Human & Rousseau

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Niël Barnard

Biographical info

Niël Barnard was the head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and right-hand man to prime minister PW Botha during the 1980s. In 1988 and 1989 he had a series of secret talks with Nelson Mandela who was at that point still imprisoned. These talks laid the foundation for Mandela’s release in 1990, the unbanning of the ANC and the political transformation that followed it.

As director general of the department of constitutional development in the early 1990s, Barnard played a key role in the negotiations for a democratic South Africa and in drawing up our Constitution.

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