19 December 1992
State President F.W. de Klerk announced that 23 members of the South African Defence Force (SADF), including two generals and four brigadiers, were being forcibly retired or suspended. This followed the findings of a commission of inquiry into illegal or unauthorised activities by the SADF, set up under Lieutenant-General Pierre Steyn. On 18 December General Steyn presented his preliminary findings to President De Klerk and senior members of the government at Tuynhuys in Cape Town. He did not hand the President a report as such but gave a briefing based on contributions from a variety of intelligence sources. The account alleged that these SADF members were part of covert 'third force' campaigns, intended to discredit the African National Congress (ANC). The activities included horrifying allegations of the involvement of SADF elements in train killings; fomenting violence, stockpiling weapons and collaborating with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). The information presented by General Steyn was evaluated variously as 'vague', 'strong possibilities', probably true' and 'confirmed'. While De Klerk refuted the notion that this was official policy of the SADF, he conceded that there were strong indications that some individuals had been involved in actions trying to thwart transition, and in doing so were responsible for unlawful actions and deaths of people. He also said further axing, disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution could follow, pending the completion of the probe. Some of those involved were later exonerated. The offending units were immediately shut down and intelligence activities were restructured according to De Klerk's orders.Though some of the allegations were referred to the attorney-general and the Goldstone commission, most were never resolved as the report was allegedly largely based on unproven evidence. All the relevant documentation was ultimately given to the TRC, which also appears to have had equally little success in establishing the truth of Steyn's provisional findings. As De Klerk puts it in his autobiography "Although General Steyn succeeded in puncturing the steel-belted culture of the SADF and in exposing some of its inner secrets, the self-sealing properties of the culture were soon activated." The report was declassified in 2006. Click here to read more about the dismissals and the reaction to it.

Fraser, R. (1992). Keesing's Records of World Events: Longman: London, p. 39226.|

Daley S.(1997) ,'Lies and Cover-Up', from The New York Times, 18 January, [online],Available at: www.nytimes.com, [Accessed:27 November 2013]