TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
HELD AT: PRETORIA
NAME: ADRIAAN JOHANNES VLOK
MATTER: KHOTSO AND COSATU HOUSE BOMBINGS
MR VISSER: Three incidents for which he applies for amnesty in the present matter, we also act for another eleven applicants.
Mr Chairman, we are in the unfortunate position and I might say for the umpteenth time, that we were presented with documentation at such a later stage, that we were quite unable over the weekend to traverse all the documentation and to extract relevant evidence from that for so far as it may implicate or apply to particularly Mr Vlok and or the other applicants for whom we appear.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry before you go on, can I interrupt you at this stage to clarify. As I understand the position, the documentation that you were furnished with on Friday, does not emanate from the Amnesty Committee as such, it is not a result of their investigations, because I am speaking for the members, all the members of the Committee, we ourselves have as yet not been furnished with that documentation.
MR VISSER: I am not in a position to give an authoritative answer of what the documentation contains, but I accept your word Mr Chairman, it probably is as you say, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: That does not excuse the fact that you only got it on Friday, it is a matter that should be, and I propose to take further steps for future hearings, to endeavour as far as one can, to ensure that particularly in a case such as the present one, involving a great many important people, all of whom are represented by Attorneys or Advocates, that steps must be taken to communicate with them some weeks in advance of a hearing, to ascertain if they are going to produce further documentation and to put them on terms to do so and if they do not do so by the cut off date, to refuse to admit it.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, we couldn't agree with you more, in fact, I believe it is my Attorney who has asked me some time ago to moot the idea that a pre-trial conference in all matters, it doesn't matter whether it is regarded as a so-called important matter or otherwise, be held at least two weeks in advance, if not longer so that one can sort out these problems, these householding problems which seem to occur on each and every occasion where this Committee tries to start its work.
CHAIRPERSON: Once again I would intervene to say, not this Committee, a Committee - the Amnesty Committee.
MR VISSER: Yes, indeed Mr Chairman, we have had - Commissioner De Jager was party to another Committee of the Amnesty Committee where we had the same problem.
I may add Mr Chairman, there are other little problems as well. We may deal with them a little later, at the moment I am just dealing with a request that we be allowed Mr Chairman, a day until tomorrow, to attempt to work through the papers. We have attempted over the weekend, we spent Saturday and Sunday, we were not able to complete the task.
We have sound expectation that we might be able to do that today and that we might kick off tomorrow and the matter may then run without a hitch.
I may add Mr Chairman, that it is felt among all the legal representatives, certainly by us, that it would be to everybody's advantage if Mr Vlok gives his evidence first. It appears to us that he will cover a wide spectrum of matters and issues which may shorten the proceedings as far as the other applicants are concerned.
We would not at this stage, like to interpose another witness just to make up time. But we do need some time in order, the day was just too short, the weekend was just too short Mr Chairman, we need some time to address these issues with Mr Vlok, to present his evidence and hopefully that will happen tomorrow morning.
CHAIRPERSON: Without in any way pre-judging the applications, the impression that I have obtained from reading them, is that the broad picture will be that the instructions started with Mr Vlok, he gave them to certain other people, who in turn gave them to others, so as you have said, if we have Mr Vlok as the foundation stone, the others will all fit into that, and I think you are quite right in saying that the ultimate result may be to speed up the proceedings of the - in this application, not quite foot soldiers, but the people at the end of the chain of command.
MR VISSER: As it pleases you Mr Chairman. I may hasten to add that I don't believe that we have any hope at all of completing 35 applicants in 14 days, but that is another matter.
CHAIRPERSON: I would also like to say that in the event of us granting your application, and I gather that there is no opposition to it from the representatives of the other applicants, we would do it on the basis that we would commence tomorrow at nine o'clock and on subsequent days, that we would shorten the lunch time adjournment to three quarters of an hour, I think that is ample time in the middle of a city as we are here, for people to do it, and we may sit later than four o'clock.
But if it becomes obvious that we are not going to conclude the pressure will be lifted perhaps in the second week.
MR VISSER: As long as you don't anticipate fines on legal representatives as well Mr Chairman, we will fall in with your arrangements.
Thank you Mr Chairman, we ask for that indulgence to stand the matter until tomorrow.
CHAIRPERSON: Am I right in saying that there is no objection to this from the other representatives of the other parties?
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, J.A. Booyens, instructed by Van der Merwe and Bester, I represent in the index volume 1, the applicants number 11 and 12, Hatting and Bellinghan and in the second volume, number 1, Du Toit, number 9, Kok and number 22, Baker. I confirm that there is no objection from our side.
MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, S.W. Hugo. I appear on behalf of Mr De Kock and then four implicated parties, Mr Simon Radebe, Jacob Radebe, Chris Magopa and a Mr Letsatsi. I confirm likewise that we have no objection to a postponement.
MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, the name for the record is Penzhorn, I appear on behalf of the implicated party Mr P.W. Botha and I similarly have no objection to the application of Mr Visser.
MR CORNELIUS: For the record, Cornelius, representing applicant 23, N.J. Vermeulen, I have no objection to the application.
MR NEL: Mr Chairman, Christo Nel, representing Larry John Hanton and applicant Frank McArthur, I also have no objection to the matter being adjourned until tomorrow.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, Roelof du Plessis, I act on instructions of Strydom Britz Attorneys, I act for Hendrik Kotze in volume 2, number 10, Pierre le Roux, number 12 and George Hammond, number 4 in volume 2. We have no objection.
I also act, I may just add, for two other applicants, Gert Beeslaar and Michael Bellinghan who were not included in the bundles and we will provide you with their statements as soon as possible. They had very little roles to play, so it won't be very important or difficult to digest that and we will have that available tomorrow.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I hope they will be available to Mr Visser before tomorrow.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman, I don't think they will be of any concern to Mr Visser.
MR POLSON: Mr Chairman, my name is Graham Polson of the firm Rooth and Wessels. I only act for number 8, Kendall, in this matter. I have no objection to the postponement, thank you.
MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, S.R. Rossouw. I act on behalf of in volume 1, number 2, Mr Charles Zeelie, number 6, Mr Van Heerden, number 7, Mr Isak Daniel Bosch and in volume 2, number 16, Mr Willemse and number 19, Mr Britz.
I have no objection to the postponement.
MR LAMEY: Thank you Mr Chairman, my name is Albert Lamey from the firm Rooth and Wessels and I act on behalf of number 15 in the second volume, Willem Albertus Nortje and number 17, Mr Kimpane Peter Mogoai. I have got no - my instructions are not to object to the application. May I also just place on record that a copy of the supplemented application of Mr Nortje has been handed to all the legal representatives. I have also handed a copy to the Evidence Leader who undertook to supply the Committee members with a copy. Thank you.
MR JANSEN: Thank you Mr Chairman, honourable members, R. Jansen, acting for applicant M.D. Ras, number 9 in volume 1. Instructions Julian Knight Attorneys. Similarly we have no objections.
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman and members of the Committee, J.M. Mpshe for the Amnesty Committee. I will abide by the Committee's decision.
CHAIRPERSON: One other matter I would like to clarify at this stage, to avoid any further delay or misunderstanding is, I understand Mr Mpshe that the South African Council of Churches have been notified of the allegations made against them in certain of the applications.
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman and members of the Committee, that is correct and they are present.
ADV DE JAGER: Are there any other members, any of the other legal representatives, who want to hand in documents at the later stage?
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, all that we intend doing is - on going through the papers we noticed that certain pages of applications, have been left out, but those will be made available. It is - the full application was before the Committee, but in certain - in far as applicant Kok is concerned for example, his political motivation, it is about a page and a half, has been left out, and one page out of Bellinghan's application has also been left out, but we will have those available as soon as we obtain the photocopying facilities. We will make that available, but it is not new, it is new documents in a sense, but it is just incomplete documents really, that is before the Committee.
ADV DE JAGER: I may just add that you know what our attitude is with regards to this, and we would not really easily postpone this again if - because it happens that all the documents are not available, so we are warning everyone. You know it has to be handed in in time, and you will not be justified without very good reason, to use documents of which you did not give notice beforehand.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I was waiting my turn. Perhaps I should mention at this stage, that obviously when an applicant gives his evidence, his oral evidence, it goes wider than what is stated in his formal application. As far as documents are concerned Mr Chairman, we don't have official documents in that sense, that we intend to hand up to you, but what we do intend more in order to facilitate the taking of the evidence, is to try, to attempt to place on paper, what the evidence will be so that it might be easier for the interpreters to interpret and for the Committee to prevent them from having to take notes.
Mr Chairman, if those are regarded as documents, then certainly we will certainly hand up documents.
MR HUGO: Mr Chairperson, I have a similar request. In volume 2, page 60, there is only one statement. I also realise that the political motivation in that application, was in the supplementary part and that was not in volume 2 and after we had our pre-trial, I made copies of that and I am willing to hand them in. It is only one page.
I trust that there won't be a problem with that.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Mpshe, as far as the numbering of the applicants are concerned, we have got two volumes, each one starting at one. Couldn't we carry on after the first volume with number 11 or whatever the number may be so that we would know that we are referring not to number 6 in volume 1 and number 6 in volume 2, that could cause confusion?
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman and members of the Committee, I would have no problem with that, but we chose to do it in this fashion, because when you bind and you make one number right through, it becomes difficult with the pagination, but if it can be arranged in that fashion for the convenience of all, I have no problem.
ADV DE JAGER: I would only refer to a certain person as number 11, applicant 11 or 15 and we will know it is number 15 and there are not two number 15's that could cause confusion?
CHAIRPERSON: I would suggest rather than relying on the skill of the lawyers present to renumber, that you prepare a list setting out the numbers that are now allocated to them all in that order.
MR MPSHE: That will be done Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, perhaps to mention again in passing, it is not only SACC that has been informed, also Cosatu but I have not had any word from Cosatu, thank you.
MR LAMEY: Sorry Mr Chairman, just to get back to the documents, certain documents I have handed to the Evidence Leader at the pre-trail, and I am not aware whether those documents have been made available to yourselves, to the Committee. I will just liaise with the Evidence Leader in order to see to it that you also obtain documents and I have already made available to all the legal representatives, those documents.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, I do talk a lot, I know, and I do apologise for that, but it seems that we are not only dealing with the indulgence to stand down, but also other matters, related matters, and I believe it is my duty to draw one matter to your attention.
I am informed by Gen Du Toit, that he is aware of two applicants who have applied for amnesty in the Cry Freedom matter. They are Louis van Huyssteen and a Sam Ndaba. In fact, I've got an Annexure A of this very same Sam Ndaba, Sergeant Magesi Samson Ndaba in front of me, just been placed in front of me.
It appears that they are applicants in the Cry Freedom incident and the policy of the Amnesty Committee being that all applicants in a particular incident should have their applicants heard together, I thought I might just mention this, bring it to your attention for however you want to deal with it Mr Chairman.
I understand also that Ms Louisa van der Walt apparently appears for them, and I haven't seen her here either.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mpshe, do you know these other two?
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, both are not included in my bundles. I am not aware as to whether they have applied Mr Chairman, but Mr Van Huyssteen has been mentioned by one applicant as an implicated person. I think it is under COSATU, if my memory is my good servant.
Sam Ndaba, I am hearing about him for the first time today. Mr Chairman, when I get an application and I read it and it mentions other people, then I go to the data base to check whether the person has applied. Sam Ndaba is coming for the first time to my knowledge today. Van Huyssteen is mentioned only as an implicated and our data base does not mention them as people who have applied.
I can phone Cape Town to check once more as to whether...
CHAIRPERSON: Will you check immediately, if they have applied, get the copies of the applications faxed to here and notify their Attorney. Is that a duplicate of an application?
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, it says Annexure A and it does seem to deal with an explosion at the Alexandra Theatre and that is certainly where one of the explosions took place. May I hand it up to you Mr Chairman?
CHAIRPERSON: It is clearly a statement dealing with the explosion, but it doesn't appear to be in the format that one would have expected it for a pass of an amnesty application.
The best we can do is ask Mr Mpshe to enquire as to whether the documents are available in Cape Town and if so, endeavour to arrange for the matter to be heard together with the others, because it would be pointless to have to reconvene a Committee.
On the other hand, nobody was injured, there was no intention to injure anyone. On his statement he said he was specifically told to make sure that this didn't happen. It may be a matter that once we have dealt with the others, that we could deal with that one in Chambers, but Mr Mpshe could enquire.
I think you better keep this in the meanwhile. There is nothing further anybody wishes to raise? Somewhat reluctantly, we have decided that we will grant the application brought by Mr Visser, that is that the matter stand down till tomorrow to enable him to consult with his client and take further instructions from his client, arising out of the documents which only became available to him on Friday.
We will stress as Mr De Jager has already said, that we will be extremely reluctant to accept any further documents which may delay or have the effect of delaying proceedings further.
I would like to personally and on behalf of the Committee, to apologise to the members of the public and the press who have come here today, expecting to hear a very important application, and have to go away having heard nothing. I trust that you will be able to come back tomorrow at nine o'clock, when we will start the matter and continue as best we can. Thank you and thank the legal advisors for their co-operation today, we will see them and I presume the other persons who have certain duties to carry out here, tomorrow morning.
We will now adjourn till nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
ON RESUMPTION ON 21-07-1998:
MR VISSER: If you will allow me Mr Chairman and members, to make a few remarks, introductory remarks, perhaps just to, in order to assist you to find your way through the papers, I think it might be of some importance Mr Chairman, also from a point of view that if there is any dissension amongst my colleagues, that they could alert us to such differences, which we will then address.
Mr Chairman, first of all, in the hustle and bustle of yesterday and in the excitement, some of our colleagues have told you for whom they appear, but we have not done that at that stage. Perhaps it will be convenient for you to receive that information now.
Mr Chairman, with reference to volumes 1 and 2, I don't know whether the applicants' numbers have been renumbered, I haven't seen anything.
CHAIRPERSON: We have a list that was put before us this morning, that lists the applicants from 1 to 34 together with the names of their legal representatives. I don't know if this has been circulated as yet.
MR VISSER: Apparently not Mr Chairman, but then I can go quickly over this. I appear Mr Chairman, instructed by Wagener, Muller and Du Plessis for Mr Vlok, who is on the index on volume 1, number 1, number 3, Gen Van der Merwe, number 4, Gen Erasmus, number 5, Brigadier Schoon, number 8, Matthys Botha and on volume 2, Deon Greyling, number 3 as it was, I take it it will now be 15.
MR VISSER: Number 18 then, renumbered 18, Du Toit, number...
CHAIRPERSON: Wait a bit, 18 we have Mr Booyens?
MR VISSER: Sorry, 6 then on the old numbering on volume 2, Gen Du Toit.
CHAIRPERSON: P.L. du Toit?
MR VISSER: P.L. du Toit, yes. And then I will refer to the old numbers then again Mr Chairman, 7 on volume 2, Heineke. Over the page 11, Gen Le Roux. Sorry, am I going too fast? 13, Louw, 18 ...
CHAIRPERSON: That is now 25.
MR VISSER: Is that now 25? Thank you Mr Chairman. 18 in the old numbering, Meyer.
MR VISSER: H.C., and lastly Steyn, Gen Steyn, Johannes Albertus, that is number 20.
MR VISSER: 31. Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, it may be of assistance to you just to get the dates right, it appears that the first incident before you took place on the night of the 6th to the 7th of May, that was the COSATU house incident, 1987.
CHAIRPERSON: COSATU House?
MR VISSER: COSATU House was the night of the 6th and the 7th of May 1987.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, the 9th ...
MR VISSER: No, the 6th to the 7th.
CHAIRPERSON: The night of the - sorry?
MR VISSER: The night yes, during the night, early morning of the 7th of May, yes Mr Chairman, 1987.
You will hear evidence Mr Chairman, that the decision that was taken in regard to this incident, was taken by Mr Vlok and Gen Van der Merwe combined, the two of them and I don't want to go into the evidence now.
The second incident, Mr Chairman, is the Khotso House and that took place on the 31st of August 1988. It is perhaps for that reason Mr Chairman, that most of the applicants you would have noticed, have dealt with the matters in that order in their applications. We will attempt to deal with them in that order.
Then lastly which is not chronologically correct, the Cry Freedom incidents really came before the Khotso House but again that was July 1988 Mr Chairman, I think the 29th, thereabouts of July 1988, but because again, most of the applicants have dealt with them in that order, we will stick to that order as well.
Mr Chairman, I see some people have arrived, perhaps in a moment I will give them an opportunity to tell us who they are Mr Chairman, but if I may just complete this, perhaps Mr Chairman, it may be of help to you to know the chronological order of events which occurred around the Cry Freedom issue.
It started off Mr Chairman, that the Publication Committee which was appointed in terms of the Publication Control Act, 42 of 1974, was tasked - I think it was in the normal course of events - to pass the movie for purposes of being shown to the public. They issued a certificate in terms of Section 47 of that Act that the film could be exhibited.
That was the first step. I don't have the exact date for this. In terms of the provisions of the Act, and I mention this by the by Mr Chairman, the Director of Publications had the authority to appeal against any decision by the Committee, but he decided not to do so. I think it might be relevant to know that. So the Director of Publications did not appeal.
The film was scheduled to be exhibited, if that is the right word, on the 29th of July 1988. On the 25th of July Mr Chairman, the Minister of Internal Affairs, I think it was Minister Stoffel Botha at the time, ordered in terms of Section 24(1)(b) of that Act, that the Appeal Board of Publications should reconsider the decision that was made or the certificate that was issued by the Committee.
Now, the appeal or the members of the Appeal Board viewed the film and indeed heard legal argument apparently on the 25th of July. I am not quite sure how that had happened, whether there was prior notice, but all of this appear to be on the same date, the 25th of July 1988 and the Appeal Board Mr Chairman, decided that the film should be exhibited and it upheld the decision of the Committee.
Again it was then on track that the film could be shown on the 29th of July, but then Mr Chairman, the South African Police had become worried about the contents of the film and the possible effects it might have had and what then happened was that the only other available, remaining available measure was the Media Regulations which were promulgated in terms of the Emergency Regulations which were then in full force, it was - the Police then obtained legal advice and they were advised Mr Chairman, that in the light of the decisions of both the Committee and the Appeal Board, it was highly risky for the Commissioner of Police to issue a certificate attaching it.
Then the film was apparently released to the owners and Mr Chairman, then as a result of certain bomb scares which we will see in the evidence, really emanated from the Police themselves and that is what this application is really about, the ...
CHAIRPERSON: With complete disregard of the existing law, was it?
MR VISSER: Well, Mr Chairman, we will address you in argument about that.
CHAIRPERSON: You have just told us?
MR VISSER: But it is an unlawful act, it is an unlawful act, yes, certainly, certainly. After those bomb scares, the Commissioner of Police, issued an order on the 30th of July in terms of Regulation 9(2) of the Media Regulations in terms of which he stated that it was his opinion that the film presented a danger to the public order and security and in terms of that order, there was an attachment of all the copies of the film.
I think that is basically, broadly speaking the background Mr Chairman, in regard to that incident. I have nothing further to state by way of introduction Mr Chairman. I don't know if any of the gentlemen that have just arrived, want to address you at all at this stage.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I have various things I would like to clarify before we start.
I have in front of me a bundle (Transcriber's own translation) "Application for Amnesty : Adriaan Johannes Vlok - Supplementary Submissions", does that come from you?
MR VISSER: Yes, Mr Chairman, we foreshadowed this yesterday. What we did, is we really summarised on paper the evidence which Mr Vlok is going to give and we will address that in due course.
CHAIRPERSON: And then I have another - I think we better number them now, shall we call this A, Exhibit A. I have another bundle of papers Supplementary Amnesty Application, pages 1 - 167.
MR VISSER: I don't believe that is me Mr Chairman.
MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, that is Eugene de Kock's, it is not really a supplementary application. This is the one we told you about yesterday.
CHAIRPERSON: So that we can put aside for the moment?
MR HUGO: We agreed at the pre-trial meeting that this would be called Bundle 3, subject to your approval obviously.
CHAIRPERSON: Bundle what?
MR HUGO: Bundle 3.
CHAIRPERSON: 3? Well, then perhaps we should go back and call - no, but we've got, Bundle 3 we've got. The bundle we have marked 3, is the evidence Mr De Kock gave at the George hearing.
MR HUGO: I wasn't aware of that Mr Chairman, but be that as it may, then we can call it Bundle ...
CHAIRPERSON: And then we have a Bundle 4, which is the evidence in the main, the evidence that Bishop Storey gave. This one will be Bundle 5.
MR HUGO: As it pleases you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: That completes the Bundles. The gentlemen who have just arrived, before they can say anything, they will have to have a microphone put in front of them. Can one be passed up?
MR ROBB: Mr Chairman, my name is Robb, Robb, Nicholas Robb. I am an Attorney, I am here to represent the SACC. Mr Chairman, if I might place on record, I was briefed in this matter last night. I do not have a complete set of documents. I obviously have to get that from Adv Mpshe and I am not yet in a position to put forward representation.
CHAIRPERSON: Have you been given Bundles 1 and 2?
MR ROBB: No sir.
CHAIRPERSON: The big, thick, aren't those the things in front of you?
MR ROBB: No, these all belong to Adv Mpshe, I am just sitting here for the time being.
CHAIRPERSON: Oh. Because I last week asked that steps be taken to notify the South African Council of Churches of the allegations that were contained in Mr Vlok's application, regarding their behaviour and I understood that had been done and that they had been given information. Have they not passed that on to you?
