context of a publication by ZAM in the Netherlands, has gone missing.
  • Letter from him: Letter from Cecil Irvine_Redacted

Peter Jackson, employer of Janusz Walus, who was convicted for the murder of Chris Hani, South Africa

I wrote to Jackson on three occasions: when I first found his name in the police docket dealing with the Chris Hani murder; secondly, when I published an article (in ZAM in 2005)  based on Jackson’s Rhodesian, UK and apparent arms trade and cross-border traffic links; and thirdly when we were preparing ‘Incorruptible.’ A reply was received only the first time; the later letters to him, sent to four known addresses, were either unanswered or came back undelivered. The first letter to him and his reply, denying any untowardness, are not listed here because they were sent by fax each way and the faxes have become illegible over time. They are however reflected in the book.

Arthur Guy Shaw (‘Guy’) Jackson, British Aerospace middleman, UK/South Africa

A telephonic conversation followed on the sending of the letter. In the conversation, Guy Jackson denied that he had been in South Africa previous to the murder of Chris Hani and said that he had not met Mr Joe Modise until later. He also denied that he had been involved, either with or without his partner Victoria Buxton, in the preparation of Barclays Bank loans for the South African arms deal. He also denied that he knew of or had contacts with the other individuals in sensitive UK companies mentioned in our letter. His comments are included in the book.

Bogdan Letowt, arms and electronics trader and contact of Janusz Walus, South Africa

Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, South Africa

Jackie Modise-Sedibe, widow of former Minister of Defence and Umkhonto we Sizwe commander Joe Modise, South Africa

Reply: After sending the request for comment, a telephonic conversation with Mrs Modise-Sedibe ensued. In the conversation, Mrs Modise denied all knowledge of the issues raised in the letter and stated that her (by then late) husband could not have been corrupt because “if he had been corrupt there would be money” and she had “never seen that money.” The reply is reflected in the book.

Jean-Yves Ollivier, businessman, France

Mr R. von P. Kolbatschenko (Vito Palazzolo), entrepreneur, South Africa

E.J.V. Penzhorn, attorney, South Africa

“Jack Roberts,” free-lance military contractor, South Africa

Gibson Thula, entrepreneur, South Africa

Withold Walus, entrepreneur and brother to Janusz Walus, South Africa

Withold Walus’ lawyers’ response to the request for comment was followed by several other letters from the same lawyers requesting undertakings from the publisher (then Jacana) that Withold Walus would be allowed to scrutinise the manuscript and have access to “full contact details of all the sources of information.” Walus’ lawyers also requested an undertaking from Jacana that nothing would be published before they would have had had the opportunity to go through all the material.  Repeated statements by Jacana that at the time the book was not even
finalised, precisely because publisher and author wanted to be fair and reflect all comments, including Withold Walus’s, and repeated offers to personally interview Withold Walus, were considered insufficient by Walus and his laywers. Walus’ lawyers subsequently – on 24 February 2004 –  lodged a High Court application for “seizure” and “destruction” of “all the matter to be published or associated therewith” as well as punitive costs “and further appropriate or alternate relief.” After the application failed, Walus finally agreed to an interview, but later cancelled.

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