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Operation Mayibuye

Document found by the police at Rivonia, 11 July 1963


The white state has thrown overboard every pretence of rule by democratic
process. Armed to the teeth it has presented the people with only one choice and
that is its overthrow by force and violence. It can now truly be said that very
little, if any, scope exists for the smashing of white supremacy other than by
means of mass revolutionary action, the main content of which is armed
resistance leading to victory by military means.

The political events which have occurred in the last few years have convinced
the overwhelming majority of the people that no mass struggle which is not
backed up by armed resistance and military offensive operations, can hope to
make a real impact. This can be seen from the general mood of the people and
their readiness to undertake even desperate and suicidal violent campaigns of
the Leballo type. It can also be gauged by their reluctance to participate in
orthodox political struggles in which they expose themselves to massive
retaliation without a prospect of hitting back. We are confident that the masses
will respond in overwhelming numbers to a lead which holds out a real
possibility of successful armed struggle .

Thus two important ingredients of a revolutionary situation are present: -

  1. A disillusionment with constitutional or semi-constitutional forms of
    struggle and a conviction that the road to victory is through force;
  2. A militancy and a readiness to respond to a lead which holds out a real
    possibility of successful struggle.

In the light of the existence of these ingredients the prosecution of
military struggle depends for its success on two further factors: -

  1. The strength of the enemy. This must not be looked at statically but in
    the light of objective factors, which in a period of military struggle may
    well expose its brittleness and
  2. The existence of a clear leadership with material resources at its
    disposal to spark off and sustain military operations.

The objective military conditions in which the movement finds itself makes
the possibility of a general uprising leading to direct military struggle an
unlikely one. Rather, as in Cuba, the general uprising must be sparked off by
organised and well prepared guerrilla operations during the course of which the
masses of the people will be drawn in and armed.

We have no illusions about the difficulties which face us in launching and
successfully prosecuting guerrilla operations leading to military victory. Nor
do we assume that such a struggle will be over swiftly. We have taken into
account and carefully weighed numerous factors and we mention some of them:

  1. We are faced with a powerfully armed modern state with tremendous
    industrial resources, which can, at least in the initial period, count on
    the support of three million whites. At the same time the State is isolated
    practically from the rest of the world, and if effective work is done, will
    have to rely in the main on its own resources. The very concentration of
    industry and power and the interdependence of the various localities
    operates as both an advantage and a disadvantage for the enemy. It operates
    as a disadvantage because effective guerrilla operations can within a
    relatively short period create far greater economic havoc and confusion than
    in a backward, decentralised country.
  2. The people are unarmed and lack personnel who have been trained in all
    aspects of military operations. A proper organisation of the almost
    unlimited assistance which we can obtain from friendly Governments will
    counter-balance its disadvantage. In the long run a guerrilla struggle
    relies on the enemy for its source of supply. But in order to make this
    possible an initial effective arming of the first group of guerrilla bands
    is essential. It is also vital to place in the field persons trained in the
    art of war who will act as a nucleus of organisers and commanders of
    guerrilla operations.
  3. The absence of friendly borders and long scale impregnable natural bases
    from which to operate are both disadvantages. But more important than these
    factors is the support of the people who in certain situations are better
    protection than mountains and forests. In the rural areas which become the
    main theatre of guerrilla operations in the initial phase, the overwhelming
    majority of the people will protect and safeguard the guerrillas and this
    fact will to some measure negative the disadvantages. In any event we must
    not underestimate the fact that there is terrain in many parts of South
    Africa, which although not classically impregnable is suitable for guerrilla
    type operations. Boer guerrillas with the support of their people operated
    in the plains of the Transvaal. Although conditions have changed there is
    still a lesson to be learnt from this.

Although we must prepare for a protracted war we must not lose sight of the
fact that the political isolation of South Africa from the world community of
nations and particularly the active hostility towards it from almost the whole
of the African Continent and the Socialist world may result in such massive
assistance in various forms, that the state structure will collapse far sooner
than we can at the moment envisage. Direct military intervention in South West
Africa, an effective economic and military boycott, even armed international
action at some more advanced stage of the struggle are real possibilities which
will play an important role. In no other territory where guerrilla operations
have been undertaken has the international situation been such a vital factor
operating against the enemy. We are not unaware that there are powerful external
monopoly interests who will attempt to bolster up the white state. With
effective work they can be isolated and neutralised. The events of the last few
years have shown that the issue of racial discrimination cuts across world
ideological conflict albeit that the West proceeds from opportunistic premises.

