page 2012/41-22 - Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 22) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_022.jpg]

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ZA COM NMFP-2012/41-2012/41-22


Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 22) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_022.jpg]


  • 2011 (Creation)

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Verne Harris

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Page 22 of Nelson Mandela's Warders
James Gregory

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Access by permission of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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  • English

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account as ‘nonsense’. ‘The only champagne breakfast was on Nelson's birthday,’ he recalls. ‘Gregory has taken that event and changed it.’

The final chapters of Gregory’s book document further his friendly, even intimate, relationship with Mandela. They sat and read together, they talked together, they walked in the garden together. And then on the release day an event occurred that only Gregory has ever mentioned: a planned assassination of Mandela as he walked to freedom. Neither Mandela in his autobiography, nor Sampson in his biography believed this should be reported, nor has it been mentioned in other Mandela literature. It is, perhaps, fantasy although, predictably, Gregory is the man of the moment.

With half an hour to go Gregory is told that National Intelligence has received information from MI5 in Britain, that one of the armed guards lining the route to the gate is a hitman. How this problem was sorted out was left to Gregory, even though Marais was his senior officer.

I went into the office. I could see Nelson strolling with his family in the garden, showing them the flowers he had taken pride in tending and the vegetables he had grown. I gave an order to the main control. ‘This is Warrant Officer Gregory. I want every person along the road to the gate, including all guards, totally disarmed. I also want every officer, up to and including generals and their bodyguards, disarmed.’ There was a stunned silence at the other end. Back came a captain, Joubert was his name. ‘Uh, ja, Gregory, what are you playing at, man?’ ‘Captain, this is an order for your people, and if it is not carried out now, then Nelson Mandela is not being released. And that will mean there will be many embarrassed prison department people who will have a lot of explaining to do. So, to repeat, I want everyone disarmed. Do I make myself clear? Now do it. I have the authority of the minister, so move, man.’ (p366ff)

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