White Activist Works to Boost Popularity of Ciskei Dictator
BASIE OOSTHUYSEN is a 28-year-old white Afrikaner who helps lead a conservative black political movement aimed at thwarting the fortunes of the African National Congress (ANC) in this strongly pro-ANC tribal homeland.
He is an unlikely candidate to be acting general secretary of the African Democratic Movement (ADM). Sitting in the plush lounge of the Amatola Sun, the luxury hotel and casino complex in the surreal capital of this impoverished homeland, Mr. Oosthuysen explained how he become involved.
"I am an African and I have nowhere else to go," he said.
"How will you ever have democracy here if your opposition goes around killing your members?" he asks in a reference to the ANC. "Obviously, you will have to keep a firm hand on it."
Oosthuysen, who grew up in nearby Queenstown, backs up his claim to being African with fluent Xhosa and a familiar relationship with the hotel staff. He served his two years national service in Namibia where he did "intelligence work" with Comops, the division of the Department of Military Intelligence that devises ways of winning the hearts and minds of blacks.
In the mid-1980s Comops developed a national network of anticommunist, Christian National motivation courses under the national umbrella of the military propaganda front, Adult Education.
In 1988 Oosthuysen took over as an instructor in Dynamic Teaching in East London - the Eastern Cape version of Adult Education. The firm was exposed as a military intelligence front of the South African Defense Force (SADF) in late 1991.
Oosthuysen quit Dynamic Teaching in May to take up a post as political adviser to Ciskei's military leader, Brig. Joshua `Oupa' Gqozo. He admits that for the first three months he was on the payroll of the highly secretive SADF military intelligence front - International Researchers-Ciskei Intelligence Services (IR-CIS) - for "purely adminsitrative reasons."
He also admits that it was during these months that the groundwork was laid to launch the ADM in August 1991.
Oosthuysen claimed that the ADM had about 7,000 card-carrying members and had held four rallies since its launching 13 months ago.
He complained about incessant attacks carried out against ADM members but denied that it was policy for ADM members to be recruited by a private security company, Peace Force Security, which has set up in the homeland.
"We believe in multiparty democracy and free enterprise," he said. "The ADM is a party for the silent majority."
Oosthuysen said the ADM regarded the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party as a friend despite revelations that Inkatha had received clandestine support from the government and that its members had been armed and trained in secret SADF camps.
"We have not found these disclosures troubling because we share the same principles and values," he said.