In July 1991 disclosures appeared in the media that the government had for some time been providing clandestine assistance to the Inkatha Freedom Party. 

President De Klerk’s first reaction was to establish the facts. His enquiries revealed that the SAP and the SADF had been providing assistance to the IFP arising from secret projects that had been launched before his presidency. They included assistance to UWUSA, an IFP linked trade union: support for IFP political activities; and the training of 200 members of the KwaZulu police to enable them to protect members of the KwaZulu government from the type of ANC attacks that had resulted in the deaths of more than 400 IFP leaders. 

Nevertheless, the continuation of such operations was irreconcilable with the clear instructions that President De Klerk had given to the security forces at the beginning of 1990 to restrict their activities to their statutory duties. He decided to move General Magnus Malan, the Minister of Defence and Mr Adriaan Vlok, the Minister of Police to other portfolios.  

On 30 July, 1991 President De Klerk addressed a press conference at which he stated that political parties or organisations “may not be financed from secret funds.” He announced the appointment of a small advisory committee from the private sector (The Khan Committee) to advise him regarding the continuation of existing secret projects. He denied that any projects were intended to support violent action against the ANC: 

“The storm surrounding the assistance to Inkatha rallies late in 1989 and early in- 1990 is now being seized upon in certain quarters as proof for unsubstantiated allegations that the security forces are involved in violence on the part of Inkatha.  

I wish to repeat that neither the Police nor the Defence Force are involved in the instigation, promotion or commission of violence. Any evidence that may emerge and indicate the contrary will be investigated thoroughly. Relentless action will be taken against any members of the Security Services who may make themselves guilty in this respect or who may incite or assist members of Inkatha or any other movement to perpetrate violent actions.  

The Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation has been instituted by law, among other things, for the purpose of investigating allegations of this kind.  

The composition of the Commission has been subjected from the outset to a process of consultation with other parties. Considerable progress has been made and it is hoped that the Commission will be appointed soon.  

As soon as the Commission is functioning, I will be prepared to use my powers in terms of the act concerned to have concrete allegations of security force involvement in violence investigated.  

 However, the investigation of rumours is to no avail. Therefore, I wish to issue a personal invitation to everyone who may dispose of such concrete evidence to come forward. On receipt of a sworn statement to that effect, and which is not based merely on hearsay, and if the witness pledges to appear before the Commission, I undertake to refer such a case to the Commission.  

The Government has nothing to hide in this matter. We do not have a double agenda and it is untrue that we have a strategy to disrupt our opponents. I take very strong exception to the alleged statement attributed to Mr Mandela to the effect that I am seeking to promote my cause over the corpses of his supporters. If he did say that, I reject it with indignation. “