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Hennie van Vuuren's book reveals how profits kept the apartheid machine running

17 May 2017 5:11 PM
Apartheid, Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit lifts the lid on some of the darkest secrets of apartheid’s economic crimes

Hennie van Vuuren is an activist, writer, and Director of Open Secrets, focusing on accountability for economic crimes and human rights violations.

He works from within civil society, challenging corruption and the abuse of power. Van Vuuren has written his book titled: Apartheid Guns and Money over the past five years.

A small team and myself worked for five years trying to figure an aspect of our past that we seem to know the least about.

Hennie van Vuuren, activist, writer and Director of Open Secrets

The economic crimes that took place in the last fifteen odd years of apartheid.

Hennie van Vuuren, activist, writer and Director of Open Secrets

Van Vuuren describes that time as one of the most secretive periods of South Africa's history.

Together with his team of researchers, they tried to figure out who was behind the facilitation of trade in weapons, complicit in supporting the crime of apartheid and those who profited from those crimes.

He adds that what he attempts to debunk in the book is the notion that corruption has not only surfaced in the black-led, post-apartheid government.

Corruption is an economic crime, its something that has been with us forever. One of the two factors that exacerbate it are secrecy on the one hand and a concentration of power on the other.

Hennie van Vuuren, activist, writer and Director of Open Secrets

Van Vuuren says one of the things they investigated was buying and selling of weapons under the administration of PW Botha. Through a period of twenty years between the 70's and 90's almost half a trillion went through an account without being noticed.

The amount of money that flowed through the special defence account is six hundred times more than the famous information scandal of the late 1970's.

Hennie van Vuuren, activist, writer and Director of Open Secrets

Van Vuuren explains that apartheid could have possibly ended sooner if it wasn't generating the enormous profits it did.

Listen to the full interview below:


17 May 2017 5:11 PM