Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils at the launch of the Sidikiwe Vukani ‘Vote No’ campaign. Picture: DANIEL BORN
Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils at the launch of the Sidikiwe Vukani ‘Vote No’ campaign. Picture: DANIEL BORN

FORMER intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils said being called a counter-revolutionary is an extremely damaging accusation.

"It carries with it a grave threat to one’s security‚" Kasrils said at the start of the defamation trial against Deputy Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe.

Kasrils is suing Maphatsoe‚ who is also national chairman of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association‚ for R1m for statements he made two years ago.

Maphatsoe accused Kasrils of being an enemy of the people and of giving instructions to "Khwezi"‚ the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005.

Kasrils testified before the High Court in Pretoria about joining the ANC in 1960 and about serving in various roles in its armed wing‚ Umkhonto we Sizwe‚ in a number countries until the 1990s.

He said to be called a counter-revolutionary was the deepest form of insult one could make.

When asked by his counsel‚ Dali Mpofu SC‚ what would happen in the past to those who were referred to as an enemy of the people‚ Kasrils recalled the necklacing of people in the 1980s who were suspected of being enemy agents or informers.

"It was immediate lynching. It is possible some of the people were informers… but we do know there were innocent people‚" Kasrils said.

He also said there were people who believed he was a sell-out.

According to Kasrils, as someone who used to visit rural areas and townships on his own‚ he now needed to think twice before making those visits.

"I have to be very careful."

Kasrils said there were signs that he was under surveillance. "I now have to behave in the way I did pre-democracy."

Kasrils said‚ after Maphatsoe made the allegations‚ there were questions from his close friends‚ at home and abroad‚ about the veracity of the claim that he was an enemy of the people.

"As someone who is proud of my reputation‚ this attack has been very hurtful‚" Kasrils said.

Maphatsoe made what Kasrils regarded as defamatory comments when he condemned Kasrils’ "Vote No" campaign in 2014.

Maphatsoe said: "When he was minister of intelligence…he dismissed most of the cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe because he wanted to sell our intelligence to the imperialists during our reconstruction.

"It is clear‚ from the beginning‚ uncle Ronnie has never been with us; he has been the enemy of our revolution‚" Maphatsoe said.

The trial continues.

TMG Digital