SADF mass armed incursions into Angola – not an occupation, there’s a big difference.

Political cartoon in Die Burger 17 January 1984 which quite accurately captures the mood felt by the readership base and South Africans serving and/or in support of the Bush war’s objectives.

Operation Askari, launched in December 1983 was the SADF’s sixth large-scale cross-border operation into Angola and was intended to disrupt the logistical support and command & control capabilities of PLAN (SWAPO’s military wing) in order to suppress a large-scale incursion into South West Africa/Namibia that was planned for the beginning of 1984. The communist Cuban backed FAPLA army of the Angolan governing party MPLA also became involved in some of the skirmishes and where heavily defeated.

The operation was highly successful and severely contained PLAN (SWAPO) armed insurrections into South West Africa/Namibia for some time to come.  The political cartoon also quite accurately captures the SADF policy with regard to Angola at the time, which was not one of occupation, but one of massed armed incursion into Angola to tactically destroy predefined SWAPO targets, conduct a search and destroy mission for other targets, gather intelligence and then the safe and orderly return to their bases along the South West African border once all the mission objectives were attained.  The duration of these operations were usually limited by the extent that logistics – supplies of food, water, ammunition, troop support etc – would allow.

These large armed incursion operations into Angola were branded by Cuban and MPLA propaganda as one of SADF “occupation”, of Angola, the SADF’s return to base branded as “beaten back” by brave Cuban and MPLA troops resisting the subjugation of Apartheid and preventing an invasion –  which is entirely untrue as the return to base was always part of the SADF’s logistics planning.

The belief that the SADF intended occupation and was “defeated” was complete gibberish then and it’s still utter gibberish today.

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