The following plan envisages a process which will place in the field, at a
date fixed now, simultaneously in pre-selected areas armed and trained guerrilla
bands who will find ready to join the local guerrilla bands with arms and
equipment at their disposal. It will further coincide with a massive propaganda
campaign both inside and outside South Africa and a general call for
unprecedented mass struggle throughout the land, both violent and non-violent.
In the initial period when for a short while the military adv. [sic] will be
ours the plan envisages a massive onslaught on pre-selected targets which will
create maximum havoc and confusion in the enemy camp and which will inject into
the masses of the people and other friendly forces a feeling of confidence that
here at least is an army of liberation equipped and capable of leading them to
victory. In this period the cornerstone of guerrilla operations is
"shamelessly attack the weak and shamelessly flee from the strong".

We are convinced that this plan is capable of fulfillment. But only if the
whole apparatus of the movement both here and abroad is mobilised for its
implementation and if every member now prepares to make unlimited sacrifice for
the achievement of our goal. The time for small thinking is over because history
leaves us no choice.

PART 11.


  1. Port Elizabeth - Mzimkulu.
  2. Port Shepstone - Swaziland.
  3. North Western Transvaal, bordering respectively Bechuanaland &
  4. North Western Cape - South West.

PART 111.


  1. Simultaneous landing of 4 groups of 30 based on our present resources
    whether by ship or air - armed and properly equipped in such a way as to be
    self sufficient in every respect for at least a month.
  2. At the initial stages it is proposed that the 30 are split up into
    platoons of 10 each to operate more or less within a contiguous area and
    linking their activities with pre-arranged local groups.
  3. Simultaneously with the landing of the groups of 30 and thereafter, there
    should be a supply of arms and other war material to arm the local
    populations which become integrated with the guerrilla units.
  4. On landing, a detailed plan of attack on pre-selected targets with a view
    to taking the enemy by surprise, creating the maximum impact on the
    populace, creating as much chaos and confusion for the enemy as possible.
  5. Choice of suitable areas will be based on the nature of the terrain, with
    a view to establishing base areas from which our units can attack and to
    which they can retreat.
  6. Before these operations take place political authority will have been set
    up in secrecy in a friendly territory with a view to supervising the
    struggle both in its internal and external aspects. It is visualised that
    this authority will in due course of time develop into a Provisional
    Revolutionary Government . 7. This Political Authority should trim its
    machinery so that simultaneously with the commencement of operations it will
    throw out massive propaganda to win world support for our struggle, more
    particularly: -
    1. A complete enforcement of boycott,
    2. Enlisting the support of the international trade union movement to
      refuse handling war materials and other goods intended for the South
      African Government,
    3. Raising a storm at the United Nations which should be urged to intervene
      militarily in South West Africa.
    4. Raising of large scale credits for the prosecution of the struggle
    5. Arranging for radio facilities for daily transmission to the world and
      to the people of South Africa.
    6. If possible the Political Authority should arrange for the initial
      onslaught to bombard the country or certain areas with a flood of leaflets
      by plane announcing the commencement of our armed struggle as well as our
      aims, and calling upon the population to rise against the Government.
    7. Stepping up transport plans, e.g. a weekly or bi weekly airlift of
      trainees outside the country in order to maintain a regular, if small flow
      of trained personnel.
    8. In order to facilitate the implementation of the military aspect of the
      plan it is proposed the National High Command appoint personnel to be
      quartered at Dar under the auspices of the office there.



In preparation for the commencement of operations when our external team
lands, intensive as well as extensive work will have been done. For instance,
guerrilla units will have been set up in the main areas mapped out in Part I
above as well as in the other areas away from the immediate scene of operation.

Progressively sabotage activity throughout the country will be stepped up
before these operations. Political pressure too, in the meanwhile will be
stepped up in conjunction with the sabotage activity.

In furtherance of the general ideas set out above the plan for internal
organisation is along the following pattern: -

  1. Our target is that on arrival the external force should find at least
    7,000 men in the four main areas ready to join the guerrilla army in the
    initial onslaught. Those will be allocated as follows: -
    1. Eastern Cape - Transkei 2,000
    2. Natal - Zululand 2,000
    3. North Western Transvaal 2,000
    4. North-Western Cape 1,000
  2. To realise our target in each of the main areas it is proposed that each
    of the four areas should have an overall command whose task it will be to
    divide its area into regions, which in turn will be allocated a figure in
    proportion to their relative importance.
  3. The preparation for equipping the initial force envisaged in I above will
    take place in three stages, thus:
    1. By importation of Military supply at two levels:
      1. Build up of firearms, ammunition and explosives by maintaining a
        regular flow over a period of time.
      2. By landing additional [supplies] simultaneously with the arrival of
        our external force.
    2. Acquisition and accumulation internally of firearms, ammunition and
      explosives at all levels of our organisation.
    3. Collection and accumulation of other military such as food, medicines,
      communication equipment etc.
  4. It is proposed that auxiliary guerrilla/sabotage units in the four main
    areas be set up before and after the commencement of operations. They may
    engage in activities that may serve to disperse the enemy forces, assist to
    maintain the fighting ability of the guerrillas as well as draw in the
    masses in support of the guerrillas.
  5. It is proposed that in areas falling outside the four main guerrilla areas
    MK units should be set up to act in support of the activities in the
    guerrilla areas, and to harass the enemy.
  6. In order to draw in the masses of the population the political wing should
    arouse the people to participate in the struggles that are designed to
    create an upheaval throughout the country.