MR ROBB: I was given the first application of Mr Vlok, dated December 1996, that is all I have.
CHAIRPERSON: That is the one that contains the ...
MR ROBB: Yes, thank you sir, yes, I have that one.
CHAIRPERSON: That is the one I thought that made you an implicated party.
MR ROBB: I do have that one, thank you sir.
CHAIRPERSON: The gentleman sitting next to you.
MR MAFOJANE: Thank you Mr Chairman, I am Prince Mafojane. I am an Attorney and I appear on behalf of Cosatu. I am accompanied by my colleagues from the firm Cheadle, Thompson and Haysom.
If I might place on the record Mr Chairman, our instructions are not to oppose the amnesty applications of the applicants, provided the applicants comply with the requirements of the Act, full disclosure and the other criteria. At this stage Mr Chairman, there might well be issues that we might need to canvass with the applicants stemming from what is contained in the bundle of documents that we obtained yesterday. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Does that complete that? Mr Mpshe, yesterday we were given the names of two other people and I asked you to make enquiries in Cape Town as to whether those two people had in fact applied for amnesty.
MR MPSHE: That is so Mr Chairman, that was Mr Sam Ndaba and Mr Van Huyssteen. I did contact Cape Town yesterday and Cape Town informed me that according to the data base they were only implicated, then I contacted Mr Huyssteen in person - I fortunately got his telephone number from Mr Du Toit who has assisted me, and Mr Huyssteen informed me that he has indeed applied, and he faxed to me yesterday a letter when the applications were delivered at the Jo'burg office.
I have now since faxed those letters back to Cape Town to verify by means thereby.
CHAIRPERSON: So they are not at the moment applicants before us?
MR MPSHE: Not at all Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: I think we should continue with these enquiries because as I said yesterday, it appears to me that if they play, as I understand they did, a very minor role in proceedings, it might be able to deal with their application after we have dealt with this rather than have another hearing.
I think it was you Mr Visser, was it, who told us about them and said that they were very much the foot-soldiers, weren't they?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I didn't give you any information as to the role they played, I just got wind of it through one of my clients yesterday that they were in fact applicants, but I can't address you right now on their particular role, but they probably were foot-soldiers.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, having read the applications of the other parties, they certainly don't feature as a prominent person or someone who took any decisions. They are not named, as far as I can recollect, I am subject to correction, they were not named by any of the other applicants as playing a prominent role.
MR VISSER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: So we will continue without them.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, just one matter, if Mr Robb could perhaps inform us before he leaves us forever, whether he intends on behalf of his client to oppose the applications or not so that at least we know that much and perhaps if he wishes to oppose it, to tell us on what basis.
MR ROBB: At this stage I cannot actually tell you what my client's instructions are, because I don't yet have them, so as soon as I have those instructions, I will forward them to the Committee.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman. We will proceed on the basis that Mr Robb is either opposing or he is not.
Mr Chairman ...
CHAIRPERSON: It may depend on what evidence is led. The attitude may well change.
MR VISSER: Yes, indeed Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, may I then refer you to volume 1, or Bundle 1 as you refer to it, pages 1 to 91, where you will find the application of Mr Adriaan Vlok?
Mr Vlok, I take it will now first be sworn in to give the evidence Mr Chairman?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, may I please just before we go ahead Mr Chairman, it is Du Plessis speaking, Mr Chairman, just for purposes of record, I have certain documentation which I intend using during the matter and I also have the amnesty applications of Gert Beeslaar and Michael Bellinghan available here, which were inadvertently left out by the TRC, it is not important to hand them up now, we will make them available to you, I am just placing it on record Mr Chairman.
ADRIAAN JOHANNES VLOK: (sworn states)
EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, you are an applicant in front of this Commission and you are applying for amnesty for certain events which took place and you are also applying for amnesty with regards to all the acts or offences or irregular acts which might have been committed by you, before, during and after the incidents to which you refer in your amnesty application, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Just before you start your evidence, you took notice of certain documentation and it was mentioned to you that those documents were already handed in as Exhibits in front of the Amnesty Commission, and you also made another submission which you yourself wrote with the help of your legal advisors and that is in Exhibit A which has been handed in to the Commission, it is on the first page, that is the start of Equality of Law, that is P45. It is a submission of Gen Van der Merwe to the TRC, that is P46 and there added to that, admissions of Generals P47. Is it your wish that the contents of those documents, do you want to have that incorporated with your amnesty application, and would you say that it is part of your view with regards to the struggle of the past?
MR VLOK: Yes Chairperson, I wish that.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Visser, you are referring to Exhibits of numbers in other cases. The submission to which you are referring, Mr Van der Merwe's, is that a document which looks like this, Submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Gen Van der Merwe, 21st October?
MR VISSER: That is correct Mr Chairman. Chairperson, I just want to remind you that the arrangement was, this happened quite early, just after the documents were handed in, it was provided that they come into question at each application and with regards to the Amnesty Committee itself, I think they know about this and that they be made available and it would serve as continuing Exhibits and that is why they got the P numbers.
At that stage, it was the letter of the alphabet you decided on which was P and if you remember Chairperson, you were also present then, we are not going to reproduce everything all the time, but would keep referring to them.
At this stage everybody knows and all the people of the Security Forces, they are aware of those documents and indeed it is also in their written statements, or their written applications, it is just to - in order to explain it. We did it like this in accordance with the Committee at that time.
ADV DE JAGER: So this is P what then?
MR VISSER: The one you've got is Van der Merwe's, it is P46.
MR VISSER: 46, Mr Chairman. 47 is attached to that, it is the last part of it, so it makes it easy Mr Chairman, it is a declaration of the statement made by old Commissioners or Generals.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it the role of the South African Police in the conflict of the past?
MR VISSER: That is correct Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: That is 47?
MR VISSER: That is P47, yes. P45 is that thick bundle of documents.
CHAIRPERSON: What is P45?
MR VISSER: P45 is the one that looks like this Mr Chairman, it is the thick bundle, Submissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the Foundation for Equality before the Law, that one. That is the one that was compiled by Gen Stadtler.
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, just to inform the Committee, the Committee does not have this last bundle, but it will be made available during tea time, it is available.
MR VISSER: I am sorry about that Mr Chairman. I am not going to refer to it now, as we have stated before, we might refer to it, we will refer to it in the course of legal argument at the end of the day, but we are not going to refer to it in detail now.
Mr Vlok, if I could ask you can you tell us something with regards to your personal background, where were you born, where were you born, where did you grow up and what were the influences on you? If you can just give a sketch to the Committee in brief, briefly that is with regards to your youth, up until the point when you matriculated.
MR VLOK: Chairperson, thank you very much. I would like to start to say that this Committee as part of the TRC, plays a very important role in the future of our country. It is almost inhuman instructions they have and if the TRC does not succeed, it is going to cause a lot of problems for this country.
I would also like to say that to the extent that I can be of assistance to you and the TRC, in the exercising of this really difficult duty you have, I am completely co-operating with you and I will do everything within my own means to be of assistance to you. I also pray that you will receive the wisdom and strength from God.
I was born 60 years ago, on the 11th of December 1937, in Sutherland in the Cape Province. I went to school next to the Orange River Chairperson. I am the oldest of five sons, we farmed next to the river and we suffered financially.
The language I was taught was Afrikaans. My 81 year old mother, she is still alive, my dad is dead, we are Christians and members of the Reformed Church. I am still a Christian today and I believe in the three - the Gods.
Even though I grew up in a Christian house, we were not coerced to join this religion, it was easy and comfortable.
MR VISSER: I am not certain whether the Interpreters have been provided with a copy of the statement of, the additional statement, the addendum which we refer to as the addendum, and we are going to reach that point pretty soon.
MR MPSHE: They do have copies.
MR VISSER: Okay, thank you Mr Chairman. You will just give us an indication if we go too quickly for your interpretation, your translation.
Sorry Mr Vlok, please continue.
MR VLOK: Chairperson, like I've said and I quickly want to give you my background, with regards to how I was brought up. We were taught in this house to care for each other and to care for our brothers and sisters. My mother was involved with charity and she is still involved today with that.
Because of the circumstances, the fact is we had to work very hard, we experienced that words were not enough. We had to do something and that is the way I was taught, and that is how I was brought up. My parents also taught me to have respect for all life and authority. For life because it was given to us by the Almighty God and it can never be made cheap by anyone.
In my book Chairperson, all life is very precious and it should be defended by everyone with respect to God and the Bible and as well as our authorities and I had great respect for all of that.
Even though we did not always agree with the government, we still had great respect for the government because we experienced it that is being the institution coming from God. In our house the teacher and the principal and the Reverend, in all regards, we had great respect for all of them.
The Judge was the arm of the law and we had to respect his authority at all times, and we were also a bit scared of that. In the house I was brought up, there was respect for my parents and for each other. Together with this respect, my parents had a passion for what is right and lawful and they tried to bring this home to us and that is very important to me, today still.
What is right, is right. The maintaining of discipline on a comfortable, in a comfortable manner was part of my life. It was also important to tell people off, but it is also important to be friendly at the same time. I also learnt in this house that we had to accept responsibility and this is part of life, and we cannot take it away from life.
I also learnt from my parents never to place the blame on anyone else's shoulders. In the environment I was brought up, it was mostly white and brown people and mostly my playmates were brown people. My parents adopted a brown son, and we grew up together. My mother prays in the brown community, so I would just like to say that it is very easy for me to get along with brown people.
We had political preferences, but we were never political activists. We never took extreme points of view. The teachings I received from my parents were that of being reasonable. That was the case then, and is still the case now.
Not that I am saying that I was a perfectly well grown up person, and we have shortcomings. With regards to what is right and true, I can thank my God for that.
MR VISSER: In 1956 you matriculated and you succeeded and you passed it?
MR VLOK: That is correct, in 1956 I passed matric. On the 13th of December 1956, I joined the Department of Law and Order and I studied law at the University of Pretoria.
Before I started my studying, I was called up for military service and after I completed my three months I stayed voluntarily for a certain amount of time, and eventually I had retired there because of the fact that I was interested in politics.
MR VISSER: On page 9 of your application, you are saying that you were a supporter and we also know that you were an official of the National Party in South Africa, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson. I was a member of the National Party since 1960. I became a member of Parliament on the 24th of April 1974 and of the government from the 17th of December 1984 up until 1994.
MR VISSER: Page 10 of Volume 1, can you just quickly address us with regards to this?
MR VLOK: Like I have said, I was chosen as representative of the National Party on the 24th of April 1974, Deputy Minister of Defence, 1984 and as Minister of Law and Order, the 1st of December 1986.
I stayed Minister of Law and Order up until the 31st of August 1991 and from the 1st of September 1991 up until the 10th of May 1994, I was Minister of Correctional Services.
As a member of the Council, I was also Chairperson of the Law and Order study group, sub-Chairman of the defence group, also part of the National Party, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees as well as Chairperson of the National Party, Pretoria.
MR VISSER: No, it is all there on page 10 and 11 of your application. You are confirming in any case the contents of your amnesty application as well as what we get to later, is that not true and you say that this is all true and it is a correct version of the facts as it is known to you?
In the circumstances maybe, you can on paragraph 2 on page 11, you can leave that for now, we can return to that again, if you go to page 12, you make mention of the Oath of Secrecy which you took and what you did with regards to that when the TRC started with its work. Can you just explain a bit please?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, I took the Oath of Secrecy as Advocate Visser said, because to me it was a question of conscience. Before I can talk of any secrets, I have to take this up with the people who gave me the instructions and I took this up with P.W. Botha and F.W. de Klerk and they told me that it is well with regards to the questions which are going to be asked and the submissions I am going to make. It is in order if I no longer adhere to this secrecy.
MR VISSER: With regards to page 12 and 13, you are going to deal with this in your complete evidence and we are going to that, that is Exhibit A and would you address this document to the Committee, if you look at page 2 thereof?
MR VLOK: We will continue with this document from page 2 to page 51, that is paragraph 179 and it will be a great part of the evidence which is contained in my amnesty application.
Chairperson, paragraph 1 that is the 17th of October, and he writes in the Beeld as follows, that is where the duality of the conflict will be shown in that even in apartheid, good things have happened, and with regards to looking back, there was no moral distinctions, distinctions with regards to the system and the struggle. What was done right, would not be admitted (transcriber's own translation) before that which was horrible, had been admitted to audibly. I agree with this Chairperson.
Beeld also writes on the 5th of March 1996, it writes as follows that the moral aspects of the struggle with regards to the past, nobody is without blame. The horrible things apartheid has done to people, that is well known, but the ANC and its friends also, they were well known as being communists and therefore they are also guilty of the human rights violations, so let no one be too holy and let everyone facilitate the work of the TRC and to no longer give, add too much emotions to that.
I am of the opinion now that any other government institution in their decisions, would be reconciling the people and would stop any serious conflict between the people and therefore I am of the opinion that this Committee is the correct institution and in whichever cases where I was involved in any irregular acts, and I would just like to say that I am not here representing the Cabinet, but I am here as an ex-Minister.
MR VISSER: You referred to the previous National Party government?
MR VLOK: Yes, my application as being quoted by certain persons, and some of it has appeared in newspapers and even in the Cape Times, and I have been wrongly quoted. They want to disadvantage me in terms of this, and I am being judged by my acts, but other persons' acts, they just turn a blind eye to that.
Some people blame me for doing what I am doing and I do not come here to stand in front of people, but I stand in front of God, so only God can judge me and I can comprehend for all these peoples' opinions, but I stand before God and my conscience is clean and therefore in my opinion, I am doing the correct thing and it is my duty to add to the peace and national unity and reconciliation in the country, and I cannot think of any other, better act than to come to this Commission and make a full disclosure and thereby adding to build up a better future for all of us.
I have already mentioned that I stand here and I wish to be of assistance to the TRC, to establish this reconciliation and I will go out of my way to do anything possible and to share perspectives that I might have, with you and whatever else that I know and as I have said, that my approach here is of assistance and not of confrontation.
If we look at most of these political agenda's which play a role today, it is then necessary and of cardinal, very important, that we speak to each other and that we accept each other's word and that we accept each other as we are, with all our shortcomings as representatives and children of one God. That is my point of departure Chairperson, which I use as I stand before this Commission.
South Africa is in the truth phase of the TRC's work and this will help and assist us in the reconciliation. I am not going to read that long letter. It is there if anybody wants to read it. But it is important that we go to the centre of the page, I need to read there, it is therefore important that Gen Johan van der Merwe and people like Adriaan Vlok come forward and talk about the things that they had done in the past and that they acted in terms of regulations or if there were any irregular acts.
It is then acceptable that Policemen who fought for the previous government, but whatever was done in the struggle has to be worthy and to take other lives, is horrible, it doesn't matter under which circumstances it takes place and it is horrible where people including innocent women and children were killed with limpet mines and 240 died and more than a thousand were injured.
There was an instance where somebody was necklaced and about 350 people were also burnt to death and of these matters, nobody addresses them and nobody seems to take note of these and then I wish to refer to the 18 000 people who were injured in all the unrest between 1984 and 1994 and the Security Forces were responsible for the death of certain people, but there was the instance where more than 300 Police Officers are now doing application for amnesty.
I am not trying to condone these acts, but I am just trying to say that there should be a balance and perspective and there are thousands of South Africans who wonder with me if all these names will be disclosed or will it just disappear. These atrocities are just as much a part of South Africa and the eventual report by the TRC would be important for the whole country.
I took this path because I have believed in what I did and I believed what I should do and what I did was in terms of my duties as Minister and I did this in the interest of the government and the Republic of South Africa, all citizens of the country.
It is true that I have made mistakes, but it was not out of malice and all I have done, was what I could do to address whatever problems we had. If I read what famous President Lincoln had said of this, it was not a unique problem. I am not going to quote this, but I took notice of critique and I took advice people gave to me, but at the end of the day, I tried to do what in my eyes were right.
Excuse Chairperson, if I am too fast? And therefore I will accept responsibility and then I have to say what I have done, I believed and if I take into account what the prevailing circumstances were ... (tape ends) ... to the worst extent, I did not see any other solution and I believed that one had to do in those circumstances, what one had to do.
In this document as well as my amnesty application, whatever happened within the framework of orders that were given and which were established in terms of the political party and therefore it is my duty to personally ...
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, allow me to interpose. We have a problem here. I have just been listening to the interpretation and clearly the witness is going far to quickly. The poor man just can't keep up and a lot of what is being said, is missed.
I would ask the witness perhaps just to go slower with your consent because although he is indicating that he is keeping up Mr Chairman, it is quite clear that he isn't.
CHAIRPERSON: Is there something you wanted to say? I am now talking to the Interpreter?
INTERPRETER: Judge, we haven't got the document that he is reading from at the moment.
CHAIRPERSON: They haven't got the document that he is reading from.
INTERPRETER: It is a different document now.
CHAIRPERSON: I think that will make a great difference if you've got the document in front of you. We are at page 8 of that document, paragraph 28.
I would also ask the Interpreters to indicate if this applicant is going too fast, because it is very easy when one is reading from a document one has prepared, to just go on and on. So if they need the time, just tell him to stop.
MR VLOK: Thank you Chairperson. I was saying that the actions in this document as well as my amnesty application, was within the framework of the policy of the government, was established and I am therefore - it is my duty in terms of the law to apply for amnesty and I do not speak for any political party.
It was the point of departure, it was my task to and we were therefore not disloyal to the oath that we had stated before the State.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Vlok, it is difficult to interpret into another language and to convey that, so things might be lost. So would you please go a little bit slower.
And it would also help that when you get to the end of a sentence, if you could just wait a little bit so that the Interpreters can catch up with you.
MR VLOK: Paragraph 30. The government's policy with regards to the revolutionary onslaught was to stop that onslaught with all things within its means.
Paragraph 31, therefore it was given and an inevitable reality the truth that we, the politicians which had to accept all the moral and political responsibility for the policy which maintained that time, that is apartheid, and we had to accept that responsibility.
I joined a lot of congresses of the National Party and I do not know of one soldier or policeman who subscribed a policy to the government.
This responsibility, myself and our leaders and also the people who gave us a mandate, to continue with apartheid. We could not escape or delegate this to the members of the Security Forces who were for decades long loyal to the government and who maintained apartheid.
General political background, which I would like to give you a brief summary of. This is paragraph 33, everything with regards to this application, happened against the background and within the framework of the determined political policy at that time.
Paragraph 34, it was the framework within which I acted and I committed my duties as a member of the political party and as Minister.
35, in the light thereof it is therefore, it is well known that my perspective - that I put my perspective within that political framework to you. With regards to the policy of the government and the governing party, the National Party, there was no difference between the policy of the government or the governing party and the National Party.
The policy of the National Party as is contained in its programme of principles manifest and decisions through its structures, was implemented by the government in practical action plans. We often told our voters what was happening. Apartheid. Apartheid, on the 26th of May 1948, it became the national and official policy of the National Party and the government of South Africa. Before that time, it was already maintained in several areas within South Africa, but after the general election of the 26th of May 1948, it got official status and it was implemented by means of several laws and regulations.
So the decisions of the National Party and structures, it was also maintained by continuing National Party governments and rules and regulations, and it was placed in a law. The government and Ministers also gave report with regards to this, to the public all the time.
The government did give leading or leadership to the voters, but there was no ways in which the government could make laws if it did not enjoy the support of the voters. Therefore everybody today must accept responsibility for this moral and political responsibility.
ADV DE JAGER: Are you referring to the voters then, who was voting then?
MR VLOK: Yes, Commissioner De Jager is one hundred percent correct, it is the people who voted for us, who made it possible for us to make these laws and regulations.
These laws and regulations was to be implemented by the official people of the government and therefore they had no choice, or they weren't in a capacity to make any decision.
Me, as well as a lot of my people similar as myself, realise today that apartheid was wrong. It never had the support of the majority of South Africans. We tried to force it onto people and they had no choice with regards to this.
It was unbearable and morally undefendable. What we did to other South Africans, in a country of their own birth and it was wrong what we did to them with regards only to the colour of their skin.
MR VISSER: You are placing your perspectives with regards to the immorality as you name it and the unfairness of the system and you will find that in paragraph 43, and then you can go on with 44.
MR VLOK: I am convinced that the sour fruits and injustices of the apartheid regime was never the intention of the people who started the ideology. Apartheid was not - like a lot of other South Africans who supported us - understood South Africa, we did not mean to (indistinct) like that, we only had the best of intentions for ourselves, for other South Africans and also for our country.
We dreamt of the dramatic development of our country and all its people and that we all can live in security and prosperity and peace, free of domination by anyone and any foreign or unacceptable ideology.
Free to live our own religion, culture, etc without any fear that it would be taken away from us and that we would be dominated by someone else.
Unfortunately because of this apartheid root, several wild, even irregular things came and this which happened then was like sour fruits. It is amazing how one has to look for people who actually supported apartheid and who voted for us.
We cannot run away from this root and its wild ...
ADV DE JAGER: I think one has to look at the leaders of that apartheid time, and not only look at the voters.
MR VLOK: Chairperson, you are correct. We cannot run away from this root and its wild offspring. We planted this tree and we have to accept the moral and political responsibility for its fruits.
Me, myself, is of the opinion that I made a mistake to make sure that the instruments and the departments for which I was responsible, which I was responsible for, was not put into place in order to stop these illegal acts.
