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Patrick Bond Reflects on Ronnie Kasrils’ Charismatic Time of the Writer Address

Environmental activist Patrick Bond attended the recent Time of the Writer Festival at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he listened to Ronnie Kasrils speak about his biography of his late wife Eleanor, The Unlikely Secret Agent, which won the last year’s Alan Paton Award. Bond had a few of his own discussions with Kasrils and admits to having been so “charmed [by Kasrils] as to confess I will now blindly follow him on any madcap adventure”.

The Unlikely Secret AgentDurban\'s Climate GamblePolitics of Climate Justice

However, in the following article, Bond, who is the author of Durban’s Climate Gamble and Politics of Climate Justice, among other books, also looks critically at Kasrils involvement in the opening of the industrial waste-water recycling plant in South Durban, owned by the world’s largest water privatiser, Paris-based Vivendi:

‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this level,’ said the normally ebullient Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after fourteen years of service to the South African government. It was late September 2008, just after Thabo Mbeki was palace-couped.

Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international laughingstock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best.

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Images courtesy Daily News and Mail & Guardian


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