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Historia

On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X

Abstract

VAN WYK, Jo-Ansie. Nuclear terrorism in Africa: The ANC's Operation Mac and the attack on the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in South Africa. Historia [online]. 2015, vol.60, n.2, pp.51-67. ISSN 2309-8392.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-8392/2015/V60N2A3.

In December 1982, four explosions occurred at Africa's only nuclear power plant, Koeberg. Situated north of Cape Town, a fully on-steam Koeberg could have spread radioactive material over a very large populated area. The banned, and apartheid-designated terrorist organisation, the African National Congress (ANC), regarded by the South African government as a Muscovite client, accepted responsibility for the attack which was designed to hit at the heart of white South Africa and its security apparatus. While the ANC won the propaganda war in this instance, the South African government suffered a humiliating political and economic blow. This article shows that the Koeberg attack took place during a new phase in the ANC's liberation struggle, a phase which used small operational units to, inter alia, target state-owned energy facilities. The attack on Koeberg is also indicative of the ANC's opposition to the development and maintenance of a nuclear weapons programme and nuclear weapons in South Africa at a time when the country was being increasingly isolated on account of its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Keywords : South Africa; ANC; armed struggle; Umkhonto we Sizwe; Koeberg Nuclear Power Station; nuclear terrorism; Rodney Wilkinson; Aboobaker Ismail; Africa Hinterland; Dolphin Unit; Operation Mac.

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