In this regard, the academic Prof Lawrence Schlemmer on the 31st of August 1997 in a report he writes as follows, and I am reading the last paragraph: It was a conflict. The intense frustrations which happened gave to both side, it led to ridiculous deviations and the standards which the Forces itself wanted to maintain, and he is correct Chairperson.
Under normal circumstances - we did things which under normal circumstances, we would never have done, but it is also true. It has to be accepted that South Africans on different areas within the society, they did a lot of good things. We can look at the areas of medical, military, weapon technology, agriculture, etc. South Africa is in all regards the best country within Africa. It is a fact that South Africa was built up by the people within the country and that everybody partook in this. Everybody had a role to play in this, to build up this country to be the hope of Africa. A bright star which is infiltrated by millions of illegal immigrants, but nobody listens to any of this, no credit is given to the good past 50 years, and that is dangerous and it can disadvantage reconciliation.
In this regard I would like to sort of quote from the head article in the (transcriber's own translation) "Kerkbode" of 12 May 1995. I am not going to read all of this.
MR VISSER: Yes, it is a very strong quotation, but I think you should leave it to the Committee to go and read and digest it for themselves and it is difficult to take an extract from that in order to point to the essence of it, but if you look at page 13, maybe the first bit and if you can use an example, looking at the Vietnam war and carrying on to the next page, I think you should read that and then the Committee can digest this later themselves.
Maybe you should just explain what it means.
MR VLOK: It just summarises what I have been saying all along. Apartheid, I told you what my feelings were about it. Apartheid also had a different side. As in Vietnam and with the Americans and other wars, the good people also made mistakes.
They also did wrong things, and this just summarises it well. It is a summary of what I have been trying to say, that people should be open minded with regards to this whole issue. On paragraph 53, that is page 15, I would like to continue.
Because apartheid was wrong, the opposition against it, was justified. Democratic methods in order to stop apartheid, was justified as far as I am concerned.
The perspective that the Security Forces after 1994 acted in the interest and to the maintaining and the defence of a white government, is wrong. In 1984 the three room parliament was instituted and it existed out of coloureds, Indians and whites.
The National Party also from that time, was busy to act with regards to a predetermined programme with regards to negotiations in order to maintain a political dispensation which would be acceptable to the majority of the people within the country.
You would never satisfy everybody, but we tried to satisfy the majority. The government of Mr P.W. Botha and that of Mr F.W. de Klerk realised that apartheid went wrong, and we were very eager to by means of an orderly, peaceful negotiation process, to institute an acceptable political compensation.
In the stopping of apartheid, the Security Forces played a very important role. Except for that, me and the Security Forces took part in the stopping of certain apartheid uses. The Security society was of the (transcriber's own translation) first South African institutions where apartheid usage fell.
Me, like the majority of Security Forces were convinced of the seriousness of the government to stop this problem in a final evolutionary manner.
I never doubted the earnest of the government to find a political solution for the country. The continuation, even the sharpening of the struggle against the government by sanctions and boycotts, but also specifically by the use of violence and acts of terror, unrest, that was all a tragic mistake.
We did not start the war in South Africa, we just participated in it. It has to be said that the actions of the South African Forces were reactionary to the attacks that were launched at the government by the revolutionaries.
Today I am still convinced that since the 1950's, if we did not render any resistance, then the new government on the 10th of May 1994 would be a poor, backward communist country and would be of the same pattern as the East European countries, and in spite of apartheid, South Africa was an economic giant on the continent of Africa.
Involvement with the politics by the Security Forces, including the South African Police for whom I was responsible, and this was the greatest source of the problems that we had. As I have mentioned before, we had no choice, we had to protect the government and without their active counter-actions of the South African Police, the government would not have survived the leftist, communist onslaught.
The government with Mr P.W. Botha, where I was a Minister, placed the security of the State on a high premium, personal rights, freedom, etc was second to the security of the State and the group and even those of the individual.
The objective since the 1950's of the freedom movements, the terrorist radical activists was to usurp the South African government and in this process, there was a bloody struggle against innocent citizens including women and children.
Thousands died by the hand of the so-called liberators. I never acted outside the political dispensation and other motives of that political objective of the political party which was the government of the day and I had to put that forward.
I wish to say something of the ANC/SACP alliance. Apartheid in its various forms was the policy of the National Party and the government from 1948 to 1984 with the institution of the tricameral parliament and afterwards, South Africa had a mixed government in Parliament as well as in the Cabinet.
During these three decades, there were various political alternatives. The unified party as well as the progressive party without any success, they apartheid policy of the National Party since 1994 enjoyed the support of the majority of whites.
For many years the insight of many people was, in reality, that there were only two possible political dispensations on the political table in South Africa and that was the policy of the National Party, apartheid, and the policy of the ANC/SACP alliance, that was communism. That was the total political economic policy of communism, Marxism with all the consequences in South Africa.
This was the official policy at that stage. Communism/Marxism was totally unacceptable for me and it was the same surely for the greater majority of the Security community and although over the years there were resistance to the policy of apartheid, there was the record of the alternative for the South African context, namely communism which was horrible and it could not be an acceptable alternative.
Everybody witnessed it and all these witnesses came to the conclusion that they did not agree with this. With my insights I was correct in saying that we had to fight this communism and therefore communism was using the ANC/SACP alliance as its surrogate.
The acceptance of the communist ideology and objectives as alternatives to apartheid, by the anti-apartheid activists and radicals were according to me, direct or indirect, contributed to the conflicts of the past including the acts of terror, the murders, the sanctions, the boycotts accompanied by joblessness and people had to choose between apartheid and communism.
We decided against communism and our struggle against communism was a justified just cause. For decades there was this bloody war to save this country from communism. What is visible in Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia and other African countries, is a mirror image of what would have happened in South Africa, if we did not stop it.
This was stopped by the South African Security community that the National Party protected for many decades, and I have no doubt Chairperson that the South African Security community kept the government in the pillows. This influenced our voters and they contributed to the support of the National Party over the years.
Apartheid was just unacceptable for many people, because the government and the National Party looked after the safety of the community and we had much support. The actual planning of the communist together with the ANC, was to use the ANC in order to further their own objectives within the country.
It is confirmed by a former General of the KGB Chief of Foreign counter Intelligence, if he says - and he visited South Africa some time ago - the ultimate aim of the South African communists was to use the ANC as a means to gain power.
The ANC was just another liberation movement, exploited by the Soviets. This created an incredible dilemma for us. For those who were opposed to apartheid and realised that it could not work, the alternative of a communist government within South Africa, was also unacceptable, and more unacceptable.
Chairperson, like I have already said it was a just cause for us and in this context, we also had the support of the free world. Even today we are still fighting all over the world, we are still fighting communism.
I am going to paragraph 84, I am not going to repeat all of that, I have said it already. This brought me and the Security Forces into conflict with other South Africans with whom we had no dispute and who also had a justified cause like I have said, because they also fought for a just cause and often with a different objective than the communist, namely that is citizenship in this country and equal political, economic and sociable rights.
Because of this struggle against the international communism, me and other Christians, we felt very strongly about this. Millions of Christians within this country, this held the most terrible of implications. It is a tragic thought pattern fault of that time, and are still made by some people today including a part of the media, is that the international communist threat in this country, was only a perceived onslaught. That is a fault.
If the TRC would also step into that trap of false propaganda, it would lead to the absence of the thought for the essence of fear which was in the hearts of millions of Christian believers. Then we will also realise that we were fighting a just cause.
I believed and I would like to repeat it, the communist ideology is atheistic and evil. It was there to destroy Christianship and to rule the world in total and they strived to obtain this in a cold-blooded manner. Apartheid was wrong and it was unjustifiable and it had bad fruits, but no government under apartheid ever threatened the freedom of religion.
I would like to give you the, I would like to quote the following and we are now looking on page 22. Chairperson, I am not going to read it, it is available, you can look at it. It was things that were available to us, things which emphasised our point of view and we based our judgement on all of that.
MR VISSER: If you say that, to which period of time are you referring Mr Vlok, when you say you made certain judgements on the bases of certain information that was available to you, which time are you referring to?
MR VLOK: Like I have said before, governments over decades in this country, had the point of view that of anti-communism. In 1953 that government made all its judgements with regards to the stopping of communism.
So it refers to that time. As far as I am concerned, these things formed a basis for me, this information formed a basis on which I made my decisions. And as far as I can remember back, when I started being interested in all of this, these things played an important role in the way that I thought, so it was from that time, right up until now, and it is still my opinion today.
MR VISSER: Maybe you are understanding me incorrectly. The items you are quoting, which are on page 22 in paragraph 90, you are saying that at that time it was available to you. Are you referring to the time when you were a Minister and the facts and information which was available to you and also other members of the government with regards to how you made your policy?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson, it is the basis on which we made our policy.
ADV GCABASHE: Just as a follow up to that question, if you go back to paragraph 18, Gen Olic Calugan, when was that, just give me the date for that, just to give us a historical perspective as ...
MR VLOK: Chairperson, Calugan visited this country. If I remember correctly, I have a snippet from a paper, I could give it to you if you want it, I think it was 1995. 1995 yes.
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry, just to clarify that, you are not suggesting that what he said then, informed you in any way, because you were no longer a Minister? What are you saying about this quote exactly?
MR VLOK: I am saying that he confirmed what we have always been convinced of, that is the facts, and he just confirmed what we were in any case knowing for all the years.
If I can just carry on, paragraph 91, I am not going to read all of that, save some time, the Commissioners can read that if they wanted to, but on page 25, paragraph 92 and this is dated, a dated finding which came into my, which became available to me, it is a group of French historians who at the end of 1997 wrote this and the heading is Communists murder millions. This was in the Rapport of the 16-11-1997. The communists are responsible for the death of almost 100 000 000 people within the century, says a group of French historians.
In South Africa, almost 2 000 000 died. Eleven senior investigators worked on this book which is called "Die Swart Boek" and the appearance of this book came together with the 80th birthday of the Bolshevik Revolution.
The French historians found that communist dictators and governments and movements, killed 65 000 000 people, 20 000 000 in the Soviet Union, 65 000 000 that is in China, 20 000 000 in the Soviet Union, 2 000 000 in Cambodia, 2 000 000 in Korea, 1 700 000 in Africa, 1 000 000 in Vietnam and another 1 000 000 in Eastern Europe and 150 000 people in South America.
Chairperson, I have no doubt whatsoever as far as I am concerned, with regard to all the people that I have come into contact with, who were in the Police Force and all of us believed that the communist had the same plan with South Africa. We accepted this, we believed this that the Soviet doctrine and propaganda, they made no secret of this. They want, and this is with regard to pro-Marxistic States, they wanted the same for South Africa, they wanted Marxism in South Africa.
That is what the Russian General himself confirmed when he visited this country as I have mentioned before. I am sorry, here is the date, it is on the 29th of September 1995, there appeared this article in the Pretoria News.
I am also not going to quote this. The Pretoria News, they said what we have said all along, they have just confirmed it. For decades National Party governments worked hard to instil fear and loathing in orderly South Africans of everything about the Soviet Union, Communism and the KGB. The campaign worked amongst white people at least, most white people at least. Misconceptions that exist even today about Russia bear testimony to this.
Having said that, Gen Caluga's revelations about what the KGB was actually trying to achieve in this country, through infiltration and exploitation of the SACP, and ultimately the ANC, proves that South Africa was indeed under foreign threat.
This country was pivotal to Soviet expansionism. The Reds' under the beds, battle-cry from white leaders at that time, was not as hollow as some believed.
Chairperson, page 27 ...
CHAIRPERSON: In the next paragraph it states, Gen Calugan aptly described apartheid as a gift to the Kremlin, isn't that also true?
MR VLOK: That is true, we had a wrong policy and it gave them the opportunity.
Chairperson, on page 27 I would just like to refer to an extract in 1985 from a certain journalist Robert le Contre. The last paragraph there, South Africa's State President, Mr P.W. Botha is busy to enter a new political future for the country and its people. Apartheid is crumbling.
Chairperson, I gave you examples of evidence and I have submitted this to the Committee, which was available to us and me and most of the members of the Security Forces, believed and believed in the actual, real threat of communism. It had an absolute massive danger for a lot of people in this country.
We were - it would have been that South African could have become a Russian super possibility and on that, because of that I had no doubt, about that I had no doubt.
On this basis we also looked at the ANC. We realised that the SACP in line with their plan, was dominated by the South African Communist Party in the Executive Committee of the ANC. They were confirmed members, the names are there. I am not going to read it, with the international communist power block, at the head we believed that every attempt of the government to find a political dispensation or political solution for this country, the ANC obscured these plans, (indistinct) these plans.
The ANC with its internal front organisations, you have COSATU and others, was the storm troops of the communist which in that time, during world history, they came and they were running along, they were gaining power.
We spelt it out for everyone that if it happened here, it would be frightening, there would be violence, loss of blood and destruction of all freedom, specifically freedom of religion. And besides that it was clear to us that the ANC was caught in the claws of this dangerous enemy, this communism because the majority of their members were communists.
The mighty communist power block, was the ANC's surety and as I have mentioned, and as long as the international communism was so strong, we had no hope to find a political solution with them.
To build up this communism and to further their communist objectives, the ANC had other front organisations like the UDF and COSATU and others. This was done covertly and I have some documents which would refer to one matter.
Chairperson, paragraph 104 I wish to continue an aspect. During those years for myself and certainly other people which complicated things more, was the action of certain churches and prominent church leaders. Amongst others, in 1986 I was present with the State President at that time, Mr P.W. Botha and the South African Council of Churches, we had negotiations. They spoke to Mr Botha in terms of the detention without trial and asked him to stop the policy of apartheid, and his answer was that the government was busy with a reform and were changing, and he then asked them to stop their support to the ANC and communism. They told him that their support for the ANC and communism was not negotiable.
Several examples were mentioned, namely Mozambique where communism worked for them and was actually more acceptable than apartheid. This support of an atheist ideology by people, leaders of churches, I could not accept it, it shocked me that the church of God was blinded and they were condoning the support for communism. And a further relevant issue was the actions of two prominent church leaders where the communist flag was shown and this action, we could not accept it, myself and my fellow South African Christians.
We had no trust in our church leaders because they were already in the pockets of international communism. This was totally unacceptable. I want to conclude my submission with this snippet from the Rapport, dated 04-08-1996. I am not going to read it.
What I am trying to say is that South Africans and Africans has to see that it does not become a Soviet satellite. Mr Chairman, with the testimony that I have offered here, and I would like to then ask who carries this country's interests at their heart and who would hand over the government to them, that is the choice that we had.
I was not going to do that and I saw it as my duty to protect the country against this communist enemy but the communist option was much more dangerous and was totally unacceptable.
I prevented this and although I am sorry because of all the irregular acts and misdeeds that were committed in the name of apartheid, I accept moral and political responsibility for it, but I am thankful that our country was saved from a communist government and I have another quotation from the Financial Mail, I am not going to read it.
MR VISSER: Read it.
MR VLOK: It should come as no surprise when the ANC tries to rewrite history, by pretending that Russian and Chinese communist expansion never happened in Angola and Mozambique, where today there are no economies or communities worth speaking about.
The reason why fathers, brothers and uncles went quietly into the South African Defence Force, was to keep that as far as possible from the (indistinct) and home. And they succeeded, South African Defence Force operations, they are the only successful war fought against guerrillas and with senior ANC people holding senior ranks in the KGB, it was but a short step to the willing patrolling of streets.
Had it not been for that, Hector Petersen might be alive today, but the chances are that he would be hobbling around on one leg with a begging bowl, having lost the other when he stepped on a landmine in Soweto.
This struggle against this unacceptable ideology, also for the free Western world, was without doubt for a just cause and it was a just war. That was my conviction.
Chairperson, I wish to have a look at the situation in South Africa from 1948 to 1990. I wish to do it quickly. The security situation.
Particulars of the serious security situation which worsened after 1984, was taken up in the publication, The Other Side of the Story, a True Perspective, in the submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Gen Van der Merwe. We have dealt with those documents. The security situation in South Africa was well known.
It was well known over the years, but I would just like to touch on it. It is necessary that you have to know that I acted in these circumstances as I did, and people, it is so that people do not remember all of this and today, there is the fear for example of limpet mines and car bombs, people went too far in their protection and in their security.
On the 17th of September 1994 when I was appointed Deputy Minister of Defence, at that time South Africa was burning already. Hundreds of violent incidents came to our desk daily and innocent people were killed.
There were instances where people were killed despite their colour, with hand grenades, limpet mines and car bombs. Even though unrest and acts of violence and sabotage and terror was committed in the 1950's in different places in South Africa, and to a certain extent, the South African Security Forces always tried to contain this and always tried to, they were possible to control this.
The National Party since 1948 up to 1994, kept the SA government in control while fruitless attempts were made by other people to find a political solution for our country. Before 1948, it went as far as this, now we are quoting from D.F. Malan, there is no bigger tragedy in our South African nation's history as that of lost possibilities, lost opportunities. The white person's fate would not be in a weighing process.
Paragraph 120, Dr Verwoerd, brought us apartheid which did not work ... (tape ends) ... so that we were at the edge of anarchy and a bloody revolution. Them, together with the security community, had to stop and make sure that the government was not undermined.
All of that started on the 2nd of September 1984 when Sharpeville exploded.
ADV DE JAGER: Do you mean 1964?
MR VLOK: No, I am not referring to the incident in 1964, I am talking about the tricameral government, when the Mayor of La Kwa was gruesomely murdered. That is what I am referring to.
After that the country was burning. Daily we had to deal with trained terrorists, which was offering resistance and the so-called no go areas, and the free areas where the government's functions came to an end.
As also weapon depots with tons of weapons, secure houses and bases for terrorists. The recruiting and training of recruits in the use of war weaponry, unrest, violent acts, propaganda, sanctions, boycotts, etc, and in this regard Mr Colin Weil, Senior Lecturer or the Department International Relationships at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1988 and I am not going to read that now, you can read it yourself, and it just confirms what we have been saying.
The statistics on page 35, paragraph 121, you have all the unrest related incidents, the acts of terror.
MR VISSER: Maybe just before you go to page 36, just before you go to the next thing, maybe it will be important if you give comment with regards to the statistics you are quoting in paragraph 121. It is so that paradoxically since 1985, up until 1987 and maybe one can even include 1988, there was a decrease in unrest related incidents whilst in the same time period, there was a very sharp increase if you look at paragraph 121.2, an increase in the acts of terror, is that not true?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson. If you look at the statistics on page 121.1, you will see that in 1986 there were 14 000 incidents, and then we had emergency regulations in the country, and then the unrest related incidents decreased to 4 000, but it was a short period of time, it was a controlling situation, and after that, it increased in 1988 by - in 1988 it was already 5 000 again.
MR VISSER: Sorry, and in 1990 it was back to 17 000?
MR VLOK: Yes, that was after certain things happened, we had emergency regulations, but in 1988 it was 5 000 and in 1990 it was up to 17 000. So it was short term, you shock it to a halt, a reorganisation took place and once again the incidents increased as Adv Visser indicated that the acts of terror continually increased. 1985, 136, 1986, 231, 1988, was the highest of all time, 316.
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, just give us a definition in your own words please, with regards to what should be seen as unrest related incidents and with regards to what the Security Forces see as acts of terror. Can you just make a distinction for us please?
MR VLOK: Yes, unrest related incidents were incidents where rocks were thrown, when people started to set fire to things, when they burnt down the schools or people were chased out of classrooms, where people were injured, etc.
Opposed to that, acts of terror, was where a limpet mine or a hand grenade was used by a trained terrorist.
Page 36, necklaces - also during that time, a lot of people were involved with that.
MR VISSER: With regards to what you are saying in 121.4 and to add to the background which was current at that time, with regards to these incidents you are now referring to and specifically the ones you are going to refer to in future, like COSATU House and Cry Freedom, etc., with regard to that background, the unrest related incidents at that stage, you already said was shocked to a very low statistic, but the acts of terror was still high and you referred to page 36 in 121.4, to incidents which took place at that time.
Can you just inform us about this?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, if I understand Adv Visser correctly, do you want me to give evidence with regard to the acts that I am applying for amnesty?
These acts took place, the first of them in 1987 in May and now, if you will see in May 1987, there was the one incident of a car bomb in Jo'burg and four people died, and there was also one in Kwart Street, where no one died.
In that time, there were relatively few of these incidents with regards to car bombs, and acts of terror. But the one I think which is really important here, is that our acts with regards to Khotso House was on the 31st of August 1988.
Now, if you see after the 31st of August 1988, there was the one car incident in Witbank, car bomb incident, and then there was one at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, also in 1988. And for that whole time, until the 28-07-1990, there were no car bomb incidents, except for the bomb, if it did explode, would have caused massive damage. If it did explode, it would have caused massive damage.
MR VISSER: And you mentioned further aspects with regards to the total onslaught as you referred to it, and the attacks and its subparagraphs. You can go on to 122.
MR VLOK: Chairperson, these are examples of the physical onslaught at that time, and of the fact that the cases which the Security Forces had to deal with.
We did not doubt that during this time, we were on the edge of anarchy. We were also convinced that if we did not handle the situation in the correct manner, it would have ended up in a bloody result.
MR VISSER: Can you just stop there. Mr Chairman, I did not ask you at what stage you would find it convenient to take the morning short break?
CHAIRPERSON: I have been asked to do it at quarter to eleven.
MR VISSER: I am sorry, I wasn't aware of that.
CHAIRPERSON: When you come to a convenient stage.
MR VISSER: This is a convenient stage Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well, we will take the adjournment.