In order to implement the plans set out above in Parts I to 111 we establish
Departments which are to be charged with duties to study and submit detailed
reports and plans in respect of each of their Departments with the following
terms of reference: -

1. Intelligence Department

This Committee will be required to study and report on the following: -

  1. The exact extent of each area
  2. The portions of the country that are naturally suited for our operations
    and their location within each area.
  3. Points along the coast which would be suitable for landing of men and
    supplies and how these are going to be transferred from the point of landing
    to the area of operations.
  4. The situation of enemy forces in each area, thus: -
    1. the military and the police as well as their strength
    2. military and police camps, and towns, and the distances between them,
    3. system of all forms of communication in the area,
    4. the location of trading stations and chiefs and headmen`s kraals.
    5. air fields and air strips in the areas.
  5. Selection of targets to be tackled in initial phase of guerrilla
    operations with a view to causing maximum damage to the enemy as well as
    preventing the quick deployment of reinforcements.

    In its study the Committee should bear in mind the following main targets: -
    1. strategic road, railways and other communications
    2. power stations
    3. police, stations, camps and military forces
    4. irredeemable Government stooges.
  6. A study of climatic conditions in relation to seasons, as well as diseases
    common to the area.
  7. The population distribution in the areas as well as the main crops.
  8. Rivers and dams.
  9. And generally all other relevant matters

2. External Planning Committee which shall be charged with the
following tasks: -

  1. Obtaining of arms, ammunition and explosives and other equipment
  2. In co-operation with our internal machinery, making arrangements for the
    despatch of items in I above into the country
  3. Obtaining of transport by land, sea and air for the landing of our task
    force and for the continued supply of military equipment.

3. Political Authority

We make a strong recommendation that the joint sponsoring organisations
should immediately set about creating a political machinery for the direction of
the revolutionary struggle as set out in Nos. 6, 7 and 8 of Part 11 and to set
up a special committee to direct guerrilla political education.

4. Transport Committee.

This Committee is assigned the following duties: -

  1. The organisation of transport facilities for our trainees
  2. To organise transport for the re entry of our trainees
  3. To undertake any transport duties assigned to them from time to time .

5. Logistics Department - Technical and Supply Committee

Its Functions are: -

  1. To manufacture and build up a stock of arms, ammunition from internal
  2. To organise reception, distribution and storage of supplies from external
  3. To organise the training of personnel in the use of equipment referred to
    in (a) and (b) above.
  4. Obtaining of all other relevant supplies necessary to prosecute an armed
    struggle, to wit, inter alia, medical supplies, clothing, food, etc., and
    the storage of these at strategic points.
  5. Acquiring equipment to facilitate communications.
  6. To undertake all duties and functions that fall under the Department of



1. Immediate Duties of the National High Command in Relation to the
Guerilla Areas:

  1. To map out regions in each area with a view to organising Regional and
    District Commands and NK [sic] units.
  2. To achieve this we strongly recommend the employment of 10 full time
    organisers in each area.
  3. The organisers shall be directly responsible to the National High Command
  4. The NHC is directed to recruit and arrange for the external training of at
    least 300 men in the next two months.

2. Personal

  1. Intelligence Alex Secundus Otto
  2. External Planning Committee Johnson, Thabo and Joseph together with
    a senior ANC rep. as well as co-opted personnel, seconded to us by friendly
  3. Transport Committee Percy secundus Nbata.
  4. Logistics Dept. Bri-bri secundus Frank

3. Special Directives to Heads of Departments.

The Heads of Departments are required to submit not later than the 30th May,
1963, plans detailing: -

  1. The structural organisation of their Department
  2. The type and number of personnel they require to be allocated to them and
    their duties and functions.
  3. The funds required for their work both for immediate and long term
  4. Schedule of time required to enable them to fulfill given targets and what
    these are.
  5. Other matters relating to the efficient execution of the Departments

4. Organisation of Areas. Organisers and Setting up of proper Machinery
Rethau and James for this task.