BOOK REVIEW | Eye on the Gold


By Terry Crawford-Browne

Eye on the Gold includes a superb history of the gold rush in South Africa, and the pivotal roles played by Cecil Rhodes, Joseph Robinson, John Hays Hammond, Britain, the Oppenheimers and Anglo-American in shaping the future of South Africa. And all the time, the sale of armaments, wars and associated corruption lurk.

The arms trade is estimated to generate 45 percent of global corruption. South African gold funded the British Empires and its wars. The gold industry was the prime beneficiary of the apartheid system, and left legacies of social breakdown, impoverishment and environmental degradation.

Sanctions campaign against apartheid

Production peaked in 1970 and is now in terminal decline; remaining ore reserves are too deep, too expensive and too dangerous to extract.

With the support of Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Terry launched the New York banking sanctions campaign against apartheid in 1985 as a last nonviolent attempt to avert a civil war.

President Nelson Mandela subsequently acknowledged that the campaign was the single-most successful initiative to end apartheid. It became a major motivation behind South Africa’s relatively peaceful transition to constitutional democracy.

Terry represented the Anglican Church at the parliamentary defence review in 1996. His international banking experience had informed him about the arms industry as a globally and unethically and corrupt business.

European governments pressurised South Africa to buy warships and warplanes the country could not afford and did not need. It was then not illegal in English law to bribe foreigners, and in Germany bribes were actually tax deductible as a ‘useful business expense’.

The arms deal unleashed a culture of corruption that now afflicts South Africa’s hard won and fragile constitutional democracy.

The Seriti Commission of Enquiry

After more than twenty years of ‘following the money’, Terry was vindicated in August 2019 when the report of the Seriti Commission of Enquiry into the arms deal scandal was set aside in the landmark court judgment.

Judge Seriti had been exposed as pursuing a ‘second agenda to silence the Terry Crawford-Brownes of this world’.

Since the collapse of the gold standard in 1971, Saudi Arabian oil (black gold) has funded the United States Empire, and its wars.

Failed interventions to impose US military and financial hegemony around the globe have prompted increasing demands to replace the dollar as the basis of the international monetary system. Are bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies the ‘new gold’ of the future

Fascinating account probes every dark nook and cranny: international intrigue, drugs, blood diamonds, murder and the arms deal dissected.

– Review on Eye on The Diamonds by Kin Bentley in the Port Elizabeth Weekend Post on July 14, 2012

A recent letter to Business Day from Terry Crawford-Browne noted that: ‘[The] disclosure that BAE, with British government connivance over a 20 year period, paid bribes of £1 billion to Saudi Prince Bandar is at last blowing the lid off the unsavoury business of killing people for profit.

– Review of Eye on the Money by James Sanders (Anthony Sampson’s researcher), Molotov Cocktail Magazine October/November 2007

About the author

Terry Crawford-Browne was born in Ireland, but grew up in Libya until the age of 17 when he moved to America to attend the University of Minnesota.

After graduating, he came to South Africa in 1967 intending to study the apartheid system at Wits, but to stay here only for two years before returning permanently to the US. Instead within four months he was married to Lavinia, and so got a job with a gold mining house and became a South African by marriage and choice.

Because of the financial consequences of the Vietnam War, the international monetary system established at Bretton Woods and the fixed gold price at US$35 was fast collapsing.

After a brief spell back in Minnesota and London as an international banker, he was recruited by Nedbank in 1974 and so returned to South Africa. After stints in Johannesburg and Durban, Lavinia finally got him home to Cape Town in 1981 when he was appointed Regional Treasury Manager for the Cape.

Political turmoil after the 1976 Soweto uprising led to his refusal to allow his teenage son, Stuart to be conscripted into the apartheid army, and thus prompting a life-change from banker to peace activist and revolutionary.

  • DISTRIBUTOR | Blue Weaver |
  • ISBN | 978-0-620-87222-5 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R275.00 |
  • Classification | South African Non-Fiction – Politics and History |

For more information | Helen Holyoake | Helco Promotions | +27 (0)82 452 9488 mail me | 



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