ADRIAAN JOHANNES VLOK: (still under oath)
EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: (continued) ... of the additional evidence before you, and I believe that Mr Vlok has reached paragraph 123. Maybe just for the sake of continuity, can you just read 123 again for us please.
MR VLOK: Thank you Mr Chairman. During my tea time, I was told by my Advocate that I speak too quickly. I am obedient, and I will try to speak a bit slower.
We believed that during this time, the country was wavering on the precipice of anarchy. It was an indisputable fact that if the situation was not controlled in the correct manner, that it would have exploded into a bloody revolution.
The declared goal, that was the declared goal of the revolutionaries, and I believe that this would have destroyed our country. The fact that it did not happen is not to be attributed to those who really wanted the revolution to take place, but it can be attributed to the Security Forces who succeeded on a very efficient way, to defuse the revolution temporarily and to keep the country under control.
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, now that you have reached this point, maybe it would be appropriate for the sake of continuity, to refer back to your original application, on page 13. Would I be correct to say I am looking at paragraph (vii) on page 13 of the original application, up until page 19, before (c), everything that is written there, you have addressed and you have also elaborated on that, is that not true?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Can you just turn this thing down? Sorry for that interruption Mr Chairman.
Mr Vlok, now you are carrying on to a sketch of the security situation and the acts of the Security Forces and the role they played. You have already addressed it on page 19 of your original amnesty application, is that not true, that is under (c)? That carries on to page 22, before (xvi), 19 - 22 Chairperson.
Now once again you confirm that is how you saw the issue?
MR VLOK: That is correct, this is just an elaboration of that.
MR VISSER: And if I may be allowed, can I summarise it by saying that there were basically three legs with regards to the policy of the then government. The first was the Security Act which you referred to on page 19, and then ...
CHAIRPERSON: Which 19 is that?
MR VISSER: It is the original application. I refer to the numbered page Mr Chairman, not the typed written, the hand - I am sorry, I should have said that Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: The hand numbered 19?
MR VISSER: Do you have the other page numbers now which I gave you, because I have been referring to the hand-written page numbers all along?
MR VISSER: The first was the Security actions and then it was also identified the fact that the government should be seen as a good government and who has good principles and to stop discontentment as much as possible?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And then the third leg, was a solution for the country, a solution for the country's problems.
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: You are not going to repeat this, I have only summarised now everything up until page 22 and from 22 onwards, further, you described the revolutionary climate and you have also referred to it already and you are going to refer to it again, so in other words, to a great extent, your further submissions replace 22 up until 24, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: So paragraph 124 with regards to the supplementary piece, Exhibit A, could you continue with that please.
MR VLOK: I do that and I really want to emphasise this point. I would like to emphasise that the Security Forces, it was their view, that the measures we enforced could only enforce temporary peace.
We could not detain the people for an undetermined time. So I just want to emphasise that part of the strategy of the government was a dispensationary solution had to be found, which would be acceptable for the majority of the people in this country.
MR VISSER: Is that where the idea of hold action comes from, or holding action, the Security Forces saw their task as a holding action, up until to the point where a dispensationary solution is found?
MR VLOK: Yes, our actions were of a holding nature.
MR VISSER: Earlier in your submission you referred to the policy of the National Party and you said that the policy was to use everything within its means to stop the onslaught.
But you do not mean, when you say using violence, you do not actually mean violence, do you mean anything within its power to do it, at all costs?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: So maybe there was confusion with the word violent, what you meant was that you did everything within your power?
MR VLOK: That is correct. Paragraph 125, if I can just carry on there, that is Exhibit A.
At the end of 1987 and the beginning of 1988, we found that the ANC and its front organisations, the UDF and the MDM, etc, with regards to revolutionary activities, except for ad hoc opportunities, for example funerals, they created this very cleverly, in accordance to the determined yearly calendar.
On page 38, I am not going to read it that, you can see for yourself. Paragraph 126, these opportunities were usually going together with a great amount of people getting together and this always led to the committing of violence.
MR VISSER: Maybe I do not really understand this. You are talking about the mobilisation of the masses, that campaign. Are you busy referring to the so-called four pillars of the struggle which served as a basis for the revolutionary struggle of the ANC and you also referred to this in your submission, in your original amnesty application, is that what you are referring to?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: I am just trying to find the page Chairperson, 10(b). I apologise, it is later, I have just remembered, it is quite later in the application, further in this piece. We have not dealt with it yet, but maybe we can address it now.
It is on page 70 of the original application Mr Chairman, where they discuss the four pillars. That is now the pillars of the mobilisation of the masses, the armed struggle, the creation of underground structures of the ANC and the international onslaught in order to isolate South Africa. That is what you are referring to?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: I interrupted you, you said this was part of the mass mobilisation?
MR VLOK: If you look at 127, we also experienced that those people who did not voluntarily wanted to take part in this, was intimidated to take part. Everything that I have submitted up to now, to the Committee, was like a fragmentary version of what happened from 1984 to 1990 in this country.
This daily evidence of blood and violence against innocent people, and our apparent fruitless attempts to stop it permanently and this definitely had an influence on my conscience and my way of thinking. And also with regards, I think, the same to all the people of the Security Forces.
The government had a strategy to handle the situation and that is on page 40, that is Annexure A and in the original document, we have already given the references to that.
I am dealing with what replaces that and also elaborates on that. As the legally chosen and admitted government of the day, also by Western governments, the National Party had to make a plan in order to treat this violent situation and that was called the government's anti-revolutionary strategy.
If the strategy was not successful, the government would not have won any of the general elections since 1953 up until 1989. The Security Forces was the greatest instrument of this strategy and we propagated this internally and more widely as well.
In this manner there was a wide front of - everybody shared the same goal within the country. It was expected of the Security Forces to handle the security situation within the country, so that the other legs of the same government, could address the crucial issues within the society, within the country, and that a negotiable political solution would be found and would be acceptable for the majority of South Africans.
We realised that as long as the country was burning, we would not find any meaningful political solution for the country. Therefore, we tried really hard to stabilise the country within the situation and to normalise it so that the people who were negotiating, that they could further their task.
The Security Forces succeeded in their goal in a great manner, but the same cannot be said for the finding of a political solution, it got stuck while actions on the security area that is, increased.
That made the task of the Security Forces more and more unbearable, but we had to continue to secure the government and to protect the government and therefore to stop that it would be undermined in a violent manner.
So despite really, really difficult circumstances, we did succeed. We got through that in order to get to a negotiable solution.
Chairperson, again I just want to say that I supported this strategy of the government and I propagated it as well - in the Parliament, the National Party Caucus, congresses of the National Party, public hearings, internal discussions and speeches within the Security Forces, everywhere where I acted as a Minister of the government.
Because this view was also supported by the greatest majority of the Security Forces, they found nothing with regards to the finding of political solution, which is acceptable for everybody, they did not try to stop this.
I must admit that afterwards, that it seems that certain individuals did try to stop this process, but literally hundreds of thousands of members worked together to find this permanent solution and as far as I am concerned, they should receive the appreciation of the whole country, because it could have been different.
They had the physical means to dump this country into a blood bath, if they did not want to walk this road with us. So, that is my respectful submission that even though the strategy of the government, even though it had shortcomings, it did work in the sense that it prevented the country from going into a revolution.
And in this way, we realised that the country received a political acceptable solution through negotiation. A lot of faults were made, but the Security Forces did succeed in bringing South Africa to a relatively peaceful dispensation.
I would also like to talk about relevant issues, and that is on page 42 of Exhibit A, it is the creation of a determined climate. The National Party over the years, had very charismatic writers. These people succeeded by using provoking and whipping up kind of expressions to get the people to join them.
It was often open to misinterpretations. This is the road we followed in order to create resistance. We did inspire them, we did motivate them, yes, we even indoctrinated them to fight for Christian values and norms as well as a free Western democratic principles against an evil godless, oppressive enemy.
We were so successful at that, that some of the Security Forces' members would have literally run through a wall for us. It is our experience, it is a fact that the ANC did the same with their people, as we often experienced with clashes we had, when we had clashes with them.
If you take that fact, if you also that that fact into consideration that the members of the Security Force, the National Party also enjoyed the support of the majority.
Amongst the members of the former Security Police, which is about 2 000 in total and I did an estimate in 1987, the number was higher than 95 percent support for the National Party. If you add to this that these people had very reliable and trustworthy information to know above all doubt, that a take over by international communism, would mean the death of innocent people, I never doubted this, the disaster it would have held for South Africa if the communists took over, and neither did they.
Paragraph 139, over the years we had to deal with a lot of very loyal and patriotic South Africans, who believed firmly that our country was threatened by foreign forces.
Forces which would have used any method possible in order to maintain control within the country and the methods I would not repeat them again. But to this we understood it to be an undeclared war considering these methods.
The ANC over the years also spoke about the war against the Pretoria regime and in South Africa, over decades, the perception grew which could not be described as anything else than a war psychosis.
Situations over which we had very little control, eventually led to a climate where offences took place which, offences committed by normal people which in other circumstances, would not have been thinkable.
I am convinced that we were intensely exposed to terrifying violence over a long time and we all got sidelined by this. We got so desensitised that this sort of thing became more and more normal for us. I do not condone our actions Chairperson, but I do understand it.
With all these elements in place, and the explosive situation which reigned for a long time within this country, the possibility was created for irregular acts by loyal and patriotic members of the Security Forces.
They did not need a command, the terrorist in their hands was a member of a well identified enemy, which made war against innocent women and children. If they could not charge this person in front of a court, it was only a small step away from irregular acts in order to make sure that he cannot contribute further to destroy what they think, is precious.
Chairperson, therefore me as a moral and political leader, I accept responsibility for acts which we did, which happened and I accept responsibility. Like I said, I can understand these actions, like many other of my political colleagues, we cannot distance ourselves from the situation. We must take moral and political responsibility for what happened.
Even if it was misguided, these people did it for us and for this country, and therefore we cannot now distance ourselves from these people. Me personally, I am not prepared as far as these people are concerned, who did everything, their careers, their families, their friends, they sacrificed all of this for the country, I am not prepared to distance myself from them, and therefore ... (tape ends) ... rhetoric, and just the last paragraph, short sighted politicians are the greatest, are the people guilty of whipping up speeches.
You played with explosives, stay with rational arguments or rather keep quiet. And we, all of us, we are guilty of this. Me, myself, as well and I want to admit it here.
I want to stand for a moment, I want to look at the execution of commands. In the execution of certain commands, offences and irregular acts were committed by the members of the Security Forces. With regard to the instances we are dealing with now, I want to say with all respect, that all the members acted in a command sense and they only did what was part of their duties.
MR VISSER: Now you are referring to the knowledge that you have about COSATU House and Khotso House and the Cry Freedom incidents. I want to ask you further, would you accept that when individual members of the Security Forces in diverse incidents, would you make a statement that they said that they believed that they acted in accordance with commands in the course of their tasks and their duties and with regards to their skills. Is that the general feeling you are trying to sketch here, that for you, you understand and accept it?
MR VLOK: Yes, I understand it and I accept it.
MR VISSER: Can you please continue then?
MR VLOK: Excessive behaviour inspired by patriotism, during August 1988, Dr Pallo Jordan of the ANC said the following on Radio Freedom, what happens is that people act out of passion, all right, and in that moment of passion they will do things that are contrary to ANC policy. Whether we are in touch with them or not, it happens in any war, war is war, and there are moments at which people act out of passion.
It happens in any war. I don't know why people expect our war to be any different.
Chairperson, in their eagerness to stop the plans or the enemy and to protect the government, offences were committed by the Security Forces. It was not done out of malice, or for own benefit. But it was an honest and a genuine attempt to act in the interest of our country and the government and the public.
I also want to talk about pressure, I would like to give you my perception of this. Langenhoven said in his Skaduwees van Nasaret, and I am only reading the last bit of that, in one way or another, you must maintain authority, Rome does not expect explanations from you, but results.
Rome does not listen to apologies, because then it would not have created a world kingdom. Chairperson, that is my perception, that is exactly what we as the government did. For a lot of years we enforced a lot of pressure on the Security Forces to succeed and to fight the enemy in South Africa.
Me as a responsible Minister and all those who preceded me, the State Security Council, the Cabinet, the head of the country, State head, as well as individual Ministers, expected of the Security Forces to control the security problems within the country and to be successful.
It seemed quite evident during the negotiations in the State Security Council and the Cabinet, where the head of the State who had complete responsibility for the whole situation in the country, no doubt was left with regard to his high expectations of the Security Forces, you could never doubt it. We, the politicians responsible to the demanding voters, expected of the Police and the Defence Force, to be successful, even sometimes without their responsibility areas, areas of responsibility, it was explicable and it was also obvious because successes went well, our voters liked success.
Individuals, individual Ministers also expected of the Security Forces and with justification, to take and to grasp and control those people who were trying to make the country ungovernable.
This means that it was expected of the Security Forces to act against those people whipping up people when areas such as Education, Training, Health, etc and to handle these people. It is unnecessary to say that the Security Forces, during the years were very efficient and our voters liked that.
It made us capable over decades to win election after election and to give, to list the successes of our Security Forces to the people. That is why the whole spirit and atmosphere within the government, the State Security Council, other Cabinet Committees, as well as the Cabinet, they were always directed towards success.
Everybody was always happy about successful successes against revolutionaries and terrorists. With regards to successful negotiations with regard to Educational and Health issues as well as successful anti-sanction acts, also about external successes, etc. Everybody congratulated each other.
Now, Chairperson, it is my perception that there is nothing wrong with that. To be successful in what you do, cannot be a sin.
We want to follow that and it is to the credit of our previous heads of government, that they could inspire us and motivate us to achieve, it was important for the people and the country. But Chairperson, the correct perspective is that pressure does not only come from the politicians, there was also other sources of pressure.
For example ourselves as politicians, we were under great pressure by the Officials, the security communities, our voters, the media, negotiations and industries as well as the business community and the private people to normalise the situation. We were constantly demanded to be successful. People demanded it of us all the time.
This was done by personal contact at gatherings or meetings, by telephone, by correspondence, congresses, letters in newspaper columns, TV programmes, news articles, several others. My doorstep was rushed over by people of all parts of the community over the years, and we were asked to be successful in our actions against terrorists, radicals, revolutionaries and all those people who destroy the lives of people and their children and damage property.
It is easy for us as political leaders to distance ourselves from these and other unpleasant responsibilities, but the truth of the fact is that we all fought together and we acted against a joint enemy. Together we prevented that enemy from taking control over our country.
It was an achievement which in spite of what is happening now, it will stand in the history of South Africa, as one of the greatest and most important achievements. About this achievement we can feel good and proud, but at the same time, one must also be able to take responsibility for our failures and our faults. They were there as well.
Chairperson, in this regard Churchill said and I think he was a very wise politician, leadership is not about being right, it is about having the courage to take responsibility and if necessary, to be wrong.
A lot of us were wrong in many aspects. Sometimes consciously or unconsciously, we placed pressure on people. For a lot of years, decades in fact, propaganda was deliberately made against the policy of apartheid, against the government which instituted it and the instruments which it used to enforce this, the Officials as well as the security, specifically the Security Forces.
This inevitably led to the fact over several years, that over the length and breadth of South Africa, this led to a - and I use the English word - ground swell of hate and resistance against apartheid, and everybody who was associated with this.
And as I have emphasised, this was specifically aimed, this resistance aimed against the Security Forces. There was dissatisfaction in the majority of the people, million people, with the policy which meant to them that they would suffer. There was exploitative situations on a lot of areas, for example teaching, schools, local management, politics, citizenship, and also the shortage of freedom.
Everybody who enforced this policy was regarded as the enemy. Black people who did it was immediately seen as traitors. Millions of people were ready to discard the, to get rid of the oppressor and to obtain their freedom.
As far as I am concerned, there was a mutual goal to destroy apartheid and everybody who stood in their way, to get rid of them. That was the situation with regards to the biggest city in our country up to the smallest little village.
The explosive was ready, it just needed a spark to explode and that happened over the years, and orders for action was contained in the speeches of politicians in conferences, propaganda pieces, radio transmissions, etc. Very few orders were ever directly given.
Millions of people had the same thought pattern with regards to action, no direct orders were necessary. It was sufficient for young, black radicals to hear and to see how someone in the freedom organisation says "with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we will free this country", and that was no direct instruction given to them.
We also experienced that television images for example which expressed or showed unrest and property burning in Soweto, and this led to great unrest and fires at a lot of places all over the country, it was quite clear to me that these people had a similar goal, one goal, and they all acted, the reacted spontaneously and they went on to action spontaneously within the framework of the whole movement.
The same situation, as far as I am concerned, happened to the Security Forces. As I already said, we motivated them over years. We even indoctrinated them and to fight against communism. Everybody who followed that ideology, the instructions and the legal determinations were quite evident.
They actually knew that people would speak with fire and they whipped people up and in fault, and they spoke of elimination and taking out, etc. Stratcom operations were approved, and that violent pressure was placed on them in order to normalise the situation and stabilise the situation in this country, and to protect the lives of innocent children and women.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Vlok, can you just explain, can you say why was a word like elimination used, or taking out, why were such words used? What was the intention with those words and what was provided, what could other people think with regards to those words?
MR VLOK: I will immediately react to that. I want to tell you that the word elimination and taking out, those words, was mainly used in documents which was submitted to us and which was drawn up by Officials. It was the language, it was Defence Force language, elimination and it is quite interesting and after this came under my attention, I went and had a look at the situation.
You would find the word elimination and you would look at the tasks which had to be performed, so you would see it means detention of people. We, who were in the position that had to look at this situation, when we had discussions, I cannot remember that we ever spoke about the fact that you've got to go and eliminate someone. It was there in a submission, it was written down in documents, we listened to it, but we were not careful enough to make sure that those words was not written there.
For the man on the ground who read that, he had a different meaning. It meant to him, it had a literal meaning for him, it actually meant to go and eliminate someone. That is why I am mentioning this and I am saying that we cannot distance ourselves.
ADV DE JAGER: You said that the man on the street, it meant to him eliminate someone, to kill somebody and if those words which could have had that meeting, is that not more the reason then, that you and others, must accept responsibility for what could have happened with the interpretation of those words with regards to other people?
MR VLOK: Commissioner De Jager is absolutely correct, but that is why I am here.
I cannot accept direct responsibility, because I do not know, but I am willing to accept moral and political responsibility for cases where a person says in his amnesty application that these words had this meaning for him. Then I do accept political, I accept responsibility.
I just want to say on page 51, paragraph 177 there was a legal, general instruction which was contained in the Police Law, and this gave the Police the instruction to maintain internal security and also law and order, and amongst the freedom struggle movements, a common goal was established between them, and that is in order to stop the onslaught which would make, which would lead to the taking over of the country in a violent fashion.
In this process direct instructions were not necessary. They thought that they were acting within the guidelines of the country and what should be done.
MR VISSER: If I may interrupt you, if you look at the Police Law, 1958, Section 5, Act 7 of 1958, you can also find that in the original application, page 13 where the four legal duties, you would find that in the original document, page 13.
Mr Vlok, we have reached page 51 of Exhibit A and I wish to refer you back to your application for amnesty, on page 67 and we have dealt with everything up to page 67.
Or that is not correct, but on page 67 you dealt with the political background and the majority you have elaborated on. Just to be of assistance to the Committee and my colleagues, in other words, you have covered everything up to page 75.
Your Honour, just so that you can keep up with where we are in the documents. On page 77 of the original application, you refer to something else, there is an addendum to your application for amnesty, and at the end of your testimony we will get to that, so we will return to the original application, but what I require from you, is to go to the incidents specifically and you are requested to address the COSATU House incident first, although it does not appear, that is on page 57 of the original application, but we will continue on page 51.
This incident happened on the early hours of 7 May 1987, that was election day that day, the 6th of May, wasn't it?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Can you just inform the Committee members as to what the situation was with reference to Cosatu House, what was decided and what was done?
Excuse me, maybe I should just be of assistance by saying that you had insight into the amnesty application of Gen Van der Merwe which is also to be served before this Committee, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And in Gen Van der Merwe's submission or application for amnesty, I refer to volume 1, Mr Chairperson, and specifically page 119, and then continuing to page 120, Gen Van der Merwe said in here and I would assume that he would confirm this in his testimony and he says, during the period 13 march 1987 to 5 June 1987, a national strike involving workers employed by the Transport Services, was called for by the South African Railways and Harbours Workers' Union, SARWU, and then he continues and he refers to a Michael Rossos and then further on, on that same page, there is a reference to certain workers of the Railway who were detained in COSATU House.
This is what you are referring to as well as the fact that Gen Van der Merwe said that these people who were detained in COSATU House were tortured there and later four burnt bodies were found?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And one of them succeeded in escaping and Gen Van der Merwe continues to sketch the danger that the use of COSATU House has and for the things that happened there, the dangers it held for the security of the community. I summarised it quickly, that is where you say that you incorporate it with your testimony?
Will you then continue from page 58 and then go back to page 51?
MR VLOK: I refer to page 58 of the original application, and I am in the middle of the page, paragraph (a). The real cause of the strike of 20 000 of South African Transport workers was because of the disciplinary action against one worker where he was negligent. Although he was initially fired, his appeal was successful and he received a R80-00 fine and he did not lose any benefits or his salary.
So it meant that this Union then had a hidden agenda that had nothing to do with a labour dispute. The real aim was to mobilise workers at strategic places like docks, airports, railway stations, this was to make the land ungovernable and to set the trend for the revolution.
