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Ivan Pillay, of operational political structures in Swaziland, says these combatants had minimal back-up. R1,000 or R2,000, maybe...12 hand grenades and an AK..of them just being put across the fence and sent home to integrate themselves with the defence committees, street committees, etc.
Mac Maharaj, then a key figure in the Political Committee of the Politico-Military Council (PMC), felt that Zikomo was merely another variant of the ‘detonator’ approach - the expectation that the injection of armed activity would somehow spark general conflagration.
Whatever its declared purpose, Zikomo was a belated attempt by the ANC leadership to compensate for their unpreparedness when the new round of uprisings started nine month’s earlier.
MK structures had failed to ensure that stocks of arms were available inside the country.
The mechanism which might have brought externally trained guerillas and local militants together securely, area-based underground commands dealing with all operational specialities, did not exist.
Arms, notably the hand grenades favoured by Umkhonto we Sizwe chief of staff Joe Slovo, had certainly been smuggled into country, but police statistics suggest a very high proportion had been captured.
A more serious failure was that the ANC still lacked the ability to absorb combatants from abroad.
Rumours abounded that some form of contact had opened up between the ANC and the state.
In January 1985, Tambo denied categorically that any such contacts had opened up.