The Presidential Years

Before the inauguration I was asked again by Thabo Mbeki if I would mind to come and help President Mandela in his office at the Union Buildings. I then helped him before Professor Gerwel arrived. So I was in a sense acting director general of the presidency until Professor Gerwel arrived. ...

So the day after President Mandela’s inauguration, I spoke to the police and said to them ‘When the president is coming from the guest house let me know. I will meet him at the back door.’ I was asking ‘Where, is Mr De Klerk? Shouldn’t he meet him at the back door?’ Nobody was there. Neither Deputy President Mbeki. Nobody from the ANC was there. It was me, only.

So I went to the back door when his car arrived. Colonel Jacobs called me because I had a radio with me, police radio, to say they’re leaving the presidency, they are now on their way.

That’s when Fanie Pretorius and I met, and Fanie was not too happy with me because I was issuing instructions all over the place, and he says ‘Where did you come from to give us instructions?’ I said ‘Just do it.’

Chris Streeter