This strike was to take place on the 6th of May 1987. The atmosphere in the country was highly emotional and unstable, and the danger of disruption of the election was possible.
In the light of this, there was a great possibility that the strike would spread to the rest of the country and the government gave the instruction that the situation had to be saved as soon as possible.
I wish to refer that the strike did spread and workers of the Post Office also participated in that. (Transcriber's own translation) Actions according to security legislation, including the emergency regulations, against members of SARWU followed. Orders by the Supreme Court to declare the strike unlawful, was obtained and handed to the strikers, without any real success.
Despite these actions, it was clear that intimidation as well as planning for further actions by the organisations and inciters of illegal strikes in COSATU House, as I believed it, without the knowledge of the leaders of COSATU, and this continued.
The information was that the planning included the burning of ticket offices, sabotage of railway lines, burning of railway busses and it seemed that the Blue Train was also a target.
Information pointed to the fact that during this time, there was a plan to attack members of the Police at COSATU House and after this happened, about 200 attackers went to COSATU House and they hid there and according to information, there were trained MK terrorists at COSATU House as well.
It also came to the fore that people who ...
ADV DE JAGER: This paragraph is not clear to me. During this time, there was an attack on the Police at COSATU House, there was a planning.
Was the Police at COSATU House or was it Police elsewhere but the planning was made at COSATU House?
MR VLOK: Excuse Adv De Jager, it is not so, the intention was that in COSATU House, they planned an attack on the Police elsewhere.
And taking into consideration of the information that I have just mentioned, I was satisfied that COSATU House was being used as a basis for trained MK terrorists. We used all our measures to our disposal, to find these people without success.
These people continued with their planning in COSATU House and sources who told us of these plans, did not want to come out in the open because of intimidation and because of the seriousness of the situation in the country, economically as well as security wise, we could not just sit back with our arms folded, we had to do something.
The only thing we could do was to disallow them the use of the building. This would stop their momentum for starting the revolution and would give the government the chance to continue with its political reform.
MR VISSER: You then accept responsibility?
MR VLOK: That is correct and before I continue, I want to come back to page 51 of Exhibit A, so that I can submit a further motivation for this.
At the labour area the ANC/SACP/SACTU alliance wanted to unify everybody under one body and try to do harm to the South African economy.
Because of the political participation and challenging attitude towards the government, COSATU succeeded in influencing other areas and furthering revolutionary and other radical objectives.
COSATU also had the perception that the actions of unions could be condoned and that they were beyond the law. They had a constitution in which the following was the most important.
MR VISSER: You don't have to read that, it is there to be read.
MR VLOK: COSATU also wanted to undermine the Emergency Regulations and this led to the fact that the tactical alliance between COSATU and the UDF, the National Education Crisis Committee ... (tape ends) ... stay away actions, therefore the role of COSATU increased the revolutionary climate and made the South African Police's task, much more difficult.
The ANC/SACP alliance in 1987 used the United Democratic Front to succeed with its revolutionary ideals, and the UDF reconciled itself with the ANC/SACP alliance and worked together with COSATU, the National Education Crisis Committee and the South African Council of Churches.
COSATU wanted to further the ideals of the ANC/SACP alliance and information pointed to the fact that there were undermining actions being planned in COSATU House. During this time, 13th of March 1987 to the 5th of June 1987, the South African Railway and Harbour Workers' Union, SARWU, called a countrywide stay away which included all workers in the transport industry.
Informers who were placed delicately reported as to what was happening in the COSATU House. During one of the meetings at the early stages of the Committee's workings, those present were incited to burn trains, sabotage railway lines by using arson techniques and to intimidate workers who did not want to participate in the strike or the stay away.
As we mentioned, they were taken to the house, we received information from others where they were intimidated and tortured. Because of this danger to the informers, the Police could not use the normal legal process.
The available information that was there, it was clear that the five kidnapped workers were in danger. One of the five kidnapped workers managed to escape and the Police had a search warrant and on the 29th of April 1987, they used the warrant and there was a search of COSATU House.
According to this notice, at this meeting, it was decided that certain people would be kidnapped and brought to COSATU House where they would, if necessary, be coerced to join SARWU.
The other four kidnapped workers could not be found during the search, but their burnt bodies were later discovered at Kaserne.
The deeds of intimidation, sabotage and arson kept continuing at railway lines. The members of the Police had to protect and guard trains, despite the fact that, and even so a lot of passenger carriages were burnt and very much damaged. Also limpet mines were used to sabotage the railway lines. The damage was literally, amounted to millions.
In the light of what I have said before, including the information as it is contained in my original document and also with regard to what Gen Van der Merwe, the Manager of the Security Branch, we all discussed this together. We came to the conclusion that the activities of COSATU and its affiliate, was planned from within COSATU House, and it was co-ordinated and the public order was really threatened as well as it heightened the revolutionary climate.
This included unrest or resistance, including violent resistance and this I believed was a threat to the government. At this incident, we determined and we thought about any legal actions which we could follow, and we came to the conclusion that all legal processes or procedures was already exhausted, and in the middle of an election there was nothing else we could do.
And these people were busy burning the country down. Consequently we decided to damage COSATU House by means of explosives, to such an extent that it could no longer be used as operational base, by COSATU and its affiliates.
MR VISSER: Can I just interrupt you Mr Vlok? With regards to the facts which you have submitted to the Committee, in the first place you admitted that these facts which were known to you, and which came from informers who were sensitively placed and you could rely on this information.
Mr Chairman, I also want to refer your attention to the fact that these facts were by and large, findings of the Appellate Division, in the matter of S v Matshili & Others (Judgment) SALR 1991 (3) 264 and following, a Judgment by their Lordships Lester Kumleben and Gröskopff, J.J.A. I just wanted to refer you to that, if you wanted to check on those facts, Mr Chairman.
We have at our disposal Mr Chairman, what is apparently a copy of the original charge sheet as well. I am not certain whether you would be interested in that, but if you are, you are free to ask for it and we will give it to you. But I don't believe that you will be interested in that.
Mr Vlok, would you continue please.
MR VLOK: I just want to conclude by saying that great damage was done to the building and the building was rendered unuseful. There was no loss of life or any serious injuries in this regard. It was my personal feeling and Mr Van der Merwe's, and we emphasised it, that the lives of people should not be taken in this process. Our instruction was that people had to make dead sure. Whether it would be successful or not, whether it succeeded, I just want to quickly quote for you, on page 55 of this document, this is Exhibit A and Business Day wrote as follows on the 26th of May 1987:
"In the past three months a series of Police actions and attacks by unidentified forces have forced COSATU affiliates out of their Headquarters.
They now operate from temporary offices scattered around Johannesburg after COSATU House was bombed in mysterious circumstances two weeks ago. The National Union of Mine Workers, South Africa's biggest Union, is working from a single room without a telephone."
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, you and Gen Van der Merwe, you got together and I believe it is in your office in Pretoria and you talked about all the misery COSATU House caused you, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And you considered if there is any legal actions that you could still follow?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And you came to the conclusion that there are really no further, nothing you can further do in a legal way, you have no evidence, you cannot charge anybody because people are being intimidated and there is fear for their families and eventually you came to the conclusion that here you've got a situation which we cannot address in any other fashion than by using illegal actions, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: That was a decision, as I understand you, which was taken together by yourself and Van der Merwe?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: It is not a case where you discussed the decision and you gave the decision or well, he couldn't give the decision, but it wasn't a situation where you give the order?
MR VLOK: No, we decided on this together.
MR VISSER: It was your decision to execute this decision, to leave this to Gen Van der Merwe and you also informed him in this way?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: What happened afterwards, you do not have personal knowledge of, in other words the specifics, the specific way how this thing was constructed and how it was executed, you do not know, have any personal knowledge with regards to that?
MR VLOK: That is correct. I was responsible for decision what had to happen, but how it was to happen, I had no say in that.
MR VISSER: Afterwards, you made statements. Maybe you can't remember them today in which you made yourself guilty of an offence or an irregular act for example that you tried to cover up this act, then you also ask the Committee for amnesty?
MR VLOK: That is correct, with regards to all of this. Can I just say it was unthinkable that I could have come to the fore with the situation, with the truth. We had to get this operation off the ground, and that is what we did.
MR VISSER: Can we now go on to Khotso House, you may be asked questions about COSATU House later.
Khotso House Chairperson, you will find it a bit earlier in the original document, that is on page 25. Page 57 of your supplementary statement, Exhibit A, you are dealing with this.
Can you just address it please.
MR VLOK: I do that Chairperson, if you allow me.
MR VISSER: Once again, I would just like to cut you a bit short here. Chairperson, if you will allow me, in the original application on page 26, you only make the point that the State or the government in your time, you had a good relationship with the Reformed Church, but a very bad relationship with the South African Council of Churches. That is what you are saying on page 26, is that correct?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: You had certain motivations for the bad relationship and you give your explanations there, but for you, the obvious as you understand it, the obvious brotherhood between communism and members of the South African Council of Churches, is that correct? Did you see a brotherhood?
MR VLOK: Yes, I did.
MR VISSER: You also had certain information which pointed to the fact that there was a very close relationship or a brotherhood, this is what you heard from Security Forces that they had good relationships?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: You say on page 28 that the government did realise what the dangers were when you place the church against the government, in opposition. And there were two incidents of which you were aware where old President P.W. Botha tried to have discussions with the delegates of the South African Council of Churches. He spoke to them and to bring them to better ideas, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And you already told the Committee that that was completely unsuccessful because as far as they were concerned, their commitment or their links with the South African Communist Party amongst others, it was not negotiable.
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: On page 29, just to summarise before you get to your own submission, on the 24th of February it is on page 29 of your amnesty application, 24th of February 1988, the order was issued where 17 revolutionary organisations who were connected to the ANC, they were restricted?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: At the end of page 29, you quote a paragraph there and you want to amend that paragraph because after you thought about it later, you realised that it wasn't completely correct.
Can you just quickly explain the actions against the 17 organisations?
MR VLOK: It is page 29 of the original document. The actions against the 17 revolutionary organisations was like fat in the fire.
It was in order to mobilise the masses against the government.
MR VISSER: That is putting it a bit strong, isn't it?
MR VLOK: It was very strongly put, I would like to say that the South African Council of Churches immediately tried to take over the role these organisations played in as far as it was to mobilise the masses against the government.
MR VISSER: Do you mean to continue?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: On page 30 Mr Vlok, you say it was a time of very serious acts of terror, you have referred to the statistics, we don't have to look at it again?
MR VLOK: Correct.
MR VISSER: But the fact remains that people were worried with regard to the attitude and the behaviour and the influence of the South African Council of Churches amongst the people, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairperson, just to take you through this piece, on page 31 you once again refer to the negotiations. We are not going to repeat it, it is there in front of you if you want to read it.
What we will do is that Mr Vlok continues to address the matter further, and maybe you can refer to page 57 and you can continue, paragraph 196. Sorry, and on page 32, I forgot to mention this Chairperson, it says there exactly what the attempts were, legal attempts that is, it is explained there, what legal attempts they have tried.
The Police considered this and thought it might be applicable or not, it speaks for itself, it is really not necessary for us to read each one.
MR VLOK: If I can Chairperson, I just want to make the point that Botha went out of his way, by means of other Ministers who were involved, we gave instructions and he said look, let's see what we can do to handle the situation, for example to address the leaders, to declare this an affected organisation and I just want to really emphasise that we have done a lot to try and better the situation.
If I go to page 57 of Exhibit A, Chairperson. The foundation and the objectives of the UDF on the 20-08-1983, with its 427 affiliate organisations had as a consequence that the revolutionary climate in South Africa heightened.
The UDF was then regarded by the then Security Forces, evaluated and investigated as the internal or direct political wing of the African National Congress, which at that stage was a banned organisation.
Since the foundation of the UDF up until March 1985, the security situation in South Africa was heightened to such an extent that the government was forced to enforce the necessary Emergency Regulations.
MR VISSER: These regulations was the first time proclaimed in July 1985?
MR VLOK: That is correct. During the 12 months beforehand, before the proclamation of these Emergency Regulations, there were several actions taken against UDF officials and supporters, and the implication of normal legislature was very difficult because of threats, victimisation and attempts on lives and also the destruction of the property of informers, people who testify and Police Officials.
(Transcriber's own translation) Several necklaces also took place and unrest and violence situation spiralled in South Africa to such an extent that it brought the country to the edge of chaos and anarchy.
After the emergency measures were proclaimed, it was very difficult to enforce them practically and with legally, and in the process several UDF Officials and supporters were taken into custody. Because of actions for the revenge of the UDF and its supporters, Police action was restricted by the fact that people who should give evidence, refused to testify in court.
The Officials of the UDF actually went on with their activities by means of mobilisation, unrest - by promoting unrest, mobilisation and violence. They made use of certain gathering places and Khotso House was one of these.
The UDF Headquarters as well as its affiliate organisations was settled in Khotso House.
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry Mr Vlok, you are just going too fast for the interpreters. They are having to race through this. Just slow down.
MR VLOK: I just wanted to save a bit of time, that is why I am in such a rush. The UDF Headquarters as well as the affiliate organisations, was in Khotso House. Khotso House was not only the planning Headquarters of the UDF, but also for gatherings which happened on a weekly basis on ground level of the Khotso House, and hundreds of supporters gathered together.
During these mass gatherings or mass meetings, very provocative speeches were made. Time after time, after these meetings were held, violence took place in central town in Johannesburg.
Buildings, car, shop windows were damaged and the lives of people, the public as well as their property, were threatened. In the process the flow of traffic in the central town, was stopped.
From 1985 to 1988 unrest and violence was the order of the day in the centre of Johannesburg and Police actions had to be taken. Even though the people the Security Force was suspicious of, although they were monitored all the time, it was quite evident that the origin of the unrest and the violence problem around Khotso House, was centralised around Khotso House.
It was quite an evident situation that the city centre would not be stabilised if Khotso House was not closed down, so legally spoken it was simply not possible to close Khotso House and to stop people from going there.
The information was given on a daily and weekly level to the Wits (transcriber's own translation) JMC, that is the Joint Management Centre and this was again taken further to the South African Police. It was a product of the operational centre at John Vorster Square.
The SAP and the South African Defence Force was directly represented on the forum by personnel as well as information, with regard to representatives of the National Intelligence.
Since the end of 1985 more information was received that Khotso House was not only responsible for the planning and the execution of political actions.
MR VISSER: As far as you are concerned, there was no doubt that these facts you have mentioned here, they were factual and they were correct and they were accurate?
MR VLOK: Yes, I believed that Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Please continue.
MR VLOK: Since the end of 1985 more and more information was received that Khotso House was not only responsible for the planning and the execution of political actions, but it also served as a support base for acts of terror which at that stage took on great measures within the country, there was a lot of violence.
Information with regard - which was received by means of informants and questioning the following became known: Khotso House served as a funding channel, trained terrorists themselves or by means or a courier visited Khotso House where they got money from people we suspected within Khotso House and these funds were used for personal needs as well as operational needs.
Khotso House was used as a communication channel by terrorists. Messages from and to Zambia, ANC Headquarters, was channelled from Khotso House to trained terrorists within South Africa.
Khotso House was also used as a place to hide by trained members. After acts of terror, Khotso House was specifically used as a temporary place to stay to fool Police actions or to put Police on a wrong track.
Vehicles which were used during the acts of terror, was identified as the same vehicles which was stationed in bottom rooms, in the basement of Khotso House.
Khotso House was also used as the depot for the keeping of weapons and explosions which was going to be used in acts of terror.
During the questioning of trained terrorists, it came to be known on several occasions that they made use of this specific modus operandi. The weapons or explosives would come from a rural or a Johannesburg, a vicinity close to Johannesburg, it would be taken to Khotso House and it would be kept there before it was used in an act of terror.
People at Khotso House would then hide this weaponry up until a few hours before the actual acts of terror. The reason for this was that the trained person should not have the weapons in his possession.
Verification of this information with regards to a court directed Police action, was very difficult because of the fact that Khotso House had a human alarm system.
If the Security Branch should take Khotso House under direct observation, and to launch any action, all members, all the employees or the people Police suspected and trained people, they were all warned that the Police were present. Long arguments were then kept with Police, were held with Police members in order to stop the Police from acting.
Because of this, because of the events, preventative measures was created so that Police action could not be effective.
MR VISSER: If we can just return from page 61 to your original application on page 33.
MR VLOK: Do you want me to carry on with the incident itself?
MR VISSER: Yes. If you can just go to page 33, if you can just read that first paragraph.
MR VLOK: I am on page 33 of the original document. A very unsatisfactory and a very tense situation existed up until Mr Botha one morning early in June 1988, one morning came to me at a meeting of the State Security Council and he asked me to stay behind.
Botha asked me in June 1988 after a meeting of the State Security Meeting to stay behind.
MR VISSER: Which Botha?
MR VLOK: P.W. Botha. At this meeting we received information that once again showed, pointed to the fact that the South African Council of Churches and several other organisations who operated under its wing, tried everything in their power in October 1988 to stop local management elections, or disrupt it rather.
There were even indications that violence was used and I want to emphasise this, it was not approved by the South African Council of Churches. In the light of this information, Mr Botha wanted to know from me what the South African Police was going to do to stop these activities because - these activities which led to the loss of life, what are they going to do to stop that?
ADV GCABASHE: Mr Vlok, just to clarify for me. At the State Security Council meeting you received information from?
MR VLOK: The use at these meetings was that when we started the meetings, members of the Secretariat of the State Security Council, they conveyed this type of information to us with regards to the security situation. They were Officials which gathered information, all over the country, and then they convey it to us.
ADV GCABASHE: Are these Officials who are attached to the Intelligence Services or in which particular department?
MR VLOK: Not only the Intelligence Services, they also came from all other departments who worked with State Security, for example National Intelligence, South African Police as well as the South African Defence Force.
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, maybe it is again a case where one has to elaborate a bit. Just interrupt yourself and please tell those who are not known, or who do not know the system well, in that time, during the struggle, there was a total government security system, or they created this complete security system and this existed out of management who from ground level in a permanent manner worked right up to the State Security Council and then the Cabinet and the State President, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: In the process, you would have a Security man who worked at a desk with regards to Trade Union activities within the Witwatersrand area for example?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: He would receive information from his informers and those people who worked underneath him and this information he would note down, and that information would then be circulated, it would go to his Department Commander and it would also go to the Head Office in Pretoria. Is that correct that that information often if not usually, is it then that it was circulated let's say to National Intelligence, let's say South African Defence Force, even State departments who had an interest in this with regards for instance to COSATU's activities and the railway lines?
Would it also mean that they would also become involved then and they would also be involved in the gathering of this information and also the working of this information, and then it would go all the way to the State Security Council?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: So to summarise it in one sentence, at the end of the day the purpose was that the State Security Council had to be in a position to have all the possible information with regards to all violence and all the unrest that took place in the country at any given time, and finally the State Security Council did not only exist of members of the Cabinet and the State President and the Police and the South African Defence Force, it also existed of representatives of National Intelligence and other State departments, who from time to time, had a specific interest in a specific aspect which was threatening the peace, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct. Can I just add to say according to what Mr Visser has just said for example, let's say there was very difficult problems in Education, that department, then the Minister would be invited to sit in and his Department Head could also be there and they could take part in the discussions with regards to the situation in order to solve the problem.
ADV GCABASHE: Are you saying then Mr Vlok, that with respect to this particular incident, Khotso House, everybody who had some information on Khotso House, could bring it to the Security Council or are you saying that this is information you would have at your disposal and you would then take it to the Security Council and share it with everybody else?
MR VLOK: The gathering point of this security information, as it came from the different channels of the government, it all came to the State Security Council and the people who co-ordinated it, was the Secretariat of the State Security Council. They got all the information together, the information from the Police, the Defence Force, National Intelligence, the desk who worked with clerical aspects, the Education, the Trade Unions, everything, they all fed this into the system and it was channelled up to the State Security Council and the Secretariat and they processed this.
I personally did not take it there, it was there already and it was conveyed to us.
ADV GCABASHE: What I am really interested in is what proportion of this information that you then dealt with at the State Security Council, came from your Department, from the Police? Can you tell what proportion would have come from your functionaries?
MR VLOK: The information which my Department, the Police, had to their availability, as I said, in Johannesburg on a lower level, there was also a gathering point of all this information where they exchanged information, but my information which came out of the Department alone, came from informers and also from other information which they received and they sent it up to us.
I only had Police information when I got to the State Security Council, information my Department fed in and then it was co-ordinated and it was processed and then it was presented to us.
MR VISSER: Chairperson, perhaps one forgets sometimes that all the members were not always involved when these matters were discussed in detail before other Committees, and I do apologise for my oversight.
Perhaps what we could do Mr Chairman, is during the luncheon break, is to make a photocopy of a very useful diagram which appears in the little book, The Other Side of the Story, which is really a condensation of Exhibit P47 before you, which is a diagram setting out how it worked, and the State Security Council, or the whole system worked, and the different parts of it, and perhaps we can make that and just hand it to Committee members who might be interested in that.
CHAIRPERSON: We would be obliged to you if you could do that Mr Visser.
ADV GCABASHE: Could I just finally ask, I really am incident specific interested, if I can put it that way, we are talking about Khotso House, we are talking about information relating to Khotso House and I understand, I don't quite understand the general structure and how it worked, but I am trying to relate specifically the information on Khotso House, who collected it, how was it collected? Was most of that from your Department or from National Intelligence, the SADF which are the other parties which you have quoted, as having access to information.
