After securing Agnew’s approval, Young approached senior figures in the Afrikaner establishment. They included academics such as Willie Esterhuyse and Sampie Terreblanche.
Both appear to have been members of the Broederbond at the time and would therefore have been privy to the June 1986 Broederbond document titled ‘Basic political policy conditions for the survival of the Afrikaner’. There is a correlation between the views advanced in this paper and the line of questions posed by Esterhuyse and Terreblanche at the Mells Park talks.
Esterhuyse was approached by Fleur de Villiers, a consultant for Consolidated Gold Fields, who called him from London to brief him on Young’s proposal. A few weeks later, he received a phone call from Pretoria requesting a meeting. This led to a discussion with Koos Kruger and Möller Dippenaar of the NIS at Esterhuyse’s home in Stellenbosch.
Esterhuyse felt that, in light of the Consolidated Gold Fields project, co-operating with the NIS would give him the opportunity to advance a process of peace and democratisation. After that, he received regular, intensive briefings from the NIS in various safe houses, even meeting NIS head Niël Barnard at some stage.
In his record of the second bilateral Mells Park meeting held from February 22 to 24 1988, Young states that Esterhuyse “briefed the state president following the October session.
Both the state president and Dr Niel Barnard, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency [sic], had asked Esterhuyse to ensure the continuance of the dialogue.” In a memo dated May 31 1988, Young adds that “since the last round of discussions held at Eastwell Manor from February 13-15 1988 the state president has been fully briefed and is now positively in favour of further discussions.