Just incident specific, if you can help me with that?
MR VLOK: I have to say that the most information that was gathered, came from the South African Police.
Chairperson, I was at the top of page 34 of the original document. In the light of the information that we received at the State Security Council meeting on that day, Mr Botha asked me what the Police was going to do to stop this activities which led to the loss of life.
His request was that something constructive should be done and he pointed out that the South African Council of Churches had a long history of ill-discipline.
ADV DE JAGER: (Transcriber's own translation) Mr Vlok, now you will have to go slow. Unfortunately, all the media representatives present now, have come to listen to what you are going to say right now. They want to know what your discussion with Mr Botha was all about.
You are going to be interrupted, so please go slowly over this section because many people are interested in this part of it and you need to convey it in such a manner so that they understand what is happening.
MR VLOK: Excuse me.
MR VISSER: Chairperson, my finger was on the way to the microphone, but what I would suggest is this testimony to come, we do not want to interrupt it, so maybe we should take the lunch break now so that we can continue with this aspect of his testimony without being interrupted.
CHAIRPERSON: 45 Minutes?
MR VISSER: Quarter to two? We will be here, we will see who else is here.
CHAIRPERSON: Twenty to two.
ADRIAAN JOHANNES VLOK: (s.u.o)
EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: (cont)
If you would grant us, could we just go one step back.
Before the adjournment you told the Committee about how the activities in Khotso House according to your information, and what was available to you, to the security community, and to the State Security Council, how the public order and Internal Security was being threatened.
Just to add to that, your Exhibit A that you handed in, directly after you concluded that document, you attached another document that you wish the Committee to pay attention to and that follows on the addendum of your amnesty application, that was not added to your application, it is page 4 of that.
That is the last document in Exhibit A Mr Chairman. Exhibit A, that is the additional representation, written representation, and it is the very last document, it consists of four pages, yes. It is an annexure to Exhibit A.
CHAIRPERSON: A letter?
MR VISSER: A letter Mr Chairman, yes. Mr Vlok, everybody can read this letter and I do not want you to read the letter into the record, but would it be correct of me to say that this is writing to Bishop Tutu, by the former State President, Mr P.W. Botha and this was in reaction to a letter from Bishop Tutu dated 1 March 1988, whereafter Mr P.W. Botha referred to a petition?
MR VLOK: That is correct Mr Chairperson.
MR VISSER: The only comment I wish to ask of you concerning this writing is the following, according to you, from this letter amongst others, is it clear that Mr P.W. Botha had insight into the activities of the South African Council of Churches and he mentioned some concern to this?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And if you go back to your original application on page 34, I would like to summarise now. After you had struggled with this information concerning Khotso House, that is how I understand your testimony, in June or July of 1988, there was a State Security Council meeting, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct. If I could just say Chairperson, it was in June, early in June 1988.
MR VISSER: This meeting, where did this take place?
MR VLOK: If I recall correctly it was in Cape Town.
MR VISSER: Where in Cape Town?
MR VLOK: In Tuynhuis.
MR VISSER: You refer to a request from Mr Botha that you have to meet with him. This discussion between yourself and Mr Botha concerning Khotso House, did this happen in a public meeting, while he was Chairing the meeting, what was the situation?
MR VLOK: No, it was not an open meeting of the State Security Council, it was just myself and Mr Botha who had this discussion.
MR VISSER: So in other words after the meeting, he asked you to stay behind?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: I don't want to lead you too much on this, but Mr Botha mentioned his concern as to what actions could be launched to address this problem. Can you take it from there, what did he expect from you, what did he tell you and if you can go slowly as Mr De Jager asked you?
MR VLOK: Yes, I do not wish to take too much time. On page 34 and in the light of this information, that we received at this meeting, Mr Botha wanted to know what the South African Police was going to do concerning these activities that could lead to loss of life.
His request was that we did something constructive about it and he pointed out that the Council of Churches had along history of opposition amongst others, civil disobedience. We had to look at the Eloff Commission which investigated the activities of the South African Council of Churches during 1981.
MR VISSER: Are you referring to the report of 1981?
MR VLOK: That is correct. He requested that I had to report back to him within one week. Chairperson, it was not strange that he spoke to me alone, it was part and parcel ... (tape ends) ... and he worked on a need to know basis. That was my experience of working with Mr Botha.
MR VISSER: Very well, your perception of this discussion was that the State President was dissatisfied, he wanted to know what was being done and what the Police is going to do, he was concerned and therefore he asked that question, what are you going to do and was the idea that you had to wait for the next State Security Council meeting, when did you have to report back to him concerning your investigation into this affair?
MR VLOK: Not necessarily the next State Security Council meeting, but within one week.
MR VISSER: And at the bottom of the page 34, you studied certain things.
MR VLOK: I studied all available information including the report from Judge Eloff and afterwards had another discussion with Mr Botha.
MR VISSER: This discussion, how did this come about that you spoke to him?
MR VLOK: I requested, I made an appointment.
MR VISSER: Very well, that is before the end of June 1988.
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: Could you just tell us then to the best of your recollection, what was said in that discussion?
MR VLOK: The best I could do is I can read from that application of mine after we discussed everything, we were convinced that the South African Council of Churches and its facilities, including Khotso House was being misused by ANC insurgents and activists.
Not only was the security of the State threatened, but the lives of innocent South Africans as well. Mr Botha said that Khotso House was not a house of peace any more, but it was a house of danger.
Possible action as I have set it out, against the organisation and its people, seemed that this was not possible. We discussed if we could ban the organisation, can we act in the same manner in which we acted with the other 17 organisations. Everything, all those things, this was not possible.
It was a sensitive matter and it was a church organisation as well.
MR VISSER: As you have previously stated to this Committee, it was clear to you there was no legal manner in which the activities in Khotso House could be stopped by the Police?
MR VLOK: As we considered all the possibilities, yes, that is correct. And at the end of our discussion Mr Botha said this could not continue, it was totally unacceptable that the ANC used Khotso House as a safety house where terrorists could hide and explosives, hand grenades, limpet mines, weapons, money and information was there and it could be used against innocent South Africans without anybody doing anything about it.
MR VISSER: Did Mr Botha take it any further and did he give you any orders as to what should be done?
MR VLOK: Mr Botha then told me, Chairperson, it is here in quotation marks, I specifically remembered this because it was important and he told me, I have tried everything to get them to other insights, nothing helped. We cannot act against the people, you must make that building unusable. Don't let them use that building.
I remember this clearly. He furthermore also said and I can recall quite correctly, whatever you do, you must make sure that no people are killed. He didn't say how it had to be done, he just said what had to be done.
MR VISSER: What was your opinion after all these discussions, with the advantage of knowledge of what you thought was going on in Khotso House, how did you feel about this order that P.W. Botha gave you?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, first of all I was convinced that there was so much information about how this place was being misused to the disadvantage of people and to the disadvantage of innocent people, and to the disadvantage of the country. I was convinced when Mr Botha said that something had to be done, that he was serious about it.
MR VISSER: You agreed with him?
MR VLOK: Yes, I agreed with him.
MR VISSER: Mr Botha did not prescribe how you had to go about this, you have mentioned it?
MR VLOK: Yes, he did not prescribe.
MR VISSER: Whatever you would have done then, in your mind, would it be regular or irregular action that you considered?
MR VLOK: With Mr Botha, we considered possible regular action to take and we came to the conclusion that all the things that I have mentioned, was not possible, so I had no doubt that irregular action had to be taken. I did not know what it was to be, but it had to be some irregular action if I had to comply with this order.
MR VISSER: With this instruction you returned to Pretoria, is that correct and there you spoke to Gen Van der Merwe?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: In that discussion that you had with Gen Van der Merwe, what did you tell him?
MR VLOK: I told Gen Van der Merwe, as it is in my original application, can I just interrupt myself Chairperson, it is page 36, I say that Gen Van der Merwe was the Commissioner of South African Police, but he was not the Commissioner of Police, he was at that stage the Chief of Security, the Security Branch.
I went with the order and I conveyed it to Gen Van der Merwe.
MR VISSER: I want you to say what was the contents of that discussion between yourself and Gen Van der Merwe, did you tell him that you discussed it with P.W. Botha and did you tell him what the sentiments of the President was?
MR VLOK: I told him that Mr Botha said that we had to make this building unusable. We discussed it and I have to say there were not many possibilities to consider about how we are going to put this building into disuse.
We thought that we could put it in disuse by arson, but it would still be irregular action. At the end of our discussion, Gen Van der Merwe was more of an expert in this area, we decided that we were to use explosives to damage the building.
MR VISSER: It is then so that in the previous year COSATU House was also bombed and it was quite successful, was it not?
MR VLOK: Yes, it was. No lives were lost, it was successful.
MR VISSER: I want to go back to the COSATU House. The fact that COSATU House was bombed in May 1987, would it be correct to say that it was widely published and everybody who watched the news and read papers, knew of it?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: Very well, you give the order to Gen Van der Merwe. Are you prescriptive in how he should go about it or what is your position?
MR VLOK: No, definitely not. Honourable Chairperson, there was just the one requirement and that was that no lives should be endangered and nobody should be killed.
Gen Van der Merwe shared my sentiments there.
MR VISSER: Mr Botha said make sure no people are killed, and you told Gen Van der Merwe make sure that nobody is killed or injured? Do I have that right?
MR VLOK: Yes, we felt, or I felt, that we had to go a little further.
MR VISSER: Now there is the explosion on the 31st of August 1988, as we know now, whereby Khotso House was put in disuse, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: This success, did you report it?
MR VLOK: No.
MR VISSER: Did you speak to Mr Botha concerning the result of his order?
MR VLOK: Excuse me, I said no - I did report to Mr Botha and I told him it was the action of the South African Police and they carried out his order.
MR VISSER: At the bottom of page 36 of your original application, you say that you were congratulated at the State Security Council, by Mr Botha. Can you elaborate?
MR VLOK: It was about ten or twelve years ago. I cannot recall if Mr Botha put it forth in the minutes, but as I can recall, Mr Botha in the State Security Council said congratulations with your actions, and he was glad that no people were injured.
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok - please bear with me Mr Chairman -
CHAIRPERSON: Where do we go now? Do we go around the table?
MR VISSER: No Mr Chairman, I am not finished yet, I am sorry if I raised your ...
CHAIRPERSON: I thought you said you had no more questions?
MR VISSER: No I asked you for an indulgence, I was just asking my Attorney whether certain documents are before you. I was told no, but I am sorry to have raised your hopes Mr Chairman, I have not finished yet.
You ask for amnesty for the action to which you refer and what happened afterwards, is that so?
MR VLOK: That is true.
MR VISSER: One of the things that were put in place after the explosion, was that you or the Police started with a disinformation campaign in order to cover up this illegal act of yours and in this process, there were investigations launched amongst others, the late Gen Jaap Joubert gave you some reports, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And you deal with that from page 37 of your application. I do not want to waste time here that we go through that whole document, but in effect it comes down to it that according to the investigation, it seemed or it came to light, that some person came forward and said that he saw a white, he picked up a coloured man, a white man and a white woman who requested him to drop them close to Khotso House on a particular day and that this woman had a round bag with her and that the man had an attaché case with him, the white man, and the coloured man looked as if he was stuffed, as if he had something around his middle.
And when they were dropped, they made contact apparently with a black man sitting in a red car. The report went that when the Police entered the building after the explosion, they found a red Honda motor vehicle in the basement and there was a round bag in there and they found an attaché case in the rubble of the explosion.
This woman, white woman, according to the Police investigation, she was identified by means of an identikit as Ms Shirley Gunn, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And in the cover up, whatever you want to call it, you grabbed this and you used it as a way to indicate that it was not the Police who had anything to do with it, but in fact it was Shirley Gunn and the two men who were accompanying her, that it is them in all probability who took explosives to Khotso House and it was exploded too early because of one or other reason, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And also and you quote here, you made a media statement and in that statement to the media you find Mr Chairperson, this is now on page 52 at the bottom of the page, and it was dated the 12th of January 1989. I read here 12 January, but he has just told me it is the 10th.
MR VLOK: It is page 50 Chairperson.
MR VISSER: I apologise Chairperson, it is on page 50 of the original application, the second paragraph. It is the 10th of January.
Is it reasonable to say that in that statement to the press, to the media, these facts which I tried to summarise you touched on all of these facts in your statement, and you admitted because this was - you released this statement and you said that Shirley Gunn was in fact responsible? What do you say today with regards to that behaviour?
MR VLOK: Can I just give you a perspective on this whole issue? Gen Joubert discussed this with me and he - basically he gave me the information, the information Mr Visser spoke about.
He also said that the Police were already looking for a long time, for a Ms Gunn, because maybe she could have been of assistance with regards to certain explosions and there was a list of things, he gave me the whole list of things.
MR VISSER: Was the thought then that if she was found, she would have been arrested anyway in terms of the Emergency Regulations?
MR VLOK: That is correct. And also maybe for Section 29, with regards to Internal Security.
MR VISSER: So if she was not detained because of this false ground, she would still have been detained for other reasons, is that correct?
MR VLOK: Yes, for several other reasons.
ADV DE JAGER: But there can be a very big difference. I can be willing to be detained for the truth, but I am not prepared to be detained for an untruth?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson, that is absolutely correct. That is why the lady afterwards came and said you falsely accused me.
This is why I also have to tell you this, and it is also in my document and I want to submit it to the Committee, because of the fact that we falsely accused her and she suffered because of that, and because of this, the impression was created that Gunn was responsible for the explosion at Khotso House and of course this was not correct and to the extent that she was disadvantaged by this, I am really sorry and I truthfully regret having done this.
MR VISSER: And you accept responsibility for this, that is part of what you have done to conceal the explosion or to cover it up, and you are asking for amnesty for this?
MR VLOK: Yes, I do. Sorry, can I just interrupt Mr Visser, the lady also charged me and also the Minister of Law and Order with regards - there is a civil case and we finished the case, it was concluded.
MR VISSER: You made a settlement, R70 000-00 was paid to her.
MR VLOK: But once again the perspective, she had two charges, one against the Minister of Law and Order and the second one against Correctional Services or Health with regards to her detention, for her and her child.
These two cases were settled outside of court, and an amount of R70 000-00 was paid to her.
CHAIRPERSON: What was the reaction after this statement was made?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, when the media statement went out - can I just say something with regards to the statement - I did not myself, handle with the media conference. I just approved this and then it went out.
Gen Joubert handed it over in Pretoria, I was in Cape Town, and when he saw the reaction in the papers, we thought this woman is not the one who blew it up, we are guilty. The perception out there, is that it was her, herself.
CHAIRPERSON: But you approved of this, to be issued on your behalf?
MR VLOK: Yes, that is correct.
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, it greatly concerns the fact, this basically concludes the issue of Khotso House, but there are certain aspects which you would like to emphasise, which is relevant with regards to these events, and that is what you are doing on page 61 of Exhibit A.
Could you just quickly address it please?
MR VLOK: Yes, it is page 61, paragraph 213. There is a report there in the Rapport, I am not going to deal with this now, except the very last paragraph on page 62, Exhibit A.
Earlier in the document, which formed part of the ANC's first submission to the TRC, and in there it was said that the South African Council of Churches between 70 and 80 percent of the revolutionary war, they funded.
That corroborates with what I have said in my amnesty application. Again, one can talk about this a great deal, but I would just like to say that it is shocking to me because the revolutionary war in our country, led to massive amounts of damage, unrest and even to death amongst innocent people.
On page 63, paragraph 256, it is a fact that all these actions and campaigns for which this money was used, led to intimidation, or led to the destruction of millions of rands worth of property and also to clashes with the Security Forces, as a result injuries and even the death of thousands of normal, innocent people.
Then Bishop Storey in 1996 in the Sunday Independent, he wrote an article and this came to my attention and Bishop Storey also gave evidence in another court case in which I was involved, and I am only going to read little bits of this.
I raced to the scene and was joined by John Reece, who supervised Cornerstone for the mission, CMM. We were met by a scene out of hell. We were confronted aggressively by Lieutenant Charles Zeelie of the Explosive Branch of the South African Police who demanded that we leave the scene.
We ignored him and raced into Cornerstone. Dazed, old people were wandering about in their night-dresses and pyjamas. Some whimpering, others in shock. Many bleeding from lacerations. Miraculously none had been seriously injured.
Drummond House next door, was not so fortunate. There 28 people were injured, some seriously. Across the road, the most amazing miracle was that the Khotso House caretaker who had been in the foyer, had survived the bomb blast. He had been sucked into the basement where the bomb had exploded and was virtually unhurt.
The whole episode came right out of hell. The hell of evil people with twisted minds one of whom is now coldly rehearsing his role in it all, and in the process bringing down his masters, we are told that later that same day, the Minister of Police, Adriaan Vlok, shared a braai with De Kock and his men at Vlakplaas to celebrate their victory.
Their problem is that they underestimated the justice of God, the God of justice. The scripture that says there is nothing hidden that shall not be made known, is now being fulfilled.
Mr Chairman, today here, when I have the opportunity, I would like to thank Bishop Storey for his behaviour to go and look after those elderly people who were injured. For his behaviour and other Officials of the Council of Churches, I really appreciate it.
He did what had to be done for those poor, old people, but now Bishop Storey says we were met by a scene out of hell. If that was a scene from hell, then I would just like to say with respect, that there were several other scenes also from hell, in that time in our country.
Scenes with which the members of the Security Forces had to deal with. Let me mention a few, the Church Street bomb, 19 people died, 217 were injured.
Magoo's Bar in Durban, three dead, 69 injured. The Magistrate's court in Johannesburg, the 20th of May 1987, four dead, 12 injured. The Magistrate's court, Krugersdorp, 17th of March 1988, three dead and 20 injured. De Wille Street, Witbank, on the 24th of October 1988, two dead and 42 injured.
All these scenes were scenes from hell. At these scenes you would find injured people, as well as the maimed bodies of innocent people. This was all caused by bombs of terror planted by terrorists, who according to our information, found security and a safe place in Khotso House and today, I do this humbly, I am asking Bishop Storey, did he go to any of these scenes, to go and look after the injured there?
I only wanted to ask it to be open about all of this. Paragraph 222, the actions against COSATU House and Khotso House caused me a great amount of concern and it was a drastic decision with far reaching implications, which I did not enjoy.
I was really very worried that innocent people might die or be injured. If I did nothing though, innocent people because of the fact that I had neglected this, would also have died. It was a choice I had to make, therefore I trusted that the Police experts in that area, would be capable of doing this without a loss of life and this they did indeed.
Chairperson, the further items on that paper, paragraph 223, the Bishop is wrong when he says that I celebrated the victory with De Kock and his people. It was only months later, at the end of the year function, that I thanked them for all their work.
With regards to the secrecy, I think we can leave that, it is not very important.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you say you did not thank them for Khotso House?
MR VLOK: No I did, I thanked them for all their work.
CHAIRPERSON: All the work in the whole year, but I am asking specifically for Khotso House?
MR VLOK: Yes, I did thank them for that.
CHAIRPERSON: Khotso House?
MR VLOK: I did not specifically mention it.
CHAIRPERSON: Was it only for the year?
MR VLOK: For all the work they had done through the whole year.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you sure about that?
MR VLOK: Let me put it this way, in the Police I visited a lot of Units right through the year and I always thanked them for their work.
What I suspect what happened here was it was a short time after Khotso House.
CHAIRPERSON: A short time?
MR VLOK: A short time, I think the explosion took place end of August and the year end functions took place in November.
CHAIRPERSON: So maybe two months?
MR VLOK: Two months, and I said thank you for all the work you have done, and they accepted it, and I am sure I accepted it as well.
CHAIRPERSON: I read the other applications and they read differently.
MR VLOK: I did thank them, there is no doubt about that.
MR VISSER: Is it also so as the Chairman put it to you, that they could have been under the impression that you specifically thanked them for Khotso House?
MR VLOK: Yes, they could have been under that impression, yes that is true.
MR VISSER: But if you thanked them for Khotso House, then it was your intention?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: You cannot remember whether you specifically said, that is all?
MR VLOK: Yes, that is correct.
MR VISSER: Please continue. Your intention you have put it in paragraph 225, it speaks for itself. 226 also speaks for itself. And 227 as well, do you agree Mr Vlok?
MR VLOK: Yes, I do.
MR VISSER: 228 speaks for itself? 229 as well?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: And you refer to visits from Prof Johan Heyns, Pierre Rossouw, etc and what your discussions were about with regards to the church and what you were busy doing in 230 and 231?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: Carry on with 232.
MR VLOK: I will thank you if I can just say this. I realised that our churches and our Reverends are very upset about what has become known to the TRC, I would be worried if they were not upset about that, we who sinned, we need them now more than ever, they should not turn their backs on us.
Because if they were there, for only the nice days and the angels in their churches and in the country, then they would never have had work.
Page 233, there is a report which appeared in Die Beeld and it says that other Christians acted against other Christians, and I would like to say that I did not submit this to the TRC, but I would like to say that that report really hurt us, no one that I know of, ever acted against someone else on the grounds that he was a Christian.
If such an allegation is made, I reject it completely. I do not have to read the rest of the paragraph, I just wanted to mention that.
MR VISSER: The letter we referred to earlier, was direct to Bishop Tutu, is that true?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: Mr Vlok, can we get them to the Cry Freedom incidents? This morning you were present when I mentioned the main points in the course of events, with regards to the Cry Freedom incidents and I sketched it to you.
You treat the Cry Freedom incidents ...
MR VLOK: On page 64 of the original application.
MR VISSER: Thank you, page 64 of the original document. Can you just address this issue please?
You refer to Van der Merwe and he will still testify to that, but can you just tell us what was your views and what was the information you had, and what did you decide at that time?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, it was with regards to propaganda, hard and soft propaganda. The ANC were masters in this field, and with the help of people sympathising from abroad, they achieved to make a very hard hitting propaganda film about Steve Biko and everybody who saw it, agreed that the onslaught was very emotional and it was whipping the people up.
We decided that it was not allowed to be shown and at that time the country was still suffering from unrest, there were several incidents of bombs and rock throwing, etc. I am not going to give you that motivation again, it was the same.
But this film, this is how I saw it, could only be the spark and that is what I was concerned about, it could be a spark and it could blow up.
MR VISSER: On page 68 in your supplementary document, you also refer to it, can you just go back to that please, it is on page 68.
MR VISSER: You indicated this morning that the legal course of events after information had been found, when the expert opinion was presented from all fields and then after that, I was convinced that a film like this would be the spark that leads to the explosion, it could have dumped the country into anarchy and chaos and revolution.
I would like to quote from the Sunday Times of the 31st of July 1988, shortly after our actions. Sir Richard Attenborough speaking from the south of France said that he hoped that as many South Africans as possible would still see the film, and claimed that if enough whites saw it, it could topple the government.
I do not want to comment any further. In the same paper, Brian Pottinger wrote as follows, Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom is a blatantly propagandise film. It should be seen by every white South African. If that sounds like a contradiction, it is not. The strength of Attenborough's work, lies in the fact that it is nearly all true, but truth like freedom, can become devisable and is selective in the hands of the unscrupulous. Thus Attenborough allows no compromise for his subjects, a few stumbled words of self-doubt by a young Security Policeman, no sort (indistinct) to judge other, more ordinary members of the oppressive classes, no faint hope for reconciliation, he also manipulates.
I also won't comment any further on that. Even though I respected the reasons of the Appeal Court with regards to the showing of this film, the responsibility for the protection of human beings as well as the maintaining of internal security and that of law and order by myself and the South African Police, it was our responsibility.
In this regard, I realised that we had walked the legal way, we had tried everything possible. If you take everything into consideration, I judged the risk that this film would have and it would be so enciteful that this risk was too big.
Even though this was very hard for me and I really struggled with myself with regards to this, eventually I came to the conclusion that the lives of trusting and innocent people, was weighing heavier than me than the showing of the film. No film is worth a person's life.
MR VISSER: Can we just get exactly to how this thing was constructed?
CHAIRPERSON: Have you seen this film?
MR VLOK: I didn't see it before, but I saw it afterwards.
CHAIRPERSON: Not before?
MR VLOK: Can you just allow me, will you allow me to say that whilst we had this discussion, and the people informed me about this, and I asked did you see the film, and they said yes, they did, and they were experts and they briefed me and told me what the facts were.
MR VISSER: Can we please get to the exact way how this thing was actually launched, how it got off the ground? According to Gen Van der Merwe, or according to his application, it is page 126 Chairperson, he spoke about the Cry Freedom incident and Gen Van der Merwe says on page 126 of volume 1, he says that there was a meeting in your office with regards to this film and that the people who were there was Lieutenant General Jaap Joubert, who is now deceased, Brigadier McIntyre, himself and yourself. Can you remember that?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: And it was actually a question of consensus at that meeting between all those present that this film should not be shown and that the film might be potentially disadvantageous to the peace and that on an illegal way by means of bomb threats an atmosphere of fear must be created, so that the people, the distributors, that they would think it is too risky to show the film. Do I understand it correctly?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: Was the thought then that property would be damaged with explosions or that people would be killed and injured?
MR VLOK: No, under no circumstances.
MR VISSER: Now once again, you had nothing to do personally with the practical implementation of this plan, is that correct?
MR VLOK: Yes.
MR VISSER: According to Gen Van der Merwe, you left the implementation of it to Jaap Joubert?
MR VLOK: Yes. Can I just say Chairperson, that even though it was not the intention and we said that they should try and prevent it, property was damaged and that is why we are asking for amnesty.
MR VISSER: Yes, we will hear the applications, but I think the explosions at the Metro Theatre on page 64 of the original, we will see where they acted, not necessarily explosions, but where they acted Chairperson.
False telephonic bomb threats, the small explosive device at the Metro 2 Theatre in West Street, Durban and also High Gate Shopping Centre in Roodepoort, there was a small explosive device there.
Alexandra, I think it is Alexandra. That is the one that Van Huyssteen refers to. That is the one that I brought your attention yesterday yes, it just caught my attention as well, yes, you are absolutely right Mr Chairman.
Those applicants would come and testify. Mr Vlok, this concludes your application with regards to specific incidents.
You have provided the Amnesty Committee with additional application. This addendum with regards to your application, we can find that in Exhibit A, just after the last page of what you have submitted, it is just after page 84.
Mr Chairperson, we could also refer to volume 1, page 77. If I can summarise it, what you are basically saying is this, you are saying I was the Minister of Law and Order, I had all these people under my control, 100 000 or more. I had 2 000 Security Policemen under my charge.
Today if I think back about this, today if I think back of this, then I can remember that I made myself guilty of certain irregular activities. These are the three incidents you have referred to.
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR VISSER: But then you go further and you are telling the Committee that it is well possible and even probable that people who acted in a way which they considered as their duty as Security Police, they could have been inspired by something which you had said or done, which might have certain criminal implications for you?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Visser, I understand what you are saying, but I must point it out to you that that is the dilemma that the Amnesty Committee has looked at when reviewing this, because it is considered as general amnesty and the law does not provide for it.
It is the same dilemma Mr Mbeki finds himself in, that people were doing some things because of what he said and he never realised it himself. It is a hole in the law about which us as the Committee, can do nothing.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I have already advised my client of precisely that fact. Can I tell you why I am raising it with respect?
Not only this Committee, but Ms Gcabashe will tell you, that in the amnesty application of Rashied Abubaker Ismail, you were not there, then she can't tell you that, but I will tell you, I was there, Mr Sibanyoni was there, that is right, they had the same dilemma and in fact they continued with that submission right up to the end, with the written submissions.
The reason why I mention that Mr Chairman, is it appears to be something which may not have occurred to the legislature when they drafted this Act, and what we are doing here Mr Chairman, is we are placing this on record, well knowing that you do not have the authority at this time, but it seems that this is going to become a proliferated type of situation where more and more people, Commissioner De Jager has mentioned Thabo Mbeki, for example, is going to come before the Committee and it may just be Mr Chairman, that there may be consideration given to an amendment to the Act and if that happens, Mr Chairman, we want this to be on record.
We take it absolutely no further than that. Having said that Mr Chairman, we can step off it. Mr Vlok has dealt with it in Exhibit A at page 69 and following and I believe, if I may say so Mr Chairman, it is very well clarified as to what his dilemma is and as I say again, it is the dilemma in which many other people on both sides of the line, find themselves.
On that basis Mr Chairman, I will step off that point.
Mr Vlok, can we continue to page 71 and you asked me to ask the Committee to grant you to address certain aspects that you want to get off your conscience, you want to submit this to the Committee. I am sure that the Committee would listen to what you have to say if you would address the Committee concerning it.
I am not in Exhibit A, I am not sure whether you have tried to say what I am saying Mr Chairman. I see that you have a puzzled expression on your face.
CHAIRPERSON: I am trying to find out what page you are referring to?
MR VISSER: Page 71 in Exhibit A. That is the last stretch, that is the last stretch Mr Chairman. No, actually we are going forward, we are going forward slightly.
CHAIRPERSON: I thought we had gone to page 75?
MR VISSER: No Mr Chairman, I am sorry if I have ...
CHAIRPERSON: The one that you have just referred us to.
MR VISSER: No, that was just the previous paragraph, 69 to 71.
CHAIRPERSON: Then you referred to the end of page 85?
MR VISSER: Yes, that is the addendum, just to draw your attention ...
CHAIRPERSON: Now we are going back to 71?
MR VISSER: Now we are going back to 71 yes, you are absolutely right Mr Chairman.
Alright, Mr Vlok, would you then touch on those aspects?
MR VLOK: Thank you Chairperson. I want to be brief, but it is important to mention this under the heading Acceptance of Responsibility. As I mentioned before, I do not speak on behalf of the National Party, but at all times since 1959 to this day, I am a member of the National Party and also a member of Parliament and on the 17th of September 1984 I was Deputy Minister of Defence and from the 12th of January 1985, of Law and Order and of the 1st of December 1986, I was the Minister of Law and Order in the government.
I was bound to the policy of the party. I viewed the policies of the party as my framework in which I had to perform my duty and this morning, the oath that I - where I said I, Adriaan Vlok swear to be true to the Republic of South Africa and my oath is to be truthful in the office as Minister to maintain the law and order, be truthful and loyal as a State's person, and things that are told to me in secrecy, not to make them public and to perform my duty to the best of my ability.
As I have said I saw this as binding and this is how I acted because there is no differentiation between myself as a member of a political party and as a Minister in the government, and therefore all the policies and principles with regard to me, are also applicable.
As a Minister and political head of the State Department the South African Police, I functioned within the framework of the Police Act of 1958. This was a general order to the South African Police and I wish to say that this was interpreted in a manner and if it needed to be changed, a political party had to change it, but it was interpreted in a certain manner.
The practical performance of this order was left to the subordinates and very seldom was there higher office who had to participate in the practical performance of any of these duties. It was never expected of the Police to clear their orders with the politicians. This political framework was maintained by the political party with clear political objectives and I functioned within this framework as a member of the party and as Minister.
In order to work within this political framework, it was one of my highest political priorities to protect the lives of the citizens and it is my conviction that everything that I had done and for which I accept responsibility and apply for amnesty, could be mentioned within this framework.
I have no other motives besides a political motive with any of my actions, it did not play any role, and I say Chairperson, I was the political chief of a Department for a certain time and the well known expression, the buck stops here, is also applicable to me. I have to accept responsibility.
But with the political background, I wish to accept responsibility. 2681, for all irregular, illegal actions where I am directly or indirectly involved. I have already mentioned these matters. I just want to repeat as far as these incidents are concerned, I believe and I wish to submit that all the applications for amnesty performed after an order was given to them by a higher authority for the COSATU House and Cry Freedom, I accept direct responsibility and for Khotso House as well, I have explained that.
I mentioned it for the record purposes. In terms of the other incidents and as you have pointed out Chairperson, we have to leave it there.
As the political chief and Minister, I want to accept political and moral responsibility for all illegal and irregular actions. The reckless use of words like eliminate, take out, neutralise, remove from the community, break the influence of enemy leaders, it is just summarised here. It is a summary of what I have said, and I am not going to repeat it but I accept political and moral responsibility for inciting members of the Security community to fight the communist threat and the use of certain words, sentences and phrases to incite members. I have pointed it out this morning.
According to what these people have said, it was acceptable for me and very well the actions by subordinates, who believed that they were fighting the communist onslaught, the political structure that was established by the political party as apartheid, wherein members had to function and which left space for these misdeeds to be committed.
I wish to thank you for granting me the opportunity to ask for this forgiveness. I don't know if it is my duty to include this in my application, I believe that it is right as a Christian towards my fellow Christians and my fellow citizens, however justified, this was aimed at people and organisations, people were hurt and according to the Word, in accordance with the Word of God, we wish to live in peace in South Africa and I include myself in this.
All my submissions to you for the sake of perspective, balance, I had to go into total background, including the danger of communism and all the other terrible deeds from the other side.
On paragraph 274 I wish to say that I wish to state categorically and emphasise, I do not accept or I would not wish to push any forgiveness and reconciliation as an excuse because I believe that two wrongs do not make a right.
We get to number 275 in the positions that I had over the years, I had people who supported apartheid, people trusted me, just like I trusted others.
I gave them leadership, I failed some of them. I am terribly sorry, I wish to ask, make excuse for illegal actions. Because of the TRC I now know of actions by Policemen of which I had no previous knowledge. This could have been motivated because of what I had said, and although it was not my intention to concede that, my use of figures of speech, would be interpreted wrongly by my subordinates and I offer my excuse to these persons and I know that I could have done more to prevent irregularities in the Police Force and because this opportunity to speak or to voice my sentiments, because this is my honest contention.
As Minister amongst others, of Law and Order, I took the oath to carry out my official duties with diligence. My official duties entailed inter alia the protection of the people of South Africa and inter alia included protecting them against people who wanted to commit acts of terror against them as well as protecting them against acts of intimidation and violence and unrest.
Chairperson, if I think back to the thousands of innocent people of our country, who during my period of office as the responsible Minister, who were injured and killed in the most gruesome, cruel way imaginable, such as for instance bombs and necklace murders, then I have this feeling that I left them in the lurch and that I didn't give them the necessary protection.
That I didn't do enough. Words are not sufficient to convey my regret towards them in any meaningful way. Nevertheless I want to say that if there is anybody who believes that I could have done more in his personal case, then I will accept that criticism unreservedly and I am saying I am sorry.
That however, brings me to the people who had committed these atrocities against innocent people. I reject categorically all allegations of purely criminal actions committed for personal reasons by any Policeman. I never approved of this personally, I did everything in my power to bring those persons responsible, to justice.
During my time there were many Policemen and women who were guilty of certain offences and I acted against them. The country and its people should be grateful to all those Policemen and women who made a difference between years of anarchy and maintenance of law and order.
The South African Police played its part in preventing the country exploding into a bloody revolution. But our history has caused a lot of pain and suffering for all those involved, for women and children and for parents and for families.
I however, have one consolation, and that is that I never acted from motives of personal malice or hatred against anybody. I did my duty as I saw it. I would like to express my unqualified regret towards any person and/or organisation which was innocently disadvantaged or prejudiced by my actions in the cruel struggle for survival, it was often the case that there was no mercy shown and unacceptable things were done and mistakes made.
I also made mistakes and I am sorry that my fellow South Africans had to suffer in the process as a result of my actions and I would like to offer my unqualified and sincere apology to those people.
At the end of the conflict of the past, where we stand now, just as in the case of other war situations in history, I believe that the only lasting remains are the victims. We are all victims of the conflict of the past, victims gain very value from the fact that one side had a higher moral ground than the other. All that remains is the loss and the sorrow.
I know that the psychological and mental pain which the war caused and will remain with some people till the day of their death.
I would like to request that a great deal of sympathy be shown by the Commission to all these people.
Chairperson, I wish to emphasise that I want to add to the reconciliation in this country and from childhood I tried to live as a Christian and the situation that I find myself in now, it has been always like that, my actions over the years, speak of this. At the bottom there was a quotation to what my approach was a member of a political party and as a Minister, but also as a Christian and I wish to mention it to you.
It is not a critic who counts, not a man who points how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat - by Theodore Roosevelt.
I was not lukewarm to where I was committed, I was committed heart and soul. I could never stand on one side, and not be part of it. I could never sit there and sit with my hands folded when something went wrong. Often to my disadvantage, I tried to do something. I was never a good spectator and will never be one either.
In my whole life, I wish to be part of things happening, and that is why I entered the arena with other brave men and women to fight alongside them, to fight for what we believed in.
I made many mistakes and today, others and myself, are paying the price. As my other mates, I bear all the marks whether it be physical or spiritual, we will carry that for the rest of our lives, but what I will remember is the participation in the struggle with normal, fallible people who were wonderful comrades.
For the same aim namely the protection of Christianity and therefore I speak for all other applicants for amnesty, we want to continue to build our fatherland. I and everybody else wish to do it in the arena and not from the pavilion. From there one can only shout. I believe all of us in our modest manner, could contribute positively to ensure that we don't have apartheid again and to ensure that Marxism and communism does not take over our land.
Chairperson, I pray for you. May God bless you. May God bless your work and may He fill you with His wisdom. May God bless our fatherland and our government.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I believe that this is the evidence that we wish to present. I wonder whether I may ask you just for a five minute indulgence, just to make absolutely certain whether there isn't something which I wish to add. I may add this Mr Chairman, last night, or in the early hours of the morning, we decided to deal with the evidence which emanated from all the other papers which I referred you to yesterday, in the way by not precipitating anything in evidence in chief, but by waiting and fielding matters in cross-examination and later in argument if necessary.
If I may just have a few minutes to confirm with my Attorney, I would greatly appreciate it Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well, we will adjourn for a few minutes.
MR VISSER: Five minutes.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER.
ADRIAAN JOHANNES VLOK: (still under oath)
CHAIRPERSON: I will go around the table, and I see as a result thereof, thereof there have been some changes of seating.
MR BOOYENS: Not really Mr Chairman, I just took my Attorney's seat because I couldn't get close enough to the microphone.
CHAIRPERSON: Will you put yourself on record please.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOOYENS: Kobus Booyens, Chairperson. I think I also mentioned for which parties I appear yesterday.
Mr Vlok, just a few aspects I wanted to look at. When you and Mr P.W. Botha discussed the issue with regards to Khotso House that is, and you discussed it and eventually a command came from him and a command then would be given to the members of the Police to damage Khotso House and to render it unusable, in whichever way Khotso House was to be made unusable, it would have involved illegal actions, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson.
MR BOOYENS: You or Mr Botha, did you ever discuss the possibility that the Police Officials might refuse to act illegally?
MR VLOK: No, we did not.
MR BOOYENS: Did you except that the Policemen would obey the command?
MR VLOK: Yes, we accepted it Chairperson.
MR BOOYENS: Was that because of the fact that both of you were aware that because of speeches and utterances you might have made, and I want to put this very clearly, I know the utterances did not only come from yourself, it came from a lot of people, so a climate was already created where it was accepted that the Police would do these things?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, can I just say I don't know what Mr Botha's view was on this, I only gave you my view and my view was that yes, as I indicated in my submission, there was a climate created, words were used and I believed that the Police would perform those duties.
MR BOOYENS: Would the same account for COSATU House?
MR VLOK: Yes, the same for COSATU House Chairperson.
MR BOOYENS: I have no further questions, thank you Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BOOYENS.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Schalk Hugo Mr Chairperson. I have already placed on record for whom I appear.
Can I just mention that we were provided with another under oath statement and by which one of my clients is implicated, that is Eric Sefadi and I appear for him, just to make sure you know this.
Mr Vlok, from our side just a few aspects we would like to touch on. At the beginning of your evidence I think you said that you, at one stage, took the oath of secrecy as a member of the Cabinet and you took this into consideration and you decided to break this oath and you decided to make known some of these things which have been decided in secrecy and you have taken it up with the previous President Botha as well as De Klerk?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR HUGO: With regards to which incidents did you tell them, which ones are you going to make known, this is with regards to the breaking of the oath of secrecy?
MR VLOK: I told them that these three incidents I am going to apply for amnesty for them and also possibly other incidents, but further, that I am going to testify to the TRC with regards to the workings of the State Security Council and I also did that in October last year.
MR HUGO: And both P.W. Botha and F.W. de Klerk, they agreed that they had no problem with the fact that you would do this?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR HUGO: You must excuse me, but can I just ask you, these discussions did they take place before the submission of the National Party, their submission to the TRC or after the submission was made?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, I am not quite sure when the National Party made his submissions. I think the National Party gave two submissions to the TRC. I am not hundred percent sure when exactly this took place, but if I think back now, Mr Botha I saw him in 1996 before I submitted this application of mine and at that time I did talk to him.
Mr De Klerk, I saw from time to time so it is during that time that we spoke. It could be that it was after the first one, and before the second one, but Chairperson, I must really say I don't really know when it happened. I didn't make a note of it. I spoke to them and I said I wanted to do it.
MR HUGO: You can't help us and give us an exact date as to when this happened?
MR VLOK: If I can help you, maybe I can go and have a look when I had my appointment with De Klerk, with Botha, it is definitely - I could determine that because I saw him less often, so I think I spoke to Botha during the second half of 1996. That was before my amnesty application was submitted.
I saw De Klerk more often and at one of those occasions, we spoke about this and I mentioned it to him. I can try to determine the date for you and I will make it available if that is acceptable.
MR HUGO: Chairperson, my suggestion would have been to please try to determine the date, because I think it is quite relevant for the purposes of all the other applicants.
MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, I may be of assistance, I know when the second submission of the National Party was made, that was middle May 1997.
MR HUGO: If we just accept that for the time being, this discussion that you then had with De Klerk and Botha, did it take place before the second submission?
MR VLOK: I would say yes, because - I say yes because this amnesty application of mine was submitted on the 14th of December 1996 and before that time, I spoke to them to clarify it with them before I go on record with all these things.
CHAIRPERSON: Have you got that representation here?
MR PENZHORN: I don't have it here specifically. There is a specific reason why my Attorney and I remember that date, specifically Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: I am asking, because I've got a copy upstairs and I am not sure which one it is and that might help to get another date.
MR PENZHORN: We've got copies at my office Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: So by tomorrow we can probably get the dates.
MR PENZHORN: Yes.
MR HUGO: Mr Vlok, then just two further aspects. I understand that you give a command from Cabinet level that a building should be rendered unusable, but with making sure, on the condition that no one must die and that no injuries should be sustained, but you will have to agree with me that that is the theory, but in practise it is not as easy. Do you agree with me?
MR VLOK: In practise, the practical aspect of things, yes there might have been a risk, I agree with that.
Can I react to that to say that there was a risk and I realised that there was a risk, but with regards to COSATU House, at that stage it was about 15 months before that happened, when the Police acted and where they made the building unusable without the loss of life, without any serious injury and as far as I am concerned, the trust that I had in them, they confirmed this and they reconfirmed it that there are experts in the Police who I trusted to execute their duties.
CHAIRPERSON: Did you know how many people there were in Khotso House, and who they were?
INTERPRETER: Can you just repeat your question, your microphone was not on?
CHAIRPERSON: Did you know how many people there were in Khotso House, and who they were?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, I was aware of who had offices in Khotso House, that I knew. The UDF ...
CHAIRPERSON: The Church of the Province, the Reformed Church, the Lutheran Church.
MR VLOK: Yes, I knew that.
CHAIRPERSON: I do not know the Afrikaans word, the janitor who was there at the time when the bomb exploded?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, the fine detail, that there was a janitor there who looked after the place and whether his life might be at risk, I did not have that information, but I was happy that when I spoke to Mr Van der Merwe about it, that he would give the instruction, convey the instruction in the sense that no one must be killed and even though there were risks and I have indicated this in my submission, I slept very badly about that, because I was scared that someone might die or someone injured so seriously that he might be maimed for the rest of his life.
But I had trust in the experts within the Police to handle the situation in the correct manner.
ADV GCABASHE: Could I ask Mr Vlok, was your instruction therefore to say if there was indeed a danger of many people or a few people dying, or very serious to people outside of Khotso House, that they should abort this particular mission, was that the tone of your instruction?
MR VLOK: That was what we had decided, that no one must be killed. I did not think about it when I said to them we must make this building useless with explosives, but I can tell you that if they got there and there were people in the building, Khotso I think has a type of a penthouse at the top, if there were people who were sleeping there and their lives would have been placed in danger, then they had to abort it until the next better opportunity, but they should not continue at that occasion to act if they could not comply to that instruction, the fact that nobody must be killed.
MR HUGO: Mr Vlok, what would have been the position if the Police's expertise was of such a nature that they could have this explosion even if there are people in the building, whether they knew that it won't kill anybody, would you have left it up to their discretion?
MR VLOK: Yes, within the framework of no one must be killed, and if they could do it whilst there were people in the penthouse and they could do it, and still comply to the condition which we had put there, then I did not intervene.
MR HUGO: Mr Vlok, then the last thing, you gave us a quotation, I think it was that of Storey's when he said that the Minister of Law and Order was involved in a braai directly after the attack at Khotso House, can I just tell you or I can put it to you that De Kock, who is one of my clients, are going to testify that you were correct when you said that the braai took place much later and was not directly after the Khotso House incident.
I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR HUGO.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, it is Penzhorn on instruction of P.W. Botha.
Just a few statements Mr Vlok. In your submission to the Committee and I am referring to page 58 of Bundle A, you told the Committee that during 1988 on a continual basis, information was given to the State Security Council and reports were submitted to that body, with the subject of the misuse if you can call it that, of Khotso House and the concealed activities of the South African Council of Churches, is that correct?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, yes if he is quoting from my submission, then it is correct.
MR PENZHORN: The statement I am trying to make Mr Vlok, is the information which was given to the State Security Council at that time, had in effect that misuse - that terrorists misused that building?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR PENZHORN: The basis of the instruction which you received from Mr P.W. Botha at that stage, was that the South African Police now had to act in order to make an end to this misuse of the building by these terrorists.
MR VLOK: Yes, to make it impossible for them to use, that is correct.
MR PENZHORN: I think the Chairperson put this to you, who occupied the building at that stage and Storey's evidence in the criminal court case of Mr Botha, on page 434, I think there it is mentioned that the South African Council of Churches occupied the building and as the Chairperson also mentioned, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church, but there were also parts of the building which was occupied by Trade Unions and Trade Union Organisations. Can you remember that?
MR VLOK: That is correct, yes.
MR PENZHORN: In that same evidence Bishop Storey and now I quote on the bottom of page 434, on a question if at that stage, there was any link between the South African Council of Churches and the ANC and his answer is, no, I think that was the subject (indistinct) of the Eloff Commission, in other words the answer Storey gives, is that there were no such relationship between the South African Council of Churches and the ANC.
From your evidence and the information which was placed before the State Security Council that is indeed not correct.
MR VLOK: Chairperson, the information which we had indicated and I also say this in my amnesty application, it indicated that there could have been such a link and probably was.
But it wasn't enough, sufficient evidence to launch a court case against anyone of them.
MR PENZHORN: Mr Vlok, then you also testified that Mr Botha never gave you a direct instruction that you must blow up the building, is that correct?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR PENZHORN: Is it also correct that Mr Botha during his term of office as President, he never gave detailed instructions to the South African Police by using you, but that the instructions would rather be that you would have to act in order to normalise the situation?
MR VLOK: That is correct, during my time Mr Botha never said what the Police should do. He also said what the Police should do, not how they should go about it.
MR PENZHORN: Mr Vlok, you also testified that Mr Botha was worried about possible loss of life of innocent civilians in certain actions, that is. Is it also correct then - maybe I had the advantage of the Cabinet minutes - it was actually a tune which also came out of the State Security Council minutes?
MR VLOK: Absolutely correct Chairperson. Mr Botha, like all other members of the Cabinet was very concerned about the loss of life. He was very worried about the loss of life in the country at that stage, he was very concerned about the misery in which a lot of people found themselves at that time.
ADV GCABASHE: I am sorry, may I interrupt you? I had assumed that you were talking about these particular incidents when you talked about the loss of life or are you talking just generally, in all State Security Council meetings?
So even the answer wasn't too clear to me, because the question is a bit ambiguous.
MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, the first part of my question pertains to the particular incident and the discussion which Mr Vlok would have had with Mr Botha.
The second part however, is a more generalised question emanating from what I inferred from State Security Council minutes and Cabinet minutes which I think Mr Vlok responded in regard to that.
Mr Vlok, is it also correct and I am interpreting the content of your submission, and it also complies with what I gathered from the minutes of the State Security Council. At the State Security Council meeting, it was not reported back to put it this way with regards to this incident?
In all the minutes, we looked for it but we could not find the reporting back. Maybe I can just mention, we could also not find in the minutes, we could not find congratulations in the minutes. Do you agree with that?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, I did not report back to the State Security Council and as far as the congratulations are concerned, as I told you this morning, my recollection is that Mr Botha mentioned it and I accept that if it is not in the minutes, it is not in the minutes. But I would like to point out to you that normally what would be in the minutes, would be the decisions made by that body.
I accept that it is not in the minutes.
ADV GCABASHE: Mr Vlok again, just to help me, again the instruction came from Mr Botha, not from the State Security Council, so you had no duty to report back to the State Security Council, so you would not expect what you had done, to be reflected in those minutes?
MR VLOK: That is correct Chairperson, I did not report back to them, I reported back to P.W. Botha, but not to anybody else.
MR PENZHORN: I have no further questions to Mr Vlok.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR PENZHORN.
MR CORNELIUS: Mr Chairman, Wim Cornelius, I act on behalf of N.J. Vermeulen the applicant. I have no questions, thank you.
NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR CORNELIUS.
MR NEL: Mr Chairman, Christo Nel, I have no questions for Mr Vlok.
NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR NEL.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, there was certain information in Mr Vlok's presentation this morning that I wanted time to check. There are certain documents which may relate to the evidence that I do not have with me, which I want to obtain.
I also want to check the National Party submissions, both, so there are certain aspects that I want time to check overnight, if you would grant me that indulgence.
If anybody else is prepared to go on, I would appreciate that.
CHAIRPERSON: We have quite a selection sitting around there and I am sure amongst them, we would get some questions which will take us to four o'clock. You can stand down for the moment.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOTHA: Thank you Chairperson, I am Hannes Botha, I represent the 10th applicant in Bundle 1. There is only one aspect which I want to address with Mr Vlok.
Mr Vlok, in your submission on page 81 I think, of the minute, you say you visited Vlakplaas only twice, is that correct?
MR VLOK: Mr Chairperson, I said twice, it might be two or three times. Can I just explain, as I mentioned this morning, I wanted to get to the Police Officers at grassroots level. I visited the Police College often, the Dog Unit, I was at the Fingerprint people, I regularly visited them, because after these allegations were made, how many times was I at Vlakplaas and I went back and I thought and I said I can remember just twice, but if somebody says I was there thrice, they could be correct.
I wish to be of assistance, but you have to remember if you ask me now how many times were I at the Police College, I cannot remember. How many times were I at Logistics, I cannot remember. I will just be sucking an answer from my thumb.
MR BOTHA: The reason why I ask this question, in my client's application for amnesty he mentions that the so-called congratulations after the Khotso House explosion, was about a week after the explosion. Can you react to that?
MR VLOK: No Chairperson, I honestly can say it was not a week after that, it was longer than that. Definitely longer than a week.
MR BOTHA: Mr Chairperson, I think it is page 81 of Volume 1, my client page 232 of the first volume. You would see that my client's recollection of these happenings is not totally correct and he refers to the COSATU House explosion and gives, also gives an explanation for his bad memory.
I would not wish to submit that my client is one hundred percent correct.
ADV DE JAGER: Excuse me, my numbering of my pages, this page 232 that you referred to, what is the typed number there?
MR BOTHA: It is number 4. You would note it is in the second paragraph, close to the end. Thank you Chairperson, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BOTHA.
MR POLSON: Thank you Chairperson, I am Graham Polson from the firm Rooth and Wessels and I act on behalf of applicant 20, I have no questions to this witness.
NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR POLSON.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR ROSSOUW: Thank you Mr Chairman, my name is Mr Rossouw, also from the firm Rooth and Wessels. I've got two questions for Mr Vlok.
Mr Vlok, firstly my instructions from my client is that the function at Vlakplaas was indeed much later and the indication that you gave that you cannot recall if you specifically congratulated them with this specific incident, my instructions are that there was not a direct referral to Khotso House, but words were used to the effect that the house is in ruins and my client made the inference that he was being congratulated for that particular incident.
Would you concede to that?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, I think it is correct. I would concede to that.
MR ROSSOUW: Mr Vlok, lastly, were you at no further stage informed or involved in the planning from Gen Van der Merwe's office? You were never told of the progress of the planning at any stage?
MR VLOK: Mr Chairman, if I can ask is it Khotso House or COSATU House or all of them?
MR ROSSOUW: I beg your pardon, I refer to Khotso House.
MR VLOK: No Chairperson, I was never informed of the progress of the planning of this.
MR ROSSOUW: Thank you Mr Chairman, I've got no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR ROSSOUW.
ADV DE JAGER: You appear for applicants 6, 7, 27 and 30, is that correct?
MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, I think with the new numbering I am not sure if those are correct. I appear on behalf of number 2 in Volume 1, Mr Zeelie. That I have placed on record.
Also number 6, that is Mr Van Heerden, number 7, Mr Bosch and then in Volume 2, that will be new number 28 and number 31.
CHAIRPERSON: Mogoai and Steyn?
MR ROSSOUW: No Mr Chairman, number 28 is Mr Douw Willemse.
CHAIRPERSON: He is 27 on our list.
MR ROSSOUW: Sorry, I've got a number 28.
ADV DE JAGER: I think it should be 28, I think we've only got one Mr Du Toit on the list.
MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, just for clarity, the other applicant that I represent is Mr Dawid Jakobus Britz, number 31 on my list.
ADV DE JAGER: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Can we have a copy of that other list.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, there should be two Du Toit's on the list.
ADV GCABASHE: There should be two Du Toit's on the list.
CHAIRPERSON: Can you make another copy for yourselves? Any further questions?
MR ROSSOUW: I've got no further questions Mr Chairman.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Mr Chairman, thank you, Lamey is the surname and I represent Mr Nortje as well as Mr Mogoai.
Just one or two questions to Mr Vlok. The action when it was considered, the action against COSATU House, what would COSATU the organisation, or the ANC, what would they have thought, who is responsible for the bombing?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, excuse me, I don't want to smile, but I don't know.
MR LAMEY: You as Minister, did you make provision that they would draw the inference perhaps that the Security Forces had something to do with it?
MR VLOK: I think so Chairperson.
MR LAMEY: The follow up question, in the eyes of the public it would be known that there was an explosion and it would be covered by the media. What perception did you want to create in the eyes of the public, who were responsible for this bombing?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, the first point that I want to emphasise is that in terms of both places, COSATU and Khotso House, we wanted to spread disinformation that was our attempt.
We wanted to spread disinformation so that if somebody asked us, we would say, no we don't know, and as I have said, yes, they would have thought, yes, it is the Security Forces, but we wanted to create the perception that there was conflict and something could happen.
MR LAMEY: That is what I am wanting to achieve, what was the objective? I am speaking of COSATU House now, to put it in disuse, so that it could not be used.
But there was secondary results from that and that is that the ANC/COSATU alliance was to get the perception that there was conflict amongst the members and it would fit into the type of disinformation objective that you had, that was part of the Stratcom division of the South African Police.
My question is a bit long, I don't know if you grasp the essence thereof?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, I must say honesty it was a long time ago that it happened, I cannot recall precisely what we precisely planned, what was all the possibilities. I cannot remember.
But Chairperson, I have the feeling that if it developed in this manner, if the impression is created that there are people who are in conflict with each other, he is correct when he says that COSATU would have thought it was us, it was a huge explosion.
I think someone who did not have the necessary equipment and who did not have the experts could not be able to do it.
In the years afterwards, they said it is the government the Security Forces that are involved here, and this would have suited us if they were fighting amongst themselves. It was because of this, that would have suited us.
MR LAMEY: If any of the questions pertain to anybody else like Gen Van der Merwe, you need to mention it to me.
On the version of one of the applicants who was a real soldier at Vlakplaas, who did not have insight to top structure decisions, things that you discussed with Gen Van der Merwe, and he mentions in his amnesty application - Mr Chairman, this is the supplementary portion which I believe has been handed up to you in the meantime by Mr Mpshe. I trust that it has been done. It has not been marked yet as an additional, it hasn't been given an additional reference, but I refer to page 39 of that document.
ADV DE JAGER: Is that his application, of that document, what document?
MR LAMEY: Mr Chairman, it is in the official bundle, this portion which is ...
ADV DE JAGER: Bundle 1 or Bundle 2?
MR LAMEY: Bundle 2.
ADV DE JAGER: page?
MR LAMEY: No this portion that I am referring to, is not in the Bundle. In the Bundle, his complete amnesty application is not contained.
ADV DE JAGER: Where is his application in the Bundle, page? Where should we add these other pages to?
CHAIRPERSON: Page 376.
MR LAMEY: I haven't got Bundle 2 with me.
CHAIRPERSON: His application, his hand-written application is at page 376.
ADV GCABASHE: Judge, 176.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, 176.
MR LAMEY: That is indeed correct Mr Chairman, 176 to 184.
CHAIRPERSON: And then we have a supplementary or a typed, application of 40 pages.
MR LAMEY: Yes Mr Chairman. May I just point out that the numbering of the additional document that you have, originates from the complete supplemented application, the relevant portions for purposes of this application, had been extracted from that.
His application in the supplemented form appears from page 35 up to page 40.
CHAIRPERSON: So we haven't got the complete supplementary, we have the relevant portions?
MR LAMEY: Indeed Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: I think we can just use that as a supplementary and use the page numbers that are on it and not try to renumber the Bundle.
MR LAMEY: As it pleases you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: You were asking about ....
MR LAMEY: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Vlok, as a foot-soldier it was his inference that it was a STRATCOM planning to run a disinformation campaign against the then liberation movements, like the ANC and other organisations who were linked to the ANC.
And as he understood the political objective and he believed it was to create the impression of mistrust amongst the members of COSATU? Would that be a reasonable inference?
MR VLOK: Yes, he could have made such an inference.
MR LAMEY: Thank you Mr Chairman, I've got no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LAMEY.
MR JANSEN: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: How long do you think you will be?
MR JANSEN: I will be finished before four o'clock.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Assuming of course that the answers would be as short as my questions. Mr Chairman, Jansen is the surname, I act on behalf of applicant Ras, he is number 9. Yes, Mr Chairman, applicant number 9.
Mr Vlok, you would accept that applicant Ras at that stage was a Warrant Officer at Vlakplaas?
MR VLOK: If Advocate Jansen mentions it so, then I have to accept it. I don't have knowledge thereof, but he must be correct.
MR JANSEN: You would have found it surprising at that stage if any of the Officers, more specifically the junior Officers did not see this as an instruction and did not comply with it?
MR VLOK: Chairperson, in my submission I have mentioned that all the applicants in this matter, acted on a direct instruction.
MR JANSEN: And that instruction, to be more specific, they would have seen it as a reasonable instruction within the circumstances?
MR VLOK: That is correct.
MR JANSEN: You would also accept that a person in the position of Mr Ras, he would not be in a position to justify the act, he could not verify it with the State Security Council?
MR VLOK: It would have been difficult for him, he had an instruction, and he had to comply with it.
MR JANSEN: I have no further questions Mr Chairman.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR JANSEN.
MR ROBB: Mr Chairman, the name is Robb, I am representing the South African Council of Churches. If I may just put my position on the record. I have received my instructions, it is to oppose Mr Vlok's amnesty application and as a consequence of that, Mr Chairman, I require to take detailed instructions on the documents which I have.
I clearly can't begin today, I think that would be obvious today, but I do not believe I will be in a position to commence cross-examination tomorrow either.
ADV DE JAGER: When were your clients notified that they are implicated herein?
MR ROBB: I believe it was sometime last week.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Mpshe, could you perhaps help us?
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, that belief is incorrect, they were notified early in June together with COSATU.
ADV DE JAGER: It is very difficult to accommodate people if they had been notified two months ago and didn't do anything about it, until this morning.
MR ROBB: I apologise for the wrong information, the person from SACC with whom I am dealing, was told last week.
I understand that and I appreciate the difficulty in which I am in fact placing this Committee. But the point is this Mr Chairman, there is a lot of information which has to be dealt with, it would involve taking instructions from a number of people.
I can't do that before tomorrow morning, it is a physical impossibility, it will be physically impossible to in fact read all the documents properly before then. I understand that this Commission is sitting until the end of next week and I am requesting in the circumstances that Mr Vlok gets recalled in due course for a proper cross-examination by the SACC which I think it is apparent from what he has testified today, is certainly one of the major players in this particular application.
It is also apparent from what he has testified today that there have been very serious charges levelled against the SACC, both in his capacity as SACC and in its capacity as the owners of Khotso House. There have been very serious charges levelled about what was taking place in Khotso House at the relevant time.
In addition, Mr Vlok today handed in a further application which runs to about 80 pages. There are a number of people implicated, there are a number of people from whom I have to take instructions and I quite simply will not be in a position to proceed tomorrow.
I am requesting the indulgence of this Committee that Mr Vlok gets recalled sometime next week for a proper cross-examination on these various topics.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Visser, there will be no problem about recalling your client, he is available here, isn't he?
MR VISSER: Yes Mr Chairman, there is not a problem about that, no. We would just like to reply briefly to what has been stated at a convenient time. I don't know if this is a convenient time.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I think it is.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman. Well Mr Chairman, with great respect, it is very iniquitous for a person to appear after having been informed at an early stage and to lodge an opposition as an interested party only after the evidence had been given.
Who knows where this is going to steer the whole thing and who knows how this may affect the whole issue. The point of this is Mr Chairman, we asked this morning and we ask again, and I think the least Mr Robb owes this Committee is to tell you on what basis, he wishes, on what basis set out in Section 20 of the Act, he wishes to oppose.
Surely he knows now what Mr Vlok's evidence is and he can say, either I oppose on the basis that Mr Vlok is a liar or for whatever reason, so that we at least know what ...
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Visser, do you expect an Advocate who has not had a chance of taking instructions to say that someone in Mr Vlok's position is a liar, when it may be after he has questioned his clients, he advises them that they have no grounds for a position?
It is a very serious allegation to make.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, yes, and I just wanted to place something else in perspective and that is that Mr Vlok didn't really make allegations. He told you what he believed at the time and why he acted in the way he did.
By implication yes, I accept.
CHAIRPERSON: There are very serious statements made about the South African Council of Churches, which is why I last week wished to make sure that they were given proper notice.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, all that I am doing is that I am trying to raise the issue with my learned friend, that he informs all of us, as soon as he possibly can, on what basis he wants to oppose. That is really the only point, and apart from that, we can say that Mr Vlok will make himself, will hold himself available until next week Friday.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I think Mr Vlok have to come here tomorrow anyway. I don't think Mr Mpshe will finish in a matter of minutes and I see another face at the other end of the room.
Are COSATU's representatives ready to go on, not from where they are sitting?
MR MAFOJANE: Certainly. Mr Chairman, I tend to agree with the sentiments that have been expressed from the side of the Commission that Mr Vlok be made available, but certainly we are ready to proceed, but we have a number of questions that we would like to ...
CHAIRPERSON: Well, you can do that tomorrow morning.
MR MAFOJANE: As it pleases you Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: It is now after four o'clock.
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, I am not going to ask any questions, I just want to put on record the question of the notice to the SACC, was done, I've got a copy here, on the 11th of June.
Just to explain, perhaps my learned friend was not informed because he was briefed last week, the issue of him being told ...
CHAIRPERSON: He was briefed this morning.
MR MPSHE: Oh, he was briefed last night, yes, he was briefed last night. The issue which he mentioned about last week, it is when I visited SACC myself to find out what their position is, that is when I actually reminded them about this notice. Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: We will now adjourn until nine o'clock tomorrow morning.